Culture Shock – Continued

I was amazed at the difference in many things in the Philippines, which I did not see in the same way in the United States. The first thing I will discuss here is what amazed me the most, and can be quickly understood by those that have either visited or live in the Philippines. With one word you will know what I mean. Housing. I have never personally experienced the type of living conditions that some people, probably more than I saw, live under. I want everyone to understand that I am not looking down on anyone for living in the types of houses I saw. I know that many are simply victims of being born into a poverty stricken country. I don’t know that I want to get into the politics of it all either, because I just don’t know enough to talk about the topic without sounding like an idiot. This article is simply to show the shock in a new experience and MY THOUGHTS about those experiences.

Housing

Payag

Payag

The housing situation I saw, while not a positive thing, is something I found shocking. To see that people with no or very little money were living in houses that appeared to be built out of metal, wood, or whatever else was found on the ground. The houses were built much like I would have built a fort in the woods to play in as a child. Yet, these are used as a home for a family. And the biggest shock to me was that many of these homes were built right next to what appeared to be a multi-million peso home. When I returned home and looked into things more, I found out about squatters, and the trouble it takes to get them off land. I know that would be easy to remedy here in the U.S. If you have money, many things can be remedied with ease. Now that I have been introduced to, and educated a little on squatters, I have a different feeling towards what could happen to me and my wife should we decide to buy land in the Philippines. I think walls and security guards might not be a bad idea.

Technology

Being from the U.S. and being fairly uneducated about the Philippines, I found it amazing that just about everyone had a cell phone. If I were to sit in the park in the U.S. and watch the number of teenagers or adults walk by me with telephones in hand I would not be surprised at the large number that would have them. My ignorance of the technology in the Philippines is what caused my culture shock. I didn’t know that you could buy a phone, and simply buy minutes as you went. In the U.S., we have it, but you buy large blocks of time. In the Philippines you can buy enough for just one or two texts. And then, to find out that you don’t get charged for the text or the phone call you receive caused me to be completely astounded! Are you kidding me? It costs me not even one peso? That is awesome!! The U.S. really screwed the pooch on this one. Why is it that I get charged because someone else decides to call or text me? Is that fair? NO!!! The U.S. could really learn a thing or two from the Philippines in this regard, as far as I am concerned. AND… NO CONTRACTS!! If I don’t like a carrier in the Philippines I can just change the SIM card! How awesome is that!? I’m really looking forward to dumping my Verizon phone and get something better in the Philippines!

Food

Adobo

Adobo

All I have to say is WOW! Ok, I’ll elaborate a little on that one. The food is COMPLETELY different than I was raised with. It has different ingredients, it’s cooked differently, and let me just say… almost everything I ate was awesome! I will say that some things I did not like, but I later found out that it contained the most dreaded and foul ingredient known to mankind… LIVER! LOL!! I don’t like liver. Never have. My mother used to try to hide it in our food, and when we realized it was there, she would say how good it was for us. Well, that just made me hate it more! So, needless to say, the pancit which I thought was horrid, was not eaten by me again until I returned back to the U.S. and tried some of her Aunt’s, which did not contain liver. That made me a pancit liver, I mean LOVER! Adobo! Anything adobo is good! Chicken Adobo! Pork Adobo! Beef Adobo! Green beans adobo! Cabbage adobo! If it has adobo in the name of the food, I’ll probably love it! And what is with the roasted chicken over there? It was like cocaine!(which I’ve never had, but have heard stories) Once I had one from a vendor, I wanted more! And I mean I wanted more right then! That was the best chicken I have ever eaten in my life. And if my Aunt Rose reads this, I am sorry, but it was better than your country fried chicken too! And let me tell you something folks, that is saying something! Pizza. Hated it! What is with the cheese over there? I know this has been mentioned in some other articles, but I seriously need to find a decent pizza place wherever I decide to live because I like me a nice pizza pie once in a while! I could go on and on about the food. Most of it was very good. In fact, I eat it most every day back here in the states, thanks to the cooking abilities of my wife. She is a great cook, and makes some great food. I will even say that she cooked up a calf liver and I was actually able to swallow it. My disgust for liver puts this as a miracle, and the Vatican should probably be contacted.

Friendliness

Friendly Filipino

Friendly Filipino

I know I have already discussed how nicely I was treated, but I can’t say enough just how much nicer the Filipino people are than the people I run into in the Detroit area. I’ve been to the south, and they are some very nice people. Very hospitable, and very generous with what they have. But, it doesn’t even come close to the kindness and generosity of those I came across in my stay in Pangasinan, or my day trip to Baguio. I was going to write a different article about something that happened to me last week, but I’ll include it here. My wife and I went to our “local” Filipino food store, 35 miles away from home. We go there to get our Filipino specific supplies. While there, we are always greeted with warm hellos from the worker, and usually the workers Mom, or one of their children. On this day, there were a few other Filipinos in the store. I’ve started taking up habits from every other Filipino I’ve met, which is to start up a conversation with a complete stranger. This is not something I would have EVER done prior to meeting my wife, but I will say that it is truly a blessing. On this day, I met a very nice man named Levy, who is working here in the states. He is from Iloilo City, and I told him my wife was from Pangasinan near Dagupan City. We discussed my short trip there and how much I loved it. Of course, I had to tell him I was retired and that we would be moving there next year. We talked about owning land, and his desire to return home to buy some land and be self sustaining on a small farm, and I discussed my desire for the same thing. We discussed foods there, and what we missed most. I told him Kang Kong, and he told me where and when to get the fresh greens!! I don’t know how many Americans would tell you where to find something as rare in this area of the U.S. as kang kong, but Levy shared this information with me! This happened at a time when I was beginning to feel down trodden because of our eventual move. So, his kindness, friendliness, and generosity brought back to my heart and soul why it is we want to move there. It was a blessing, in the form of a Filipino OFW. A man who was working here to provide for his family back there, and hoping to return one day to the very thing I am hoping to do myself! It was, a good day!


Transportation

Where else can you get a taxi/bus to take you across the city for under 20cents? I don’t know of any! While in the Philippines I never rode on a tricycle, or a jeepney. I regret this. Why? Because this is something that, culturally, IS THE PHILIPPINES! The Philippines is more than this, of course, but it is definitely known for it. So, why not do it when I get there next year? I’ve heard wicked bad things about the suspension in those jeepneys, and my back might not be able to take it. I don’t want to spend three days in traction to recover from something as culturally awesome as a jeepney ride. Who knows though, maybe I’ll have a good day with my back, and take a short ride, with my van following behind me in case it hurts too much! As for a tricycle, I’m actually thinking about buying one. My wives family can use it more than I would, but it would allow me to try it, even if it’s only for a short distance.

Family

Anyone there understands what this means without me having to describe it, but for those that have yet to experience it, I will do my best. If you take the most luxurious blanket you can find, and put it in the dryer to become warm, and you wrap yourself up in that blanket on a cold day… the feeling you get from that blanket is what it was like to have family as close as they are in the Philippines. They are a comforting group of people in your life that while you may fight, argue, or get angry, you KNOW that when they are needed, they will be there. I come from a law enforcement background, and that is what it is like with my LEO family. I am sure it is much the same for firemen, and military, and shipmates of all types. Because you know that when your life, or someone else’s is on the line, they will be right behind you, next to you, or in front of you to help you out. That is what I felt when I was in the Philippines.

Costs

I was amazed at the cost of everything I saw. Not everything was cheaper, which is what my ignorance expected. Vehicles are RIDICULOUSLY expensive. A 100% luxury tax for a car? Seriously? This is one thing I have a problem with. I think this is ridiculous. Why is this a law? Where does the money go? I know nothing about import/export, but it seems to me that you would want people to be able to afford to buy a car. Lower the import tax, and more people might buy them. Maybe I’m wrong here, but I know I would be more open to the idea. As it stands, I MIGHT buy a USED van. Definitely not new. WAY too much money for my blood. I can understand the traffic in Manila possibly being a cause, but I think this one is political in nature. Someone’s pocket is getting lined with some cash, and it sure as heck isn’t the common Filipino! Now, some things were cheaper, which is great. I intend on living as much like a Filipino than an American, so my expenses should stay low. Aircon bill – NOT INCLUDED!

Children

Filipino Kids

Filipino Kids

I have never in my life seen so many children! They seemingly come from everywhere and nowhere all at once. The best thing, is they all come out smiling, and happy, and I wasn’t asked for a single thing by any of them. Not once. They simply wanted to see, but NOT COME NEAR, the white man! This is something I was not used to. In the U.S., children loved me. They hung around me, talked with me, and generally, liked me. Babies especially. In the Philippines, the smaller they were, the more they wanted NOTHING to do with me. They were literally SCREAMING in my arms. ???? What did I do? It turns out, they’re not used to seeing a white guy, with no hair, as big as I am, with a fire red goatee. Hmmm. I guess I would be scared too. Demonyo!!! No, I’m not the devil, but they might have thought it. The older ones would come around me, and poke me(I don’t know what that was about, maybe a dare to touch the big Kano), and I did have one fan. My new niece. She was three at the time, and a little sweetheart. She followed me around everywhere I went, but never got too close. We had a good time together after she got used to me a little, and I even got her to laugh a few times! She found a place in my heart, and I found a place in hers. I know because she asked her Mom if she could go home with me to the U.S. She is an adorable little girl, who is now six and still wants to live with us.

I’ll end this article now, with a special note to my LiP friends. I want to thank you all for reading my articles, and sharing a little bit of your life with me in your comments. I believe this site to be a sort of support group for those in the Philippines, and those wishing to be there soon. It warms my heart each time I read and article from one of you, or read a response to one of my articles.

Until next week, Paalam, ingat, and God bless.

Attention Readers, Editor’s Note

As an experiment, I am including a computer generated podcast of this article.  Please mention in the comments what you think about this, whether you like it or not, so that I can decide if I will include such a podcast with all site articles in the future.  If you like it, I will consider doing that for future articles.  Thank you!  MindanaoBob

Post Author: Scott Fortune (55 Posts)

At the time of this writing, I am 42 years old. I’ve been married to my Filipina wife since December 2009. She is from the Province of Pangasinan, Philippines. I was born and raised in the Metro Detroit area in Michigan. I’ve worked in many fields throughout my short career, mostly in Architecture, computers, and law enforcement. I’m medically retired from the U.S. Government due to a back injury and look forward to our move to the Philippines. My interests here were yard work, guns, and hanging out with friends. But because of my back injury, I’ve had to shorten what I can do to just hanging out with friends. Not a bad thing when you’re retired, right!? Also, I’m sure I’ll find some new interests when I get to the RP. We don’t yet know where we will be moving to exactly, but I expect it to be on the main island of Luzon. I look forward to moving there, getting healthier, and experiencing island life.


Comments

  1. JC says

    Hi Scott, good show on the difference of life in the Philippines. I was embarrass to take a lot of pictures on my first trip their.Did not want to make the people feel bad on how they lived. Meeting my wifes family for the first time it was great, and they made me feel like I was part of the family. Now that 6 years has past I feel just as close to them as ever. We go over to the Philippines every 2 years, Love the Philippines……….

    • Scott Fortune says

      JC, I too felt like I was a bit of a nosey person when I tried to take pics of those less fortunate than myself. Which, was many. Bob put these photos on here as a reference, however, some photos shown on my articles will be my own. If I have some that will be in tune with the story, I will be sure to include them more. But, I felt much as you did. Like I should not take them. However, looking back now, I know that they are a proud people, and they are happy with life, not with what they have.

        • Scott Fortune says

          That is true! I didn’t realize until I was there for a while. They were taking pioctures, just to be in them. After being married, I know they just search for a photo op!!! Oooh… nice lamp, take a photo with me next to it. LOL!

          • RandyL says

            Bob, Scott ~ There must be some trickle of Japanese blood running through their veins. Either that, or they are eating the same fish! I’m sure you remember that the Japanese have been the brunt of all photo-bug jokes since the invention of the camera. I remember one that goes: How can you tell your looking at a Japanese tourist? It is usually small, black and hanging from the shoulder of a person that bows and says “arigato.”

  2. corjo says

    When I go to the Islands off Samar I get a fan club of kids who follow me calling Hey Joe, and whats your name?I just chase them catch one and pretend to take them home for my dinner.But on one survey I had a fellow engineer from Canada who could just not cope with being called Joe for days he kept telling me but im not American im Canook why cant they understand that? Its funny how an innocent situation can bring things to the surface.
    I guess most westerners are not too comfortable with the family closeness you relish.I must admit I escape for several hours each day for my alone time.
    Any ideas on how you will occupy yourself once you get there?

    • Scott Fortune says

      To be honest Corjo, until I met and married my wife I was pretty much alone. Don’t get me wrong, I had family, and lots of friends. I even had nieces and nephews, all within close range of me. What I found to be troubling is that while I lived only a few miles(kilometers) from where they lived, nobody came to visit. If they wanted to see me, they would ask me over. I was more than happy to oblige, as I loved seeing them. However, upon further thought, it began to troule me that nobody would come to my house. To this day, I don’t know why. I had a nice apartment from the time I went out on my own. Furniture to sit on, drinks and food for my guests. But, they didn’t come over. So, when I bought a house and moved further into the country I was surprised at how many people were upset of the distance I woudl eb from them. It is the mentality of the Americans(sorry everyone) to complain about things of this nature, even when they know they woudl not make the venture to come to visit even when I was living closer. So, the move was made for me, and me alone. Just like my move to the Philippines is being made for myself and my wife, and not for anyone else.

      Thanks for your story too. Canadians seem to not understand that they are Americans too. Just not U.S. citizens! :)

      • RandyL says

        Scott, as a bred and born American and the oldest of 6 siblings, I too have noticed the long term disintegration of the family connection. Years ago, both sides of our large family were close and regardless of our location from one another, always came together for gatherings and events. Today, if it weren’t for facebook, I wouldn’t know a relative (almost) if they walked up to me and introduced themselves. I believe it is a type of “selfishness” that has become an inherent part of our upbringing here in North America (not to leave out our American neighbors to the north). Anymore, everything seems to be about “me…me…me” and the demands of participating in both “success and society” in this part of the world has stripped the latest generations naked of the things that used to be most important and cherished in our culture…. hard work, consideration for others , and ‘Family Time’. These days it increasingly seems we don’t have many of these important cultural importance’s left – until you visit the Philippines – where they seem alive and well, and ever more important to those of us that miss and need them. Enjoyed your story…keep on posting!

        • Scott Fortune says

          Randy, I could not have put it into words any better than you did. This is exactly how I feel. And my family, as with many others I am sure, always say, “we need to get together more” but it doesn’t happen. People don’t show up for weddings anymore, or even funerals. My church wedding two years ago showed me who actually cared for me. With over 200 guests invited, and about 50 in attendance, I quickly realized just how little I meant to my “friends and family”. Had it been in the Philippines, we would have had MANY more than what was invited! LOL! My point is that people take the time to be in your life, and don’t make excuses. “It’s too far! My kids are cranky! I’m having a bad hair day!” What you mean to say is, you’re not important enough in my life to make the effort.

          And you’re right, I need that closeness that we once had here. We had it
          when I was young, but it died away with the older generations.

          • Todd (Gillracing) says

            Scott and Randy,

            Reading your post here is so true and hits me straight in my heart! I though it was just me but I’m finding out more and more I’m not alone in this. I too use to have a family and friends that got together all the time like every weekend but things have changed i too have friends well at least i though i did and my family have drifted apart more and more every year. I have been to the Philippines 3 times so far in my life, been married 3 times (1) American woman for 26yrs. (2) Filipinos women, first one didn’t work out (just too different) but my new wife today is totally different from the first one she comes from a very good family they live on outer skirts of Bislig City in the country, a loving family as a matter of fact if she had it her way we would be living there now in the Philippines but i have a few years to go before i retire unless i win the lottery or something i can’t afford to move just yet. We didn’t have a wedding here in the states for that reason a lone why waste money on a wedding when no one will come anyways right! I rather spend my money there in the Philippines where they appreciate everything and what you do for them even if they not ask for anything so we are going back in a year or so and have a big wedding there for my wife’s family to enjoy it more than anyone here. What I’m getting at is i love the people and the way things are in the Philippines, I can do without a lot of the nicer things i have now. America is going down the drain fast been here all my life and it isn’t getting any better. I love my new wife and her (now my new daughter) if no one comes to see me it really doesn’t matter because i have a loving family at home now that have real family values.

            • RandyL says

              The really sad part of this selfishness is displayed by family and friends and is most obvious from the comments I draw when I announce my intentions of retiring to the Philippines. I’ve heard “Oh, that’s nice” or “Really, why?” Then there is the “Your kidding, right?” and the “why would you want to do that?” Occasionally I’ve heard “You won’t like living there.” Mostly I get wide-eyed, naive, blank stares and never a congratulations or well wishes. All this from people who have never set foot in the Philippines and are too busy to comb their own hair. My generic response to those type answers —– ‘You can contact me through facebook, and I’ll likely respond when I return from the beach, whenever that may be!’ ;)

              • PapaDuck says

                Randy,
                You said it correctly. Everyone is too busy to comb there own hair. That is the main reason things have changed so much here. Everyone is so busy with there lives that they don’t have time for anyone else or to do anything.

  3. Jim Hannah says

    Hi Scott, I love your style of writing, it certainly intrigues.

    Picked up on something you said though…in the US you get charged for receiving calls and texts? I traveled widely, but never heard of this before.

    Best regards,

    Jim

    • Scott Fortune says

      Jim,

      With a cell phone, depending on the service plan you sign up for, you can be charged for receiving all calls and text messages. I have a plan, which I pay more for, that allows unlimited texting, in or out for free. My phone calls are slightly different. I am charged for all calls during the daytime until 9pm, at which time they are free incoming or outgoing. The only time my calls are otherwise free is if they are going to or coming from a caller using the same phone service as me. Now, my plan for umlimited texting also provides for a small amount of free calls during what is called peak time, which is between the hours of 6am and 9pm. I think mine is about 600 minutes. So, after I use those 600 minutes I am then charged a PRIME rate, which is something like 35 cents per minute. I can watch my usage and if it starts to approach max usage, we stop accepting or making calls during peak times. Thankfully however, most of my family are using the same cell phone service, so those calls are free 24/7.

      Help you understand? I personally don’t see why I should have to pay when someone else wants to talk to me. What if the person calling is someone I don’t like?? :)

      • Jim Hannah says

        Hi Scott, thanks for the explanation. It’s a bit similar to Australia/UK in terms of what your plan allows in minutes/sms etc, but there is no occasion when you have to meet charges for incoming calls or texts. (The one exception to that being if you “sign up” to a premium text service which sends you informational texts). I think the telco’s want to focus on encouraging people to make calls, not discouraging recipients from answering them!

        Have a great day, and keep up your posts, I’m enjoying them.

  4. Loren Pogue says

    Hey Scott, sounds like you really enjoyed you trip. Good Post. By the sounds of your comments I think you will be an asset Kano in the Philippines. The poor living conditions do tug at the hart but the people seem to make the best of it. They do have very good Pizza in Olongapo so if you really get the hungaries for pizza you can take a little trip and fill up.

    • Scott Fortune says

      Loren, if I have to drive to Olongapo for pizza from Pangasinan, I’m going to be in trouble. I think I’d just give it up, and switch to something else Filipino. I love prettty much anything adobo, so maybe they should start up some sort of adobo pizza place. :)

      • RandyL says

        Scott, as a pizza lover myself, I just look at it this way – the less pizza I eat, the better off I will be! My new Filipino Logic! ;)

    • Scott Fortune says

      Ok… I just answered a comment about pizza and said I love just about everything adobo. I need to clarify this now… NO ADOBO LIVER!!! Ahh, who knows, I might like it. If someone makes it for me, I’ll try it. I won’t say that it won’t end up in a napkin or in the trash, but I guess I can try it.

      • El Moro says

        Nice and fun to read articles you have here again Scott. Since you love adobo and kangkong you might love Adobo Kangkong too. The recipe is not complicated and your wife can cook it for you am sure. A way much healthier than meat adobo. Love it for dinner, being light and contains lots of fiber. Looking forward to reading more articles from you in the coming days. Thanks.

        • Scott Fortune says

          I’ve had cabbage adobo, brocolli adobo, and green beans adobo. I love it all. Just keep the liver away from me! LOL!

    • RandyL says

      Roxas Ron, my asawa makes a version of grilled chicken liver adobo which is to die for (Scott will obviously live awhile longer). She will marinade it like preparing adobo then stir fry it with onions or grill it (my preferance). I just have to watch the cholesterol intake with so much liver but I will snack on it as polutan with beer.

  5. Turner says

    Hi Scott, I really enjoyed your article! I will be going to meet my girlfriend and her family this month if I am able to get there with this typhoon? My girlfriend and her family is very poor! She is very shy about the way they live , but proud she helps her mother and raised two boys by herself for 16 years! still sending one to school! She tried to get a cr (bathroom) put in her house for me, but ran out of money! She asked if I didn’t mind using her brother’s next door? I fiqure its gonna be like living in a hooth again like Vietnam? I am prepared to accept and deal with what ever comes? The love & dedication she has shown me for the last eight months will be worth the trip! Keep the articles coming I enjoy them!

    • Scott Fortune says

      They are VERY proud, and the way they help their family is commendable! As for the CR, I sweated so much while visiting with my wifes family I never had to use it. They questioned me about it later, and I told them you don’t need to pee when you’re sweating buckets of fluids. I do know they have one though. A friend of ours paid to have a CR built when he went there. It only cost him about $500 he said. He married the girl, and I know it meant a lot to them, as well as to them to be able to help them out. They always used their grandmothers who lived next door.

      Happy tripping! Hopefully the water will receed and your trip can continue. Are you going to the provinces for your trip? If so, be prepared for some beautiful scenery!

  6. says

    For anybody who is interested, I have now set this post up so that you can listen to it as an audio. Just go to the article, go down to the bottom of the article (before the comments) and click on the “start” button in the podcast area. I hope you like this new feature.

  7. says

    For anybody who is interested, I have now set this post up so that you can listen to it as an audio. Just go to the article, go down to the bottom of the article (before the comments) and click on the “start” button in the podcast area. I hope you like this new feature.

  8. Robert says

    Hi Scott,
    Nice going again, fun to read. When the kids poked at you, it may have been they just wanted to touch you. Just before my wife and I were married, we visited family friends in another city. They had a young daughter, about 8 or 9, who played guitar and sang for us while we ate lunch in their home. I remember thinking what amazing talent and so adorable. After the meal the adults sat talking in the living room and I felt my cheek being touched. It was the little girl who had crawled up next to me. She had such an innocent look, I just smiled at her. My wife told me later she had never seen a white guy in person before and wanted to know what my skin felt like.
    Your description of the Philippines family… “warm blanket on a cold day.” Very nice.

  9. Scott Fortune says

    Robert, thank you for your kind words regarding my article. I try to write from the heart and bring into bacl and white what is deep within myself. My feelings are something I have always had trouble discussing, but putting them into writing has always been easier for me.

    I think you are right too about the children poking/touching me. I know they had seen white guys before, but none that looked like me. And all white guys they had seen had been shaved, and not with a blazing red goatee. I have photos that I should have shared here of me holding children. Their parents wanted photos of me holding them, so I obliged them of course. I have one of a newer baby, maybe only a few months old at the time, just SCREAMING! What I do remember about this baby girl is that she had the LARGEST black eyes I have ever seen! And long eyelashes! She was an absolutely beautiful child. A child that thought I was the devil incarnate! LOL! I see photos of her now, about three years old, and remember that day. I look forward to going back there and showing her that picture of her screaming. Also, my twin nephews had issues with me. Well, one of them did, the other didn’t care one way or the other if I held him, but the second cried anytime I was near them.

    Look for my next article next week. Same Filipino channel, same Filipino time…. oh wait, filipino time means late. Let’s just keep it simple… see you next week.

  10. sugar says

    Hi Scott – fun post! Adobo for the win you like it? I mean you love it! Raining bad right now here in Manila but I hope you’re enjoying Philippines.

    • Scott Fortune says

      Sugar, I am not yet in the Philippines. I have, however, been following the storms there, and know that Manila is mostly under water. I pray for everyones safety, and that the storms stop soon and the water receeds back into the ocean.

      Be safe there!!

  11. Mitch says

    Hi Scott / and all you other LIP readers…… Nice read, brought back some great memories. I sure hope that those nice feelings I kind of remember, will comeback real fast when I get back overthere for good the end of next week. Things here in the states are getting crazy as the time seems to be speeding up!

    The weather reports are saying nice weather eairly next week….. HOPE SO!
    r/Mitch

    • Scott Fortune says

      Mitch, while I am happy for your soon-to-be departure to the Philippines, I must tell you that it distresses me to know that you will be there, and I will be here. :) Enjoy your move! Hopefully things will be back to normal as much as possible when you touchdown and can begin your new life without an immediate flood. Where are you moving to again? Stay dry!

      • Mitch says

        The plan is to start at the old Naval Base. Maybe rent one of the homes that use to be government quarters, then see where we go from there. Plan to stay 2 or 3 hours north of Manila, as I need to use the VA for medical treatment. R/ Mitch

        • Scott Fortune says

          Sounds like a good plan! That could put us within easy metting distance for lunch, dinner or drinks. or just to shoot the bull! I’m looking at Manaoag, San Fabian, or Pozorrubio as possibilities. Only time will tell. I would like to be in the Bataan area, but my wife doesn’t want to move that far away from her family. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a lot closer than 8,000 miles away like she is now. But, I do listen to what she has to say, I just migh not agree or decide to do it that way. :)

  12. BillB says

    Scott, The 100% import tax on cars is the tax that is charge to people who ship one here. The cars that you buy here do not have a 100% tax on them. The reason for that is they don’t want to take money away from the cars dealers, because you can buy a car in the states cheaper and the shipping is not as much as people think it is. So if people could buy a car somewhere cheaper and have it shipped for less than it would cost to buy one here, they would. That is the reason for the 100% import tax.

    Cars at the dealers cost more than in the states, but not a lot more. From what I have seen the cars are about 25% to 75% higher than in the states. The more that a cars is wanted the higher the difference, supply and demand, read John M’s articles. So that is way some cars are higher than others.

    • Scott Fortune says

      Oh! I didn’t know that! I thought ALL cars were taxed! Well, this makes me sad. LOL! I would have loved to have brought my own car with me, but I guess I’ll sell off my beautiful Chrysler 300 before I move. Not very practical anyway. I just wanted to look good driving it. But, with the tinting, you couldn’t see me anyway! LOL!

      A big van is in my future there. Not sure what yet. I look just about everyday to see what is for sale. It’s difficult when I can’t go to look at one in person here. Wrong models here in the U.S. I did try a Honda Civic, and the only way that is going to happen is if I can find a great welder that can cut it in half in both directions and widen and lengthen it and turn it into a van. WAY too small for me, but my wife LOVED it.

      • RandyL says

        Scott, the biggest problem with imported vehicles from abroad is the after parts market. When I used to live there, it was difficult to get many parts for American made vehicles and most times, cars were repaired with Filipino inginuity (or with duct tape and bailing wire, as we would say here in the states). The cost of importing parts plus the import tax applied makes it unfeasible to import.

        • Scott Fortune says

          Randy, I did know that parts would be a problem unless it was a foreign made car, like from Japan or Korea, so I was thinking of one like that. I knew my Chrysler was out of the question after a relatively short look into the parts issue there. Is it the same for German made cars? I see a lot of Mercedes vans for sale over there too. I would think it would ve equally difficult and expensive to find them.

          • RandyL says

            I don’t want to lie to as I don’t know about other imports. I thought maybe the Mercedes van was produced in the RP, not sure.

  13. Bob New York says

    Hi Scott, Really enjoyed your article and some of the things you have commented on parallel some of my experiences in my visits. Before my first visit I learned as much as I possibly could about it over a period of 2 years researching Iligan City on the internet. Thousands of pics, hundreds of videos, hours and hours of articles and other printed information. There were still many surprises waiting for me when I actually got there with a very high percentage of them being favorable ones ! When I checked into a hotel, I thought the housekeeping staff had left their cleaning bucket and a plastic saucepan like thing behind while cleaning the CR. I had forgotten all about the Tabo and Philippine Shower ( even though the hotel had a conventional shower with hot and cold water ). I was going to put the pail out in the hallway for Housekeeping to pick it up, good thing I didn’t as the next day I found out why it was there LOL.

    Yes, as far as I am concerned, you really can find good Pizza in The Philippines but you may have to look and try a few places or more to find something that suits you. The first Pizza I had in The Philippines was at pizza chain ” Greenwich Pizza ” , not bad either but it got better. In one place I found my match. The only pizza I can ever remember that I could not finish, as I described in this article right here on ” LIP ”

    http://liveinthephilippines.com/content/whatta-pizza/

    I was never one for Cell Phones either Scott for many of the same reasons you describe of cell phone use, subscriptions, minimums, contracts, minutes that expire by themselves etc. here in the USA. Yes, I was shocked on my first visit it seemed anyone and everyone had cell phones and even while out to dinner and other meals in restaurants it seems they just can’t stop texting ! I was careful not to complain and in fact I found it kind of amusing as I just never saw anything like this right in front of me before. I thought to myself that this is part of modern day Philippine Culture and accept it as that. Turn the calandar ahead a few years and Filipino Cell CUlture finally won me over, I would never have done this here in the USA . The way this whole thing played out was a lot more than I ever could have expected .

    http://liveinthephilippines.com/content/cell-phone-phobia-solved-in-the-philippines/

    There have been times where I have had to put some effort into being more patient in some situations but in keeping an open mind when in what may seem to us as a situation that varies greatly from what we are acoustomed to, goes a long way in The Philippines and your writing certainly indicates that you do keep an open mind.

    On my last visit, I was being shown a new institutional kitchen installation, much of it hand made. An official of the place said to me ” I know this is not like you have it in the USA, but this is The Philippines “. I returned the comment by saying ” Yes, I understand and if I want to see USA, I could have just stayed home “.

    I look forward to your future articles Scott. Thanks for this one.

    • Ricardo Sumilang says

      “When I checked into a hotel, I thought the housekeeping staff had left their cleaning bucket and a plastic saucepan like thing behind while cleaning the CR. I had forgotten all about the Tabo…”

      LOL This hotel is in Iligan City, Bob? Welcome to the Philippines is all I can say. It’s a good thing you didn’t throw away the tabo. The tabo is supposed to be your trusty ole toilet paper. :)

      “… I was shocked on my first visit it seemed anyone and everyone had cell phones…”

      A favorite recollection of mine about Philippine provincial life is the image of a farmer plowing the field with the one hand steering the carabao while holding a cell phone to his ear with the other.

  14. Ms. Singkit says

    Hi Scott! Just in time for part 2 of your article.

    I love adobo too! Most Americans that I know love adobo. And lumpiang shanghai (spring rolls Filipino style) too! have you tasted that one? And try kang kong adobo too. It’s a yum plus it’s healthy. :)

    Yeah, Filipinos are kind of addicted to taking pictures. We like the feeling of keeping these pictures and look back into the memories it created.

    Really nice and funny article Scott. I’ll be back for more. :)

  15. Mark G. says

    Another good read Scott. I think the cost of a new car can vary depending on the model. If you’re willing to settle for something less luxurious then they can be quite reasonable. There a lot of vehicles not available in the US as well. Some interesting Suzuki and Hyundai models. I find motorcycles there are a bit less expensive then the US although the model selection is more limited with the vast majority below 400cc.

    • Scott Fortune says

      Mark, I’mm really just looking for something that will safely get us from point a to be without breaking down all the time, and that doesn’t look too horrible. I’ve been kind of spoiled here in the U.S. for the last 20 years and have owned new cars or trucks. Mostly 4×4 pickups, with HUGE engines. I just went to the Chrysler 300 two years ago, and like it, but it is pretty impractical. It’s just pretty. I know that I will need something larger, for my new family to take rides to the beach, and big enough for me to be comfortable driving around the countryside. I don’t want to live in a city, but near one would be nice for entertainment purposes, as my wife loves to window shop at the malls now. Personally, I’ll be at the beach with some cold drinks under a cottage for the day and be happy. Or outside at home on the terrace with some colds drinks. Anywhere I go, cold drink, and I’m a happy camper. I know… buy a generator! LOL!

      • Mark G. says

        Suzuki has some neat little vans there that are work horses but not real pretty. Toyota and Hyundai have some vans which are a little pricey but are very nice. They are models are not imported to the US. Those are the ones I’d look at if I had to move a lot of folks at once…but of course you could always buy your own jeepney!

        • Scott Fortune says

          Thanks for the information Mark! I won’t be able to tell for sure until I get there. I don’t like the cab-over style where you sit over the engine. I have a tall upper body and driving those types requires me to hunch over. With a bad back now, there is no way I could drive them. I’ve had my eye on two different vans that I would like to check out more when I get there. The first is a Nissan Elgrand, and also the Hyundai Starex. With the Elgrand as my primary choice.

  16. says

    My current vacation here in the Philippines is winding down. I am trying to figure out any way I could possibly stay longer. My family back in the US thought that if I came here and stayed so long (2 mos) that it my satiate my desire to move here permanently.
    It has only strengthened it.
    I live in a very rural part of the Philippines (Bayawan, Negros Oriental) which feels much like my very rural part of the US that I come from (eastern KY). I’d be stupid not to love it here. Its much like home but the people are nicer, the food is cheaper and I got an ocean in my front yard.
    Scott, I’m sure I will be following your articles even closer when I’m stranded back in the US. I’m leaving in less than 2 weeks. (

    • Scott Fortune says

      Chaz, Kentucky is some beautiful country. I’ve been there many times, and my family is originally from there on my Grandfathers side. But I know what you mean, it is not the Philippines, and could not possibly compare to the beauty of it all. Not the sscenery, not the people. I would venture to say that someone in your family some damn good fried chicken that you will miss. So, learn the ways of the fried chicken recipe before you leave!!! Best fried chicken I’ve eve had wa at my great-aunt’s house in Kentucky! Freshly killed, cleaned and cooked. AWESOME! But, the best chicken EVER, was in the Philippines, and it was stuffed with herbs, and roasted. And it came with a side of gravy/sauce which was AWESOME too! Come back to the U.S. long enough to sell everything you can’t fit into a Balikbayan box and then go back to the Philippines where you’re obviously happiest!

  17. PapaDuck says

    Scott,
    Very enjoyable read. You know you can also make your own pizza if you can’t find any to your liking. I’m looking forward to that chicken adobo, pancit canton after i leave the airport, since it won’t be too late when i arrive. Take care and looking forward to your next post.

    • Scott Fortune says

      Papaduck, I am an avid cook. I love to do it. But, I have never made my own pizza. I don’t know what has stopped me from trying. I make my own spaghetti sauce from scratch, so making a pizza sauce isn’t much different, just a few changes in herbs. I’ve never made bread though, but have heard it is simple enough to do. I think I should try to do it this week, and see how it goes. I can’t stand long anymore to prepare my meals, so I sit down to cut and prepare things. Hopefully this won’t turn into a disaster! :) Thanks for the push to try it myself!

  18. Chris Hardy says

    Hey Scott, I’m so glad you got here on LiP and started writing. I’m a 30yo guy from Romania(yeah I know wee don’t have that great of a name in the states), I’m fascinated by Philippines and its people, never had the chance to get there yet and I’ve been reading LiP for some months now, but never felt the urge to post a comment even if I read almost all of the posted articles and enjoy most of them. Since I’ve never been there I didn’t feel like I have much to say. I got hooked from your first article and just can’t wait for you to come up with some new story, I even read them twice each time and can tell you, if you’ll ever write a book (about Philippines I hope), I’ll be one of the first people to buy it, cross my heart :)
    Thank You for sharing and Thank You Bob too for giving this opportunity to others to meet and share their life experiences!

    • Scott Fortune says

      Chris, a friends brother married a Romanian woman. THey met here in the U.S., fell in love, married and have two kids. He’s never been happier. I’ve met her numerous times and she is a very nice person. While my contact with people of Romanian decent has been limited, I would say that of those that I have met(her and her family) I have nothing bad to say of them. And I have personally never heard anyone say anything bad about Romania, or Romanians since the USSR curtain fell and Romania won it’s freedom. History is just that, history. It wasn’t that long ago that America hated Japan, but they are now a great ally. The same goes for Germany. There will always be turmoil in this world, so we have to be careful not to judge people by their country, but by what is in their heart.

    • Scott Fortune says

      Oh, and thank you for the best compliment I have received to date. If I write a book you would buy it. I actually have been planning on writing two books. One about my work before retiring and how it changed my life, and another about Philippines life through the eyes of an American. I think the Philippines book had potential for MANY additional releases. The other would be a heart to heart story about myself, and one that I would have trouble writing, but would love to see it in print.

  19. Ricardo Sumilang says

    “I’m a 30yo guy from Romania(yeah I know wee don’t have that great of a name in the states).”

    Just a small correction, Chris. I don’t think today’s Romania is seen negatively by Americans. When it was a Warsaw Pact member, yes, but those days are forever gone. Romania is a NATO member country today that is very much a friend of the U.S. Also, if you’ve been watching the Olympics, you will notice that one of the commercials originating from the U.S. features your compatriot, Nadia Comăneci, from the long-ago Olympics held in Montreal. Further, the great Romanian gymnastics coach, Bela Karolyi and his wife, have trained U.S. gymnasts to Olympic successes. As far as I know, the U.S. government presently has no issues with the government of Romania.

    • Chris Hardy says

      Ricardo, just to clarify, I didn’t want to say that Romania is seen negatively by Americans, I was mainly thinking about those romanians that go abroad to more developed countries (USA included) and if you see or read news about romanians there, its not usually about something good they did (of course those who go on with their life the legit way, won’t come on the news :) ).

      Anyway this is a LiP board and I don’t want to goo off-topic for too long.

      • Bryan G says

        Chris – I am from the UK and unfortunately the Romanian community here has a bad reputation – 80% of ATM crime is carried out by Romanians,pickpockets are also commonly Romanian -using underage children who cannot be prosecuted. I believe that the criminals are mostly Roma.

  20. Christopher says

    Scott, I like you am from a US law enforcement background. I am also thinking about making the move to the Philippines with my pension. I happy to hear about your positive experiences there and it makes me want it more. Good luck with your move and I’m looking forward to reading more of your articles.

    • PapaDuck says

      Christopher,
      I am also in law enforcement in Florida. Will be retiring to the Philippines in 2014 with my pension. Been in the planning stages for quite awhile now. Looking forward to visiting there in October. Good luck and looking forward to seeing you on LIP.

      • Christopher says

        Good luck to you too brother -in -blue. I also hope to get there about then. Maybe sooner if we don’t get rid of Obama.

    • Scott Fortune says

      Christopher, It looked like there’s going to be a bunch of old retired cops in the Philippines soon! Thank you for your kind words. See you soon, and watch your 6 until you’re 10-8.

        • Claro La Verdad says

          make that kalderetang kambing! not too many places offer goat meat cooked caldereta style but those that do obviously has a cook who’s mastered it! it’s the best caldereta dish for me ” )

          • Scott Fortune says

            Chris and Claro, I didn’t know what that was, so I asked my wife. Goat IS on my menu when I get there! I’m determined to try a lot of new dishes, and I’m going to video it all too!!!! I’m looking forward to doing some video streaming of all kinds of cool things, and foods not typical for Americans to see or eat or do. I also plan on writing articles of our travels around the Philippines. Travel: It’s more fun in the Philippines… especially when when you’re looking for a new home!!!

  21. Chris Hardy says

    I don’t know what happened with the comments (hey Bob), but I got to see other comments before yours Scott. I guess I was kinda wrong stating that romanians have a bad name, I should stop reading so many news and listen more to what people who met romanians in the past have to say about them. I lived in London for 5 years and it wasn’t that easy to get by as a romanian. We as a nation are latins, much like the spanish,mexicans or even philippinos with deep family values, but for the past 20 years you can see a huge change specially in younger’s generation mentality, we used to have what you call “philippino time”, now its gone, now everyone is in a hurry, all they think is money, they look like they all forgot about themselves and what life is all about. I must sound like a 50yo trapped in a 30yo body for most of them, I don’t want to get rich, I won’t mind but at least this is not my goal in life, I can be happy with so little just need to be in the right place with the right people.
    Enjoy your adventure Scott, I hope I’ll get to meet you one day. (I’m sorry if my english is not really up to scratch, I do my best :)

    • Scott Fortune says

      Chris, I agree with you about values changing. I’m just looking for a nie quiet place to relax and enjoy life with my family too! Your English is fine by me, so don’t worry about that!!

      As for sounding like an old man trapped in a young man’s body, I’ve been told that since I was a teenager. I didn’t do the things other teens did. I loved “oldies” music from the 50′s at a time when my friends were listening to Metallica. Now, I listen to Metallica too, but still love the oldies the best. I’ve always acted much older than I actually was. Now I walk around like amuch older man too!! LOL! It’s ok, it might give me a reason to use the cane my grandfather left me when he passed away.

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