Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness in the Philippines, Part 2

In the first part of this groundbreaking (yawn….) two-part series, I talked about my visit to Flip Flops restobar and the epiphany I had regarding old age and partying (living life) like it’s 1999.  Like I said in that post, one of the things I really enjoy about living in the Philippines is the opportunity to learn things about myself and – hopefully – become a better man.  At 47, I am just beginning to realize that it is a much longer process that I had previously believed.

One of the reasons I did these two blog posts (and videos) was because of some of the negative reaction that I had gotten in the Halloween video, which (briefly) showed a few of the guys with either unbuttoned shirts or shirts missing completely.  A bunch of “thumbs downs” ensued as did a number of pretty nasty comments.  I rarely take comments down as I believe that all sides of an issue have to be examined in order for folks to have a more objective take on things.  But in this case, they were just nasty and didn’t contribute to the discussion at all. 

Fellas, the Philippines is a libertarian dreamscape.  As long as you are not hurting anyone else, you can pretty do whatever you want to do.  Don’t want to wear a helmet?  No problem.  Hate wearing shoes?  Walk around barefoot.  Wanna turn your back on 39 years working for NASA and start a pig farm?  Have at it!  The Philippines has laws – many laws – but they are not that well enforced and unless you are actively stabbing someone to death in the street, everyone is pretty much going to leave you alone.  The Republic also attracts a certain types of people; folks who have pretty much spurned convention and conformity and are basically living to the beat of their own drum.  Some might call them loners, others might call them rugged individualists, a few might even call them just the wee bit slightest misanthropic at times.  Whatever you call them, know this:  They don’t really care what other people think about them.  They’re doing their thing, they are living their lives and they are comfortable enough in their own skins not to worry much about ruffling someone’s high faultin sensibilities.  If you’ve seen the video we did on Alaska Al – and I know a lot of you did because it’s one of our most viewed videos (see it here) – you’ll see the epitome of what I am talking about:  A guy who basically rangered the wilds of Alaska as a trapper and guide during the early days of the Alaskan frontier and one that is now living out his winter years in a home and farm that he built with his own hands, surrounded by the people he loves. 

I envy these guys.  I am entirely too self-conscious and make too much over what other’s think of me.  But if I am ever going to truly fit into the great metaphysical puzzle that is the Philippines, I’m going to have to figure out how to do it.  Maybe that wisdom will come with age – or maybe they’ll have a promo on it down at Lee Plaza next week.  Whatever and whenever it arrives, I’ll be most pleased when it does.


Yeah, he doesn't actually live here....  but he should.
Yeah, he doesn’t actually live here…. but he should.


  1. Hello My Friend,

    Sorry to hear Michelle is under the weather, but I know the hours she put in at work, does puts a strain on ones body, until the body says no more.. But, I just want to say, I truly enjoy what you and Michelle are doing, and I stand in support with the both of you, on what you’re trying to portray as a interracial couple, living in the Philippines. You’ve made me homesick, on wanting to be there right now.. As for the comments you received from those who view the YouTube on the Halloween Party at Ron’s & Lucy’s house, I think they were from individuals who don’t know, or understand the Philippine cultural. Since I’ve been married to a Filipina for almost 5 years now, and try to get back there every 6 months or so, I understand, and still am learning all I can of there cultural, so I didn’t see anything wrong the way Ron was dress, but again I understand how hot it gets there during the daytime hours and the free spiritness of they cultual. In fact, I’m looking forward in getting back there hopefully sometime in January or February of next year..

    So Ned, don’t let what people may comment against what you and Michelle may put out on YouTube, because I think you both are doing a great justice of keeping those who wants to know other cultural that are in the world today.. Keep doing what you’re doing!!

    Looking forward to meting you and Michelle,with my wife Judith, when get back there soon.. God Bless!!

    Archbishop Tony

    1. Thanks, Tony. And yes, it’s hot!! I basically live in my boxers while I am sitting around the house. Indeed – I think the vast majority of people living in the hot, humid coastal areas do the same.

  2. News for you Ned, there are Trolls in the Internet. Anyone with a website will attract them. I wish they weren’t, but they are. Pretty much all you can do is what you did – delete it and place them in the banned list (until they log on again with a different address). It’s your site, post what you want and the hell with the rest of us. I greatly enjoyed your Halloween videos, mostly because when ever Inam in the PI it is rare I am ever with any expats, so it’s interesting to see how that breed lives. I have enjoyed, and hope to continue, seeing you both evolve and grow. Keep it up! By the way, when are you going to interview this neighbor we keep hearing about?

  3. If it matters, I loved the Halloween video, especially the guy’s house. Everyone was having a great time and that is what life is about. Why do people think they have the right to broadcast their narrow minded opinions about how they think other people should live or believe? It is the Philippines after all and life is different there. If it was just like the US or Australia or whatever, it would be less appealing for me and a lot of others. Keep up the videos and don’t let the self-entitled naysayers control what you publish. I think you are doing a great job.

  4. Hey! Firstly, I have to agree with Ponani about the trolls all over the website. I, for one, would like to let you know you and Michelle (SP?) are doing a great job on the website and YouTube videos. I have been married to a filipina for almost 6 years and things have been great. I met her while working overseas (She was the cousin of one of my best-friends fiance). My friend had invited me to fly to Philippine to be god father at their baby’s christening and she was there as the mother’s choice for god mother. I have traveled to may countries in my lifetime but this was my first trip to PI. Long story short, we’ve been married 6 years now. We currently reside in the US but lately we have both been discussing the possibility of living in the Phils. Although I have visited there often spending time with my wife’s family, I know there is a huge difference between the “Vacation visit” and actual long term.
    Thank you for your very insightful views about all things filipino. I follow both you and lifebeyondthesea (I think his name is Henry. It is escaping me at the moment). I hope the both of you keep up the good work. I will try and start commenting more and not just sit in the corner. Take care you guys!

    1. Thanks, Anthony! And yes, there is a huge difference between coming here on a vacation and actually living here year to year. We try to list out both the negatives and the positives of living here, and I still strongly believe that the good definitely outweighs the bad!

  5. Ned, thanks so much for your website and youtube videos. I really enjoy them and liked the Halloween videos very much. The sole reason I watch and read you imput is to try to get some real idea about living in the Philippines. Let no evil words cast doubt on the work you are doing. Live and let live. Hope to see you in a few years.

    Mike Allen

  6. Well it never ceases to amaze me how small some peoples minds can be…..I for have enjoyed all your videos and look forward to what happens next……You know I would consider myself a conservative but have never been one to judge others…..being one of those older guys myself I remember a saying from back in the day that I think still rings true ….so to all those nay sayers ….f##k you if you can’t take a joke…..get over it….and let Ned and Michele keep up the good work…..

  7. I think it goes back to an earlier video that talks about the most important thing to bring to the Philippines – attitude. If something that small upsets you – I don’t think you would ever make it in the Philippines

  8. NED…wrong attitude!!! figure out what you and Michelle want to do in life…be it a pig farm…fish farm…or what ever you want to do…and do it!!!…don’t procrastinate !!!!
    JUST GET IN THERE AND DO It….Don’t waste time…time is something we can’t afford to waste….contrary to most people’s thinking!!!

  9. Ned Michell

    I am planing to i am censored about the crime and revenge crime. what if you confront your robber and hurt or kill him. what will happen ??? your house looks like a prison.
    please talk to be about this,, I maybe moving there.
    Arthur Neil Nashville TN

    1. Filipino homes usually have security bars on the windows and are surrounded by walls and locked gates. It’s similar to where I was living in the inner city in the US, so I am used to it. I also worked in prisons for many years, so I can tell that even though it may look like a prison, it’s not. 🙂

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