Over the past 27 years, I have met many expats who are living in the Philippines. Some of the expats worked for foreign companies, some played basketball in the PBA (Philippine Basketball Association), some were engaging in business with their Filipina wives, some were military retirees who had spent time in the Philippines during their tour of duty and some were older retirees who retired to the Philippines.
Among the expats who retired to the Philippines, some married a local lady after their wife in their home country had passed away or else after a painful and often costly divorce. Some of the retirees have started a fabulous new life in the Philippines with a much younger wife and they are actually raising children in the Pearl of the Orient. Others have been married to the same Filipina for more than 20 years and they are enjoying their retirement life in Class & Style in one of the many islands around the country.
I am an easy-going, laid back guy from the Southern USA, who appreciates my friends and enjoy knowing my neighbors. I fell in love with the beautiful Filipino people, their vibrant culture and the gorgeous country exactly 27 years ago this month! My first trip to the Islands of Paradise and the year actually living here changed my life forever. I’ve embraced the Filipino culture with open acceptance and I am never unhappy. Sure, there are little things that can be annoying at times but those are nothing more than minor inconveniences and they do not have a major impact upon my life. Among my expat friends, the ones I enjoy hanging out with the most are those who have an attitude about the Philippines similar to mine and I know many! They are all a good bunch of guys, who are respectful to Filipinos, respectful to the colorful culture, abide by the way things are done here and because of their positive attitudes, they are also having the time of their lives in the Philippines.
I enjoy greeting the greeters! When you go to the large SM Department store, you will be greeted many times by the friendly sales staff, even as you are walking by in the store. No matter where you go in the Philippines, you will be greeted many times by the smiling locals. “Good morning, sir!” It is said as if they really mean it and most of them really do mean it.
Over the years, I have also met some expats who remind me of mean ole drunks who go to a bar looking for a fight! Whenever I meet these bad guys, they are always the same in that they are bitter and angry at the world and they would really be like this anywhere in the world. I really feel sorry for their wives who have to put up with them and instead of paradise, their lives are one endless hell.
Just the other day, I witnessed an expat scolding a waiter in a restaurant because the hamburger was not prepared the way it is in America. I have witnessed expats scolding the salesladies in department stores because they approached them and asked, “May, I help you, sir?” You can imagine their shock when the expat replied, “Hell no and get away from me and let me have my privacy to shop in peace. Run along and leave me alone!”
Some expats come to the Philippines to exploit the women and make money. They open bars and openly have girls for sale. Just last week in the Bacolod City area, an expat and his wife were arrested for human trafficking. They operated a cyber sex den in their home and some of the girls were age 14 and 15. When the whip comes down and these bar owners and cyber sex operators are arrested, they quickly realize that human trafficking is a non-bailable offense. Due to the slow wheels of justice turning, expats and locals alike may very well spend years in jail before their case goes to trial! Do not expect the American or other more developed country’s legal and justice system in the Philippines!
One older expat was married to a very beautiful younger Filipina and he tried to prostitute his wife to other expats for P40,000 per weekend. His wife was always crying and did not want this kind of life. One expat said this character needed to be taken out and horsewhipped. I agree!
I think we have all heard of the Ugly American and well, yep, he is here in the Philippines!
You will get a lot more mileage from your retirement to the Philippines if you are among the good guys. Regardless of one’s belief, Karma seems to always come back to us, whether it is good, bad or ugly!