When was the last time it happened to you? That eerie feeling that you have been some place before, a person you see for the first time but it feels like you met them long ago or you are doing something and you say to yourself, “hey, didn't I do this very same thing in the past but..how could I?” Welcome to the Philippines! At least this has been my experience concerning various things involving the Philippines over the years.
I have spoken to many expats in the Philippines over the past 27 years, among those who either live in the Philippines or else who spend quality time here on a regular basis. Many of us share similar experiences. Not long ago, an expat told me that fate brought him to the Philippines, as almost until the very day he was on his way, he never had any plans of visiting the Philippines!
Strange things happen in the Philippines! You can expect the unexplainable at times. Superstitions are a very important part of the Filipino culture but not all Filipinos follow these superstitions or act upon them. I hear of some superstition almost every day from my wife and Filipino friends but they say that some of these things are not superstitions at all. Such as whistling when it is a hot day to bring forth a cool breeze! Ever heard of that one? I even catch myself doing it.
Many people get hooked on the feeling of the Philippine experience from their very first encounter and there is something there that some cannot really put their finger on. I have been to Japan and Korea several times and I lived in the Hong Kong-Mainland China area for 9 years. However, I never once felt the extreme personal connection with those countries as I did with the Philippines, which occurred my very first visit way back in 1986.
I am certainly not saying that you will become bewitched to move and live in the Philippines, however, there is a very powerful attraction to moving here or spending as much time as possible in the Pearl of the Orient. Certainly not everyone has this experience about the Islands of Paradise but many do.
When I met the beautiful lady with very long hair from Negros Occidental, Philippines for the very first time in 2002, it was Deju Vu all over again! Riding the Star Ferry, going to the malls of Kowloon, eating lunch together all seemed like we had done all these things together before but that was impossible. What I felt was far more than an attraction, far more than compatibility but rather the powerful feeling that we had known one another for many years! To cut a long story short, 20 months later, this beautiful lady with very long hair from Negros Occidental, Philippines and I were married. This Christmas, we will celebrate our 10th Wedding Anniversary.
There are more than 300,000 US citizens living full time in the Philippines and this, of course, does not include all the thousands of other expats living here from many other countries. I am sure you have heard some horror stories from disgruntled expats and I do not doubt that they had a bad experience, as no place in the world is perfect. That was their own personal experience but not the experience of the vast majority.
I would tell my English Major Chinese students, when I was teaching them, “Your future is only limited by your imagination.” I think some of the late Rod Serling's words about the Twilight Zone hold true about the Philippines, although the Philippines is very far from being a horror show. “You unlock this door with the key of imagination.”
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