You know, when you live in the Philippines, almost every experience in life is different from what you are used to. Even a very simple activity is not like you did it “back home.”
Paying the bills is something that nobody enjoys doing, right? At least I know that I don’t. In every place that I’ve ever lived, though, paying the bills is a simple matter of once a week or so getting out your checkbook, sitting down and gathering the bills together, filling out checks and mailing them out. It’s a simple task, about the only hard thing is seeing all that money being depleted from your checking account!
Paying the bills in the Philippines, though, is not the same! Oh yes, your money will still turn out a little less than what you had before paying the bills, but other than that you can probably forget the whole procedure, because it’s not done the same here!
It all starts with how you get your bills. There really is not regular mail service like what you are used to. Very few companies send your bill in the mail (actually, I know of none that send bills in the mail). Instead, a delivery person will come to your house with the bill. For example, when PLDT (Philippine Long Distance Telephone) has your phone bill ready, they either send one of their own employees to your house with the bill, or they hire a delivery company to deliver the bill to you. You get these delivery people coming by your house regularly delivering all kinds of letters, bills, sale fliers and such. It’s rare to ever see a mailman.
So, as the bills are delivered to you, then you make out a check and send it to them, right? Wrong. You get the cash ready, and you go to the company to pay. For example, speaking of that telephone bill, you get the money for payment (cash, they don’t take checks), and you go to the PLDT office. You sit there until it is your turn, and then you go up and pay. You might wait 30 minutes, you might wait 2 or 3 hours, it just depends on how busy they are.
Yes, a few places will take a check for payment of your bills, but it is done in person. And, actually using a check is not common. This is a cash society after all.
For things like this, in most cases, neither Feyma or I take care of it. We have one of our nieces or a maid go and pay. Actually, it’s been so long since I’ve been involved in paying a bill, I basically know nothing about it anymore. When we were in the States, paying the bills was my job. Now, I don’t have to worry about it.
I’m glad I’m not the guy who has to go sit there waiting to give somebody my money!
Things work different here. Welcome to the Philippines!