Recently I met an American fellow who has been living in the Philippines for only a few years now. He is a very nice guy, and he had a few interesting stories to share with me. I want to relay one of his stories today, but for his privacy I am changing his name, and a few details. I don’t want to make his exact story public, since he did not give me his permission to do so. The details I will change really will not impact his story at all, the changes will just make it where my new friend cannot be identified. I’ll call my new friend Rocky.
Rocky came to the Philippines to live here about 3 years ago. He has gone through highs and lows here. Currently he is somewhere in the middle, but headed on the upward trajectory. Rocky’s story started when he first arrived in Cebu in 2008.
Rocky brought a nice wad of money with him from the States. He is not rich, but he had enough to live a nice life in the Philippines, at least for a couple of years. Much like me, Rocky wasted a lot of money when he first arrived. After only a few months, Rocky was facing financial problems. In fact, Rocky had only a very small amount of money left, believe it or not, just P2,000, about $50 or so.
Rocky was stuck between a rock and a hard place. He didn’t even have enough money to go back to the States. What would he do. Well, Rocky had some knowledge that he thought he might be able to use to his advantage. There was a snack food that he knew how to make which was really delicious. Rocky decided to start making this snack food and selling it on the streets of Cebu to earn some extra cash. It was difficult, but what other choices did he have?
Sales were super, and Rocky’s fortunes started to pick up. After only a month or so, Rocky had earned enough that he opened a shop to sell his snacks. Within a few more months, Rocky had 4 shops open and selling his product! Things were really taking off, and imagine, all of this started on an investment of only P2,000! Amazing.
Since Rocky is a foreigner, he cannot legally own his business. He had a girlfriend in Cebu, and he also took on a business partner, a Filipino. Between Rocky, his partner and his girlfriend, they all worked together and made a go of Rocky’s snack business. Money was rolling in to the point that after just 2 years, Rocky had saved P10 Million from the venture! That is when catastrophe struck. Rocky’s girlfriend and his partner become a bit too friendly with each other. Soon, they teamed up and stole everything Rocky had. They got the P10 Million (or at least nearly all of it), and since the snack shops were all in the partner’s name, they took those too and kicked Rocky out.
Rocky left Cebu almost dead broke again. He wondered a bit around the Philippines and a few months back he landed in Davao. He liked it in Davao and decided to stay here.
In the 5 year history of this site, I have written many times, as have other writers on the site, about the dangers of buying property or starting a business under somebody else’s name. Now, if you have a long term marriage I have no problem with starting a business under your wife’s name, or buying a house in her name. I mean, that’s what trust and the bond of marriage is all about. But, if we are talking about a girlfriend, or some girl half your age whom you just married last week… well, I would not advise that, and if I were you I would not feel overly secure in such an arrangement. Just as Rocky found out, that girlfriend can literally take everything you own!
Getting back to Rocky’s story… as I said, Rocky decided that Davao is the right place for him. He found a new girlfriend here. He just recently opened a new snack shop here selling his specialty snack product. Sales are good, there is a lot of talk on the streets about Rocky’s place. Plenty of customers. Of course, Rocky also has a new partner for the business. Seems like everything is set up just like last time. Hmm….
We all have failures in life, but it’s a good thing if we can learn our lesson from our failures and learn how to protect ourselves from having the same catastrophe strike us a second time.
Good luck Rocky!