Since the time that I originally published this article, Bud Brown did indeed leave the Philippines for a time, but now he is back again! Bud is now living in Dumaguete City. Bud is doing a lot of Video Blogging these days, and you can check out his YouTube Channel!
Today, I am interviewing Bud Brown. I first became aware of Bud a couple of years ago when I saw a video of him speaking Tagalog. I can’t speak Tagalog, but I can speak Bisaya. It kind of intrigued me to see Bud’s video, so I tracked him down and became friends with him. The rest is history. Bud has been living in the Philippines for a while, but will soon be leaving to start a new chapter in his life. Let’s see what Bud has to say!
What is your name, and can you tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Bud Brown. I was born and raised in California. In 1971 while I was in the U.S. Navy, I served as a English/Vietnamese interpreter. I went back and forth from Vietnam to the Philippines. While in the Philippines I fell in love with a young lady who cleaned my off-base apartment. A few months later, when my tour of duty was over, I sent for her to be with me in the States. I promised myself that, one day, I would return to the Philippines and maybe retire there. Thirty-eight years later, in 2010, my wife and I put all of our belongings in storage and moved to the Philippines.
How long did you live in the Philippines?
We have presently been living here in the Philippines about 2 1/2 years.
What did you like or dislike about living in the Philippines?
Like all things in life, there are good and not-so-good memories. I especially like our neighbors. We’ve passed through a lot of life’s milestones with them. Birth, death, marriage,baptisms, rites of passage for the young men and young women, school graduations, too many to mention. As a retired teacher, I really enjoyed helping the children with their studies.
I’m afraid most of my not-so-good memories have to do with the “foreigners” that live here. They do not have a good reputation because of arguing with the locals (bullying), flashing money around, and having a general attitude of arrogance. Because of this, when I first arrived, I was thrown into this stereotype and was expected to act the same as the other foreigners. I am proud to say, now, that I’m known in our little town as “Kuya” (big brother), the Amerikano who speaks Tagalog and Cebuano and lives the Filipino lifestyle.
I have to admit, Bud, I have probably lived both sides of the life you describe. My early years here, I was more toward the “bad expat” kind of guy, but I mellowed out and am more of the “Kuya” that you describe now. I’m enjoying the nice guy a lot more!
Transportation is cheap. Food (not imported) is cheap. Health care is cheap. Dental and medical expenses are low. Medication is NOT cheap.
What made you decide to leave to the Philippines?
My wife and I have decided to leave the Philippines in about three more months (September 2013). Our lives together has been one adventure after another, and we consider this 2 1/2 year stay in the Philippines to be one of the greatest adventures in our life. After I retired from public school teaching (I taught 6th grade for 20 years) we moved to Mexico. We were there for two years, then we decided to move on. Now, we both feel that we are ready to spend time in another country and another culture. Nothing in particular is causing us to leave (although my wife says she’s looking forward to a cooler climate.)
Adventure in life is a good thing, Bud, it helps keep us happy and young!
Did you encounter anything unexpected when you moved here? What was your biggest surprise?
The wonderful thing about our lives here in the Philippines ARE the suprises!
I woke up one morning to a cockfight in our front yard (it turned out to be just a “practice”).
I woke up another morning to, what I thought, was a baby crying outside my window. It was a baby goat calling its mother. I asked my wife where did the goat come from? She said it was payment for a massage (hilot) from our neighbor.
One day my brother and I went to “swim with the whale sharks.” When the time came, and I saw how huge they were, I stayed in the boat. Because the top half of our walls are woven bamboo, light (and noise) passes through unobstructed. That took some getting used to. I’ve also gotten used to taking cold showers, walking in flip flops and sitting not too far from a fan.
Where did you live in the Philippines?
We have spent our entire time in Dalaguete, Cebu. When I first moved here I had the intention of doing a lot of island hopping. But time has passed and I’ll have to do that another time.
Were you happy there?
I am very happy here. However, I’ve learned that others don’t see life as I do. I’ve had foreigners tell me I was “naive” and that I ignored the negatives in life. Maybe it’s true. I choose to be happy where ever I live. And here, I believe you have a choice to focus on the positive or the negative. I choose to be happy and I am.
Did you have any regrets that you can share with us?
My main regret is I didn’t get to see as much of the Philippines as I would have liked. But I do plan to come back and do more traveling. I also regret that our grown children and grandson didn’t get the opportunity to visit us while we are living here. Hopefully one day they will experience the homeland of their mother.
Is there anything else you want to tell us about your life in the Philippines?
I would like to tell your readers that, if they are planning to come to the Philippines, for a short while, or for long term, to please bring your best manners and common decency. The Filipino people are good people, kind and loving people. Common courtesy is always appropriate. Learn, at least some, words in Tagalog or Bisaya. This will be well worth your time. Be open minded, open to different ways of thinking, to different values and different beliefs. I believe this will enhance their experience tremendously.
Bud, I found that learning the language changed my life! It improved my enjoyment of life immensely. Best thing I ever did!
Bud, thank you for taking the time to do this interview! I have enjoyed knowing you over the years, albeit only over the Internet. Hopefully some day we will have a chance to meet in person and trade a story or two! Good luck on your continuing adventures!