10 Reasons NOT to move to the Philippines,
And Why I Live Here Anyway.
I often get an idea for articles here based on Google searches. A number of times when I have used Google to search for something (generally favorable or positive) about the Philippines, I often get this video below (here’s a direct link if the video doesn’t show in your browser
At first glance and from the title it seem very negative, but Travis has some very interesting points that he makes, many of which are exactly the same as I would advise myself. Worth a watch:
What Travis Says:
Let’s Look at a Few Reasons Point by Point:
1. Cost of Living: This is one of the things I hear so often I almost hate to open my computer (oops, I mean “turn on” my computer) and open my inbox many mornings. There is more misinformation and outright lies floating around out there on this one subject than probably any other Philippine related subject. The true answer is, there really is no answer for YOU unless YOU actually come here and live.
Just down the street from me one of my neighbors has just completed and started renting out a little four unit townhouse project. The units, will rent for P12,000 a month (about $256 USD at today’s rate). I could pick any 4 of you reading this article, fly you over here, move you into one of the units and get you all hooked up with utilities, places to shop, local people to know, etc. Your houses would be identical, your location would be within a meter of each other and as many things as you could think of would be identical.
Want to guess at what the true monthly cost of living for each of you would be in say, 3 or 4 months? From more than 10 years working with expats on these very issues I can tell you, for a certainty that some of you would be spending easily 3 to 4 times as much as your neighbors living only 6 inches away on the other side of a hollow block wall.
The cost of living here depends much more upon your personal preferences, your needs (type of food you buy, drugs, other medical costs, clothes you wear, places you visit and a myriad of other things. Making the decision to move here or not move here based on “cost of living” is an exercise in poor judgment.
It Will Cost You What It Costs You. Only You Control Your Spending
2. City versus Province: This is another “old saw” that gets talked to death day after day. It is so much cheaper to live in the provinces than it is to live in the city … except when it’s not. All you need is one round of disputes with the Bureau of Immigration (often necessitating overnight trips to Manila), or one episode of high blood pressure, necessitating lab tests, appointments with specialists and/or drugs not readily available in your local nipa-roofed drug store, and the “cheapness” of living out in the sticks will disappear overnight.
It’s cheaper in the province, always. Except when it is not.
3. Being Happy: This is probably one of the most significant things Travis talks about. And it’s certainly a key message of mine.
If you are a generally unhappy person. If you wake up every day going down a list of everything that makes you unhappy, if you determine to watch the news and read items on the Iinternet until you are offended and insulted and upset, then DON’T even think about moving to the Philippines.
Moving here will NOT make you happy if you are basically an unhappy person where you live now. Won’t work.
You know one thing you’ll notice when you visit the Philippines and get to know even a few people is how people here are so genuinely happy.
They may be living in extreme poverty, they may be literally starving to death, hoping to pay an insane fee to a crooked agent so they take a job overseas and clean toilets in Saudi Arabia, they may have birth defects which will never be treated but they wake up every morning determined to be happy with whatever sort of day God has given them.
Many Americans I have met are completely unnerved and “at sea” by this attitude. “How can they possibly be happy”? they ask. Their living conditions are miserable, thus THEY must be miserable. it’s only common sense.
Truth is, it’s not “common sense”.
(actually so-called “common sense” is not nearly as prevalent as many people seem to think it is.)
Filipinos are taught from day one to take what they are given and be happy with what they have an where they are. They aren’t “entitled” to happiness, they only have the right to pursue it.
Many Americans, especially those born into poverty, who grew up in slum conditions, who have worked at only menial jobs, or even been unemployed … well those folks are desperately unhappy, from morning until night. It’s a sort of built in difference between our two societies.
If You Spend a Lot of Time Thinking About What You Are “Entitled” To, the Philippines is NOT the Place For You.
So the bottom line, I feel the most important thing I could possibly bring out to warn my fellow foreigners about is just this … if you can’t be happy in your own skin, right there where you are living today, save yourself a lot of money, time and effort and don’t move to the Philippines. You’ll never be happy here either.
If You Take Nothing Else From This Article, Remember This: Where Ever You Go, There You Are. Even if you Move to the Philippines.