Why am I doing this?

Sometimes I read comments here on LiP, or I read other websites similar to LiP, and I see somebody write about the Philippines being “Paradise.”  I have never really agreed with that assessment, though.  No place on earth is Paradise, and that is certainly true for the Philippines, or at least it is for me.  If I think about the whole “Paradise” thing, I always come to the conclusion that I have found a nice place to live, but I sure have not found Paradise!

Living in the Philippines can be a hassle, believe me.  Nothing is convenient here, everything requires a little extra work, and a lot of extra patience.  I am not a patient person (just ask Feyma!), although I am a lot more patient now than I was a decade ago when I moved here.  If I were not able to gain more patience, I would have had to leave here a long, long time ago.

Pondering Life in the Philippines
Pondering Life in the Philippines

There are so many things that require patience, and add to the inconvenience in your life.  Last week, I noticed that the bathroom in my office was quite dirty.  The sink was dirty and it was obvious that it had not been cleaned in some time.  We have a maid who is supposed to do this.  I don’t expect her to clean the toilet of wash out the sink daily, but when it is dirty it should be done.  If the sink does not appear to be dirty, it should still be cleaned once a week or so.  It’s not a major operation to clean the sink, after all.

Well, after seeing the sink dirty for 5 days, I asked Feyma why the maid had not been cleaning my bathroom.  Feyma really had no idea, so she talked to the maid, and the bathroom got cleaned that day.  The thing is, why should we have to ask for the sink to be cleaned?  I mean, it would be easier to just clean it myself rather than have to keep looking at it dirty, and then having to talk to the maid about it.  Actually, I would not mind cleaning it myself… if I do that, though, why do I need a maid?  Hmm….

Sometimes you just have to sit down and ponder life
Sometimes you just have to sit down and ponder life

How many times have we talked about this sort of thing on this website?

  • Sorry, sir, out of stock!
  • Sorry, sir, no change!
  • Why didn’t the maid clean the bedroom?
  • The stores are closed, it’s the third holiday this week!
  • My meeting was at 2pm, it’s now 3pm and they didn’t show up yet!
  • The list goes on and on….

Yes, the Philippines is truly the land of inconveniences, without a doubt.

One day last week, during a day when there was a particular abundance of inconveniences affecting my day, I was sitting at my desk and found myself just thinking.  What was in my mind?

Why am I living here where everything is so inconvenient?

Yep, I was actually questioning why I had decided to live here.  Sometimes life’s inconveniences will add up and make us question our actions.  But, as I thought it over, I came to the realization that every place on earth has inconveniences.  There were inconveniences back in the States, they were just different inconveniences.   I came to the realization that although there are plenty of things “wrong” in the Philippines, it is still where I choose to live, and will continue to live.

I do love the Philippines… warts and all.

Post Author: MindanaoBob (1354 Posts)

Bob Martin is the Publisher & Editor in Chief of the Live in the Philippines Web Magazine. Bob is an Internet Entrepreneur who is based in Davao. Bob is an American who has lived permanently in Mindanao since May 2000. Here in Mindanao, Bob has resided in General Santos City, and now in Davao City. Bob is the owner of this website and many others.

How to Move to the Philippines Manual


  1. Darin says

    Hey Bob,

    It really depends on what conveniances you are used to or not as to whether it is and inconveniance. Fortunately I am a very patient man so I let those things roll off my back. But if you are paying for a service that is not being done then I can see a person wanting it accompolished in a timely manner. Perhaps for each day she forgets to clean the different parts of your house you could forget to pay her. :) maybe that is a little extreme but may get their attention. Everyone responds when their money is being messed with. Just my thoughts.

    • says

      Hi Darin – The amount of money that a maid is paid here is so low that I would hesitate to hold back on her salary. For me, either she does the work and keeps working here, or if she will not do her job then she will end up jobless. Our current maid is fairly new, less than 6 months… so she is still learning.

        • says

          Hi Brent – Ordinarily if you hire a maid she comes with experience and once familiar with your house she will work from a check list. In the Philippines she comes normally from a poor home with little education and she starts her training from scratch. The one quality above experience is honesty and once that’s been established the training takes second place. In time an honest committed maid will eventually become irreplaceable.

  2. says

    Bob – I tell my wife she wouldn’t make it there, and she is FROM there. I’m the patient one for the most part. She looks at me like I’m crazy, but much smaller things get to her much faster than I. 😀

    • says

      Hi Bill – I believe you 100%. Based on seeing Feyma’s experience after moving here, and also knowing other foreign expats and their Filipina wives who moved back here… I can say with 100% confidence that in most cases it is more difficult and stressful for a Filipina to relocate here than for a foreigner. Making the adjustment back is not easy.

  3. Dan says

    Good post Bob..and sure having Feyma in your life has helped you develope more patience and understanding. I can see where it would be hard for a Fillipina to move back to the Phillipines after living away for a long time, after all they all ready know about most of the inconveniance’s that are there…because they all ready lived there before, where a person who has never lived there before, they are going in kinda unware of what is inconveniance and what is conveniant.

    • says

      Hi Dan – In our experience… here is the reason why it was hard for Feyma to adjust. Having lived in the USA for 10+ years, Feyma changed a lot. She matured. She became more worldly. She was more outgoing, not the same “super shy” girl that I married who had never left the Philippines before. When we came back to live here, all of her family and former friends expected her to be the same person she was 10 years earlier, but she had moved beyond that. Some people belittled her for having changed so much. I think, though, it is only natural for a person who moves to a completely different place to mature and change. It made for a very difficult adjustment, and took a number of years before Feyma became comfortable with herself again.

      • Dan says

        I can understand that Bob…I belive that is where some don’t understand one thing…that is …things are never the same as they were say 10 years ago or 5 or even 1 year ago…but as you said some think they should be.It could be also that it was hard for her family and friends to adjust to the new Feyma…The shy girl from the provience that grew up and became who she is today…a lot of people do not like change and feel threatened by change and want things to stay as they are…its more comfortable that way to them…

      • says

        Also, no matter how “modern” and “enlightened” and “eqaul” the marriage, the heavy lifting of running the home falls upon the wife. We men have it pretty easy … especially the way men are treated in the Philippines.

        It’s the wife who has to deal with all the household services that refuse to “service”, the maid who don’t clean, the delivery men who don’t, the continual “out of stock” every time you really need something from the store, etc. This is all in addition to the issues of her family, which vary of course, but can be very significant.

        I’ve been out of the Philippines several times in my first four years and I have to pretty much agree with Bob, going “out” frequently doesn’t provide that much of a break, it only makes things that much harder to adjust to when you get back.

        Paradise it is not.

        (but one thing I notice, seriously, about the cost of living? It’s often damn hard to spend your money here, so some of my savings are directly attributable to the continual “out of stock” mentality. It can be great for the pocketbook here because often, then you go out with the intention of buying something, you’ll find out it’s “out of stock”, and I think if a business ever offered to take a deposit and order something for me, I’d drop dead of a heart attack. It can be a hard place to spend your money.)

        • says

          Hi Dave – I fully agree… the bulk of the household burdens are on the wife… culturally that is just how it is. Having a maid should help the lady in getting things done, but it doesn’t always work out that way.

  4. Dwayne says

    Sometimes I think it is difficult to be negative here on this site without people saying “Then why are you here”. Well I am not quite here yet but when I am I will have all my i’s dotted and t’s crossed and totally prepare myself for all the possible negative outcomes of life in the Philippines. The reality is many male expats come here becasue they don’t have a choice or they do but it is the difference of just getting by financially back home or having it really good here. Most I have encountered here really don’t have enough money to stay where they are from and the Philippines provides a financially attractive alternative coupled with easy access to beautiful women. It certainly makes sense to come to a place like this for those reasons. But as you pointed out the Philippines can be a frustrating difficult place to live full time. I for one know once I settle here permanently I will take a break from this country each and every year for my sanities sake. I really don’t know how you’re able to stay here without leaving for a holiday. Amazing.

    • says

      Hi Dwayne – For the most part, I am very happy and content living here. From time to time I get frustrated with the way things are here, but not too often.

      I honestly believe that leaving here once per year for a holiday will make it more difficult to live here. Why? Because as you become adjusted to the way things are here, you leave and get a taste of the “easier life” in other places, and that keeps you addicted to life abroad. The longer you stay here, the more adjusted you become.

      • Dwayne says

        Good point. But I look at leaving annually as taking a vacation like most people do. To go away, re-energize the batteries and come back feeling refreshed and with a new attitude until the next vacation. To be perfectly honest I will be moving here with the idea to have a beachfront property with my dream house and pool on it. A boat for diving and fishing. My own little piece of paradise. This is totally unaffordable for me in the states. I hope to meet a nice, attractive educated lady from a good non dependent family. We will travel abroad each year and just try to enjoy life. I wil also make an effort to avoid the many pitfalls you mentioned in your article and have my gf/wife act an intermedairy in all matters that might be too challenging for me to handle. I look forward to life here and based on what I have already seen the country is getting better each year.

  5. maynard says

    I think we all sit and ponder sometimes about this or that,and yes why do we still stay when we know there is drawbacks?Certainly its not a utopia here but there is so many other places with the same problems or worse.The US has many nice beaches to and nice weather so thats not the answer.All in all i think its because the people here especially for me anyway are more courteous and friendly.They go out of their way to please me and i dont get that treatment back home ,dont matter if its at a store or anyplace.Oh heres one for you Bob,when was the last time you had your windshield washed in the states?Did you ever get help from a neighbor there?How about this,when my wife was so sick the hospital made sure the room that cost five thousand was covered first before treatment for one night.Enough said guess i will stay here where i can get my jeans altered for fifty cents …Good day..

    • says

      Hi Maynard – Without a doubt every place in the world has it’s pluses and it’s minuses, and that includes the Philippines. For me, the pluses outweigh the minuses, but I also know people who feel the minuses far outweigh the pluses! Heck, even a huge percentage of Filipinos are doing whatever they can to get out!

    • corjo says

      I am not American but I have allways been treated like a king on my trips to tje U.S. I found that people there were happy to do that extra bit to help out a stranger to their city.
      In the Philippines I have been mugged stabbed jailed and hospitalised Its true my work brings me into contact with corruption and greed which I would not experience in normal life but believe me the Philippines is not paradise.
      Having said that even I would move to the Philippines, The first day after it begins to snow in Bicol I will board a plane with my skis and spend the rest of my life Sking on Mayon

  6. says

    Well Bob, it really is simple….come back and live here in America on a regular basis and you will quickly, within an hour or so, realize why you live in the Philippines. I have not lived there as much as you have, not even close…but I do know what you are talking about when you say inconveniences.

    Those inconveniences that you mentioned are NOTHING compared to the hassle, fast pace, and materialistic society America has become.

    Paradise is different things to different people…I find my paradise to be the Philippines.

    I cannot speak for you, but I do think if you got away every year on a holiday you might have something else to contrast with your life in the Philippines and I bet you would be wanting to get back to your life there much more.

    And if you think of the complaints you made in the article….hmmm, you might need to step back and actually look at those complaints!!! LOL.

    • says

      Hi Todd – For me, I believe there is no paradise on earth. Paradise to me implies perfection. The Philippines is not even close to perfection. The Philippines makes a nice life for me, but far from perfect. I don’t think I was complaining in my article, I believe I was only sharing my honest thoughts.

    • roy says

      Of course, it has been pointed out here that Filipinos who lived abroad have a different opinion about this. I for one who lived in Manila for most of my life find Manila full of “hassle, “fast-paced”, and materialistic.”

  7. Anton says

    Yes Bob , your so right , and that,s what my wife [ 26 year married and live in Netherlands ] allso say to me , when i speak to her
    about my retirement [ in Iligan ]
    that it will be difficult more for her than for me.
    But , i,m still hoping that it will be .
    And being allso a not-patient person here in Holland ,
    i,l be another yes-patient person in Asia .

    And for Dwayne :
    you must be a dreamer , that,s good ,
    but life is not so easy as it is in your dreams .
    Allmost ALL the girls are attractive ,
    but NOT ALL are nice ,
    and even less are non-dependent/educated .
    I hope that you dreams come true .

  8. Paul Thompson says

    Hi Bob;
    It’s definitely not paradise, but it’ll do until the real thing shows up. I will agree with you about inconveniences as they do abound.
    I found that writing about them on LIP and joking about it, lessens the sting. And when the inconvenience comes up again (As they surely will.) I get a smile out of it.
    Your web site has been very therapeutic for me. Now if we could just find a cure for “Out of Stock”…

    • says

      Hi Paul – I used to tell a close friend who lived here… “We ain’t in Kansas any more” and he would reply to me, “heck, this isn’t even Iowa or Florida” ha ha… no place is paradise, all we can do is make the best of it.

      I have enjoyed your participation on the site, Paul! I hope it will continue for a long long time! I would not want to be “out of stock” of Paul Thompson articles! 😆

  9. art wolford says

    Hey Bob,

    Solve your maid problem by getting rid of her. Here in the United states we do our own cleaning. hahahha No maid problem.

    • says

      Hi art – Ha ha… I hear you! Last year, we went for maybe 9 months without a maid, but after that we decided that we needed one… so…. we hired our current maid. I think she can learn… I hope so at least!

  10. says

    Bob, I agree, that there is n0 place on earth that is perfect and thus the term “Paradise” could be just be a misnomer. However, in spite of the inconveniences we suffer here in Marinduque, when we have electrical brown outs, I will still continue claiming this island to be my island Paradise especially during the months of December and January, when the climate is cool and dry and the ocean breeze reminds you that the simple life in the provinces, one must experience before he or she leaves this busy world.

    • says

      Hi David – We all have our preferences, no doubt. I do not believe that any place is perfect, thus it is not paradise. But, as I pointed out in my article, I choose to live in the Philippines, and it is the right place for me!

      Merry Christmas, David.

  11. says

    Paradise is different things to different people, there is NO perfect place and I have been around the block a few times or more.

    But there are places that are perfect for what certain people are looking for.

    Manila might be fast paced and more materialistic than other places in the filipines but it is still, except for people and traffic, much LESS fast paced and materialistic than most places in America.

    I love Manila…and would rather live there than my “peaceful” home town of Vancouver, Washington.

    Anyway, some of the stuff that irritates me about the filipines are also some the things that I find charming. LOL. Maybe I am just weird.

  12. Ron LaFleur says

    I have found paradise. Its in my family, my attitude, and my friends. Where I enjoy that paradise is really a reality of where I am. Like many of your readers, your writers and yourself I have lived in so many places I can’t remember them all. I can say that in all of those locations I was either happy or not. The location had very little to do with it. The attitude and those I was with had the effect of happiness or paradise within myself. Now I will be the first on board that a walk along the road in Hawaii during January is a heck of a lot more comfortable than say Alaska at that same time. Still that does not make it a paradise if your alone and friendless. So I will say that our relationships with those we know and love are where we find our paradise. Now as to why you live in the Philippines-its easy-you live there because that is where you are. Merry Christmas.

      • Donna West says

        I agree. Paradise isnt where your body and possessions are. It is where your heart and your spirit is. Heaven and Hell are right here on earth. think of the things that are beyond describable beauty and the ugliest things we can imagine and we have seen or heard of them during our life. In my lifetime of 65 years i have been rejected, physically and emotionally battered, abandoned, homeless, financially broke, hungry, robbed, wrongfully accused, and too ill to be able to work. Until I grew up emotionally, I thought i was in Hell and living was not only a challenge but seemingly impossible in my mind. Then one day I realized it is obvious life as i want it to be and how it really is is not the same. but rather I am happy or not is up to me no matter what my challenges are in life. challenges are still here with me every day of my life, but I am learning to embrace life for no matter what it holds. When i get to the Philippines, I will only find paradise if I look past the challenges and into the beauty of what God has created on earth and in His people. I dont want you to fire your housekeeper, Bob. I think your house is big and you have a fairly large family. maybe she is a little overwhelmed and a list of “please dos” or “dont forget tos” would help her out some. I have a very small house here and only two of us living in it and I forget to clean down the cobwebs and clean out the bottom of the refrigerator. I think good training is the key to having an efficient employee. good article Bob and lots of constructive comments.

  13. Don says

    Hi Bob,

    I work with to three Philippino’s, two from Metro Manila other from Cebu. They are both educated and work as CPAs in a Big 4 firm. They both have been out of the Philippines for 10+ years. Although they want to go back and help their homeland, they do not ever see that happening as have a very happy and secure life in Singapore. In fact, they said that SG or US is the land of milk and honey for the Philippinos! Living in PI for them is too hard. So paradise is defined by each person.


    • says

      Hi Don – For me, the Philippines has been the land of milk and honey. I have found it pretty easy to make a living here, and have been able to make more here than I ever made in the States. So, not only is paradise different for all of us… the land of milk and honey is too! 😆

  14. says

    Hi Bob- I’ve discovered in life that Paradise can mean different things to different people. Being contented in life is sometimes construed as living in Paradise and being happy with ones life is the same. For others its the beauty of where they live particularly here in the Philippines.
    Just the other day we held a party for my birthday here in Talakag and many of the guests who had never been to the town or driven up the road from Cagayan de Oro said its like a little Paradise up here.
    We don’t have a helper to clean the house as there is only the two of us so if our sinks dirty its our fault no one elses lol. But as a rule of thumb if your particular helper is given a written laminated schedule of daily duties then she has no excuse for not doing her job. I do agree there is hassle living here but to my mind the advantages out weight the hassles and for that reason I’m just going to soldier on in the knowledge that now I know there are some people worse of than me.

  15. chris says

    Hi bob you know this is funny as when i was at red knights gardens this is one thing that i asked the expats there ,i said how do you stand it the lack of i will get it for you tommorow or we will order it for you right now ,maybe it is just the way i have a filipino project manager and when everyone else is freking out about a job he is cool and calm it is almost as if he doesnt care but i think it is just the nature of the land , i am not saying that all are like this but they seem to have a pretty laid back attitude ,maybe that is what we lack we get so stressed and uptight about such samall things that really dont matter anyway in the big scheme of things that maybe we as westerners need to adopt a more easy going attitude , but i dont think this will happen ,the answer i wa given by the expats was thats the way we like it AHHHGG it would drive me nuts i somtimes wonder about the ofw when they arrrive in places like australia and america how much of a shock it is for them the way we are no woder we die from heart attacks and high blood pressure ahh if only we could chill a bit

    • says

      Hi Chris – Well, the truth is… as I see it… most people here are like that. But, as I have said before, and others have too… we can’t expect 90 Million people to change for us, it is us who has to adapt. So, there is not much that we can do about it, I suppose.

  16. says

    Hi Bob – Well, I for one am in Paradise. It may still have warts, but oh what warts they are! 😉

    Somehow, I’m not inconvenienced by the little things (or the big things for that matter). Those issues deemed inconvenient appear as opportunities to get my head on straight, not take life so seriously, and reflect on how good my life is – all things considered.

    As to maids not cleaning – happens worldwide. That’s why they have checklists in stateside McDo’s restrooms – to make sure someone comes in and checks on things a few times a day.

    • says

      Hey Paul, think back to when you were going through SmartBro Hell… was that paradise? 😉

      Sorry, my friend, but I personally believe there is no paradise on earth. There are good places, just not paradise. We will have to agree to disagree on this one! 😀

  17. Jack says

    Hi Bob,
    We’ve been here in Davao ‘permanently’ only a month now, so maybe it takes longer for the frustration to set in (though I’ve been coming here for 20 years so don’t think so). I would say that overall, the sum total of petty annoyances for the average person in the U.S. these days far exceeds anything I’ve seen here. Things in the ‘developed’ world have changed a lot in the last ten years. It’s true they have WalMart superstores and such and you can buy anything you can think of. But most ordinary people these days are pretty much frazzled between working and dealing with all the problems that come up. I know plenty of folks back in Arizona who would dearly love to have problems like having to remind the maid to clean the bathroom in their home office!
    Best holiday wishes

    • says

      Hi Jack – There are frustrations everywhere, as I said in my article. There are unique frustrations and inconveniences here, but there are other such problems in the States too. I suppose it is trading one set of problems for another!

  18. Dave Bennett says

    Bob, one of the things I can’t understand here in the Philippines and is one of the most irritating things is–THE BROOMS!

    The Walis Ting-Ting is just a short bundle of sticks! You have to bend over, they won’t stand up on their own, they only clean an area of about 6 sq in’ and they keep falling apart!

    And the Walis Tambo is just a duster. I wish i could find a good old American broom somewhere. The brooms here are like what the cave men must have used! Hasn’t changed in 10,000 years!

    Besides that, it is paradise here. lol

    P.S. Bob you get so many comments and you answer them all. You must spend a lot of time at the computer. God Bless Ya. You don’t need to bother to answer this silly comment. Just work on getting my next article out!

    Marami Salamat Po,

    • says

      Hi Dave – I wrote an article just a few weeks ago about how wonderful Filipino brooms are! You can read it here.

      I reply to all comments, because it is my job to do so! I make a nice living through my online efforts, and I feel that by interacting with those who support me (and a few who don’t!) that shows my commitment. So, it is important to me to interact with the readers of this site.

      • dave bennett says

        Sir Bob,

        Read your article about the brooms. I like the way you see the Filipino side, very positive attitude.

        I have raked a lot of leaves in my life i sure wouldn’t want to do it with walis ting-ting or tambo!

        A good American leaf rake that is like 3 feet wide and will do the job a lot faster and leave all the gravel! But god bless em, if they want to use a tooth brush to clean a floor then go for it.

        Another guy posted about the jeeps being so low. I always wondered is there some law defining that jeepneys have to be so low? Not all Filipinos are short.
        My son in law is almost as tall as i am. (6 ft).

        I ride a jeep everyday so i know the frustration, plus it is hard to see where your stop is.

        But besides the pollution these are about my only major complaints! (oh yea one more,people butting in front of you when your in line) Other wise -Paradise!

        Thanks for answering my post. But really you don’t have to answer this one now. I feel bad, here i am making more work for you!

        OK, got to go. The “Dancin Dilly Do” is here and he is waking up and crying, got to pick him up and rock him back to sleep!

        Thanks for being here,

        • says

          Hi Pops – While I cannot use Philippine Brooms, I think they are pretty efficient. I don’t call them by the same names as you do, though, since I live in an area that speaks Bisaya as opposed to Tagalog!

          I agree with you on the Jeepneys… I do get tired of hitting my head on the ceiling! 😆

    • says

      These brooms are great outdoors, but indoor they are (as i see it) completely useless. They can really make dust fly around all over… The just move it to a higher level. In other senses “a higher level” is a great thing, but not concerning dust 😉

  19. Bryan G says

    Hi Bob,
    Like you I find that I tolerate the inconveniences of the Philippines much better than my wife – strangely I have spent much more time in Manila than she has over the last few years as my job brought me back and she stayed working in Scotland with the children.When she is here she goes ballistic over the things I have come to accept as part and parcel of living in Manila.She is more westernised than me! Filipinos seem to have the gift of assimilating into the societies in which they find themselves – the lack of awareness of time etc found in the Philippines vanishes once outside.
    Just for info Bob,the Filipina widow with the the two British children has now filed for leave to remain in Scotland and has been told by her legal advisor that she has a more than even chance of being successful on her first application. If not our Fil/Scot community will do all we can. Just read the daily papers that an Iraqi Kurd failed asylum seeker who killed a child in a hit and run accident – he left her dying under the car – has been allowed to stay in the UK as his human rights would be breached if he was sent back to Iraq! The world has gone mad.

  20. says

    Thank you for always being honest about Phillipines. Your articles and warnings are so beneficial to all newcomers to my country.I have learned so much from reading your articles, comments..and info’s.Bless you and your family.

  21. Bruce Michels says

    You and your writers are some of the best at describing everyday life in the Philippines and that is priceless. You throw out their the everyday happenings with your family life and your community. You and your writers have a way getting down to the bare bones of what to expect when you live there. And that is what I call passion for what you hold dear. Living in the Philippines is your Paradise. Your desire to live their and raise your family shows me how much you love the culture and how much you want it to be a part of your family’s life.
    Living with minor inconveniences are a part of life anywhere you go. Bob you chose to write about those inconveniences and how you go about in handling them to help us under stand what really can happen in the Philippines. You also write about how difficult it was at times to adjust to the culture and some of the life’s changes both you and Feyma had to go through and I appreaciate this. It helps me understand alitttle more on what to expect and how to adapt. Sure I was there 20 years ago but that was a long time ago and things change we change. That’s why you and your writers are so important to me. You give me straight up reality and that what I want.
    Bob I really do believe you found paradise. You are comfortable in your own skin and relaxed in your mind. You have family and friends that care about you. And you have a love for the Philippines that most people will never find and you are willing to share that with us.
    I just want to thank you and your writers for keeping me motivated and I bee there some 30 months and counting.
    Merry Christmas to You and your Family BOB.

  22. says

    Again Bob, you are using YOUR version of what paradise is…others have different views. Some of the inconveniences that you mention are really silly to me and probably to others.

    Someone above mentioned that paradise is a mental thing a state of mind…and that is probably how I feel about it. My goodness, does anyone believe for a second there are not problems and inconveniences in any country? Of course there are.

    And by the way maybe you ought to come back to America and deal with some of the cell phone companies and cable companies here. They would make Smart look like a well run company!!

    Paradise is thought of by many as being in bliss…bliss is a total state of happiness…BLISS is how I feel when I live in the Philippines….with all of the “inconveniences” and maids sometimes not doing there jobs!!!

    • says

      Hi Todd – Of course I am using MY version of paradise. When I write an article, everything is MY thinking, not anybody elses. I can’t write what YOUR version is, because I am the person writing and can only use MY brain to do so. Often times it sounds like you so disagree with me that I don’t really understand why you even read the site, Todd. I mean, nobody is forcing you, right?

  23. sugar says

    Hey Bob – Paradise lost, paradise regained. No perfect paradise.. Heaven, I suppose. When I think of paradise, I often have this mental picture of nice beach, warm weather, drinking fruit shake… something like that. :)

    Hmm… I guess what one gains here is that you learn to become even just a little bit patient? He he. You also gain (even more so) that sense of caring and giving and of social responsibilities. Being Santa Bob esp. during this time of the year, to the less fortunate will tons of smiles from kid and certain fulfillment.

    • says

      Hi sugar – you bring up a good point. To all of the people who think that the Philippines is paradise… when they see a young child who has no food, is that paradise? It’s part of the Philippines, which according to them is paradise. How about when they see a person who is suffering with sickness who has no money to be treated? Paradise? I think not.

      Thank you for making me think of this, sugar!

      • sugar says

        Yup, Bob.. most need to know the country is more than just that…. sand, sea, warm weather Btw, I noticed my grammar was drunk he he. I meant ‘to the less fortunate, you being Santa for a day will bring tons of smiles from the kids and certain fulfillment. You, indeed love the Phils, warts and all it’s inconveniences.

  24. Bryan G says

    One of the difficulties of living a privileged life as an expat in the Philippines is that we see the poverty and exploitation of the people,a justice system that can be bought and can do nothing about it.We see the street children,the squatters and the hungry and we can only feel grateful that we are not in that position.We live here in our own happy lifestyle but have to turn a blind eye to so many things -we live here but are not really part of Philippine society.For some people it is indeed paradise,but for others?

      • Bryan G says

        Bob,I understand what you mean but we have advantages – we can always go back to where we came from if things go wrong – most of us are not young couples trying to raise a family,we are in general financially sound.The local people do not have the options we have. We as foreigners are treated as a privileged class and it takes years to be accepted here as just another person.I have a home in a subdivision in Las Pinas – I have no foreign neighbours that I know of and apart from two colleagues that I have worked with for many years I do not spend time with other expats and have many local friends but it has been a long road to being accepted. It is difficult to be involved as a foreigner as we do not have the same rights as a local.I am sure most of us do our best but I think that local people feel we do not want to get involved with local society so tend to exclude us

        • says

          Hi Bryan – I don’t fully agree with you, although I do to some extent. I disagree that local society wants to exclude us. I have a lot of experiences where I have been included by local folks, even when I showed no interest. One of the big things to gain acceptance is to learn the language. If you don’t know the language of your area, the local people will be embarrassed to speak with you, and will exclude you for that reason.

          Not sure if you are aware, but I moved here at 38 years of age. I had 3 kids at the time, with the youngest being only 1 month old when we moved here… so it’s not only old folks moving here! I could consider Feyma and I as a young couple when we moved here. Of course… we’re moving up in the years now, though! 😉

        • corjo says

          Once you have mastered Tagalog get friendly with the Local Barangay Captain, you should be paying them courtasy calls anyway.Volanteer at the local school teaching assistants who are native english speakers are always welcome.If you have a skill you will be in demand.I have done lots of things for the Barangay for free,wired houses advised on construction. Now im sick of people comming to call.There are always people visiting when im there.If you want to get involved you need to get out there and find them because they wont come looking for you.

  25. Tom Martin says

    I agree with you! I do not know how many times over the years that I have gotten frustrated and said, “Why do I stay here?” I have also said many times, “I know things are not perfect in the U.S., but at least I could communicate about the problem easier.” When the dust settles I decide that I am better off here for the time being. If the dollar keeps loosing strength to the peso things may change. I have sense enough to know that my real problem is retirment. I loved working and I miss it. The language barrier makes it difficult for me to do much volunteer work. The poor are the ones that generally need the volunteers and they seldom speak English. I have tried to learn the language and cannot make any progress. All considered I choose the Philippines.

    • says

      Hi Tom – Thanks for your comment. Yes, there are frustrations everywhere, I, like you, choose to stay and work the best I can with the frustrations here. Overall, I enjoy living here.

      As for language, I can virtually guarantee you that if you give my teacher a try, you will learn the language, if you can spend 2 to 3 hours per week on it. That’s all you need, a bit of practice and time. Bebe knows how to teach the language, and you can do it! Give it a shot! 😀 I promise you that if you do it, it will make a huge improvement in your life! In fact, Tom, if you are willing to give it a try, I would be willing to work with you! We could try to get together once per week for an hour or so just to practice! Let me know, if you like. If it’s not for you, I understand that too, just offering to help you, though.

  26. says

    Being away from my country for so long, I came back to the Philippines expecting a lot of stuff like the U.S. It’s true , I was disappointed and I found more inconvenience. For example, the technology here—–the system of operation of celphones, the bank operations, etc. They’re all inconvenient and downright annoying. But this is my home, and it will always be. That’s why I love it here. It may not be paradise, but it’s home to me.

  27. says

    i love this article..i’ve been here for about 2 months now and i do find it difficult to adjust but mostly with the climate. i’m just lucky i live in a very nice place in cagayan de oro city. although it’s still a lot different than living in the US but i love it here! Karl loves it here so much too and never misses Utah!

  28. Jason says

    Largely I find life very relaxing here, and the extra time spend with the family and not commuting to a 9-5 makes it all worth the effort, it only becomes an issue when there are other things going on that raise your base stress level, so the daily annoyances start cause ripples on my otherwise placid surface 😉

    I found one secret to coping with the inconvenience, and how can I put it, “varying levels of competence” is to have a unpublished blog where I can rant until my equilibrium is restored without being thrown out the country 😉 I have several dozen articles which I wouldn’t dream of publishing, but the act of writing down what is frustrating me at the time, and trying to clarify the actual problems and think of solutions is very therapeutic!

    • says

      Hi Jason – For the most part, I enjoy my life here and find it relaxing, as you say. Some things do get under my skin, though. I will say, I get a lot less stressed than I used to, though! 😉

  29. says

    I think most pros and cons are mentioned in reply to “paradise”. I agree in most, maybe it’s not paradise, but it is much, much better than our homecountry. (Denmark for me). It not i guess most of us would go back to where we come from. Also it could be some kind of urge some of us have to get out and experience life in other places – vacations is not enough for that.

    One thing that bothers me (really a detail) is the way things are constructed here, maybe it’s only in our house? If i want to change a faucet or a zink – OMG it is cemented to the wall or cemented in packings, impossible to dismount without destrying that half of the house. If i want to change the toilet – HA – cemented to the floor. I do not need a wrench or a screwdrive – i need a hammer.
    I am used to things that are relatively easy to change, but here i guess it is ment for lifetime. Or maybe it is to withstand earthquakes, floods and volcano eruptions…
    While my wife and I lived in Denmark, some family have taken care of our house in Philippines, but if you don’t tell excactly what to be done and how to be done – well, things are done the “Filipino” way. Cement and concrete :-)
    Home decor – well, the filipino way is not what i think is a nice, cozy home: 1 major bulb in the ceiling and that’s it. With the energy saving bulbs it gives a really blue cold light – makes you all look sick, These things are surely changed now that we live here ourself, even using enegergy saving bulbs it is possible to get some with a nice warm light, yeah – they are a little more expensive, so that’s the reason
    Details are not the Filipino way as i see it, the finish is not as i would do it. So there’s only 1 way: Do it yourself – and that’s what i do step by step. I have been living here for almost 6 months now and have still a long way to go, but who cares – i am retired and have all the time i need.

    Talking of paradise, some people in Denmark still think my life here is at the paradise beach, with a cool drink in my hand, lying in a hammock. That’s not how life is here. At first i wanted a house near the beach, but at a second thought i didn’t want to have waves running over my house – you know climate isn’t as it was before and things do happen. Now we live in a nice, clean peacefull subdivision near Angeles City. Maybe one day we get closer to the water, we have some land on Cebu and will build there one day, when i want to retire. Ohh – i am retired, but not retired really. I still do some work – just have to do something here.

    • says

      Hi Axel – I fully agree, there is no place I’d rather live than here… but my contention is that even though that is the case, it is not paradise. Every place has issues and problems, no place is perfect! :-)

  30. says

    Thank you Louie, I’m glad you enjoyed it! Don’t worry, adjustment will come with time.. the longer you stay, the more adjusted you will become. Changing to the climate here is probably one of the easier adjustments to make! You’ll do it!

  31. says

    Right – if we ever find paradise we must find it in ourself, not in some place.
    And… If everything was perfect and “paradise” how would we know, if there wasn’t some kind of contrast.
    We need a contrast to experience – good-bad – dark-light and so on.

  32. says

    Hi Bob – An interesting viewpoint to living here on a permanent basis. The post does raise some questions however regarding life style. Like Dwayne, I agree that where ever you live you do need a break away from the humdrum life that we live here, as in my case I did exactly the same when working in the UK. Each year I looked forward to spending some time away with the family not only to recharge the batteries but to see new places and see how others live and converse with other people. I’m an advocate of this as if I stayed put in the same place year in and year out, I’d be like a lion in a cage. Hopefully my travels are not over as I would like to see more of the Philippines as well as South East Asia and see for myself the things so far only the Discovery channel has made possible.
    Also as a result of my wife and my self’s love of travel our kids were brought up having seen a fair bit of the world which they incidentally have continued doing since they graduated. This experience has increased their understanding on how the other half live and they also have had the opportunity to meet people from diverse nationalities and cultures.
    These posts and subsequent responses does go to prove, not everyone has the same outlook on life. One thing for sure Dwayne no matter how many i’s you dot or t’s you cross like the house maid you will still continue to learn long after you come to live here.

  33. says

    Howdy Bob! I’m glad that someone else finally said something about the Philippines not being a paradise. Oh sure there are plenty of nice places here, but there are in most countries. I believe the Philippines could be much closer to a paradise if they could figure out how to get rid of the corruption. Once that is accomplished then the cleaning up of the other things can be resolved. I know corruption is an old story here, but it seems that no one wants a happy ending for the people, except maybe the people. Speaking of the people, that’s one of the major reasons why I live here. They are so friendly and helpful to me. They are usually a bit slow and sometimes pretty bothersome too, but overall they have been nice to me. We just returned from a 2 1/2 month vacation in Texas and I sure was glad to get back. It was nice to get back to things that belong to us again.

    • says

      Hi John, niceto hear from you! I hopeyou are doing well, and that you enjoyedyour recent trip!

      To be honest, I have been saying for years that the Philippines is no paradise. I love my life here, but paradise it is not.

  34. Loren Pogue says

    Enjoyed your article. Have the same problems with our maid when I am there. But for me it is a lot easier to remind the maid every now and then that she needs to do something than to have my wife doing most of the household work. In the USA we can’t afford a maid and government regulations and labor laws defiantly make it better for us to do all our own maid work. And only in the Philippines would you have my #1 problem with the maid. She was not a live in; I like to lounge around in the morning before becoming presentable to the public, I had a very difficult time convincing her she did not need to show up at sunrise and stay till dark. Being able to have a maid moves the Philippines up the scale to being paradise, but agree with you it is not paradise.

    • says

      Hi Loren – Thanks for sharing your thoughts! Having a maid is a big help with keeping the household going smoothly, especially in a case like ours, because we have 5 kids. That keeps us busy! You sure are right, though… having a maid in the US, unless you are super-rich, is just not an option!

      Take care, Loren!

  35. Loren Pogue says

    In our case we really don’t need much help as it is just the two of us. But my wife has worked hard for 60 years and deserves not to have to work anymore, unless she wants to, and if something needs done she is going to do it. So we are looking forward to going home to our maid. Thanks Bob.

    • says

      That’s the same with my wife. I tell her she only has to work when she wants to. I finally convinced her to hire someone to help her and now she is taking full advantage. It has cut her workload down 75-80%. She isn’t and never was one to just sit around and do nothing though. After 32 years of marriage I finally got her to do something that I wanted, but I don’t know if it counts. It is something that benefits her. Oh well, I still think I’ll try to hang on another 32 years.

  36. corjo says

    Deep Norwegian snow a roaring fire.Salty lips howling winds a shark on my line and the west coast of Ireland. Hot Chocolate from a paper cup with my daughter on Brighton station.Dawn on the Nile with my wife.The digital plaza taipei,so many toys so little time. I guess for me paradise is in moments and depends on the company and experience never the place.

  37. Gerry Gambone says

    Hi Bob,
    I think its showing respect to the country that you live in, that you make an effort to speak its language and learn its customs. Even if you cannot speak the language fluently, the locals will warm too you and it will help you to blend in.
    In the UK foreigners are criticised (quite rightly in my opinion) for not learning the language or customs, sadly a lot of UK people who have emigrated to Spain and France have been criticised by the locals for sticking together not mixing with the locals and not learning the language or customs.
    So I presume you have a section of ex-pats who have no intention of learning the local lingo and customs, just group together and slag off the country.

  38. Neal in RI says

    *****************Bob, Feyma, Sr Chief Paul , Paul K, John M,*******************
    Hope I got your attention!
    Thank You very much for all your help and letting me mooch information from you all in the planning stages of our up coming move the the Philippines. Just wanted to put this out there and seeing there is a lot of comments on this post it was a good time to post it. Sorry if I forgot any one.

    • says

      Thnk YOU Neal! Thanks for being a regular visitor an contributor on my site, it is much appreciated. Good luck with your move, and I hope everything works out great for you and Linda!a

  39. Holger says

    Hello Bob
    If you had grown up in the core of a big city with nothing than bricks, steel and concrete surrounding you like me, you would understand why people like me thinking of a “Paradise” in the Philippines. Still as an adult, I am always overwhelmed with all the fresh colors surrounding me in the nature. I made my first flight in my life with the Army to Canada as a young adult. My parents did not have the money for traveling around the world. I personally got to see some countries like Spain, France, Austria, Swiss, Turkey, Marocco etc. But the Philippines are the best I saw. Fruits crowing in the garden. Beaches with the blue ocean. And I don’t need a cocktail to see that. :-)

    Bob – you don’t have to go that far with looking around you to see poor people. Only look to the USA. I drove 100,000 of miles in the USA and after 2008 I saw more and more people living in the streets and bagging for some food. American dream?

    • says

      Hi Holger – Is it paradise when you see a group of children who have not eaten a meal in days and days? Kids who have no clothes, except for a few rags. Kids who have not showered, because their parents cannot afford the water with with they would wash their dirty bodies? Perhaps for you and others it is. For me it is not. I have seen these kids, and I feel their suffering. I help them as I can, but there are always more who need assistance. For me, that is not paradise.

  40. Bob New York says

    Images of Coconut and Palm trees and other tropical foliage to those like me from a non-tropical part of the world can easily conjure up the thought or impression of such a place being a ” tropical Paradise ” , in fact even the two words Tropical and Paradise seem to go together in so many things we see, hear or read.

    One or more of the comments I have read here mention about difficulty in becomming involved with Filipino things there. If you are living there full time it might be different in that respect, but for me, as a visitor and possibly out of my own curiousity I have been able to become involved in many things there that I never at first would have expected. Even if I am only there for a limited time with a long time in between visits, my involvement continues via internet. Find something that interests you, be polite and hold yourself back from trying to change or what you might think should be corrected to the ways you are familiar and comfortable with and I don’t think you would have much of a problem in becoming involved if you desire to. That is based on my own first hand experiences, some of which I have written about right here on LIP.

    Thanks to this website, the writers and the comments it has certainly taken some of the bite out of those situations that, if they had happened here in the USA I might have completely lost my patience and temper. During my visits when these situations happen, rather than loose my temper and make a fool of myself, I have easily been able to laugh it off in reminding myself ” Hey, that is something right out of the LIP website ” .

    I think the ” Paradise ” part of The Philippines is something as individual as all of us are. My fond memories of my visits will always remain in ” The Paradise ” of my mind. Paraidse and Perfect are two entirely different things.

    • says

      Hi Bob – for me, “paradise” implies that there are no problems, everything is perfect. That’s certainly not the Philippines, as problems abound here. There are starving people here, it is surely not paradise for them as they try to figure out where they will get their next meal. For those of us with money, it is closer to being a paradise, no doubt, but I doubt that any of us could live in bliss if those starving kids are looking at us while we feast on a lechon, or a platter of tropical fruits. Know what I mean?

      • Bob New York says

        I certainly do know what you mean Bob. The first place I went on my first visit was to Jollibee, something I had looked forward to for a long time. It was evening and dark outside although I could still see a lot of things through the windows. What I never expected was to see kids appearing to be what I would call hanging on the windows with their face pressed against the glass, staring at the people eating inside, including me ! When I asked the friends I was with about it, I began to learn of the ” beggar kids ” .

        So many things there have been a real eye-opener for me. Reading about it and seeing pics is one thing, seeing these things in person right in front of me had a far greater impact.

  41. messtime says

    Hi Bob,

    Concerning the maid, something you might consider is the possibility that you need to manage her work, or maybe Feyma needs to manage her daily chores by giving her a work list (check list) to follow every day. Very few people on the face of the earth including people with college degrees will think to organize their own work duties while under the employ of someone else. It really is your responsibility to set priorities and organize her daily work. And/or you or Feyma or both can make a list for yourself(s) and ask her on a daily basis to do this or that, whatever you want her to do. But, the point is using a list of tasks written down on paper is a very efficient tool even if it is for only a small number of items. Plus, using a written list allows for easier follow-up on completed tasks. Lists are great because they also serve as reminders as to what needs to be done and what has been done. You can use a work list to schedule her tasks for the week – there is all kinds of ways of managing the situation. But, from what you wrote, it sounds like the maid needs more guidance from the management.

    • says

      Hi Messtime – Believe me, written lists do exist, and are posted in various areas of the house. Also important to remember, the types of people that you deal with as maids in the Philippines cannot always read, in fact, probably more often than not they are unable to read, so verbal communication is also very important.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, messtime.

  42. Don says

    I agree that Paradise is only a state of mind. My good friend works for UNICEF in CdO. If you want to see the real life for many, take a day in his shoes. There is a reason so many of the major aid agencies have a mission (office) in the Philippines. There is still a long way to go before the people of the Philippines would ever dream of their country being the Paradise that so many foreigners see it as. Not to be rude, but there hardworking serving as helpers, drivers, cleaners, etc at low wages is what makes it paradise to others.

    • says

      Hi Don, while I don’t work for UNICEF, I do get a lot of opportunities to work with needy kids and adults too. You are certainly right in what you say about the Philippines being a Paradise.

  43. amapangarap says

    i perfectly get you bob. in fact, i always find it weird whenver i see a foreigner living in the phils when more than half of the population wants to get out.

  44. PapaDuck says

    Thanks so much for another great post. Your right there is no such thing as paradise, but as long as you are happy where your at, thats all that matters. Take care have a nice day.

  45. Gerry Gambone says

    Hi Bob
    the Philippines is not paradise unless you have a decent income, I do know that you put yourself out in time and money trying to help the poor especially at Christmas. This is a wonderful thing that you do, and I presume that there a few ex-pats out there who do try to help.

    • says

      Hi Gerry… I have a very good income, regardless, there are still problems in the Philippines, like every othe country in the world. Even if you have an income of a million dollars per year, the place is not perfect. :-)

  46. says

    Paradise is what you make it really, there are problems everywhere in the world. To me what make the Philippines paradise is knowing that my wife will be back with her friends, and family clan, surrounded by those she dearly misses. Now do not get me wrong my wife is VERY happy here in the UK with me, but at the end of the day, she misses her family, friends and the food and the weather (UK never seems to stop raining and being wet and cold). There are many other reasons why we would be moving to the Philippines and they are outlined in one of my web sites articles, but the fact still remains of one all import goal, if the wife is happy . . . . . your in paradise!

    In regards to cost of living it really boils down to what you can give up and are willing to live without. What you lose in one way you will gain in another.

    Also to touch a note on what Bob said in respects to why so many filipinos want to leave, well lets just say my wife said to me a while back after she lived here for a couple years “The grass is really not greener on this side of the fence is it!” I was so proud of her that she saw this with her own eyes first hand. Plus most of the local filipinos here in the UK can not wait to move back home, as they too are not happy here as they once thought they would be.


  47. says

    Hi Bilko- I agree with what you say about the grass being greener on the other side especially in connection to the weather in the UK. However living in the UK does have its advantages as well, as everything works there all of the time. My wife spent almost 25 years outside of her homeland raised two children and only then did we consider a move to the Philippines to live. Meanwhile we returned for numerous visits to see the family there. Yes paradise is what you make it but as Bob has pointed out it is only paradise for those who can afford it as there are numerous people here who would disagree with your synopsis. In saying that we cannot and will not be able to sort out the ills of this country mores the pity. Yes seeing your wife happy amongst her ain folk is what makes life tolerable here for us and of course there are worst places to stay in this world, that’s for sure. So as long as the wife is happy then you’ve more than cracked it but a wee visit back to the dreary weather of the UK is not to be sniffed at as I can testify too. If nothing else it allows you to send a Balikbayan box back with some of the things you miss here when the sun fails to shine.

    • says

      Hello Jim;

      The UK has it’s positive points too for sure, but it is just not the country I was born in anymore! It is a shell of its former self. As I mentioned there are good and bad in all countries not just the UK. There are lots of other reasons on why we want to move to the Philippines, one main reason is to enjoy a more simple & laid back lifestyle, instead of the hustle & bustle of western living.

      As far as affording to live there, that’s not an issue for us. We would make the Philippines our home base and we would visit family here in the UK or where ever they end up moving! (they want to move out of the UK too) and we also want to do a bit of traveling, and having the Philippines as a central base for that is perfect to us! So really paradise is what you make it in the end, it really is a matter of finding a balance of Happiness, Cost Of Living and freedom to enjoy life & for the wife and I we both feel it is the Philippines.


  48. says

    Hi again Bilko – Having read your reasons on your blog for not wishing to stay in the UK, I can hardly blame you. However you stay in the UK after being away for such a long time is hardly long enough if I may say so to truly obtain the full picture of life in general there. Again it depends on the area that you live in as to what experiances you obtain. We for example lived after returning from Nigeria first in Scotland then for the last 18 years in the North East of England and with two children we never found hardly any racial discrimination in all that time. Yes standards have gone down but we never had to mix with that end of the social scale and just chose to ignore it. Our kids went through the UK education system and both graduated from University and whilst our son recently married in the UK still lives and works there, our daughter moved to Australia after graduating and loves it there. Although we live for the most part here we still maintain a residence in the UK as one never knows what the future may hold and we are lucky to have that option. So for us we have a foot in paradise east and west. As said before paradise is where and what you make it and only you can be the judge of that. Inner contentment plays a large part of making that final judgement and as long as thats maintained paradise is not lost.

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