I thought I would start a new series, an Expat Journal about living in the Philippines. This is my expat journal for May 2013. Living in the Philippines is not always exciting. When I first arrived five years ago, nearly everything was exciting . New things are exciting to me. Having funds to travel also helps to make things exciting. This month was mostly a stay at home month again. It did have some drama in it. Some I can write about publicly, some I wish I could. After living in the Philippines for more than five years, things are not as new as they use to be. Still, I have a much better life because I moved to the Philippines.
Filipino culture can be a bit frustrating at times. There are many things that might bug you. Usually, I have no problem with the Filipino way. In fact, most of the time, I think Filipinos have got it right. With family and respect being so high on the list of what is important, I usually admire the culture of the Philippines.
Yesterday though, Filipino culture just flat go on my nerves. Bogo City has been having its festival. It ended on Monday but the people of Bogo where not yet ready to stop their party. I heard many people having a party at their home for the next day or so. Yesterday, my neighbor got into the act in a big way.
Cebu is one of the safest places in the Philippines. People often what ask “How safe is Cebu?” I can’t promise you that you will be safe in Cebu or any other place in the world. I feel safer in Cebu than I did in Memphis. Sure there are some scary places and scary people in Cebu, especially in Cebu City. The further I get away from Cebu City, the safer I think I am.
Yet, I don’t find Cebu City to be unsafe. How safe is Cebu depends partly on you. Perhaps mostly on you. If you’re going to the mall, you are not very likely to run into trouble. If you go to a nightclub, well the risk of trouble always goes up when there are pretty Filipina and people with alcohol on board. Go to a bikini bar and your risk factor goes up.
Last month, Drew Frederick Shobbrook was arrested for allegedly running a “cybersex den” in Cebu. I don’t know if he did these things. Frankly, there are some things that don’t quite make sense to me. I’ll get in to that later. I’m more interested in alerting people of the bad situations they can put themselves in while living in the Philippines.
I don’t know Drew, but I do know people that know him. I use to be a member of a forum that he was a major participant of. Several expats on that forum have been allegedly involved in questionable activities. I’m not going to say which one. I got thrown off when I started a website. I was upset at the time but in hindsight, it was one of the best things that ever happened to me in the Philippines.
I’d say that there are three things I love most about living in the Philippines and one of them is island hopping. “Besides island hopping what are the other two things you love about the Philippines, Rusty?” I’m glad you asked. That would be Filipina and the low cost of living. Cebu provides a treasure chest of all three. Most of the Philippines will provide that though.
I’d say my most fulfilling moments while living in the Philippines included island hopping with Jessie. The low cost of living makes it possible for me to engage in island hopping. So the three are tied together like the bamboo of a nipa hut.
Someone recently asked me about freedom in the Philippines. He had been given some information from a friend that visited here. The information was not incorrect but perhaps a bit incomplete. His friend had told him that the people in the USA were brainwashed into thinking they were free compared to the Philippines. Now that I disagree with. Mostly because the degree to which American’s enjoy freedom of speech seems to be unequaled in the rest of the world. His question gave me the idea to write this article.
The question “How much money do I need to live in the Philippines?” is one I get often. This is a question that often comes in email and is a question better asked in public so that it will help others. Of course, there is no one answer fits all for this question. I require more money that many due because of my medical bills. The cost of living in the Philippines is much lower than it was in the USA for me. Some say it is higher, I don’t see how it could be. Some things cost more. The cost of services and housing is where you will likely have the biggest savings.
So you want or have a long distance relationship with a Filipina. A Filipina girlfriend can be a marvelous thing. Like with any woman though, it can be like falling into a pit of common brown cobras. A long distance, online relationship with a Filipina is plagued with even more potential snake bites. They can workout though.
My long distance relationship with a Filipina worked out well. However, there were also a few snake bites along the way for me too. When you’re a long way off and the Filipina badly wants a foreign boyfriend, they tend to agree to anything. They often are fooling themselves. It is a fantasy and if you try to make it real and in person, they run away as they are often very shy.
Wow, the US dollar to Philippines peso exchange rate has been in a long slump if you’re an American expat living in the Philippines. This affects more than just Americans, it is also hard on many Filipino families. Most Filipinos that work overseas (OFWs) send dollars back home to their families.
It also affects some international Filipino businesses. Many times they bill in dollars. When the dollar is falling, they loose revenue. When they prepare their Philippines income statements the funds are converted back to pesos. Thus, their gross receipts could take a substantial hit.
Yesterday I had the pleasure of revisiting the Odlot Hideaway in northern Cebu with four beautiful Filipina.
I was really surprised to see the three Filipina that went with use chow down on a raw jelly fish they caught in the Visayan Sea.