There are many sites with the subject of living, retiring or just visiting the Philippines. Some of these sites make it look like it is the best place to live with no problems attached. They make it feel as you walk off the plane sexy native girls in bikinis will put flower leis around your neck and if you wish, offer you a night in Heaven with them. Other sites makes it sound like the worst place to live and the only reason they are here is because they could not afford to live in their home country and were forced to move here. Neither of these scenarios is correct. There are good parts to living here and parts that are that are very different from life we are used to.
Even in the States if you move from one coast to another or even across the State, there are differences. I remember after I moved to California from New York friend berating me for saying often “in New York this….” or “in New York that…” He was right. I was so used to things, life and foods in New York, I had trouble getting used to the differences. Again, when I moved to Florida from California it took time to adjust. With so many people in Florida are from New York, I again got frustrated with things that were not really “New York” style.
You need to remember this is a Third World Nation. There is a lot of poverty. In addition, this is an Asian country and most of the culture has developed with an Asian mentality. It is true this country was under the Spanish rule for many years, and then by America but the main influence is Asian. For many centuries, the Chinese were here and the old Chinese families own much of the bigger corporations. There is also a large Japanese and Korean influence here.
Many of the hard good products here are manufactured in China. In addition, as most of we know there are many products we would consider substandard. There are “rip offs” of known products, especially cell phones that look just like the real object. They are much cheaper but unfortunately, they do not work as the original or last.
Even with known foods turn out to be different. Most bread here has sugar and is sweet. Beef and pork are tougher then we are used to. This is because in most of the world pigs and cattle for meat are the males. Also at a young age, they are castrated so there is not testosterone to toughen the meat and the animal is smaller. Here they are hogs and bull meat. These animals are raised to their maximum size and because of this; their muscles are stronger so the meat will be tougher.
Being a nation of many islands fish is the main food protein source. In addition, rice is the main food staple. Most Filipinos eat rice at the three main meals a day. It is not a side dish or about a cup of rice, it is a huge pile of rice on the plate. Pork and chicken are eaten often, but the chickens are small. About pork, Filipinos love the fatty parts and because of this most of the pork, you see has a thick layer of fat.
Clothes in bigger sizes are hard to find and for some reason I do not understand, the size you see is smaller than in the US. I am not talking about small, medium or large. I am talking about things like slacks. In the US, I wore 36-inch waist. Here I need a 40-inch size. I have wide feet. Not only is it difficult to find a size 12, it has been impossible to find a wide or E width.
Traffic is something to get used to here. I have a friend riding with me the other day. He told me he had owned a car and had driven his whole life, but he would never attempt to drive here. Many foreigners hire drivers so they do not have to bother.
So, where are the good parts to living here? Well we all know, the biggest reason is the cost of living. Even though some items are actually more expensive here, over all the cost of living is cheaper. Where in the states can you live in a city area and have a nice two to four bedroom house in an upper scale gated community for around $85,000. Where can you go out for a nice steak dinner for $25? Where can you play golf with a golf cart and a caddy for around $30?
If you are a single man in the retirement age, where can you find a girl and have a relationship from an age of their early 20’s to 30’s? It might not be the exact relationship you think of in the States but you both get what you are looking for. You just need to set your needs and boundaries.
Is living in the Philippines a total paradise? No, but where is there a paradise.