The subtitle to this article should be "Your Attitude Determines Your Altitude", or, perhaps, “Mindset Is Everything When Living in the Philippines”.
Here’s another great comment from a long-time reader, my colleague Bob. (No not that Bob, this fellow is from from Iloilo City If you want to know real facts about living in the Philippines, you should be a regular reader of Bob’s blog.
Bob and his lovely wife Carol have been living here in the Philippines about as long as my wife and I have. About 90% of the foreigners I know coming to the Philippines have the “I want to build a house” dream. Well Bob and Carol made their dream come true, and unlike most of us, Bob really built their house … hands on and properly engineered. You can find a whole text book’s worth of info in Bob’s articles. Recommended.
But Bob’s comment wasn’t about house building, it was in reference to my last two articles on the “onward travel” air ticket issues … as well as dealing with commercial or government agencies here in the Philippines.
Excellent articles on this ongoing problem. The "my results have been consistently inconsistent" is one of the perpetual principles for living in the Philippines. It happens all the time, not only with immigration but just about every government agency. When I pick up a package at the local post office I never know what, if any customs duty will be applied. It seems to depend on the weather which side of the bed the post office employee gets out of.
I have people ask me about what proof of pension is required to get the SRRV Philippine retirement "visa". The answer is just the same. You really don’t know until you go through the application process. So often in the Philippines, there are no firm rules and regulations applied. Every official makes things up to deal with the particular individual and situation. Maybe there are laws and regulations but nobody knows what they are. Sociologists differentiate between "relation-based governance" ("tribal?") and "rule-based" governance. The Philippines is definitely in the former. Many foreigners find this to be very frustrating, but I find that often a smile and a cooperative attitude will be a big help in bringing about a favorable outcome. Of course, the lack firm rules open the door to "tips" and corruption, but I generally find that Filipinos are a pleasure to deal with. I’d rather deal with them than the Department of Homeland Security any day! (my emphasis. I’d throw in dealing with the USCIS as well. Yuk)
Thank you Bob. Yes indeed I did coin a good phrase there. I should put it in bold and general terms:
Living here in the Philippines will, for sure, be consistently inconsistent.
With all the thousands of words I’ve written, and the thousands more for other pundits, scriveners and curmudgeons, there are thirteen words that pretty well sum up all the rest of the advice in one simple sentence.
Not long ago I was working via email with a fellow from the USA who was moving here to the Philippines. he kept asking me technical, detail type questions about the rules that governed this visa or that visa, how you filled up this form or that form, and in general expressing his frustration about not being able to ‘pin down the facts” and “Get Things Right, Once and for All”.
Well the sad (and often happy( truth is, “Getting It Right Once and for All’ is just not going to happen here.
I know, I know, I can hear the thoughts in some minds reading this now.
Ha, all very well for Starr to say that, he’s old, uneducated, can’t spell beens and has the grammar of a hop toad. And he’s bald and fat too.". When _I_ move to the Philippines, I’m not going to be careless and slipshod and “pwede na” (Get it done any old way) like he is. _I’m_ going to get it RIGHT.”
Well, my friends, I wish you the joy of it. I’ve been here almost 6 full years now and believe it or not, there are a great many things _I_ have tried to get right.
And there are many things I have gotten right.
But overall, thinking you are going to do everything the ‘right’ and “proper” way is a real pipe dream It’s not going to happen. You have two choices:
- Learn to be happy with the way things do get done, smile a lot, spend loving time with your wife and family and enjoy a low-stress, easy, semi-carefree life.
- Or drive your self insane, risk stroke and hypertension because you are consistently worried and pissed off at everything and everyone who don’t “Do It Right” .. and perhaps run home in discuss before a year is out, disgusted with the way your dream of moving here turned to a nightmare.
The choice is yours. If you are the type of person who can, for example, get instantly angry all over again about the driver who cut in front of you last Wednesday. If you believe you’ll never learn what making “sip sip” means and use it to get something done, if you are used to calling 911 when your neighbors are having a window-rattling karaoke party at 2am, then do yourself (and those of us who do live here) a big favor … stay there is the police state the US has become and monitor everything to see it gets done properly.
Because if you chose to move here to the Philippines, I guarantee one thing.
Your results will be consistently inconsistent.