For several years, I wrote about our desire to return to the Philippines. Then I wrote about retiring, the move back, and the return of my wife to her family, and all the pleasures we enjoyed in our early retirement. I wrote about fun and much happier times, about building our dream home, and about living a more stress-free life (I almost had the stress-free thing right). Today, I’m singing a different tune. For those that don’t already know, we have been living on Guam now for over 3 years, traveling back and forth, to re-establish the wife’s residency for U.S. citizenship. In the time we have been living here, life has been wonderful (except for missing the family). We are still under the warm tropical sun, beautiful beaches and scenery, surrounded by many warm and friendly Chamorros, Filipinos, other Asians, and Pacific Islanders. We live basically the same culture here as we did in the Philippines (but the food is much better).
During this pandemic, we have had a chance to observe the Philippines from afar, with news and regular updates from family and friends. Every day I hear of more and more ex-pats leaving the Philippines. One of my subscribers from General Santos City showed up here 3 weeks ago and was placed in quarantine. I helped him out here and he was kind enough to help me with a recent video I did that was titled LOCKED UP, just after he arrived. He brought with him his story of how tough things were in Mindanao and the difficulties for many in getting out of the country. What we have seen, heard, witnessed, and observed firsthand are not the living conditions we would be very comfortable living with. Extremely uncomfortable, to be more precise. I hear the frustrations from fellow ex-pats in the area where we live, echoed from all over the country. Like many others, I’m not sure I could accept living there under these draconian rules (near martial law) that is being mandated across the population. Being a prisoner in your own home is not how I ever envisioned living out my retirement. And right now, I’m not even all that excited about returning too soon, in fear of being trapped in some Covid-consequential situation that might arise.
So, my message to anyone who is currently considering moving to the Philippines is simple – take time out, do some more research, and reconsider. If you have a girlfriend (that you have already met) or a fiance there, then the decision to go to the Philippines is almost a foregone conclusion, but I would still put things on hold. If you’re looking to travel there, I’d wait. It’s not the same place it was just a few short years ago. Before this is all over, many expect millions more will fall into poverty, crime will increase, and inflation will rear it’s ugly head, shrinking the purchasing power of many foreign currencies. In general, the cost of living will rise, movement around the country will become more cumbersome and expensive, liberties will be restricted and freedoms will be curtailed. It definitely will not be the same Philippines as in recent years past.
As for me and the Mrs., we will hold up here on Guam for a while longer until the dust settles… if it ever does. Although the restaurants and bars here are still closed, at least our movements are not restricted, we can shop at will, hit the parks and beaches, swim, fish, hike, bike, and whatever. We would like to return home to Samar, but only when we know our lives and our golden years will not be stifled or infringed upon. Until then, we can relax here, still under the tropical sun with all the comforts and ideals that SE Asia brings… and more amenities we could ever hope for.
Good luck to anyone venturing forth. It will be an experience you will never forget… one way or another!
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