I know several expats in the Philippines who do not have any foreign friends by their own choice. They told me that most foreigners here are more trouble than they are worth. I haven't reached that point but I can very well see where they are coming from. Many had bad experiences in the Philippines with other foreigners but they get along extremely well with Filipinos. I certainly don't find this surprising.
One American told me in Bacolod about another American who dropped by his house one evening and said he needed a drink. While he went to the kitchen to get a beer from the refrigerator, he heard his wife yelling at the American. He immediately returned to the living room. His wife told him that the other American had put his hands on her. He told me he wanted to break the guy's neck but ordered him to leave and never come back. He did. Without so much as an apology, not that it would have mattered.
A Friend Or A Crab?
There are a number of foreigners I consider friends, not only in the Bacolod Area but around the Philippines and some who split their time in their home country and the Philippines. I also know a number of other foreign acquaintances who I could not really call a friend. I certainly agree that some foreign friends will turn on you in a heartbeat and stab you in the back. They smile to your face but behind the scenes are doing things that are not in your best interest.
As I have said all along, the worse cases of crab mentality I have ever seen in the Philippines belong to foreigners, not Filipinos. However, they forget about Karma.
Where I come from, you stand up for your friends. You have their back. That's what friends are for.
I recall the day in the Philippines, when there were not as many foreigners actually living in the Philippines, most expats were close and were indeed friends. However, those days are long gone.
For those who have not spent much time in the Philippines, every foreigner you meet here is not your friend and all are not going to be your friend. Many won't even look you in the eye or even respond to “How's it going?” Not even with a head nod. This is fine with me. I didn't move to the Philippines to hang out with foreigners all the time. If I wanted that, I would have gone back to Florida long ago.
I have Filipino friends going back almost 30 years. Never had a single problem from any of them. Not once. For sure, I have many more Filipino friends than foreign friends. They all value friendship but that is the way it is with most Filipinos I have met. They would do anything they can for you and they are there when you need them, if you need them. Filipino friends are very important to have when you are living in the Philippines, at least in my opinion and based on my personal experience.
Many foreigners inquire about an expat community before they move to the Philippines. Overall, I think Bacolod City has a nice, friendly expat community. It is nice getting together once a month for lunch and having good fellowship. When we meet up, there are often more Filipinos at our luncheon than foreigners. All Filipino friends and family members. When we first moved to the Philippines in 2009, I was the only foreigner living in the entire barangay and there were only a few foreigners living in the entire municipality. I sure wasn't sad or lonely. I have many Filipino friends in the countryside. All great guys I know I can trust.
While many are concerned about Filipinos when they move to the Philippines, my advice is to be very careful who you befriend in the expat community where you intend to live. There are a number of misfits of foreign society, who have retired to the Philippines.
People are people … doesn’t really matter where one comes from at the end of the day …. life is a mosaic of characters and there are good and bad, positive and negative, honest and dishonest people in every country, every culture, every society, and every religion. From my 17 years ++ living as an expat in Asia, I think a fair observation is there are no more and no less trustworthy expats than anybody else. At the end of the day, choose friends, wherever they may come from, wisely and be true as a friend by being honest to others and respecting their differences. If they jab a knife in your back it is their loss as it will be them who loses you, a “true friend who values friendship” in their lives. I don’t see any of this as an expat problem, flawed characters are everywhere.
well said. In my 8th year of visiting 2x a year…..my 15th trip leaving tomorrow for a month there. I have seen my share of good and bad. I am careful of the “hard luck stories” told by xpats in Bars mostly. Filipinos know better, but do ask me a lot to “invest” in a business with them…which is a no no…… They are feeling you out, trying to get a “fix” on you and your finances for the most part. I know of one friend from Californa who is on anti depressants, and had his mom die recently, very Vulnerable!!!! He got drunk and was out $15,000 at the end of the week….the “misfits” love that….an easy mark…..and will pray on that until the money dries up. Then they move on to the next mark…..Of course, you must be careful…..with xpats and locals alike. I have met some wonderful people and stay in touch with a few, often meeting them every trip for drinks, dinner, etc. One must be careful when the subject of “money” come up with all sorts of people.
My experience is similar. Occasional issues with Filipinos and with expats. In both cases, the individuals generally tend to be “fringe” elements. Often, there is a reason why they left their own country and that reason followed them to the PI.
Phil White says
Married to my wonderful Filipino wife 5 yrs now. Been to the Philippines 2 times. Enjoy going to the SM mall. Try to talk to other foreigners. They just not friendly like they are hiding from the law But my Filipino family makes up for it. I enjoy my visit their. They live in Benit If you are familiar with this country you know thier is no place to spend money.. So we enjoy are visit very much. I hope when we move their in 2 yrs we fine friends outside are family.
Your article mentions a “lunch get-together”. I have just moved to Bacolod and would be interested in such an event. Can you give me more details. Thank you
Gary McMurrain says
You can contact me privately by email. It is gary AT retiringtothephilippines.com
~ Gary ~
You’ve often mentioned crab mentality. I understand crab mentality in the sense that crabs pull each other back when one or more tries to escape “the bucket” or their current environment. Am I using the term in the same way you do? If so, would you describe instances that lead you to say your experience makes it more applicable to expats than Filipinos?
Gary McMurrain says
Yes, crab mentality is much like jealousy. Because I am successful, there have been a few foreigners in the Philippines who resorted to attempts of character assassination. There isn’t any dirt in my life,so they make up the dirt. Lies.
Some have failed relationships and they try to steer others away from the ladies in the Philippines, based solely on their poor choices that did not work out. I’ve been happily married for 12 years to a wonderful Filipina.
I could give many more examples but I think this topic is best for the RTTP Forum.
~ Gary ~
Gary, during one of my early visits to the Philippines I saw a light-skinned foreigner and walked up to him to see if he was an American. It turned out that he was a Norwegian. I think he had been drinking dill pickle juice all day, for he was sour and negative and unfriendly. I did not even try to talk with him after that. As you say, it makes one wonder what their motives are for being in the Philippines.