10 dumb mistakes foreigners make when moving to the Philippines

I have been writing on Live in the Philippines for two and a half years now, living here nearly three years. Before moving here, I lived in the Middle East, and traveled extensively in the developing world. In that time, I’ve seen several patterns in the questions that people ask. There is nothing wrong with asking questions. In fact, I’m a big believer in that old cliche, “There is no such thing as a stupid question”.

An international move is a big undertaking, no doubt about it. Moving to the Philippines is probably one of the most significant events in most people’s lives, ranking right up there with marriage and death. The decisions one needs to make are not easily answered and are complicated by the fact that for each question, you will receive fifty different answers from other expats, websites, books, and family. Everyone has their own standards of living, and what standard is acceptable to them.

Ugly Americans

Ugly Americans

However, after living here for a while, writing on this site for a while, answering questions sent to me, and traveling all over Asia, I have come up with the following list of mistakes that I see people making. I am not so rude as to tell someone that they are wrong, nor am I some “all knowing” being floating above the Astral Plane. However, I notice the patterns and people’s concerns, I have made many mistakes myself, and I can make the following generalizations. I know everyone is different. I know many of you may have breezed through these issues, or they were of no concern. But these issues come up again, over and over. So, in no particular order:

1. Thinking that you will find a job here. You need to survive in the Philippines, but, more than likely, it will not be by working for someone else.  Yes, some expats manage it, myself included. But the vast majority of people who move here will not find employment standards much to their liking. This is stressed by myself and the other writers on this site over and over, yet I still receive many job inquiries.

2. Thinking that you can buy land or work around the land laws: The obsession expats have with buying land is truly perplexing to me. Given the legal climate and prohibitions on foreign ownership, I simply cannot fathom why people would even consider doing so without, at the very least, living here for a year or two first. Yet there are dozens of sites on the net giving “ways” to own land, will land, form corporations to control land, and so on. There are almost always vehement, passionate disagreements about it, most of which I either ignore or say, “You can’t say that you weren’t warned”. This is perhaps the biggest and most financially damaging mistake that expats can make.

WowPhilippines Gift Delivery in the Philippines
Big Mistake!

Big Mistake!

3. Jumping in and falling in love too soon. Can you REALLY know someone by chatting on the Internet? Yes, I know there are many successful Internet relationships. Yes, I know love is blind. I also know many, many horror stories here from guys that come, fall in love, and get burned. EVERYONE in love says, “Yeah, but that won’t happen to me!” Right. Go on thinking that. Again, there are dozens of web sites filled with stories of people getting scammed. Most of the guys who got burned thought the same thing. It can, and does, happen frequently.

4. Thinking about the same old business ideas. How many people have invested in sari sari stores? In jeepneys? Thinking they know the market better than the Filipinos themselves? Thousands. How many have earned a living? Very, very few. How many people even bother to learn the rules of business here?

5. Thinking things will be “different”, but “no big deal”. Not so fast. While here on vacation, the cultural differences are very subtle. Things tend to take on more importance when you live them every day.

6. Underestimating the cost of living. There are so many books on the net about living like a king on only $500 per month that it is easy to get the perception that the Philippines is cheap. That belief is easily compounded on vacation or visits where things like hotels are cheaper than in the States. Stories of cheap rent abound. However, many things are more expensive here, and attempting to live a western lifestyle can get expensive very quickly. Overall, the cost of living is generally cheaper, but the Philippines is not the cheap bargain that some make it out to be.

7. Realistic expectations. This is perhaps the toughest to nail down. For instance, there was a question in the forum about international schools near “paradise” beaches. Needless to say, there aren’t many. Now, is this a deal killer? Perhaps. Should the person asking the question look into it? Certainly. However, the fact of the matter is that most of the international schools are in Manila, not near beaches. The question itself indicates a fundamental lack of the realization that the Philippines is a developing nation, with 40% of the population living below the Asian poverty line of $2 per day. Yes, schools are here, but the demand and ability of most people to pay the tuition is not here. The Philippines is not Switzerland, Holland, Singapore, Hong Kong or a developed nation with large, wealthy expat or diplomatic community with small children.

8. Over-thinking the visa. Yes, visas are important and necessary. However, the visa process in the Philippines has perhaps more options and flexibility than most other countries. Again, it is so easy to live here on a tourist visa and convert, there really is no reason why anyone (from most countries) should stress over it.

9. Worrying about exchange rates. You can’t control them. If you are not able to absorb currency fluctuations, then you cannot afford to live here. Exchange rates are also cyclical. They can just as easily become beneficial.

10. Not learning about the culture. Everyone here has encountered the “Ugly American”. Everyone here has encountered cultural ignorance. Read and learn as much about the culture and language as possible. Get out and about. Don’t believe that you are a wealthy target everywhere you walk. Leave the walled, guarded compound once in a while.

Post Author: JohnM (207 Posts)

John Miele is a Citizen of the World, having spent time in many locations around the globe. Currently, he finds himself in Manila, but travels throughout the Philippines. John joined the Live in the Philippines Web Magazine in mid-2008.


Comments

  1. Tom Ramberg says

    Hi John,

    As usual your observations are spot on. A mistake that I see being made is that foriegners think that they can move here and insulate themselves from the culture and people by living in gated communities and only having expat friends. I think that maybe this scenario is the breeding ground for the ugly American.

    I went out of my way to form friendships with local people and am very happy with the results. I became a member of a motorcycle club where we go to places of interest together and also meet other groups. I encourage others to embrace the people in your adopted country instead of hiding from them.

    • says

      Tom: Thank you. I agree that the gated communities insulate people from integration. In my opinion, it makes the move more difficult, rather than easier, despite being more like “home”, because you don’t develop any relationships on the local level.

      • Bill says

        I’m not sure how it’s possible to integrate here. We’re friends with sari sari owners, street vendors, and the barangay patrol. We live in a Filipino subdibision. It’s not western by any standards. Many people appreciate that I can talk to them in their own language(as FIlipino is a worthless global language that no one learns). I get filipino prices wherever I go. Ha, ha. In fact, I often get cheaper prices than my wife! And other Pinoys. I especially get good deals when I buy in bulk. The rule here is buy big and save. I can get 5 kilos of mid-range dalandan for 50 pesos. Normally about 10 pesos for 1/2 kilo!

        But making real friends here? Or going out? There’s a reason why Filipinos never go out. It’s not because they had too much Tanduay and sleeping in the hammock makes you lazy(well, it might…). It’s the thieves. I’m sorry, but it seems like 99% of the people here are thieves, robbers, rude, and scammers. We can count on one hand the amount of nice people we’ve met in the last 3 or so years.

        Everywhere we go, EVERYONE IS ALWAYS STARING AT US, pointing, smiling, talking, taking pictures and video, and shouting things at us. In my culture, this is rude. If they pick up one thing about us, they should learn this one rule. How many times a day do I have to tell people “No, I’m quite happy with my wife and kids, I do not want to marry you(or your niece/sister/daughter, etc.), please show some respect to my family.”

        Or the constant “Taxi sir! 800 pesos only!” Or the p1,000 walang recibo fees at any office. Not to mention in 3 years I’ve had to beat the skinny arse of what? Over a dozen people now that have tried to mug me.

        When considering going out for a ‘lovely jaunt’, instead you are charged 15 times the normal price, almost hit by cars, covered in sewage and pollution, attacked by wild, rabid dogs, and have to engage in combat with the locals, which could possible end in YOU getting in trouble.

        You can see the…semi-honest people. When they try to scam you, and you speak Filipino to them, asking a real price. Then they act shocked, embarrassed, and get that ‘Oh, crap, he’s not a tourist???’ look on their face.

        But suggesting to go out and integrate? Not even Filipinos do that. For a reason. Don’t go out. It isn’t worth it. I’m sad to say I’ve become a bit of an agoraphobe here. But it’s necessary.

        • Ricardo Sumilang says

          So far, Bill, throughout your successive postings on various topics in the past several hours, I have been impressed by your passable knowledge of several Filipino languages and your familiarity with the culture. Many of your observations about life there and your interactions with Filipinos appear credible, until this:

          “But making real friends here? Or going out? There’s a reason why Filipinos never go out. It’s not because they had too much Tanduay and sleeping in the hammock makes you lazy(well, it might…). It’s the thieves. I’m sorry, but it seems like 99% of the people here are thieves, robbers, rude, and scammers. We can count on one hand the amount of nice people we’ve met in the last 3 or so years”.

          This observation is totally out of context from everything that you have said so far. Maybe you had too much Tanduay rhum at the sari sari store?

          • Ricahrd says

            Well, I sort of know where Bill is coming from. I think they see an American and think, “$$$”. They will try to pick you for what they can get. HOWEVER, do Like I did: go without cash, get your plastic shut down by your bank; have your Girl Friend defend you to her family, the whole neighborhood knows your business. NOW walk down the street. “Thirsty sir?” “Sorry, no money.” “No Problem, you take.” These people can be as nice as they are cunning. I think a lot of it has to do with how you treat them too.

            • James says

              When I went on my first trip to Singapore 18 month ago I stopped in to Manila on my way back to Seattle for 14 days. I met several fellow Americans , my age 42 and older than me. Most told me what to watch out for (scams) I felt safe but I was told by ALL after you come to the Philippines your 3rd 4th etc visit you will stop having fun and feel LIKE a CREDIT CARD. I thought they were all wrong. I was having a great time ,the local have to make money too. Well my Second visit last winter I stayed in General Santos for 10 days what a hole never again and than Makati for 3.5 months. I grew up in the country I am not rich, I am a Blue collar business man but Gen san never again. I felt like a credit card the full 3.5 months except when my girl friend ( Corp business Women) did the dealing.We want to build a home in Mati City. We will see.

        • says

          Bill: Having travelled throughout a good portion of the world, I have come to realize that most people in the world are honest, and just want to live their lives, regardless of culture or nationality.

          I have made plenty of Filipino friends here, and most are just like that.

          Yes, beggars, pollution, petty theft are here, but there are millions here who are honest and hard working, just like anywhere else.

          • Bill says

            I honestly try not to be bitter. I’ve lived around the world myself. I’ve found this place to be…. well, exceptional. In bad ways. My family is Filipino. And I try not to hate the people here. I actually fight racist thoughts daily. I don’t want to be that way. But to be honest, I’ve never had a good day out in 3 years since being here. Just can’t go anywhere. I mean, there are days where I don’t have any issues with money. Beggars are not bad. A little “Paumanhin bata. Hindi ngayon. Walang pera.” Seems to be enough to scare em away. Heck, sometimes I even give them buy 1 take 1′s or carry jellies with me. I’m not a mean guy. But how can one go out, and be comfortable being followed around like Jesus, and shouted at by girls like a rock star?

            I mean, we have few Pinay back home. And guys generally thing them hot. But it’s not like “Hey sexy Filipina!!! You need asawa!!! Mahal na mahal kita! Napakaganda mo!!! *snaps picture**stares smiling*” The thing is, it’s not culture. Other people act normal. Even the magsasaka. They almost NEVER see kano. But when I see them, they ae very respectful and nice to me. I don’t know if I’m explaining myself right. Just don’t think I am racist! ;) I study the language here for a reason. To try to integrate the best I can.

            • Ricahrd says

              LOL… Bill… I know EXACTLY what your problem is, but you’re not going to like it. LOL… You’re too ostentascious. No seriously, think about it. You’re very generous. In the States or other fairly affluent places (ie Bohol, fils) that goes a long ways in most places. But poverty striken areas like Harlem NY USA or Barangay fils everyone will want to be your “friend”. Of course that frienship will result in your giving. Stop giving, and start living “poor”. This means you give of your time and labor, but not product. When you buy in bulk, do NOT let them see it (Oh I know, everyone there knows your business, especially by now–but don’t be so obvious with it). But really, that’s the whole issue. Families in fils take care of their own. That is to say whomever has money supports generations of Uncles, Aunts, Cousins, Brothers, Sisters, etc. Dude, you’re the supporter… don’t flaunt that to the whole neighborhood!

              • Mark says

                Obviously Richard has not been to Harlem recently. Some of the most expensive real estate in New York. Harlem is booming. I am guessing you pointed Harlem out as it was once a Black ghetto.

                If you really want to point out a poverty stricken area in America, point out a place like Cleveland, Lexington KY, Elmira NY, Lynn MA, Springfield MA,
                Antioch CA. All mostly white populations by the way. And in case you were curious, i am not black. The largest poverty levels in America are among the poor whites. A huge population.

            • Phil says

              There are bad and good people everywhere. There are good Americans and bad Americans as well good and bad Filipinos. Please don’t generalize Filipinos as bad because you have a bad experience.

        • Doc Riley says

          Bill, I lived there for 5 years between 2001 and 2006 and can’t wait to get back. I don’t know where you live but it sounds like a different country from the one I lived in. Neither myself nor any of my friends have been mugged or approached in any way more threatening than a street beggar. How you managed to get into over a dozen fights in 3 years is beyond me. I have pinoy friends who watch my back as well as anyone. I’ve trusted them and not been let down. I’m 6 ft 4 and my wife is 5 ft 4 and though we get stared at, I never took it as much more than idol curiosity. To be honest, if I see a woman who’s 6’4, I stare because it’s unusual.

          I’m a country boy so living in a place like Manila is beyond my thinking. And I never liked it there on visits until I read ” Hey, Joe” . It paints a great picture of the place and dissects this huge city into small events with a human face. It gave me a sense of humor about the place and I always enjoy it now. Now when the 10th beggar on the street approaches me, I just hold my hands out to the side and say, “Walang pera, mi asawa ng Pilipina.” that always stops them, they get a big grin and start laughing as they walk away.

          Like everyone, I had my ‘intolerance days’ but at the end of a good piss and moan a friend would always ask, ‘So when are you leaving?’ that cured it every time. Maybe you need to change the way you’re seeing things. Funny stuff is always happening, why not look for it and be ready to laugh?

        • Ricahrd says

          Bill,

          I went there with no cash, and even though I told my bank about my trip, they saw “suspicous activity” and shut my plastic off in 3 days. My Girl Friend had to defend me to her family. Since her Father is a Pastor and we were not married, there were conditions to my staying with them. I got the only room with the AC. He, his brother, his son, and Her best Friend’s Husband stayed with me in this small room. I got the bed. I had to work every day. I went to where her Mom worked, and painted, repaired, cleaned, etc. I put in 10 hour days with her Dad there most of the time. Working side by side, I developed a repoir (spelling?) with them, and got to know them far better than I probably would have. Walking home late one day, I noticed an older lady carrying quite a load. I broke away without notice (something i wasn’t supposed to do), and offered my help. When her Father realized what I was doing, and realized it was from the genuine goodness of my heart–I think he broke down. I started getting treated totally differently by him that night. The next morning, everyone looked at me differently and treated me differently. Maybe I didn’t totally integrate, but I’m off to a good start. They can be nice people. DON’T CROSS THEM, though! I made an innocent joke about something and spent 3 days appologizing to my Girl as she totally ignored me… I thought I was sunk. Her Father thought the joke was hillarious, so I was safe from being homeless–but I lost 3 precious days with her.

          • James says

            I married my Girl friend I met in Makait on 2/16/12. We knew each other for 3 months we have a year now and things are great. 10 years age differences but I agree with Bill you piss her off and she will ignore me for 2 days and it can be over a little thing or even a misunderstanding and she does not say a word. But I have learned that the 2 days of quiet is ok I like peace and quiet. LOL

        • Phil says

          @ BIll: Everywhere we go, EVERYONE IS ALWAYS STARING AT US, pointing, smiling, talking, taking pictures and video, and shouting things at us. In my culture, this is rude. If they pick up one thing about us, they should learn this one rule.

          You are living in the Philippines, it’s a foreign culture to you. Don’t let the culture adjust to you; you adjust to the culture.

          And, don’t feel rude when “EVERYONE IS ALWAYS STARING AT US, pointing, smiling, talking, taking pictures and video, and shouting things at us”.because its rude in your culture. In Filipino culture, doing so means they think highly of you.

      • terry says

        I’m glad I got to see the site here n I followed comments here thru. Cos it’s overwhelming pleasant to hear views of peeps from other countries. I am half filipino, n I jst came here n it has been hard n this has nothing to do with survival or finances, I got to filippines nov 29,2012 n I have had it difficult in terms of dealing with people. I didn’t see anyone mention it here, I jst wud be glad to know ur views on the filipino people and empathy. Now I am not talking of the routine smiling faces they always give, I’m talking of real human feelings as well as going out of your way on behalf of a friend. Now, u may get that from wives, it’s a possibility cos they r wives. My mama is a filipino who lived abroad who lived abroad for long, I don’t if that’s what changed her, but it breeded my expectations for the filipino people before coming here, then I came here n was met with a shatter of my expections. I want to stop here until I get a comment cos otherwise, I can already write a book about the filippines. I am like 5 months old here in the filippines

      • nelia says

        Hello john,i have a few concerns and i think could be related to you and hope i can information from you.
        I am Filipino,have a British boyfriend who is now base in Bali Indonesia and we are planning to live together here in manila.We want to have baby first before thinking of getting married,I have a small business as sole proprietorship and so we are wondering if am i capable to sponsor him a working visa to make him stay longer and at the same time i can consult him further learning,my nature of business is a web-app developer.
        Ive been there in DTI offices gather info regarding this just disgusting they cannot provide such info i need.
        What visa you secure when you first got here in phils?I hope you can enlightened and so i can fulfill our plan before he come this December 2013.
        Im hoping anyone here Foreigners who had stay longer in Philippines and not married can share me info,what visa you get..

        • says

          Im an American whom is engaged to a lady living in Manila…..I have been to the PH one time so far…but I intend to be married by spring in a civil ceremony…. My fiancée will apply for a spouseal visa to enter the US affer we are married….it may take up to a year for that to be approved….in the mean time I will stay with her in the PH during that time frame….I Can stay in the PH on my US passport for up to 59 days….but then I have to leave the country for one day…ie go to HongKong for lunch and have the passport stamped and return to the PH for another 59 days…etc etc etc.

          • dwolfy says

            Actually I don’t think you have to leave to renew your visa… as long as you have money they will keep extending it indefinitely.

              • Richard E. says

                Hi bob! How are things in the Philippines? I too have a nice woman waiting for me in the Philippines, and we want to get married! I already know how to do that, my question to you is, “what kind of a visa will i need to get in order to stay in the Philippines”? And will I be able to eventually become a pilipino citizen, and if so what kind of a time frame am i looking at for that to happen!

              • says

                Most likely, based on the limited amount of information that you gave me, just enter the country on a tourist visa waiver, then after you marry apply for a 13a resident visa.

                You can become a citizen after 5 to 10 years depending on your marital status.

              • Richard E. says

                Thank you for that information Bob! Can i get the tourist visa when i get to the philippines? Or, do i need to have it before i leave the usa?

                My understanding is i can stay for 21 days, but like i said earlier, i want to stay permanently!

                So that is where a 13a visa is needed! Is there another way to stay there permanently once i am married?

              • Richard E. says

                Thank you for that information Bob! Can i get the tourist visa when i get to the philippines? Or, do i need to have it before i leave the usa?

                My understanding is i can stay for 21 days, but like i said earlier, i want to stay permanently!

                So that is where a 13a visa is needed! Is there another way to stay there permanently once i am married?

              • Richard E. says

                Thank you for that information Bob! Can i get the tourist visa when i get to the philippines? Or, do i need to have it before i leave the usa?

                My understanding is i can stay for 21 days, but like i said earlier, i want to stay permanently!

                So that is where a 13a visa is needed! Is there another way to stay there permanently once i am married?

    • Tom Martin says

      I spent two miserable years in a gated community. I was ready to pack up and go home and I got the courage to try a normal filipino subdivision off Bacaca Road. Everyone told me I was a fool. I would be robbed, killed, beggars would drive me craze, roosters and dogs would prevent sleep, etc. The happiest day for me in the Philippines was getting out from behind the walls of that gated community and stop living with other expats and filipinos who thought they had made it in life (they had arrived) and were taking advantage of other filipinos and expats. It was not until I moved that I began to experience the real filipino life. My purpose of moving here in the first place. Yes, there are the noises of dogs, rooster and kids and I LOVE IT. As least it is not so quite that you think everyone has left planet earth except you. There are sounds of life and in turn those sounds of life may you feel alive.

        • Abraham Digan says

          It’s not really that bad. The noises, I mean. I’m from Manila but now I live in Nevada. I miss home, at the same time I love the States.they start at 5 in the morning when the jeepneys begin their usual route for students. and loud noises last from 6 to 8 in the morning rush. then It gets steady, until 4 to 9 at evening rush. then exactly at ten it gets quiet. so you can get exactly 7 hours of good sleep. I have live in taguig city. When moved to the states, I visit my family every winter, and the only thing that’s missing for it to be perfect are the comforts of western living. So I had out house renovated and many of the changes I desired were met. except for the water heater and dishwasher which I hope to have installed very soon.
          this I the first time I came across this page. And I love it.
          first because of the business Ideas, second, may I add, things in the P.I. are how you look at it. When I first came back home last 2011, our house was filled with almost fifty people waiting for me, I got so broke giving away almost everything I have, but I have learned, the following year 2012 I have been selective in who I help. Surely, there will always be beggars and muggers, but always keep calm, and fear not! because they can smell your fear. Even if you live here in the states, and you go to a bad neighborhood or you move to a big city like Los Angeles or New York City or San Francisco, If you don’t integrate yourself and know the City itself, you will get mugged. I admit, It’s gonna be harder for black and white Americans because first, the color of your skin makes you distinct, and you have to learn to live with it, especially if your handsome. you will certainly the everyday quarterback and the girls will be your cheering squad! Everyday! lol. If you hate feeling like a rockstar, try moving to the city, with the tall buildings and all, I’m pretty sure you will still be recognized but you will get smile instead of people calling you names. With the beggars, It is a problem even in the city, but not so much where I live. usually you will meet them in front of the church or parks or train stations. I guess 5 pesos wouldn’t hurt. Here in the states I encounter several beggars and they ask for quarters! quarter is equivalent to 10 pesos. In some days I feel grumpy, and someone would beg for money I would just tell them to “find someone else” translates as “Humanap ka ng iba!” straight to the point. or just say “Wala” which means “Nothing (to give you)”
          and they will scatter.Do not expect the locals to abide by your culture because Filipinos are not culturally sensitive even on our own. But don’t get me wrong, when Filipinos set foot on another country’s soil, they immediately transform to conform with its norm and culture.as fast as we can learn.

          • says

            Hi all,,just came upon this site,,i have traveled africa,,england etc,,some asia,,,coming to my 5th year visiting phps,,1st trip,,ripped off,,2nd the same,,and every time i go ,,i lose a few hundred or more pesos,,they do it to survive,,for me personally,,i find php culture great,,the heat,,warmth,,cost of living,,but so many stories here and elsewhere moaning about crap,,,appears most want western ideals in developing countries?sorry,,why come then?lots of foreign men come here for the sex,,angeles city,, manila etc,,me?i go to the islands,,palawan mostly,,met some great php people,,keep in tch,,visit when i go there,,i will live there eventually,,but not in a condo,,just basic hut in a village,,with not very many western materials,,most expats i meet are wanting to watch afl,,rugby,,soccer,,,not want to integrate,,have expat clubs,,same as all countries,,,if you want home comforts???stay home////dont expect 90 million people to conform to your stupid western dreams///and moan when you cant get wifi shit,,,doooooooooh,,good luck,,,tip?be kind,,embrace with respect,,,slavery is gone,,,and again///dont like??stay home,,,/////cheers ,,kerry from tasmania,

  2. Roselyn says

    Hi John,

    A very well-written and well-thought of article. I wish that Expats would read your article with depth before taking the plunge to move to the Philippines. Most Expat men look at the prospect of young and beautiful women before anything else. As a Filipina-American in the U.S. , I’m rather weary of inquiries about Filipina women (even among my academic colleagues). I should be flattered, but I feel insulted. Thanks again for a most informative article.

    • says

      Roselyn: Thank you. You should feel insulted. You touched on something that hits a nerve with me… The idea of Filipinas as commodities rather than people. Unfortunately, that attitude is all too common… On more than one occasion I have been approached by someone asking. I tell them to go to the mall.

      • Randy W says

        John

        Totally agree with you and Rosalyn. I hear it all the time that there looking for a pretty filipina above all other things. When I first met my g/f I looked at if she was family oriented, honest, caring and didn’t ask for anything. My g/f meets all the above with alot of intangibles that I can’t mention and is pretty to boot. The most important things I’m worried about when I will live there are cost of living and health care. Good job with providing useful information for future expats. Hope your family has a nice New Year

      • says

        So true. Roselyn is right & I’m glad you hit that point as well. I too am exhausted by seeing Filipina commodification being implied casually everywhere.

        I hear creepy casual remarks by expats at areas like the gym. That wink/macho quip about Filipina conquests among us guys isn’t as witty as it seems.

      • Ricahrd says

        LoL, tell them what I tell them (people always ask me if she has a friend): There’s TONS of sweet beautiful young ladies over there; but I’m not going to guarantee that she wont be over 200 pounds in 10 years. They usually ask what I mean by that, and I tell them that a lot of older people get heavy. This is true in almost every culture; and if you marry anyone you better be marrying for what’s INSIDE rather than outside. If she’s beautiful on the outside but ugly on the inside she will only want your money; and there’s a lot of that going on. LoL, they usually walk away after that comment.

  3. Dan says

    Good post again John…I think some of the key words you said ..”Realistic expectations”, “culture” are probably the 2 most important things to understand…after reading every post on here on LIP that is what I come up with…Not that other things you and others have talked about here are not important, because they are…Before I started reading LIP I did not know if you married a Fillipina you were per say marrying her family in a way…way different than here in USA…and as far as expectations goes….I would say a person needs to put the word expectioan in ther pocket and not worry about that…and replace that with…each day would be a new learning experince and that you will make mistakes adjusting to something 180 deg. from what you have been used to, and in the process you will learn something that you did not know the day,week,month,and year before. As far as the money thing goes…I would say each person needs to be honest with their self about that and know what there financial condition is before they make a choice to move there and also if they have enough funds and to continue to have enough funds to be able to live there and not concern their selves with the idea that they can find a job there and etc. As far as love goes…….that is a crap shoot…You never know about love , and understand loving a Fillipina is different than loving a girl here in the USA……so if nothing else on all of this untill you are sure…( and how will you know for sure unless you go their and experince life for a while ) have a back up plan that if things go to the dogs, you can go back where you come from..other wise…keep a few eggs scattered here and there….you never know when you might need one of them….and sure there is much more and one last thing…make sure you read all the posts on LIP Mag. faithfully and understand that there is a wealth of good infor mation if one will just take the time to read and learn a little from what they read….any way…good post and Happy New Year to You and your family there a John…

    • says

      Thanks Dan. The cultural adjustments are really tough to pinpoint, and you really can’t learn them solely by reading. Some things are minor and no big deal, but there are many really difficult differences. That is why I mentioned the falling in love bit up above (I expected to hear gripes on that one)… It is a really easy trap to fall into here, and by not understanding the culture, you are exposing yourself to big problems. I really think that the conflicting advice is a big issue also… Everyone seems to have an opinion (myself included), but not all of the opinions you see on the Internet are good advice.

  4. John says

    I never knew I would be spending 75K a month at SnR or that Meralco easily hits 15K a month. Compared to Canada it is double.

    • says

      John: Exactly my point. When I first visited (on a trip for work), it was easy to think that costs would be lower: the 5 star hotel was half the price of Hong Kong. Restaurant meals were so much cheaper. Rent is how much here? You must be joking! However, the daily expenses add up, just as anywhere else. In my estimation, overall, I’m guessing that I spend around 30% less on day-to-day stuff than I did in the States. Savings on one thing are often eaten up by increased costs on other things. Mind you, a big part of that is due to Rebecca being a savvy shopper… If I was here on my own, I would be spending close to the same amount without her reining that in.

      • Bill says

        I do appreciate all the talk of how expensive things are here. Far too often people say how cheap it is here. I even read on a site the other day that it’s so cheap in the Philippines, anyone can go on a “shopping spree” at SM anytime they want. Ha, ha, ha! We only go to SM to grab a 1.5 of Coke when we’re out(magastos, pero mura if you do the math on those little glass bottles), and the free wifi.

  5. ian says

    John- I think it is outrageous how you always only refer to ‘ugly Americans ” !! We Ugly Canadians demand equal time !!! lol

    • says

      Ian: Ok… Ugly Canadians! Seriously, though, I’ve found that most Canadians tend to be much more culturally aware than Americans. Whether that is due to schooling, or not having the superpower mentality, I’m not sure. But you just don’t see the blow ups quite as often, in my opinion.

      • ian says

        John- I just didnt want my American brothers to think they were being singled out. lol
        Of course you can not generalize about things based on nationality, but you may be right in the ” more culturally aware” part. The US was very xenophobic for many years, and i think that maybe some of that still lingers. In fact it may be gaining strength.
        But more on topic I think that Canadians are just as likely to make the same mistakes as our American neighbours when they come here. Our cultures are very much alike and thus we are equally unprepared for life in the Philippines when first we arrive.

      • Ricahrd says

        Actually, having travelled a lot myself (Iraq, Kuwait, Dubia, UAE, Japan, Okinawa, Singapore, The Philippines, many places I can’t even remember right now) I find that MOST people think Americans are the MOST EVIL PEOPLE on earth, and that Canadians follow a close second. Most Canadians DETEST that statement, but it’s true. And to be honest with you, I think maybe there is some truth to that. We’re an arrogant lot, we are. (I have to catch myself all the time, and the older I get, the meaner I get…)

  6. JIm Hannah says

    Think a good general rule would be: “…if you’re broke in your own country, you’ll be broke in the Philippines too”. Why wouldn’t you be?

    Great points John. We recently moved internationally too…but with the clear picture in our heads that things would be much the same, except the sun would shine more. Sure enough, still have to eat, work, exercise, buy clothing, etc. Don’t pay big heating bills though, they are big AC bills instead. But the sun does shine more, and there’s no snow…tropical flooding instead!

    • says

      Jim: You are absolutely correct… Plus, when you leave your home, you are leaving behind many of the social services and support network to which you may have become accustomed to or relying on.

  7. says

    Hi John – That “cheap” cost of living rumor is mostly self-induced. One has to be cheap in order to survive on insufficient, limited income.

    The cost also seems cyclical in a way. Up north, the weather seems to dictate produce prices. A bad storm at sea will also hamper fuel supplies, and with everyone topping off their tanks prior to a “big one,” things can get sparse and costly.

    Still, I can’t think of a better place to be (personal opinion only – no recommendations valid without extended visiting).
    ;)

    • says

      Paul: I put that in there because I saw several sites online with people bitching and moaning about the exchange rates and the same old tired “I’m on a fixed income” arguments. Bottom line is still the same: If your income is that tentative, then you probably should not be moving. Eventually, exchange rates will move down, as they will also eventually rise. Exchange rates are based on supply and demand… They will always change unless the Philippines were to move to a dollar peg. Even then, the impact on inflation and so on is still variable on a “fixed income”.

      Look, you state that you are semi-retired, yet you still work in accountancy. Bottom line, you are taking charge of your own situation rather than simply complaining. Many of those people griping were not griping when the rates were 50 to 1.

  8. says

    Well, John, as an ugly American expat that has been in the Philippines for about 18 months, I would say that “underestimating the cost of living” is one mistake that I was particularly guilty of committing before I arrived on beautiful Guimaras island with my Filipina wife. I was one of those that thought you could live on $500 a month. Now that we have four less relatives to feed at our “Compound”, things are getting easier. But if anyone out there reading your informative article thinks you can live the same lifestyle you enjoyed back in the States, you should just stay put. Ain’t going to happen, brother. While we are living less inexpensively than we did back in Illinois, we’re not living a lavish lifestyle by any means. But we have food in our belly every day and are in good health, and I don’t have to make that daily commute to work on Interstate 55 any more.

    • says

      Dave: Thank you… It is an easy misconception to make. In our case, it had been several years since Rebecca had been back. Prices of many things had risen substantially, and even she was caught off guard.

    • Phil says

      About the $500 a month, I think this budget is true only for Filipinos. $500 a month is around 20,000 pesos for Filipinos. Many Filipino families earn less than 20,000 a month. But for expats, this won’t work for you, unless you eat what Filipino eats, live where Filipinos live and enjoy what Filipinos enjoy.

  9. Bob New York says

    Good article John and it offers what I feel are primary topics related to moving to or living in The Philippines for foriegners, that I have read many times. I never had planned on moving to the Philippines in the first place, only to learn enough about it to come and visit and while doing so have learned so much more from articles like yours and the many others that appear here on the ” LIP ” website.

    Many of the things I have read here on ” LIP ” and other sites I look into further during my visits and I can easily see that at least for me, I don’t think it would cost me anything less than what it cost me to live my comapritively cost effective lifestyle here in the USA.

    Some things may seem like they cost less, while other things cost about the same or even more. From my viewpoint I can agree that if you want to live to similar standards that you have here in the USA it is going to cost you the same or even more, and I have priced a lot of this stuff out during my visits just out of my own curiosity. If you want to live by Philippine standards then it could very well cost less. Speaking for myself, I don’t think I would enjoy living with much less than I have now. I am not in any way knocking what may be Philippine Standard of living but for many from a foriegn country attempting to live there without thouroughly doing some research beforehand, I can see where someone could easily become very disillusioned.

    Although many of the articles here on ” LIP ” are intended for those contemplating a move to The Philippines, or already living there, they have provided me with a wealth of knowledge that I can apply during my visits which have really enhanced the time I am there.

  10. AlexB says

    Hi John,

    Maybe the sign of the times? There will always be adventurers, now we have escape artists wanting to leave their home countries for some reason. Other than the weather, there’s a lot of pluses living there. The biggest mistake is trying to export the current lifestyle to another world, with only a hope that it works.

    Alex

  11. says

    There’s always a “rat race” to be found, and endless consumerism to the point of bankruptcy for those who want it – and the RP is no exception. Some of the biggest malls in the world are located in the RP, a testament to this fact.

  12. sugar says

    Hey John – From a soft drink article and now to this one.. you always cover a lot. Good post.

    For number 7. Uh, Seriously, school in paradise? But why? Well, if the one who asked is planning to live in Boracay, I think Brent International School there still exist. It’s mainly for the Richie rich expats kids. Anyway, a question… when you first came to live here, any dumb mistakes?

    • says

      Sugar: Thank you! I try to vary the topics a bit. The biggest mistake I made after moving here was always thinking in dollars, rather than pesos. It is really easy to spend too much if you always think, “It’s only a dollar” or similar. In part, this was due to an awful lot of international travel.

  13. Tom Martin says

    I was not going to mention it, but since others did – I tried the expat clubs and they were not for me. I heard just as many and maybe more men from First World Countries speaking English with a different accent than me bashing the Philippines, the women, the culture, the lack of order/rules and discipline as I did AMERICANS. I would often leave wondering why they chose to live here and why in the h(#)@ they married a woman from the Philippines if they were going to spend their time bashing them to one another. One such club would not even allow a Filippino to attend the business section of the meeting with them not even their wives. They made it clear they needed to be free to say what they wanted about the Philippines without fear a Filipino would hear (I often wondered it they thought the waite staff was deaf). I bet this opens up a pot of worms.

    • says

      Tom: I avoid them too… When I worked in the Bahamas, the club there was quite obnoxious.(The best pearl of wisdom I heard there was, “this would be a great country if it weren’t for all these damn Bahamians!”) I never considered joining one after that. Bob wrote extensively about this topic a while back.

      • says

        Tom: Furthermore, if I remember correctly, several of those who commented most vociferously on Bob’s article about the wonderful “benefits” of the clubs later left the country. That alone should speak volumes about their value, but Hey!, to each their own, you know?

  14. B. Michels says

    John;
    Your list of Mistakes and how you expanded on the was brilliant. However one of the key points I believe you forgot was Flexability. That is something all americans must have when they move to the Philippines. First off in you planning mode nothing will ever go as planned so be flexable. Two your finances are not Flexable to asorbe flucuations to 30:1 maybe you need to stay were you are. Three if you are not Flexable enough to change you eating habits and lifestyle to incorporate the Fhilipino culture you will be miserable. The lifestyle in the Phillipines is that Filipino not American and you cannot change a nation. And last but not least and probably the most important is marrage to a Filipina. Flexability is key. Filipinas are very loving and devoted women. But what some men don’t understand is they are not only devoted to their men,but are equally devoted to their family and their culture as well.
    Filipinas are not stupid play toys for men but highly complex and stong in beliefs. If their men cannot integrate their wives culture in with theirs the household will have problems.
    Iknow I’ve been married to my loving wife for 33 yrs.
    And as Paul K said above even if you lived in the Philippines before You still need to visit and visit some more to get up to speed on the changes make sure the feeling is true to form.

    • says

      Bruce: I would agree that flexibility is key… I sort of lump it in with cultural awareness to a certain extent. As to moving here without visiting, unless it were for a job transfer, I wouldn’t. However, that’s just me.

      • B. Michels says

        John;
        I agree with you that you need to visit a few time before moving. Talk about walking into the fire blindfolded. I lived there for 4 yrs in the 80′s and I’m going to visit just to shake off the cob webs and see first hand how things have changed. My asawa has been back a few times and wants to live there, but I need to see it for myself just to make sure it’s right for both of us. Because when we go we go together good or bad.

  15. David S. says

    Great article John. I think you did an excellent job capturing the key issues facing most expats.

    I can’t help but chuckle at the folks who claim Americans have little international awareness. Either they’ve spent very little time in America or been gone for a really long time. The makeup of America has changed dramatically in the last ten years. Failure to become multicultural is simply not an option. My neighbor across the street is from Australia. next door to them is a Vietnamese family. A couple from India lives a few houses down. Just past their house lives a scandinavian family. Need I go on? Some experts claim as high as twenty percent of the American population is made up of first and second generation immigrants from Central and South America. Yet there are posters on this forum who calim American have no cultural awareness? I’m sorry but this farce really has to end.

    The U.S. has some of the most liberal immigration policies in the world. Yes, it’s difficult for you to bring your girl friend to the U.S. but that doesn’t mena we don’t have hundreds of thousands of Filipino’s working here on H1B visas many of whom will never return home.

    • says

      David: I agree with parts of what you say… America is mostly multicultural now and it is a misnomer to say lack of cultural awareness. It is also important to note, however, that US citizens as a hole possess a lower percentage of passports (Last I checked, it was around 15% of all citizens) than most other industrialized nations. Declining education levels and media obsession also cloud the awareness front. The first and second generation Americans are, in my opinion, more culturally aware than their third generation + peers… opinion only.

      As to liberal immigration policies, I disagree…There are many nations with more liberal policies (Australia, Canada, the UK, Hong Kong, and Singapore are five off the top of my head). US immigration has long been an onerous process, dating back to the late 19th century when thousands of Chinese were turned away. Or the limits against Italians, Jews, or Eastern Europeans in the 20th century. Yes, millions were let in, but millions more were refused. Today, it is mostly luck of the draw whether or not you win. As to visit visas, if you originate outside of the 40 or so countries where visa on arrival is possible, a visit is extremely difficult to manage. Be aware that the US Embassy in Manila rejects something like 95% of all applicants for tourist visas. Those that are there on H1 visas are in the definite minority.

  16. jim says

    John…Good post. I had to smile, when i read # 10,on your list. I was a would-be target on my front porch. We hah some visators, from the Barngay Captains office, it was the captains mother and their Secretary wich we haver met. The Secretary was asking 10000 pesos, my wife took care of this, by saying he just dosen’t give money away, it’s a culture thing with him. By the way, i was not present at the time this was taking place, found out later. Can’t be a smile y face all the time,can you?

    3

  17. Paul Scott says

    Nice post. I have travelled to the Philippines off and on for over 15 years and always stayed with locals. You can live cheaply if you live like a local but maybe for some of us not on $500 a month although that is doable. One mistake I see that surprises me is the way expats sometimes quickly generalize about all Filipinos based on their experience with one family or community or on the basis of what their spouse of girlfriend has told them. Like everywhere, what Filipinos believe is often based on the culture of family, community, and the country as a whole. There are often differences from one family to another and from one community to another.

    Some well educated and well-travelled Filipinos can give you a nice overview of the culture and some of the differences between western and Filipino values and beliefs. I have learned a lot from just such a friend. So I would agree about being open minded about the culture. I often hear expats complaining about this and that and wonder why they live here with their superior and judgmental attitudes. Sure we do some things differently but variety is the spice of life.

    If you can learn to be patient and accept those things you don’t understand and that don’t always seem to make sense to our western minds, you can learn to live a simple and enjoyable life here.

  18. chasdv says

    Hi John,
    Well said,good list.

    Regarding comments about joining clubs,i tend to agree with Groucho Marx famous quote,
    “I would never join any club that would have me as member”.Lol.

    Happy New Year to you and yours,
    Chas.

  19. hudson says

    Hey John,
    Great article. I do plan on retiring in the Philippines, and I know it’s not a paradise. I do plan on buying some land…err, I mean my wife will buy some land so we can build a modest house on it. I know rent is cheap, but I would rather front-load the cost of housing, then just live on my pension rent free….that’s the plan anyway.

    • JohnM says

      Hudson: I have an upcoming article about land… Think twice and three times. We were going to build a small house on the lot.

  20. ross says

    Hi John,

    At last i found an article that would simply explain my husband why he have no reason to move here … i mean Not yet and not now. I stated situation of possible outcome already but im not sure if he agreed on me. I hope u wont mind me sharing this article with him.

    Btw, im a filipina working here in Manila and married to american. He planned of moving here soon and im not agreeable to it for a lot of reason (you tackled some, thank you). He’s thinking a lot cheaper to live here etc etc, i know its a big joke. I am an accountant btw so at least im aware of the market trend from financial to statistic. Anyway, i dont like to sound a negative person to him. I just want to be practical. THis article will surely explains my side and this time from his fellow american.

    again, Thank you. Kind regards to LIP writers ( im a regular reader of this site btw and posted comment before for Sir Klaus) . GOD BLESS ….. KEEP IT UP!

    Ross

    • JohnM says

      Ross: Glad the article helped. Ultimately, the decision is between both of you. I can tell you that in our case, moving here was very difficult for Rebecca and there are times she just throws up her hands and tells me, “John, get us to Singapore!” I can also say that moving here added additional marital strains that would otherwise not have manifested themselves.

      On the accounts end, we all know who really manages the finances on the home front ;-)

      Good luck!

  21. PhilR. says

    The only gated community here is the baboy pen. .. I live so far in the sticks it really nice and quit here .. besides I had chickens and dogs at home so matter where you are they all make noises …and everyone knows me here now .a lot of my wife’s tribe live in the area too..always someone wants to share a drink of wine with me when i walk down the road here ..I’m enjoying it so far so good and I own nothing here ..Phil R.

  22. Roselyn says

    Hi John: You may or may not get this request. How about the “10 dumbest things Expats do when living in the Philippines”?

  23. Monique says

    what about

    “10 biggest mistake a Filipina made by marrying an American”… I sure I can contribute to that a lot :p

    • says

      Monique:

      Certainly some people become involved in unhappy relationships… I don’t think that Rebecca regrets marrying me. We are near the same age (She is actually a few years older than me) so we have about the same level of maturity (Though that is debateable in my case) and life experience. We met and dated in the traditional manner… She worked as a bookkeeper for a business acquaintance as an OFW in Abu Dhabi. We knew each other for three years before dating, and dated for two years before getting married here in the Philippines.

      We both had baggage from previous relationships, but she had never married before. I was up front in how much I earn, etc., and though we don’t have joint bank accounts, we each have full access to each other’s assets (Like credit cards, etc.) I have provided for her and my son with ample security should something happen to me.

      We have a house that we rent, a beautiful son who we adopted, and are doing our own thing. We are not wealthy by US standards, but we do alright and are comfortable. If she believes that she made a mistake, then I will be the first to let her do whatever she wishes to be happy… I don’t own her and it is not my place to dictate her life to her.

      However, I understand what you are saying… And I see an awful lot of people perhaps not using their heads. It is not my place to judge whether someone has made a mistake with their own future or lives. I see it on both sides… Foreigner and Filipino, and Rebecca saw it as an OFW countless times.

      However, if you are old enough to marry, then you are old enough to make adult decisions. If you go against your culture, values, and mores in exchange for monetary benefits, more often than not, you reap what you sow.

  24. Aussie Stephen says

    Great article, and follow-up discussion, John, and everyone. And, living here in Palawan, with my mabait, maganda wife is truly heaven. Sure, those of us from other cultures will make mistakes. Though with love, genuine respect and honest goodwill, both for your binibini and your new country of residence, any mistakes will soon resolve themselves. Best wishes those brave enough to take this chance!

  25. Lance says

    Your article has a lot of good advice and decent points. However, are you really comfortable referring to all Americans in this derogatory way? Super power mentality? Are you serious!? I don’t know how often you get out and socialize with “Filipinos”. So many foreigners such as myself seem to look at the Philippines with such and idealistic and unrealistic viewpoint that it makes me wonder how often they actually mingle in this country. I have been all over Mindanao and although I love the island and a lot of the people I haven’t found it within me to “hate my own” in this way. Perhaps the “Americans” that you have seen were cheated or taken advantage of one too many times? Perhaps after being cheated over and over and having the typical “Filipino” feeling that it’s “OK” to cheat and steal from them caused this outburst of emotion. Do you thing these “Americans” with their “superpower” mentality just snapped under the frustration of this type of treatment? Perhaps you just think there all a bunch of hot headed arrogant that blow up for no reason? What do you think? Please forgive my, but your comments seem to be encased in a narrow perspective. Who likes being cheated all thee time John? Not me. So when I see other foreigners “exploding” with emotion I try not to judge them so quickly or naturally assume that they must be those “ugly Americans”.

    • John Miele says

      Lance:
      I honestly have no idea what you are talking about… I checked and re-checked the article several times and never once did I mention “Superpower Mentality”, or even anything close to that.

      I have lived here nearly four years, frequently travel to the province, and live in a mostly middle-class Filipino subdivision where there is only one other foreigner. I’m frequently in places like Divisoria or Tondo where few expats even know exist, much less travel there. Except for the odd visa trip to Makati, I never hang out there, MOA, Greenhills, The fort, or any other “Westernized” areas…So I’m around mostly Filipinos in my day-to-day life. As to being cheated? Yeah, I’ve very occasionally been overcharged on something, but 99 times out of 100, it is for a small amount not worth getting excited about. Do I occasionally get frustrated by bureaucracy or something? Certainly. However, I have never thrown the type of temper tantrum that I have seen so many of my fellow countryment throw, normally because something is different than they are used to.

      • Abraham Digan says

        If you get cheated on over and over, you might want to look in the mirror and evaluate yourself. If your dumb enough to get fooled so often, something must be wrong with you. Use your head. I had a friend I worked with at a Tertiatry Hospital in Las Vegas and he’s mixed black and white American. He loved a girl he met on the chatroom, I gave him advice not to take everything very seriously, and to take caution in every step. But he did not think, he acted on impulse. One day, I heard he came back to the states, broke, no money left and he got scammed. Many Filipinos at work warned him. but he is just too dumb and stupid. That’s all there is to it.
        On the otherhand, Superpower mentality, It is not uncommon, and It is up to the person to feel the way how he feels. you don’t tell them what to do. Even Filipinos who migrated to USA and come back on retirement has Superpower Mentality to the 10th power! do I hate them? no. Do I despise them? no.

  26. says

    hi, Im realy desperate for advice on retiring to the philippines, I have met a lovely lady sorry but on the phillipina dating site,and we have been writing to each other for sometime now,im 66yo and she,s 56yo she,s just waiting for her unulment,she,s been on her own for 12 years as myself,once she gets it then I will be moving over, but dont realy know what I have to do in regards to this ie, shipping possessions finding about my retirement pension being moved to a bank over there, and things in general, like do I need a visa as I have a full uk passport.
    we do intend to get married,and she does seem very genuine and she does have a job she works for herself, we were intending to share her money with my pension
    to live on, get a small place of our own, she works in manila, can you please tell me, what I should be aware of cause after reading some of the articles on your site
    im kind of being abit aprehensive after reading it,,is all doom and gloom, or do you think im doing the right thing,at my age, the last thing I need is to be stung
    as I was going to go to the philippines on a oneway ticket,,and not return to the uk, as im sick and tired of living here,,,I realy hope you will reply,, thanks alot. hope to here from you soon……….george.

    • John Miele says

      George:

      Have you ever visited here before? My impression from your note is, “NO”.

      The first suggestion I have is that you visit before dropping everything and moving. It really would be quite risky if you’ve never even been here before. The Philippines is about as different from the UK as possible. Even questions as mundane as “Can you deal with the climate?” become important. I know nothing about you or your background. You may have been an expat elsewhere for years, for all I know. Though many articles on this site are negative, I personally think many more are highly positive. The point is that, unless you’ve been here before, you really cannot comprehend what it is like. What I can tell you is that the last line of your comment makes me say the following: In the cold, damp UK, when things are also a bit boring in life, it is very easy to be seduced by the idea of change for the sake of change. Many, many people come here to get married. Many stay the rest of their lives here and are happy with their choice. However, there are also many who are seduced by the palm trees, beaches (None in Manila, by the way, so if that is your vision, Manila is not where you will find it), beautiful women, and cheap beer… Yet, they leave soon afterward, or lose everything, or stay and are unhappy. Only YOU know what is right for YOU. All I, or anyone on this site, can do is tell you our personal experience.

      Secondly, search on this site regarding “visas” in the search bar. There are dozens of articles on the visa types here, and many different ways to stay / visit…

      Thirdly, regarding annulment. There is no divorce here, and annullments are expensive and time-consuming. Though she may be in the process of obtaining one, there are very real risks to dating someone here who is still, under Philippine law, legally married. You need to look once, twice, then three times before selling everything and moving here on a relationship that could have you see problems. I’m not trying to tell you what to do… But you do need to be aware.

      Based on your comment, I suggest that you do a lot more research before deciding on anything. Visit for a week or two or three. See the country. Decide for yourself whether you want this. If you are in love, great! Nothing says that you need to decide tomorrow. If it is meant to be, and to last, what harm does taking a little time do?

  27. george says

    hi john,
    thanks a million for the advice,,I was in the navy and have been to manila a few times but never stayed, I lived in australia for 9 years and argentina for 5 years so Im quite used to the heat, I travel to cyprus each year for a month,,as far as moving to the philippines this wont happen until she has her anulment, and shown me proof,but I have take on board in regard to going on holiday for a couple of weeks, also john I wasn,t expecting palm trees and such, as she does live in the suburbs of manila, IO do have all the relevent ifo on her address her work address phone number and such,, and just to be doubly sure I did a background check on her aswell and all came back fine, I hired a private investigator from the philippines in manila, and got all the info on friday, so all is well there,,ahain thank you so much for your great help,,,and please keep up the good work
    it was very much appreciated, once I get things realy sorted I will let you know how it goes,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,george.

  28. george tweedie says

    hi john,
    it seems the detective investigating the lady, that I asked him to has found other evidence and let me know about it, and it seems all is not as she says it is,she had no intentions of getting a anulment, and was just stringing me along, she,s looking for someone who does have money, to support her and her family, she,s not looking for someone like me who only has a pension,,Im glad I found out before I made the big mistake,,,,so thats the end of that,,so now im back to square one,, but no matter will just have to think again,,,,,,george.

    • John Miele says

      George: Sorry your plans were ruined, but at least you found out before you had spent a ton of money. Chin up! There’s always alternatives.

  29. Cathy says

    Thanks for the advice. I have been here for about 5 months now and some things simply baffle me…especially the way the girls act around here with guys (the marital status or otherwise does not seem to restrain them) such desperation…initially I thought they were just being friendly..then I hear stories from expats (some of whom have gone broke, left out etc and are now stuck with large families to support whom they never knew a year or so back) and realize that the smiles are quite fictional and not true at all any more then the trait of saying yes to everything and doing whatever comes to their mind. Initially I thought they were basically trying to not disappoint you with a “No” but the more I see their behavior and understand it the more I am convinced that it is an act. They lack respect for personal space, sorry but when 15 something girls who are total strangers touch and try to get too friendly with my boyfriend in public I do not like it and I am sure that is not backward. An America expat acquaintance unfortunately got involved with a local Filipina who now lives with her entire family with him (about 10 ppl) he had to move to a bigger place for her, they go shopping everyday, they have made him buy a shop and jeepney they make him fund their outings and holidays, this guy has a family back home to support. He is now totally mixed up and does not know what to do. These people proclaim to be poor and constantly emotionally manipulate/convince you to shop or buy stuff for them. They end up shopping more than you would for yourself. I am sorry but I find them shallow, material driven and conniving. I have also luckily met some hard-working and straight people and hence I am mingling only with that type..thanks for the words of caution, would be rather useful for expats!

  30. Mark says

    John,

    I just need a place to live. I’m a retired U.S. military. Can I get a visa without any hassles? I’m thinking about living in the Bicol region.

      • Jo says

        Hi John,

        I’m curious about your tourist visa and just extending? My boyfriend would like to visit the philippines and I dont want to push “marriage” as his only option to stay there and live with me for a while. Because I do understand that he might not like it there too much so we could explore other places like back here in the States (im currently in US visiting him).

        I was reading about immigration requirements and lots of documents to submit (proof of financial capacity, etc) plus its on a quota. can you please just give me an idea how visa extension works? and should you need some “valid reasons” to justify your stay?

        Thank you!

        btw, well written article and as a Filipina, you are correct. immigrants should really try to immerse themselves in the culture than expect our entire culture to adapt to them.

  31. Manila_Stud says

    Mark
    That’s the only thing i’m gonna agree with john Miele on. Other than that the negatives outweight the positives in the Philippines. Who would want to set up shop in a place where they have no rights and will always come off second best in a dispute even if the Flip is in the wrong which is more often than not. Also not to mention how you can get deported for standing up for yourself against one of those lowlifes. Ask John Miele himself. He could have been chucked out for swearing at a local albeit a taxi driver. I’m sure John and Bob know about what happened to that korean golfer when he tried to stick up for himself and had the living crap beaten outta him then was subsequently deported because the guy who delivered the beating happened to be…well not gonna mention his name on here.

    I also cannot fathom how you can live in a place and be restricted about speaking your mind on things which affect your day to day life. You may aswell be living in the middle east. Amazing when you think that the average expat has done more for the country than the majority of filipino citizens yet has less rights. That’s something i will never be able to understand when Filipino’s who go to the United States are treated no differently to any other ethnicity in that country.

    Expecting a backlash from John and Bob and some sort of a justification as to why things are the way they are and to suck it up…

    • Mars Z. says

      So Manila Stud, why are so still there in the country? And what do you know about the Filipinos being treated no differently in the US? I have a lot of stories to tell if that’s what you want to hear. JohnM had written about this few weeks back…about expat’s putting self-importance of their presence in the Philippines in all aspects. Oh, Paul Thompson will give you a ride to the airport for free.

      Mars

      • John Miele says

        Marz: I believe it is the same person I answered a few weeks ago. He’s either got a huge chip on his shoulder of he’s trolling… can’t figure out which. I have my reasons for living here, some of which are compelling, and some not so much. I’ve lived in the US, Bahamas, UAE, and RP. I’ve been to over half of the countries in the world. Every place on the face of the Earth has positives and negatives: There is no such thing as paradise or Shangrila. If the day comes when the negatives outweigh the positives, I’ll move somewhere else. Until then, I cannot imagine how anything I say or do could change anything. Nor, is it my place or duty to try and change anything here. That responsibility is up to Filipinos, not me. So, I focus on the positive and tolerate the negative… What is so hard to understand about that?

        • Mars Z. says

          Yeah, I think it’s the same guy. Maybe by using Manila Stud as a sign on name, he is contributing to the cultural improvements and positive perception of visitors to the country, lol.

          Mars

      • Manila_Stud says

        You just don’t get it do you? Instead of acknowledging those issues, you go and attack the person in such a defensive manner typical of the average pinoy sensitive to the truth. Where in the article did i ever mention my amerikano self importance and expecting to be treated better than Filipinos? Respect has to be earned and if they can’t respect foreigners and treat them as they would their own people then they in turn cannot complain when they are not respected as it is a two way street.

        I’d really love your insight into how Filipinos in the US are treated differently to every other ethnicity there. Do they pay higher “pinoy prices”? No they don’t. To overcharge them would be tantamount to racism and we all know that pinoys abroad have a reputation for screaming the loudest when they feel their right have been infringed on as it is within their rights to do so legally unlike an amerikano who has to suck it up or GTFO of Philippines. Not to mention that there are international laws against it as Bob mentioned in an article last year.

        Can a pinoy be deported for getting upset or being human over the way a certain process is done in the states if someone doesn’t like the way they’ve reacted? Most certainly not. You’d probably have to kill someone in the west to be deported LoL. There are just so many double standards in the Philippines which can become concerning. Admittedly they get the rough end of the stick when it comes to supporting “spongers” or “palamunins” back home but they can always say no to that handa, fiesta or basketball sponsorship. Maybe they do endure discrimination in the states. I won’t argue with that but it is against the law in the United States to discriminate anybody based on race, religion, sexual preference (i don’t like homosexuality but i’m professional enough to keep it to myself), gender and so on. However the onus is on the victim to prove they were discriminated against which is easier said than done.

        And to that person that used a few isolated bad pockets of America such as East La, Bronx, detroit or whatever, that was a pathetic rebuttal comparing those isolated pockets to mainstream Philippines. Most Balikbayans will tell that mainstream Philippines is considerably harsher than mainstream America. Perhaps their influence is finally rubbing off on me but THEY GREW UP THERE, YOU DIDN’T.

        Thanks for the offer but i got a reasonably meter priced taxi to the airport for approx 200 minus the heartache of listening to a self righteous American.

        • John Miele says

          What I don’t understand is that if you are still on such a jag, and dislike it so much in the Philippines, then why do you stay here? Are you really such a loser that you continually need to pay cheap prices for p*ssy?

          If you are so enamored with the United States, then go live there! No one is forcing you to live in the Philippines. Having grown up in the States, I can certainly tell you that it would not be too long before someone shut your trap… permanently. Laws or no laws.

    • John Miele says

      No backlash… Your own words tell everyone who, and what, you are. No assistance from me needed.

  32. Mark G. says

    ‘When in Rome do as the Romans do’ What’s so difficult about that? It’s worked for travelers the world over for centuries. You’re a guest in the Philippines. You should act like one. Don’t hold them up to Western standards. They have their own way of life, no matter how flawed it may seem to you. Go spend a night in Detroit, Oakland, East L.A. or the Bronx before you complain how mistreated you feel here.

  33. Manila_Stud says

    You can’t do as the Romans do in this case Filipinos because you’re not one of them and have less rights as a foreigner. So there goes that argument. Why don’t you tell a Filipino in America “you’re just a guest in our country” and see how well that goes down. A guest should not be subjected to abuse just because it’s not his place and is unable to speak up for himself. It seems to be a hypocritical case of “do as we say not as we do” or an attempt to get back at the white man because they can. Where in that post did i ever hold them up to western standards? I just hold people up to standards of basic decency regardless of ethnicity.

    • Mark G. says

      I don’t recall ever seeing a Filipino ever throwing a tantrum in an American store. I don’t recall a Filipino ever getting called to the head of the line by store management or given special treatment because someone thought they would be too impatient to wait their turn. The USA is fast becoming a third world country as we bankrupt ourselves trying to impose our view of the world on everybody else. I’ve lived all over the US and I grew up in a mixed area with Latinos, Blacks, Irish, Italians, Vietnamese and Filipinos. If you didn’t have your head up your arse you’d realize that good behavior is rewarded and poor behavior reflects badly on all expats. Will you get taken advantage of? Sure if you put yourself in a situation that allows it to happen. Try to get off Fields Avenue for a few hours and you might discover that the Philippines and Filipinos are all about respect. If you respect them and treat them as equals they will do the same for you. If you show your disdain and carry a chip on your shoulder you can bet your butt they will go out of their way to inconvenience you. I’m not self righteous I’m an observer of humanity. I learn from those around me because I watch their interactions and how they treat each other on a daily basis. Your posted handle and attitude tell me all I need to know about you. You’re either in AC bar fining the girls or you’re on the web trolling some chat room. Good luck with your stay here in the Philippines; you’ll need it.

  34. renay says

    Jumping in and falling in love too soon.

    That is really truth a lots of people just get scam and that happen every day. A lots of bad stories happened If someone ever get scam they can always report them on the site: http://dragonladies.org/bbs/index.php A forum for the collection, and publication of information on female internet romance scammers from Asia. NO SPAM ALLOWED! Never send money to somebody you only know from the internet! This board does not remove scam info for payment.

    Maybe you can invite the owner of the dragonladies’s site to come here and he can open a topic to tell people how to avoid to be scam. Just an idea..

    • John Miele says

      Renay: I’ve seen the site before…. Many of the stories on there are simply people who completely lose any semblance of common sense when in front of a pretty face (They would be scammed anywhere… USA, Europe, Japan, etc.). That site also neglects the fact that many of the scammers are the foreigners who come here. More than one Filipina has fallen victim to a foreigner who promises her the world and then dumps her unceremoniously and leaves the country… or worse. It goes both ways.

      There are many expats who are in the country because they are up to no good… They also seem to be the ones who scream the loudest when bad things happen here.

      • renay says

        @ John Miele:

        you are right about this part: Many of the stories on there are simply people who completely lose any semblance of common sense when in front of a pretty face…..maybe when they go on a dating site they take it like a catalog where you can choose a woman from it. For sure some foreigners are probably acting stupid with the woman, i do beleive it but here i was talking about the ones that are scamming, knowing what they are doing and they really know what they are doing and with the time they can make the ” lover ” to send her money and these kind of woman can even chat with a lots of men. They are pros. That is their full time job to try to target man online..with fake profile or anything else and they do to reach their goals. Once i have read that a doctor from Australia lost about $ 300,000 in a scam…it is a lots of money.

        you are right sometime it works both side..

        take care and all be bless.

        • John Miele says

          Renay: Certainly there are scammers here… No doubt about it. I can say that, just my observation, the guys that end up married and happy here seem to take things slowly, as they would back in their home country, when dealing with people they meet online, in bars, etc.

  35. Andrew Craig-Bennett says

    Thank you, John, for a good list of ten points.

    In one respect living in the Philippines has become a good deal easier for foreigners than it was; the availability of the Internet means there is no longer any shortage of reading material in your own language.

    I have lived in the Philippines, but that was nearly twenty years ago; my wife and I decided that we would bring our children (who have dual nationality) up in England from the point of view of free healthcare and, particularly, schooling, but I am coming to think that I would like to retire to the Philippines.

    I’d like to make three comments:

    Firstly, in the long run the exchange rate and land prices are rising gently vis a vis the Dollar and European currencies. If you plan to live on a pension, this may become significant.

    Next, I’ll pass on some very good advice from the doyenne of the English expatriate community in Manila, a lady who does not look anything like old enough to have lived in Manila as long as she has – “Don’t read the newspaper!” This is a bit harsh, because the Inquirer is a fine paper, but what she means is “keep right out of local politics!” This is very good advice.

    The next bit of advice is screamingly obvious – make friends with people who share your interests and life becomes ever so much easier. “Your interests” by the way, are not “being an expatriate”. I man make friends with Filipinos who share your interests.

    • John Miele says

      Andrew:

      I didn’t think about the English books, and on reflection, you have a really good point. When we first moved to the Philippines, we were talking with Father Carlos about the school, and asked him what he needed there… We wanted to help him out a bit. He told me that, even today, books in English are very expensive in the province (Easy to find in Manila or the cities… in the sticks a different story). That is a huge change, what you are saying about the Net.

  36. Randy says

    Well John, I for one get along with your satirical, sarcastic, and occasional condescending style of writing. It is straight forward, almost entirely accurate, and hard hitting to those wanna be expat idealogs. You write to expose the truth about life in the RP, the cultural differences, and with the purpose of spelling REALITY the same way many of us do….with three consonants and 4 vowels! Much of the time, it’s the the cold and hard facts of life language that many will ever understand. I’m sure you shatter many a expat dream of shangri la! You are so malupit John.

    • John Miele says

      Thank you Randy. I write on this site because I enjoy doing so, but I really try to give accurate information and back up what I write with the truth, as best I know it. ;-)

  37. says

    Personally, I’m looking forward to assimilating and adjusting to fit ‘my new home’ in the RP. I’m no stranger to places like Tijuana, Tecate in Mexico where my ex-wife’s family were and we visited often. I know, it’s different to ‘live it’ daily, but I’ve done some of that too.

    To be frank, it’s not Filipinos I think I will have a hard time adjusting to. Rather, there seems to be a sub-culture of cranky expats that, rather than being thankful, seem to wake up every morning to complain and be negative about their situation. I want to avoid them like the plague. I want to find and enjoy my life there.. not be surrounded by such negativity.

    Most everyone here on this site has been pretty positive about their experiences over there. Perhaps I’ll get to know more of them in the Cebu area once I get there. :)

  38. kenneth delancey says

    hey john.who died and left you a million dollars??.wow wish i could travel around the globe and live in the philippines.most of us have a hard time trying to do all of these things.it disgusts me to see younger guys in the philippines walking around with pretty girls.who told them??.i had to join the navy to see the philippines.i was there in 1974-75 as a sailor in alongapo.

    • John Miele says

      Well Kenneth, if that is your dream, you can find a way to make it happen. Many people move here with relatively small amounts of money… You need planning and perserverance, though. Good luck!

  39. Buddy Love says

    10. Not learning about the culture. Everyone here has encountered the “Ugly American”. Everyone here has encountered cultural ignorance. Read and learn as much about the culture and language as possible. Get out and about. Don’t believe that you are a wealthy target everywhere you walk. Leave the walled, guarded compound once in a while.

    Have you made an effort to learn the language? Considering how much little time you say you have to do anything due to travelling isn’t it a bit hypocritical to be having those expectations of foreigners when you do not stick to them yourself? For the record i live in Makati with other expats and balikbayans and it’s fantastic. We don’t have to worry about beggars, chicken crowing, scumbag taxi drivers since we have a private car and just dysfunctional practices of the so called “real philippines”. You are a walking atm to most Filipinos and i can’t fathom why you would want to subject yourself to that and live in a local area FOOL

    • John Miele says

      Buddy (Manila Playa): And I cannot fathom why you would want to be encapsulated in a foreign compound sitting around bitching and moaning all day. I truly hope that tricy driver or his family comes after you.

      • Buddy Love says

        Why would i be bitching and moaning in an upscale, westernized condo in Makati? I just said that it’s fantastic where i live where all of us are on the same page and the ammenities are first class. You’re the fool lowering your standards and putting yourself at risk by living in the local barangay. Oh and i truly hope that squatter and her family makes hell for you and your wife. Didn’t Rebecca do her due dilligence before she made the money transaction and land transfer. Half a million pesos and one election later and the issue still isn’t resolved LoL. John Miele you really are a joke!!!

        • AusGuy01 says

          @ Budy Love
          As an intro, I live in the Philippines have been for over 1 year. I have experienced both styles of living here i.e. in a westerner based gated community and now live in a house among the locals.
          While I enjoyed both styles and both have their good points, I found that westerners that live in gated communities have a very twisted view of the Philippines, often blaming the Philippinos for their own misgivings.
          If we are walking ATM’s to the Philippinos then the girls here are walking “pussies” to Westerners. This I found to be the way many in gated communities view people here.
          The reality when you live among them is VERY different. Sure you are expected to help when you can in the way that you can but they also offer their help so quickly without expectation of reward (except for being fed). Much like a working bee at home where you’d put on a bbq and beer for the helpers.
          To the guy who said he can’t go out without being mugged etc….. Do you really ever go out? I am out with my girlfriend at least 3 times a week, downtown in different nite spots, walking the streets meeting all kinds of people in all areas of town. We have never had any trouble or felt threatened.
          Sure we get stared at, lost of people saying “hi friend” and “hey joe” to which I always greet in a friendly way out of common courtesy, plus the street kids wanting to play and asking for some coins or ice creams which can be quite entertaining at times.
          Bottom line for us is treat everyone with respect and they will treat you the same.
          Cheers

  40. steph says

    Hi I have 2o,ooo euro saved and planing to open a gym in Cebu or boracay or other . I’m not thinking making money but just have encome and live normal life there. What u all think? Some pinoy told me to buy condo and then rent it? Is it good idea?

  41. says

    Wow I have read a lot of the replies in this blog and it sounds like there are a few expats that need to get out and find reality.
    I have lived here in Mindanao for just over 4 years and I have a reasonably successful business, I also learned many years ago when I 1st travelled to the Philippines to learn the culture and language, I must admit that I have been married to my Filipina wife for more than 30 years so I had a good start.
    I also think that the original blogger has listened and learned about how to live here as I agree with all that was written by him, if you think you can just up sticks and move here for the good life I am afraid you are in for a rude awakening it is not America or the UK, yes you can lead a very good and comfortable life here but you also have to learn that as a foreigner here you don”t always get what you want.
    I also go out on a daily basis and even go to some of the night clubs here in Tagum and have never felt that I was in anyway at risk altho my wife will sometimes tell me “be careful” But I feel just as safe here as I would walking down the streets of London at night. To all those expats that feel they need to stay within the gated communities YOU ARE EITHER LIVING A LIE OR LIVING IN THE WRONG COUNTRY

    • John Miele says

      Andy: Thank you… Tagum is on my list to visit someday… Several people have written about it on here and it really sounds like a nice place. Actually, last week I was travelling in Bangladesh and committed a really stupid error that could easily have happened in the Philippines. It ended up “no harm no foul”, but I will write about it shortly because I really felt bad about the consequences of my action.

  42. Channing says

    I’ve never turned down a beggar before, so they do not bother me at all.

    What has bothered me is the way Filipino’s think you are “rich” just because you are a white person.

    I joke with my fiance’ that the Filipino’s here look at me as a walking bank and they look at her as the ATM card to the bank. lol

    The main problem is her family, though things have settled down some, if you give an inch they will definitely take a mile.

    • beachbum says

      Imagine living on the equivalent of $2.00 a day which is what so many filipinos do and they have to scrape for it. Its easy to see why many of them view us as being wealthy when just our dinner bills at a nice resto can be more than they spend in a month.

      I agree that it can be annoying at times , but after 3 years here now ive assimilated into the local fabric and dont have many of these problems that im reading about.

      I have no problems telling people NO and all of them know me well enough that if they have an emergency i am willing to help if i can.

      My wifes family is no where near , but would never ask for anything , especially money. They all work and are quite happy with their lives. I send them indian mangoes, atis, japanese chickens and eggs and fresh goodies from the sea.

      There are only 4 expats in the entire barangay and im the only American and none of us lives near the other. To my knowledge no one has ever had any problems.

      The only thing ill never get used to is being stared at so much even after being here 3 years.
      My wife says its just because i am so handsome. :) . Im not complaining,as life on the beach is hard to beat.

      I didnt live in the city in America and i dont live in it the fils.

      When i left Wash., D.C. in Sept. of 09 i had no intentions of returning and i still dont. Who would leave this life?

  43. Philip says

    Hi John a great article to read and it is good to listen and learn from people who have lived in different environments around the world. I often wonder how safe it is there and have asked a few people, my brother and his family are over there at the moment and he loves it. I watch our local news in Australia and think it is bad but how bad is it over there, you hear stories and it makes you worry a little.
    To beachbum, sounds like you love living where you are and to me there is nothing better then the sound of waves or the beach. I must say I do like the bush hear as well though, I noticed you wrote about the Barangay area is it safe and does it relate to the Ormoc City Leyte area as I have a friend who resides there. At the moment she is having trouble with some government land dispute since 1968 it sounds like someone wants to demolish a lot of homes in the area which is no good for those people. I also read this morning about some crime that happened in the City which was worrying but crime happens in all countries I guess. Anyway some good articles to read take care
    Philip

  44. Philip says

    Hi John,
    just further to my reply what would you think of lady who you have met online
    over there who for 7 months never missed a date all being on the net every day and every night unless there was a brown out or storm. This lady has never asked me for one single coin or any sign of money. She informed me she works seven days a week, over the last week further to the reply I sent you earlier she informed me her home and families home might be demolished in Ormoc City. It took her about an hour to ask me a question and the question was can you build me a home?? I was shocked at first but after talking with some people it was found a house to build there was not dear like here in Australia. I said I don’t know about that the house but felt sorry for her and her family. I definately will not be sending money there to her. I know my family seems to think she is genuine and she appears to be, I sent a letter to Scott yesterday about this he felt it could be a scam. I have trusted her thus far and decided to look into the demolishing of homes there a bit more. I found an article in the news about it over in Ormoc City how in 1968 the government signed an agreement for the military to take land over there. It appears it is a dispute between the local residents the government not sure on the full facts or truth but what she did say did marry up and it appears that she is not lying to me about that. I have known and spoke with her for 7 months and do trust her, but after my ex took everything from me in my last marriage I certainly do not want to go down that track and get ripped off again. Take Care
    Philip

    • JohnM says

      Philip: Not knowing her, I can only hazard a guess… She may be on the up and up. One thing that most Filipinas here consider as security, should they get married, is owning a home. Remember, she is learning about you as much as you are learning about her, and many times the scam has gone the other way, with some foreigner getting someone pregnant and going abroad. There is no divorce here, and should you marry and there are problems, this type of situation usually goes bad on all sides.

      I’m no marriage counselor, or expert on women. I will say that personally, I would never consider marrying someone I met while abroad, on the Net, until I spent a significant amount of time with that person. Everyone is different, though.

      I would suggest that you use a PI to check her background here (Bob offers a srvice like that) in order to see if what she tells you is the truth. Not to make accusations or anything, but just for your own peace of mind.

      As to buying land, just remember that, despite what you may read online, you cannot own it. Yes, if you are married, your name can be on the title, but you will not own it. Because of this, I wouldn’t personally buy anything without living here and knowing the ropes… Especially with a girlfriend. YOU WILL NOT HAVE ANY RIGHTS IN THAT SITUATION. Add to the fact that you met her from abroad… You get the picture.

      Again, your comfort level may be different, and I do not know her… But I would be cautious were I in your shoes.

      • Philip says

        High John thank you for your valued advice, gee poor George had me excited for a short minute when he said that he found the right lady and had lived in Australia and different things. Then I felt like he had peace of mind with her after the background check, I felt that he was truly lucky with the lady he found. But then I kept reading the follow on messages and WOW what a let down. I can’t beleive it could change as quick as that?? What happened to the first investigation of the all clear get the green light to go ahead?? and then upon further investigating all a bunch a lies from the woman, he must be shattered as I would have been. Scott on Bob’s site wrote to me as well and I truly appreciate everyones input on this as I have know experience on this at all, I know the lady has not asked me for a cent for 7 months until now about the house so that makes me wonder as well John, but Scott did say that they are professionals at this although to gain ones trust for seven months without asking for anything seems to be fair but I am not sure?? I would like some more help from any person who has had this experience anytime there as I said I got totally ripped off by my ex wife a westerner I might add I don’t want it to happen again take care everyone
        Philip

    • Abraham Digan says

      If I may, I would like to comment. Do not send her money. Do not build her a home. It is obvious. You must understand anything that’s built with your money, you do not have the right to own it. be cautious. It is unfortunate that her home will be demolished, so are the MILLIONS of SQUATTERS in Government and Private lands throughout Manila. But the government ensures and the law provides it that the owner/government must provide appropriate relocation. so you need not worry yourself. take your time and when everything is okay and she’s still interested in you then good.

      • Carlos says

        Not to mention that a smart person who is going for an amount sufficient to purchase a home would certainly take seven months to run the scam AND would be reading the same news articles about her homeland that you found. A legit story is often the best cover for a lie. So she reads the newspapers, finds this issue with homes being razed and people displaced and decides, “hey, that sounds like a great backstory I could use. If the guy checks on it, it’ll ring true.” Holy cripes, don’t be naive with your money or your future!

  45. James Porterfield says

    Hi John,
    I’m still trying to get a feel for what you have to relay to us about living in the Philippines. There’s been little that I don’t carefully listen to or consider as routine in usual Philippine life. What you are continuing to say is fine. I’ll still listen.

  46. Gene says

    John, I’m a 52 yr old man that lost all in hurricane gustav in 2008. I’ve been aware of the Philippines for years via of a captain friend of mine’s wife who’s a filipina. I’ve been an offshore worker for almost 3 decades so i’m accustom to small living conditions, noises when ur trying to sleep, rude people, and etc. My point is: at my age and literally starting over again in life, I’ve decided to move to the Philippines. I’ve nothing more to lose than my life itself, but I do have an internet gf with a “special” child that I’m planning to be with. She doesn’t need anything from me cuz she already has her own house (small), and 2 small businesses, as well as a scooter. My plan was to invest in her businesses to broaden them so as to attract more people in her area and thus, muking more money as time goes by. I’m NOT going there to get rich from others, but to live the filipino culture and the simple life of just surviving off what we make in our businesses. I understand that since I’m a foreigner, I cannot own property. Can I own a business later if I expand my gf’s businesses whereas I earn enough to start a third business? I have several other questions as well to put to u when u may have the time to either email me, chat with me on whichever website u choose I meet u at, or even Skype. I’m NOT to be deterred from my desire to move there, but I am seeking any and all advice/info, that u will allow me to pick ur brain and knowledge of the philippines. Please retain my email address here and contact me via email and/ or add me to ur Skype so we can talk further. Thanx for ur time!!!

    • John Miele says

      Gene: there are limits to ownership % for foreign investment and some restricted business. First thing to do is visit the DTI website and research before investing anything.

      Next suggestion is to live here a while before investing any money, certainly not money you need to live on…. There are many cultural and business differences with the USA or the west and land mines that can leave you broke really quickly

  47. says

    Wow, There are so many articles and 98% of them are highly informative BUT conflicting in the information being disseminated It would be confusing, but I know ALL of them are personal preferential view points! And that’s good. I glean from all this that how you “act” in the phillipines, will 90% dictate “how” you are treated by the filopino’s. I come to that conclusion because people posting made accounts of all areas of the country..including mindanao. The embassy site said to stay away from there because of dangerous terroizm,kidnapping ect…but one man said he lives there just fine, for years ; must be how he conducts himself with the locals. I am going there to spie out the place for retirement and nice weather,now I am super intrigued by all these conflicting reports! I have traveled in america alot and know how to be “REALLY” careful in some areas and neighborhoods inorder to assure “safe passage” there, among the locals [gang members ,thugs pitbulls, ect.] . I now will apply that skill in the filopines and see what happens for me..it will be an adventure! Mr. Keith

  48. EnglishDave says

    As a 50 year old English guy, visiting my woman for the fourth time, traveling to various parts of the PI’s and living in the less savoury side of Alabang, I have found this site very interesting and the views expressed by all your contributors, very enlightening.

    Having been married to a Thai who effectively used me to obtain a British passport and set her family up for life before cheating on me with several guys (until I divorced her for adultery), I can say that I have experienced the consequences of marrying an Asian without fully understanding the culture and mind set of the country from which my partner came.

    I love what I have seen of the Philipines on my travels, I live amongst “the locals” when here in Manila, but I am also keenly aware of the ease with which one can be seduced by the illusion of a cheap escape from our often mundane lives in the West, to a tropical “paradise”.

    Being a relative newcomer to life here, though not as I have stated, to life in a Asian/Western relationship, I am hardly well placed to offer sage guidance. However, to those contemplating a move here on the basis of an Internet relationship, no mater how longstanding it may be, I say “wake up”. Visit several times, travel as much as you can, get out of your five star hotels and shy from the guided tours. Mix with the phillipino people, don’t judge them, be polite, smile and show respect, walk softly and speak mildly, be aware yes, but not paranoid. You will enjoy both the beauty of the country and the people who populate it!

    Only then, having just a small appreciation of the country you dream to call home, will you have the slightest concept of life here and wether your intended partner is both genuine and right for you.

    I have decided that I cannot live here permanently. I am happy with my relationship and believe that over the last three years, I have built a good relationship with my intended. But I have seen enough to know that I cannot have the life I want here without additional work in my my place of birth and that it will be far better for me to take my future wife to my country, despite previous experience, work as a team to build on my business there whilst feathering our nest here for later years.

    I will continue to read all comments and contributions to this site, you can never have too much information or too many points of view, no matter how disparate.

  49. Marichu says

    John,

    I hope your back were you belong ,DUM MISTAKES also that you still stay here now or accepted here.Does you finger the same sizes too?

    I’am so lucky to have German decent and respectful boyfriend. God Bless.

  50. Aussie Michael says

    Hi all, I have been reading your articles and have many conflicting thoughts. I am going to turn 68 in February and I currently live in Australia on two government pensions. To be honest with you, I am very lonely here as I have no family around and very few friends due a number of different circumstances. I have met many Filipinas on social network sites, and in my profile I have made it quite clear that I own no property, nor do i have any money other than my pensions and a few hundred dollars. I would be interested in going to live in the Philippines and make new friends and maybe settle with one of my lady friends (I will want to meet with them first). I have lived in Malaysia and worked there and over most of Asia as an import export manager and business owner. My question is whether I would be able to live on what is the equivalent to an income of approx PHP94k per month? I loved all the articles and look forward to receiving your newsletters.
    Thank you and regards…
    Aussie Michael

    • Bernie says

      Hi Aussie Michael.. as a reference point my wife and I comfortably live on the Aussie age pension with a spend of less than half of the amount you quote for your income.

      BUT.. it depends on the life style you want to adopt here and where you want to live. We are on the north coast of Mindanao and live a relatively simple life, with some travel thrown in. I let my wife arrange the food and I’m content with the local cuisine (which on many occasions is not that different to Aussie tucker) supplemented with some imported and expensive ‘treats’.

      If you have read this whole thread, then you will be aware of the need for caution in dealing with the (financial) expectations that could come with any Filipino relationships you develop.

      I would probably be more concerned about your present loneliness.. if you have that problem in Oz, then if there is a scarcity of fellow expats where you choose to settle you may find conditions worse than your present situation.

      As others have mentioned, I find being friendly with local people generally provokes a similar response from them. The difficulty can be the lack of competent English speakers to share your time with – unless you resort to the expat drinking cliques and their often negative viewpoints.

      Perform your due diligence on-line to get a good grasp of the social situation and to prepare yourself for what lies ahead when you decide to visit the PR.

      • Aussie Michael says

        Hello Bernie and thank you for your response.

        I have been doing a lot of searches on line and reading blogs. You are correct about the negativity of a lot of ex-pats. I am afraid I am not a big drinker anymore, so I do not fit into that lifestyle. I suppose being single at my age in a society such as in Melbourne it seems to put you on the outer.

        I do not think that I will have any problems relating with the local population, at least on a personal level although language will be a problem at first..

        I am open to suggestions and advice if you happen to have any.

        I am planning on coming for 3 weeks at first and meet with 3 ladies that I have met on line. I have told them of my intentions and if we click and one of them will have me LOL.. then i will come back home, and organise to move there permanently. I love Asia and spent a number of years living and working out of Malaysia, so i hope that the Philippines will not bee too much different…

        I thank you once again for your attention to my posting…

        best regards to you and your wife..
        Michael

        • Bernie says

          I don’t know if I am the best person to give you in-depth advice Michael.. my new (2 years) wife and I each have a common background that stretches back 40 years as JW’s. That has given a great deal of stability and understanding to our marriage, as we have identical goals and ideals.

          Added to that I spent several months online attempting to understand the Filipino psyche and to become aware of the pitfalls of marrying and living in the Philippines. So far so good, but even so, after two years I am still finding mainly cultural hiccups that have be be negotiated!

          I personally have no regrets, but in these short two years I have seen others who have had their lives turned upside down. This has tended to be because of their Filipino’s expectations of their ‘foreigner’s’ wealth and who in the expanded family is entitled to share in it.

          In another instance, I have a friend who’s bank balance has been sucked dry because a family member had a serious motor accident, and as per usual for a Pinoy, had not even the basic insurance that is readily and cheaply available here!

          So your 3 ladies will probably all be willing to ‘have you’ with open arms.. with an eagerness relative to their level of poverty and the needs of their family. Without denigrating the marriages of the fine folk who support Bob and this blog.. it sometimes appears that if you have a pulse and can occasionally draw a breath, then you can end up with a stunning (young) local lady as your partner in life – at least for a while! Cynical? Yes! But safer to be a realist.. lol.

          By all means come and have a look around. Don’t be eager to commit to a lady too quickly, instead analyse their situation and watch for what they are NOT telling you. Ask plenty of questions.. don’t assume anything. Don’t be over-generous with your money, play mean.. kuripot.. and see what the reaction is. Be careful not to hurt their pride.. they are very sensitive people and can hurt easily from our perspective.

          In any case.. have a great three weeks holiday and enjoy this beautiful country.

          Bernie

          • Aussie Michael says

            Hello Bernie, I just got back from spending ten days with an old army friend of mine and his wife, in the north of our country, and for the first time I experienced being in the eye of a cyclone..Oh well, never too “young” to experience new things…
            Thank you for your insight as well as your honesty. I have made it very clear to the ladies I am talking with, that all I have is my pension and once I leave here, I will no longer have a home address in Australia to come to, so whatever their expectations are, I am hoping that they fully understand my situation which in turn it will be theirs if we do meet up…
            As a veteran, I have full free cover here in Australia for all medical, specialist and hospital needs. I am not sure whether there is a health cover that a foreigner can get, if one does get a residency permit in the Philippines.
            I do thank you for your time and I shall keep you posted. I wish you and your wife, many years of happiness together…

            Best regards

            Michael

  51. says

    John,

    I know that article is years old, however, it is still very relevant today. I am a 40-year old, black American, who moved here from Los Angeles, California nearly a year ago…after 2-years of back-and-forth ‘tours’ to different swanky hotels and break-taking isolated resorts…where I often stayed within the gates…or was encouraged to do. I moved here (alone) because I wanted to experience the lifestyle -first hand. Thank you for the tips.

    Even as a PH Tourist/Resident, and the Exec. Publisher of the PH MAG International, it is very refreshing to read insights from ‘guys like you’ who have lived it (the PH Lifestyle) longer than I have.

    Our magazine is a free magazine for American’s who desire to travel to, live and invest in the Philippines -new booming economy. I love what I do, and I love the Philippines, but often times, even i can grow weary and home-sick…and frustrated…and confused.

    I’ll say it again, because it’s worth repeating, Thank You for the insights!

  52. Nick says

    A real good friend of mine, his parents and family are Filipino. They own land and businesses in the Philippines. His father wants me to help grow cocoa and coffee and run their business with his son in the Philippines. Does anyone have an opinion on what they would do and what they would need to do all of that.

    • Ricahrd says

      My advice to you is to take 2 weeks and go there. Spend it with them in the trenches, doing what they do, living where they live, eating what they eat. Eat out maybe 3 times, but the rest of the time there, you eat what they eat. Live poor, and for heaven’s sake do not flaunt money. Why? You’ll become a supporter. People who have money there, support the rest of the family going back generations. You live poor. At the end of a week and a half, if you think this is something that you would want to do, seek assistance from a local lawyer, see what they say you will need in the way of Visa’s bank accounts, work permits, etc. If there is “love” involved, ask her how she would feel if you were to go totally broke (NOTHING in life is guaranteed, except death). I’m SICK of American women. Its all about $$$ with them. Read my post below yours for a clue of how I got lucky. You have to know the waters you’re getting into. I don’t know these people, but I can guarantee you (just like an American would) they’re going to eventually ask you if you have any money to assist with the cost of operations. You can give if you dont expect it back, but at the same time– dont give and see if the waters start to get rough… find out what their mind-set is. Find out why they want you there. If the waters remain calm, give it, for you know you have found true friends. Just some advice. I hope the best for you. :D

  53. Ricahrd R says

    Want to really learn what its like? It only takes ONE visit, if done right. Do Like I did, go there with NO CASH; and go to a REMOTE location, somewhere not “Americanized”. You’ll find out REAL quickly that most places won’t take your plastic. THEN have your bank lock your account because they see “suspicious activity”, EVEN THOUGH you told them you were going. (That’s DAY 3.) Now, try staying there for another 11 days on $0.00. You’ll find out real fast what REAL POVERTY is like–AND you’ll find out real fast if she REALLY loves you or not. (I’m lucky!)

  54. Ricahrd says

    Oh… and John? Im a lazy American… would you post the link to that “buying land” article you mentioned? I’m assuming you have it done by now… If not that’s ok too. tyvm. :D

  55. Paul says

    I am retired us military and did over the course of my career spend some extended time there. I have forgot most of the dialect but remember most of my experienced as it’s been over 15 years now.
    I loved the way of life and have never demanded much to be happy but i want to go back and visit.
    I have a few question. Should i not reveal my us military affiliations?
    2nd Where would a nice starting point be to return to? I might stay long term but most of the advice i see suggest i visit a few times before i make any decisions. Where would a nice place to start off be without being looked at like fish out of water? It’s been a long time but i;m excited to go back and just be who you are without a dollar sign placed over my head.
    Thankyou

  56. Rush says

    I am a Filipino with the skin color and looks to prove it. However, I have been away from the Philippines for ages. Coming back from Europe for the first time, I asked a taxi guy at NAIA the cost of a ride from there to Makati. Answer? $30. I mean, he said 30 as in dollars!! You see my American friends, there are a lot of scammers, liars, cheats, thieves and what have you in the Philippines. But you would be wrong to think that they discriminate who they would rip off!![of course caucasians are the most visible]. As for the complaints about the ladies and inheriting an extended family, that is all true. But it is supposed to work both ways. If you are in need, you can expect help from your wife’s brother, sister, father,mother,uncle,aunt,grandparents & great grandparents. Bottom line, it is imperative that you know the person. Logic should also be heeded. What would a 20-30 year old Filipina want with an aging American/European? Even if you look like Robert Redford, it’s still a no brainer. As many as there are scammers in the Philippines, they are still outnumbered(by a large margin)by decent, sincere, hard working, and loving albeit poor Filipinos.

  57. Ai says

    Hello John,

    As a Filipina in a relationship with a European guy, I would like to share something regarding the scam thing that is rapidly becoming an impression on Filipinas dating non locals.

    My boyfriend and I met while we were both on a holiday with friends in Boracay. He is 4 years older than me. We’ve been together for 4 years.

    As a couple, it’s normal to talk about problems. He has his and I have mine. However, when I would talk about my problems, either rant about something at work or something in the family, he would almost always ask if I need money. I get offended. I mean, I think it’s nice of him to ask if I need money; however, I am not telling him my problems so he could come up with a solution for it. I am well and able. I can work for my own money. I just want him to listen to me rant. We’ve talked about that over and over. Eventually, he was able to understand that not all things can be solved with money. He said, he wants to do something for me and that’s sweet of him. Lending an ear would suffice.

    Perhaps in other cases (my opinion), some guys would actually offer money to the girls they meet online once they hear a sob story. And once things don’t work out, they’d think they were scammed because the girls accepted their help(offer).

    My boyfriend is thinking of moving here later in the year which I think is great! He doesn’t want to live in Manila and I absolutely understand. We were thinking of getting him a place in either Boracay, Cebu, Bohol or Palawan. It depends on which has better internet reception because he works online. I, on the other hand, will stay here in Manila because I don’t want to give up my job. I want to have my own money and I don’t like the idea of having to rely on someone else for my own welfare. Which is why I never moved to Germany when he asked me to. I don’t speak German and probably won’t be able to work for a year and that doesn’t sit right with me. I am not one of those Filipinos eager to leave the country. I’d like to think I am doing better than most 27-year old Filipinas. I have a job with a steady income. I have an apartment. I may not have a lot of money but I believe I have enough. and I love the Philippines!!!!! ^_^

    • Ricahrd says

      You’re like my GF… She doesn’t like taking money, even when she needs it. She doesn’t want to leave fils either. I want to move there, but right now I don’t have the financials to support the move. I actually didn’t fail to recognize these 10 patterns before he posted them (20 years ago, I would have, but I’ve gotten wiser over the years).

    • Jo says

      Hi Ai!

      Im a Filipina too and I’m glad you represent a respectable Filipina! I’m glad you have that kind of attitude in life as I have as well. I have an American boyfriend who decided to visit (finally) the Philippines and actually wanting to know how he could migrate there. I visited him first in the states (twice). I paid for my own trips to see him, and I never asked for money, I’ve given him share on all his expenses as he accommodated me in his house. and he has seen my family via skype and know exactly the culture in my family is through my rants.

      I am an independent woman and I dont believe in leeching someone’s else hard earned money and I won’t allow that happen to my boyfriend when he decides to live here. He’s not a big rich hot shot American and just getting by as much as I do. Its just sad to read about a lot of scammers and giving their sob stories and get money out of them.

      I even told him if ever he wanted to buy a property, yes it would be under my name but we would make a loan agreement that I owe him money, or any legal terms we can come up with just to show my sincerity that I’m not here to scam him. I have that much pride that I can get my own money if I want to. And btw I did just buy my own house and told him he can stay with me until he can find a job/start a business like he wanted. He’s a smart guy and know the precautions, I’m a smart gal and understand his concerns and we both agree on a lot of fair deals, and that favors us both ways.

      I see that you just want a real loving relationship based on trust, spiced up with a little diversity, as do I. So good luck to you and I hope for the best for you both.

      Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!

      Jo

  58. says

    You know John, even before I read this blog I was sure there would be so many of your views I would disagree with. Not because of you but because I just don’t have a lot of faith in opinions as fact as so many would like their views to be. Instead I agree with all but maybe one area. I say maybe because after traveling here for about 8 years and living here for 4 (next month), I am not sure about going out without a family member that knows the place and provides much needed respect from the locals many times. Other than that, I agree completely with you.

    I would say there are a few areas of life here that (I as an American) took for granted was seemingly self hate, many Filipinos carry within their own “race/nationality”. Skin whitening! com-on! I also hear it many times now that I am lucky my daughter isn’t dark skinned….and I am an African American. Oooo!, I could go on about that one but I won’t.

    I’ll speak more about the good I see. For the most part Filipinos are a beautiful people. At least most of the ones I have come in contact with. The ugly American thing seems to only be a cultural difference between our two people. Americans hold high the ability to be frank and straight forward. Anything other than that makes us think you are hiding something. I continue to work at avoiding being too direct but I still hold high being straight forwardness. To me this is a sign of honesty (for the most part).

    My wife (a success story) when it comes to internet relationships, is a teacher by trade and community activist. I am retired with 20 years of community activism under my belt. We came here first because due to injury, I had to retire early so my pension is quite small and secondly and sometimes more important to us, we both want to make a real change in the lives of all Filipinos especially the poor. We have started a learning center and are in the process of building an English speaking church.

    Life is not all that easy financially but I’m sure it would be much harder for us living in the US with my income. Here, we can and have done great things with God’s will behind and in front of us.

    Finally, I would say to anyone reading this that is thinking or considering moving to the marrying a Filipino. Please consider the language and cultural gap. For me, this has and continues to be the stand out when you refer to “cultural shock”.

  59. Sgtschmidt9 says

    Hey I’m currently active duty military I’m married to a filipina we live and work in the us. Well I’m facing a medical retirement from the army looking at a full 100% medical retirement I’m going to be getting around 4-6 thousand a month iv read some of the Articles here but my question is this we are seriously debating moving to the Philippines on a budget like that can I feasibley live a good lifestyle there if we choose to move

  60. Tim says

    Great article! I have been living here only 5 months but am adjusting very well. I think most of it is attitude. Yes, some of the idiocy gets to me sometimes. But hey the U.S. had its share of idiots too ha ha! I’m outside Iloilo in a bamboo house surrounded by roosters, rice fields, unreliable electricity, and bad karaoke. The only thing on your list I am having a problem with is #3. And that is because I have found a great girl! So not too bad.

    I go out all the time and most people are great. I do see the dollar signs in some shop owners eyes when I walk in but you can’t really blame them too much for that. I just have to explain to taxi drivers that I prefer jeepneys. :)

  61. chris says

    Hello.
    I am curious about the philippines.
    I have seen farm land for sale in the philippines and it seems to be very affordable for my wallet.
    I am not interested in working for some company or a shop or any other established market.
    I simply just want to buy some land and move there with my girl and my dogs and live of the land. That is what I am doing right now in sweden but the season here arent long enough to be self sustainable.
    I dont want to produce and sell food for a living, i just want to produce food to survive. I have been working as a farmer for 10 years.
    My income comes from a house where I rent out rooms for students in sweden and from breeding dogs. Do you have to have employment to get a citizenship?

  62. Russell kaufman says

    Hi John,

    Hi, I enjoyed your article. I’d love any info you can provide. My wife lives in Iloilo we’ve been together for 6 years. we are expecting a baby. So we’re so happy. Our plan is to live there. I’m getting capital together and going to buy and build a house for our family. Her whole family also lives there. they Have a nice sized rice fan and lots of land. Also looking into buying a truck and motorbikes. I’m not rich but make a nice living here. And thought I could buy many things and setup what we need. The whole town knows the family and myself. We had a huge wedding in her town. The town mayors, vice mayors, town councilors, were’re our sponsors. They all know we are making the permanent move there. We want to try a market on street, it’s outside of Iloilo, bingowan, and calinog. Rice farm, buy and sell rice, lease farms as I have the capital, grow a big garden. fruit And vegetables. Chicken and eggs and ice, duck, goats. breed and sell caribou goats an chicken. We already have some. Think I could also use truck for hauling and rent myself out. I’m known throughout the towns and all the council members. I’m treated nice but I get the tourist price for now. I’m ready Ana knowing to live the simple life. Have a few luxuries to help with everyday life. a generator i know about Brown outs. Lol. Fridge an freezer. We can own land Cuz my wife is a born citizen and already owns the farm with her sister. Could use info on how I live over there. What process, what do I need to do. Our baby is due April 2. My name is Russell, California, I want out of here as soon as possible. Tired of working 60 hours a week I want to be with my family that’s more important than anything. I know it’s not Paradise, but being with my family is!

  63. says

    Good day John. My boyfriend is planning to move here in the Philippines. He is American. I would like to ask if what visa would be best for him to apply for? And how does it usually work. He is my first foreign and ldr. We’ve met in a photography site. He grew up in Thailand so he has much Asian culture in him :)

  64. ER Halfon says

    I have been offered a job for 2 years in the Philippines. We have offices in Makati and Clark. I have a choice of where to live and it’s pretty much all paid including “best available education” for my children of 4 and 6 years of age. My wife has reservations (50/50) due to change in lifestyle and the unknown. I am a company man and have worked about half a dozen times for two week stretches there so I am a little familiar with what to expect as far as traffic, exchange rates and city vs. country life in general. My question steers more towards safety and assimilation of children into the local school and church chapters. Any thoughts on an old man bringing a young family to the Clark area?

    • says

      Hi ER – At the ages that your kids are, I feel that this is the perfect time to make such a move. If you wait until they are older, the adjustment will be difficult. At ages 6 and 4, they can adjust easily. I know, because I moved to the Philippines with 3 young kids from 8 years old down to 1 month old. My kids adjusted very well, and I feel that living abroad for a while is very educational and will help make your kids more well rounded, and have a positive effect on their lives for now and in the future.

      I say go for it!

      Good luck.

  65. Arthur Netteler says

    Hello all,
    Moved here from St. Louis Missouri, USA in June 2009. We have lived in Quezon City in a big 3 story house since we arrived, my wife Ana’s family home. I am a retired Pilot & Truck Driver (crazy combination I know). Just this past April we decided to get out of the CITY and look for a place in the country (province). After looking around we have decided on Sagay City on Negros Occidental Island (Expat USA friend lives there now). We bought 1500 sq mtr to build on in a little used section of that city. This past August 2013 we broke ground on our “Dream House”. To allow us to buy and finish everything WITHOUT any loans, we elected to make the project last until December 2014 (or sooner…hehehe). We hop back and forth every month to check on the progress of the house (thank you Cebu Pacific “PROMO FARES”).
    Ana and I have been married since March 2005 (PI wedding), and she lived in the USA with me for 3 years. One thing I regret, is that Ana LOVED her job at a Walmart in Festus, MO (small town). There were so many Filipina girls working there it should have been named Pinoy Walmart…lol.. But, we decided to move here with her mother after her dad died suddenly in May 2009. Well, enough bloviating for one message. Thank you for reading…. Art

  66. danielwolf says

    Interesting to read all these thoughts on living in Philippines. I have lived there a few times and I have found myself gradually becoming a bit short tempered dealing with the corruption and the endemic disorganization that one runs into. Having said that, I like the place and haven’t had any remarkable issues with crime or beggars – nothing that I haven’t seen in Canada as well. Crazy, funny things do happen there. I agree that buying land would be a risky venture. Finding a honest woman has been a fail… but then its hard to find an honest woman anywhere.

    I lived in the city and I lived in a gated community and I lived in the village, and I think the gated community was the worst place. I’m not a city boy and village life was actually more interesting than you might think, as well as more violent than you would imagine. Definitely there is risk of violence living in Philippines, especially Mindanao, but so what? If little children there can deal with it, I’m sure I can as an adult man. As well, people in the city are more friendly than in Canadian cities especially if you get out on the street a bit and meet them.

    I have seen some places I would live in Phil… like down in the islands where its beautiful and deadly dull if you don’t bring your own interests. Where there are no blizzards and only the typhoons to worry about.

  67. Tyler says

    John,

    Great blog post, even 4 years later. I am an affiliate marketer so all I really need for work is an internet connection. But my long-term girlfriend (who is interested or at least curious about moving there) wants to do social work. Would she able to find work in the Philipines?

    It seems unlikely but I figured I would ask!

    Can’t wait to read your archives.

    Thanks

  68. David says

    Hello John,

    Good day to you all the way from Atlanta, GA. I’ve been corresponding for quite some time now with a beautiful 24yo Pinay lady and as things are progressing in our relationship, I’ve been exploring in my mind options on how we could be together. She lives in Mindanao with her family near Lala and does have a 1yo daughter who’s father is, evidently, completely out of the picture. Apparently like a lot of young Filipinas, she trained in an academy for nursing but has had no luck finding work due to oversaturation of the job market.

    She has intimated on many occasions that should our relationship advance to the next level, she would be interested in coming to the U.S., with her daughter of course (I wouldn’t have it any other way!). I, on the other hand, am very concerned about her adapting to a life here in the States. I am a Delta Air Lines employee so travel is a non-issue with me. I plan to make my first trip to see her (and I assume her family) in the latter part of March. I will be able to fully assess if I’m being “catfished” and whether or not I would want to pursue taking it to the next level.

    She has vehemently expressed disapproval of me expatriating to the PI’s and says it’s extremely hard to find any kind of work & what work is found pays very little…a sentiment reinforced by your great blog. I guess I’m overthinking the whole situation but I just fear if we did marry and she immigrated here, she’d be the typical guarded “latch-key wife” with no friends and no life outside the home. She’s ambitious, smart and desires to live abroad but Atlanta isn’t exactly what I’d consider a cultural mecca, except for the significant Asian population in the northeast area of the city. I live in the southern part literally next door to Hartsfield Atlanta Airport and my neighborhood is a working middle-class area consisting of black & white people. To my knowledge and observance of people in the area, no Asians nor any other races live here. I’m not too concerned about her child since she’s so young. The only concern I can think of with her is the potential to be harassed about her race after she’s entered the school system. But my potential mate…I just don’t know ultimately how well she would adapt, especially considering the demographics of where we’d be living.

    Bottom line…I want nothing more than for her to be happy, provide a good home and have our own little family. I would appreciate any thoughts & suggestions you may have. Salamat for the great blog, your viewpoints & the time you’ve put into answering all the questions presented.

    • John Miele says

      David:

      Couple of things.

      First off, I would have her checked out since you have never met her in person. Not saying she’s up to no good or anything, but it’s the Internet, and really, anything goes. Bob offers a service like this on this site, and I would do this sooner, rather than later, so you know if everything you have been told is real.

      Secondly, since you plan to reside in the States, you will need to bring her on a fiancee visa… This takes time. And… Paperwork… and… patience. The Interviews are all done at the Embassy in Manila, so you need to be prepared.

      Finally, with all of the OFWs around the world, most Filipinos have at least a rudimentary understanding of other counmtries anbd are somewhat resilient. Working for Delta, convenience to ATL is critical… I understand that. I would say that making certain she has mobility (Teach her to drive, access to a car, etc) is most critical, so she is not cooped up in a house alone all day (and, since you work for an airline, I assume you spend a fair amount of time away from home). That said, I think that contacting Feyma on this site would be best, since she went to the USA to marry Bob, and she lived it.

      • David says

        John,

        Can’t thank you enough for the advice…I will have a check done. I’ll look for how to get it started on the main page but if I can’t find it, can you give me a guide as to its location?

        The fiancee visa procedures I’m actually familiar with…now before you groan & shake your head, I was involved over 10 years ago with a woman from Guatemala. As it turned out, she was after me only for papers. She played a good game and kept everything on the “down low” for over 2 years. After I discovered her true intentions, I had everything stopped immediately. Let’s just say for the sake of speculation, she’s still somewhere in this country illegally. But, I’m aware of the timeframe…and patience…and paperwork…and trips to the embassy…and money! I did it all myself without any legal counsel. I probably should be taken out and horse-whipped for wanting to jump back into another deal like this but, like many others here, American women just don’t do it for me at all! I’ve tried several others in between the Guatemalan–the passion for me just wasn’t there. Can’t change the spots on a leopard…

        Yes, staying close by the airport & our world headquarters is key…there’s so much more oppportunity within the company than anywhere else. I’m a mechanic so I keep fairly regular hours and haven’t had to be gone from home for more than a week. I have a huge lifted 4×4 & a Honda CRV, so I’d say with the CRV, I’ve got the car situation already covered for her. I do want her to drive (locally at first, Atlanta drivers are NUTS!!!) and for her to feel like she can come and go as she pleases. Someone had suggested that I move closer to the Asian population…no one lives in the north part of town & drives all the way to the southern end unless they just love sitting in traffic for 2 hours. I’ve lived in New York and the freeways here can imitate the BQE during rush hour lol.

        I’m not looking for a trophy to put on the shelf and brag to my friends about. I want a life partner. That said, you’re right–I need to practice some due dilligence and get her investigated.

    • JamesC says

      David, First, Filipinos are probably the Most adaptive people on the plane th which is why they Successfully work all over the world. Second, Filipinos network better than any culture/people I’ve ever seen, Regardless of country. They fond each other so easily now via social networks and local Fil- Am societies. If things are good between you She will do fine here in U.S. I live 75 MI north of Seattle and within month my wife arrived here we were hooked up with other similar couples and developed Real friendships along way such that we all are looking to retire to same area in PI in few yrs. If your relationship is solid She will do Great here …so do it If the love and commitment are Real. Im happier than ever Way over my prior Filipina AMERICAN wife. I hit the “lotto” with my asawa

      • Carlos says

        Of course, with that supreme adaptation and the ease with which a newly landed Filipina can connect with others only accelerates the process of her Americanization at the hands of those peers she connects with. This can be a very bad thing, especially if she is significantly younger than you. In my life in the Boston area (before moving to South Florida) I dated first generation filipinas and was very plugged into their quite extensive community through a large group of filipina friends. I saw marriages break up, tons of cheating on husbands, etc. If you think this is the pervue of American women who password protect their smartphones and have 4000+ friends on Facebook, you haven’t seen anything yet. Filipina’s are natural networkers and they are excellent at adapting any situation to their ultimate benefit. As a single man with a professional job in the Boston area, I was so often the beneficiary of this (sometimes at the expense of husbands I wasn’t initially informed even existed) that it makes me want to move back to Boston rather than to the Philippines! Lol! Be careful the situation you create for her and place yourself into. Things don;t always work out the way you imagine they will.

  69. says

    Hi Dave -

    Not to preempt John’s response, my personal OPINION is that the best and quickest way to immerse oneself into a new culture is to jump right into it. There is no doubt in my mind that both she and her daughter will be welcomed with open arms. I find that Americans in urban areas are more open-minded about race and are accepting of immigrants than in the rural areas. If your concern is racial discrimination, I highly doubt it. On the contrary, both mother and daughter will be considered fresh air in a stale room. My guess is that neighbors will be competing among themselves to be your wife’s first and best friend. Yes, even in the lily-white section of Atlanta. Being around other Asians occasionaly is fine, but to be around Asians exclusively does nothing but retard the acculturation process.

    • David says

      I appreciate your thoughts too in the matter. Because of where I work, living anywhere near the Asian community is out of the question. I lived in New York City before transferring here and believe me, there’s a reason why I chose to live 1 exit away from my job.

      And like you said…there’s no better way than baptism by fire, so to speak. I think I’m just overthinking the whole thing. And like John suggested, I need to get her investigated first. The neighbors can wait lol.

      I think I was mainly concerned about the blacks here. I’ve never had any problems and I’m not saying anything would happen but the reverse discrimination that goes on around here can try your patience at times.

  70. Amarjeet Singh says

    Dear Sir,

    I am an Indian National, married to a filipina lady for last 19 years. we are staying in Middle East. We have three kids. Three years ago we started hardware/building material business (its in the name of my wife) and the same is being looked after by my sister-in law. Now we are planning to move to Philippines.
    I want to know from you if I can work or rather say help my wife in the family business officially. Do I need any paper or permit from any department to do so.

    Thanks and regards

  71. Jack says

    Bob I think you have a pretty good understanding of what is required to live a reasonably happy life here in the Philippines.
    I have been living on and off here for the past 18years, the last four years permanently,
    It never ceases to amaze me how many stupid people there are in the world today particularly when I see the antics of some foreigners living here..Some are arrogant, rude, and very badly dressed. One example is the dirty worn-out shorts and tops, slipper brigade you see wandering around the malls etc..These guys tend to give the average foreigner a bad name. How do these guys expect to meet a decent woman when they can’t be bothered to at least smarten up. Lets face it, most decent Filipino women aren’t that desperate.
    My advice is if you are not on a pension or have means to support yourself don’t even think of settling here, you will struggle. If you have means and decide to live here try and get to know the ‘right’ people it can make life a much easier. Having a Filipino partner or friend you can fully trust would be a good start.
    I currently live in an nice upmarket subdivision.The security is good and the surroundings are peaceful, I consider myself lucky….I rent a nice two bedroom two bathroom house at under 22000 pesos a month.Food/eating out,cable,electricity, vehicle costs and internet are around 25000 pesos a month. I spend roughly 5000 a month in airfares/hotels as I travel within the Philippines frequently. I dine out at least three times a week. I have meet expats who brag about paying low rent in some dirty rundown subdivision. These people complain of roosters,and dogs crowing and barking almost continuously not to mention some having their house being broken into more than once..what do you expect, why go down that path in the first place? I guess it is a case of courses-for-horses or whatever rocks your boat..The Philippines is like anywhere else in the world you mostly get what you pay for, it’s that simple. Your buck goes a little further here but then again you will have to use your noodle, be careful!!! As in many other countries a fool and his money are soon parted!!!
    In the last three or four years there has been a hefty increase in food prices but one can still dine at a nice restaurant for less than 300 pesos. Beer costs about 35p and a 750ml bottle of good quality rum or Vodka will cost less than 200 pesos at the supermarket.

    My advice if you are thinking of retiring here is to come and visit for a month or two before making your final decision. You can now stay for 30 days without renewing your visa. if you choose to stay longer you can extend your visa with minimal fuss.
    If you plan to reside here a word of advice, keep your cool, don’t lend money, don’t invest in property, (unless you are prepared to lose it) and avoid discussing politics or religion with the locals.

    Having lived in numerous countries in the past the Philippines is currently my country of choice.

    Jack

    • Daniel says

      I would like to add to Jack’s comments if I could.

      Having lived in gated communities I can honestly say they are the worst places to live. At least in the village people have a little respect for each other… in a gated community its every man for himself and if your neighbor has a problem with your dogs, roosters, ducks, or all night parties then tough luck for him.

      There is no less crime in a gated community – although you may be saved from drive by shootings. I’m not sure drive by shootings are widespread in the Philippines…

      In fact, more than once I have committing crimes while living in a gated community – if going over to the house next door and poisoning their constantly barking dogs at 3 in the morning is a crime. Many the night I planned my revenge on those idiot mutts… while laying awake grinding my teeth in frustration.

      The only advantage to be had there is in knowing who the “loose” women are. Gossip in gated communities is the main form of news and whatever you do – someone will be watching and reporting on your activities…

      • says

        We lived in a gated community for about a year, back around 2004 or so. After a year, we decided it was not for us, and we moved back to a non-gated-community. I would tend to agree with Daniel.

      • John Power says

        Hi Daniel. You say that you ” can honestly say, they are the worst places to live”, that’s just YOUR opinion. Plenty of people love living in “gated communities”. No less crime? Well maybe you know all the statistics of all the “gated communities” in the Philippines, however, I’m at present living in a “gated community”, and I don’t know of ONE crime here. Just as a matter of interest, I never heard then called “gated communities” before. Ours is a village with strict security. WE have been here over two years now. We’v met some really nice neighbours here. They have all worked hard to get where they are now. However, we are still undecided on whether to stay here. We love the peace and quiet here, and the security. But we miss some of the “companionship” in other subdivisions. The main thing we didn’t like before, was the noise of jeepneys and tricycles. I’m sure there’s no need for them to be so noisy. I think the Philippines suffers more from noise pollution than air pollution! I remember when we had visitors, we couldn’t sit outside and have a conversation because of the noise. So right now, we are still deciding what to do. It’s a delicate balance!

        • Daniel says

          Yes of course you are right… not every gated community is the same and some will be far above the rest. I’m wondering, however, if you say you are not in a gated community but rather a village of some kind, why you are saying life in a gated community is so wonderful based on your experience?

        • Daniel says

          Believe me I have learned to sleep with ear plugs. Thats just to get some sleep at night. Its when the noise breaks through that that I get annoyed.

    • JamesC says

      Daniel, What community are you residing in by the way? That sounds like a great deal as you describe it. As you noted more or less, one gets what they pay for there, and most Don’t get what they Want when going dirt cheap. We plan on sampling Antipolo, Cavite, Laguna, Tagaytay and maybe Olongapo areas….wouldnt even mind Baguio for the temps difference and mountains, but prefer closer to beaches and diving.

      • Daniel says

        Cagayon De Oro is a fairly large provincial city – the type I find easiest to live in. Not overwhelmingly big but still possessing most things that a foreigner needs. There is 3 or 4 big malls and a immigration office. Nightlife is varied and caters to the large student population. One interesting development recently has been street bars – casual spots springing up outside convenience stores. Good places to sit and watch the street.

        I stayed in local rooms for rent… often these are illegal apartments situated in flood zones. They are cheap at 1000 to 1500 peso a month and some are quite nice if small. As usual with Filipino housing, they can be hot boxes.

        Bus service is good with two bus stations serving Mindanao. A new airport is located down the coast a ways. CDO has a large Muslim population and a sprawling Muslim outdoor market. Once a week the downtown turns into a night market. Plenty of reasonably priced hotels near downtown.

  72. JamesC says

    Daniel the much easier And better way to deal with the noise is what Ive always done several times per yr visiting family in Caloocan City…Spend a lil $ on some Bose Q10 noise cancelling headphones. Work like a charm. As for varying communities, Ill find out soon enough when we move there and try 3 mos each at various locations and types before making that decision…pros and cons to both. We’ll sell in Seattle and buy in Vegas to have an escape place here just in case as well as aU.S. home base with gguaranteed sun. Live the dream!

    • Daniel says

      The gated community I lived in was located in Cavite, south of Manila a couple hours. A nice area. Since then I have spent more time down in Cagayon De Oro, which is hotter and dryer.

  73. Spyross says

    Hi guys,
    I just come back from the Philippines on the 2nd of June and I feel I want to go back again now.
    I stayed for two weeks in Lapu Lapu city with my gf and it was my best holiday ever.
    I had an apartment with A/C near her family house and we travel around every day with a small bike or we used tricycles… I never felt threatened, never come across a beggar asking for money or anything like that. People were staring at me cause I am a foreigner, different so nothing new there. My gf told me, all Filipino women love to be white, in fact one thing she really didn’t like was to be out in the sun..! How can you do this when you live in a country like that..?
    I realise it is not easy to get a job there unless you can start something on your own… most Filipino have their own little business and I think it’s great!
    The hospitality I received from her family was perfect, very warm people very kind and helpful on everything. I know there are bad guys on every land but also there are good guys too. I definitely would recommend anyone to visit and also I would say that not every woman there is a gold digger or every man is a thief or a beggar.

  74. says

    Hi Every one, will i traveled to the Philippine for few times now and wanted to apply for the ACR I-Card next time i visit there so i could go and come without need to apply for a visa.

    Well to be honest, when i arrive to the Philippines i went out pick up my bags and roll to the road to meet my wife in Manila Airport, and went to the hotel its called The Mabuhay Manor Hotel, the prices are kinda good for a foreigners money, but if your living in the Philippines, its a little expensive, its around 600 peso for a night, any way the next while i was visiting few places where my wife is showing me, and the first taxi we took he told us 900 peso for the drive and my wife was flaming and shouting, we left and took the other one and he did the same thing until my wife told the taxi she will type the taxi number and take it to the i dont know what department is it for this taxi, then he was so scared that he told us ok ok will go with the normal price, hahaha but while we are driving he never give up and he was saying more more more, until we left and give him exact 100 peso only, after a while we where walking on the street and this kid came and ask for a money, and i was thinking oh look at this kid poor thinking its like back home country, and i give him 50 peso, then my wife told me why did you give him, they are scam, she didn’t finish her talk, until this kid when and came back with his family, hahahaha, its funny but its bad, the Philippine government need to do something about this thing, any why, we ignore them and move and they keep on following us maybe for 1 hour and i am are we going to be kidnap today and i swear, i didnt have any watch nothing only a short and the cheap shirt hahaha, until we went in a restaurant and the police there kicked them and he came and told us dont give money to any one like this, and manila, is so dirty, crowded and smoke every where aaaaa, i just wanted to leave for the love of God, so the next day we went to her city, Bicol, Naga, that was totally different, its kinda civilized, shops and clean air and less cars and noise, and i never experience that in Naga only until one time, i was shocked, my wife was inside a shop and i went outside standing, then an old lady came, wearing good cloth, good shoe and an umbrella, stopped beside me and said can you give me money and i was looking around me thinking its the funniest home video show hhahaha, and left her there and went inside, after that every thing is fine, until the day me going back to manilla to travel to the middle east, we took a taxi direct from hotel to airport so i will not be asked for any thing on the way, and it work until i reach the inner part of the airport, and that thing shocked me more, the officer in the airport, wearing the Philippines uniform came and told me Sir. can i talk to you and i went on the side, then he told me Sir, my salary here is 1200 pease and i have a family and didnt eat any thing until now, so can i get some money from you, and i told him, i dont have peso, i spent it all, and he reply and tell me no problem, give me foreigner it will work and he keep on insisting, so instead of him feeling ashamed of him self representing the Philippine in his uniform and he is old, so i got ashamed and just give him so i can reach my plan on time, and thats what happen last time i traveled there, but its ok, i know how to deal with this kinda people next time and hopefully this time i will apply for an ACR I Card, and God be with me and all the people travailing out of there county,

    • Daniel says

      Ha I’m still laughing about your story. You must dress like a real tourist to attract that much attention from the scammers. I think everyone can relate. The security at the airport is the worst for trying it on. I’ve had them ask for “Christmas Presents”, go through my baggage and ask for items they wanted… They will find something that is a bit dicey and try to embarrass you into giving them a “gift”, to smooth things over. Be aware that many standard items such as birth control or pen knives might be considered illegal in customs if they want to make a fuss…

      I started wearing military fatigues and that helped but sometimes backfired. Immigration once tried to herd me onto a bus headed for the army base and I had to duck and weave my way to the GF waiting at the curbside… Too funny.

      Find what works for you with the scammers. Yes many of them are poor and need the cash but that does not mean you have to support them. Maybe that girl does need to feed her child and maybe she just wants a new cell phone – you will never know – but red flag anyone coming up to a complete stranger and asking for money. Don’t make it a big deal.

    • Daniel says

      I’m not sure the ACR card is all of that. Its actually kinda expensive and requires a trip to immigration at least every other month. – or did last time I used it. – The immigration office will try to charge you extra fees to get it and a 50 dollar card will cost more like 200 dollars before you get out. There is a lot to be said for visa runs and if you can get a 6 month visa before your trip that may be the cheapest way. These things keep changing and any other experiences would be good to hear…

      • says

        This is not my experience at all. The ACR card is $50, not a bit more. You have to go to Immigration to file for it, then go back and pick it up. You don’t have to go back to Immigration for ACR purposes for 5 years after that, to renew your card.

        • Daniel says

          Thats interesting… I wonder if it was the immigration office I was going to or if things have changed a lot recently. I could show you the bill they presented me with where the total charge for the card and visa for one month came to just about 250 dollars Canadian. That was at the CDO office. I could not believe it either and refused to pay it – making a small scene. I walked out without paying and took a slow boat to Maylasia on a visa run instead. Cost as much as the card but I didn’t have to pay immigration. I figured they were trying to rip me off and looks like I was right. So much for the anti-corruption force….

          • says

            Ah, your story has changed, though, Daniel. Last comment you said that it was $200 for the ACR card, now you say it also included a 30 day Visa extension. I think you might be confused, because there is no 30 day visa extension. In the past there was a 38 day extension and a 59 day extension, depending at what stage of the visa process you were at. The new longer stay visas have different timelines.

            • Daniel says

              Do I need my lawyer? I said “more like 200 dollars” in my first statement which is true. It also was almost 250 dollars as I said in the second statement. Is that a discrepancy? I believe its just another way to say the same thing… possibly a refinement of the number. But whatever.

              Yes the charge included a visa extension for the 3 weeks I had left before my flight…

              If we take the information from this site – http://www.foreignerinphilippines.com/2010/11/tourist-visa-extensions-in-the-philippines-duration-and-cost/

              -quote

              After that you will have stayed a total of 59 days and if you want to stay longer, you can apply for an extension for one or two months. So this first Visa Extension (the previous one was actually a Visa Waiver) costs P4,860 for two months, or about $120 US dollars. You will also have to apply and pay for an ACR I-Card at this time, which is basically a temporary ID card for foreigners. You can read more about the ACR I-card and the advantages of having one in the post entitled, “Philippines ACR I-card, What Is It, and Why Do I Need It?“. So the cost for the visa extension will be P4,860, about $120 US dollars and the ACR I-card costs P2,200 or $50 US dollars, so the total, including the I-card, is P7,060 or about $170 US dollars.

              Most people will extend for the maximum two months every time so I will assume that you are too. If you are extending for one month only, subtract P500.

              -end quote

              Accordingly the fee should be less than 155 US dollars. About that time US dollars and Canadian were about at par.

              So when I say I was asked almost 250 Canadian dollars it appears to have been substantially higher than what it should have been. I recall there was addition fees asked for a “residency” charge that I never heard of before…or since.

              Also I remember noticing that the fee for the card was far more than 50 dollars, I made note of this because I checked the official web site which claimed it was only 50 dollars and no more, while they were asking for about twice that.

              If you feel you need exact numbers I can look up my records and see if I still have that bill…

        • Daniel says

          Talk about misleading information! You may not have to go back to renew your card for 5 years but you still have to constantly renew your visa, at least every 2 months. The way you write it up people would think your good for 5 years.

          No one goes in to just get a card. They go in when their visa expires and are informed at that time they need to purchase this card. The fee will never be just for a card… it will be for a card and visa extension… You should know this.

    • says

      Welcome to the Philippines, Wael!. Six hundred pesos (USD 13.00) a night at Mabuhay Manor Hotel? What dd they have in the room for a bed, a banig (woven mat) on the floor and a tabo and a bucket of water in the bathroom? LOL Just kidding. You’re lucky to have flown out of the country with the shirt still on your back. The last time I visited, relatives in the province asked me for my watch, even the shoes I was wearing.

      One day at Robinson’s mall in Manila, I was sitting outside Starbucks when a pretty, young lady sidled up to me, and with a sultry smile asked if I would like to go with her to have a good time. This, while my wife was just a few feet away inside the store ordering coffee. I was reminded of a scene in the movie, “Full Metal Jacket”.

      Da Nang Hooker: Hey, baby. You got girlfriend Vietnam?
      Private Joker: Not just this minute.
      Da Nang Hooker: Well, baby, me so horny. Me so HORNY. Me love you long time. You party?
      Private Joker: Yeah, we might party. How much?
      Da Nang Hooker: Fifteen dollar.
      Private Joker: Fifteen dollars for both of us?
      Da Nang Hooker: No. Each you fifteen dollar. Me love you long time. Me so HORNY.
      Private Joker: Fifteen dollar too beaucoup. Five dollars each.
      Da Nang Hooker: Me sucky-sucky. Me love you too much.
      Private Joker: Five dollars is all my mom allows me to spend.
      Da Nang Hooker: Okay. Ten dollar each.
      Private Joker: What do we get for ten dollars?
      Da Nang Hooker: Every t’ing you want.
      Private Joker: Everything?
      Da Nang Hooker: Every t’ing.

      :)

  75. says

    hahaha Thanks, Danial, MindanaoBob, john, well yea i know its funny, but every thing is fine, Danial, i was really wearing a normal cloth not a tourist but maybe every country have its way of looking and every first time have its consequences hahaha. and i think the next time you want to look up its better to go to the government website, its the best place to get correct info..

    Mindanaobob, yes, it is, i saw it here http://www.immigration.gov.ph/index.php/services/alien-registration/acr-i-card-issuance – it say the following:

    ALIEN CERTIFICATE OF REGISTRATION IDENTITY CARD (ACR I-CARD) ISSUANCE

    Who can apply?
    All foreign nationals who are visa holders of Temporary Visitor’s Visa or Tourist Visa who have stayed for more than fifty-nine (59) days in the Philippines
    Where to apply?
    BI Main Office
    Other Immigration Offices (Click here to see the list of offices authorized to process this transaction)
    What to bring?
    1. Checklist with complete documentary requirements

    2. Application Form
    How to apply?
    ACR I-Card application must be submitted together with the application for visa.
    How much does it cost?
    USD 50.00
    Plus Php 500.00

    *Fees are updated as of 06 March 2014 and may change without prior notice.

    But what i want to ask is, when i land in manila, can i go apply for it directly, and how many days it will take to be issue ? and other then the application to fill, what is the required document ? and as what you said this card is renew every 5 years only , thats great,

    John, no the hotel was perfect, great bathroom, bed, clean, it was on offer that time, if you go there ask for it and you will thank me later….. i will try to watch that movie hahaha.

    Thanks Guys

    Danial, MindanaoBob, john, where are you located in Philippines, maybe when i visit there we can make a foreigners night hahahaha, i am in Naga city

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