In the few years I’ve been writing for LiP I noticed a trend, people advising us on renting verses buying a home, living close to folks from your home country living close to your wife’s parents and family, or going native and living so far in the boonies there is no Cell Connection. The list goes on and on. I’ve seen fights start, angry comments posted and all manner of dissention and discord arise over a simple opinion that a writer decided to put forth. Crazy ain’t it? But here is a simple fact; it’s their opinion and no one else’s.
I’ve heard: I’m too busy to watch TV is a favorite subject of mine. This could be because they live so far afield from the nearest hamlet or village that the only TV available is what can be snatched from the air by an antenna affixed to the top of a 30 foot bamboo pole. Who really cares if they do or they don’t watch TV, it’s their life and their right to do as they please. I have two Cignal dishes on my roof, and that was my choice. Do you see where I’m going with this?
I also love to read and have thousands of books on my Tab E reader. Oh that’s another one I love to hear: “I only read real books, never electronic!” I found that it was damn near imposable to adjust the size of the font on real books, and that prevented me from reading them.
Another common thread; It is better to rent than own a house” and the other common one is it is better to own than to rent a house!” What a foolish argument, as both people are absolutely right, it boils down to what works best for you the person making that decision, not some arm chair know it all on the other end of a point of view that only applies to them. But they are the same foreigner who when you say Hi to on the street or in a market they’ll ignore you because they feel superior as they process the only and true knowledge on how to live here in the Philippines. I rented a house for a few years prior to building one. Also I’ve lived here over 20 years and still trying to figure it out. But the fun is in the trying!
Air/Con or natural living! It wholly depends on what one can afford; electricity is a large monthly nut here in the Philippines. The purest believe that living in a Nipa Hut with no screens, alongside a creek in Bugtussle Provence is just as right as the folks that built that Spanish Style Hacienda on the beach. Why, because it was their decision and nobody else’s. Who could say either is wrong?
I live on a mountain now because in Puerto Rico I lost a house and a night club that was on the beach because of Hurricane Hugo, and a 15 foot tidal surge entering the back door of both and the flooding that lasted for days afterwards. Mountains provide you with gravity and water tends to go somewhere else. But that is just me; again the folks who live on the beach have the right to enjoy it as I once did. If the mountain is in land the storm might weaken prior to visiting your house by the same token the typhoon could bypass that beach house and cause no damage at all, the luck of the draw. You must be the one to decide what you want.
Gabled roof or slab roof, again there is no right or wrong, but in the tropics on the Atlantic side of the world you will find more slab roofs than any other type; I went with the slab because of personal experience. But I’d never tell someone that they are wrong if they built it different. Besides Gabled roofs were designed to protect the house from heavy snowfall and that is a plus slab roofs are not recommended for heavy snow areas. (LOL)
Shopping; once again living in Bugtussle might limit the availability of certain types of food you desire, but if a person has gone native and 24-7 they eat the local fare, more power to them. Myself, I need western products to round off my menu. Would any person take their partner from the Philippines to your home country and expect them to never eat Philippine food again? I think not! So why expect it from me? Philippine food is good when properly prepared, and I love Mexican food too, but not 24-7.
So that is my take on the subject, I have my own opinions and will continue to live my life, my own way without trying to convert anyone else to my way of thinking. I extend the same rights to anyone, else to live the way they see fit while here in the Philippines, (Pretty big of me, won’t you agree?)
Just respect the country as we are nothing more than a guest here, and the way the Filipino does things will always be the right way for them whether you agree or not! And I’ll finish by telling you one more time “Of Course We’re Right!” how could any of us be wrong?
Now the burning question: Should a first time resident buy an owner jeep or a real car or be a purest and use nothing but Trike’s or Jeepney’s? (In 1994 I bought that owner jeep, because I just had to have one, albeit did have power steering and breaks plus Air/Con), and yet I’ve never met a foreigner that bought the second one. (LOL)