2014 was a very good year in the Philippines. It was a very good year for my family and I and it was a very good year for the country. There were a number of economic and cultural advances made this past year.
Some foreigners are still wearing their same crap colored glasses and one foreigner recently referred to the Philippines as a failed state. As always, some writers are critical and they only see the negative things that happened during 2014. Indeed, lives were lost due to storms in the islands. Corruption is still alive but hanging on. Crime is on the rise in the National Capital Region. There are still too many people living in poverty. These are all true. What about the great accomplishments this past year?
The Year That Was
The President's War on Corruption is paying off. There are several high profile law makers and other politicians behind bars, awaiting trial for various corruption charges. Most experts agree that corruption in the Philippines is institutionalized and it is not going away overnight, however, progress is evident in curbing corruption.
The Philippines is a much better climate for business investment than ever before. In 2014, Standard and Poor raised the Philippines Credit Rating to its highest in history, BBB. Moody's Investor Service raised the Philippines Investment Grade to BAA2. Great news! More foreign investors have confidence investing in the Philippines with their official economic upgrades and due to the obvious war on corruption.
SM North EDSA became the world's largest mall to be solar powered. A great accomplishment!
Vigan City, Illocos Sur, became one of the New 7 Wonders Cities of the World and a famous travel magazine named Palawan, Top Island of the World. The Philippines Department of Tourism is expecting an explosion in the number of visitors to the islands in 2015.
The Government's Social Services agencies are reaching more Filipinos than ever before and are delivering much needed services to the poor. Assistance with housing, food, tuition, medical care, job training skills development and small business financing are helping millions of Filipinos rise above poverty.
On The Home Front
My wife, our son and I experienced a very healthy year without any significant illnesses requiring treatment. We are thankful.
My wife and I celebrated another Wedding Anniversary on December 25. Life is fabulous when you have a best friend and soul mate as a lifetime partner.
We had the best rice harvest in October 2014 than we experienced since we began growing rice in 2009. Not only that but the price of rice per sack that we sold to the rice trader reached a milestone in its record price per sack. We are blessed.
My wife made an important adjustment to her taxi franchise in making it operate smoother and with less out of pocket expenses.
We made more friends among foreigners and Filipinos in adding to our other friends. It's great having friends you can trust.
2015 Can Be Your Year
Many people put together their personal New Years Resolutions and studies indicate that most fail in living up to those resolutions. It does not have to be that way. Don't be afraid to follow your dream and realize that if others can do it, so can you.
Steve and I are here to make your transition to the Philippines a smoother transition. Our RTTP Forum was busier this year, answering questions and giving advice from our regular Forum contributors. Many have not because they ask not.
I am wishing all of you a very healthy and prosperous 2015.