Two Years Living in the Philippines – Part Two: People, Places and Things

 

Sunrise Dumaguete

 

Note: Did you miss Part One of this?  Click HERE to check it out.

 

In the first part my Two Year Report on living and working in the Philippines, I yapped on ad nauseum about some of the physical and medical experiences I have had while living here.  Now, let’s take some time to talk about some other aspects of my time here in the Philippines. 



Filipinos
After two years, I will continue to shamelessly stereotype Filipinos by noting yet again how pleasant and hospitable they are.  Yeah, there are exceptions to that rule, but – in my experiences – they have been VERY few and far between.  Since arriving in the Philippines, I have personally not had an issue with a single Filipino.  Yes, we’ve been “inconvenienced” by two of our neighbors as they relentlessly blocked off access roads during their never-ending property dispute, but other than that, we’ve had nary a single problem with a local.  But then again, I haven’t gotten into a car or motor accident with a Filipino as of yet….   

As time has gone on, I have noticed a few issues that occasionally pop up in the cultural psychology here.  Pride is a big thing in the Philippines, and offending someone can result in some pretty impressive drama.   Another issue that is relevant to this noticing just how sensitive a lot of Filipinos are (“onion skin”).  And when that pride and sensitivity is combined, it can make for a pretty volatile mix.  And if you’ve ever been (or are) in a relationship with a Filipina, you’ll not what I’m talking about.   🙂

Michell and neighborhood kids

Michell and Friends

You’ll hear “pinoy pride” bandied about quite a bit here.  The Philippines is a very young country, having gained its independence for the United States only in 1946, and is still in the process of finding its national identity.  “Pinoy pride” is a part of that, and as noted in some of our videos, Filipinos are extremely quick to take up the chant in the face of any slight, be it an actual insult or one that is simply perceived as such.  At a governmental level, this can result in city councils taking the time to declare a foreigner who has “insulted” the national consciousness in such a way persona non grata.  I know I have mentioned it before, but it’s something that any vlogger or blogger has to keep in mind when writing about the Philippines.  Big Brother (kuya) is watching, and First Amendment rights really don’t apply to foreigners when it comes to certain topics.    I mention this as it is not something I had experienced in the West before coming to the Philippines.

 

Valentines Kids Briing Us Flowers

Neighbors bringing us (stolen) flowers on Valentines Day

The Kids
If you have been following our blog and videos for a while, you’ll know that the kids in our neighborhood became a pretty important part of our life here.  Filipino kids are – without a doubt – the cutest and most endearing children in the entire world.  Or – at least – in my limited experience!  They are genuine, open and full of a quality of life and energy that has to be experienced in order to be fully appreciated.   Although they are poor, they don’t realize it yet and have thus not yet succumbed to the apathy and resentments that you will sometimes see as they grow more self aware in their later years.  The neighborhood kids have brought us a lot of joy just with their simple presence.  And even though some of them have moved away (to the “Kid’s House” that our donations built), they still continue to be a source of real happiness.  Rock on, Philippines – you have the best kids in the world!

 

Foreigners
On a more negative note…..

Hands down and without a single shred of doubt, I have had more problems with fellow foreigners than anything else in the Philippines.   I had heard about this before coming to the Philippines, but as with many things in life, it was something that had to be personally experienced.  Much of the verbal, hearsay drama seems to be a result of equal parts crab mentality, wanting to share personal miseries and a level of chismoso (gossip) that any self-respecting Filipino could never hope to match. At some points in my time here I have come to see the Philippines as a sort of catch basin for all the uncouth and unwanted that have been expelled from their home nations.  Ironically, there was a Fil-Am who I got upset with a while back when he mentioned in a Facebook post that the shores of the Philippines are littered with the “flotsam and jetsam” of foreigner trash.  After a bit of reflection, I decided to take it less personally and to appreciate the point he was trying to make….

For new folks coming to the Philippines, there is a lesson to this.  When you first stumble off the plane and start wandering around in wide eyed wonder, don’t be offended when you pass other foreigners and they don’t look you in the eye.  In other words, don’t take it personally.  It’s just a coping mechanism that some of the guys who have been here for a while develop to preserve their personal well being…

In all, I have had two physical altercations since arriving in the Philippines.  Both were with fellow foreigners, and for some reason, the men in these instances were both German nationals.  One of them is back in Germany, and the other is still around Dumaguete.  Both were initiated over nonsense and both – not surprisingly – involved alcohol (on their part, not mine). 

Despite all the freedom (and cheap booze) that is available here, fights between foreigners are actually not all that common.  Usually, the problems take the form of gossip and character assassination.  And if you’ve got a somewhat successful You Tube or website, you’ll be even a bigger target.

Just saying.

Kids Me picking up Yeue and Nano

Picking up chicks in the Philippines

The Home Search

Ah, yes, the eternal quest for the “perfect” long-term abode in the Philippines….. Finding that heady mix of “easy” town/convenience access, cooler weather, cleaner air and still solid electricity and internet is something that is at most times easier said than done.  At present, we are still perched on the outskirts of Dumaguete proper, living out our Philippine Dream in the infamous Pink House.  The location isn’t all that bad:  I like having the option of heading into the city without having to take extended drives through occasionally scary road traffic,  but the noise and smoke associated with living on the city’s perimeter can be a little overwhelming at times.  We have been faithfully searching for a shady house rental somewhere in western Dumaguete – it’s cooler and cleaner in that direction, but as of yet, we haven’t been able to find what we are looking for.  We haven’t given up, though, and finding that “perfect place” continues to be a work in progress.  Until then, we will just keep on keeping on – where we are right now isn’t really all that bad at all – most of the time.

One last thing: Don’t get caught up in the cost of a home or apartment rental – it’s far better to pay more and be happy than to scrimp and save but be less happy.  And remember – the difference between 10,000 pesos and 15,000 pesos is only $107 USD; a lot of times when thinking in pesos, the difference seems to be a lot more than it actually is.   

Whale Shark from below

Under a whaleshark – Oslob

Getting There

Going on motorcycle tours around the islands is a great way to see the sights.  With that said, I have also learned over the past few years that motor touring in the Philippines is exhausting.  What with constant hypervigilence necessary in avoiding dogs, wandering Filiinos, rampaging roosters, careening sugar cane trucks and anything else that might jump out in front of your motor, combined with bumpy roads and merciless heat as the day progresses, I have to say that the best approach to motor touring is to start early (around 6:30 AM), ride until noon and then find a hotel to stay until the next morning.  Five to six hours of riding in the Philippines is about the maximum that I can physically and mentally take here – anything beyond that and I start to become dangerously fatigued (and extremely frikken grumpy).

balanan thumb

Lake Balanan

The Sights

The Philippines is stunningly beautiful, with sections of the archipelago truly resembling paradise.  We’ve been to a bunch of beautiful locations throughout the Visayas, and in the future I am sure we will be visiting many more.  Some of my favorites have been dolphin watching at Bais, SCUBA diving expeditions to Apo Island, canyoneering at Kawasan Falls, and some good times spent up in Sipalay.  Any negative experiences I have had while out on tour have usually come as a result of not being able to find a particular place (the subject of one of our latest videos) and/or breaking my frikken back. 

Thanks, Mabinay! 

/shakes fist

I am hoping soon to take a trip up to the cooler climes of Mt. Canlaon in north-central Negros Occidental.  We haven’t gone further north than Sipalay, and I have heard that the Canlaon area is possessed of some simply stunning vistas.  The only issue right now is that there has been some eruption warnings in the area – Canlaon is still and active volcano, and it has been spitting out clouds of dust and smoke for about a week now.  Our trip plans to go to Bukidnon in Mindanao this month (very cool weather and lots of Dole pineapples!) were similarly stymied with news of folks in central Mindanao taking up the ISIL flag.  Ah, the best of intents and laid out plans….

michell and i kawasan

Kawasan Falls

Charitable Projects

Some of my favorite experiences and memories revolve around some of the good works we have tried to do in and about the city of Dumaguete.  From the Jollibee and Christmas parties to Michell and Dina’s Spaghetti Fests to the kids’ house building project we oversaw after three families in our neighborhood were evicted due to an ongoing property dispute, I can’t help but see these as the highlights of my time here.  It’s funny:  I never intended to get involved in any of this stuff – it just sort of happened.  But I am glad they did, as each and every one was a true example of win-win situations for all involved.  And you don’t often get opportunities like that in life…..

House building familly photo in front of build

kids house construction

DSC00112

Michell and Dina’s spaghetti-fest feeding program

DSC00103

Jollibee Party for all the kids

My Two Biggest Issues with the Philippines

The Heat:  Yeah, I’ve said it before, but since it’s my site, I’ll take the liberty of saying it yet again:  Sometimes it’s just to frikken hot in the Philippines.  This past year in particular has been a bear what with El Nino kicking in.  I just checked the PAGASA site and they are noting average temperatures are about 1.5 degrees Celsius higher than last year.  Yes, I have noticed that I tend to adapt a bit to the heat over time (newly arrived foreigners are sweating, and I’m not), but after around 10 AM, if the sun is beating down, it’s pretty much gonna be a hot one – stay in the shade, drinks lots of water and move slowly until around 4 PM.

Sip white sand beach

Sipalay – It’s HOT!

Burning Stuff: After the heat, my next biggest gripe is the daily trash burning that blankets Filipino neighborhoods with palls of billowing noxious smoke.  If it was only yard waste, that would be one thing, but instead it’s usually a mix of plastic, rubber and whatever else they’ve scraped up and set a flame to.  It’s pretty gross and combined with the diesel and two-stroke exhaust, makes for rather murky evenings.  The real headscratcher is the health effects – a number of Filipino kids and adults in our neighborhood have asthma, and one of our neighbors was actually complaining about his shortness of breath while a pile of trash and leaves blazed merrily away just a few meters behind him…

Apo pt 2 thumb

Corey SCUBA at Apo

Mistakes

Truck: As I’ve previously noted, buying the Pajero was the pretty much the biggest mistake I made since arriving in the Philippines.  Don’t get me wrong:  It was a GREAT truck and didn’t give us any issues.  The problem instead was that with the near-constant good weather, we only used it about once or twice a month – maybe on a trip down to Dauin or to do a heavy shopping day at the grocery store/public market.  There were two reasons that I originally purchased it:  First off, I’m an American and having a vehicle seems to be an inherent part of our self identity (kind of along the lines of an Aussie having to have a kangaroo saddle – I kid, Australia, I kid!).  The second reason I purchased the Pajero was because I been informed that the Philippines was subjected to an interminable rainy season that could stretch on for months.  Not wanting to be “trapped” by torrential monsoons in which I would be soaked and miserable on a motorcycle, I got the truck, checked its waterproofness and even installed gutter guards around windows.  Fully tricked out and configured, it sat.  And sat – gathering naught but dust and gecko droppings.  After about a year out of the US (and relishing the convenience of smaller, more maneuverable motorcycles), I got past the whole “I’m an American, and I need a car/truck” thing.  By that point, I had also realized that our area of the Philippines (Negros Oriental) didn’t have much of a rainy season at all – sure, it might rain for a few hours, but then it would generally clear up enough to go out and about on the motorcycles.  So finally, after having our four-wheeled cat stand for over a year, I put it up for sale on olx.com.  And as chance would have it, it was snatched up the very next day by a Englishman in Valencia who was looking for a manual, diesel Pajero.  Thanks, Marcus.

Stinky

Stinky McCracken – My BFF!

House Hunting:  I mentioned this already above, but you really have to put the time in when searching for a place to stay.  Don’t skimp on the peso outlay in order to save some Benjamins, because at the end of the day, having a place you are comfortable with is worth every penny.  If nothing else, make sure it’s secure and shaded – not having adequate security (window grates, wall/fence and – more importantly – good neighbors) will soon separate you from your stuff and having a house or apartment that receives direct sunlight all day is a recipe for misery.  We do have good neighbors (for the most part) and our house is pretty secure.  And since we built the giant nipa car port cover that blankets the whole side of the house, the internal temperatures have dropped to almost-bearable.  As a matter of fact, it is 90 degrees in Dumaguete today, but sitting under the nipa roof typing this up, my handy thermometer is reading 86 degrees.  With a half decent breeze (and the fan), that ain’t so bad.  The 76 percent humidity on the other hand….well, there ain’t much you can do about that.

Me Washing Clothes

A man’s work is never done….

 Other Mistakes

Motor Mishaps: Not paying attention/being tired when riding the YBR at high speed and hitting a pothole, breaking my back.  Also, trying to “save” the bike as it was falling over (instead of jumping away from it like I was taught).

Lack of Travel:  The Philippines has so much to see and travel between or across the islands is so easy, it’s a durn shame we haven’t gone out and seen more of it.

Re-starting smoking: I quit this past May while I was in the US and started up again about a month after returning to the Philippines.  Pure and utter stupidity….

DSC00199

Mermaids in Sipalay

Tolerating trolls: I honestly do try to not be heavy handed when it comes to removing posts and banning users, as it is important to show all sides of a topic and foster discussion.  After a while though, I realized that the same users were repeatedly making the same whiny miserable posts about life here every time they fired up their keyboard.  Sure, there’s a place for talking about the negatives about living in the Philippines, but when that’s the only thing that you can write about (and you do it every – or multiple times –  a day), it’s time for you to go seek some medical help.  The trolls take a few forms:  First up is the butt-hurt user who got hustled by a Filipina and can’t let it go, painting the Philppines as a place populated only by scammers and hustlers.  Then there’s the guys talking trash about other You Tubers in my comment section (usually because they’ve been banned from that guy’s YT channel).  And then,of course, let’s not forget the occasional sexpat who feels like he needs to share stories of his sexual conquests with the whole world.

Oh, the list, it goes on and on…

/blockuser

September Expenses Thumb me muscling

210 pounds of twisted steel and sex appeal!

Linguistically Challenged:  Another mistake (or regret, if you will) is that I didn’t take the time to learn more than basic bisaya (the local lingo).  I am planning on staying here for many years, and to truly be a “part” of a culture,  it’s critically important to know the language – when you can communicate in the local lingua franca, your whole experience changes.  (I am actually planning on a series of basic bisaya videos in order to start addressing this deficiency.)

Buying a “China bike”:  Although it was a good “starter bike” for Michell, I have been less than impressed with the reliability of our RUSI Yamaha Mio clone.  Since acquiring it,  we have had numerous electrical issues with the scooter and have had to replace a number of parts.  At one point, the damn thing was in the shop three times in two weeks.  Bottom Line:  I used to like our RUSI, but after having it for over a year, I would recommend spending a little more to purchase a “branded” bike (Yamaha, Suzuki, Honda or Kawasaki).

rUSI 1

Should have gotten a Honda…

The Price of Freedom

One last thing I would like to touch on is the price of freedom in the Philippines.  I’ve mentioned it before and it’s worth mentioning yet again that one of the great things about living here is the amount of personal freedom you have living here, unshackled by liberty-stifling legal statutes or expectations placed upon you by external forces.  Indeed, I hear a lot of folks complaining about the “nanny states” that have developed back in their home countries which load down their citizens with an unfair number of rules and regulations.  I can totally understand that and sympathize, but after being here for a while, I have to think there is a downside to not living in a country that has (or – more accurately – enforces) regulations.  Yes, it’s nice that rules about helmets are not enforced here, but talk to anyone who has been in a serious accident, and you might rethink the importance of having a regulated helmet law (especially when it is children receiving the sometimes-lethal head injuries).  The same thing could also be said for the actual enforcement of emission laws to cut down on the clouds of noxious diesel exhaust blanketing the country.  Or maintaining safety standards at construction sites so that concrete slabs and steel girders don’t routinely fall to the streets below.  Or enforcing dynamite and cyanide fishing regulations so that reefs don’t get destroyed and SCUBA divers don’t get killed (as recently occurred in Cebu).  Or having an FDA that actually inspects medications to make sure they are real and/or adulterated…

Yeah, freedom is nice, but as we have learned (and continue to learn), there is always a price to be paid. 

So, there it is – some of my thoughts on the two years that I have spent in the Philippines.  Thus far, the positives have FAR outweighed the positives, and I am very happy living here.  Each day is pretty much an adventure (even if I don’t really want it to be) and it usually is….. another day in paradise.

Sunny skies and pretty pinays, readers.

I wish them upon you all.

 

 

DSC00173

Fishermen working nets Dumaguete beach

sugar beach 2 thumb

Sipalay, Negros Occidental – Toto Alfred

Whale Shark me Thumbs up

Comments 48

    1. Hey Ned you have the right attitude have been going to Davao since 1986 Have nothing but great experienced I live there six month of the year wish I could live there year round I know some expats are pain in you know what love your u tube video keep it up

      1. Post
        Author
      2. Hi John.
        I shall be making a permanent move to Davao. I am retiring end of January ( I will be exactly 58 and one half years old ). The Move hopefully will take place before end of October, and I am going to have SSRV retirement visa…..my biggest fear is becoming a sad, old, complaining, wingeing, old git.

  1. Thanks Ned for an honest log of your thoughts , very informative , liked that Suzi auto scooter in your last video , all the best to you and Michell for the upcoming festive season .

    1. Post
      Author

      Thanks much, Robert and back at ya! After having our undependable RUSI for the last 12 months, I am now firmly ensconced in the “branded is better” mindset when it comes to Japanese bikes versus China bikes.

        1. Post
          Author
  2. Hi Ned & Michel!
    Like your summary of the past 2 years in the Philippines..Also like the blog, the book and the You Tube channel..It’s really good to read and hear such honesty and ‘good naturedness’. But as an Aussie I am perplexed about the ‘kangaroo seat’. I have never heard of that one before.

  3. Bro,
    Cannot believe you didn’t mention Michelle as THE highlight of your two year experience in the P.I. You be one lucky guy. I always look forward to your posts; my way of vicariously experiencing the Philippines while we are in Hawai’i.

    1. Post
      Author

      I am sure Michell realizes how important she is to all of this, and my Two Year Report is not even close to being done – there’s a bunch more I have to add to it. Michell has been there through the whole process, through the good and the bad, seen my at my worst and may have seen me at my best a time or two. With that in mind, though, I just didn’t come here for Michell – and I am not staying here just for her – there were a number of reasons that I packed up and moved to the Philippines and – to a greater or lesser extent – most of those reasons have panned out. These past 24 months have been quite the learning experience….

  4. Ned, wait until the weather switches from El Nino to La Nina then you will have experienced the full gamut of weather in the Philippines. In Australia El Nino means droughts that can last for years and farmers go broke trying to water and feed live stock but La Nina is a time of plentiful rain and sometimes flooding which is usually when the farmers re-coup the losses they incurred during the El Nino.

    Did the Ozzie who told you about the Kangaroo Seats also tell you about the Drop-Bears, they are deadly man, like big Koala Bears that drop out of the trees and rip the heads off unsuspecting tourists. Hehehe

  5. Hey Ned, Really appreciate the your hard work and dedication to inform the world with your take on an expat living in the Philippines. I’m an expat living in Thailand for the last 6 years. Your impressions and experiences of the Philippines compared to mine while living here in Thailand are amazingly similar. I’m about ready to move to a place that’s “More Fun” and a little less “Amazing”. Just a little play on the marketing slogans that each of the fine countries use for their tourism advertising . Keep up the good work.

    1. Post
      Author

      Thanks, Paul. Yeah, I hear that quite a bit – a lot of places in SE Asia seem to have recurring themes. I am actually running into more and more guys coming from Thailand to the Philippines – the common denominator seems to be visa problems and the transactional nature of most things in Thailand.

  6. The times they are a changn with respect to the lack of enforcement of regulations on smoking, noise pollution (no videoke in public after 10pm), speeding and curfew. All are enforced in Davao and soon coming to a barangay near you.

    JUST LIKE IN DAVAO
    Duterte wants 1 a.m. curfew if he becomes president
    Published December 9, 2015 9:06pm
    Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte will implement a 1 a.m. curfew for commercial establishments if he is elected president.

    The discussion on curfews came about after the mayor recalled a party thrown by a friend at a Manila-based resort and casino.

    He reasoned that the welfare of the service staff and the young patrons of these establishments must be considered in their service hours.

    “There’s always a time for everything,” Duterte said.

    Duterte also trained his guns at girlie bars and establishments catering to tourists looking for female companionship.

    “It pisses me off, really, to hear it na yung mga Pilipina pagta-trabahuin mo tapos ‘tong mga foreigners — wala ‘kong paki-alam sa foreigners, umalis na sila,” the mayor ranted.

    His animosity toward exceptions made for foreigners even caused a rift with fellow Davao City politician Prospero Nograles, whose hotel supposedly allowed Koreans to smoke at their hotel in Davao.

    “The crowd was limited to foreigners. Nagalit ako kasi kaibigan niya yung may-ari ng hotel. Bakit ganun? Para Koreans: no, no, no, no, no. Papano yung bangkero? Yung mga waiter? ‘Yung mga Pilipinong nagtatrabaho dun? Wala namang choice. You got it all wrong,” Duterte said.

    Duterte’s curfew is part of the sweeping reforms the mayor envisions for Metro Manila and the rest of the Philippines should he become president. —Rie Takumi/JST, GMA News

    1. Post
      Author
  7. I really enjoy your videos and look forward to them. In 1968 I was stationed in the PI for 3 months and went through a part of the hot season and the monsoon. It was like being on another planet! The engine room was always at 120 degrees! Thank God we had air conditioning elsewhere throughout the ship! I almost got struck by lightning while I was crewing on a “Mike” (65′ liberty boat) boat in the Olongapo harbor! One time I was drugged and abducted by a prostitute looking for a shack up (It was during the Vietnam war and we were the only ship in port most of the time and the shack ups paid for the family expenses pretty much so they were desperate, anyway I ended up in San Miguel, some 20 miles away with foot prints all over my whites after being thrown, face down, into the floor of a jeepney). She let me go after cleaning out my wallet – at the time the PI was under martial law and we weren’t allowed to leave the main street, let alone travel 20 miles away! But I love the PI -had a great time there. The people were great, warm and friendly except the little shit that stole my $5 Timex watch and then dove into the Magasay “river” (more of a sewage filled drainage ditch) feet away from an armed Marine guard and the gates of the base there. I would love to do what you’re doing but at this point in my life I have too many health issues to consider it. Screw the trolls! I subscribe to a number of sites and they all seem to have them. They’re just bullies with nothing better to do…

    1. Post
      Author

      Thanks for sharing all of that, Gary. I am sure that some areas of the Philippines would pretty much seem the same to you as they did back in 1968! If it’s any solace, guys (and gals) are still getting rolled and robbed here – mostly it’s break ins and pick pocketing now. I hear you on the health piece – I actually have to go visit a bud who had a heart attack here the other day. Thanks again!

    1. Post
      Author

      LOL – It is noon here, and I am sitting in aircon doing some work – I usually keep it on from 12 to 330 or so and then turn it on from 830 PM til it’s not super hot anymore. God bless Carrier…..

      1. Hey Ned
        Bhoebe & I just spent 4 days in Baguio high in the cordilliera at about 5000 feet…The average day time temperature was 25..The night time temperatures were cool and we wore shirts with sleeves and tops to stay warm !!..A lovely part of the Philippines; really worth a visit if only to stay cool.
        Bill

        PS Yes we all need to watch out or the drop bears in Oz !!! Te koala’s monstrous carnivorous cousin. :-)))

  8. Hi Ned and Michell; I am a big fan of your website, YouTube and Facebook. As I am planning to have an extended stay in 2016 I find the information that you have been giving for the last two years has been very helpful and I have learned a lot form the both of you. One question that I have is What is the spirit of women’s education in the Philippines? I see Facebook and Websites for Internet Cafe’s and I never see girls in them. If you could give me insight it would be very helpful

  9. That was a good read thanks ned I’m still watching your videos but I have stopped commenting on most all the channels I watch i got tired of being attacked by the trolls for leaving my nice comments,so just know I’m still watching and still injoy your vids, take care.

  10. Can’t wait to read more of the two year update got the book the other day and couldnt stop reading it till i finished it watched i think most of the videos and can say ive enjoyed taking the journey with you. i hope to begin mine next month on Leyte but trying to convince the little woman to go where you guys are and check it out when i get there never know maybe will run in to you some time would really enjoy that best of the holidays to you and Michell and keep inviting us to share in your dreams.

    1. Post
      Author

      Thanks for the comment and the book purchase, Larry! This area of Negros is an easy place to live/transition if you are a newly arrived foreigner. It’s like “Philippines Lite.” Have you visited the Philippines before?

  11. Really enjoyed your two year updates, perhaps even more than your year one update. But will reserve final judgement until you upload the video(s) to youtube.

    On the subject of pride and onion skin, sure you can relate to this situation: Politely informed a thirty-something women, at her market eatery, that I would no longer be purchasing her vegetables, since they were cooked in pig fat. She responded, that I was going bald and that this in tandem with my shaving that acreage was “not good”. How is that for customer service?

    1. Post
      Author

      Customer service is hilarious in the Philippines, and it’s rare to hear a Filipino say something like that directly to someone – usually it’s as you are walking away and (if a foreigner) in the local dialect. Yeah, I gotta get to the Two Year Update video…..

  12. Hey Ned

    Love your insights here. I have been in Davao now for 10 months and counting. I have not had any bad experiences to talk about.
    We have thinking about a car but the only reason we need one is to visit in laws up in the mountains. 3 hour bus ride and then ride 3 on bike to c limb the mountain. Damn my back hurts for 3 days haha
    I enjoy your site

    1. Post
      Author
  13. Many thanks for the words in your report that expressed the feelings as wrapped neatly within them
    Was impressed with a lot of the resorts and beautiful beaches you visited
    I have visited Philippines many times
    But I am not able to drive as an old neck and back injury prevents
    Was wondering if you did any videos of places like hotels or resorts that are easy to access by taxi in the Dumagette area
    Many many thanks again to you both for the beauty and simplicity expressed in your word and in your videos and may the Holiday Season bring you both peace and happiness
    Joe

    1. Post
      Author

      There are no taxis in Dumaguete, Joe. The best you could do is find somewhere to rent a car. I also haven’t really taken any videos of local resorts in the area, ironically enough. Sorry I couldn’t be of more help in this, Joe and a very Happy New Year to you!!

  14. Hi Ned,

    A great article – You were right on target identifying the positives and negatives of life here.

    I strongly related to your “Burning Stuff” paragraph. I had visited the Philippines many times over the years, but usually only for a few weeks. Only after I moved here 8 months ago did I realize the scope of this problem. A few months back our neighbor decided to fire up a pile of yard waste, plastic bags, etc next to our house & the acrid smoke came right in our bedroom. I spoke with him immediately & it hasn’t happened since. People here tend to avoid confrontation like that which is perhaps why the problem is so widespread. Last summer the Philippine Star published an article on the topic & identified the applicable law prohibiting this activity. I don’t know how law enforcement decides which laws to enforce. Here’s the link: http://www.philstar.com/health-and-family/2015/07/21/1479047/leaf-burning-pollutes-air-and-causes-illness

    Anyway, thanks for sharing your experiences & the great information!
    Ed

    1. Post
      Author

      The burning stuff and the heat are my only two complaints – actually, it’s been VERY nice here for over a week here now – Amihan seems to have kicked in and the daily temps are down about 4 degrees Fahrenheit! The burning trash seems to be an ingrained part of the cultural consciousness, and getting them to change is pretty much impossible due to the incessant stubbornness that also happens to be a part of the same. 🙂 Thanks for your post, and a happy and prosperous New Year to you and yours.

  15. Hey Ned, real nice wrap up.
    Nate Brewer here, arrived in Davao City in Sept. And been maintaining a low profile, from most expats, not the locals????. But between, the U.S.M.C., the U.S. Army, and the U.S. Merchant Marine, I find no peace in sharing my life with other expats. Their are some good Americans here, but I still prefer my anonymity. I do regret my inability to move about the beautiful Island of Mindanao freely. I have heard of you can travel freely, but you must keep traveling, to stay safe. Did you address the SRRV in your newest edition of your book? I had mine within about 30 days after arrival, it cost me about $3000usd, good for 3 years, renewable for 3 more years for $30.usd, , the Visa placed in my Passport, bears an Indefinite under the Experation. Take care you two. Best regards, Nate.

    1. Post
      Author

      Hey, Nathan. Yes, the SRRV has been added to the book – the only one I see worth having would be the military courtesy SRRV but I won’t be eligible for that for another year and a half. I have heard many good things about Davao and guys that live there seem to love it. But yeah, the traveling around Mindanao isn’t so great now (and seems to be getting worse with ISIS supporters), so that is one downside. Thanks and have a happy and prosperous New Year!

  16. I really enjoy your writings! thank you.
    however……I do have a question…. do you think it is safe for a middle aged pioneer single woman in her late fifties to retire in the Philippines?

    1. Post
      Author

      Yes! Especially if you are a pioneer! Like I tell everyone, though – visit first for a good amount of time (a few months at least) to get a feel for the place. I lived in inner city Boston for many years, and I feel a lot safer here than there. The biggest dangers in the Philippines come from dogs running out in front of your motorcycle and mosquitoes.

    2. I just read a TIME article last week that compared crime statistics in the Philippines to several western countries including the UK, US and Canada. According to those statistics crime rates for things like robbery, assault and rape are lower in the Philippines. Of course, those stats are on reported crimes, so unreported crimes could change those comparisons. However, unreported crimes occur in those other countries too. I’m sure rape is an under-reported crime in every country due to the stigma.

      Not sure I can put a link here, so here’s an excerpt, and you can google it’s title: The Killing Time

      **********
      The Philippines is not listed in all columns of this U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) survey of global reported crimes from 2003 to ’14. But comparisons can be made using figures from a 2015 report issued by the Philippine Statistics Authority.

      There were 232,685 cases of crimes against persons involving physical injury reported in the Philippines in 2014, for a population of 98 million. By comparison, the UNODC says there were, in the same year, nearly 375,000 cases of assault in the U.K., which, with a population of 64 million, has far fewer people.

      In 2014, there were 10,294 reported cases of rape in the Philippines. But there were more than 30,000 cases in the U.K.; 12,157 in France (which has a roughly similar population to the U.K. at 66 million); and 6,294 in Sweden, for a population of just 9.5 million.

      That same year, there were 52,798 reported robbery cases in the Philippines. That’s about as many as there were in Costa Rica (52,126 cases) but Costa Rica, with 4.7 million people, has less than a 20th of the population of the Philippines, so the Philippine rate is much lower. The total is also far fewer than the 171,686 cases reported in Belgium (population 11.2 million).

      Neither is firearm ownership high in the Philippines. According to theUniversity of Sydney’s School of Public Health, which researches the number of privately owned firearms worldwide, there are 4.7 guns per 100,000 people in the Philippines, putting it at a lowly 105th place in a list of 179 countries. Finland has 45.3 guns per 100,000 people, Canada has 30, and Australia has 15.

  17. Hey Ned just thought of another video / article to put in your to do list.
    Most people enjoy a joke and I think you need a good sense of humour to cope with somethings that happen in the Philippines but can you and Michel explain the Philippines sense of humour and what Filipinos regard as funny apart from teasing and laughing at Baklas.

  18. Hey Ned,
    Great stories and great vids! looking forward to starting my own Philippine dream later this month.
    Been going back and forth for the last 20 years or so. My wife Josephine is from Ponson or better
    known as Pilar in the Camotes , there a small chain of 4 islands that sit between Cebu and Ormoc
    City Letye. For me I love the islands not to fussed about the cities especially Manila as you have
    said the people are fantastic ! One of my biggest peeves is the dogs! everyone seems to have to
    have more than one dog, that can drive me crazy I’m lucky I don’t mind the heat. For me its a pretty
    cheap lifestyle compared to Australia we have property so don’t need to rent or pay for hotels.
    To me the Philippines is all about evolution if you have patience and can go with the flow you’ll love
    it here. I have also met my fare share of whinging expats over here. “My advice is usually well go home
    then”! Hope you and Michell will look us up if you ever come to Ormoc or the Camotes, will have a place
    for you guys to stay. Keep living the dream!

    1. Post
      Author

      Thanks for that, Peter and I agree 100 percent on what you noted to make it long term in the Philippines. For me, it’s also about learning more about my need for gratitude and humility – it’s a learning process of sorts. It’s just too bad that I have learned some things about myself that I really didn’t want to know! 🙂 Take care and good luck on your journey!!

    1. Post
      Author
  19. Ned. You are a good seed and a credit to your puti tribe ☺ Thank you for taking the time to publish your very helpful insights on living in the Philippines as an expat

    1. Post
      Author
  20. Ned, thanks for posting this reflection about living your past two years in Dumaguete. I am sure that you have looked back at your life as it began in the Philippines and noted how much you have changed personally. Taking that first big step is always fraught with doubt and anxiety, but I am sure that you would not have changed anything. I believe that your life and Michell’s life individually have been enriched, and as a couple I hope that you continue to find fulfillment as you each forge a life together in the Philippines.

    I have viewed several of your YT videos and I look forward to seeing more.

    1. Post
      Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *