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Living In The Philippines (By: Don Herrington)

Why the Philippines and Why Now? Why You Will Want to Live, Retire, Travel or Do Business in the Philippines?
Lifestyles - Costs - Who is here? Why Will You Love the Philippines, the Filipinas, and the Filipinos?
Manila and the Other Places To Live  

Why Live in the Philippines and Why Now?

Most of you may know the Philippines for its friendly smiling people, a breed becoming rare in other countries, wealthy or developing. It may most be know by Expats and foreigners who travel here from all over the world for its non stop low priced quality night life, air conditioned taxis with start up of 95 us cents, beaches, golf courses, the national past time of beauty pageants and fiestas, hotels with service will not get in the best of hotels in more expensive parts of the world. But today there is yet another attraction for those displaced from high paying jobs, on purpose or just because they don't want to work for minimum wage, rather wait out the recession or world wide economic recovery in comfort with maids, helper and caregivers.

Some have been snow birding in the Philippines for years: hiding from the cold. Now some are "economy birding," waiting for the warmer economic climate by hanging out in the Philippines. Here is no sin to be unemployed. They enjoy living here and all the beauties of the country for a fraction of the cost of the more "developed," countries.

For those foreigners who have been here a while, they enjoy most basking not the sun and sea, but the warmth of the people, the Filipinos. For us who have retired here, visiting or just living here for a while, life here is not about the beautiful beaches, mountains, incredible rice terraces, skin diving, kite/wind surfing, five star hotels, non stop night life, massages, great food and low prices. We know being in the Philippines is a thrilling social experience, something you will not find in another country in the world if you feel this place is different, tell me what other places, let children in the best restaurants because they naturally behave, where in rural areas, men hold there friends hands and children live with mama and papa there whole life because they love them!

Despite the cable TV, Broadband, proliferation of fast food joints and skyscrapers, the Philippines has not lost its old world culture and charm. It is still a place where children bow and put the hand of anyone elder to their foreheads to show respect, where age is a badge of honor, not of disgrace. It is a place where rap music is heard but not understood and does not need to be. It is the one place in the world where foreigners from every nation are welcome, are embraced in "Filipino Hospitality."

The Philippines is a "foreign country," where the people who are not totally fluent in English people listen to you and understand most of what you say. Yes, even if they have a thick accent or a hard time responding back to you they do understand and want to help you. It is a foreign country where everyone has a family member, or extended family members abroad. Many feel because you are from abroad you probably know their relatives abroad! It is a place where everyone is connected, where touching, talking and the intimacy of friendship is still more valued than watching TV, where birthdays are more important than work, where people are more important than things, rare indeed in non communal societies like Western ones most of us come from.

Visiting the Philippines is not a thrill like a roller coaster ride or a bungee jump but an insightful life changing experience, a rebirth, a reincarnation, and a new way of looking at the world and others with compassion, understanding and empathy. You have to come here and make friends with the Philippines and its people to connect with these thoughts. I have tried to give you a taste of the experience you will have in these pages. But until you are here and then maybe not until you leave it and remember, will you feel it. Most likely you will never understand it. But understanding is not necessary. Come and experience it, feel it, enjoy it, and you will know why the Philippines and why now!

Why You Will Want to Live in the Philippine, Retire, Travel, and Maybe Do Business

The Philippines is the only English speaking country in Asia. It has a culture known for its hospitality, beautiful beaches and warm and friendly people. You can experience a high quality standard of living for a very low cost. And that means with loyal live-in maids and helpers, cheap taxis, fine rental homes in quality neighborhoods, with rents so low you will have a hard time believing it. And it has a wide range of entertainment from exciting night life to golf, international restaurants to stunning resorts beyond compare. It also has many intangibles to bring you joy for no money at all. Ask any of the Americans living in the Philippines and ask of the foreigner living here too!


Why Will You Love the Philippines, the Filipinas, and the Filipinos?

Living, Traveling and Retiring in the Philippines as a foreigner or "expat", is a dream comes true for me. Beaches, ocean and mountains are all at my doorstep. The sun almost always shines here, where I live, out of the northern typhoon belt.

Almost all Filipinos and Filipinas adore foreigners, expatriates, (expats) who live here or retire here. And they welcome and appreciate or just tourist too, the only English speaking country in the world were foreigners from any country are respected and admires.

I was first here in 1980, two times. But in my two stays of several months, it got in my blood. Even after the first visit, I knew I would be back. But it took ten of the longest years in my life. I counted the days though I was reasonably happy where I was until I got back to what I consider my paradise. You too, will become addicted to the sunshine, smile and laughter if you come over to this best kept secret in the world, or it was until the Internet gave people access to information about the joys and wonder of living in the Philippines. Filipinos are too shy to promote their "poor", country, to me the richest in the world because of the Filipino people, the beauty of them and their culture of happiness, sharing and love.

So we expats who live here help promote the Philippines. It is truly a fantastic place to visit for many reasons. You will find out more on the website and if you join our free mailing list, Living, Retiring traveling, and Doing Business in the Philippines. And if you want it all with you and more, do get the package of valuable information books and newsletters at Philippine Dreams.

As a man, I love to see the beautiful Filipinas smile. I even enjoy the smile of the men, coming from their hearts. I know many foreign women find the Filipino men polite, romantic and attractive. Many foreign men are attracted to Filipinas and marry them. Some stay here, some take their wives back to their countries. Some return to the Philippines later, to live or retire. Some only return every year to visit. Once you have been here, you will come back. The Philippines and the Filipino people are addictive.

Generosity is part of the culture in the Philippines. Getting to know the Filipino culture will greatly enhance your living or traveling experience. But it is not something you have to do. The Filipino people are very tolerant of foreign culture and customs. They understand it's hard to adapt to another country right away. Filipinos have traveled the world as contract workers, and know the problems of acculturation.

The Filipino people make you feel needed and wanted here. When I lived in the States as a retiree, I felt lost in my own country. But here I feel wanted and appreciated, not yet put out to pasture. I can be a provider of help and information, and an asset to this developing country. I'm not just a barnacle on the bottom of the ship of the United States. Other foreigners living and retired here share this feeling with me. I hope you also get to experience the hospitality and the joy of being needed here. If you find it hard to understand or accept another culture, you will not be happy in any country, certainly not here. This website and our Yahoo list, Living, Retiring, Traveling and Doing Business in the Philippines, are great places to start learning the Filipino way.

What You Need To Live in the Philippines?

You need a steady income or investment money and serious business skills to live here. This is a capital starved country. With just a little capital and a lot of study you can double your money every year and a half in the provinces. You can do the same in two to three years in the cities, if you know what you are doing. However, very few do that when they arrive here. (See the link on Investment and Business). No one in their right mind is going to tell you business is easy for a foreigner here. But business it is not easy anywhere. It is much easier if you have a loyal and smart, business minded Filipina wife. That may be your best asset, almost a necessity. And if you have the right one, she will bring joy and happiness into your heart and life. Beware of local Filipino "friends". There will be many who "just want to help you". Most folks, like humans tend to be, are interested most in helping themselves, not that there is anything wrong with that. But as you know, free help is usually worth exactly what you pay for it.

What Do You Need to visit the Philippines?

(Answer: Only: 1. A Passport from your country; 2. plane ticket; 3. money for room and board, expenses)

If you want to stay over 21 days or for life there are visa requirements. But for less than 21 days even a visa is not required.

We have a section on visas at Philippines Visa. But just come over, work all that out later if you want to stay longer as many do. If you are not that adventurous to just take off, read the visa section at and join the mailing list to get all the latest information, find out about spousal visas, fiancee visas for Filipinas, Filipinos, permanent resident visas, so may others. Find out why you can't or will not want to work here. Jobs are out of the question unless you are a senior executive with a foreign company who has an office here and wants to move you here, pay you.

But don't get confused about how easy it is to just visit. Those three things, above, passport, ticket and money, are all you need to get here and enjoy. The Philippines welcomes visitors from almost all countries. Don't make a visa a bigger deal than it is. Do get one if needed. Any travel agent or anyone on our mailing list you can join from there will guide you as will the Bureau of Immigration. There are offices all over the country. Some will make it very complicated. Some know it is just to visit is very simple. It is all simple is you break it down into parts.

I hope to see you here!

How Can You Have a Job, Business, and Investments in the Philippines?

Cheap labor is a big plus in living here. The few that have capital and smart Filipina wives do very well. That is, if they take the time first to learn about the Philippine culture and business regulations, the Filipino mind, culture and sensitivities. Jobs for foreigners are extremely scarce. There is more about special situation jobs; jobs available for those married to Filipinas or Filipinos, consultants and others on the "Jobs, Investing and Business", the Link on the left. But here is the bottom line for most of you: Though business opportunities abound even with little capital, a job, unless it is with a foreign company, is hard to find. If you don't work for a foreign based company, with a few exceptions you need be married to a Filipina to legally work here. Most foreign based companies send members of their existing staff here. Since Philippines is considered a nice assignment, there is competition even if you are in the company. There are many well educated, experienced and highly qualified English speaking unemployed Filipinos and Filipinas in the labor market, who can't get jobs for even $3 per day. Work permits are not necessary if you are married to a Filipino citizen. You only need to register with the Department of Labor and Employment. But do you really want to work for local wages, maybe less than $3 a day?

So, it is much better to have your own business in the Philippines, the only real option unless you are married to a Philippine citizen. Even then, working for you in your own business or profession is the best option. But it is tricky. (Again, see the Jobs, Investments, Business Link, on the left for more). You must know the local culture and customs. And former successful business experience is a requirement. Don't try to hit the ground running and cut you teeth as a business man in the Philippines, a culture much more different from yours than you may think.

If you have even a modest pension, you are in good shape too. And you can still probably save enough to run a small business, for additional income and something to do. But business as a hobby is often costly. If you are going to do it, most of the time you have to be watching the store. Remember, you may find better things to do here to keep occupied. There are many things that are a lot more fun than business, especially in a culture you may not understand. If you still want to do business, start with learning the culture, reading the appropriate civil codes on taxation, labor, corporations, and such and tread softly until you get your Philippine business legs.

How Can You Get More First hand Information, on How to Live, Retire, Travel and Do Business in the Philippines?

Not only does this site provide a multitude of information you won't find anywhere else. It also connects you to a FREE Yahoo! Group! Living, Retiring, Traveling and Doing business in the Philippines. This is a Free Yahoo Groups! Discussion list, where you can get answers to your questions from expats living here. Some of them you may want to know better and interact with, on and off line. They may become your friends and contacts, and even provide inside information, to help you, before you come to the Philippines, not when it is already too late more below.

How This List, Website and I Can Help You?

I have been living, traveling and counseling foreigners in the Philippines since 1990. My first visit to the Philippines was in 1980. Because I have been married to three Filipinas, lived here and in the U.S. with the first one, I have a broad perspective. Living with a Filipina wife in a western country can be very different from living with one here. That is assuming she has never been to your country. Luckily I am married to a wonderful one now, Ani, as lovely on the inside as the outside. But the first two were good learning experiences. The Philippines is a great place to live. Special to me is Cebu City where I have lived since 1996. I relocated from Hundred Islands area, Pangasinan, Luzon, my former wife's home. That is a beautiful area too, with great people, but not as cosmopolitan as the Queen City of the South. Since I am a psychologist, former contact cross culture trainer, US Dept of State and the US Peace Corps. Lay Philippine Cultural anthropologist, retired US Peace Corps staff, and having studied the culture so many years, I feel uniquely qualified to comment on it from the perspective of an ex-pat. By creating and managing the List, Living, Retiring, Traveling and Doing Business (jobs) in the Philippines since 1999. I have learned even more. I have lived for periods of time in Cebu City, Baguio, Angeles City, Manila, Naga City, Olongapo/Subic Bay. I built a house in Hilongos, Leyte (2003) and one in Bolinao, Pangasinan (1994). I have many professional Filipino friends to help you with relocation or other needs you may have, including advice on business, law, medical and other issues you may face. I can advise you on many things. And maybe I can save you a lot of time, money and even grief. I do promote the Philippines, and I am responsible for an article on Cebu City in Kiplinger's Magazine, "Living in Paradise", April 2002, and other articles. You will find out some of the negative things about moving here. But to me, the positive ones far out weight them or I would not be here. Our Yahoo discussion list with 18,000+ members and growing is informative, even for those who live here. I learn every day after 25 years of study visits and living here steady for the last 15 years. We have eight moderators who like I do try to keep it orderly and on topic. But being human, we don't always succeed. The List is hosted in Cebu City, Cebu Island, but covers the Philippines, most of which I have traveled and lived. And the places I have not traveled, and other Traveled or lived in these places where I have and have not will be happy tell you about them too. If you come, I urge you to learn to speak some of the language. I speak the Filipino Tagalog) conversationally. My wife speaks Cebuano, Visayan, Tagalog. I am learning Cebuano, but slowly. Speaking the language is not necessary, but knowing a few words will really help you get into the heart of the Filipino people a warm and wonderful place to be.

I hope you have an opportunity to visit. You will enjoy the hospitality, sun and sand, the nightlife and certainly the people.

What to Watch Out For, How to be Safe from Scams, Scam by Foreigners in the Philippines

I am sorry to say, foreigners with no or little income, but yours, are the primary parasites you need to watch out for in the Philippines. Many wants to live in the Philippines but don't have and income to do it. Like Philippine businesses they target foreigners as "easy pickings", with money. Philippine marketing people have foreigners especially tourist in their target market along with overseas workers who have good income too. Retirees have less money than tourist, no longer working. But they still have more than the average Filipino. As a tourist here, even if you are broke, you fall in the "Class A.” economic class as potential customers for genuine and sham services and products. Do not give anyone money to get you a job, work permit or a girlfriend. 

Read this website http://www.livinginthephilippines.com, ask on our mailing list of 18, 000 plus members, read its archives, and you will understand the folly of counting on working in the Philippines, the challenges of doing business here. Don't send anyone money for a "working visa", with the assurance of a job, eventually. And as far as girlfriend, if you run fast enough, one will catch you!

Don't fall for get rich quick deals, E-bay from the Philippines, your own turn key outsourcing business, and such nonsense. These businesses are hard to do here, take a lot of experience and a business minded supportive wife from less than a needy family with connections to help you be even marginally successful in a land you do not understand.

Don't be fooled by some of these people represent themselves as Philippine experts, business consultants who have made lots of money, legally. Most have only live in one or two isolated parts of the Philippines have no real awareness of the country as a whole and have not been here a tenth of the time they imply. They may have made more money here than in the States, but only because they were not very successful in the States. Maybe that is because they did not have naive guys like you to rob in a country where foreigners look for other foreigners for guidance and it is easy to pick the wrong guy.

Living all over the Philippines and traveling the country was something I made a priority in my first ten years, of my 25 years here. I feel if you advise on the Philippines, best to have lived from top to bottom in the many cultures in the country. Though Filipinos are conformists, communal they are diverse from province to province, language to language.

We have been here for about 11 years, and don't really provide any services, endorse only a few businesses that are well checked out. Most of the Filipino businesses I endorse have also been here for more than 20 years, as I have. In addition to the website we have a Yahoo groups mailing list of 18,000 plus members, http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LivingInThePhilippines3/, and a Forum, http://www.livinginthephilippines.com/forum of over 5,000 plus members.

Best be careful with all new acquaintances. Money talks in developed countries. Money screams in developing ones like the Philippines. Keep your money safe by not being taken in by professional foreigner thieves in the Philippines. If there is any doubt, get away from the suspected con man or consider using a certified investigation service before letting go of money you may never see again.

Our List Description Join at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LivingInThePhilippines3/

What you need to know is there! Living in the Philippines is for foreigners, expats, Filipina/s others many living in Cebu, living in Manila, and all over discuss Philippine retirement, travel, relationships, jobs and business. It's strictly moderated, no spam, no off topic posts. Filipinas and Filipinos (both are Filipinos, Filipina refers to women, girls, females, ladies, wives, i.e. Filipinas), are on this family oriented List - The home page www.livinginthephilippines.com is full of information on things you need know. - The Lists helps foreigners interested in cheap quality living in this friendly English speaking country get the necessary information to successfully travel, retire, live or do business in the land of smiles, beautiful people, beaches and mountains. Information on the culture, customs, cheap quality education, houses and apartments, pension houses, hotels, places to travel in and around the Philippines, cost tourist and permanent resident visas, doing business and more from members living in Manila, living in Davao, living in Angeles City, Baguio, living in Cebu and all over the Philippines islands. No flames, personal attacks. No name calling is allowed. And no Filipina/o bashing is acceptable; there are few Filipinos on this list to defend themselves and they are generally such kind and gentle people that they don't need to do so. *this is not an introduction service. Do not ask for names of Filipinas*.

If you don't understand the culture or the country well enough to understand the Filipina/o, learn here to understand to enjoy them and yourself. You may want to learn some of the language, customs and even live here in the Philippines. Neither Living in the Philippines nor its owner, Don A. Herrington is responsible for the information contained on this List.

Comments   

 
+1 #4 Monica 2013-12-19 08:15
Nailed it sir! This post totally covered all the information I am looking for. Thanks! :D
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0 #3 eugene muscillo 2013-10-29 16:11
yws excellent page iam planning to retire in 2014 in cebu.
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0 #2 Cliff Roberson 2013-09-14 17:09
Enjoyed the info....thinkin g of spending retirement time there.
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+1 #1 KeithM 2013-08-29 13:29
Wonderful article! After reading this article I can't wait to visit the Philippines. I have worked as a contractor overseas for the last 12 years and met many Filipinos in Iraq and Kuwait. As the article stated they are wonderful people and I love their friendliness and genuine hearts. I expect to visit there sometime next year and possibly moving there for good if I like it. The only thing I don't see that was talked about was shipping and owning a car over there. The pros and cons of doing so would be nice to know. I am a military retiree that will be living off half of my retirement which is just under two grand a month but might possibly be also receiving social security by next summer if not before.
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