Why am I doing this?

Sometimes I read comments here on LiP, or I read other websites similar to LiP, and I see somebody write about the Philippines being “Paradise.”  I have never really agreed with that assessment, though.  No place on earth is Paradise, and that is certainly true for the Philippines, or at least it is for me.  If I think about the whole “Paradise” thing, I always come to the conclusion that I have found a nice place to live, but I sure have not found Paradise!

Living in the Philippines can be a hassle, believe me.  Nothing is convenient here, everything requires a little extra work, and a lot of extra patience.  I am not a patient person (just ask Feyma!), although I am a lot more patient now than I was a decade ago when I moved here.  If I were not able to gain more patience, I would have had to leave here a long, long time ago.

Bisaya Buddy Language Course

There are so many things that require patience, and add to the inconvenience in your life.  Last week, I noticed that the bathroom in my office was quite dirty.  The sink was dirty and it was obvious that it had not been cleaned in some time.  We have a maid who is supposed to do this.  I don’t expect her to clean the toilet of wash out the sink daily, but when it is dirty it should be done.  If the sink does not appear to be dirty, it should still be cleaned once a week or so.  It’s not a major operation to clean the sink, after all.

Pondering Life in the Philippines

Pondering Life in the Philippines

Well, after seeing the sink dirty for 5 days, I asked Feyma why the maid had not been cleaning my bathroom.  Feyma really had no idea, so she talked to the maid, and the bathroom got cleaned that day.  The thing is, why should we have to ask for the sink to be cleaned?  I mean, it would be easier to just clean it myself rather than have to keep looking at it dirty, and then having to talk to the maid about it.  Actually, I would not mind cleaning it myself… if I do that, though, why do I need a maid?  Hmm….

How many times have we talked about this sort of thing on this website?

  • Sorry, sir, out of stock!
  • Sorry, sir, no change!
  • Why didn’t the maid clean the bedroom?
  • The stores are closed, it’s the third holiday this week!
  • My meeting was at 2pm, it’s now 3pm and they didn’t show up yet!
  • The list goes on and on….

Yes, the Philippines is truly the land of inconveniences, without a doubt.

One day last week, during a day when there was a particular abundance of inconveniences affecting my day, I was sitting at my desk and found myself just thinking.  What was in my mind?

Why am I living here where everything is so inconvenient?

Yep, I was actually questioning why I had decided to live here.  Sometimes life’s inconveniences will add up and make us question our actions.  But, as I thought it over, I came to the realization that every place on earth has inconveniences.  There were inconveniences back in the States, they were just different inconveniences.   I came to the realization that although there are plenty of things “wrong” in the Philippines, it is still where I choose to live, and will continue to live.

I do love the Philippines… warts and all.

Posted in

Bob Martin

Bob Martin is the Publisher & Editor in Chief of the Live in the Philippines Web Magazine. Bob is an Internet Entrepreneur who is based in Davao. Bob is an American who has lived permanently in Mindanao since May 2000. Here in Mindanao, Bob has resided in General Santos City, and now in Davao City. Bob is the owner of this website and many others.

Most Shared Posts

139
Leave a Reply

avatar
52 Comment threads
87 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
45 Comment authors
William Michael CollingsBob MartinLouie Devon GeeJohn JacksonBilko Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Darin
Guest
Darin

Hey Bob, It really depends on what conveniances you are used to or not as to whether it is and inconveniance. Fortunately I am a very patient man so I let those things roll off my back. But if you are paying for a service that is not being done then I can see a person wanting it accompolished in a timely manner. Perhaps for each day she forgets to clean the different parts of your house you could forget to pay her. 🙂 maybe that is a little extreme but may get their attention. Everyone responds when their money… Read more »

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi Darin – The amount of money that a maid is paid here is so low that I would hesitate to hold back on her salary. For me, either she does the work and keeps working here, or if she will not do her job then she will end up jobless. Our current maid is fairly new, less than 6 months… so she is still learning.

Brent Johnson
Guest

Six months on the job and your maid is still learning? That must be another “inconvenience.” You might get a first-month grace period in the states, nothing more.

MindanaoBob
Guest

Ha ha… without a doubt, Brent… she’ll still be in the “learning mode” years from now if she lasts that long!

Jim
Guest

Hi Brent – Ordinarily if you hire a maid she comes with experience and once familiar with your house she will work from a check list. In the Philippines she comes normally from a poor home with little education and she starts her training from scratch. The one quality above experience is honesty and once that’s been established the training takes second place. In time an honest committed maid will eventually become irreplaceable.
Regards.
Jim.

Bill R.
Guest

Bob – I tell my wife she wouldn’t make it there, and she is FROM there. I’m the patient one for the most part. She looks at me like I’m crazy, but much smaller things get to her much faster than I. 😀

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi Bill – I believe you 100%. Based on seeing Feyma’s experience after moving here, and also knowing other foreign expats and their Filipina wives who moved back here… I can say with 100% confidence that in most cases it is more difficult and stressful for a Filipina to relocate here than for a foreigner. Making the adjustment back is not easy.

Dan
Guest
Dan

Good post Bob..and sure having Feyma in your life has helped you develope more patience and understanding. I can see where it would be hard for a Fillipina to move back to the Phillipines after living away for a long time, after all they all ready know about most of the inconveniance’s that are there…because they all ready lived there before, where a person who has never lived there before, they are going in kinda unware of what is inconveniance and what is conveniant.

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi Dan – In our experience… here is the reason why it was hard for Feyma to adjust. Having lived in the USA for 10+ years, Feyma changed a lot. She matured. She became more worldly. She was more outgoing, not the same “super shy” girl that I married who had never left the Philippines before. When we came back to live here, all of her family and former friends expected her to be the same person she was 10 years earlier, but she had moved beyond that. Some people belittled her for having changed so much. I think, though,… Read more »

Dan
Guest
Dan

I can understand that Bob…I belive that is where some don’t understand one thing…that is …things are never the same as they were say 10 years ago or 5 or even 1 year ago…but as you said some think they should be.It could be also that it was hard for her family and friends to adjust to the new Feyma…The shy girl from the provience that grew up and became who she is today…a lot of people do not like change and feel threatened by change and want things to stay as they are…its more comfortable that way to them…

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi Dan – You are so right… things move on… change is imminent. All one can do is adapt.

Dave Starr
Guest

Also, no matter how “modern” and “enlightened” and “eqaul” the marriage, the heavy lifting of running the home falls upon the wife. We men have it pretty easy … especially the way men are treated in the Philippines. It’s the wife who has to deal with all the household services that refuse to “service”, the maid who don’t clean, the delivery men who don’t, the continual “out of stock” every time you really need something from the store, etc. This is all in addition to the issues of her family, which vary of course, but can be very significant. I’ve… Read more »

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi Dave – I fully agree… the bulk of the household burdens are on the wife… culturally that is just how it is. Having a maid should help the lady in getting things done, but it doesn’t always work out that way.

Dwayne
Guest
Dwayne

Sometimes I think it is difficult to be negative here on this site without people saying “Then why are you here”. Well I am not quite here yet but when I am I will have all my i’s dotted and t’s crossed and totally prepare myself for all the possible negative outcomes of life in the Philippines. The reality is many male expats come here becasue they don’t have a choice or they do but it is the difference of just getting by financially back home or having it really good here. Most I have encountered here really don’t have… Read more »

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi Dwayne – For the most part, I am very happy and content living here. From time to time I get frustrated with the way things are here, but not too often.

I honestly believe that leaving here once per year for a holiday will make it more difficult to live here. Why? Because as you become adjusted to the way things are here, you leave and get a taste of the “easier life” in other places, and that keeps you addicted to life abroad. The longer you stay here, the more adjusted you become.

Dwayne
Guest
Dwayne

Good point. But I look at leaving annually as taking a vacation like most people do. To go away, re-energize the batteries and come back feeling refreshed and with a new attitude until the next vacation. To be perfectly honest I will be moving here with the idea to have a beachfront property with my dream house and pool on it. A boat for diving and fishing. My own little piece of paradise. This is totally unaffordable for me in the states. I hope to meet a nice, attractive educated lady from a good non dependent family. We will travel… Read more »

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi Dwayne – I never said that I don’t take a vacation, only that I don’t go abroad. I take a vacation regularly.

Good luck with your dreams… I hope that everything falls in place just as you are hoping for.

Anthony Lane
Guest
Anthony Lane

Hi DeWayne, keep us posted with how your eventual life unfolds here in the Phil. We will surely be here when you need us!!!

MindanaoBob
Guest

😉

maynard
Guest
maynard

I think we all sit and ponder sometimes about this or that,and yes why do we still stay when we know there is drawbacks?Certainly its not a utopia here but there is so many other places with the same problems or worse.The US has many nice beaches to and nice weather so thats not the answer.All in all i think its because the people here especially for me anyway are more courteous and friendly.They go out of their way to please me and i dont get that treatment back home ,dont matter if its at a store or anyplace.Oh heres… Read more »

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi Maynard – Without a doubt every place in the world has it’s pluses and it’s minuses, and that includes the Philippines. For me, the pluses outweigh the minuses, but I also know people who feel the minuses far outweigh the pluses! Heck, even a huge percentage of Filipinos are doing whatever they can to get out!

Donna West
Guest
Donna West

good for you Maynard. I love a positive attitude. America is certainly not free of its own flaws.

corjo
Guest
corjo

I am not American but I have allways been treated like a king on my trips to tje U.S. I found that people there were happy to do that extra bit to help out a stranger to their city. In the Philippines I have been mugged stabbed jailed and hospitalised Its true my work brings me into contact with corruption and greed which I would not experience in normal life but believe me the Philippines is not paradise. Having said that even I would move to the Philippines, The first day after it begins to snow in Bicol I will… Read more »

Todd
Guest

Well Bob, it really is simple….come back and live here in America on a regular basis and you will quickly, within an hour or so, realize why you live in the Philippines. I have not lived there as much as you have, not even close…but I do know what you are talking about when you say inconveniences. Those inconveniences that you mentioned are NOTHING compared to the hassle, fast pace, and materialistic society America has become. Paradise is different things to different people…I find my paradise to be the Philippines. I cannot speak for you, but I do think if… Read more »

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi Todd – For me, I believe there is no paradise on earth. Paradise to me implies perfection. The Philippines is not even close to perfection. The Philippines makes a nice life for me, but far from perfect. I don’t think I was complaining in my article, I believe I was only sharing my honest thoughts.

roy
Guest
roy

Of course, it has been pointed out here that Filipinos who lived abroad have a different opinion about this. I for one who lived in Manila for most of my life find Manila full of “hassle, “fast-paced”, and materialistic.”

MindanaoBob
Guest

Me too, roy! Me too!

Anton
Guest
Anton

Yes Bob , your so right , and that,s what my wife [ 26 year married and live in Netherlands ] allso say to me , when i speak to her about my retirement [ in Iligan ] that it will be difficult more for her than for me. But , i,m still hoping that it will be . And being allso a not-patient person here in Holland , i,l be another yes-patient person in Asia . And for Dwayne : you must be a dreamer , that,s good , but life is not so easy as it is in… Read more »

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi Anton – You and your wife can both do it. It takes patience, though…. all you can do is roll with the flow!

Paul Thompson
Guest
Paul Thompson

Hi Bob; It’s definitely not paradise, but it’ll do until the real thing shows up. I will agree with you about inconveniences as they do abound. I found that writing about them on LIP and joking about it, lessens the sting. And when the inconvenience comes up again (As they surely will.) I get a smile out of it. Your web site has been very therapeutic for me. Now if we could just find a cure for “Out of Stock”…

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi Paul – I used to tell a close friend who lived here… “We ain’t in Kansas any more” and he would reply to me, “heck, this isn’t even Iowa or Florida” ha ha… no place is paradise, all we can do is make the best of it.

I have enjoyed your participation on the site, Paul! I hope it will continue for a long long time! I would not want to be “out of stock” of Paul Thompson articles! 😆

art wolford
Guest
art wolford

Hey Bob,

Solve your maid problem by getting rid of her. Here in the United states we do our own cleaning. hahahha No maid problem.

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi art – Ha ha… I hear you! Last year, we went for maybe 9 months without a maid, but after that we decided that we needed one… so…. we hired our current maid. I think she can learn… I hope so at least!

Paul Thompson
Member

Bob;
The trick is never give the maid a day off, as when they return you must re-train them.
(LOL…)

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi Paul – One of the things that makes a joke really funny is when it has a basis in reality… and you certainly hit the mark on this one!

david b katague
Guest

Bob, I agree, that there is n0 place on earth that is perfect and thus the term “Paradise” could be just be a misnomer. However, in spite of the inconveniences we suffer here in Marinduque, when we have electrical brown outs, I will still continue claiming this island to be my island Paradise especially during the months of December and January, when the climate is cool and dry and the ocean breeze reminds you that the simple life in the provinces, one must experience before he or she leaves this busy world.

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi David – We all have our preferences, no doubt. I do not believe that any place is perfect, thus it is not paradise. But, as I pointed out in my article, I choose to live in the Philippines, and it is the right place for me!

Merry Christmas, David.

SIGN UP TO JOIN OUR GIVEAWAYS & INFO NEWSLETTER

Make sure you've signed up to our newsletter to get exclusive newsletter only content! Also be updated about all our important events and other important info that our readers rely on.

SIGNUP FORM


Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.