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Living In The Philippines

What is it like to live in the Philippines? If you are thinking of moving to the Philippines that is likely to be the biggest question on your mind.

There is no easy answer. The Philippines is quite diverse. Some things are common but even the common things often have subtle differences.

Makati is vastly different than most places in the Philippines. Angeles City is the often thought of the naughty side of the Philippines.



I’ve not been there but with all the bikini bars there, I’m certain that many things that are taboo in Cebu or Tacloban are accepted there. Bogo City, the little city I live in is very conservative. Cebu is conservative but not as conservative as Makati.

Now I’ve never been in Makati so what I’ve learned is from reading, watching TV and talking to others. Makati seems like a whole other country from Bogo. Makati is part of Metro Manila.

Though the Republic of the Philippines is a young country, the culture is not young. It has developed over hundreds, maybe even thousands of years. Large parts of the country are separated by water. This makes travel hard and separates the people into many smaller cultures.

There are hundreds of languages in the Philippines. I’m sure this separation plays a large role in that.

Think about it. A hundred years ago, travel would have been very difficult. Using small boats to cross the seas of the Philippines to get from island to the next. The poverty also plays a role in keeping the masses apart and that is true even today.

The country is connected by a network of bridges. I doubt that would even be possible. If it is, the country is a long way from that. The highway from Cebu City to Bogo City is narrow. Like a highway in the 60’s in the USA. Sure there are interstate highways in cities like Manila. There are some highways similar to interstate highways even in Cebu City but they are generally not the same limited access that I am use to. In some small sections they are very similar to an interstate highway in the USA.

More on this, from Memphis, Tn. to Jackson, Ms. there are hundreds of highways one could use to make that trip. But, from Cebu City to Bogo City, a distance of about 120Km there is but one highway. It winds through mountains, there is very little lighting in most places. Buses speed through small towns all along the way.

Most Filipino don’t own a car. So far fewer take a plane trip or take them rarely. Now the planes are full of Filipino. Well off and rich Filipino for the most part. You can get a ticket from one place in the Philippines to another for $50 at times. The price is almost always under $200. I bought a ticket from Cebu to Thailand for less than $200!

At the same time, Filipino have a strong bond no matter where they are in the country. I suppose some Muslim and Christian Filipino don’t always feel so a strong bond. Some Muslim wish to separate from the Philippines and setup an Islamic state in Mindanao. The Philippines government even tried to make that happen but the supreme court struck down the law granting that. Then fighting broke out. Talks are still ongoing though I don’t know if that is a huge priority under the current administration.

I’ve seen government sponsored commercials on TV reaching on to “Our Muslim Brothers” during Islamic holidays. Though officially there is a separation of church and state in the Philippines, in reality the church is also consulted in setting policy and major changes in the law.

A big mistake a new expat living in the Philippines will make is to take what they have learned about the small area they live in and apply it to the entire country. I can assure you, that in many cases you’ll be wrong about other places in the Philippines.

Living In Manila is not Living In The Philippines

Okay, if you live in Manila, then you are of course living in the Philippines but that’s not what most of the country is like.  Manila is huge!  Over 10 million people but it is still only a little more than 10% of the people.  Most of us live out in the provinces, most people living in the Philippines live in the boondocks.

So much of what I see in the West about the Philippines is gleamed from looking at Manila. Manila is not like the rest of the country. People in the provinces might say it is more modern. I don’t know. I guess it is. From what I can tell they have fewer problems with brownouts. But the infrastructure there must be less than the demands the people are placing on it. When people familiar with Manila talk about this huge city of more than 10 million people, traffic and pollution usually are included in the conversation.

Now there are generalities that can be made but when they are made one should remember that there are always exceptions.

Even in Bogo City, we have our nonconformist that don’t care what people say. But that is unusual. In most areas of the Philippines, the family puts much social pressure on their members. Usually, to a Filipino family is everything. This is especially true of Filipina.

Go to any social site and look how often you’ll see mention of God and family in the profiles. Filipina often like to say they are a simple girl. I’ve seen it so much, I find it boring. However, it must be important to them to be see as simple as so many say it.

I suspect but do not know that in Makati family is still important but not as deeply so to most Filipina living out in the province.

While the Filipino has a strong common bond, even the many different languages in the Philippines cause some difficulty in communication. There are two official languages of the Philippines. Those are Filipino and English. Filipino has come to mean Tagalog on the streets but officially that is not actually true.

Most Filipino can speak Tagalog but how well they speak it and how they translate it into their own language does differ.

My eBook will help you understand the culture of the Philippines. I don’t claim to know everything or even to always be 100% correct. On the other hand, I have gained a lot of knowledge about the people of the Philippines. I’ve always been a people watcher. I love to understand people, as best as I can. If you are new to the Philippines or still thinking about coming here. I honestly believe the eBook Philippines Experience — Basic Expat Training Manual will be a very helpful source for you. For more information, visit Living In The Philippines.

These are some of the things that I’ve noticed that cause the Philippines to be a rather diverse nation. It will take some time before most of us new to living in the Philippines will understand this. I’m still learning. I have much to learn on this topic.

So tell me, what do you think it is like to live in the Philippines?

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