I just read Tom Martin’s post and his last comment rang true to me as well. Bruce met my wife and me for lunch before he left for Vegas. We chatted about many things. He was a little upset due to some expats comments, and rightfully so. I do believe we would have become good friends if he had stayed here.
I have been here in Davao for almost a year now. I have not done a lot of socializing because I have been working 6 to 7 days a week building a house. I have met several expat here. I have one for a neighbor, one down the road and another down the road the other way. One, I actually think might become a good friend, but school is still out on that until I transfer (move) into my house later this week.
My neighbor’s idea of friendship is a shoddy barb wire fence that looks like a 10 year old put up, with grow sticks laced in between the strands and native thorn bushes he transplanted down the fence row, in my front yard! Not to mention three coconut trees he planted specifically to block my view of Mt Apo. That will take a few years, if they don’t die. Did I mention I bought my property from him. Nice guy till he saw he was not going to get any more money out of me.
Another foreigner with a bad plan. I would tell him what I think, but he hides or turns his back and goes inside if I get within shouting distance. He always waits until we are not there to do his deeds, early morning or after dark. My wife and I laugh and wonder when he will find the time once we move there. However, given that, the real sad part of it all is the fact that my wife and his wife grew up together, been friends most of their lives. I think his wife has came back to visit my wife one time in 6 months. Such a shame, but fear not, I believe in Karma…….we reap what we sow.
As for the other expats I have met, I put them into three categories. The ones that have little and want to be a King and the ones that have a lot and think they are Kings. Then there are the ones like me that came here because they love the culture and the challenge of a third world country. These seem to be far and few between. I do have several expat friends in Cebu who we visit and are waiting to come here when my house is finished. Yes, there are many inconviences here, downright frustrating at times. However, you got to love the people. Most have nothing but they are always smiling and full of hope. I do have several Filipino friends. All I have to do is mention I need this, or need someone to help me. They always come through and are there to help whenever I have a need. They expect nothing in return.
Well it seems that Tom Martin and I may have a few things in common. Maybe he will read this and who knows, maybe we will become friends. However, I do empathize with him no matter the outcome.
I have had people that are coming here for the first time; ask me about being taken advantage of by the Filipino’s. They are concerned and worried that they will have to pay more than they should. I have to laugh. But it’s true, you may get the white guy price or a Taxi driver may try to get away without setting the meter, (but we know Bruce would never do that). But it’s usually only a few peso’s more. The only way to really combat this is to learn some of the language. More times than not I get a better price then the Filipino’s. I always ask the price of something in English. Once they tell me, I then tell them in their language it’s too high and I want a discount. They are usually so shocked they get a big smile on their face and start lowering the price. As for as being taken advantage of, well my advice is to beware of other foreigners. They will more likely dent your wallet much harder the any Filipino. Sad but true.