The Philippines, Pretend Pregnancies & Other Peculiarities


It’s embarrassing to have someone think you are pregnant when you aren’t. Since I’m not particularly large, I’ve been fortunate enough to have been spared from the awkwardness. Well okay I was spared until I decided to travel to the Philippines.

You are probably thinking that I just happened to appear larger becuase I was in a nation filled with petite people.Β  I might have agreed with you had anybody inquired about how far along I was when I visited Hong Kong, Taiwan or Indonesia.

IΒ  would prefer to blame this on the low cost of domestic flights in the Philippines for 2 reasons. Cheap tickets left me with more money to spend on filling my belly, and they also meant I would be at the airport having conversations with Cebu Pacific staff that went like this:

“Madam are you pregnant?”
“How pregnant do you have to be to not fly?”
“7 months”
“Umm… do I look 7 months pregnant?”
“Madam I don’t know. That’s why I’m asking”

Needless to say I returned back to Manila by bus instead of plane. After 7 hours of being stuck on a bus listening to cheesy love songs from the 80s, courtesy of the overhead speakers, I found myself booking another flight with Cebu Pacific.Β  This time I was caught off guard twice. First, when the lady asked if I was pregnant. And for a second time when the guy sitting beside her winked at me and quipped, “Not yet, right?”.

I wasn’t willing to be in a similar situation the next time round. So when the time came to check in for my flight from Cebu to Palawan, I was prepared with a witty response. Or at least what I thought was a witty response.

“Madam, are you pregnant?”
“Yes, 10 months pregnant”

Either the lady who was helping me had just had Botox and couldn’t smile, or she didn’t find me particularly funny. Regardless of her reason, I was not satisfied. I was determined to come up with something better for my final domestic flight. Somehow that conversation was also nothing like the one I had scripted in my head.

“Here’s your boarding pass. Have a nice flight.”
“Thanks. Hey wait, you didn’t ask me if I was pregnant”
“We only ask ladies who look pregnant”
“But I wanted to slap the guy next to me and say it was all his fault”
“The boarding gate is that way. Next please”

Clearly she had just had some Botox work done too.