Gambling - addiction instead of 'killing time'


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On another page I told you some about the living in a squatter camp. Here is the 'ugly face' of having some money and a lot of spare time. Gambling is all around.

Illegal but common

If you want to know, there are so many kinds of gambling here in Philippines. I Know it is not only in Philippines but all over the world. We have two kinds of gambling here in the Philippines, legal and illegal.

The Philippine government owns Philippine Amusement and Gaming company. If you can see a 'BINGO' area in a shopping mall you can be sure: There you are allow to try your luck. Charity sweepstakes and lotteries are managed by the government through the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office so it is legal.

playing cards in a kubo The illegal forms of gambling is 'Tong-its' and 'Pusoy Dos' (both played using playing cards) and 'Cara Y Cruz' (using 25 centavo coin). Now we talk about this illegal gambling here in the neighborhood. Some of my neighbors gathered everyday near in front of my house. They start playing 'Tong-its' just after they finish their lunch. 'Tong-its' consist of 3 players. For example, if you are the one who will distribute the cards you have 13 cards and the other two players have 12 cards. You are also the first one to open the game. Winner will be, who can show a set of equal cards like 3, 4 or straight. My knowledge about this is limited because I don't want to learn how to play the cards.

They stay often until around 7:00 p.m. but sometimes it is until the next morning. I am wondering if they really have enough money in their pocket to play cards. Because sometimes I hear from my old lady neighbor, that she lose 200-300 pesos. I know they want to have a past time only (as they say). But I already cannot believe that it is past time if you lost 200-300 pesos to the other player. And the time they stay there. Thinking that some of them is a housewife and can stay in that place for almost 7 hours. Who is the one who is preparing dinner for their family? Who is the one who take care their small kids? This is the question in my mind since I am new to this place. Time past and I slowly learn by watching them from my window, one of the player is a mother. She have her two years old daughter with her while she is playing cards. She is just holding the kid even if it is already sleeping.

I also can hear arguments from the other couple because the husband come back home from work but the wife still not yet prepare their dinner. This is the result if you become addicted in that so called past time. One time I hear from them that she already prepare food at noon so she no need to cook for dinner. Clever huh? (smile). Another form of illegal gambling here in this area is the so called 'Cara Y Cruz'. Once, when I go to the market, I see there is a lot of men in the street where I am always passing. I see one of my neighbor there. When I came back home, they are still there.

I ask his wife what kind of game is that why there are so many men there. Some as I can see is squatting in the walk way and the rest is standing and looking at the guys intently. The wife told me it is 'Cara Y Cruz'. I ask how they play the coin? It is 3 pieces of coin and one guy will tossed it up in the air by more or less 20 inches from the ground. They wait until it lay back on the ground and see who will win. The coin has two sides. The front with the head of one of our hero is called Cara. So you know that the other side is Cruz. So you need to watch properly which side will land on the ground. And automatically the side facing up is the one who win.

This kind of illegal gambling is big thing here in our place. They are not staying in one place because if the police know, the players will be arrested. The police raid this place always by surprise. My neighbor won 3,000 pesos one time. He bought a new cellphone for his wife. But sad to say, after 3 weeks the cellphone is nowhere to find. The wife suspected that her husband sell it so he can gamble again. That is the main problem here in this place. Being addicted to illegal gambling! Because if they lose their money, some other guy need to sell some of their things or worst, some need to rob someone's house to find money for the gambling.

That is why, we really need to make sure that our doors and windows are secured with grills and padlocks. But sometimes even the big padlock on the gates is useless because they know how to open it easily. There is a lot of this gambling and the result is really harm and danger to other guy. My daughters stay in this place for almost six years now, and I just move here one year ago. So they told me that if the Cara Y Cruz game start here in our place they cannot sleep at night time. For sure the robbers is also active so you need to guard your own house.

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