Is Cavite Really the 'Florida' of the Philippines?
If you’re an internet old-timer, you’re probably familiar with the Florida Man meme. In the off-chance you’re not, here’s the TL:DR: apparently, in all the 50 states of the U.S., Florida is where you’ll find the most cases of shocking, bizarre, and sometimes even funny criminal activity. There’s even a Wikipedia page about it. And if you do a quick Google search, you’ll find dozens, even hundreds of recent examples:
So, in essence, besides being the so-called Sunshine State, and a haven for retirees, Florida has garnered the somewhat dubious reputation as a place for strange, inexplicable, and oftentimes violent behavior not just from its residents, but for people who just happen to be there. Whether that reputation is justified or not is up for debate, but, whether they like it or not, “Florida Man” has already entered the cultural zeitgeist.
You get where we’re going with this.
So, if Filipinos had to find a place locally that most closely resembles this aspect of Florida, apparently, Cavite would it. At least, that’s what a Facebook group believes.
Cavite Florida ng Pinasposting’s About statement is pretty straightforward: “Opisyal na Grupo ni Cavite Man ang Florida Man ng Pilipinas.” You can’t get more succinct than that. The group is filled mostly with humorous memes and videos of what life in the province directly south of Manila is like. A sampling:
The group currently has over 30,000 members, many of whom are, presumably from Cavite themselves, which would make the humor self-deprecating, and therefore, somewhat even funnier.
Consider these headlines all mentioning Cavite, all from within the last four weeks or so:
But why Cavite though? Surely the province does not have a monopoly of bizarre and/or tragically hilarious incidents, criminal or otherwise. A few Reddit threads about this exact topic already exist, and while users have thrown other suggestions into the discussion—places like Pasay, Tondo in Manila, Davao, even Pangasinan or the Ilocos region—Cavite seems to be the runaway winner.
In Florida’s case, some people have argued that the state has pretty strong freedom of information laws, which would make news about arrests and criminal activities pretty common. The more news, the more this thinking of Florida as a bonkers state sticks. Other supposed factors for the large number of peculiar news incidents in the state, according to a CNN report, include “relatively high and diverse population of the state, its highly variable weather, and gaps in mental health funding.”
Of course, none of this exactly applies locally, which would make educated assumptions about Cavite being Florida’s counterpart in the Philippines virtually impossible. However, there is one statistic we can cite, and that is the province’s crime rate. According to the Cavite Ecological profile of 2020, crime volume in Cavite increased from 7,286 in 2019 to 15,986 in 2020, of which 1,194 are index and 6,773 are non-index crimes, and 8,019 are traffic crimes. (The PNP defines index crimes as serious crimes involving crimes against persons property, including murder, homicide, physical injury, and rape, robbery, theft, carnapping/carjacking, and cattle rustling. Non-index crimes, meanwhile, are all other illegal acts and special law violations, including negligent manslaughter, non-aggravated assault, forgery and counterfeiting, fraud, embezzlement, stolen property, vandalism, weapons, prostitution, narcotic laws, gambling, and others).
Crime volume also continuously increased from 2012 to 2017, peaking in 2017, which increased by 83.24 percent from 2016.
“Among the cities and municipalities in the province, the City of Bacoor had the highest number of crime incidents with 1,419, which accounted for 14.20 percent of the total crime volume, followed by the City of Dasmariñas with 1,131 crime cases or 17.81 percent, and the City of Imus with 772 or 9.69 percent of the crime cases,” the report said. “Mostly populated and highly urbanized areas had the highest number of crime incidences in the province of Cavite. Meanwhile, the least number of reported crimes were in the municipalities of Mendez and General Emilio Aguinaldo with 42 and 41 cases, respectively.”
Unlike other provinces, Cavite’s population is far from being homogenous. Due to its proximity to Metro Manila, many residents from the National Capital Region moved to nearby provinces for more affordable housing, and that includes Cavite. Don’t forget also that the province hosts resettlement areas of informal settlers from NCR. Not that we’re saying that a more diverse population lends itself to higher incidences of crime, only that the resulting population explosion in the province no doubt contributed to attendant issues, including criminality.
Lastly, anecdotal evidence suggests that, at least as far as the Calabarzon region is concerned, Caviteños seem to receive the most hate. Consider this totally unscientific poll somebody conducted on social media:
So is Cavite—aka Etivac aka 80vac—really the Florida of the Philippines? What do YOU think?