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Dave Starr, living in the Philippines since 2006

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Today I am interviewing Dave Starr.  Dave and I have been friends for a number of years now.  I would say that we serve as each other’s sounding boards to some extent, and I think Dave would agree with that.  Dave has some good thoughts that would benefit you much if you are thinking of moving to the Philippines.  Dave also shares his insight on his website, PhilFAQs.

Dave Starr

Dave Starr

Tagalog Buddy

What is your name, and can you tell us a little about yourself?

My name is Dave Starr. I’m a 69yo native-born US man who decided some years ago to make my home in the Philippines. I made my move almost 7 years ago, in 2006. I’m married to a lovely lady, 18 years my junior, how is a native of the Philippines and now a dual US/Philippine citizen. We make our home in the province of Bulacan, just north of the NCR (Metro Manila).

I am retired (on a pension) from the US military as well as the US Civil Service … almost 40 years total with the USAF. Although technically retired, I find a great deal of satisfaction building up and operating a number of web-based business pursuits. I live in the Philippines and earn, but I don’t earn anything from the Philippines .. too much money on the loose in the rest of the world 😉

Thanks, Dave, for giving your time to do this interview.  I know you are a busy man.  Gotta keep up with all of those web-based business pursuits, right?

How long have you lived in the Philippines?

Going on my 7th year now.

7 Years and still hanging in there!  That’s great.

What do you like or dislike about living in the Philippines?

Like: Family, the weather, the cost of living, the laid-back lifestyle, and the lack of the continual, partisan, fear-mongering US news media.

Dislike: Family, the weather, the cost of living, the laid-back lifestyle, and the lack of the continual, partisan, fear-mongering US news media.

If that sounds confusing to you, just wait until you have lived here a while, you’ll “get it” then, I can assure you.

Ha ha, I do understand what you are saying, but you are getting tricky on me now!

What made you decide to move to the Philippines?

We wanted to be close to family. We wanted to escape the Colorado weather. And we wanted to escape the subtle but depressing racism of the USA. Also, as a senior citizen myself, I find it very hard to stomach the continual whining and bellyaching that has become the norm for my fellow seniors in the USA. I may be gray, but I am no “Gray Panther”, and I am for SURE not a member of the AARP.

I am not at retirement age yet, but I think our feelings about the AARP are similar!

Did you encounter anything unexpected when you moved here? What was your biggest surprise?

My greatest surprise with the mental mindset of the country as a whole. Like many (misguided) foreigners I came here full of business ideas, eager to help family and others “learn to earn” and improve their life trajectories in general. It doesn’t work the way you think it might here. I’m not in Kansas any more, that’s for sure.

I would agree that people here think differently.  I can’t say if it is better or worse, but I can say that it is different.  Kansas?  Heck, we are not even in Illinois or West Virginia!

Where do you live in the Philippines?

Marilao, Bulacan, island of Luzon

Are you happy there?

Yes, but I think if all things were equal, my wife and I would both rather live somewhere else in the Philippines. The thing which keeps us were we are the most is, the different places we would rather live are not the same LoL. But seriously, where we live is just fine. How you live is way, way more important than where you live.

Ha ha.. I understand that, Dave.  My wife and I have similar discussions on where else we might like to live, and somehow we always come up with different answers too!

Do you have any regrets that you can share with us?

Very few. But a major regret is, my wife and I were building up a very nice “brick and mortar” business back in the USA. We basically just gave it up because we made the decision to move here. If I had it to do all over again, I would have hired the help I should have back in the USA and kept the business going … I could easily have run it from right here in the Philippines, and if we had been working aggressively at building what we already had going for the past 6 years I know we would have something back there in the USA (providing jobs in the USA also) to be proud of.

But, then again, I could have had a heart attack or a stroke or built up too many frequent flier miles by now.

When we lived in the States, I had some online businesses there too. Some of them I brought with me, others I left behind.  So, I know what you mean.

Is there anything else you want to tell us about your move to the Philippines?

Yes. see above. Do not be in a hurry to “burn bridges”. Do not come here with a “Messiah Complex”, planning to “Save the Filipinos”. I can’t begin to count how many fellow foreigners contact me with all these wonderful goals of “fixing things” here in the Philippines.

News flash: The Filipino people are getting along just fine without you,and your “good works” and “great ideas” may not be welcomed as enthusiastically as you think.

Most importantly, learn to be happy before you make ANY move. I hear from so, so many unhappy, angry and frustrated people who have latched on to the idea that moving to the Philippines will “fix” their lives.
It will not. If you are angry, unhappy and broke back in the USA, guess what? You will be angry, unhappy and broke here in the Philippines.

Being happy is dependent upon your attitude and your efforts in life, NOT your location. Remember, Wherever you go, There you are.

You are so right on that!  Moving won’t every fix your problems, just take them to a different spot.  You gotta work through your issues, or you won’t be happy anywhere!

Dave, I want to thank you for spending your time sharing your insight with our readers.  I am sure you have given at least a few people some points to ponder, and that is a good thing!

Posted in

Bob Martin

Bob Martin is the Publisher & Editor in Chief of the Live in the Philippines Web Magazine. Bob is an Internet Entrepreneur. Bob is an American who lived in Mindanao from 2000 until 2019. Bob has now relocated back to the USA.

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Robert Bula
Robert Bula
8 years ago

I like it the interview.

MindanaoBob
8 years ago
Reply to  Robert Bula

Thanks, Robert! I’m glad you enjoyed it!

donna west
donna west
8 years ago

Interesting interview. Dont agree with some of his comments but then, I am not living there in the RP yet. dont forget our forefathers, who left their home countries to come to America because their lives were endanger or they were starving and had no futures. Many of them found the safety and financial security they were not able to find in their home country. and according to International Living Magazine 742 Americans are leaving this country every hour to live in other countries. So I am not going down with the ship, and thinking our lives wont change for… Read more »

MindanaoBob
8 years ago
Reply to  donna west

Hi Donna – I found Dave’s comments to pretty much be on the mark. It would be interesting to know which comments you disagree with.

donna west
donna west
8 years ago
Reply to  MindanaoBob

sorry my comments did not make it clear which of daves comments i disagreed with. it must be because men and women think from a different side of the brain. hehe i disagree with his thought that if you are not happy where you are living now then you will not be happy living in the Philippines or anyplace else. I truly believe it depends on your attitude but not all circumstances are to your own making. even changing our attitudes doesnt always change the circumstances around us. maybe i should say my son and I are coming to the… Read more »

MindanaoBob
8 years ago
Reply to  donna west

Hi donna – I can see both sides of the coin. It depends, I suppose on why you are unhappy. For example, I was unhappy with cold and wet weather in the Pacific Northwest when I was living there, but moving to the Philippines certainly cured that!

donna west
donna west
8 years ago
Reply to  MindanaoBob

Exactly Bob. I myself, have found the key to happiness in life. It does not hinge on where you live, how much money you have, or how much love you are shown. It does still mean though that there are things in life that still dont always make me happy. I know that sounds contradictory but the two kinds of happiness are not the same. you only understand that if you have the real key to happiness. My for instance, on happiness is it doesnt make me happy that I dont have freedom of transportation any more. i cant change… Read more »

MindanaoBob
8 years ago
Reply to  donna west

Ah, Donna.. you just agreed with Dave. Dave said that where you live is not what determine your happiness… you just said that the key to happiness does not hinge on where you live. Perhaps you guys agree more than you think!

Joseph (Hey Joe) Stuckey

Hi Bob, As you already know but Dave may not know, I am searching for my own pile of “Pony Manure”. though I have not seen his web Page before, I took the time to Check it out this morning and I must say I find It very informative. Dave and I share many things in common. . we are nearly the same age, our wives are 18 year younger than us. we are both retired military and as such have lived all over the world yet chose the Philippines as our place to retire and settle. I found Dave’s… Read more »

MindanaoBob
8 years ago

Hi Joe – Dave is a good friend, and has been for a long time now. He has his own little niche in the “Philippine Expat Blogger” community. Dave used to write on LiP too, so he’s been around the block.. or should I say the blog? 😉

Bob New York
Bob New York
8 years ago

I have enjoyed and found many of Daves articles most informative, many of which have been based on his experiences living in The Philippines. At times it may appear making the move is simple, pack your things, call the movers ( shippers ) rent a place and just hop on a plane and go. Sounds simple but there are hundreds ( or more ) small and probably often overlooked details that can make or break such a move to another country. Many of these details and more are brought out on Mindanao Bobs and Daves websites. As a visitor to… Read more »

MindanaoBob
8 years ago
Reply to  Bob New York

Hi Bob – Thanks for stopping by here. Glad to see you. Yes, Dave’s PhilFaqs site makes a nice contribution to the Philippine Expat blogging scene.

james dougal
james dougal
8 years ago

Hi Bob, I found Dave interview very intresting. I will hopefull be living soon in Santo Tomas area near Davao. I have found all the advice and experiances shared very helpful and like the differant way people look at life. I have some similar life experiances as Dave, i am ex Royal Airforce and retired and will be marrying a woman 18 years younger than me. Found him a bit tricky like you in some of his pardoxical statements, but enjoy your sharing Dave.

MindanaoBob
8 years ago
Reply to  james dougal

Hi James – I’m glad you found the interview to be interesting! Tricky? Paradoxical statements? Hmm… not sure what you are talking about. I certainly don’t try to be tricky or paradoxical. I try to give straight answers. Sorry if I came across like that in any way.

Good luck on your move to Santo Tomas, I have been there a number of times, it’s a nice quaint little place surrounded by banana trees!

RON
RON
8 years ago

HI BOB,
LIKE MORE INFO ON DUEL CITIZENSHIP USA AND RP.

MindanaoBob
8 years ago
Reply to  RON

Hi Ron – Unfortunately, foreigners like you and I cannot legally be dual citizens in the Philippines. Philippine law allows only for former Philippine citizens to attain dual citizenship here. You and I could become naturalized Philippine Citizens, but would have to give up our US citizenship as part of the process.

Dennis Buckley
Dennis Buckley
8 years ago

I want to live in the Philippine Is. because I hope (feel free to correct me), that I can find a place to get away from other’s opinions and encroachment. I have a farm that is 16 miles out of town in the desert. No, neighbors. Go to town 2 X a month. Now a stone pit has opened up on the land next to me – I have been found. Noisy rock trucks from dawn to dusk. I was just about self sufficient, off grid. I don’t want to drag anyone into my style of life, If I could… Read more »

MindanaoBob
8 years ago
Reply to  Dennis Buckley

Hi Dennis – The situation with a business opening on the land next to you will be 100 times worse in the Philippines than in the States. There are really no land use laws here, no zoning and such.

Good luck to you.

PalawanBob
PalawanBob
6 years ago
Reply to  Dennis Buckley

This is certainly feasable here. You could feel at home anywhere off-grid in Philippines. I have a very similar lifestyle, off-grid, without neighbors and without noise but you are right, this kind of living is increasingly harder to find. The noise especially, is so hard to avoid… it travels above hills, across rivers and even from village to village. However, your problem is TIME. There is almost no time left to move. We are only a few weeks away from financial (and other) Armageddon. Ironically, it may be blessing in your situation, the stone diggers will go bankrupt and pack… Read more »

Rusty
Rusty
6 years ago
Reply to  PalawanBob

Palawan Bob,

I watched an episode of Jesse Ventura’s conspiracy theory today. Wow, it’s about to happen. The US is going to go down the drain. It’s True. In 2012 Jesse said it’s all over. Bam! The US is toast.

Whoops, isn’t this 2015? I guess Jesse was a few years off the mark. Or maybe 1000 years off the mark. What do you think?

Rusty

PalawanBob
PalawanBob
6 years ago
Reply to  Rusty

Here it is: 29/11/2015.
That is only the first shock out out five.
Don’t tell me you haven’t been warned!

Rusty
Rusty
6 years ago
Reply to  PalawanBob

Will the 2nd shock be when either Trump or Hillary are elected? What is the 3rd, 4th, and 5th?

Rusty

PalawanBob
PalawanBob
6 years ago
Reply to  Rusty

Hillary or Trump is theatre for the sheeple.
There will be no elections!
Now, chances to survive to the 5th shock are in the order of 20%.
If you live here in Philippines it’s considerably higher. In other words, we have a better chance of survival here.
The nature of calamities is a mixture of financial and seemingly natural type of catastrophy.

Rusty
Rusty
6 years ago
Reply to  PalawanBob

Palawan Bob,

Are you saying there won’t be a US election in 2016?

Rusty

PalawanBob
PalawanBob
6 years ago
Reply to  PalawanBob

No, there will be NO elections in 2016!
Believe it or not, it makes no difference.
In a few weeks from now, we will all be in deep troubleDEADLY TROUBLE!!!

PalawanBob
PalawanBob
6 years ago
Reply to  PalawanBob

I am talking about US, of course.

big p
big p
8 years ago

Really an interesting article and I hope Donna is able to move soon and find her happiness. She sounds like she is living in an environment that would make any one other than a person like Dennis miserable, so most anything would be an improvement. Dave sounds right for 99% of the people though, if you are extremely unhappy with life where you are you have little chance of being happy here.

MindanaoBob
8 years ago
Reply to  big p

Hi big p – Thanks for commenting. I also tend to agree with Dave’s point, but wish Donna well.

Edgardo Blancaflor Dominguez

Home is where your heart is!

Bob Martin
6 years ago

True, Edgardo!

Edgardo Blancaflor Dominguez

I love this line “Most importantly, learn to be happy before you make ANY move. I hear from so, so many unhappy, angry and frustrated people who have latched on to the idea that moving to the Philippines will “fix” their lives.
It will not. If you are angry, unhappy and broke back in the USA, guess what? You will be angry, unhappy and broke here in the Philippines.

Bob Martin
6 years ago

That is so true! Wise words from a Wise man… Dave Starr.

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