There are many reasons a foreigner comes to the Philippines. It can be because of a work related trip, a vacation, investigating moving here, or because they have retired here.
There are many people who have lived here a lot longer than I have and have their own views with friendships and lifestyles. I can only discuss my views and observations. One of the things I have learned in my 21 months living here is to open yourself to meet people, but take your time developing your friendships with both Filipinos and non-Filipino people.
Here in Davao there are many groups with meetings. Each has a different charter or membership conditions. They have their own reasons why they started the group and over time they have redeveloped themselves in a different direction. Then with the change of leadership the attitude or atmosphere of the group can change too. I have listed some of these groups in past articles and am not planning to give their names now. This is more about the relationships that develop or end over time.
Just as when you lived back in your home country, there are people you enjoy to have as a friend and some personality types you avoid. Over time, some people you considered as friend, for some reason, you find they are not the type of person you need in a friendly relationship. Here is no exception. Most times the only thing you have in common is that you’re a foreigner and not a Filipino.
The problem here is with all the foreigners you meet, rarely do you meet someone that you knew back in your home country. Because of this, some people find they can reinvent themselves into someone they are not. Who will know? I am open, and sometimes too open. There is little I am ashamed of in my past and do not mind relating items about myself.
When I first moved here and with my need to find people to talk to in English and share common knowledge I joined some of the groups. I would go to every activity they had. Each one had a different theme but for me it was meeting English speaking people. Over time, I left one group and joined another. Sometimes splinter groups develop.
Now I have developed friendships. Some are casual friendships and some are developing into deeper friendships. That is something I prefer. A family dinner together, a lunch or a day’s activity. I am more comfortable with a few friends or couples instead of large groups.
With this, my best advice is once you move here, be open to meeting people, go to meetings or be open to having a coffee or lunch with people you meet. Let the friendship develop slowly in its natural course. If you sense a problem, move back and see if the problem clears and the friendship redevelops. Offer information about yourself, but not your whole life. This has caused problems with me from my openness.
Because of the life here, at times bitterness develops. Someone you trusted as a friend turns around and starts their campaign to discredit you or drive people away. It is the same as back in your home country, but magnified mores so here because of the smaller amount of Expats and the sharing of information between them. Be careful, even though tsismis (chiz’-miz) is a popular activity, at times, Expats are not to0 far behind.