House Helper (Maids)

Live-in maids and helpers are common in middle-class homes. Even some maids, the ones who live out, and may have a child or two, have maids, usually young girls who cannot afford to go to school and will just work for room and board. The cost is shockingly low compared with other countries. I pay my maids $30 a month plus food to start, and rise to $40 over a one year period. In the more rural areas they start closer to $20. So it is quite possible to pay less, and even in Manila you won't pay a whole lot more.

I do know foreigners in upscale "villages" who pay much more, but it is not necessary. Still the costs are so low, they are a bargain.

Maids take a lot of the chores out of my life, from paying bills to shining shoes and even tying them if I wish. My helpers are more like loving, respectful daughters and friends. It is wonderful to be free from housework and errands. And the maids and helpers appreciate their jobs, and me. They are extremely respectful of older people.

I trained one of my former maids, formerly a cook for a group of Japanese students, to cook American style. She was excellent.

You may not understand until you live here how important maids and helpers are. They make your social and business interaction easier. This assumes you have a helper or two who can deal with people well.

I have one that not only has the skills of a house helper, but those of a social secretary, too. Presently, I have a tutor for one of my maids who were an excellent student in college, but had to quit because of costs. She had taken a course in HTML. The tutor I hire for 60 pesos an hour, about $1.20 is teaching her the finer points and PhotoShop too. She types so also serves as my secretary. If she proves out I will raise her salary significantly.

Most who wash clothes don't feel the washing machine gets the clothes as clean as do the hands. And it seems to me, washing is like a meditation with the women and girls. So it light sweeping done every morning. Young and even older men often do their own, if not their sisters or relatives or if they don't have helpers. It is not considered exclusively a woman's task, though most professional washers are women, from the Spanish. You can hire one of those part-time or full-time. All professionals are women. If you have good eyes the you can see the plug on the top in the middle hanging down on the side. It is unplugged. As far as those who wash go, it can stay that way. Think twice before buying a washing machine. I didn't, and I am sorry.

Maids and helpers don't just clean your house and maintain your yard. They are advisors on cultural differences and can even help you with the language if you want to learn. I am talking about a good maid. A maid can be everything from a social secretary to a guard for your house when you are away. I personally don't have a driver, but have friends who prefer cars with drivers to taxis and jeeps. Live in drivers are about $100. They maintain your car, have basic mechanic skills, drive you, guide you, wait for you and run any errands that require a car. Some use them as body guards, but more like helpers to carry things while they shop, and help in anyway they can.