My List of the Best and Worst of Life in the Philippines

I don’t recall ever coming up with a personal List of the Best and Worst things about living in the Philippines. 

philippine_beachIn a practical sense for my lifestyle demands, I would have to say the worst aspects out number the best nevertheless; the things that are best here are very special and hard to come by in the States unless you are very rich. These mostly represent “Personal Services” of almost any kind you can think of from domestic help to sexual to massage to hiring an electrician to work on your house. 

As an example the salary for a live-in helper to clean your house and do your household wash on a daily basis runs about $61 – $90/monthly plus the cost of food. Sex for the night $13 – $37 and other professional services perhaps $10/day.

Anything having to deal with labor is an absolute bargain. Now what I have below are things related to living in the Province and not in the Cities. City life (Manila specifically) offers most of the things you would find back in the States but also at a high price equivalent to the States.

The Philippines is changing at a rapid pace and for the worse I think. Too many people coming in from the outside, too much traffic and not enough infrastructure to handle it all. The whole idea that the Philippines is some sort of paradise to live is so far removed from reality it is not even funny. OK maybe in the sense of Personal Servies and as I have said in many articles before, if you are a single, white, black, hispanic or any race male on two feet, one foot or in a wheelchair, then the Philippines will be your paradise ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY!!!  WHY? Well, because your main ambition will be YOUNG GIRLS!!! (18+) But more on this another time. However, aside from this I think most would be greatly disapointed. Oh I forgot, if you enjoy drinking Rum and Beer then that is another thing to like about the Philippines as it is very, very cheap here as well.

BEST 

(not in any particular order)

1.   Driving – Being able to basically have your way on the roads. You can drive as fast or crazy as you like without consequences from law enforcement;

2.   Labor – Getting a massage, manicure, bj, pedicure, a house cleaner or yaya/ full time babysitter for our daughter. Anything having to do with labor is so cheap you can really feel like a king being waited on hand and foot;

3.   Cheap food – The price of eating out here is very cheap with even the better restaurants costing less than $10.00/person. Of course there is a very limited variety of quality food products in most places other than the bigger cities like Manila, Cebu, Davao;

4.   Medical – Medical care here is Fantastic. Quality is excellent and the bigger hospitals are on par with the States. Physicians actually care about your condition and spend as much office or hospital time with you in dealing with your medical issues. Costs are a fraction of what you would pay back in the States and the atmosphere here is much more conducive to getting better unlike in the States;

5.   Innocence – This regards my daughter as she can have a nice childhood here which is getting more difficult to have in the States;

6.   Fruits – While there are no Plums and Peaches, fruits like Mangos and Papaya here are awesome as are the more exotic Mangosteen, Rambutan & Durian which are hard to find in the States;

7. Smiles and Warmth – Of the Philippine people in general. No matter how unhappy their lives may be they always have the unconsious and natural ability make you feel good about yours with the smile on their face.

WORST

(not in any particular order)

1.   Ignorance – Of the people. The sad reality is the majority of the people in the Philippines being very poor are mostly uninspired, unmotivated, uneducated and terribly sheltered from the outside world and knowledge thereof. This is no uncertain terms keeps them ignorant of anything outside of their own life. They come across as utterly stupid. This can be very frustrating to me and other foreigners as just simple things like asking directions or how to do something is an act of fruition. This no doubt keeps this Country living in the dark ages. Really too bad;

2.   Food – The availability of quality store food in general is very limited. There is no good local beef of any kind or a good variety/selection of vegetables a westerner might prefer. As an example Beefsteak Tomatoes, Asparagus, Lettuce, etc. Restaurant Food – in a nutshell is barely palatable in the province. The cities have much better restaurants;

3.   Infrastructure  – Mostly bad everywhere espeically the roads; 

4.   Utilities – (electricity) Very expensive and generally not consistent. My electricity went off today for three hours and this happens at least once weekly and I live close to town;

5.   Sports – Lack of good facilities in the province;

6.   Schools – Too much influence by the Church. They spend more time praying to these religious cults than learning;

7.   Corruption – Speaks volumes for itself with many important aspects of life here neglected due to rampant corruption;

8.   Religion – Probably the biggest evil here as it keeps people and the Country living in an impractical mindset that keeps this Country from advancing to the modern era;

9.   Television – Poor channel choices here in Dumaguete would be an understatement BUT as a work around, you can now easily order a SLINGBOX using a hosting service through the internet and do your own programming/recording of current shows, movies, sporting events, etc……pretty much for anything you want to watch (and from whatever city in the USA you want the programming from – important for sporting events of your favorite home team) and therefore in reality you can watch pretty much what you want when you want it. 

10.  Boating, Fishing and Diving – Just not the type I prefer;

11. Dogs – Barking all night. Need I say more. No animal control here;

12. Noise – Coming from many sources (mostly horns from vehicles) and can be very disagreeable and there is absolutely nothing exotic and inviting about living in a town that has incessant noise while you are trying to enjoy some solitude with a cup of coffee on the outside patio of your local coffee shop.

13. Internet – I can run faster. 3mbps is like the fastest you can find in most provincial towns and that’s if your lucky. I can’t even remember the last time I watched even a short online story video on a site like yahoo without it (mostly stuttering) stopping and starting numerous times and I have a very good ISP. Go figure. Again, the bigger Cities (manila, cebu, davao) will be the exception

Yes life can be wonderful here depending on what you need and want. If it is a simple life you like then the Philippines is a Utopia especially if you are a horny, single man. You would think you died and went to woman heaven as if you wanted it bad enough you could have a different young girl every single day. However it can be a Utopia of sorts for more sophisticated people as well. Take my mother for example. She is highly intelligent, worldly and she has decided to make the Philippines her home specifically in Makati, Manila. She finds plenty to occupy her time and couldn’t be happier unless her granddaughter was living next door. She no longer drives a car and for the most part prefers the company of educated people, good food & wine, some culture, more sophistication and an occasional massage. All these things Mom finds in Manila. I don’t blame her as sometimes I crave to live there in Manila as well. So for her she is in a great place. I would tend to agree.

The more complicated and demanding a person you are for things (like me), the less happy you will be living here, especially in the Province. In fact you would almost have to live in a City like Manila to have the things you favor and the cost to live there would probably be higher than back in the States so that begs the question, why bother to come at all.

In conclusion, life can be great or not so great depending on your needs and wants. Live simple and you could not ask for a better place in the World to live than the Philippine Provinces. If you can’t then you are relegated to living in a City like Manila or perhaps another more advanced Country like Thailand maybe

I might suggest that everyone considering a move here should be aware that many costs (especially food) are rising more so than most people think about. Just in the past 6 years, many food prices have gone up 35 – 40% while the peso has strengthened about 25% against the US Dollar. I think it will only get worse in the next few years with the peso rising at least another 10% – 12% from current levels of 40.75P/US Dollar and food prices in line with 5 – 10% increases annually. If you are on a fixed income, this will invariably force many to make great sacrifices in lifestyle. Real estate prices are also rising rapidly especially for condos and raw land.

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Post Author: expatinthephilippines

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66 Comments on "My List of the Best and Worst of Life in the Philippines"

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Andrew
Guest

Just to add to the pot, my “worst” is what some might see as an odd one – my country is perfectly happy to grant dual citizenship to Filipinos, after five years residence, but the Philippines does not return the favour – take a look at this little lot!

http://immigration.gov.ph/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=206&Itemid=80

corey
Guest

Yes how true. reciprocity. Land ownership, easier access to permanent residency and 100% business ownership would be nice as well. We can only hope.

Andrew
Guest
A good friend of mine, recently moved to Cambodia, after more than thirty years in the Philippines. He has written acclaimed books on Philippines history, advised the Coast Guard, campaigned for one prominent politician including writing his speeches and he is in general phenomenally pro-Filipino. But his ex-wife moved to the States and his long term partner cannot get an annulment. He left one jump ahead of the Bureau of Immigration posse. Within days of moving to Cambodia he could obtain long term residency, open a bank account, get a work permit, find work and move into a nice place… Read more »
Toinks
Guest

@Andrew, I don’t think that the people who are in a position to do something really care about what benefit the country.

It’s just a fact of life. And majority of Filipinos are uneducated and the media here too corrupt to take on these issues.

Rose
Guest

I will not recommend to live in the Philippines.Its too crowded,noisy.The reason whyi come in the Philippines to reuinite with my brother that work in Kuwait.I dint see him for 27 year..last time i saw him i was 22 and his 24..time fly.I was vorn here in the Philippines..but once u became Americanice..you can be in this kind of place..its terreble place to be.

Sheen
Guest

Why do foreigners even go to the Philippines for the women? Most of them are generally not that good looking and far from the “humble and subservient” stereotype that they claim to be.

If you want to get it on with beautiful women on the cheap, I suggest Eastern Europe, especially the former Soviet bloc countries.

corey
Guest
hahaha. I have a friend that goes to the Ukraine every year. He is 57 and hangs with 25 year olds andhas a blast. I had a russian GF back in the states and she was wild. Great in bed and fun to be with but totally nuts!!! Also, they are more money hungry and demanding than any filipina I have seen. Filipinas are sweet, not demanding and will make you feel good no matter how fat, ugly or smelly the guy might be. I don’t know what Philippines you visited but they are also very humble. And many, many… Read more »
Sheen
Guest
I was born and lived there for 15 years so I would know. I’ve stayed in the city and the provinces and most of them just don’t do it for me. Unless they’re mixed with European blood, but those girls are even more shallow and materialistic. Also, sorry to burst your bubble, but a lot of Pinays who go for foreigners are simply in it for that magic ticket oit of that cesspit called the Green Card. Filipinos still think all foreigners, particularly Whites and East Asians, have money bursting out of their pockets. Eastern European women are after this… Read more »
corey
Guest
can’t argue with anything you say. My wife is different though but I think a lot of that has to do with her living in Canada for ten years before i met her here. Here is a story I think you will appreciate of how certain types of humor does not work here, My daughter is having a birthday party and I issued invitations. I got a response form one Filipina wife saying her husband was having prostate surgery on the same day and could not make it. I texted back something I thought was cute….”Well that’s the best excuse… Read more »
Tommy Sanford
Guest

Sheen. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I would safely say that 95% of Filipina’s are sexier, prettier, than 95% of Russian women.

As for cheap, women cost what your heart demands. If you are stingy, you pay nothing for love, if you are kind and loving, it costs you everything!

Joe
Guest

a no-brainer topic:THE BEST? The BEACH,THE BEACH, THE BEACH.

THE WORST? anything to do w/immigration, the government and living in the cities with the noise, traffic and smoke-belching jeepneys, yuck X’s 1,000.

Hot chicks are everywhere in the world, so that is a non-issue. Smelly prostitutes, in any country, are smelly prostitutes and should always be avoided.

Joe
Guest

and real estate is probably the most laughable item on the list. crappy construction, outrageous prices per square meter and electricity rates that are the highest in the world. completely laughable and why anyone would ever buy a P2million 20 sq. mtr. closet in Manila is beyond anyone I knows comprehension…good luck with that! HA HA AHA AHAHAHAH

ChinoF
Member

I hear that many foreigners come here because it’s basically cheaper. Those on pauper retirement pay will turn into near-millionaires when they spend here. That’s a figure of speech by the way.

Thanks for your observations Corey, let’s compare notes with my other article on 20 reasons to love or hate the Philippines.

corey
Guest

Getting very expensive here Chino. In fact about the only substantial costing things left cheaper here in the Philippines are: Rent, house construction, personal services and eating out in restaurants

ChinoF
Member

Things are changing, I guess, and for the worse, sadly, in this case.

cons
Guest

up-scaling prices of the cost of living is a global phenomenon and not only in the Philippines. But still, i would say that living here in the Philippines is still relatively cheaper.

Tommy Sanford
Guest

Millionaires? Hardly. But it is possible to select lower quality, housing, food, medical care, entertainment and friends. Generally everything is more expensive in the Philippines, and if it seems less, then some quality aspects have been compromised.

Housing cheap… location location location. zoning laws simply ignored. No honest building inspectors result in every house substantially below USA building codes. Food handling with only the slightest cautions, inspections, or health and safety laws respected. There is no “mal practice claim” in the Philippines and every health worker knows it, horror stories abound.

Jack
Guest
It’s more expensive in manila. Comcast cable TV and 20mbs internet, $50/month back home. I don’t get that same value here with the Sky thing. I pay $120/month for utilities (power,$90, water $30) and I use my HVAC anytime I want. In Manila, I pay $30 for water(no dishwasher, no hot tub)…$600/month for power and I have to be aware of my AC usage, it’s unbelievable. Gas….hands down, Manila is exorbitant at like $6 a gallon. It’s $2.80 a gallon back home (and that is on the rise!). Food…well, it’s a real sacrifice. Breakfast sausages in Manila for like $6.00… Read more »
Corey
Guest

By the way, “Davos” was flooded with so many hot East European women they could have melted all the snow.

Too bad it wasn’t “Davao” LOL

Robert Haighton
Guest

Great article Corey!!!!

corey
Guest

thanks. don’t forget to visit my site. Lots of stuff on there. http://mylifeinthephilippines.com

Robert Haighton
Guest

Corey, I bookmarked your website.

Robert Haighton
Guest

Corey, Till today I read many articles there already. It seems the website is merely focused on guys from USA. No problem at all with that. I think most foreigners I saw and see flocking Cebu were mainly or even only from USA, by listening to their accent. The other foreigners I saw were overwhelmingly Koreans doing Karaoke.

corey
Guest

don’t forget to check out my site…..mylifeinthephilippines. lots of good stuff on there.

Robert Haighton
Guest

I can add a few myself to the list.

Not long ago (starting maybe 3 to 4 months ago) I sent emails to Phili companies and institutions. But they fail to respond.

Libertas
Guest

Top 10 best paid jobs in philippines – report produced today ( monthly salaries)
(P.s i dont believe it, or my staff are getting a pay cut!)

Art director P69,286/mthly
Geologist P64,889
Aircraft pilot/ navigator/ flight engineer P57,789
Mining engineer/ metallurgical engineer P55,638
Computer programmer P43,573
Systems analyst/ systems designer P42,112
Production supervisor/ general foreman P36,133
Actuarian P35,480
Call center representative/ customer service associate P35,424
Statistician P35,010

On that basis no-one could afford cars/condos etc., other than politicians/corrupt officials – Mmmm

Libertas
Guest

? Top 10 best paid jobs – my version

Govt official – write your own check, and build your own mansion.
Politician – circa 1 million/mth. Oink,oink.
Sex worker/mistress – a happy valentines ( annual bonus)
Lawyer (corrupt – are any honest anyway!)
Doctor/surgeon – ( mine gets 300,000/mth – i know i used to date her)
Car importer ( especially if using enrile’s port irene)
Journalist ( backhanders/ friendly articles circa 20,000 per article especially in campaign period – cheap advertising)
Hitman/pnp gun for hire – ? Per rubout
Jueteng operator
Bureau of customs port official – too greedy for their own good, and other peoples goods!

corey
Guest

hahahahahahaha love em’

Andrew
Guest

“Aircraft pilot/ navigator/ flight engineer P57,789”

That is a very odd number.

A glance at pprune’s East Asia forum (pilots comparing salaries) shows that Cebu Pacific pays new joining first officers US$4,500 a month. Captains more than double that. Plus allowances. I am not talking about expats on short term contracts. Cebu Pacific are said to be the worst payers in Philippines civil aviation so we can assume Air Asia pay better, because pilots have been leaving them for Air Asia, and PAL will certainly pay better still.

Libertas
Guest

agree

http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/business/02/08/13/top-10-highest-paying-jobs-ph

maybe abs-cbn just trying to make the poor people forget the wealth inequality issue.
isnt that why congressmen say they only get 45,000 a month, and the president 95,000/month.
i spend more than that on wine every month ( french, so damn expensive here)

Hyden Toro
Guest

Who cares…we have more worse things…we got a retarded President…what worse can you get…

Andrew
Guest
1. Using the term “retarded” as a term of abuse is offensive to many of us, including myself – my brother is mentally handicapped but I bet he’s a better man than you.t 2.You can get a whole lot worse. With the possible exceptions of Magsaysay and Ramos, and just possibly Quezon and the other Aquino, though I’m not sure about those two, and others may know better about all four, all previous Presidents have been crooks, either in the sense of diverting public money into their own pockets or in the sense of using the office to benefit their… Read more »
mcalleyboy
Guest
@Corey, Yea I hear you, I too live way out from Manila and until just recently had no idea that I was just 30 minutes away from a huge KFC, Macdonald’s, I could never figure out how to get there? it turns out I had to take a left and follow-up the hill and then it was just like leaving hell and stupidity and finding intelligent and professional people and nice restaurants all tucked in front of the college or back of it unsure which side was wich and we didn’t get hounded or harassed, I had to use Google… Read more »
Corey
Guest

LOL. Funny how even fast food establishment can be an oasis in the province.

Mike johnsom
Guest

I found your article to be..on point there Corey!! I married a filipino (We live in Arizona) We are considering retiring there in about 10 yrs. Maybe Boracay or Palawan. We shall see. I would remind all foreigners, the country is quite beautiful. And if you act civil, for the most part, that civility will be returned 2fold. We visit Leyte, Tacloban (jaro) frequently. The people are quite poor. But I am treated, very well.
Thanks for your insights!!-

Johnny Saint
Guest

Palawan is probably better. Boracay is turning into an overcrowded tourist trap. Palawan on the other hand has seen to it that its ecological attractions are maintained without the over commercialization that Boracay now suffers.

mcalleyboy
Guest
Visting and living here are two different things, I guess if you have unlimited funds life could be good anywhere the truth is that no matter how you act you’re going to be hounded for money, small change over charging on any kind of transportation, market area’s some restaurants, this all can add up when you live on a pension and I mean everybody wants a tip, the bank guards, the money changer helper the grocery baggers, car spotter, envelope tapping on your shoulders sometimes both shoulders at the same time, kids, there’s more but just off the top of… Read more »
miggz
Guest

I pity those people who come to Philippines and generalized the whole populace with bigoted opinions about my country…You cnt even distinguished a values of tagalog over Visaya and Ilokano..U probably visit far flung areas of the country. YOU probably met only pro statutes who by the way is so common in your place as well. You probably failed to meet someone decent enough to talk to u.. Because the educated one will never pull out their pants nor will come close to your body desperately needing for a shower.

Junior Daclan
Guest

Junior Daclan
Contributor,ourhappyschool.com
With all due respect,Philippines is not that worst as some of people around the world think.There are so many things that can fulfill your satisfaction that you can only find here in the Philipines.IT’S MORE FUN IN THE PHILIPPINES!

ImpalerTriumphant
Guest

Yeah, but that doesn’t mean Philippines has a cancer that still needs fixing.

It’s more FUCKED in the Philippines.

Mark
Guest
Hi, I was just browsing around looking at what other sites are in the same niche as mine, and I found this site, it tells the truth, which is great. The Philippines is not all Sunshine & Beaches, where I live in Metro Manila, it is mainly garbage on the streets, dog *hit everywhere, and so much traffic it is choking. I have Filipino Upper-Class to the front of me, no manners, so rude, they think that a car horn is for summoning their maid to open the gate, and a 30 second walk behind me a shanty town, !!!… Read more »
kurt
Guest

Mostly you are right. My experience goes back to 1978 already and many things have been better then. More frienly, less arrogant people. Even it was much less comfortable than now. And the 5-star hotel which charged me, incl. welcome arrangement at the room and a frugal buffet brakfast, 185 Pesos a day charges now, withiut any extra, 6000 ++ aday. And instead of 18 Pesos to the city, the taxi costs nowover 20 times more. But this is also called “economic improvement”.

Heiress
Guest

One thing I can say is that in every country there is best and worst but you cannot generalize for the whole country if you only experience one place. I could say that Philippines is still better as compared to the traits of other Asian countries. I have an experience in some countries where they just hit you in the mall without even looking at you and say sorry. They dont care if there are people around them or not. For me, Philippines is still the best place to live but not Manila of course,

Tom Eberts
Guest
I came here to find somebody like everybody else. Young, beautiful, sexy, sweet, hard working, can keep a home and cook, is fun, good at care giving, not a clingy financially dependent family, speaks English well, has some education at least and hopefully not a prostitute. So far it’s been fun but time consuming and expensive and while I’ve meet a lot of great girls nobody special to think about marrying has turned up yet. My friend in Thailand says they have “brokers” who are women who set you up with somebody she thinks will work out for both of… Read more »
kurt
Guest

i think most of u here visited the wrong place and met the worst people of Philippines at the same time. ask urself why u keep on visiting philippines and why did u stay that long 🙂
Philippines is just a thirdworld country but it seems that most foreigners are complaining with the money they spend (bills,etc),,,, better f*ck off and raise some goats…(or u just dont know how to spend)
i pity those foreigners who are still coming back to philippines but still saying negative things.. Filpinos can do a lot more things than u foreigners cant,….. 🙂

domo
Guest

You may have a point but still you’re playing the victim and doing da pinoy prayd. Cry me a river.

Terry
Guest
As long as we’re all complaining — man oh man the air pollution! Between the diesel my neighbor lets run for 20 min intervals and fills my place with exhaust to smoke belching vehicles to fires of waste big and small and some that go all day and smell like burning tires or all the smoke in the bars I feel like I can’t get a breath and must have some lung damage, no kidding. Mention to a Filipino as you see the smoke swirling in the headlights as you wait to cross the street or that your neighbors smoke… Read more »
evans
Guest

maybe u are not fit to stay in philippines….are u?.

kurt
Guest

coming to phil is not an option, its a choice,…. so i pity those foreigners who are a victim by choice and doin’ da pinoy cry…. 🙂

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