Living in the Philippines – Reasonings

Reasons Are Many… and Also Few!   

First, I would like to thank a fellow blogging acquaintance John, for the inspiration to write this post. Sometimes all it takes is a simple comment, or a reminder by a reader, and the post-creating sparks begin to fly. And in this case, sparks have ignited!

As many of my readers already know, my wife and I have made the decision to depart from the Philippines, at least for the interim. We have some things that need to get accomplished that cannot be done while living in the Philippines. So we are in the process of re-locating to Guam (April-May 2017). In my friend John’s comments, he seemingly felt the need to remind me of why we moved to the Philippines in the first place. In my own mind, I looked back in retrospect, reviewing those very reasons.

The motivation for me to live in the tropics was inspired many years ago as I previously conveyed in one of my first writings titled My Enchantment.  And, as a result of a nearly life-long chain of events coupled with reality, we chose the Philippines as the place to retire to. It became our chosen paradise. Did we make the right choice? Absolutely, we did… at that time.

Now, some readers might get the feeling here that maybe we believe we made the wrong choice, that we are living with regret and are now cutting our losses and leaving. Note: It has been said that the average length of time many expats spend in living in the Philippines is about 3 years, before they bail and head back to their home country. It has been almost 4 years since we settled here and “bailing-out” would just not be an accurate description. There are many “good” things I have come to cherish and love about living in the Philippines.

Adding a new link.
Adding a new link.

Chains Get Longer.

Nonetheless, the “chain of events” in life keeps adding more links, and it has resulting effects. It can change the path that one chooses in life, and can alter the overall enjoyment of life and living. Here is a good example of how one decision can change everything – Take the declining ski-resort industry in Colorado. Other states have been gaining in ski-travel market-share and Colorado has suffered economically, until recently. Last year, Colorado legalized marijuana and is now experiencing a resurgence in entrepreneurial spirit – the sprouting of pot shops and other marijuana related businesses across the state and specifically in places like Vail, Aspen and other popular ski areas. The result has been a recent big boom to the Colorado ski industry and a boost to many other economic interests in that state (and a resulting negative affect to other ski destinations like Utah). Would it be safe to say this link in the “chain of events” changed things in Colorado?  Absolutely. How about for all those folks who closed businesses, lost their jobs, or left the state? Yes again! Stuff happens, decisions are made, things change!

things change
Again, we are not leaving the Philippines. I look at more like we are simply expanding our scope of residency in paradise – we are just adding another location for our enjoyment, based on a new link in our life’s chain of events – and for good reasons. Afterall, we built a nice comfortable home in the Philippines, and have family and many friends here. We could never leave entirely.

While our main reason for retreating from the Philippines is focused and absolute, I could tack on dozens more reasons why the Philippines might not be the perfect retirement paradise for many people. The assimilation of information and experience gathered in my lifetime leads me to affirm that there is no real “utopia” (I think most rational people believe this). But, life can still be “utopian,” and to achieve that, it takes clear and abundant knowledge and careful planning and is an entirely different topic of discussion (which I have also addressed on this site). While the Philippines is still a great place to enjoy a more simple and less stressful life, it can become a dystopia for many who are ill-prepared to deal with such a large cultural shift.

My Apologies!

If I have inspired anyone over the years (via this blog ) to simply pick-up and move to the Philippines, I’m sorry.  I never intended to lead anyone to believe that the Philippines was the ultimate utopian choice. It was not my intent to incite discomfort or misery on anyone (some really love living here, others… not so much). While I have referred to the Philippines as my chosen paradise, it was the place WE (my wife and I) choose to live.

I have over the years, laid out some ideas about choosing a retirement location carefully, and I have always suggested serious planning and good personal-financial assessments. If you moved to the Philippines without in-depth knowledge of the culture, or without a plan and little financial resources, and you are not comfortable after making that choice, then you obviously were not prepared and you can blame nobody but yourself. But, if you planned well and are enjoying life to its fullest, good on you!

Assessing the Realities of Paradise.

What I really intend on doing from this point forward is setting the record straight.
The Philippines may hold for some an easier life and less stressful living, coupled with warm weather and an abundance of natural beauty (it does for me). But, but all that easy living and natural beauty can be surrounded by and conflicted by many other things. As a visual example, take a simple video which depicts a beautiful view of the ocean at dusk. Lovely crystal-clear, warm, turquoise and blue waters shimmering below a back-lit red-orange sky. Now imagine the camera panning down only to witness the mounds of trash at your feet.

Trash - Part of the Reality
Trash in the Philippines – It’s just one reality of many.

The photo above is just one aspect of normality herein the Philippines that is rarely captured in promotional videos or photos. I for one have never been personally inspired to capture photos of trash, poverty and all the cultural desperation. The trash, well… that is just scratching the surface on the negative side of Filipino culture. It is the proverbial “tip of the iceberg.” For every one pretty picture you see, there are likely to be 10 more that have no validity in attracting visitors, at least in the promotional sense. I am as guilty of this simple charade as anyone else. I have always written about most things from a sensationalist’s point of view (quite possibly to defend and justify my own decision to live here), and I tend to show the good and humor in most things. I take pretty pictures and publish scenic videos. I think maybe it is time for a change – to provide more balance in my presentations. “Real” perspectives so to speak.

To come… More Realties! The Good, the Bad, and Then Some! A new blogging category where I can be truthful about presenting the truthful realities of everyday life in the Philippines, in both pictorial and in script formats.

This famous Benjamin Franklin quote is totally applicable and it sticks with me:

“For having lived long, I have experienced many instances of being obliged, by better information or fuller consideration, to change opinions, even on important subjects, which I once thought right but found to be otherwise.”


Living for tomorrow.
Simply living, for tomorrow is another day.

15 thoughts on “Living in the Philippines – Reasonings

  1. Yep, it’s like I said to you when I first met you, WHY did you leave Tupelo ? When I was wanting live there 🙂 hahahahaha

  2. I am a faithful follower of your travels, travails and your retirement. I am a retired navy vet and chose to retire in a small city in Florida. I enjoy reading your blogs and vlogs and I realize that I am fantasizing living your life because I am away from my native home, Lipa, Batangas. I wish your success in your mission in Guam. I agree, immigration process is a b*tch.

  3. It’s not the immigration that is the problem. She has a permanent green card. She just needs to apply for citizenship. Thanks for your readership loyalty. Don’t fantasize too much, you could eventually disappoint yourself! lol

  4. You are a modern man. Most all fantasize of living in Utopia and which often leads to a nomadic wandering because as you said we do realize there ain’t no such place. No matter where I have been or am, it never ceases – the what ifs. Always the first thought is “this is it” only to then to ponder but…. – Maybe because we many became “sailorized!”

  5. Ah, the gypsy blood thing. I questioned whether I had that blood type for a long time… and then we settled in Mississippi for over 18 years… affirmed! It liked to drive me crazy. Many of us do learn over time that the “grass is greener” thing really only applies if you are a cow! lol

  6. You’re welcome for the inspiration, even though I didn’t know I was giving it to you. Having lived here in the Philippines for 7 years now (next month is 7 years) I agree with your point of view of the Philippines and the 10 ugly scenes for every one beautiful scene. Even when I do the pictures on my blog I mostly have nice looking pictures, but it never was an attempt to cover up the ugly. When someone asks me about moving to the Philippines, they get the truth, it’s not for everyone and it’s nice, but definitely not perfect. You just exchange some problems for other problems, even though most of the problems I’ve encountered here are minor and usually because of culture differences. I like living here and I deal with the differences. Every country has it’s ugliness and to think anyplace is going to be perfect is just ludicrous. An old saying (that I just made up) is: “You live with what you must and change what you can. If you can’t do that, well you’ll probably be moving around a lot”.

  7. Ha, “an old saying”… probably because you are an old-timer! Like you, I never attempt to hide the ugly, it’s just that my camera lens more readily focuses better on the pretty!

  8. I would like to thank John for providing you the inspiration to continue your blog and vlog. I would really be dishearten, if you stopped. I’m hoping you will add a little of Guam into your vlog. I believe you and the wife have achieved dual paradises. The luxury of living between the two. An individuals utopia is within their own mind.

  9. It’s good to know some folks will be looking forward to the “Slice of Life” on Guam that I can offer. I’m coming to grips more and more with the idea of having “dual” paradises. It’s a good thing they are close together! Thanks for commenting.

  10. As one of retirees like yourself, I’ve come to realized that I have had an affliction called–fantasizing. Reading blogs such as yours and watching your youtube video channel are becoming an addicting diversion. I’am tickled to read the comments between you and John Jackson. His blog is also one of my favorites including his youtube channel. Like Abe j, I am contemplating from afar retiring to “paradise”; and the difference between us may be is I am native PH born who has live more in the US than in the Philippines. What is holding me here are the creature comforts and family. The desire to return is too strong despite family objection. I have started slowly building my creature comforts and toying becoming a snowbird.

  11. Once you become attatched to creature comforts, the only way to live in the Philippines is to be able to afford those same creature comforts abroad. To go cold turkey provides a level of discomfort that drives many back to the homeland. Leaving family is also a tough one. If I were you, I would look at building a vacation home and stick to that plan before liquidating all your assets and moving.

  12. I really appreciate and I’m really glad you like my blog and videos. I hope to be doing more of both, especially videos soon. I just have a little problem I need to take care of before I can really dive into it and give it my all. Randy and I do banter back and forth a lot, but it’s because I think he’s a great guy and we get along so well.

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