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Things I Don’t Like Living In The Philippines

In a previous article, I started writing about things I don’t like about living in the Philippines.  As I’ve said many times, I love living in the Philippines. That in no way says that I live everything about the Philippines. There are things I don’t like.  There is not anything in these two articles I have not said before.  Usually I say it when I’m writing about how much I love living in the Philippines. Here are the main issues that I don’t like about the Philippines:

  • Somethings Cost More in the Philippines
  • Scamming Filipina  — There are lying expats too though.
  • Judgemental Filipinos – Your expected to conform
  • Terrorism , Kidnappings and Civil War – Hard to like a kidnapping
  • Dengue and Typhoid– Who wants to be sick?
  • Reduced Freedom Of Speech – Foreigners don’t have freedom of speech
  • Corruption – Not a huge problem for me other than questionable import duties

In The Philippines Somethings Cost More

If you want to live in the Philippines and live a life equivalent to that of theUSA, you may not even like it here. It depends on why you came.  If money is an issue for you in the West, it will be less of an issue for you here.

Expat Living In The PhilippinesI have yet to meet anyone that actually lives in the Philippines that thinks it is more expensive to live in the Philippines than the West. I’m sure they are out there but I have not talked with them. Most that think that leave.

I have a much better life in the Philippines on  my pension than I did in theUSA. There is simply no way to dispute that.  I know, because it is me.  Yes, I had more things, nice things when I worked and more than twice the same income.  When I retired, things got lean, very lean.

Housing is cheaper, services are cheaper and food that is produced in the Philippines is cheaper.  If you buy imported food, then you will pay more.  You will also have fewer choices living in the Philippines. Many expats eat a lot more spam than they would at home. I have but lately it has been making me sick so I’ve cut way back.

If you go to Pizza Hut in SM Mall, it will be close to $20.  If you go to Starbucks in the same mall it will also be expensive, I spend around $10 when I go in there.

However a movie at SM Mall will cost you about about P180 or for two people $7.50 at today’s horrible exchange rate of 41.5 (August 2011).  Skip the popcorn its like cardboard.  They have a new IMAX screen in the SM Mall in Cebu City.

Gasoline is expensive.  It is around $5.00 a gallon in August 2011.  If you’re living in the Philippines and need to buy gasoline you will pay more for it.

They say electricity is higher and I think it is but I haven’t bothered to figure out the price. I keep it as cool as I can and pay the freaking bill.  Just like I would do when I was in the USA.

Quality imported electronics are more expensive in the Philippines.  That seems to be true even if they are made here.  Usually though, the parts are made here and the finished product assembled some place else.

Because of these higher cost and lower incomes, you’ll find less centralized air and hot water. Both are pretty rare. I’ve learned to be happy without those things.

You’ll probably have fewer choices in watching TV if you get it from a Philippines provider. For me, there are more important things than TV. There is a company online that will provide it to you for about $250 a month.  Not a lot more than the cable I paid for in the USA. After living a more frugal life and seeing how much others living in the Philippines do without, I just have a really hard time paying that now.

Living in the Philippines will also include outages. This could raise your cost of living in the Philippines if you look for a more expensive alternative. Sometimes things can be hard to get at all in thePhilippines. A caffeine free coke is next to impossible but I’ve heard that someone did find some in the Subic area. I gave up a long time ago. I sure would be better off without all this caffeine.  By the way, I’ve read that Subic still has many shops that cater to the likes of Americans. There use to be an Air Force base near there.  Filipino protested in large numbers over the base. The USA was in the mood for closing bases and we closed it.

It will be very difficult to live the same life in the Philippines that you do in the West. If you insist on that, pay for it.  That is your choice.  The cost of living in the Philippines is less than the West. Filipinos often live here with $200 or $300 a month and take care of an entire family.

 Scamming Filipina

Where there is little opportunity to earn money there will be more people begging, lying and stealing.  People do what they have to do.  One can become so jaded after doing things like this it can loose its sense of being wrong. We humans have all kinds of ways of justifying our selfish behavior. I have been lied to by a lot of Filipina. I’ve met a lot of wonderful Filipinos including women but there are liars too.  Of course, the women can be jaded by all the empty promises they get from foreign men too. There is a lot of that. I know of an expat that paid a restaurant owner for a backdated receipt so he could prove to his girlfriend he was in a place where he was not.  This goes both ways.

In the Philippines though, some, especially Filipina make their income by going online and promising many men anything they want to hear. Some mean it for the guy that shows up first but most of those are also getting money from multiple men they meet online.

I much prefer scamming Filipina over having some punk in the USA stick a gun in my face and demand I get out of my car and then watch him drive off in it.  Theft in the Philippines, at least for now tends to be less violent and more sneaky.

Judgmental Filipinos

I don’t like this any where, I’m very open to how others live, accepting of their choices.  I try to correct myself when I feel like someone else is doing some thing I don’t approve of. I don’t walk with their brain.  I have not lived their life and I’m certainly not in a position to judge anyone.  Christians are a very judgmental group. I find that to be a very un-Christ like way to be.  My thinking is a lot different in many areas from other peoples thinking.  In Filipino culture, I’ve been judged far too often and I don’t like it.  It doesn’t cause me to dislike the Philippines.  I just will not live that way.  Filipinos often do conform to the accepted path, especially Filipina as they have much pressure put on them. That is their culture and I respect that but don’t expect me to live by it.  If someone wants to think they are better than me, oh well, enjoy the moment of superiority in your own head.

Of course, I’ve seen some very judgmental Americans too. Filipinos don’t corner the market but generally they seem more likely to be so.

When you judge someone, you’re applying your thinking to that person. That makes no sense and it often reveals things about those sitting in judgement. Do I ever judge?  Yeah, I’m human but I resist.

Terrorism, Kidnappings and Civil War

Hard to like those things and living in the Philippines will mean dealing with that more often.  I’ve never dealt with any of it directly but these are things I’m mindful of. There are places I don’t go because of it.

Dengue and Typhoid

There is more dengue in the Philippines than in most places in the West for these illnesses. Typhoid is more of a concern for poorer Filipinos than me but I suppose I’m at somewhat more of a greater risk.  Of course, the West will have their own specific illnesses too. I don’t see how it really is a factor at all.

Malaria is also present in the Philippines but it is not common. You are probably more at risk of contracting rabies too.  Jessie was once bitten by a dog that later was found to have rabies. Good thing she got shots!

Reduced Freedom Of Speech

Foreigners living in the Philippines have reduced freedom of speech than Americans enjoy in the USA. I don’t like it but I live with it. Since I just wrote a full article regarding that topic, I’ll refer you back to the article “Freedom of Speech in the Philippines.”

Corruption in the Philippines

I hear about corruption a lot more than I see it.  I think I’ve paid custom duties that were not due. I’ve also seen foreigners claim things to be corruption when in fact, they were just the law. One case was where a guy flew into the country without an onward ticket. That brought him a lot of unneeded attention from the authorities. He did end up giving away some of his chocolate to officials, so he said. If you’re coming into the Philippines as a tourist, you must be leaving and the law requires you have a departing ticket paid for.  Try to get into the USA from the Philippines using those criteria.

It is my perception that if you do business in the Philippines you are more likely to run into “special payments.”  I don’t know if that is the case but it seems to be.  I suspect that much of this is overblown complaining about the legal fees that are required but I can’t say for certain.

Maybe some just run into this a lot more than I do.  When I did run into it, I found a way to stop it.

I know of a few times that people were asked for an extra P500 to P1000 for things from officials. It must happen but it has never happened to me.

Some might add that you can’t buy land in the Philippines.  I don’t add that because if foreigners could own land in the Philippines, the prices of land would sky rocket, rents would rise and it would seriously increase my cost of living in the Philippines. Sometimes a negative can also be a positive. You can take out a 50 year lease but that is loaded with problems too.  The legal process here does seem to favor native Filipino. You can also buy a condo, that is my long range goal. There is much less risk and you can own it outright. A corporation can also own land. There are restrictions on ownership of a domestic corporation.

Living in the Philippines is Right for Me

I’ve managed to make the best out of the worst of living in the Philippines. That allows me to forget it and have a wonderful life living in the Philippines. I do so much more, I see so much more than I could do living in the USA. Truly the USA is a wonderful place to live.  It is more wonderful if you have a very good income. There are a lot of poor people in the USA that have no hope of every moving to a place like the Philippines and they just live a pretty basic life in the USA. They may be miserable there or they may be happy there. Just like living in the Philippines how they see it depends on their own coping skills and outlook on life.

Maybe I’m more adaptable than some people are. I never thought of myself that way though.  I began to after hearing from people that grumble about living in the Philippies.

For whatever the reason, I love living in the Philippines and I am happy here. If you are not happy here then living in the Philippines is not right for you.

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