5 Cool Jobs Ruined By The Philippine Setting

Let’s face it, very few of us are doing what we really want to. I am, but that is because I am easy to please and have little ambition. But really, how many of us really dreamt of selling soap for a living, or answering telephones and helping Americans figure out their tech problems?

Given the Philippine setting, though, we may actually better off doing what we’re doing now, than if we’d followed our dreams. Here are five jobs we thought were pretty cool gigs, but do not quite translate to the third world.


It sounds pretty simple, really. If you are the best there is at what you do,  you just wait around for a client to call,  use your stealth and tracking skills to stalk your mark like the 21st century predator that you are, do the job and walk away with millions for a job well done. In between, there will be random sex, exotic locales, and a jazzy soundtrack that will distract you from the fact that you kill people for money.

In the Philippines:

As Rep. Eduardo Zialcita of Paranaque once said, we are the biggest source of labor in the world. Although he used this to justify allowing the Philippine population to balloon, it also means that labor in the country is cheap.

While it is theoretically possible to make a living off of killing people for pay, you might still be hard-pressed to make ends meet. For as little as P10,000 (around $200,) you can have someone gunned, beaten or ice-picked to death. P10,000 sounds like a lot when you’re starting out, but those little luxuries do add up. Before long, you’ll have to check out the Manila Bulletin’s want ads under “people who need people killed” to support your Starbucks habit.

And you can forget about complicated plans, sophisticated sniper rifles, and high-tech equipment. Most killings are done by gun-toting masked men on motorcycles. Often in broad day light, and in plain view of everyone. A marker is just as good as a fountain pen if you don’t need finesse, so you can forget that part about stalking your prey like the 21st century predator that you are, etcetera. For P10,000 a pop, you won’t really be in much of a mood to be artistic anyway.

An assassin, possibly

An assassin, possibly

Low-paying, repetitive and high-risk, you’d be much better off as a call center agent configuring Dell Computers and angling for quickie sex in the break room.


From James Bond to Jack Ryan to Totally Spies!, we have been taught that spies are cool, sophisticated, or, failing that,really popular in high school. From bedding high-society hieresses for leads to using increasingly-probable gadgets that can x-ray, tase, kill and eavesdrop on conversations at the same time, being a spy is at the top of anyone’s list of fantasy jobs (aside from paladin, ranger and elf,possibly.)

In the Philippines:

Remember T/Sgt. Vidal Doble? Probably not, but he was part of “Project Lighthouse,” the military intelligence operation that put several political personalities like Fernando Poe, Jr. and Rez Cortez under surveillance. He also put a wiretap on Commission on Elections commissioner Virgilio Garcillano leading to a recording of a phone call that began “Hello, Garci?”

Vidal Doble, local man of mystery

Vidal Doble, local man of mystery

Pretty cool so far, right? Using tech gadgets to put corruption and electoral fraud in check sounds like a good Charlie’s Angels sort of gig. What went wrong? Palace stooge Michael Defensor said it was a fraud, something about it was the President’s voice on the recording, but it was not her speaking or some sort of voodoo shit like that. Also, his family was kidnapped and kept in a basement to keep him quiet.

Consider a career as an Iyottube freelance voyeur videographer instead. Slightly  lower tech gadgets, but just as dirty, dangerous and, uh,scandalous. Also, showbiz gossip columnist.

Fighter Pilot

Blame Top Gun. Or, more precisely, blame more than half a century of American air superiority and the supremacy of Hollywood over world popular culture. Being a fighter pilot is like having an 11-inch penis and then spraying on several thousand bottles of Axe Deo-Cologne (but not on your penis.) I don’t know if it’s the sheer balls needed to fly a multi-million dollar machine that high and that fast in the defence of your country or the physical perfection needed to do it successfully, but this is so.

In the Philippines:

Now, don’t laugh, but there was a time when we had air superiority over most of South East Asia. Sometimes,when our pilots were bored they’d violate Malaysian airspace for a few minutes and all the locals could do was throw pirated DVDs at us.

a long time ago

a long time ago

A lot has changed since then, however. We don’t even have proper fighters anymore, our pilots go on combat patrol in converted training jets that could,  possibly, serve as a momentary nuisance against an invading modern airforce or flight of vicious birds.

So,basically, that’s like trying to pick up chicks in a car with big A-1 Driving School plates.


Being a smuggler is more of a fringe position, I guess, but sneaking contraband under the noses of Customs agents and the Coast Guard speaks to the rogue-with-a-heart-of-gold in each of us. Whether it’s drugs, guerillas, or alcohol and you’re in prohibition-era America, smuggling has that bad-boy appeal while being relatively low on violence, and the payout is usually good, too.


In the Philippines:

Unless you have a submarine (and are the governor of Ilocos Sur,) there are only two kinds of smuggling in the Philippines, none of them sexy: you either pay off some Customs official to get a discount on customs on your goods, or you pay some Customs official to declare a smaller volume of goods and pay less taxes. Both include bribes and none feature sneaking across Dead Man’s Shoal guided only by the light of the moon.

Also, since bribery is a way of life in this country, it’ll be just like being in any other business but with the constant threat of being ratted out for customs fraud.

If you work for any company that has actual products, chances are, you’re probably a smuggler already. By association, anyway. Also, if you’ve ever received balikbayan boxes, you’re a smuggler too.


Again, not a real job as such, but as we all know, pimpin’ ain’t easy, so I guess it involves some work. While nobody wants to actually have to smack hoes areound and such, popular culture and mysogyny have taught us that one can at least dream of being a bit more like Snoop Dogg.

In the Philippines:

Aside from the fact that prostitution is wrong, most pimps in the Philippines are gay and have Japanese lovers who will beat them up when they fly into one of their rages, and will someday leave them, taking all their money and even the picture album,thus, leaving them with nothing but the bitter memory of betrayal by a lost love.