Mistakes I Have Made in the Philippines (Part 1 – hey, it’s a long list…..)

It’s raining.  A lot.  So much – in fact – that it basically lulls you to sleep and makes a perfect time for a nice long nap.   🙂

I recently put up a video detailing the mistakes I have made since coming to the Philippines.  Although I have made some good decisions along the way (OK, just a few….), I have also made a good number of faux pas since hitting ground in the Philippines.  I can only assume this happens to anyone taking it upon themselves to move to a foreign country, so when I start to bang my head against the nearest coconut tree, I try to keep that in mind.

So without further ado, here’s a quick listing of the (firstfive) Top Ten biggest mistakes I have made since moving to the Philippines.  The video is located at the end of the post.

1.  Not blogging/videoing:  I didn’t actively start blogging and taking video recordings until I had been in the country for a few months. This was a huge mistake as I missed out on documenting a very special and unique part of my life. Although I have many memories of that time, capturing the real feelings and emotions on video would’ve been worth its weight in gold. One of the YouTubers that I used to actively follow (burrisfilms) has an excellent video of his first days in the Philippines effectively capturing those very feelings and impressions that I am referring to.  If you are coming to the Philippines for the first time – or even returning for another visit- I highly recommend taking the time to video or blog those initial days.  The video below is by the young American film maker – he captures the first days in the Philippines PERFECTLY – notice the shell-shocked, thousand-yard stare.

2. Not keeping trackof money:  It’s basically a given that any new ex-pat coming to the Philippines will tend to overspend when he first arrives.  I didn’t realize how much I was overspending until I started to review my American bank accounts.  And for the life of me I couldn’t even recall what I was spending the money on.  I don’t go out drinking at bars nor do I spend money on other similar activities, so it is still a mystery as to where it went.  Do yourself a favor and try to keep a daily or least weekly accounts of where your money is going.
3.  Not taking the time to find the right place:  I really kick myself for not taking the time and putting in the effort necessary to find the right long-term accommodation.  This really became
apparent when my friend, Henry (over at LifeBeyondtheSea) arrived in Dumaguete and had found a very nice apartment within a week of getting here.  I didn’t take the time to head out on my bike every day to look around for the signs advertising appropriate rentals.  Instead, I relied on sulit.com and a local Filipino (who is a great guy, by the way) to do the work for me, when in all actuality, I should’ve been doing the work myself.  I also didn’t realize exactly what I was looking for and ended up at a very nice place lacking window screens and possessed of far too many being insects (our place in Dauin).  It was also too far from the city for my liking and after a few months later we moved back to Dumaguete.  So, if you are coming into the country find yourself a safe and secure place to use as a home base from which you can conduct your search.  And do the work – get up early in the morning and head out on your bike looking around for apartments and houses for rent.  Text the phone numbers and arranged to check out the accommodations.  And be certain what you want.  I myself need a place with window screens, security grates, provision for air-conditioning, and within 10 to 15 min. of the downtown area.
4.  Not having a solid daily routine:  The daily schedule is an important component of truly enjoying your time in the country. When I first got here I was sleeping late and missing out on the best hours of the day.  Nowadays I tend to get up at the break of dawn, enjoy the cool morning weather, take a siesta during the hottest hours of the early afternoon, then continue my day after around 3 PM.  I also go to bed very early- around 9 PM – but that’s probably because I am old.  🙂  You’ll notice while you’re
here that most Filipinos tend to also get up at around Zero Dark Thirty, also tend to take the afternoon siesta, and then continue their day once the heat lifts a bit.  When in doubt, do what the locals do!
5. Neglecting my diet:  My diet went to hell in the Philippines.  As a result, I have continued to lose weight and not feel very good. My daily intake of healthy, nutritious vegetables was about zero for many months.  Instead, I relied on taking multivitamins, which can in no one make up for a lack of solid food intake.  I was eating in fast food places, little carrenderias (mom and pop restaurants) and picking up barbecued chicken from the street vendors.  In a country that is brimming with fresh fruit and vegetables this was a totally asinine way to approach  him things.    Recently, we have been going to the local produce market and trying to rectify the situation.  Vegetables in particular are very inexpensive at the produce marts, so it is my own best interest to eat and feel better.

One comment

  1. Hi I appreciate all the good info you giving on the philipines. My girlfriend and I are from Los Angeles ,California and want to visit the philipines in the very near future. My questionis what is the best time of the year to go, what island should we visit and where to stay? It would be our first time and don’t want to make mistakes, we would be on a budget so not expensive helps. Thanks. Jess

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