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I have lived in the Philippines for 19 years
It has been a major part of my life
Yes, Feyma and I have decided to depart the Philippines. Probably forever. It is unlikely that we will ever live here again. Maybe we will be back for a visit, but even that is uncertain.
I am not anti-Philippines, in fact, I love the Philippines. I had a good and successful life here. In terms of the things I have accomplished here, I would say that only a small percentage of expats have accomplished the same or more than I have.
The only reason that we are moving is that both Feyma and I feel that we have accomplished the things we want to accomplish here, we want to do other things in life, and feel that this is the time to do those other things. I will always love the Philippines, though.
Over the past 19 years, I have done a lot of things that I never even expected to do. Here is a list of my accomplishments over the years:
- Adapted to a whole new culture
- Learned a new language
- Built several successful businesses
- Built several successful websites
- Turned around my poor health
- Learned to look at things from different sides
- Made some great friends
- Successfully mentored several people who have gone on to great success
OK, let’s have a look at each of these accomplishments in more detail.
Adapted to a new Culture
Cultural adaptation is not easy, in fact, it is very difficult.
I would say that the inability to adapt to the culture here is one of the major reasons that a large percentage of people (foreigners) who decide to move here end up leaving after only a short stay.
I had a difficult time adapting to the culture at first. The big breakthrough for me was when I decided to start learning the language. That was in 2006. My language teacher, Bebe, became a very close friend, I call her my sister.
In addition to teaching me the language, Bebe also taught me cultural things, how to understand them, and how to deal with them. This really changed my life. Without Bebe, I don’t think I could have lived in the Philippines for 19 years. Bebe, I know that you read most of my articles, and I thank you for helping me make the transition. You mean a lot to me, and will always be my friend/sister.
In fact, I have become so immersed in the Philippine Culture that is worried me a little how successfully I can switch back to American culture. But, I am going to do my best! I will likely find a balance between the two cultures.
Learned a new language
This ties right in with the cultural stuff above, especially since my language teacher, Bebe, was responsible for teaching me both things.
Learning to Speak Bisaya/Cebuano, changed my life. I have always said that learning the language is an important factor in succeeding here and having a happy life. I know that it was big for me.
I will continue to speak Bisaya after returning to the United States. I want to keep the language fresh in my mind. I don’t want to forget. I enjoy speaking Bisaya and see no reason to stop.
Built several successful businesses in the Philippines
Ever since childhood, I have been an entrepreneur. I have developed little niche businesses to earn extra money, or even for my full time “job”. It is something that I enjoy.
But, I never had the opportunity to really dive in all the way until I moved to the Philippines. I really could not “get a job” in the Philippines, at least not something that would pay the money that I would want to earn. So, instead, I built businesses of my own.
Most foreigners who move here will tell you that it is impossible to earn money in the Philippines. I am telling you that is not true, though. I moved here at the age of 38, and I am still doing well here. I don’t have a pension or anything like that to rely on. I earn my money, and without being able to earn, I would not have been able to last as long as I have here.
The fact that I moved to the Philippines kind of set lose that inner entrepreneur in me, and I have enjoyed it greatly. In fact, when we settle in the USA, Logansport, Indiana, I will continue to do the same kinds of things that I do in the Philippines. I will work from my home. I will develop and sell products, websites and more. I feel that the change of scenery will offer different opportunities in business. Things that will re-ignite the creative flow in my mind, and allow me to continue my success. I can’t wait!
Built Successful Websites
In addition to LiP, I have several other websites that are quite successful. In terms of readership/visits, LiP is #1, but I have several sites that earn more money than LiP, so they are more successful in other ways.
I find it quite rewarding, and a sense of accomplishment, to have done this. Being able to work from my home, doing things online, is a great feeling.
I had started doing some of this before we moved to the Philippines in 2000, but not to the extent that I do it now. I have just felt so good about this and will continue along this path. I don’t think I could have developed my business skills to where they are today if I had not moved to the Philippines.
When I moved to the Philippines, I weighed 430 lb. I was very unhealthy. In a year and a half after the move, I had a stroke. I have had other major health incidents since then too, including a heart attack. I should not be alive now, but I am alive, and I am getting very healthy.
Most recently, I weighed in at 199 lb, that is 231 lb down from what I weighed when I arrived in the Philippines. I exercise daily. I eat a healthy diet. I no longer have diabetes.
Living in the Philippines, has, I believe, contributed to my health turnaround. Being an entrepreneur and being able to allocate my time to the things that are most important has allowed me to focus on getting healthy.
I believe, and Feyma agrees, that if we stayed in the States, I would be dead now. So, this is a very important accomplishment that I attribute to my life in the Philippines.
Learned to look at things from different sides
I would say this is part of my cultural learning which I addressed above. But, before I was very inflexible on things. My opinion was right no matter what. Now, I have changed a lot on that, and am willing to accept opinions of others, and even reevaluate my own opinion based on what I see from others. I am not always right, I am flexible and open to change and listening. I like my new outlook.
Made some great friends
I have developed some very, very close friends here in the Philippines.
I already mentioned my language teacher, Bebe, and she is among that “top tier” of friends here.
Additionally, there are others. No matter what, I will forget to mention important friends, and they should not feel slighted, because that is not intentional.
A very close personal friend who has that business connection is Cathy. Cathy and I think the same business things. Cathy is younger than I am, but I feel we have a great relationship. I have learned a lot from Cathy, and I think/hope that she feels the same about me. I have always appreciated Cathy’s friendship, it has meant a lot to me. One regret about Cathy is that I have always wanted to hire her to work for me, but it never worked out that way. 🙂
Lourdes. Lourdes is my dentist and another great friend. Lourdes has always been very generous to me, helping me any way she can. I have tried to return the favor to her as much as possible too. When I went through some serious health issues, especially the heart disease, Lourdes was there to guide me through the Philippine healthcare system. I know that when we are in the States we will still be seeing Lourdes because she travels to the US, and I won’t allow her to do that without visiting us!
Yes, there are so many other good close friends that I have here, and I am not trying to leave others out. The few that I have mentioned, though, are more like family.
I mentioned an earlier article in my series about moving back to the States, about mentoring Gladys. Gladys is like a daughter to me, and she credits me for being part of the success she has achieved today. I am proud of that, though I feel she overstates my role.
I have mentored others as well, and I am proud of that. It has been something that has led to my great enjoyment of living in the Philippines.
So, for now, this wraps up my series about leaving the Philippines and moving back to the USA. Time for a change of scenery in our lives. Remember, that does not mean I don’t like the Philippines. I have had a great life here. I just want to explore some other things now.
When I decided to move to the Philippines back in the late 90’s, people would ask me why I would want to do that. I said the same thing. Change of scenery, combined with some business ideas that I thought would succeed here. You know what? one of the reasons I am ready to move back is that I feel I have accomplished the things that I set out to do here. The plans, hopes, and dreams that I had about living here, for the most part, worked out just as I expected.
Now I have other thoughts, dreams, and plans that involve doing things in the USA. Probably in New Mexico. We’ll see if I can achieve similar success there.