Look, I'll speak plainly. When I travel on behalf of PokerStars, I take pains to find the positive in the places I go. I'm being paid not only to give the readers a flavor of the room that you can't get out of hand updates, but also to demonstrate that these tour stops are unique, interesting places worth visiting for themselves, whether or not you're the player who takes home the top prize.
But there are trials along the way. There are stops that are better than others. There are cross-cultural moments that can be difficult or incomprehensible. And there are signs, written in English, that range from baffling to downright hilarious.
Some are the result of local laws, like the sign that has to be posted at every elevator in Brazil warning people to "Check if the elevator is here before entering", or the sign here in the foyer of the Casino Filipino Mactan reminding casino patrons that "Bringing out of chips strictly prohibited" - even though one would think the casino would be perfectly happy for people to leave without redeeming their chips.
Others are funny simply by their juxtaposition, like a no smoking sign I once saw at the Bologna airport that was located directly above an area where people insisted on congregating to smoke. Here in Cebu, that incongruity is well represented by a sign directly behind some cars parked in front of the casino. The sign reads "No parking this area".
And then there are the signs that are either curious translations or that represent a cultural mindset that a foreigner can't quite grasp. And believe you me - I'm not one of those Americans who insists that everyone should speak English. I am mortified by my own language shortcomings in some of the places I've traveled for PokerStars. The sum entirety of Filipino phrases I can utter translate to "I love you" and "You are very beautiful. Can we date?"
But I still had to laugh at two particular signs at the Casino Filipino Mactan. One was a sign in the lobby, at the guard station (you have to be patted down before you enter the gaming floor), asking patrons to "Kindly present P1,000.00 show money". I considered whether Monopoly money or PokerStars play-money chips would be acceptable.
The other appeared on an oddly shaped wooden receptacle outside the building, near what looks like a valet station. The receptacle is painted white, and angled slightly near its top, perhaps to allow better access to its innards. And the sign on top? I'll let you read it for yourself.
No need to check your weapons at the door. Just unload them, in whatever manner you choose. Maybe fire a few rounds into the 15-foot likeness of Datu Lapu-Lapu that stands in the foyer, reminding patrons that "I have no master but myself."