The Philippines is more laid back, that is good for me. I’ve learned to be a little more laid back but right now, I’m not too laid back ha ha. I’m okay really but a bit irritated. This time of the year it is not uncommon for my doctor to be gone for a month or more at time. We ask him every time we go, “Will you be out of the country next month.” Sometimes, he is and I know to go back and get my Xanax prescription early or later. Sometimes he says no but then he’s gone anyway. That’s what happened this month.
I have been living in the Philippines for seven years now. As I begin to type this, seven years ago today I was on a jet somewhere over the Pacific Ocean. The next day, February 6th, I landed in Manila with a wide mixture of emotions. Fear and hope being the most predominant emotions. Fear of the unknown and hopes for a better life. Hopes for a good relationship with a pretty Filipina named Jessie. Being too excited to sleep the day before, the flight went by pretty fast for me because I slept through most of it. Two days in the air and at least 24 hours of it I spent sleeping over the Pacific Ocean. This American living in the Philippines for seven years actually lost track. I thought I had been here for only six years but I arrived in February of 2008 so I have completed seven years here. I am so happy I came.
The last year has been quite difficult. First came being alone with Jessie in the same house but still I was alone. Then came Typhoon Haiyan or Yolanda that brought severe damage to Bogo City and significant damage to the home I lived in. Then followed that up with my most difficult time, and ending of my six year relationship with Jessie. That I loved her made no difference. I had to go. I was tired of being left alone. Not only did she want to go out with her friends, she did not want me there. When she was home, she was in another room.
One of the most difficult things about living in the Philippines is funding medical expenses. There is good and bad though. The good part is that the cost medical care in the Philippines is low. The troubling part is that in most cases, you will be required to pay for your medical cost before you check into a hospital or get outpatient treatment. It is up to you to file your insurance claims. I was probably seriously sick a few days ago. The symptoms were serious and if I had been in the USA and alone, I would have had to call an ambulance. What did I do here when I got sick in the Philippines? Nothing.
When the first symptoms showed its ugly face, I was not worried. Now when it happened the first time I was very worried. It was about ten years ago, maybe more. A large circular object formed in my vision. Unlike what many people get, this “floater” blocked most of my vision and didn’t go away in a second or two.
Most people think stroke, I know I did. Doctors at the ER told me “I don’t think this is in your brain but the blood vessels behind your eyes”. My eye doctor freaked out. Told me to call him anytime that this happens. My primary care doctor at the time treats me like a hypochondriac and told me there is usually no long term damage. In doctor speak that means virtually never.
What a month June was. My second month to be single in the Philippines. Things were looking pretty good for the first two weeks. I was still missing Jessie but she remained steadfast on her positions that had caused me to leave in the first place. Finally, I told her to let me know if anything changed and I began to move on in earnest. This is my Philippines expat journal for June and July 2014. I think it is one of the best ways to tell you what living in the Philippines is really like. It isn’t always fun.
I had a three promising Filipina that I had spent some quality time with, I was having trouble managing everyone in my little black book otherwise known as my phone. Of course, not everything in my black book worked out. Lots of the prospects were playing games with me. That’s only to be expected. Even one of the girls I met managed to use me. She was just trying to get home. She did, oh well. That’s the way it works sometimes. She said to me in her sweet little voice on the way out the door “Please don’t be mad” to which I said “Of course I’m mad, you just using me to get home”. At that point her hardened look was all over her face and I never heard another word from her.
There are some things I don’t like about living in the Philippines. I will talk about those things in this article but first I wish to point out that I love living in the Philippines. I recently wrote an article about some of those things which you can read here.
There isn’t that much I don’t like and some of those things are only negative to me. They are not negative to most Filipinos. I do not see it as my place to try to change the culture of the Philippines. Frankly, I think that is absurd.
Living in the Philippines on a pension or fixed income means you might see your spending power decrease. Of course, this is true anyplace and has long been a problem for seniors. I’m not exactly a senior but I’m knocking on the door and now ride in the same boat as they do. I retired early, around 45 due to disability caused by lupus. That’s an autoimmune disorder where your immune system becomes confused and attacks your own body. Mine’s not too bad but over the year it has taken its toll.
When I arrived here in February of 2008 the dollar was at the lowest point since I lived here. It was lean month but only because I spent most of my money on the way over. It was a month of lots of dried fish. It stinks but its good haha. One problem, it’s mostly air and bone. Bones that you can crunch and swallow. I could eat a trainload of them and I think I’d still be hungry.
I have been living in the Philippines since February 6th of 2008. I have greatly increased the opportunities in my life by moving to the Philippines. The two primary reasons for this are the lower cost of living and my options with women are greatly increased. However, it isn’t paradise; living in the Philippines is…