Here’s a recent quote for a friend of mine with a LOT more time in the Philippines than I have. Some words of wisdom here, for those who choose to read.
- I have a total of over 29 years living and doing business in the Philippines.
- The only time I have been ripped off was once by a ‘pick pocket’ in Cebu; and once ‘short changed’ buying Pesos in Manila.
- My worst experience (that ended up costing me thousands) was based of fraudulent information provided to me by an American at the RAO, Angeles City.
- Do your homework before you invest and don’t buy the first place that you like.
- There will always be something better down the road
In my case my direct knowledge about getting cheated in the Philippines goes back to almost 10 years ago, long before I moved here.
An American friend of mine in Cebu asked my advice about a business deal he was making. He was buying a used motorcycle from another American who lived several hundred miles away, up here on the island of Luzon.
He said he was paying about $1200 USD for the motorcycle plus the non-trivial cost of having it shipped all the way to Cebu.
It seemed to me that you could buy motorcycles like that brand new, list price from a local name-brand dealer, but my friend insisted that buying from another American was well worth paying a small premium because he knew he wouldn’t get “cheated”. “They” are always out to cheat the foreigner, don’t you know?
Well can you guess the outcome? The motorcycle arrived after two weeks on a ship and the engine was screwed up so bad that the connecting rod was sticking through the side of the crankcase. The motorcycle had also obviously been heavily used and abused for years and the year was at least 6 years older than what had been claimed by the “trustworthy” American.
Said “Mr. Trustworthy” now no longer answered his phone or emails. Wonder why.
My Cebu friend hauled the beat up machine to a real motorcycle dealer. The dealer said, “Oh sir, I could fix that but it would cost way more than what it would be worth. I have a new one of that size right here in stock for (the pesos equivalent) of $1100 USD and it includes all taxes, three years of license plates and insurance as a factory promo.
To me it’s pretty true that sometimes “They” are out to get you, but sometimes many foreigners get confused about who “They” actually are.
While sitting and drinking coffee, waiting for my driver to pick me up, I recalled the last time I was in that restaurant. ( was sitting just about where the fellow in the picture was sitting)
My wife and I had been having lunch there when a “fellow American” somehow introduced himself into our conversation and began a huge tale of woe about how he had been cheated by a crooked Filipino lawyer and also by a crooked Filipino Immigration officer and now he was stuck without even enough money to get a cab to the airport.
This guy was so “legitimate” looking he could have talked the handle off a pot. He told me he was a retired colonel from the USAF. He had the ‘look’ if you know what I mean.
Turns out he had been at one of the bases in Thailand where I served at the same time I was … small world, eh?
And he also was good friends with one of my heroes of the time, Colonel Jack Broughton, who was deputy wing commander during part of my stay there and wrote an excellent book about the Vietnam air war, “Thud Ridge”.
This fellow knew more about me than my brother did. Lo and behold he even knew a couple retired eastern Airline captains I knew back when I worked at an airport in New Jersey, and he knew the owner there and Lord have mercy what didn’t this fellow know?
Are you starting to smell a foul, rat-like odor yet? Funniest thing is, I was starting to smell a rat myself, yet the old war stories and other BS’ing were just so enthralling that I found myself with my hand on my wallet.
I snuck a quick look at my wife, thinking she would probably be appalled at the idea of giving this guy mone6y, only to find she already had her wallet out of her purse.
I took mine out of my pocket and in a few minutes “Mr. Long Lost Friend” had departed the scene, P2000 richer, after carefully exchanging addresses with us an promising faithfully to send the money to us as soon as he got back to the US. (needless to say the address he gave us and the phone number he provided were phony … big surprise, eh?)
Not long after he left I said to my wife, “Honey, do you think we were just “taken”?
She replied, “You know it is likely we were, that guys was a masterful bullshit artist, but we Filipinos are suckers for a good story, and what if he really was out of money and down on his luck”?
“I’m an American now too and it would be horrible to eat here and leave with full tummies while he has to pound the sidewalks begging. Besides”, she laughed (Filipino humor here), “I enjoyed the show, he’s one of the few Americans I have met who can out talk you.”
Love you asawa ko 😉
And I guess one more example that comes readily to mind is the time I lost my wallet with several hundred US dollars and 25,000 pesos, straight from the bank.
My (Filipino) (yeah, one of “them) benefactor found the wallet, emailed me the next morning and had it in my hand, completely intact by noon. Each of you reading this can ask yourself and silently answer for yourselves what would you do if you found a wallet with $800 or so cash in it, lying in the parking lot of an expressway rest area in the middle of the night?
Would you have taken the time to track down the owner by trying various email addresses and then taken time out from earning money for your family to see to it that the careless Kano got it back?
Maybe some of you would, and perhaps some of you wouldn’t … no skin of my nose either way, but next time you start ranting to one of your American buddies about how ‘They” are out to get you, you might want to think about the fact my friends Josh and Jun are some of “Them’ as well.
A few days back a fellow American asked me for advice in finding a place to live in the Philippines that was a closed compound, with gates and guards for “Foreigners Only”. My reader was surprised that he hadn’t been able to find such a place .. which he sort of deemed necessary in order to live safely and comfortably here in the Philippines.
I know of no such facility myself. And you know what? I wouldn’t be interested in living in such a place if I knew of one.
If I wanted to live in a community of grouchy retired old farts who spent their days ranting about politics and Social Security, I’d move to Florida … the roads are better there and they have CostCo.
Don’t plan your move to the Philippines as an exercise of “US’ versus “Them”. You’ll miss most of the benefits of living here. “Trust Me”