Yes, it’s true… I am celebrating my 10th Anniversary today. Marriage? No. Birthday? No. Hmm… what could it be? Well, as of today, I have been living in the Philippines for 10 years!
In many ways, they have been 10 long years. In other ways, they have flown by quickly. Some things about living in the Philippines have been very tough, while other things have been pure and simple joy. Overall, it’s an experience that I would not trade or give up. In a lot of ways, these have been the 10 best years of my life so far. I hope in that respect, it is only the beginning!
As I think back, I realize that I have changed a lot since I first moved here. Some of the changes were inspired by the fact that I lived here, other changes were a necessity, part of the process of adjusting to life in a new country. Some changes in me, of course, had nothing to do with where I lived, they were just part of maturing in years, something that would have happened regardless of where I lived.
A lot of good things have happened to me over my years of living in the Philippines. I would say that the very best thing has happened in my life since living in the Philippines is the arrival of Jean Jean as part of our family. For those who don’t know, Jean is our niece, the daughter of one of Feyma‘s sisters. A little more than 7 years ago, Jean came to visit us for a couple of weeks, and it turned out that she never went back home. I don’t consider Jean as my niece anymore, she is my daughter in every way. I love the girl so much, and could not think of not having her as part of my life. Jean was 7 years old when she came to be with us, and she will be turning 14 soon. She will be entering her 2nd year of High School in June, and she is a real joy. I love her so much, and without a doubt, having her join the family is the very best thing that has happened in my life in the past decade of life in the Philippines. A lot of other good things have happened too, but this is the best.
Business-wise, I am not really doing what I expected to be doing when I planned to move here. My plan ten years ago was to move to the Philippines, and I wanted to develop a business around my Internet Domain name, Mindanao.com. I am doing that, but it is not the business that I envisioned it to be. I do make money from the site that I have there, Mindanao Magazine, but it is only a minor part of my income. My business, though, is closely related to the business I envisioned, just not where I thought it would be. Instead of having developed Mindanao Magazine into a business, I have many other Internet Sites that comprise my business. My primary business has turned out to be WowPhilippines, something that I had not even envisioned ten years ago. I started WowPhilippines about 8 years ago, and it turned into a very good business, the first of it’s kind on the Internet, although there are lots of copycat sites now. That’s OK, though, I still do very well with WowPhilippines. I have a lot of businesses here now, and I enjoy it. I offer Private Investigations at PointmanPI, Web Design Services at Web-Earner and a number of other ventures too. So, I would consider my business life a success since living here in the Philippines.
On the personal side of life, I have become a lot healthier in the past 10 years, and living in the Philippines played a big impact on that. I changed my diet a lot in the last decade, and also, living here gave me the free time to be able to work more exercise into my daily routine. I still have more work to do, but I have lost about 150 pounds since living in the Philippines, something that makes me happy, and also makes me feel a lot better than I used to!
Another personal note that has improved my life greatly in the past 10 years is that I have learned to speak Cebuano, the most widely spoken language in the area where I live, Davao City. Over the past decade, I actually made 3 attempts at learning the language, and the first two were (obviously) unsuccessful. I made my first attempt in 2001, while living in General Santos City. The classes that I was taking only lasted for a month or so, and my teacher kind of quit his teaching. I can’t blame him, though, because I did not make an effort to find somebody else to continue with my learning. My second attempt at learning the language was, I believe, in about 2004 or so. My big hold back on that attempt was that I studied with a friend. I already knew a fair amount of the language, and he knew none. Trying to learn together held me back a lot, and I got bored with it and gave up. I had pretty much given up on the language learning when I met Bebe Metillo in 2007. Bebe turned out to be, by far, the best teacher that I ever had for language, and I have been studying with her for nearly 3 years now! Knowing how to speak the language is the single best thing I have ever done to improve my life here in the Philippines! This is something I would recommend strongly to anybody thinking of coming and living in the Philippines, because it will make your life easier, and add a lot of joy to your life here. I cannot stress this strongly enough.
Yeah, it’s also true that the past 10 years have been full of challenges and tough times as well. Adjusting to the grind of life in the Philippines takes time and determination. A lot of expats can’t handle the adjustment and end up leaving, returning to their home country. There were times when it nearly happened to us too, but I am really glad that we did not give in to the temptation, and stuck it out. Adjusting to life here is not easy, I assure you of that, and it takes a long time. There are still things that I am adjusting to, or maybe I should say that there are things here that I will never adjust to. But, compared to the things I have faced over the past 10 years, the things that still bother me today are very minor, more of a nuisance than anything else.
Well, I hope you don’t mind, I am just kind of reminiscing today over the past decade of life in the Philippines. My actual anniversary of living here is on May 4, which will be tomorrow (Philippine time), so today, May 3 is the last day of my 9th year of life in the Philippines. Overall, it’s been a good life the past 10 years. I can’t complain.