Are we ashamed of Ben ‘running here and there’ inside airport?

By Alex P. Vidal

“Ben, you’re always running here and there. You feel you’re not wanted anywhere. If you ever look behind and don’t like what you find. There’s something you should know. You’ve got a place to go.”—Michael Jackson in “Ben”

DON’T be ashamed as Filipinos that a rat was recently seen in a viral video roaming near Gate 2 inside the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3 in Pasay City.

A single rodent that can get in through open cellar windows, gaps or cracks in foundations, or even through vent or chimney openings, will destroy the image of the Philippines? No way. No deal.

Don’t jump into conclusion that we have the “dirtiest” airport in the world because of that short clip posted by a passenger on X (formerly Twitter).

The presence of that lonely and unwanted visitor with a tail and unique mustache in the NAIA Terminal 3, or in any airport for that matter, is not a Guinness Book of Records or Ripley’s Believe It Or Not episode.

Especially in the enclave of a tropical and densely populated Asian city.

In Asia, brown and house rats exploit human food resources, eating and contaminating stored grains and killing poultry.

Let’s be realistic. Rodents—or their existence and presence in public—are part of our heritage, whether we like it or not. “Charity”, er, rat colony, begins at home.

As for the bedbugs and cockroaches, well, we aren’t alone. Ask the people of Thailand, France (host of the 2024 Summer Olympic Games), China, Vietnam, Jamaica, Tanzania, among other intercontinental territories.


Illegal or unauthorized entries by wildlife, insects, lizards, vermin, mammalians or warm-blooded vertebrate animals are normal in highly urbanized metropolis and even financial districts, conference auditoriums, stadiums, convention centers, museums, railways stations, skyscrapers, including international airports.

Some airports in the world are disgustingly dirtier, more unsafe, filthier, and unhygienic than the Philippine airport or airports for that matter.

Haven’t we heard of news in other countries about peacocks, dogs, goats, reptiles, snakes, bulls, and even pigs breaching the airport security and immigration lines and sometimes marching on their way straight to the airplanes?

Haven’t we heard of news about a raccoon spotted running through baggage claim area in a Philadelphia airport? Or an alligator crossing the Southwest Florida International Airport? And a Tutu-wearing pig that caused a furor at the San Francisco International Airport?

Haven’t we heard of stories about scorpions, bees, hornets, ants, fleas, and even mosquitoes tormenting departing passengers in many international airports around the world?

And we are enraged and ashamed to the max only because of a Filipino Ben’s viral video in NAIA Terminal 3?

In Ben, Michael Jackson concluded, “I’m sure they’d think again. If they had a friend like Ben.”


HEADLINE permi sa balita ang pagbulaganay sang mga hubin ukon bataon pa nga mga artista sa Pilipnas. Bisan pa nga wala sang redeeming values ang mga showbiz news nga ini, gina hatagan gid prominent spaces sa TV, radyo, kag newspaper ang ini nga mga Marites stories.

Isa lang ang buot silingon sini tanan: Patok kag popular ang ini nga mga balita sa masa or sa so-called bakya crowd.

Ang pag hibi-hibi, break-up, pa-cute, pa senti-senti, padamol make-up, kag iban pa nga kadramahan sa pangubuhi sang mga artista kag celebrities sa entertainment industry kag pelikula ang gina lagas kag gina hatagan daku nga atensiyon compared sa economeya, politika, sports, edukasyon, world affairs, climate change, health.

Amo ini ang rason ngaa kon mag eleksyon gani ang mga naga dalaog amo ang mga artista, coup plotter, boxer, comedyante, babaero, kag mga tampuhaw nga naga pakuno-kuno nga statesmen and patriots.

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two daily newspapers in Iloilo.—Ed)