Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Expats View 3: Positive Views of the Philippines

I have seen several European countries and cities (been to Europe 4x), many US states and cities, Asian countries and cities, Sydney. But moving and living abroad never crossed my mind. There's just more fun here in the Philippines than abroad.

Below is a good piece by an Australian expat who has lived here close to four decades, has a Filipina wife and Philippine-born kids. Peter has nicely painted and written those experiences and observations, so I am posting his article today in full.

Enjoy, happy Holy Week vacation.

The things I love

2. The friendliness, the kindness. Wander into a party, even a family functions by mistake, they’ll invite you to join. Slip and fall, they’ll rush to pick you up.

3. The laughter. It’s everywhere, everyone is happy. The optimism charts are always way up there. And they see the joke, invariably make them.

4. The musicality. Filipinos can just sing. Karaoke is not the ear shattering experience of elsewhere, it’s a delight to listen to. Today a Filipina is at the top in American Idol. And it (over) flows into the arts, the artistic talent is captivating. The imagination, the beauty of design rivals anything Italy can produce.

5. The caring, the sharing. Filipino nurses and caregivers are deployed all over the world, caring for other people. They do back home too. Even the poorest will share a meal.

6. The loyalty and dedication. Employees, if they believe in you, work and work hard. They stay five, 10, 20 years.

7. Then there’s the beauty. Not just of the people (I wish I had a nice tanned skin) but of the countryside. I agree with Jimmy Sieczka, the inability to keep things clean, look after their environment is a sad distraction. Manila was a magnificent city, once.  But go anywhere in the countryside and the sheer beauty just strikes you.

8. And you can enjoy it all in weather that is sunny and hot ever so much of the time. There are only 2 seasons: Wet and dry. And the dry is for much longer. You can see the sun when it rises, and the sunsets are spectacular.

9. The excitement. Ride the rapids, surf the monster waves, or climbs perilous cliffs, it’s all there. But it’s the day-to-day living too. No day is a dull one. This leads to:

10. The unexpected. Things just aren’t boringly predictable (sorry Singapore). You never know how things will turn out till they do. And generally in a fun way.

11. Chaos. Traffic is a nightmare―if you’re a foreigner. It’s a piece of cake to Filipinos. Watch them weave into and through the mess, and get to their destination. Disorganization must be a Tagalog word because it is Philippine society: Disorganized, chaotic, working.

12. Vibrancy. There’s vibrancy behind it all that just stands out. It’s all around you, the air is full of it.

13. The adventure. Every trip is one. Nothing is easy to get to, you can’t just fly in. A two-hour jeepney ride is a given. You can swim with whales and dolphins, and dive some of the most beautiful reefs in the world.

14. Then there’s the reverence for the elderly. They’re not just discarded, they’re acknowledged, respected, looked after. If you want a place to retire, this is it. It’s because of:

15. Weather that is 20-30°c all year round, sunshine 280 days out of the 365. A T-shirt and shorts are just fine. Maybe a light jacket for those ever so occasional cool nights, and the restaurant air conditioning. And the range of restaurants is amazing, the world’s cuisine is here.

16. Commendable health services. The doctors have always been of the best, many overseas-trained in post-grad work. The weakness of no modern hospitals is no more.

17. The low cost then appeals. Not just for health services, but certainly that’s a factor (a doctor’s visit is around US$12). Whatever you buy it’s at a fraction of the cost in the Western world.

18. The safety. Yes, safety. What the Muslim renegades are doing in the South is some 900 kilometers from Manila. The communist party’s forays are few. Theft, mugging are no worse than in any country today. Even less I’d venture. Visit the right places, take a little care and the Philippines is as safe as anywhere.

19. The politics. The sheer absurdity of so much of it is thoroughly enjoyable. It’s fun to watch, to read, to wonder at the intricacies of it all.

20. Then there’s one missing: Jai-alai. I’ll never forget the excitement and wonder of that ever so rapid game when I first saw it. Some misbegotten souls banned it because of the gambling. Well the problem wasn’t jai-alai, it was gambling. Now gambling is legal, let’s bring Jai-alai back, rebuild the fronton as it once was.

21. Stretching a piece of string. Whatever you do can always be extended, you can go that extra mile. You can achieve just that little bit more. You can reach what the ladder won’t; the people and systems give you the ability to do so.

See also:
Expats View 1: Some Drastic Government Moves, August 06, 2010
Expats View 2: On Personal Responsibility, January 20, 2012
Abolish Income Tax 7: Rene Azurin, Peter Wallace, John Mangun, August 19, 2011


Unknown said...

One of my first blog posts was about Cebu. I did not delve into the day-to-day things, as did Peter Wallace, but I still found things to be wonderful.

Bienvenido Oplas Jr said...

Thanks Micky. I reposted your observations of Cebu in my travel blog,

Expat CPA said...

I loved your list! Traffic one is my favorite! So true!