Living a Simple Life in the Philippines

large home in guimaras philippines

Living a simple life in the Philippines is not that difficult, especially if you reside in a rural province like my asawa and I retired to over six years ago. My wife grew up in a nipa hut with a dirt floor. The house didn’t not have any modern luxuries such as electricity and running water. Here’s a look at the region of Guimaras, our island province home known for the sweetest mangoes in the world, which my spouse shared with eight brothers and sisters and her two parents, along with pythons and an assortment of lizards.  lawi, guimaras

My asawa’s simple life included encounters with invisible elves called duwendes and evil, shape-shifting flying demons, aswangs. It made life interesting.
beautiful blue sky over the philippines
Now my spouse of almost 16 years and I live on a 13,500 square meter property, with beautiful blue skies and coconut trees swaying in the distance. Our nephew, shown below, had a week off for semester break recently and spent part of it weeding our back yard.

Sherwen also had the unenviable task of bathing his 80-something Lolo, grandfather, every morning during his vacation. I sincerely doubt that many teens in the States spend their  free time giving their grandpa a shower. Our nephews does this chore without complaining and without being told.

nephew hard at work

As part of our simple life in the Philippines, my wife and I occasionally take walks outside our property. While the paths we now traverse are not the muddy, cow poop-laden roads we experienced at our “subdivision” back at “The Compound,” the first residence we moved into upon our retirement, we find the views quite relaxing.

taking a walk on the wild side in the philippines

Not much cow manure on our new road nor much traffic unless it’s time for the local schools to begin their morning classes. Though there have been online newspaper reports of a crackdown on the wearing of helmets in our province, the majority of motorcyclists I’ve seen don’t wear any.

tamarind fruit

This is a tamarind tree. The tamarind tree produces edible, pod-like fruit seen above.  Tamarind is the main ingredient of the popular Filipino soup, Sinigang, characterized by its sour and savory taste. A simple dish perfect for a simple life.

another look at rice fields in guimaras

The above photo was taken a couple of weeks ago. The rice fields shown above were somewhat flooded but we haven’t had any substantial rain for almost a month. Our local agriculture department is attempting to persuade more rice farmers in Guimaras to plant watermelon, which uses less water.

Farmers in the municipality of  Sibunag in Guimaras are slowly shifting to high-value crop production from rice production as El Niño continues to threaten farming on our island province.

Mayor Luben Vilches said more farmers in Sibunag are planting their rice fields with watermelon instead of water-demanding rice.

“Watermelon is the most profitable investment in Sibunag now,” he said.

Ten percent of the town’s agricultural lands are tilled for rice production. (Source: Panay News)

With rice being one of the staples of many Filipino and Asian diets, I don’t know how successful this watermelon growing campaign will be.

rice fields in the philippines

Check out the carabao. My spouse tells me the beast covers himself with mud, which acts as a sort of sunscreen and helps keeps insects away.

carabao in the philippines

No simple life in the Philippines would be complete without a visit to the local sari sari store such as the one my wife and I pass by when we take our morning walks. The proprietor is actually quite a friendly lady, though she does seem caught off guard by my picture taking.

However, the owner has told my wife that I am “quite polite” and always gives us free vegetables whenever we stop.

our local sari sari store in the philippines

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Author: The Kano

POST AUTHOR: "THE KANO." Dave DeWall, "The Kano", is the Publisher & Editor-in-Chief of "Philippines Plus" in publication since August 2009. He is also the CEO of Lizard Poop Productions and author of the best-selling guide book "The Philippines Expat Advisor." Dave moved to the Philippines in July 2009 from Central Illinois with his lovely wife of over 19 years, "The Sainted Patient Wife." The couple reside in a rural province in Western Visayas, Guimaras. The small island province is said to have the sweetest mangoes in the world. They do not have any children but are the proud owners of eight active canines, including a Belgian Shepherd called "Killer" "Killer" has bitten five people in the last two years along with one goat and a carabao. "Killer" doesn't like strangers. Or goats. Or carabaos.

6 thoughts on “Living a Simple Life in the Philippines

  1. Hi Dave, great pictures looks very peaceful and quiet I could do with a bit of that from
    Time to time, getting really busy in metro Manila with the extra Christmas shopping
    Traffic is pretty bad, you’re a lucky man living there melons easy to grow better not
    Tell my wife that she probably start growing them lol , nice post Dave,
    Derek in pasig.

    1. Thanks, Derek. I dread going to the SM malls in Iloilo from this point forward.They get way too crowded for me, but the crowds don’t bother my asawa.

      I love watermelons. Have to see what my wife’s own plans are for them on our property. 🙂

  2. Dave,
    Yes it sure is a quite life there compared to where we live. Just bought a small watermelon the other day for 120p, which thought was a little high, but it was sweet. So it could be very profitable i guess.

  3. Dave, the simple life is really amazing. I have experienced it living in Sindangan, Mindanao. I absolutely love it and really believe a lot of people would love it if they gave it a chance. There is something great about a slower paced life and not worrying 24/7 about things that really don’t matter that much…like so many of us in America do.

    Even in Manila, which I am sure many would not find slow and simple, is better for me (much better) than the go go go life I see almost everyone in America living.

    My life in Manila is different than in the deep provinces, but I still find myself MUCH more relaxed and at ease and happy in Manila than anywhere I have ever been.

    I think being around people that appreciate the simple things in life and smile so much, even though many don’t have much money or material possessions, is what makes the Philippines to me such a great place. But the biggest reason I love the Philippines…is the people.

    1. Well,Todd, a lot of expats that follow this site are very happy living in Manila. Some of these brave souls, like Scott H, even drive in the Metro area. I have to agree, however, that for the most part, living anywhere in the Philippines has got living in the States beat by a mile.

      It is indeed, the simple life. We’re not competing with the “Joneses.” Many people here are content just to have a daily meal to eat. I love the slower-paced lifestyle. I’m happy that I choose the Philippines as my retirement destination and wouldn’t have it any other way.

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