From the Midwest redneck author of "The Rooster Crows at 4am!," "Lizard Poop!," and "The Philippines Expat Advisor"
Living in the Philippines: Three Years in “Paradise”
Living in the Philippines. Is it a paradise? Not at all. But the positives of residing in this archipelago of 7,107 islands far outweigh the bad. After three years of residing here with my beautiful Filipina wife, I thought this would be a good time to review the past months of experiencing the good, the bad and the ugly side of retirement in the Philippines.
The initial excitement of retiring after almost 30 years with telecommunications giant, AT&T, and moving to a home in a foreign country has passed a long time ago. The jeepney and pump boat rides soon become the routine fabric of everyday life.
The novelty wears off. You realize you're not on vacation anymore. This is reality. And sometimes it is dark, grim and frustrating. But there are enough moments that make it "more fun in the Philippines" to offset those bad times.
But people who tell you that living in the Philippines is all "peaches and cream" with Mr. Bluebird perched on your shoulder singing what a beautiful day it is are full of crap. And a lot of it. Or they've been smoking too much shabu.
But let's start out with the "good," what I personally enjoy about residing in the PHL:
1. THE COST OF LIVING.
Despite the recent USD to Philippines Peso exchange rate in which the PHP is at it's highest level in four years, it's still cheaper for my asawa and I to live in the Philippines instead of the United States.
With four more mouths to feed, three nieces and a nephew, it's become a major strain on the budget. But with income from this website and generous donations from readers, which will enable the purchase of a bunk bed for our nieces, we're managing.
What can you expect your cost of living to be in the Philippines? That really depends on your location and lifestyle. One of my new expat friends, Scott B, who has been in Iloilo City for a month now, recommends at least $1200 a month.
2. PERSONAL FREEDOM
Now that the US Supreme Court has deemed it ok to jam mandatory healthcare insurance down every citizen's throat, I appreciate the personal freedoms I have in the Philippines even more. Here are just several examples:
- I can pee in public during the daytime in the Philippines if I want to.
- I can burn yard waste and garbage in my yard and no one says a word.
- I can ride any vehicle without seatbelts.
- I can ride on top of a jeepney or hang outside and stand on a back bumper.
- I can ride with four other people on a motorcycle.
- I can ride with 15 other people and a load of bamboo, 40 kilos of rice and 20 cases of Red Horse on one tricycle.
- I can say what I want without fear of the "PC Police" criticizing my every word.
Feel free to add your own personal freedom you've experienced in the comments section.
3. CELEBRITY STATUS
As Fearless Frank from Florida and my new American expat friend Scott B have recently learned, you're a celebrity in the Philippines. Sometimes you might even feel like a rock star as cute young Filipinas chase after the jeepney or tricycle you are riding in. And yes, that has actually happened to me.
Rest assured, my asawa, The Sainted Patient Wife, was not thrilled with the pretty pinay screaming at me in Guimaras as I rode in the back of our trike headed to the Jordan Wharf. She just shook her head in disgust and disbelief. The young lady was holding a baby. Maybe she was looking for a "Sugar Daddy." Wasn't going to be me.
Is it our white skin that attracts some of the ladies or the "ATM" they might see stamped on our foreheads? Maybe a bit of both.
If you are a single guy and have never visited the Philippines, again I ask the question: "What in the world are you waiting for?" If you're a convicted felon and can't obtain a passport, guess I understand, but for you other guys, what's holding you back?
Let's be honest, OK? I'm a narcissistic old geezer that's 60 years old. Even though I'm happily married to a loving and beautiful Filipina do you honestly think I don't like the attention? I don't think my friend, Fearless Frank, pictured below with some pretty pinays did during his visit to the Philippines.
Another good thing about living in the Philippines are the people, the friendly Filipinos and Filipinas. Forbes magazine recently released a survey of expats that ranked the Philippines as the eighth most friendly country in the world. New Zealand ranked #1. Well, if all the Kiwi's out there are like my friend Murray, I can understand why New Zealand took the top spot.
That said, the warm and friendly Filipinos I have met in the last three years are some of the nicest people I have ever met. They'll invite you for a meal even though they don't have enough food for themselves or wave me over for a cup of coffee as I do my morning walks.
5. MEETING OTHER EXPATS
I've met a lot of expatriates, expats, from a number of nations. The vast majority of them, whether they be American, British, Canadian German, Australian, Russian, Italian or Spanish are a great lot and happy to be living in the Philippines.
It's been quite an experience meeting with these folks from different countries and backgrounds and getting their perspective on life in "paradise." I've been know to share a San Miguel Pale Pilsen or two with many of them.
While I enjoying taking to many Filipinos, it's nice to get a change of pace and speak to a group that understands all my slang phrases and references to the States that the locals do not comprehend without a major explanation. Ever try to explain what a "redneck" is to a Filipino? It's not easy.
Next post will deal with the "bad," or "ugly" side of "paradise." There have been some gut-wrenching scenes that I've witnessed in the past three years that I've never experienced during my 57 years of living in America. It's a harsh life for many and certainly not a "paradise" by any means for them.
The author, Dave DeWall, is an online entrepreneur, which basically means he spends a lot of time sitting on his fat ass all day in front of a computer doing practically nothing. Pretty much what he did during his 30 years at AT&T.