Shoeless American Expat in the Philippines

Sometimes a person might move to the Philippines with limited resources. It happens. I don't recommend it, nor do many of my American expat friends in the Philippines advise it, either. But things happen. I've known guys that have come over to “paradise” to meet the woman of their dreams that they've been chatting with online. Problem is that Filipino “dream girl” may turn out to be married already or could be a “ladyboy.” Don't think it could happen to you? Think again.The newly repaired shoes

 

 

But without a guaranteed monthly source of income to fall back on, a guy could end up as a shoeless American expat in the Philippines without enough money to even buy a pair of “slippers,” the common expression for vinyl sandals or footwear here. That was my situation the other day, after leaving our local Internet cafe in downtown San Miguel, Jordan, Guimaras.

 

My favorite pair of shoes from the States, aside from my dress black Florsheim’s, were a pair of comfortable shoes made by Clark. I've had them over 8 years and now use them for my daily hourly walk outside “The Farm” where we now reside.

 

I paid about 70 US Dollars for those shoes but they had started to fall apart at the seams and were in desperate need of repair. My asawa had told me of a shoe repair stand at the “Old Site” Market area; where the Internet cafe is located, but I could never find it. But after searching for the past few weeks, I finally spotted a middle-aged Filipino sitting beside a stack of shoes, not far from my Internet spot.

 

I don't know why I had never spied the man before; perhaps he had been outside on the street taking a pee. Only 80 pesos (1.86 US Dollars) to fix my shoes and he could have the job done in an hour. “30 minutes” said a man standing next to him. It was a deal. I handed my shoes to the repair guy.

 

Buy a pair of slippers” he advised. “No, that's OK,” I answered, “I'll just walk around barefoot until you're done.”

 

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The small contingent of Filipinos that had gathered around the shoe repair stand was quite amused at this. “My lolo does this all the time,” I said to the group, “he always goes outside without his slippers.” This elicited a big laugh from the crowd.

 

I'm off. In the back of the retail shop complex are a couple of barber shops, batchoy eateries and more Internet cafes. One eatery on the corner is a place I visited early one morning with The Tom Cat, who had some business to do online but was waiting for an Internet cafe to open. He decided to order a “coffee,” which turned out to be a bottle of San Miguel Pale Pilsen. I ordered a “coffee” with him at that time and decided to have a “coffee” as I waited for my shoes to be repaired.Coffee shop in Guimaras

 

It was 9:30 in the morning, but since this was only my fourth bottle of beer since Tom's departure in early October, I thought it wouldn't hurt to have a brew. I finish my beer, note to the owner that her calendar was on “Filipino Time,” this was now late November and her calendar was still turned to October, and took off, barefoot.

 

I walk down the sidewalk in the back of the retail complex and hear someone calling “friend,” “friend.” Thinking it was one of the “stalkers”, Jamie, a young Filipino guy that used to run after Tom and me, I ignored the calls. But after several more shouts of “friend, friend,” I turned around. It was the shoe repair guy. He was done with the shoe repair and did not want me to have to go around barefoot anymore. That's what I call good customer service.

 

I gave the shoe repair man, nicknamed “Bro,” a hefty tip and thanked him for the speedy repair. He did a good job on my shoes, sewing them on the inside and out. They should be good for a few more years.

 

I'm cheap. You could be polite and call me frugal. But I see no need to waste money on a new pair of shoes when my old ones, now repaired, will do just fine. “I'm not going to a fashion show!” is what I always tell my asawa, if she comments on a ratty t-shirt I might be wearing as we go out. And I'm not. Old shoes, no socks, a t-shirt, and cargo shorts are my standard uniform. And I'm OK with that. When you're in “paradise” you can wear what you want. And I want to be comfortable.

 

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About Dave DeWall 1304 Articles
Hi! Welcome to PhilippinesPlus.com! I’m “The Kano,” your host for this website. I’m a 64-year-old guy from Central Illinois that decided to retire to the Philippines in July 2009 with my lovely Filipina wife of over 16 years, “The Sainted Patient Wife.” I retired after almost 30 years of service with telecommunications giant, AT&T. I absolutely hated the last few years of working there and when the opportunity arose for me to retire at the age of 57, I grabbed it. I asked my wife if she would like to move to the Philippines. She already had a house and lot paid for in the rural province of Guimaras. Made sense to move somewhere we did not have a house payment. We stayed at the house in Guimaras for 30 months. Problems with my mother-in-law prompted a move to nearby Iloilo City where we lived in a subdivision for two years. In October 2013 we moved back to Guimaras and resided on five hectares that we called “The Farm.” We rented the house and lot for 5,000 pesos a month, about 110 US Dollars. My mother-in-law has gone to live with her oldest son in Manila. I highly advise following the “Three Hour Rule.” Live at least three hours from relatives. While most of my spouse’s relatives are good people, there are a few always looking for a handout from the “rich” Americano. We have built a new 4,000 square ft. house in a rural location in Guimaras and have recently moved in there. Thanks for checking out this website. If you’ve never visited the Philippines, I urge you to include it in your future travel plans. I love living here, and I’m enjoying a great retirement. It is more fun in the Philippines!