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I made my move to the Philippines almost four years ago. I was completely unprepared; I knew almost nothing about the Philippines. What I found out isn’t quite what I expected but it has been better than that. I’m not as rich as I was lead to believe I would be. However, I have multiplied the opportunities in my life many times over. I have the best four years of my life. Nothing comes even close to the enjoyment that living in the Philippines has brought to me.
Don’t Move To The Philippines The Way I Did
However, it does not go this way for everyone. I do not recommend doing what I did. This is a case of do as I say because what I did may have been pure luck. I had a woman in mind when I came to the Philippines but I wasn’t sure she would even show up. I’ve called her angel because she has been a miracle in my life.
When I finally did make my move to the Philippines it was for me. I decided to go explore the world. I thought if I met a girl, that would be a bonus but my main goal was to just see the world.
It was a low point in my life. My marriage had just ended. My income was not very high and a life in the USA didn’t look like it would provide the kind of things I enjoyed on that income. I have a pension. I’m very lucky to have it but it would not allow me much of a life in the USA. Here, I have many more opportunities that I can afford to enjoy.
I sold everything I could sell and just abandoned a lot of things I couldn’t move. I moved what I could to my mother’s home and about six days after my divorce was final; I was on a plane to the Philippines. Except for a two week visit to Canada, I had never been outside of the USA.
I was not prepared for what I found. Hot and somewhat dirty airports were my first awakening. When I deplaned I was in the immigration area and it is often hot there. Once in the terminal area, it is cooler but still hot by American standards.
Soon I continued to Cebu, Philippines which was my final destination. The woman that was waiting for me was so much more beautiful in person than she had been in video chat.
Soon we were in a van headed to the apartment I had rented while still in the USA. Everything I saw was so different. It wasn’t like I went to the other side of the world. It was more like Mars. The poverty was overwhelming. The driving scared me so much I actually closed my eyes at points. I started laughing when I saw a bumper sticker that read “How is my driving?” I said “Your driving is horrific.” The Filipino helpers and driver did understand. We came to an area and though the poverty was massive, I wanted to get out and take pictures. I asked “Would it be safe for me to walk around here?” It looked like a killing field if I had been in the states. They all assured me it was very safe. I didn’t get out but I wanted to. There was beauty in this poverty. I didn’t see dirty but someone else might. I saw something beautiful even though at that times it scared me.
It doesn’t scare me any more. I love to get out amount Filipinos and interact with them the best that I can. I love to photograph them and the men almost always love it when I do so. The women might but they can also be very shy. I do not generally look for other expats. I like experiencing the Philippines. I can hang out with Americans in America. I don’t avoid them though, at least not before I meat them.
For most others, I highly recommend that you do not come for a specific girl that you have met online. Instead, make many contacts before you come or just wait until you are here. You are going to have no problem finding an interested Filipino once you are here. The pitfalls of an online courtship are just not worth dealing with once you see what is waiting for you here.
First, if you can, first come for a visit for as long as you can before you abandon everything you have now. I know others that had no choice but to do what I did, through all caution to the wind and jump in. I know some that it worked for. I know others that it did not.
Second, do not rent an apartment before you come. I paid three times the rate that I should have been paying and I didn’t get the apartment I was promised. It was nice but much smaller. I recommend that you find a budget priced pension house as they are called here. These can be had for $20 to $35 a night. This gives you a private restroom, cable TV, room service, maid service and the benefits of living in a hotel. Another option is a resort that can also be within this price range. Sometimes you can find in room wireless internet too. Of course, if you have only $1000 a month to live on, that option would be difficult.
In the Manila are many recommend Victoria Mansion in Malate. Not to be confused with Victoria court. I have not stayed there.
In Cebu City, I can recommend both Pacific Pension House and Cebuview Tourist Inn. Cebuview is in a somewhat seedy area but the rooms are decent when compared to Philippines standards and includes in room Wi-Fi for about 1000 peso a day. I prefer the staff and surroundings of Pacific Pension and it is about 800 peso a day. Talk to other expats living in the Philippines and find a long term place once you are here. I really wouldn’t do it before I came unless I just had no option.
My Move To The Philippines Has Gone Well
If you want to ship your things to the Philippines, I recommend you get into contact with Jesse Pilapil at Johnny Air Cargo (JAC) with this email address: email@example.com. I have used her for four years and they have never let me down. Using US mail is not reliable and I’ve had letters take up to three months to arrive. Some like to use LBS. I have paid questionable custom duties in the past and that has never been an issue with JAC.
If you are considering a move to the Philippines you might find my eBook helpful. I learned a lot during the process. I made a lot of mistakes and spent money I didn’t need to. I expected things to be worse in some ways and better than other. You can learn from my mistakes by reading this website but for a quick boost to your knowledge consider getting the Basic Expat Training Manual.
Living in the Philippines, for me has been extraordinary. My girlfriend has been a major reason for that. I have seen so many horror stories though that I really do not recommend you through caution to the wind unless you must. There are many expat blogs about living in the Philippines and researching those is also a very good idea. If you do move to the Philippines I hope it goes as well for you as it has for me.
Filed under: Living In The Philippines
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