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Many of our members are married to or involved in a relationship with Filipinas. We are neither an international introduction service nor mail order bride service. We are neither connected nor linked with any. What you read here and on our forum about member's marriages and relationships are not exaggerations. When we discuss challenges in relationships, we don't sugar coat.
We talk about the challenges involved in trying to relate to another person's culture and about the family relationships of the Filipinas. We discuss the pleasures and the challenges, the involvement with a Filipina present. It is important to know all this, and of the inherent risks of getting into a long distance relationship. And it is important to understand how valuable it is to first take a trip here, before becoming involved or falling in love. It is very easy to come here and meet wonderful women, in person. Surely you will find the one who will appreciate you. And you will know who they really are, not just their "Net Face". If you don't know anything about the culture, you will not know your Filipina friend though you may swear you do. Take it from the guys who have found out the hard way. You may find a Filipina wife, bride, fiancée or girlfriend, but will you be happy together?
On the Forum here, we have people discussing how their relationship prospered or failed, relationships in progress, hear from those who have had many relationships with Filipinas, Filipinos, mostly foreigners who have had at least one Filipina wife. Many are the first and last Filipina marriages. But some have problems the first time, get addicted to the Filipina, and go for the second, even the third. But many are the first, the last and the only. Join our list and hear the stories and the comments. Our archives are full of them. That is what makes this website the discussion list and the Forum an even more valuable resource. You can learn about the culture of the Filipina and Filipino, so you can be a better guest, boyfriend or husband or just a friend of the Filipino people.
Do You, As an Ex-pat, Want a Life with Maids, Helpers and Drivers? Can You Afford Eating Out? What Amenities Do You Want?
Lifestyles - Costs - Who is here?
Some foreigners here are retired or semi-retired, like I am, doing what they like. Sometimes that is doing nothing, the hardest thing to do. Others are working on "Ex-pat Packages", provided by companies based in their home countries. Some are here as investors, staying on tourist visas and extending their stay for long periods of time. They may have investment, such as bars, restaurants, hotels, and other businesses. Maybe only a share of that business is allowed by local law. They may watch their investment very closely, like some who own bars, and visit their investment every day and night for hours on end.
Some are tourists who came and forgot to leave the Philippine Paradise they found. Some play a lot, what else, with beaches, nightlife, golf and hoards of other things to do at discount rates. See the link "Other things to do", only a partial list of what could be an inexhaustible one. I live in Cebu City, the Paris of the Philippines, and its second largest city. I rent a six-bedroom, four-bathroom house in a 24/7 guarded compound (don't know why it is guarded, it certainly is safe here,) near Midtown and several huge malls. For this house, which is way too big for me, I pay $380 (U.S.) a month. In more remote areas of the Philippines, housing is cheaper. In Manila, housing can cost much more. To me, Manila is not worth it unless you need the excitement of a big city that never sleeps, and all the business opportunities there. I am a former U.S. Peace Corps staff member, retired, with a modest pension, a little Social Security and some savings. I do some consulting on e-commerce and outsourcing to and from the Philippines across borders. I am still active in medical hypnosis, biofeedback, psychotherapy and cross cultural counseling, resolving Filipino Foreigner relationship conflicts, but by appointment only. I believe I am the only individual practicing hypnosis in the Philippines and certainly biofeedback. But I try to reserve a lot of time for this Net based labor of love, the Philippines, this website and the Yahoo List. And I reserve a lot of time to play, while living a fine lifestyle, at low cost, with hospitable Filipinos and friendly expats, many of whom I have met through this website.
Manila and the Other Places To Live
Manila has everything, and is the heart of the Philippines. It is the "National Capital Region" consisting not only of the city of Manila, perse, but the contiguous cities around it. Manila is a very big, exciting city, hard for some to deal with and not reflective of the Philippines as whole. If you have only been in Manila you have not been to the Philippines. There are many PLACES TO LIVE, save with amenities. Some are very inexpensive, remarkably so. On a $1,000 a month in some places you will feel like a millionaire and be treated as one, a strange experience for some, certainly for me.
Depending on your comfort level, in a small city or town you can have a good life on as little as $600 per month. In Manila you will not be comfortable with less than $1,000, unless you don't have many materialistic needs, $1,500 is better, but not required.
On the low side I lived by the beach, for more than a year. My house was a Nipa hut on bamboo stilts, actually in the South China Sea. My monthly expenses were $400 per month including food and the few amenities I had. I had more than most around me, and money left over to loan, really to give away. (When you "loan" money to poor people, it is folly to think they can pay you back.) I did not have steady electricity or indoor plumbing, but it was a good life and many helpers around to fetch water, cook and such. I had music, even TV when I had electricity. I used batteries when the power failed. I fished from the porch of my house and from my bamboo raft. And, I had many wonderful, loyal friends who provided me with lot of happiness, a life full of laughter and smiles.
As I said earlier, to live in Manila, you will need $1,500 per month to live comfortably. And, you need to be careful with your money. In Cebu you will do with less. And in Davao, Mindanao, cost of living is even less than in Cebu. Budgets, posted by members, are on the Link, "Cost of Living, Houses, Food and Other Expenses". These budgets include Subic, Olongapo, Angeles City and others.
Maids, Domestic Helpers, Nurses, Employees
My two live-in maids make me feel like a king. I can't remember when I have not had breakfast in bed. I pay the maid and cook $40 per month each (above average in the Philippines) plus the cost of their food. Registered nurses, licensed vocational nurses, gardeners and drivers are available at similar rates. When you hire people at the market rate they appreciate you and appreciate their job. Pay much more, and you may be asking for trouble. For those like me, who sometimes or always have minor or major physical disabilities, you may want to hire a caretaker. Those will help you get around, travel in comfort, and enjoy life, rather than being cooped up watching TV and doing Internet. My physical challenge does not require the services of a caretaker because of the excellent physical therapy I receive. I am very active with no help. But I know if I ever need help, here I can afford a batch of caretakers.
Eating in and Out
I spend less than $200 a month on food for me, my wife, and my sweet Filipina maids who are getting fat. I am a more of a vegetarian than not. But I do love the bacon. It is fresh and excellent as are other meats. If you like eating out, there are KFC, McDonalds, Pizza Hut and other fast food chains. You will also find excellent world class, upscale but inexpensive, international restaurants.
I have all the amenities: cable TV, two telephones, fax, DSL Internet connection, air-conditioning, exercise machines, a flower-filled yard and a dog. But, the best thing about living in the Philippines costs nothing: the legendary friendliness and hospitality of its people. Filipinos and Filipinas know how to have a good time, and they want to share it with you. There is no place on earth where a stranger is welcomed so quickly and sincerely.