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Well, perhaps not entirely disillusioned but certainly disappointed.

The Philippines is such a spectacularly beautiful country, blessed with endless beaches and the tropical climate to enjoy them, populated by kind, friendly and joyful people. Then how come it has become such a third-world hell-hole where sewage flows in the streets, the air thick with the noxious fumes belched out by decrepit trucks and jeepneys and the landscape littered with the detritus of modern "civilization"?

How can it be that here in Europe we have had sewage and rainwater run-off systems built over 2,000 years ago (the Roman Acquincum), yet the Philippines, a country in the monsoon belt where heavy rains predictably fall six months out of the year, there aren't many and thus floods are so common that people expect them?

How can people care so little about their surroundings as to destroy them with continuous air, water and noise pollution and incessant littering? How is it possible to tolerate the dirty, hungry, homeless children sleeping in the foul debris in front of crowded fast-food stores and spending their waking hours begging for leftovers?

How can it be that the people do not demand the very basic necessities of reliable infrastructure like clean water, electricity, roads and bridges, public transportation, sanitation? How can a large and populous country like the Philippines which has some natural resources, not learn from its more successful neighbors, like Singapore?

I love the people of the Philippines and also its many scenic splendors. But I find it increasingly difficult to accept its many shortcomings. I have limited this post to only the most glaring irritants and in a future missive I might address some others, like its rampant corruption and steadfast resolve to refuse to evolve.