This probably isn’t going to be a very popular post, since it’s Philippine-specific and all, but I thought to write about it because it’s just a really nice, friendly show to watch as opposed to what I normally see from American television.
The show I’m talking about, Pepito Manaloto, is being touted as a “reality sitcom” hybrid, with the character story getting interspersed with videotaped survey questions from actual individuals on the street.
The story follows the life of the Pepito Manaloto and his family, a humble sort as most stories of this type start out. Pepito is primarily concerned with trying to provide for his wife and son, and an unexpected victory for him follows. He picks the winning numbers for the national lottery, and becomes the sole winner of 700 million pesos (a little under $15, 750,000).
In a sort of deus ex machina situation to make Pepito’s life more complicated and easier at the same time, Pepito, by virtue of being the world’s nicest guy, also saves a semi-conscious woman from a car crash and takes her to the hospital (I believe he did it on foot, too). The woman, whose name is Maricar, is actually a financial advisor for the Philippines’ rich folk. She finds Pepito after his anonymous rescue of her and pledges to be his financial advisor. Along the way, Maricar tries to introduce Pepito and his family to the world of the rich as well as the concept of elevators and escalators.
I watched this evening’s episode along with the family, and found myself intrigued at the cultural nuances involved in this. For the most part, the episode today tried to answer the question, How would a poor person use his riches to clothe himself? Maricar took them to an upscale shopping mall to introduce them to the world of the rich, and Pepito and his family met the culture of the rich head on, with their elevators and escalators.
In an exaggerated parody of the poor man, Pepito apparently has never heard of escalators or elevators, and that they’re free transportation to higher floors. Personally it seems preposterous to me that he never would have rode on one in his life, but it still seems possible for such to happen in the Philippines, so I accepted it as such.
Moving on, Pepito and his family, now going it alone in the mall, get acquainted with the buying and selling of high priced goods. By the end of it, they find out the following:
1. Haggling of any sort does not work in malls.
2. Upscale malls are hella expensive if you’re coming from a spendthrift background.
3. Some Americans can speak the local language too, so don’t talk as if they don’t know you’re talking about them.
In the end, the Manaloto family decides to spend their money the only way they know how: by heading to the tiangge (bazaar) and buying clothes of all sorts for under $ 4. With a giant wad of cash in Pepito’s pocket (he doesn’t have a wallet, mind you), they manage to come out with tons of clothes, all the while conserving money and probably spending less than the actual amount it would have cost to buy a dress in an upscale store. In fact, it’s highly possible that the most expensive single item they purchased was a pair of sandals for Pepito, who left his slippers outside the elevator as he didn’t want to get the elevator dirty.
If you’re bilingual and know Tagalog and English, you may want to check out Pepito Manaloto. It’s a funny, wholesome tv show that I hope will stay for quite a while on the airwaves.
FYI: Manaloto is a portmanteau of Manalo (to win) and Lotto (lottery). How apt!