“If you don’t like it, then leave”

A few months ago, and I’m paraphrasing, I mentioned the statement above in an article I wrote on this site. As a result of that statement, there were many comments written by people calling me arrogant, an idiot, and so on. I replied to all who commented something along the lines of “OK, you don’t like it. Great. Any suggestions about how you are going to get 100 million Filipinos to do things to your liking?”

Interesting that no-one had any response to that statement.

I was pondering all of the negative responses to that one sentence. Why… Simply why… would anyone travel, stay, or live where they are unhappy? Am I missing something in that logic? Is there some magical ability that Americans or Europeans have that can shape the thinking of an entire nation?

This convoluted logic puzzles me. It is most often seen from the “complainers”… Those who could not be happy anywhere on the face of the Earth. This week, Feyma received some backlash when she wrote about the now well-known “20 things I hate about the Philippines” video. Point is, that real or fake, whatever the motivation, many people got ticked off by that video.

Now, I personally found the guy to be somewhat a bit of an ass. Yes, there was some truth in the things he pointed out. Yet, he never really answered the basic question: “If you hate it, then why stay?” Are you a masochist?

If you don't like it, you are free to leave
If you don’t like it, you are free to leave

There are those who will wrap themselves up in the American flag, even after they, themselves, expatriate from the USA. They speak about US soldier sacrifices, US politics, and act paternalistic towards Filipinos. They KNOW they are right. Yet, they made the conscious decision to leave the land they profess to love so dearly. They take it upon themselves that they have some duty or obligation to grace these islands with their presence.

Of course it is possible to have pride in your home nation, and still live elsewhere. There is nothing wrong with that. People expatriate for many different reasons. Some voluntarily, and others for more nefarious reasons. Yet, when you move to a different land, no matter how settled in you may become, you are, and will remain different.

In short, though little Jimmy’s video had some valid points, it was, quite frankly… RUDE.

If you are invited to someone’s home, and you comment about their ugly furniture, the hygeine of their toilet, their bratty kids. They KNOW that there is room for things to get better. Do they really need a guest in their house pointing that out to them? How do you think it makes your host feel when someone babbles on about the obvious?

You are a GUEST here. Yes, I’ve had people tell me I’m wrong when I say that. But the fact remains, you ARE a guest in this country. The Philippine government can ask you to leave at any time. Doesn’t matter if you are married. Doesnt matter how much money you have in the bank. Doesn’t matter how long you have been here. Sure, you may get a hearing or see a judge, but the bottom line is that if the government wants you out, then you are gone.

So, this last paragraph is certain to bring the “they come here and live”, “they have freedom of speech in the US / UK” comments.

Well, guess what? It is no different for Filipinos who live in the US. The Immigration and Naturalization Act, USC sec. 237, lists many pages of reasons why permanent residents can be deported. Commit a crime? Deportable. Fraud? Deportable. Thousands of people are deported from the US every month. Why? They are guests there, and they didn’t play by the rules of the host’s home.

How is this any different than the Philippines? The Philippines has strict laws against libel, slander, and sedition. Political commentary, criticism, and opinions from idiots can easily violate the law. Like it or not, you truly are a guest in someone else’s house. Would you still have an asshole or criminal sit down at your table in your home? Why should the government be any different?

It’s not just the Philippines, though. In my business, I meet many expats all over the world. For instance, I know several Americans living in Holland. They’ve been there for many years…. Yet, they never really “fit in” there. This is not to say anything bad about Holland. The point is that even in a heavily Westernized, first world, leading nation, there are substantial cultural differences. Amsterdam and Rotterdam are truly “global” cities, with many people from virtually every country on Earth living there. Yet, they still feel like they are outsiders, even after so many years. They all speak Dutch, own their own homes, and their kids grew up in the Dutch school system. So why the difference?

The answer is that unless you become a naturalized citizen, you are, and will remain, a guest, regardless of any ties you may have. Until you swear loyalty to that nation, you are simply a resident or visitor. A guest.

So then, why would you stay somewhere if you don’t like your life there, or the way that things are done? THAT is why you often read the comment, “If you don’t like it, then leave”. THAT is why I have little sympathy for the complainers.

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.

Live in the Philippines Consulting


  1. says

    Anyone no matter where they are can find something to complain about. The old saying, “The grass is always greener on the other side of the street” is the best way to describe these malcontents.

    I was eating steak at “The Oriental Legaspi” hotel in Legaspi City, Albay on our 33rd wedding anniversary. She is filipino and I am from the US and we moved here permanently a little over two years ago. That hotel is as good or better than most in the US, Hong Kong or anyplace I have ever been and trust me that’s a lot.

    Driving to the Hotel we passed many bamboo “nipa” huts, and poor people that struggle to get by.

    Even amongst these less fortunate there is a sense of pride and the desire to do better. They often have little sari sari stores and sell cache packets of just about anything you might need. They sweep the dirt or gravel or pavement in front of their place every day. They wash their clothes and take a bath every day, often from a bucket with a hand pump on a well. Do THEY complain? Sure some do, but compare that to these expat malcontents who complain because their house girl doesn’t speak both German and English as well as they do.

    “There except by the grace of god go I”, is what every one of these chronic complainers should say to themselves whenever they pass a small bamboo shack.

  2. David says


    Fine article. Obviously written by one who has visited many places around the globe. Obvious because you understand that, no matter where you call home, if you are not from that place, originally, you are a visitor. A couple of points to drive home: 1. You are correct. Many spoiled Americans who find it necessary to complain. Silver spoon in their mouth, and they complain of the metalic taste. You can’t make someone happy, they must be fundimentally happy, first. 2. I’ve seen the video. While I agree that things could be better, presentation is everything. Jimmy is making money in the Philippines. Be grateful and close your mouth. 3. If we were successful in “changing” our Filipino friends, what would we have? Little America…..shheesh. Why.

    OK, off the soapbox. I have 4 years to retirement, so I must settle for an annual pilgrimage to Luzon. Looking to settle in the Northern area of La Union; Bauang, San Fernando City area. Any advise is appreciated.
    Thanks again, Dave

    • John Miele says

      David: LaUnion is quite a nice area. Though growing, it is still pretty rural, though. Fine beaches, and pretty laid back. It will be a good area in which to retire. My biggest concern would be health care… Though I’m somewhat familiar with the area, I’m not positive on the medical quality / distance up there… I’m thinking Subic or Laoag (or Dagupan?) may be the biggest facilities nearby.

  3. scott h says

    John; Well put.
    I monitor several blog sites and forums as I am planning to retire there soon. So my comment are basically about those expat retirees. I believe they can be broken down into two types. 1) Those who are married to or are planning to marry Philipinas and after a lot of planning and many visits to the Philippines move there willingly to help stretch their retiremenet dollars. 2) Those who are married to Philipinas but due to the economy, lack of inititive, bad luck or just plain laziness found life in their own country to expensive to maintain and moved to the Philippines so their bucks could stretch.

    Type number 1 takes the all the lines, the seeming non sensical system of goverment, the “out of stock sir” and all the other things unique to the Philippines with a grain of salt, a tilt of the head and a swift count to ten then grins and sees the humor in it.

    While Type 2, whines, moans, complains and just generally makes a pain in the arse of himself. Always commenting “how do people put up with this” or “they should do it this way” or the best of all “Back in the States (UK, Australia, substitute western country of choice) we do it this way!”

    I agree with you John and here is a newsflash for them! YOUR NOT IN THE STATES! Your in the Philippines, this is their country, this is the way it is! They way they like it! And most likely the way it will stay!

    • John Miele says

      Scott: Correct, I think. There is a fairly decent sized expat community in Makati working for call centers, banks, etc…

    • says

      Well said sir. I notice that people will complain here in the states too if something is not in their favorite store. Americans are a culture based on convenience and entitlement. Not to say I don’t enjoy living here. But it seems like the ones who yell the loudest are usually make the most or make the least. I could be wrong… 😀

  4. says

    I recently told my (Filipina) girlfriend of the lavish banquets my company threw, year after year. I worked for a Forbes 500 Medical Device company and when you can afford to rent out the entire Spruce Goose exhibit in Long Beach to use as a venue for your banquet and have Jerry Seinfeld flown in to do a show just for you.. you know these are some lavish, formal attire banquets. The company paid 1/3 of our stay at Marriot or Hilton, gave every employee (and spouse) a very nice, personally engraved gift each year. (We had about 3,000 employees btw) The food was 4-star.. the whole nine-yards.

    And YET.. come the next week back at work, the COMPLAINERS would start in. Now these are people who had never seen the inside of a Hilton in their lives before getting hired on. Yet they criticized the food, or the dessert, or their gift, or not enough towels in the room.. bottom-line to all this, some people are simply NOT happy no matter how good or bad things are. They have some pathological need to complain and see the worst in everything.

    I was visiting the various Philippines Yahoo! newsgroups for what tidbits of info and advice I could get. But I always have to wade through post after post from Kanos overseas complaining about EVERYTHING. And you said, Bob.. it begs the question, “Then why don’t you leave?”. My theory is they have nothing to go back to. Or they would like to think they are the proverbial, “big fish in the little pond”. I know one guy who lost his business in the States because he molested a 17 year old girl and lives in RP, according to him because “..here I am a king.”. Yah, in his own little mind maybe.

    But I digress. My point is, these complainers have NO place criticisizing a foreign land they CHOOSE to remain in. I tell the same thing to women who complain on and on about their A-hole boyfriends, “LEAVE! But if you stay with him, stop complaining.” It’s no different with the complainers in RP. Suck it up, or ship out.

    • John Miele says

      Henry: I totally agree…. Unfortunately, I think quite a few expats are here for reasons not all that different than the fellow you mentioned.

  5. John Leick says

    Well said John! When in Rome be like the Romans. As Americans, we are raised in a culture that expresses so much freedom, and that is why we carry it along. So anyone considering going abroad really should concentrate on blending in.

    Regarding the Jimmy video, it was just humor, but too many F bombs. Over here it is OK to laugh at ourselves, but I really do not know how Filipinos took this. It probably should have been done by a Filipino rather than an American. I wonder if he has done one about the top 20 things that pisses him off about life in America? Hey, wait, I want to do that!

      • BennyM says

        I can imagine the deafening silence of nobody giving a stuff and having better things to worry about than some foreigner saying whatever he feels LoL

  6. Jason Dance says

    Hello John

    I am in agreement with you! if you can’t stand being in the Philippines or any other country for that matter just leave. Nobody is holding your hand keeping you where you are not wanted basically! I had heard that there was a law regarding how you speak to someone…I might be right or maybe I dreamed it up I’ll have to look into it. Cheers.

    • John Miele says

      Jason: Cursing a Filipino can land you in hot water here. Would you be deported? Probably not. But it could happen.

  7. says

    John, let me know who these people are so I can avoide them. Personnally I never met a complainer. Every westerner I’ve met in the Philippines, either Kanos, Germans, Brits ir Aussies were glad to be there.

    No as for Little Jimmy Slyzbag, or whatever his name was, I actually thought of making a “10 reasons why I hate Jimmy” video and posting on youtube.

    It would start out, “Hey Jimmy, nice tats up & down your forearms, tells me know one is willing to hire you in the US for anything over minimum wage, so you better stay overseas, check out Saudi for your next gig”.

    or “Hey Jimmy, don’t like poeple pissing on the walls in alley ways, don’t hang out around any college campus in the US on a friday or saturday night”.

    How about, “Hey Jimmy, pisses you off that the Filipino Security Guards making 200 PHP a day are happy”? They should be upset and whine like you”.

    Or “Hey Jimmy, ever see Detroit or Cleveland? Talk about trash on the streets! And they never had any typhoons roll in one after another”.

    Other than poor creepy looking, pathetic little Jimmy, I’ve been pretty lucky not running into whinners.

    But sorry, I DO wrap myself up in my flag and my country, which I love dearly. I am an expat, NOT an ex-American. Oh btw, don’t mess with Texas! Just can’t help still havin’ that “cowboy” in me, lol!!!

    I tell people from up north who come to Texas, “Ya know, I-35 runs in both directions pardner”! I reckon so do Delta flights!!

    • John Miele says

      Pita Mike: When I lived in Florida, there was a bumper sticker at the time that said, “I don’t care how y’all did it up North”

    • jonathan says

      Hahaha, I love this…

      “Hey Jimmy, nice tats up & down your forearms, tells me know one is willing to hire you in the US for anything over minimum wage, so you better stay overseas, check out Saudi for your next gig”.

      Although I do complain about things here, I just keep it to myself. The majority of OFWs know why we are here, mostly because of economics.

  8. Boss says

    Sure if you don’t like what your doing or where your living, leave or fix your attitude. Just like that Ex-Sgt Gray Stein that was discharged because he wouldn’t take orders from the President Obama the chief commanding officer. He opened his mouth too wide and paid the penalty, same thing can happen to you here. Put up or shut up. That’s how you would put it, right John?
    Funny thing is, complaining to a Philippino about their country is like complaining to your mother in law about your wife.

    • says

      Well my 93 year old mother lives with us and complains every day about everything just about, but mostly how we got her in this mess. It doesn’t matter that for the last 20 years or so she hasn’t been happy anyplace and complains no matter what or where she is…

      One time at the doctor’s office the nurse asked her if she liked it here…(I sighed but it was too late) she went on and on about what she didn’t like from “nobody speaks the language”…remember she is talking to the nurse, and “I don’t get the money” because she keeps trying to convert in her head and thinks everybody is out to screw her even though the prices are on everything and locals and expats pay the same thing but in Pesos. She complains that she is bored, but every time we ask her if she wants to go someplace she says, “No”

      Now she is 93 and in relatively good health but she is unhappy because her body is just slowing down, she can’t lay bricks anymore and she did that just a couple years ago in her last house in the states and she can’t drive any more, etc. So she complains….

      What’s the excuse for the rest? My Mom’s brother said once, “She will complain when she gets to heaven because the streets of gold are too bright and gaudy.”

      • John Miele says

        Mike: I saw similar happen to my grandparents. It was hard to watch, and the younger you are, the more difficult to understand.

  9. Doc Riley says

    John, your article is spot on. Bottom line, we are guests and the pinoys are generally very gracious hosts.

  10. AmericanLola says

    Good article, John! And I agree with Henry, that most have nothing to go back to. And I would add that most have burned their bridges. Most were miserable complainers before they ever got here and probably left alienated children, bitter wives and ‘friends’ who were glad to see him go. Moving to a new country doen’t make you a jerk, but it sure does bring it out. I feel for the ladies who marry these guys. Some complain that the family only wants him for his money, but from the other side, money compensates for the embarrassment and agony of putting up with such a fellow.
    This is the fellow who marches next-door and tells off the maid who is listening to music while she hangs out the wash, and threatens to call the police when someone parks in front of his house. This is the guy who yells at the jeepney driver to turn down the music, and complains loudly about the Philippines and Filipinos while drinking (too much) with his Filipino family.
    Since I am not a man living in the Philippines married to a Filipina, I will add that I know many good men who have settled down nicely here in the Philippines, and have done well. It is the whiners, complainers and jerks who give us all a bad name.

    • John Miele says

      American Lola:

      You were always a voice of reason on this site (I really used to enjoy your articles.) I agree with you 100%… and I also have seen some of what you describe

  11. RandyL says

    As in each of our own countries, there are probably many things that most of us dislike about the Philippines, but there is little we can do about them as single individuals and complaining about everything is totally non-contributory towards anything but one’s own image (like Jimmy). However, I was reminded last week about a single American’s efforts in Palawan who years ago, through inspiration, rallied and effected change in that island community that has caused Palawan to be the one island that is greener and cleaner than anywhere else in the archipelago. Those that live there can attest that Palawan (in most places) is nearly litter free. There is a big difference between complaining about everything and delivering constructive criticism with a proactive approach. The first step to changing anything begins with attitude. Those that complain are generally unhappy and unproductive individuals to begin with and that will never change regardless of the country of residence. Those folks that have led productive lives tend to lean on developed leadership skills to help implement effective change. Maybe instead of complaining about things one should learn how to assimilate into their community and make a contribution to the greater good to help make changes. Might I suggest something as simple as contributing to the placement of a trash receptacle in a public place? Little changes over time can result in a much larger change in the long run. Sometimes it is just a matter of re-programming someones attitude. Change (progress) is usually always good regardless of where one lives but, if by suggesting that someone be simply responsible in life is asking to much, then I guess they should just remain a lazy, non-productive complainant and stay hidden from society as, what my wife labels them – “cave people”. That’s just about their mentality.

    • John Miele says

      Randy: One can try and change attitudes, and I agree that actions speak louder than words. If one sits there complaining all day, they are projecting negativity. For instance, one thing that always bothered me was the habit many people have here of dropping trash wherever they happen to be standing. Now, I didn’t complain about it, but at the local sari-sari, I reprimanded Juanito when I saw him doing that. Every night out there, he finishes his juice, and I tell him, “now where does that belong?” What is interesting is that the other kids saw me doing this and you don’t see it in front of the sari sari anymore. No yelling. no complaining. but a tiny little change.

    • Charlie Tuna says

      Sometimes be very careful what you wish for. So called progress is not always what it is cracked up to be. Palawan as an example might be very nice today, but lets see what happens to it after the mass tourist invasion. Of course I am sure no greed is involved in turning Palawan into a tourist trap, theme park, or whatever.
      It’s almost always out money, the almighty peso, euro, dollar, and so on. Keeping things clean cost literally nothing. But lets see what the greed does to Palawan. Check back with me in 10-20 years. Change for the sake of change is usually not a good thing. We do plan a a trip there as soon as the summer tourists are gone just to see what is like now so we can compare later on. I am not saying don’t improve the place but do it very slowly and protect the original enviroment as much as possible. And by the way, I am not a tree hugger by any stretch of the imagination. I really can’t think of a thing that man hasn’t eventually ruined under the guise of progress.
      Some “cave” people as some snobs call them just like to live that way and does not mean they are not nice, friendly hard working folks.

      • John Miele says

        Charlie: In my line of work, I often associate with the uber rich and society classes…. Money does not buy happiness, and I have a lot of respect for those who earn their way through life, regardless of their means.

      • RandyL says

        Sorry you feel that filth and litter might be more important than greed under the guise of progress. I’m not defending greed in any sense of the word. I’m promoting education and if that is wrong, then I can see I’m in the wrong forum. Negative and overly judgmental people who do nothing but criticize and condemn are, IMO, not nice and friendly people. As for snobs, I’ll let my wife know what you think of her.

  12. Gary Wigle says

    Once again you hit a home run John. I guess what ticks me off are the guys that visit here in the Philippines and think that they know all there is to know and have no fear in telling everyone. I met one guy that came here since 2000 then last year he sold everything he had in the States and moved to Tagum City. Didn’t take long for him to get on a plane and go back. A visit or reading on the internet just isn’t the same as living here. I have been here in Tagum City for just over two years now and enjoy my life very much. I am married to a wonderful woman and she loves me. We have the same world view so that really helps. Is the Philippines perfect? NOPE but then the good old USA isn’t perfect. I think I will stay here and enjoy life.

    BTW – I really get ticked off by the expats that will never visit Mindanao. I think they read too much. This is a wonderful island!!!

    • John Miele says

      Gary: You are correct… living here is different, and a quick vacation or reading online never gets you 100% ready.

  13. says

    Hi John – Good article and straight to the point. I mix with quite a few expats where I live and to be truthful most of the criticism I hear from them is constructive or to express disappointment about how some things regarding manners and courtesy have deteriorated in their opinion since they came to live here.
    As for me I must confess I have mellowed considerably since coming to live here on a permanent basis and mostly just accept the way of life. As you mentioned to change the ways of 100 million people would be nigh on impossible, so why bother.
    Personally as long as we are happy and healthy we will stay but should there be a change in our circumstances yes we can always implement Plan B.
    Kind regards.

    • John Miele says

      Jim: I’ve mellowed a bit too…. I wrote this in part because over the last few months I’ve had a few trolls that have become really tiresome. I write these articles because I enjoy it and I think that my experiences might help some people who are moving here. The mentality of some expats though, really does perplex me.

      I sometimes wonder if those who have travelled less before moving are the ones who complain more?

      Interesting question.

  14. BennyM says

    I’ll give you a rebuttal right now if you like to your rhetorical question on “why don’t you leave”. He doesn’t have to leave quite simply especially if he has clout there. The ones asking that question are the ones purposely dodging the issue.

    Although aforementioned issues were quite minor in the scheme of things are you suggesting that a foreigner has no right to complain if he is victimized in a way that is criminal? If you brought your wife to the states and she was taken advantage of because of her race would you tell her “if you don’t like it then leave”? No don’t think so. There is a local in jail for trying to assault me after my refusal not to let him scam me.

    I’ve heard you say some disparaging things about the Arab world which is ironic considering how much you have made from that country. You’re a guest there are you not? Using that logic you should accept their barbaric ways right?

    Practice what you preach dude!!!

    • says

      You fail to note that John DID leave the Middle East. He didn’t like things, so he left, exactly as his article says.

      Your logic is pretty backward, BennyM.

      • BennyM says

        Please explain how my intelligent rebuttal is backward? It’s human nature to complain about things that do not need to happen in every place wherever you go. The rhetorical “if you don’t like it then leave” borders on xenophobia and racism. It certainly would be viewed that way in the west anyway. There’s alot of double standards in play when it comes to foreigners in the philippines…oops i just complained again

        I have no issues with cultural traits or the way pinoys live. More power to them but i have a problem with the harrassment and extortion that happens to foreigners here because of the colour of their skin. Should i just shut up and put up? Is that what you are telling me?

        PS John did not do as the romans do when he was in Dubai. Recall car crash and then “What is your f*** problem? Terrible behaviour in a country where your a guest. We were overdue for another John Miele foreigner bashing article anyway

        • John Miele says

          Benny: (Or Manila Playa or Manila Stud: You are a shining example of the type of asshole that gives foreigners a bad reputation here. You think you won a victory over some tricy driver? You didn’t win anything at all. Life is too damn short to be obssessing over a 500 peso cheat for months at a time. Obviously, you time is not worth very much. Look at how you are obssessed in changing your name every time Bob bans you.

          What other wisdom can your 24 year old ass provide? I mean, you are obviously so worldly and knowledgable, please grace us with more of your opinions in the future.

          I say this in the most heart-felt manner… GO F*CK YOURSELF! I’m done wasting time arguing with a pre-pubescent jackass.

          • FranzH says

            I guess you don’t see the hypocrisy of complaining about a foreigner being rude to Filipinos in his video, then in the same article talking like this to someone who disagrees with you.

            I think it’s time to move on. This really isn’t a healthy environment.

            • BennyM says

              Man tell me about it LoL. Every article from him is always a “kano” hating one. I doubt he would take a filipino to task for doing the very same thing but then again a foreigner is an easy target

          • BennyM says

            That’s it. Resort to abusive language once you know you’ve been proved wrong yet again. Not one fact of mine have you been able to rebutt. You’re the type of foreigner that makes pinoys think we’re all stupd with bags of money to throw away. If reacting in the same way as a filipino would to a criminal victimizing me makes me an asshole then i can live with that. I doubt you’d hold that same opinion if it happened to your wife or son when he’s grown up.

            I most certainly did win. He’s in jail copping the maximum penalty as he’s not a first time offender. Oh and by the way it was 100 peso not 500 but a crime is a crime right.

            Bob’s reasonable and i’m sure he’s very happy to have me grace these forums with my expertise on life and worldly issues. Anyway keep paying kano prices and thinking you are superior to other kano’s for whatever reason. It’s quite clear to me that you are trying to score brownie points with the Filipino population by denigrating foreigners with every opportunity you get

            • jon says

              “It’s quite clear to me that you are trying to score brownie points with the Filipino population by denigrating foreigners with every opportunity you get”

              Just what exactly do you mean by “brownie points” in referring to Filipinos? I don’t want to interpret this a RACIST REMARK against us.

              • John Miele says

                Jon: And I’m certain that Filipinos simply LOVE having him and his ilk living here.

  15. Steve Ames says

    I read your article three times to be sure i understood what you were saying and i think you are correct in what you say about the constant complainers. I also watched Jimmy’s video and I have to agree with most of what he said, but the presentation was what I did not like. I am planning on retiring in the Philippines with my wifefor many reasons. The question I have posted on other sites about his video is this and by the way I have not seen one responce it. Is there anyone outthere who can say that there is nothing that they dislike about the Philippines? That said I see the differance between disliking things and constantly complaining about them. I am not one that complains all the time but I do dislike some things about any country I have lived in or visited. But I don’t think that is a reason to tell someone to leave.

    Steve A.

    • John Miele says

      Steve: Yet, you are making a choice… You accept the good and the bad. If the bad outweighs the good, in your circumstance, then why subject yourself to more suffering? Common sense, you know?

  16. David Heil says


    Thanks for the article. I think that the main point that every foreigner should understand is that Filipinos are extremely sensitive about any criticism of the Philippines and that it would be wise not to do it in a public forum. This a cultural trait of Filipinos, and it should be acknowledged and respected. From reading many of the comments on this website, I can see that many of the long-term expat residence of the Philippines have learned this lesson well and hold their tongue or complain in a way that is less direct, e.g. using humor or sarcasm. I can also see that these Expatriates seem to relish the opportunity to let any foreigner complaining have it right between the eyes, when, in fact, it should be these experienced veterans and intercultural specialist who should be helping these green horns with the acculturation process. As for America deporting “guest” foreigners, I think that most (90% or more) of the foreigners who are deported from the US are usually illegal aliens, meaning they overstayed their visa or entered the country illegally. According to some polls, we have approximately 10 million illegal aliens in the US so it is no wonder that the US deports thousands every month. I doubt that there are any foreigners being deported for complaining about pot holes in the roads or how someone on the street is trying to sell them viagra. Perhaps, those foreigners who are deported for voicing their opinion are usually done so because they don’t have peaceful intentions toward America and Americans. We all seem to forget that it is very normal for people to complain, especially when they are stressed out. In fact, everybody complains; it’s a part of life. If someone is complaining about a pot hole in the road or a chicken crowing at 4 in the morning, it doesn’t mean that they hate the Philippines. Usually a complaint doesn’t mean much of anything, except a little stress release. You shouldn’t take it personally. I remember when I first came to Japan, I complained a lot because the culture was so different to what I was used to. Over time, I stopped complaining. I even prefer things the Japanese way, now; and on the rare occasion that I go back to the States, I have trouble adjusting to the food and many aspects of American culture. We call this reverse culture shock. Again, the “shut up and leave” mentality is really not a very mature one and no one should promote such ideas because it is just childish crap. That being said, all foreigners should remember that Filipinos are extremely patriotic vis-à-vis foreigners and that any complaining about their country may be hazardous to your health and may even cause the government to deport your butt.

    • John Miele says

      Dave: Most of those who I addressed that to are the ones who move here and complain nonstop about everything. Everyone has things they don’t like once in a while… It IS human nature to gripe when things are not to your liking. However, when you start in on everything and anything, you need to question the wisdom of staying somewhere if you are unhappy.

      • David Heil says

        Thanks John. Yes, I agree that excessive complaining is no fun to listen to, especially from some American right off the boat. Hopefully, there are no green-horn Woody Allen-types in your neck of the country. That wouldn’t be fun for anyone. I do believe that you are trying to find a logical way to support or explain the anti-foreigner sentiment that seems to be growing in the Philippines. Since you live there, I can certainly understand that you would prefer that ALL foreigners set a good example by behaving appropriately while in the Philippines and be respectful of all people – no matter what their circumstances. When foreigners behave poorly and not in accordance with Philippine culture, it makes ALL foreigners look bad, which will ultimately affect the quality of life for long-term, expats living in the Philippines. That being said, I think that we should try to help foreigners and Filipinos alike understand how one’s culture influences how we see and perceive the world. I also sense that there is a lot of built-up emotion there in the Philippines; and instead of adding fuel to the fire, you and the other veterans of the Philippines should be ambassadors of good will and help both sides understand the other in a calm, mature manner, if at all possible. That doesn’t mean you can’t lay into some foreigner who participates in the sex market there. I don’t like those types, either. I apologize for using the word “crap” in my comment. Best regards, David.

        • John Miele says

          David: You read my intent 100%. I look at it like this: My wife and son are Filipino. I want them to look at this country with pride. When I have responded with anger, it is usually to the people who start petty arguments on here, rather than trying to say something constructive. I don’t believe that I have ever really gone off on someone who was seeking advice and I really try to give advice based on my experience. I also understand that there are those who may disagree with me… and there is nothing wrong with that. When I lose patience it is when it becomes a “nyah nyah, you said this…” argument, which is pretty much useless. I don’t claim any expertise other than my own personal experiences here. There are certainly those who have lived here longer and know more. Nonetheless, the Philippines seems to attract an awful lot of people who are up to no good, and I tire of their bullsh*t (Like that Harry the Horse guy who started in on Feyma in her article. Those guys are pretty much scumbags and I don’t hesitate to say it exactly as it is)

          • David Heil says

            I appreciate your articles and taking the time to write to everyone. I’m learning a lot. From banking to squatters, it’s all great information that will help me when I arrive in Davao some day in the near future.

  17. FranzH says

    No place on earth is perfect. I love the US, but I also complain about aspects that I don’t like. I love the Philippines, but I also complain about aspects that I don’t like. My wife, who was born in the PI, complains more than I do about the Philippines.

    Since when is complaining a bad thing? That’s how things improve. People decide they don’t like something, they voice their concerns, and occasionally it’s important enough that they bring others together, and things get changed. Hopefully for the better.

    Americans are good at that kind of stuff. You don’t like something, then Americans know they can change it. Or at least they believe it, which is a good thing. Some cultures don’t believe they can change anything. Some would say that’s unfortunate.

    In my opinion, to say “you don’t like it, then leave” is ludicrous. It’s like saying “if you see something you think is a bad thing, then don’t try to improve it, leave the country”. Seems a bit ludicrous to me. If you honestly think that there’s absolutely nothing a foreigner can do to help improve things, then I suppose leaving the country is an option.

    But every country on the planet has things that need improvement. And stuff usually doesn’t improve all by itself.

    Of course there are cultural issues that help define how best to address issues. But it’s probably a lot more useful to figure out how to best address those issues than to just pack your things and go home.

    • John Miele says

      Franz: Americans also have the bad habit of always thinking that they are right… Very seldom do you ever see anyone griping simply shut up and listen. You are not a Filipino citizen. It is not your place to tell Filipinos what is “wrong”. Whether you happen to like it or not, it is their country and it is up to them to change it… Not you.

      • FranzH says


        That’s not what I’m saying, and I think you know that. Of course there are foreigners who are morons, and are pissed because the Philippines isn’t like back home, and will always complain, and never help to make things better. There are people like that everywhere, even in the US.

        But that doesn’t mean that complaints are bad, and anyone who complains should pack up and leave. And in spite of your apparent dislike for foreigners, they can have a positive influence.

        We complained because a barangay didn’t have a local ambulance. We’re now trying to figure out how to get some foreign corporations and others to donate some money to get one. In the meantime we, along with others who have vehicles, use our SUV to drive people when necessary. An ambulance is a good thing, whether you’re a foreigner or a Filipino. It’s not us being arrogant, and thinking we know everything.

        Your basic question, “if you hate it, then why do you stay?” is ludicrous. People stay if the good outweighs the bad. People stay if, with all the problems, it’s better than any alternatives.

        Please don’t broad brush all foreigners as arrogant. There are some who respect the country and the people and the culture. But you can respect the country and still complain. And sometimes your complaints are appropriate, and sometimes they don’t apply to the country and the people and the culture. But if you respect them, you’ll realize when your complaints don’t apply and move on.

        • John Miele says


          And after you get the money donated for the ambulance, what are you going to do when the mayor, barangay officials, and their families use it for joyrides? Think I’m wrong? It WILL happen.

          Complaints serve no purpose. You are not Filipino… You cannot vote. You cannot change things.

          • FranzH says

            Wow, John. With all your negativity about so many things in the Philippines, it makes me wonder why you don’t take your own advice and move somewhere else.

            I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree.

            But the thing that really bothers me is not as much people who complain, but those who discourage others about everything, including doing good.

            • John Miele says

              What negativity about the Philippines? The vast majority of my articles are positive about the country. However, I do have an article coming out next week that is negative. My articles about expats and their behavior, on the other hand, are usually negative.

        • RandyL says

          FranzH: Finally, someone who agrees with me in principle. I think John also agrees in principle (his trash attitude adjustment worked didn’t it?) but is merely trying to point out that expats that are nothing more than societal torrents that always complain about everything are the ones who, if not happy with their lives, should leave. And I agree with that position. I also retain the right to complain (some).

  18. Don says

    Will be interesting as the China/Philippines spat continues and the Philippines start to invite/rely on more US military and ask to participate and probably be based here again (although nowhere near the Subic/Clark military days). Then will have lots of old timers complaining about the influx of too many Americans.

    • John Miele says

      Don: There are people running around talking like a war is imminent…. I personally believe that it would be politically imprudent for any leader in the Philippines to invite bases to return. Filipinos don’t necessarily want that to happen.

      All of it is speculation for now. I believe that there will be an impasse and then either a cooling down (The issue goes away) or a diplomatic solution.

      In any event, it is a question for Filipinos to decide… Not me or any other expat.

  19. AmericanLola says

    I think what David says is true. Those of us who have been here a long time, 24 years, in my case, have learned to adapt and fit in. The point is not that we find nothing to complain about. As long as there are people and systems, things will get messed up and we will be irked or disappointed. Any move you make is going to have trade-offs. Leave Michigan to get away from the snow, and you miss autumn colors and glorious springs in California. Enjoy the lack of building codes and regulations in the Philippines? Don’t expect quality work. Don’t speak the local language? Expect to be misunderstood, even though they nod and smile and say, ‘Yes Sir, I understand.’ It is hot here, that’s a fact. The driving game is played by different rules (imagine one guy playing American football rules in somebody’s soccer game). There is red tape (bring something to read). Most people are nice, but since we look like the rich people on TV, some will try to take advantage of us. Some will succeed, and we pay for our education. People here like their music loud; in their homes, in the malls, in their churches, everywhere. We can’t change that. We just have to find our own quiet space, patronize quiet restaurants, wear ear-plugs. There is nothing morally wrong with liking loud music… Acceptance is half the battle. Videos like the one described are disrespectful, and that is the problem. We can respectfully prefer a different way of doing things, and do our best to find a work-around. It helps to remember and focus on the good things here. An ‘Us vs. Them’ attitude is deadly, but if it feels like everyone IS out to get you, then maybe you have been a first class bull in the cultural china shop and people are getting you back.

  20. FranzH says

    “Again, the “shut up and leave” mentality is really not a very mature one and no one should promote such ideas because it is just childish crap.”

    Not sure I agree with David on how he phrased this, but I think there’s a good point in there…

    Leaving the country, or any other drastic action, is only a reasonable option for most people when things become UNBEARABLE. If they aren’t unbearable, then people find ways to deal with, and make the best of, the difficult stuff. It doesn’t make sense to leave the country solely because there’s a bunch of stuff that bug you.

    It’s not an all or nothing situation for most people. Some stuff upsets you, then leave the country? Doesn’t make sense.

    • John Miele says

      Franz: If it upsets you to the point that you either break the law or stay, then yes. A good example is my article about guns… The one which started all of this (Where I originally wrote that statement). Some of those that commented seemed desperate to find a way to have a gun. The law is the law, though. Yet the unwillingness of those people to accept that fact really leaves only three options:

      1. Obey the law and don’t own a gun.
      2. Break the law and risk prison or worse.
      3. Live somewhere else.

      Can you think of another option? If it is that big of an issue to you, then realistically, option three is the only one.

      Not childish… Completely logical.

      • FranzH says

        Sorry, but I don’t see what that has to do with what we’re talking about. Your point is about people who complain, and if you don’t like it, then why stay. What does that have to do with breaking the law?

  21. Bill says

    BRAVO!!! I say “If you can’t be part of the solution then keep your mouth shut and don’t be part of the problem.” I believe the problem starts at home. So when we go to the beach I make sure my family packs the garbage from the street food and take it back home for the garbage man. Also we need to teach the children of the Philippines about recycling. You can Volunteer to go to a school and educate them about a recycling program and make a donation to get it started. I have asked many Filipinos and they truly DON’T see the garbage on the ground. It has been there all their life and the don’t know the difference. It is like people who dump garbage in the ocean. They use to believe that it would sink to a bottomless pit and never be seen again.

  22. dans says

    hi john,

    Good Article! , there’s a million things you can complain about a cat, there’s also a million ways to skin a cat. – how’s that sound?

  23. dans says

    hi john,

    Good Article! , there’s a million things you can complain about a cat, there’s also a million ways to skin a cat. – how’s that sound?

  24. says

    “””Complaints serve no purpose. You are not Filipino… You cannot vote. You cannot change things.”””””” .. that maybe true…

    And according to you you are not allowed to have a negative opinion about anything Filipino or voice it on a public forum.

    So my Filipino friends that have the same negative opinions here in the Uk as me about the British way of life, as you say ” should shut up or leave the UK”” ??

    We are allowed to have opinions in this world positive and negative and we are allowed to voice them on public forums…. isn’t that the purpose of forums ?

    Maybe standing on a street corner with a megaphone voicing them is OTT but on forums…give me a break !!

    P.s I think you lost a lot of credibility with your foul mouth retort !!.. and yes I know you don’t care….but if it fits in with the rules of the forum then so be it.

    • John Miele says

      Gerry: Benny is a troll who has, for the last several months, posted under several names and generally adds little value, if any, to anything being discussed. My response was appropriate in this case. People disagree with me many times, and I take a live and let live attitude. Likewise, nobody forces you to read anything that I write.

      As to purpose, Bob owns this forum and if he decides that my posting is inappropriate, he can delete it at any time.

      • says

        I don’t know Benny … but as a “family” man you still think it’s appropriate to cuss on a public forum that will be read by females and possibly children ??

        You didn’t answer my question.. “””So my Filipino friends that have the same negative opinions here in the Uk as me about the British way of life, as you say ” should shut up or leave the UK”” ??””

        “” nobody forces you to read anything that I write.””” very true… and to be honest I rarely do but the title used is one that always catches my attention and I felt that I should respond to it.

        With all due respect, you profess that you take a live and let live attitude… maybe I’m wrong but it doesn’t come across like that….any of your articles that I have read.. you come across as intolerant and opinionated.

        Nothing personal just my 2 cents… peace

        • John Miele says

          Realistically, Yes. There is nothing wrong with having an opinion, but the simple fact remains that if you are unhappy, then change your circumstances, whether Filipino in the UK or Brit in the Philippines.

          In the case of the Philippines, yelling at and insulting a clerk, posting political ramblings, and shooting your mouth off can end up getting you deported. That is the law here. It may not be to your liking, or what they do in the UK. Doesn’t matter. It is the law here and if Filipinos want it changed, then they will change it.

          As to opinions, the old saying “opinions are like assholes… everyone has one and they all stink”. Those who gripe, complain, and bitch and moan should perhaps turn inwards instead of projecting outwards.

          • says

            I realise that you don’t need a constant dialogue with me but again you really do avoid answering by diversion. I am not unhappy wherever I am but I have an opinion. Yes everyone has one as you state but you are suggesting that we are not allowed to have one in the Phils. You cover it up by calling it “bitching, moaning etc”.

            I will leave it there. I will try and avoid reading your articles in the future, but remember it is YOU that puts yourself on a public website that invites comments.

            Please don’t do any articles on “Filipino time”… cos I could not avoid commenting on that :)

            Good luck anyway… genuine !

  25. says

    John, if I didn’t say it before.. good article. In going over the posts it looks like you hit a nerve with one or two and they’re getting bitchy in response. I write online as well, such bitter-whining comes with the territory as you well know.

    But what I wanted to distinguish is what type of ‘complaining’ we’re talking about. Fact: Everybody complains at some time. However, a true ‘Complainer’ as described and discussed here is a person who manages to fit complaining into just about every conversation they have. A Complainer can’t get through a dinner or lunch conversation without griping, griping, griping. Not a DAY goes by that they don’t complain to anyone within earshot. That’s the person who needs to “put up or shut up”.. learn to love their situation or get their ass on a plane back home.

    I want to enjoy my life, take it easy, go with the flow.. and the last thing I want to listen to is some cranky jack-wad taking a crap on my bliss. So know this, Complainers (wherever you are East or West).. NOBODY GIVES A DAMN about your whining. They’re just waiting for you to SHUT UP and LEAVE so they can go about their otherwise enjoyable lives.

    • John Miele says

      Henry: Thank you… You get the point. Everybody has a bad day now and then. Everyone will occasionally complain about something, whether abroad or in their home country. There are a large number of people who are constantly moaning about everything and seem to think that they are obligated to change everything that they do not like. Judging by the tone of some responses, we can pretty much identify who those people are just by reading their words.

  26. liz says

    Wow I see different reactions on this article……as an OFW, I’ve seen expats whine and complain about their host country. I guess its a normal reaction to complain about their host country since its totally different from their home country, how you act on it is totally different thing. Complaints can be made into suggestions that could probably help improve some things in the host country. But b*tching about it can turn into an ugly exchange between a local and an expat. Same with that Jimmy video thing if it was said in an entirely different manner, the reaction wouldn’t have been majorly negative. I feel no offense though as what he said was true though his lame attempt at humor fell completely flat……
    I do understand John’s view, I think trying to stay and live in misery everyday can be damaging to one’s well being. Ive been into two ME countries and I used to work in the retail department. Ive seen western expats whose patience have left their entire human body, nothing left. On several occasions, some regal looking middle aged western ladies react violently when they couldnt find what they are looking for ( as simple as printer ink, or AA batteries). They would cuss (F-word at every 2 words), their faces would contort and their body would tremble in and anger ( I was surprised they didnt transform into fire breathing dragons or didnt have stroke :)) ) and they would leave hissing how miserable this (stupid) country is……yet they still stayed. I guess if its too much for a person, then its best to move on…there is always a choice and its not to say to take in everything and be abused. There is always a civil way to make your complaints be heard and get an action….

    • John Miele says

      Liz: I can really sympathize with you working retail in the ME. An often thankless, and frustrating job… No doubt about it.

      I remember vividly being in an Internet cafe in Abu Dhabi in, I think it was Marina Mall (memory fuzzy on that). I was checking email one day and there was an Australian woman yelling and screaming at the Filipino cashier because she didn’t like the cigarette smoke…. Now, you know as well as I do that the cashier would never risk their job by going to an Emirati and telling them to stop smoking in a place where it was allowed. So, the cashier apologized, but said that the patrons were allowed to smoke. The woman started going to each patrn, telling them to stop smoking and how such a thing would never be allowed in Australia and it was her “right” to never be exposed to smoke. The security guard’s response as she was being unceremoniously escorted out: “You aren’t in Australia.”

    • RandyL says

      Liz: You hit the nail on the head – Actions are much louder than words and should be self explanatory and educational based. The old adage “teach a man to fish” can go a long way towards improving life’s simple pleasures here in the RP.

  27. says

    Hi all,

    Such a coincidence that I saw this post today. It was like this post was written for me!

    I have had a total nightmare past 6 years or so (no I am not a complainer!) being a single mum, lost my job etc etc. So I took advantage of the UK’s grants for single parents and went through a dgree at university which I really enjoyed and loved every second of. I thought having this degree would enable me to get a better job and be able to support my family. But coz of the recession and maybe as well because I’m an older grad, I just could not get a graduate job. I applied for all sorts of work, literally thousands of applications. Meanwhile I carried out academic writing from home which provided me with a small income of around £600pcm.

    So I thought right ok lets start my own business (see the half glass full coming in again lol) which went brilliantly only to be booted off google. So now here I am again without a job, living with my parents (now they really are the complainers!!!) this negativity is driving me crazy.

    I visited th philippines in 2005 an had the best time of my life. I absolutely loved the scenery and the people. Its been at the back of my mind for years to up sticks and leave the UK to live in the Philippines. And today I have made up my mind thats exactly what I am going to do. I can live modestly on my writing income and actually have time in the outdoors, and get to spend time with my daughter. Can even travel around a bit.

    In 2005, I found accommodation for £90 for 3 weeks and took £200 with me for spedning and came home with change! I did everything I wanted to do as well. OK only complainst was no hot water, but the scenery and the lack of money worries far outweighed that small inconvenience.

    I have always wanted to do volunteer work as well so I would really like to contribute to the local community wherever I decide to move to.

    I’m actually really excited and I’m not going to listen to the moaners back home – “oh you cant take your daughter there” “oh you may like it but your daughter would hate it” etc etc. Oh please! Get me on that plane now!

    I thought Cebu city looked quite a good place to move to, although I do love the beach areas – any ideas fellow expats?



    • John Miele says

      Karen: I think kids adapt better than adults, actually. Bob, the owner of this site, moved here with his kids. Perhaps send him a note with more specific inquiries?

    • John Leick says

      Karen: I have traveled extensively in the RP, and am 14 months from being an expat. Cebu is one of my strong options, but I am leaning toward Tagaytay. It is quiet and relaxing with a very nice geography and climate. However, it is more expensive.

  28. Aaron says

    Hi John,

    This is totally off the subject but I had a question regarding the 13A visa. I read that article and so far, it’s been spot on. I went for the interview and got approved, but my 2 month visa expires 5/9/12. According to the BOI website, I have 2 months to claim my 13A visa. I forgot to ask when I was there so I’m hoping you did. If I don’t make it there prior to 5/9/12 to get my passport stamped, do I need to extend, or am I good to go within the 2 months? Thanks man.

    • John Miele says

      Aaron: I’m not sure…. I think once the visa is approved, you are OK… However, there is a time limit on the ACR. You should probably keep trying to call BI and ask them directly. I would rather be certain than risk it, especially since the first 13A is probationary.

  29. louie says

    The more I see contradicting opinions here on Lip about living in the Philippines, the more it highlighted cultural differences between Westerners and Pinoys (or maybe Asians too for that matter). Take for instance Jimmy’s controversial You Tube video upload. While some locals are angered by Jimmy’s seeming arrogance in that video, some expats sees it as just a normal thing they do in their home country, thus Jimmy, as they thought, has every right doing it here too. But this is not his home country, he might have or he might not have violated local laws, but he sure angered many locals on that video. This is cultural contrast. I might be wrong, but perhaps one of the reasons some pinoys felt offended was that they could not in their conscience blatantly do a Jimmy’s in their host country. It seems unPinoy. This is not to say the Pinoys are the most upright race in the world ( just like in any other countries, Phils. have its own share of killers or scammers etc.). It’s just we don’t usually hear pinoys arrogance in other countries. Perhaps they’re not in a position to do so, or maybe not in their capacity. But it’s just unPinoy. I remember an expat here on Lip commenting sometime ago about why Filipinos with their free willing attitude in the Phil. would become disciplined when working in another countries. This is the point here. Because Filipinos knew they are guest there, not a resident and therefore are willing to observe the host country’s norm and not impose their own set of standards (of course that is aside to being afraid to get jailed abroad). It sure is not wrong for expats or visitors to criticize what they thought as negative things about the Phil., specially if it’s in a constructive way and not insulting. But complainers (the likes of Jimmy) I guess it is not wrong too when pinoys sees them as an overbearing guests.

    On the side note, I don’t know why other expats are disappointed about JohnM’s frank words for complainers. They forgot that before living here in the Phil. JohnM, just like them, is also from the Western Country, thus just speaking his mind. On the other hand perhaps John is now half Pinoy too, just kidding. Seriously, I guess when you live here in the Phil. long enough, immerse to local culture , you’d see that your perceive negative things here are not as negative as you thought it is. Or somehow you’d see some imperfect but valid reason behind the things you perceive negative. Just my two cents.

    • John Miele says

      Louie: I totally agree that the longer you live here, the less that differences are noticed. It is also a never-ending process… I still sometimes get surprised, too.

      Another point: Bob once wrote that something like half of expats move back within two years…. Many never do manage to adapt.

      • says

        Last week my little 3 year old niece called me “color white”. I guess some differences will never go unnoticed. :0 Now I have a new nickname. At least I can admire her progress in speaking English.

    • roy says

      Hi Louie , John & everyone, as a Filipino who watched that video, I think we all agree that what that Jimmy said was the truth. We only take issue over his obsessive use of the F word. We felt his outrage over those things so we are all compelled to ask the same question you ask. He has what most Filipinos do not have: the chance to leave. So I find it curiously comical when he issued his apology. How he arrived at that point-from rudely lambasting Filipinos including lady boys hahah and then apologized therafter–I have no idea.
      As a naturalized US citizen, I still do not find myself complaining about America or Americans, at least not loudly. :-) Not that I do not have strong opinions about its policies. I think that’s just Filipino in me.

      • says

        Roy, I believe that your strong opinions about American policies may be more commonplace than you think. It’s not a Filipino thing. 😉

        • roy says

          I agree Randy. But what most Filipinos would do with their strong opinions is just keep it to themselves. We don’t share our strong opinions to strangers (in this case Americans) as if we are discussing the weather. As a Filipino, it is an alien concept for me to accept that gun-ownership is a constitutional right. That the US is constantly at war is also a phenomenon to me in the same way that I find it also interesting about their fashion sense. Ok, I have a little quarrel about their nonchalant butt exposures.

          • John Miele says

            Roy: And if loud opinions go against the social norm, wouldn’t it be considered rude and obnoxious to voice them vocally? That’s the point.

  30. Nathan says

    I can may deduce three things here, First: A video, made by somebody who pretended to know the Philippines and the Filipinos; Second: JohnM who simply said, “if you don’t like it, leave.” and, A blast of healthy opinions, some I can only grimace and others that I can only grin at.

    I am a Filipino, proud and true blooded.

    I admit we do have a lot of things to do before we can be “westernized”. I admit there are some of us who may be considered as bordering on “idiot-ness” and do things as their kind do. I also admit, some of us have become insensitive to what others are doing to them, or may have become callous enough to respond to the things around him. And, there are many other things that I may have to admit to, as a Filipino. No questions on that.

    Maybe, in my simple way, allow me to ask the video maker: Why must you judge or rate us Filipinos based on your standards? Are your standards something that we Filipinos must live with?

    We Filipinos may try to emulate westerners, by the way we act, by the way we prefer things western, even in doing some things. But, these does not make us less of a Filipino. I say, we are who we are, and we do things the way we do things. If you don’t like the way we do things, then you have 2 choices – you can either go home to where you came from or you can leave!

    True, we may be a race that smiles a lot. We smile when we are happy. We smile when we are satisfied. We smile when somebody gives us food or money or do something for us. We smile when we are hurt. We smile when we are angry. We even smile when a westerner insults us. But, does that make us lesser people? Does it rob us of our dignity as Filipinos? Or make us lesser citizens in a global community?

    I have had a chance to stay in the US. Lived with an American family. I have gone to the UK, stayed for a month with a British family. I have gone to the Middle East and China. One thing I noticed though – in all these places, graciousness and good manners is a virtue that is always appreciated.

    Yes, us Filipinos were taught respect, amity and graciousness and we appreciate EVERYONE who value our friendship and help us to improve ourselves. We may not be perfect in our ways and we know that. Life for us is hard, we also know that. Amid all these, plus the insults – we can only smile.

    Just don’t let me see you go to a dark alley.

  31. Sonny says

    I admire your courage John. I think you have adapt very well since you have been exposed to many countries. I’m a pinoy and half something, and also travelled a lot, personally and business related, so I have learned to speak my mind carefully. I am very careful when I criticize, have to check if the other local person I am talking to is open minded. If not, I will just shut up.

    As for that youtube video, it’s a tourist remark. Everywhere we go, we always have something that we are uncomfortable of, just like going to another house and experiencing something different we are not accustomed to. Most of the things the youtube guy mentioned, I would agree though haha

    • John Miele says

      Sonny: As I wrote, there WAS some truth to everything he said…. but he was downright rude. Granted, he wanted publicity, and speaking like some college professor would not get many views on You Tube

  32. Ron LaFleur says

    Hello everyone. Life is good. Even when life gives pause to complain it is good. You have all heard that attitude is a choice and I have to agree that it is. The video that started this discussion I thought was done well. The guys style is just who he is and I am not going to judge him. He did’t say anything that didn’t have a bit of truth to it. It was his opinion. You have to ask yourself who was his audience? Was this video for the Filipino? I don’t think so. When I started to watch it I at any time if I was offended stopped. Some of the comments here about paying too much and being treated differently because of the color of their skin. I think that goes with the decision to live in any foreign land. Paying more never really bothered me. Again I have a choice if I think I am being taken advantage of to just not buy anything from that provider of services. I had lunch today and I paid a larger than normal tip to my server. I could tell she needed it and I felt good helping her in any way. I have pretty much felt the same in the Philippines as it always was a good feeling to give a little more where I could. I sense a lot of anger and frustration here lately. My opinion tells me that anger and frustration are caused when expectations are not being met. John has an expectation that foreigner’s in his adopted land treat people with respect. Others here have an expectation that they should not have to pay as much as others. That all makes sense. I rarely get angry and here is why. My expectation is that its not all about me and when I feel offended I have an expectation that I will be a better person than the one thats offending me. So many here seem to have a desire to grind a little, rub a little (or a lot). Just relax and just be the best that you can be and always remember Life is Good-really good. Ron

    • John Miele says

      Ron: You are correct… I do have that expectation, because the actions of a few color the perceptions of the rest.

  33. Jay McDowall says

    Wow the same thing applies here to in Hawaii. Only thing we can’t kick out an US citizen from there own country. This also explains why my wife adapted here easier than most people from the mainland that are not Asian.

    • John Miele says

      Jay: My understanding was that the whole Hawaiian vs mainland thing has even gotten violent at times.

  34. says

    John your typical rant against foreigners is becoming tiresome. Ok..so you adore the RP and believe that you must defend and support her, Not sure whom elected you their spokesman (maybe you believe that you have the inherent right because you adopted one of them, and you have decided to live there…etc..etc? but, like us, you are and will always be a foreigner) Jeez, ease up…we all complain some more than others, so why involve yourself ? Your constant rants against foreigners leads me to believe that you were somehow mistreated, abused, unappreciated, etc., in your own country and you are very bitter about ending up in the RP. I hope this was not the case. Swearing and lashing out against others, their actions and opinions will not resolve any issues but could alienate some current and future LIP readers.

    • John Miele says

      Nobody appointed me their spokesman… My opinion, and you stated yours. Nobody forced you to read the article. If it’s tiresome, then don’t read it.

  35. Cruiser says

    I have been working with a lot of bosses in the cruise ship. American is always very sensible trying to reconcile my complain. But for britons, you are like talking to the wind. Italian had given me two options: no like, go home. I tried to complain to the filipinos but they killed me softly. they sabotage the hot water in my bathroom, no toilet flush and switch off my room’s circuit breaker many times. Now I never complain I use proverbs.

    • John Miele says

      Cruiser: You are 100% correct… working on a cruise ship, with dozens of different nationalities in close quarters., you really need to learn how to get along with people.

  36. says

    Great article John, I have enjoyed the comments from all. I guess another way to look at it is: “If you don’t like it then leave and if you don’t stop complaining about it then you will be deported. One way or the other your leaving! 😀

    • John Miele says

      Darin: I have the suspicion that some who are taking issue with this article the loudest are those who are griping the most… Feeling guilty, eh?

      • Jonathan says


        There is an old Filipino saying that best describes what you have said “Bato-bato sa langit ang tamaan huwag magalit” explained as, don’t get angry or gripe if you know that you are not guilty of issues/accusations being discussed/thrown at you. Maybe it’s in the archive of your The Albularyo blog John. 😉

  37. El Pendejo says

    Hi, I love that statement and do believe is a “stupid statement”… as for any statement proposing to give up instead of changing is pretty freakin defeatist to me and the cause of the source of the statement itself!… you were asking about logic…do you follow so far?

    I lived in asia for so long that logic is just not acceptable to 3rd world level of education with 1st class propagation and racism standards (china recognize ;-)) it’s freaking hard to argue against the “fact” that my white skin color bears a free flow of money?!?!

    Ok so you asked about logic and i’ll tell you what i tell anyone claiming the years long saying…

    I was born on this planet, so i am from here. Period if you have a problem with my believes, ideas, or anything else i say… well sorry i can’t leave this planet!

    If you want me to recognize imaginary lines ppl put around in order to share “population control” and “profit based cultures/corruptions”…well you better comes shooting because i’ll defend myself and disregard your CARTEL.

    So far i’ve notice, Police/army/religions/patriots are the only ones that came with guns and treat me to kill/prison me if i didn’t do what they say (anything from following arbitrary rules to paying tax).

    So the logic is, when you say : “If you don’t like it, then leave”

    I logically reply: “I will stay and fight YOU instead, because you are the source of MY PROBLEM”

    Don’t tell people what to do…ever

    tell them why you think they are doing it wrong! (embarrassed argumentation as it brings evolution)

    if you don’t like it….drop the gloves… i am Canadian and respect a good fist fight!

    • John Miele says

      Well, El Pendejo, if your name is any indicator, very little needs to be said by me towards your statement. Right. I lead some cartel that determines who leaves and who stays. You are living up to your moniker.

  38. says

    This is a well written piece. Filipinos already hear too many complaints among ourselves and hearing more complaints from foreigners doesn’t help the situation. However, honest and considerate opinions from foreigners are always welcome.

  39. Mike P. says

    It seems to me that Harvey is right on target in describing your constant rants against foreigners. With regards to your anatomy and opinion remark, you are absolutely correct, and your opinion has sure stunk up this forum.

    • John Miele says

      Mike: Nobody forces you to read anything that I write. I suggest that if you are offended by this article, then you are one of those who sit around complaining all day.

  40. Mike P. says

    I never said I was offended. I said your opinion stinks, and quite frankly I usually don’t read your writing. In fact John you are the one complaining. You constantly complain about foreigners. It seems you always find a foreigner to complain about no matter where you go. I have been visiting the P.I. since the late ’60s and for the last 12 years have spent extended periods of time there and I very seldom encounter the kind of discontent from foreigners that you describe, hence my agreement with Harvey’s assesment.

    • John Miele says

      That’s probably because you haven’t left the same barstool in Subic since the 1960’s and are hanging around all the other old farts complaining about the same things.

  41. Mike P. says

    I have never been in Subic, actually, my home is in Butuan City where I live with my wife and son when we are in the P.I. I am a non drinker and never have been.
    I am a farmer both in the U.S. and the P.I. Good guess but no guitar.

  42. Cherly says

    I have to be totally honest…I love filipino culture and NEVER want the Philippines to be a little America. Sure, I would like to see much of the pain and suffering end but I truly love the filipines and the people.

    I simply cannot figure out why people that CHOOSE to live in the Philippines come here and then moan and groan and bitch and complain about why things are not the way they are in America. If you do not like it here….LEAVE

    Filipinos, and those of us expats, don’t want you here anyway. I honestly believe the ONLY reason filipinos put up with these people is because the filipino culture is much more patient and filipinos know the extra money that foreigners bring to their economy.

    If you are one of the complainers and one of the amazingly rude expats…please just leave here. You are not wanted and mostly not needed.

    I do want to make one point though, most Americans and foreigners I have seen here are good people and respectful.

    • John Miele says

      Cherly: It’s funny, but many of those who have a problemwith this article still haven’t answered that question.

  43. alf says

    Hi John! It is interesting to read your article and it reminded me about Kate Winslet, who is a British. I was surprised that she was not able to adapt to american life when she decided once to live in NY or LA. She moved back to UK because of cultural differences. She did not complain though about the american life, but she chose to live where she would be confortable. For westerners to live in another western country, cultural differences are still evident. What more to westerners to live in oriental country like the Philippines, cultural differences are more obvious. We genuinely like foreigners to live in the Philippines and to enjoy the same paradise we enjoy. We genuinely like to be friends with foreigners. In a business sense, we also like the opportunities foreigners are providing us. But for foreigners to continue to live in the Philippines yet say nasty things about our country, I feel pity for them because, they actually do not have other choice and so they are stucked in a country that they criticize and they have no where else to go. :-) :-)

    • John Miele says

      Alf: I don’t feel pity for them… If I see them behaving like an ass, I generally say something on the spot.

  44. John Leick says

    Holy smokes John, this sure stirred up the pot! Don’t usually see so many up and down thumbs. Keep it up!

    • John Miele says

      John: I sort of knew it would when I wrote it. Got tired of seeing the same gripes online over and over again so I wrote the article. Sort of makes you wonder sometimes…

  45. Patsy Orejas says

    You come across as a very angry and bitter man John. I would imagine you have simply way too much time on your hands. Unfortunately many men here in the US have become embittered since Lehman Brothers went south in 2008. Have you ever thought about learning our language or perhaps working with some of the many volunteer groups doing good work in the Philippines? I would ask that if you respond, that you do not swear or curse as I would be completely mortified. I wish you well going forward and hope you will attain some measure of peace within yourself.

    • John Miele says


      Í actually don’t have enough time. I work a regular job and do this because some people find my articles helpful. I started writing on here because I found Bob’s site useful when I moved. He has since become a friend of mine. I am not compensated.

      I am not angry and bitter…. in fact, quite the opposite. I have written nearly 200 articles on this site, the vast majority of them being highly positive about the Philippines. In fact, most of the negativity when I write is generally directed at boorish expats. Yeah, this article may sound angry… perhaps harsh. Yes, I got a little rude at the troll above.

      • Patsy Orejas says


        You have not addressed my question and I believe it is an important one; “why do you not learn our language?” How can you talk or discuss with authority, any aspect of life in the Philippines when you are unable to communicate with the vast majority of the population? My Ilocano Mom raised her four daughters to look at life with a very jaundiced eye; so let me say in a truly gentle and respectful manner, that I take all the talk about airports, and five countries a week, ect , ect with the ‘proverbial pinch of salt’. I truly believe that a good education is only valuable when combined with a healthy sense of skepticism. (Particularly when it comes to the internet)

        • JohnM says

          OK, there are a number of reasons why I have not learned Tagalog:

          1. I travel abroad on a weekly or bi-weekly basis on a schedule that changes frequently and with little notice. This makes scheduled classes or tutoring extremely difficult to maintain on any regular schedule. Additionally, I travel to dozens of countries per year, and am exposed to dozens of different languages regularly. This makes focusing on one language extremely difficult and confusing. Though I understand the benefit of learning the local language, my situation since I moved here has not allowed any formal instruction. Were I retired and had the time, I would enroll in formal language instruction. However, though I work in the Philippines, my business is not in the Philippines, and I must use English all day long. This greatly limits how much I can use the language and learn it properly.

          2. Though I live in Manila, my wife and son’s language is Ybanag… Not Tagalog. Tagalog is useless in the province, and Ybanag is pretty much useless in Manila. There are few, if any, written materials to learn Ybanag, and it is very difficult to learn a language if even a dictionary does not exist.

          3. I have picked up some Tagalog through assimilation and TV, etc. Though I am by no means anywhere near fluent, I do understand enough that I can at least make an attempt in the event the situation becomes necessary.

          4. I speak Spanish. Unfortunately, though, there are a large number of loan words that often have very different meanings. Additionally, I sometimes get confused and my mind searches for the Spanish word, rather than the Tagalog word. Note that I also speak French. This is not an excuse… you asked why I have not learned the language yet, and this difficulty has complicated learning the language for me.

          5. There are very few formal classes in Tagalog for adults, even in Manila. Though there are lots of tutors around, I tend to learn language better in a more formal setting. After extensively researching online, I found only one formal setting classroom in Manila, at a very inconvenient time.

          6. It is extremely difficult to learn a language from your spouse. Though well-intentioned, they are not teachers. Aside from the occasional “what does this word mean?” and “How do you say?”.

          7. Not speaking the language does not inhibit my knowledge about the country or diminish anything that I know. I do research everything that I write and try and back up my assertions. Believe it or not, I do take the time and care to try and avoid putting out mis-information. Though many articles are based on my own opinion, the majority of what I write is related to my direct experience. I take between 1 and 2 hours to write an article. This site is geared towards expats living here and those who want to move here. Though there are many Filipinos who visit the site, they really aren’t the target audience. Note that myself and the other writers here have all, at one time or another, advocated strongly that people at least make the attempt to learn some of the local language. The Philippines is the fourth country where I have lived. I have been an expat for a number of years. I’ve visited nearly half of the countries in the world. That alone should give me at least a modicum of expertise on an expat web site.

          8. I have purchased, and started / stopped, several online language courses including Rosetta and several others. Again, it goes back to having the time.

          9. I do try and communicate with most of the people I meet. Sometimes, it is not possible. However, I especially try in cases with the elderly and those who have interesting stories to tell.

          The article was related to foreigners that are always complaining. Yes, learning the language makes assimilation much, much easier. The point, however, is that many who move here have no intention of assimilating into the culture, or even bothering to try. This article was targeting those people who coninually spout off such wisdom as, “You are a walking ATM””The Philippines would be great if it weren’t for all those Filipinos”, “In WWII if the US….” and so on.

          Again, these aren’t intended to be excuses… I know that I need to keep trying to learn the language. I will, most likely, continue to pick up more of it as time goes on.

          • says

            I too have learned to speak another language. Spanish. I can successfully order one or two beers and locate a restroom. I figured that’s all the Spanish I needed to know. I’m rather glad that many in the RP speak English as it takes a little pressure of the “requirement” to learn Tagalog. I’ll get there eventually.

            • JohnM says

              Randy: I’ve learned a bit more than that, but the constant back and forth between countries really makes it difficult to learn. Also, languages were never a strength with me… Learning French and Spanish came only after years of struggle (lots and lots and lots of time… Something I do not have tons of right now).

        • Allen says

          A word of caution learning the Filipino language – I’ve learned that if I try to speak to Filipinos using just a little Tagalog then they think it is cute and they smile. If I try to use harder words/deeper conversation, then all of the sudden they think I should know the entire Tagalog dictionary. They are not happy when I cannot understand when they start speaking rapidly in Tagalog and do not respond back in full Tagalog.
          So, I just stick with saying some simple phrases/Taglish and let them be content.

          • John Miele says

            Allen: The reason you mentioned is actually a reason that I find the language difficult to learn. Since so many Filipinos are fluent in English, many times they will answer in English if I try to speak Tagalog.

  46. Jonathan says


    Why do I have this feeling that comments will continue to be posted in this article for years to come (lol). I’m a local and an avid reader of this site for almost 2 years now. Here on LIP, the troika of Bob, Paul and John, IMHO, are the best writers on this site. My reasons being, Bob, writes tons of informative articles and of course being the brain behind all of this, Paul, for his funny and witty articles that never fail to brighten up my day and John = for his comprehensive, articulate and very informative articles that even I, a local, have only knew some things when he posted it in his “The Albularyo” blog. ;). So, that’s my stamp of approval for all you guys and keep on writing, anyway you like it!

  47. Patsy Orejas says

    John, I find the following statements to be rather comical: “The Philippines is the fourth country where I have lived. I have been an expat for a number of years. I’ve visited nearly half of the countries in the world. That alone should give me at least a modicum of expertise on an expat web site”.

    Mind you this is the internet so anyone can come forward and make any claim they wish. I personally do not believe that you travel so frequently (indeed that you travel at all) and I also believe that the above statements are intended to intimidate the poor schmuck from the US who is thinking about going to the Philippines (perhaps the first time to leave the country). I am also of the opinion that you are an underemployed (or possibly unemployed) middle aged American portraying an image of the jet setting salesman; the only excuse for not learning our language is laziness and arrogance.

    I believe the great Walter Mitty would have learned a great deal from your antics on this site. The jaded world weary expat image is truly tiresome and I do avoid reading your articles. You would be better served writing about everyday life in the Philippines as you experience it (however modest or humble). I enjoy the other writers on the site as they do write in this fashion.(particularly Chris, Paul and Paul and Bob).

    • John Miele says

      Patsy: You believe what you wish, but you are pretty much incorrect 100% in your statements. I work for a company that sells propulsion systems for fast military craft. The sales cycle for the product is 6 months to a year. Since my customers are located all over the world, and the product is highly technical, I travel very frequently. Since most of my customers are military organizations or shipyards on deadlines, my schedule changes fast and often.

    • rebecca ferry says

      Patsy if you don’t know the person personally then don’t judged him i’m a long time reader Of Bob site and i can assure you that John’s is not what you think he is. I didn’t see anything wrong w/ his blog, constructive criticism is a good eye opener for our government and for us filipinos as well , i’d rather read his blog than someone who just want to sugar coat but can’t stand the Phils. at all.

  48. Mike P. says

    John, I think you have hit a nerve because you seem to be painting all expats with the same brush. I have tried to discuss this with you and your response has been a series of personal attacks. You have never addressed my position which is I believe most expats are quite happy with their choice to live in the P.I. I believe the success of this site in many ways attest to my position. Yet when I tried to point this out you responded by calling me a “drunkard”, “an old fart”, “a complainer” and lastly a “troll”. I would point out that when one attacks personally it almost always means their position is weak. Back on February 14, I wrote a comment on PhilFAQS which Dave titled “common sense”. If you will take the time to read it I think you will see that I am a very happy individual and quite happy with my dealings in the P.I. and have even purchased a language program from this site to make my day to day life in the P.I. even more rewarding.
    The reason I continue this dialog is to disprove the idea that most expats are unhappy complainers. By in large we seem to be pretty happy lot. If you should ever make it to Butuan, I would be happy to have you as my guest at the local expat weekly get together where you will meet a bunch of happy foreigners.

    • John Miele says

      Mike: I also believe that many expats are happy here. Yet, if you read through the comments on this site, many of the ones that agree with me are from long-term expats here…. That indicates that I am certainly not the only one that has had negative encounters with expats here.

  49. Patsy Orejas says

    John, I would be delighted if my analysis vis-à-vis your employment situation is incorrect.

    Going forward, I do believe you should become more disciplined and avoid using bad language, cursing, ect on public forums. I would also say to you that there is absolutely no point in complaining as no one wants to listen and no one really cares. Life is truly difficult and so we must endure till the end

    “Be not angry that you cannot make others as you wish them to be, since you cannot make yourself, as you wish to be”.

    It does seem as if privacy itself is being diminished during these troubled times and you should be aware that hasty comments made on public forums can lie dormant for years in the Google cache, waiting for researchers to dig.

  50. Allen says

    I am currently living in the States with my Filipina wife. I have visited the Philippines a couple times. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Sometimes I have thought about living there on a permanent basis – maybe when I retire. I am curious to know your comments on the medical/hospital system there. For those who are retired and “getting up there” in age, are there concerns about how adequate the hospital system is if you do have a heart attack or a major illness? During one of my trips, I was staying in the province (Camalaniugan) and became ill from something I ate (coconut pie). There was only one doctor in the area. He came over using his bicycle since he did not own a car. I do not know how far away the nearest hospital would have been. So, are adequate medical facilities something that you considered when moving to wherever you are in the Philippines?

    • John Miele says

      Allen: I’ve written about this several times on this site. It was a consideration, particularly with our son in the picture. In the plainest possible terms, my opinion only, were I over 60, that would be a primary consideration in choosing where to live.

  51. lolo56 says

    Dear madame Patsy Orejas before i write i have to say sorry for my english but i am a french man. Something wrong in your judgment: It is not because someone stay in Philippines or anywhere else in the world that this person has to speak this language, my wife is a filipina and here is in french, she is here for 2 years and she doesn’t speak french beside saying bonjour…so what anywhere she goes or anyone she talk to someone her english is enought. I went to Philippines and one day i will also stay there 5 months a year and i don’t need to speak or lern tagalog or visayas or one of the 600 languages talking in philippines as long people understand me, as long i am polite and i do know that i am only a visitor ven if i stay there. You said that you don’t like t read John’s post so why you keep answering???? Me i read everyone and from everyone sometime i learn and other time i don’t but for this forum is not need to be a scientific just people that like to learn or read for others’s experience. But you don,t have to like everyone here but if you don’t like someone you don,t have to tell also, it is only a question of being polite, I read all your answers and i wonder why don’t you start your own forum? John is trying only is best and i am sure he doen’t get paid for that but everyone is free to read or not read him….

    You know sometime people are funny for example they talk agains other one but i always say that: don’t talk agains someone but pray for him or her, it cost nothing…and you will see we do feel better…

    excuse my mystakes, but i hope you understand me…

    take care and always be bless

    • Patsy Orejas says

      Lolo, you are absolutely correct and I will go back to my lurking ways. I was offended by the man and his use of profanity. I had stopped and then I found he was calling me a troll. I rarely read what he posts and I have been reading Bob’s blog for many years now.

      I might comment again in the future with other posters but this will be my last post on this thread. I enjoyed the “Bonjour” moment with your wife. I suspect you read and write better English than I; then again I am always the sceptic.

      Does you wife like cheese? I believe most Filipinos do not like cheese——having said that, I just adore cheese.

      Have you read John’s post from Ilocos Sur— a delight. May I suggest you write and encourage him to post more frequently.

      • John Miele says

        Patsy: You must really be easily offended then. It is also interesting that you have a distinct inability to comprehend written English in a forum that is written in English.

    • John Miele says

      Lolo: It’s interesting… When I visit our plant in France, I am “forced” to remember French, since only around four or five people there speak English. It usually takes me being there around two days for me to remember enough of the words to have a simple conversation (Though by that time I’m usually on a plane elsewhere). Funny, too… I can read French much better than speak it. Most of our company documents don’t give me any problems.

  52. says

    I find these people rating down everything here must have been hit hard by this article. LOL
    Love the article, by the way. And yea, if they don’t like it here, they’re free to leave. Or stop complaining. :p

    • John Miele says

      Coco: Yeah, I think you are right ;-). I still cannot comprehend why someone would stay someplace when they are not happy there.

  53. carina says

    We, Filipinos, don’t even tell those complaining expats that you mentioned to just leave . What makes you have the right to ? :)

    • John Miele says

      I disagree… When the article about the video was written by the Inquirer, dozens of Filipinos were angry and saying the same thing to Jimmy.

      Secondly, if you read what I wrote, I was questioning the logic of expats who stay here and complain…. NOT telling them to leave. Most of the negative comments written about this article completely missed that point. Which brings up the point, once again: “If you are not happy, why stay?”

    • Rey says

      I’m filipino too Carina and i don’t think i have told you to represent me as well…
      Anyway, most of John’s article i like even those i think that hits home.

  54. Speb Freespiritme says

    Hi John,

    Your article nailed it. I’ve realized lately that those who whine loudly are like cans’ there noisy because they’re empty”. Ask this s–theads for the solution and they’ll answer you with more complains.

    My country lacks a lot of things,but one thing were abundant of is respect,courtesy and hospitability to our guest no matter what our circumstances are. I find Jimmy a shallow guy for not seeing beyond the material things… in my line of work I get to mingle with really poor people in this country, there was one experience that really touched me and made me so proud of my heritage.

    We were visiting a squatters area here in Manila,and we were to meet a group of women.I grew up poor in the province but poor in the province is way way different from poor in the cities of Manila. Anyways, when we get to their place, one woman i assumed to be their leader excused herself for a while, and then i started noticing each of the women disappeared so I got curious and followed one, I found them at the back of the house. I saw them pitching in 5 pesos each so they can gather enough money to buy us soft drinks and plastic cups.

    I had to turn away because I was really touched I tried not to cry in front of them, this were really the poorest of poor people that anyone can imagine and yet they’re instinct is to pull their limited resources to make us feel welcome and they’d probably do the same to any foreigner. That was the best tasting softdrink I’ve ever tasted in my entire life. No Starbucks or fancy concoction in some 5 star hotel can top that and I can say it happened here in the Philippines :)

    • John Miele says

      Speb: Something similar happened to me once also… And I was just as deeply moved. The experience you wrote about isn’t rose colored glasses or anything… it is a part of the culture that more people would see if they stop pontificating and lecturing long enough to see it.

  55. Chris Judd says

    So are CNN and BBC wasting their time trying to improve things in other countries? They have volunteers constantly go into other countries in an attempt to make a change, clean up the places and report on issues.

    You are aware of the billions of dollars of foreign aid that the United States provides to the Philippines right? Doesn’t every American tax payer deserve some say in the going ons in that country? If a tourist is spending good money on a vacation, shouldn’t that tourist be well looked after and not subjected to the many flaws of the Philippines that need not occur? Without foreign investment it is pretty much economic suicide to treat foreigners with a “take it or leave it” attitude. Burma banned all tourism and foreign investment for the good part of 50 years and look at the state of that country. Food for thought dont you think?

  56. says

    I too have thought of living in the Philippines. To truly assimilate, I really need to learn Tagalog and Ilongo. Another key point is learning the culture and quit basing everything as compared to the United States. My wife and I have had discussions of cultural differences and I see the error in my thinking at times. Expats must not compare Philippines to the home country. It is too nerve wracking!

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