Many people think that living in a place like the Philippines is paradise. I don’t necessarily feel that it is paradise, but I will give you the fact that it is a lot closer to paradise than being back in the States shoveling snow, wearing heavy coats, and having to plan activities around cold weather! But, is it really paradise?
For me, if you say “paradise” you are talking about a place that is perfect, or nearly so. There are lots of problems to face up to in the Philippines, though. Admittedly, things are a lot better these days when compared to when I first moved here in 2000, but it still is nor perfect. It never will be either.
Over on an excellent blog that I read regularly called Anywired, by Skellie, they ran a two part series last week called “Trouble in Paradise.” It was written by Sharon Hurley Hall. Sharon lives in the Caribbean and freelances from there. From what I read, her life is fairly parallel to my life here in the Philippines. In her two part series entitled “Trouble in Paradise” Sharon talks about some of the problems that “Paradise” can present for somebody who is from the West, but living in an underdeveloped area. You can read the articles here and here.
Let’s have a look at some of the potential downsides that Sharon mentions, and I’ll give you my take:
- Weather can be a problem. In the Caribbean they have to worry about Hurricanes. Here in the Philippines we have typhoons, which are the same thing, but just have a different name on this side of the world. For me, typhoons are not an issue, because Davao, where I live, is south of the typhoon belt. We simply don’t have typhoons here where I live. We do have very heavy tropical rains, though, and we get those on a very regular basis. I would say that we get super heavy rains at least 3 times per week here in Davao. Nice thing is, though, it almost always rains at night here in Davao, so the day is not interrupted.
- Insects. Insects can be a problem here, and I’ve written about this before. We do have mosquitoes, ants, flies, centipedes and all kind of other bugs here! When I first moved here, I had a problem with it. These days, though, I’ve lived here long enough that I could really care less if there is a line of ants on the sidewalk. I’m just used to it. My only caution would be mosquitoes, because if you get bitten by the wrong mosquito you could come down with Dengue Fever. I’ve been lucky on that, and I recommend that you take steps to eliminate mosquitoes from your area because of the health concern.
- Inspiration. Sharon talks a little more about the weather on this topic. She says that in England you have cold days when you don’t want to work. It’s the opposite in the tropics when you have hot and humid days when you just feel like lounging around all day, and get nothing done. I admit that on many days, I just want to get out, go to the beach, go swimming, or just bum around. But, I have set up my schedule where I only really need to work for a couple of hours per day, and I am able to do that.
- Connectivity. Connection to the internet, ability to call on the telephone to anyplace around the world. This is the third world after all, and the place is not perfect, technologically (or in any other respect). That being said, what place in the world is perfect anyway? None are. I can say this – technologically speaking, this is like a different country compared to the same place 8 years ago when I moved here. Frankly, it is rare these days that I have trouble with my Internet connection. I have my VOIP Phone (Vonage) that keeps me connected via telephone to the world for very cheap, my local phones work great, no complaints here.
- Located away from the action. Being in the Philippines, or on some Caribbean Island like Sharon means that you are off, away from the action. There are things like bloggers conferences and such that I would indeed really enjoy attending, but it really is not feasible to do so. For Sharon, at least she is much closer to the USA where many such conferences are held when compared to me, I am half a world away. Being off away from such action is both the beauty of living here (away from the rat race) and also a downside. If I were able to attend such events, I would likely be a much more widely known Internet Publisher than I am. But, in the end, I like where I am. There are ups and downs to it, but I like the balance.
- Timing. It’s funny, Sharon lives in the Caribbean, yet what she describes there is very similar to what we have discussed as “Filipino Time.” Things are slower. Deadlines come and go without much notice. People run late, and sometimes don’t ever arrive. This is just life here in the Philippines, and apparently in the Caribbean too! It still annoys me from time to time, but overall, I’ve found a balance, and a way to deal with this kind of lifestyle.
So, what do you think? Is there trouble in Paradise? Is the Philippines Paradise at all? It can be Paradise for you, yet Hell for another person. It all depends on our outlook on life, our desires, goals and the lifestyle we choose to lead!
For me, the Philippines is my ideal home. I’m staying! How about you?