Even when life gets a little bit hard, I love living in the Philippines. Really, it’s been a little difficult lately but when people say I should go home, my answer is always the same, “I am home”. No matter how hard things get, they are better for me here. I could likely get better medical care in the USA but other than that, pretty much everything seems better to me here. I love living in the Philippines.

A huge part of that is the women that are attracted to me here, whatever the reason. The other major part is that I can live here cheaply. I’ve run into a rough patch financially. A month or two in a boarding house with air con for $50 could turn that all around for me.  That won’t happen in the USA.

Some of the Specifics of why I love Living in the Philippines

The first five are top five the rest are random in order. Of course coming in at number one are Filipinas.

Filipina  — My favorite part of Living in the Philippines. Do I really have to choose just one?

If a Filipina decides you are her man, she will be devoted for you. She doesn’t want you to be able to do anything for yourself. She wants to take care of you.  It is far too easy to become dependent on this kind of woman so be careful there too. At least that is true for me.  Jessie honestly couldn’t stand to see me do any house work or even go to the store for myself.

You probably do need to choose just one unless you are satisfied with girls that work in bikini bars. I’m not. Filipina are Things I Love about the Philippines is Filipinamore than just extremely beautiful though, they are extremely loving.  Or better said they can be.  They can also be tricky and the only thing they hope to do is relieve you of your cash. I like to cover both sides of any issue I write about.

Just this week, I had a beauty contact me on FaceBook. She came on strong but somewhat shy. Wanted me to teach her some new things. She seemed real for the first two days. Then she wanted to meet me at the dock and I would go with her to her home.

As it turned out, she had just enough money to get to the dock, she’d didn’t have the money to make it all the way. What she was trying to do was get me to pay for half her trip to Cebu. You have to be really careful guys.

Almost every day, someone is trying to get me to send them travel money.  I have three words for you “Don’t do it”. They will never show up and they will always say “I’m not like those other girls”. Don’t believe it. Unless you just want to give money away, keep it in your pocket.

We men will always have our differences with women. We are motivated by different things so that man vs. woman conflict will be present any place in the world. We have different cultures but we are at our core human.

Cost of Living Most things in the Philippines are much Cheaper

Pretty Filipina in Downtown Cebu cityMost things can cost you much less money while you live in the Philippines. In some cases this could mean you will also get lower quality but not in all cases. Two things are almost always cheaper here. You will pay less for services and generally you will pay less for rent or land.

Food is debatable but most of the expats in the Philippines will agree that food cost much less in the Philippines. Going to a Filipino restaurant is generally much cheaper than going out to eat in the USA or other Western nation. You can easily save $100 for a single dinner. You can save more but I said easily.

When I was moving from Cebu City to Bogo City, we rented two vans. We didn’t have a lot of stuff. The vans were also full of helpers. They stopped at a restaurant and it was expected that I feed them. We took virtually every chair in this roadside eatery.  The cost was under $20 for around ten people and all but two where adults.

I know people that manage to pay more for a single uncooked chicken than I do for a fully prepared one. My chicken is going to be the same as his chicken but he prefers to go to a mall that caters to foreigners. I’ve been there, I wasn’t impressed. I’m not really impressed with malls. They exhaust me just looking at them haha.

Some things will cost you more here. I priced a Canon 7D here and the price was $2500 I can get them for about $1500Shopping at SM Mall less than that if I buy it from Amazon and ship it here. Generally, I find everyone that sells a particular gadget will charge the exact same price. Price fixing? Maybe or maybe they just charge the recommended retail price. I don’t know but you can spend way too much money on some things in the Philippines. No question about it.

Travel is cheaper here too. You can often find very low rates on air travel but those seats tend to sell very fast. Still, the full price tickets are much cheaper than what they would cost you in the USA. You can also get a decent hotel room for $25 or so. Generally, these will be pension houses. Quality varies greatly. I’ve found some gems and I’m found some really poor quality accommodations too. If you opt to stay in a Western based hotel then you can expect to pay Western based pricing and sometimes a little more than that.

Respect is Presumed in the Philippines

Respect is one of the most important parts of a Filipinos life. I get a little upset with Westerners that so often say “Respect must be earned”. Why? You’re in a country where people treat others with respect. Is that really so dang hard to wrap your head around?

Respect for Elders in Filipino CultureEven if you don’t like someone, you should still treat them with respect. It’s the right thing to do and Filipinos, for the most part, do that. If you think you’re being treated better because you’re white, some of that could be true but mostly that just gets you noticed. How you’re being treated is how Filipinos treat each other. There are exceptions to that. When I first got here, I went into a UPS office. I went in with two women.  The guy behind the counter brought me a chair.  Of course I couldn’t sit in it. Jessie noticed my confused look and said “Get used to it, you’re white.”

I thought wow, this could be nice. Usually, I don’t get that kind of royal treatment though I did have a Filipina curtsy for me.

Respect is a major part of Filipino culture. I don’t know a lot about Asia but it seems to be fairly common in most Asian cultures and the Philippines is no different.

The Culture of the Philippines

With respect being at the center of Filipino culture it’s no surprise that I also love living in the Philippines because of its culture. The culture is often the focal point of festivals and there is always a festival in the Philippines.

Other things I love about the culture of the Philippines is the laid back atmosphere. The people don’t let much get them down, they are almost always happy. Thus all the smiling faces. When a problem arises they tend to deal with it if they can or just forget it if they can’t. I wish I could master that but I am better at it than I use to be and I’m far more laid back now. I do try to adopt the parts of Filipino Culture that agrees with me but not all parts do.

I Love Living in the Philippines for the Photographic Opportunities

The Philippines is a wonderland for photography. Beautiful women at every corner, golden sunsets to immerse you in soothing colors, seascapes are never far away, the costumes found in the festivals are one of my favorite things to shoot. I also enjoy capturing street scenes. Old people and poor people are some of my favorites but of course, it’s hard not to take pictures of the beautiful women of the Philippines. While guys frequently ask me to take their picture, women frequently say no if I ask them. Usually they are nice about it but not always. Sometimes they cover their face and resist if I don’t ask. Usually, I persist and get that photo too and it is clear they liked that I took it.


I also love to take pictures of waterfalls. There are some very nice water falls in the Philippines. Far more of them that I’veSinulog Photography had the pleasure to visit. I do wish I could travel much more.  I need better health and better funding haha. One of the best known falls that is very high on my list are Kawasan falls in the southern Philippines not far from the city of Moal Boal.

I also love going to the old churches to take pictures. Long ago, I set a goal to go see one a month but that never happened. I would still like to do that. Whenever I get the chance I do go in and photograph old churches in the Philippines. You can find them at two hundred to three hundred years old without a great deal of trouble. Some are older. So far the Basilica Santo Nino remains my favorite old church to photograph. It took some damage during the Bohol Earthquake of 2013 and is being rebuilt.

People of the Philippines

I already mentioned the people of the Philippines when I wrote about the culture of the Philippines but they are worthy of their own mention. My favorite Filipinos are the poor people of the Philippines. They are a simple people. Something they often proudly proclaim themselves. They are usually quite close to their families, devout in their religion, it doesn’t matter that I don’t always agree with some of the things most believe. I agree with the basic beliefs but man has distorted Christ message in ways that drives people away. They are generally honest and hardworking. They are looking for a way to make an extra peso at every turn. I just had a guy try to sell me coffee and “medical products” while I was sitting outside. That kind of thing does get old but I respect him for trying. I told him I don’t drink coffee which is true, I rarely drink it.

Red Horse and Tanduay

I’m not much of a drinker but I love that Tanduay is cheap and will cure a sore throat. It’s not good at getting me drunk though. I have to drink too much of it. Red Horse on the hand gives me a great buzz after two bottles. Its short lived but very effective. I also like San Miguel’s pale Pilsen. I don’t like the taste of most beers but I like this. I have not had a San Miguel in quite some time though. I did drink a bit of Red Horse during March and April of this year when I had some pain to numb. It’s great for that haha. I wanted one a couple of times this week to forget my financial concerns but I’m taking antibiotics and alcohol often kills their benefits. I don’t dare since I am recovering from pneumonia.  At least I hope I am, I’ve been on some strong antibiotics for a week now and it still hurts to breath. I’m not sure if the pain is in my lungs are it’s my ribs still store from all the coughing.

Travel is Cheap and Diverse

I have taken some wonderful trips while living In the Philippines, often while not spending a lot of money. I can go to Bantayan Island for example for about $50 a day.  You can certainly spend more money there, you can, if you so elect pay more than that for a room. It’s been almost three years since I’ve been to Bantayan and I sure would like to visit again. However, there are other islands I have not yet been too at all and they are higher on my list at the moment.

Cebu Pacific JetIsland hopping is awesome to me. Often very inexpensive, especially if you do it in a group and everyone chips in on the cost of the boat. I have taken a few trips to small islands around Cebu. My trip to Capitancillo cost about P3000 and took me to a beautiful small island. I loved my visit there. I don’t know its condition at the moment because it was ravaged by typhoon Yolanda. One article I read indicated that it had been reduced to its predevelopment stage. That is all the buildings and lighthouse are gone. I can’t confirm that and it seems a little difficult to believe that it took the light house out.

I love the Uncrowded Beaches in the Philippines

I sometimes have had a nice pristine white sand beach completely to myself. This is common on Bantayan Island. IRainbow in the Philippines probably will see one or two of the locals but most of the time there are few tourist on the island. It’s just an awesome experience.

I’ve seen pictures of Boracay covered up in people. Perhaps not as bad as a beach in Florida but crowded enough to make Boracay a low point on my travel destinations which list. It is probably the best known beach area though and I guess it’s trendy to go there. You know, people want to say they have been there. I’m in no hurry, there are better places that cost much less and have fewer people.

Rainbows in the Philippines

When I was living in Bogo City, I saw a lot of perfectly formed rainbows.  Some of the clearest I’ve ever seen. I need to read a book or article on photographing rainbows as I’ve not had a lot of luck with that. The trick may be in processing those and I should try re-processing some I’ve taken. I have taken some decent rainbow shots while visiting Bantayan and those just might pop right out with a little extra effort. Still, they look awesome while viewing them with my eyes.

I love Philippines Sunsets

Sunsets in the PhilippinesSunsets are beautiful all over the world. In the Philippines, we often get golden sunsets. I hope to spend some time on a boat in the near future. If that happens, I should be able to take some amazing sunset and sunrise pictures.

The Rain Rarely Falls Gently in the Philippines

Actually, I’m kidding as sometimes it does. I have seen it barely rain for more than a day. I mean consistently rain anytime I went out. It’s almost like it’s just so humid that water is falling out of the air. What I really like is the hard rain that pints the tin roofs around my home. I’m recalling the sounds while I lived in Bogo City. Here in the hotel I doubt it will ever sound like that. When I was young I often spent time at my grandparents’ home and they had a tin roof.


When the rain hits a tin roof, it’s loud and if it hails you can hear it change to a pinging sound.

I love to both watch the rain and hear it fall on a tin roof, can be either my roof or the neighbors roof, it also makes a nice sound when it hit the concrete tile roof of my home in Bogo City.  At times, there is a lot of rain to listen too.

Coffee Alamid  or Civet Coffee

There is a very special coffee in the Philippines that causes many people to wince. There is an animal and even scientist have a hard time deciding exactly what it is. It looks a lot like a rat at times, others look like a possum and some resemble a raccoon but still others resemble a cat. Based on what I’ve read, it is a cat and its scientific classification has it in that genre or family.  Not sure which it is.

The animal is called a civet cat. It climbs up to eat the best of the coffee beans, or that’s what they claim. It can’t digest all of it and leaves much of it intact on the forest floor. Workers can earn as much as a $100 a day gathering off the forest floor. An exceptional amount of money in the Philippines.

Part of the flavor comes from the enzymes the civet cat has in its stomach. It enriches the flavor and makes it the most expensive coffee in the world. Though probably exaggerated, I’ve heard you can pay as much as $100 a cup.  The price in the USA is about $30 a cup, or so I hear.  You can get a cup in the Philippines for about P500 or $10.00

The beans are harvested and processed and shipped to stores in the Philippines and throughout the world. They arePhilippine Food -- Crocodile Sausage popular in high end coffee shops in the USA and the Middle East.  It is sometimes referred to jokingly as cat poo coffee.

This stuff is good, yes I did drink some. The flavor was different. While it tasted like coffee there was something very different about it.

I Ate Crocodile Sausage in Palawan

When I went to Palawan a few years back, I visited the “Crocodile Farm” in Puerto Princesa.  After getting my picture
taken with a baby croc, I noticed the park actually sold crocodile sausage. That was the best thing I ever put in my mouth!  I want to go get more but that’s an expensive trip just for sausage. I do hope to get back over there sometime and have much more of it next time.

Filipino Cigars

The Philippines has some wonderful hand rolled cigars. Though I wish I had never smoked one because they are addictive, they are very good.

Christmas in the Philippines

Christmas in the Philippines is much more like it was when I was a child. Oh the stores are doing everything they can to Christmas Parol in the Philippinescommercialize it. However, for most Filipinos the spirit of Christmas Is still alive. It’s all about family here and gifts are far less important.

The Christmas decorations in the Philippines are interesting and often unique to the Philippines so as the parol or Philippines star.

Bancas

There are many small boats here used mostly by poor Filipinos.  They make excellent pictures as they are often colorful.  There is a point in Bogo City where there may be fifty or more of them floating just off the cost.

No Prescription Needed

For most medications you will not need a prescription from your doctor. Just this week I purchased Avelox which is a very strong antibiotic. I joke that the warnings that come with it look less dangerous than an injection of HIV. The doctor gave it to me for pneumonia.

You will need a prescription for anything that’s controlled, like Xanax. A prescription for these items is not easy to come by. Usually, it seems, the doctors don’t treat pain very much. I know you can get morphine but the only people I know that are getting it are terminal. I’ve had several foreigners here tell me they could get nothing for severe pain. Does anyone else have experience with this personally? I’ve not needed any serious pain medication.

For most items, you will not need a prescription. Every now and then the Pharmacy will require one but usually they will not ask for one.

Getting in Touch With Nature

The Philippines is green, very green. There are many locations that I want to go that I have not been. I actually feel a bit guilty that I have never been to Bohol. I sure look forward to going. I wish I had made it before the big earthquake last year because some of the best sites were destroyed. There are some rice terraces in Luzon and hanging coffins too that I really want to visit. I hope I’ll be able to someday and healthy enough to see them.

If you like the outdoors, then go see Palawan. They Underground River is famous but there are other nice places inPhilippines Eagle Palawan and most of it focuses on nature. Palawan is still largely undeveloped and if you go to a park, chances are good you’ll see monkeys and maybe a water monitor or two.  They are large lizards.

Island hopping will often provide a bit of an adventure and a get back to nature experience. Even a trip to Bantayan Island will provide that. Careful where you step, you might see a sea urchin or two. If you get away from the resorts, chances go up that you will see a lot of small sea life.

Mount Mayon is high on my list of places too see. It’s a cone volcano and one of the best shaped ones in the world. I’d like to get up there before an eruption while the cone is still in excellent condition.

There are many waterfalls in the Philippines, I’ve only been to one and that was in Palawan were the monkeys joined us for lunch and attempted to steal our lunch.

Mindanao provides the best back to nature experience but I wouldn’t go to most of those places just to sightsee because of the terrorist that operate in the rural areas. You’ll probably be fine if you go but there’s too much shooting and too many kidnappings in those areas to draw me there. You’ll likely be okay in the cities but even that should bring a great deal more caution than you need to use in Cebu City.

Do you live in the Philippines? What do you like about it the most? I might follow this up with what I dislike about the Philippines but that’s treading on dangerous ground. Filipinos don’t mind criticism for the most part, if it is accurate and respectful. Just trashing the Philippines doesn’t sit well with them, especially if you make fun of them and that’s as it should be.

Many people that think they are experts on the Philippines don’t really understand it. That’s because they come to fulfill their “darker” desires. Hey, that’s okay, most of us have those in one form or another. You hang around a sewer then it might get a little stinky.  They go out and rant about how shady Filipinos are and then come back every year for more. There are things not to like about the Philippines but most of those things are present all over the world.  These people rarely live here.

Probably something to dislike about the Philippines specific about the Philippines is that there are few protections in place for consumers. That and electronics are way overpriced. That’s the only two I can think of at the moment.

So what do you like about living in the Philippines or if you have stayed here for six months are more what about you? Please share this post on your social media networks if you find it to be worthy.

By Rusty Ferguson

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