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On many sites that focus on expat life in the Philippines , especially forums, the tone is combative.  Actually, its not true of just expat forums.  While I was preparing to move to the Philippines, a preacher friend of mine suggested I find some Christian forums to participate in.  I told him I really didn’t want to deal with those that wish to prove that they know more than everyone else.

Forums are the worse for that type of behavior.  I was reading a forum last night.  One guy told another guy “I don’t like you and

Expat On the Beach
Do I look Like I’m Suffering?

don’t want to be around you.”  And the other guy said blah blah blah.  I started to tread into it and ask them to get a room.  🙂  They think the rest of us care?  I’m there to read their rantings on how they are so much smarter than each other?   That is the most extreme way in which this kind of thing happens.

Admittedly, I’m a bit argumentative.  I try to catch myself but more time than not, I fail.  Maybe I should make a background for my PC desktop.   My two goals, “Do no harm” and “Be Agreeable When You Can.”  Or maybe it should be as agreeable as you can.

A new expat is often the most likely to trash the Philippines in the process.   Most come here not understanding the Philippines.  Thinking it is far more corrupt than it is.

Oh there is corruption but it certainly not as widespread as some think.  I read the other day about an expat getting busted for possession of marijuana.  He offered a joint to the cop and said it is not illegal in my country.  The press reports said he was from Norway.    I didn’t know it was legal in Norway.  Does anyone know?

I see on forums people saying you can buy your way out of anything here.  Clearly that happens but I sure wouldn’t count on it.

I see people talking about how all Filipina are liars.  Well, I don’t know anyone that has never told a lie.  Except, other than myself but I’m next to perfect.  haha

Disrespectful Foreigners Living In The Philippines

I had one guy scoff at me when I said the Philippines was the land of respect.  That was a clear example of a know it all expat that knows virtually nothing about the Philippines.   I don’t see how anyone could live here a few days without seeing how much respect is part of the culture.   After I thought about it, it seems to be part of Asia in general.  It even shows up in Western movies.  Usually over the “loss of face.”

I have a hard time not being argumentative when someone shows up on one of my sites trashing the Philippines.  Sometimes I do better than others.   It depends on how vile they get with it.

It is easy to take a quick look at the Philippines, see the poverty and think I come from a superior place.  I don’t know if I was guilty of that when I first got here.  I’m sure I was at least a little guilty.   It didn’t take long before I realized that my original country is different.  We have more things and less poverty but superior?  No, it isn’t.

Some things are clearly better in the USA.  Yet sometimes those better things have their drawbacks as well.  Some things I miss but that is because it is what I am was use too.  Just because I had them before doesn’t make it better.

Things and comfort are not what life should be about.   And that is where the Filipino have us beat.  That is an instance when the Philippines is superior.  Things and comforts wont make you happy.   There are a lot of rich yet miserable Americans.

Do I mean Filipino don’t want things?  Of course not but they also are content overall and happy.  They have their families and friendship is revered.   I myself have lamented more over lost friends than lost things.

I left a lot of things back in the states when I came here.  I don’t even remember what most of those are now!  Maybe someday I’ll get them shipped over on a container.   Some of those things I’d like too.  But I don’t need any of them.

Living In The Philippines

I recommend to the new expat that he take the time to get to understand the Philippines.  You’ll never understand it the way Filipino do but I can assure you that some things one will judge harshly in the beginning will make sense to them later.  Even more, some of the impression you have picked up from foreigners that live here or say they live here are grossly wrong.

As for those that leave negative comments about the Philippines here, you’re welcome to do so as long as you can do it using language that I think is acceptable.  Don’t plan to go unchallenged by me.  I may ignore you or I may ask you to backup what you say.  There’s been a bit of an outbreak of it lately.  I know that many expats living in the Philippines will pat you on the back and confirm what you say.  Most of that negativity comes from a need to feel better about yourselves.

So many of these same people will return home and tell people there how smart they were to come here.

While I try not to paint a picture that coming here will cure your woes or make you happy, I do know that for me it has greatly increased my happiness.

Your money will go much further here and you can find a fantastic woman.

Just don’t expect to get her out of a bar that she works in.  That happens too but more often than not, that is not where it happens at. Another problem with finding a good woman is that a lonely man will do stupid things.  I know I’ve been guilty of that but it never got me into a really bad situation.  It can lead you to be extorted here.

Use your head and not your heart.  Okay use your heart too just don’t get so lonely you have a sign stamped on your forehead that reads,  “I’m a sucker.”  There are women in every land that will take advantage of you if you do that.  Now, I’m not going into all the way men mistreat women but there is plenty of that too.  In fact, lying about your intentions with a Filipina is another good way to end up in serious legal trouble.  Justified or not, you brought that on yourself.

I Love Living In The Philippines

For me, the Philippines is a wonderful place.  Filipina and pinoy alike have treated me very well for the most part.  That is because for the most part, Filipino are lovely people.  They tend to overly admire us.  Yes, some hate all foreigners.  Most do not and will treat you better because you are a foreigner, not worse.

If you’re going to live in the Philippines, show them some respect.  Most will certainly show you more respect that you deserve.   And don’t make the rest of us look bad with your hateful or illegal activities.  I like living here, stop doing stupid things to spoil it for the rest of us.

Don’t discount everything expats tell you.  Take it in and when you hear something that conflicts with that, ask a Filipino.  Be respectful when you ask.  Don’t ask in a tone that has already cast judgement.  I remember now that Jessie sometimes got a little defensive when I asked questions.  I suppose she so use to hearing bad things.  I had to explain that I’m not trying to decide which is better but to understand.  I learned a lot that way.  But, don’t believe everything Filipino say.   If you blend the things you learn, over time you’ll gain much insight into what the Philippines is really like.

Oh and please don’t tell anyone but sometimes I forget that I don’t know it all.

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Filed under: Expats in the Philippines

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