Some Americans shouldn’t think about Moving to the Philippines
Moving to the Philippines is a big, life-changing event. If you’ve never been here for more than a few days, you’re not likely to be familiar with the things you really should be familiar with. That’s why I recommend people to spend as much time here as they can on their first exploratory trip. Not during the hot season, of course. The best months are from November through February.
The Loss of Convenience
Unless you live in a very rural area in the United States, getting what you need is convenient for you. You need some random thing (or groceries), go to Walmart. You need things to fix up your house, go to Lowes or Home Depot. You need computer stuff, go to Best Buy or Fry’s Electronics. You need to buy clothes, go to JC Penney. These are all just examples of some of the places you can go in most cities in the United States.
I can still remember the husband and wife team that came to pick up our balikbayan boxes prior to us moving here in 2006. The term “balikbayan box” isn’t really the proper term for that instance because we weren’t sending anything to family or friends. We were sending our own household goods to ourselves for after our arrival on the other end.
The wife asked us why we were moving to the Philippines. We explained it to her the best we could and then she told us she never wanted to return to the Philippines because things were too convenient in Phoenix (where we lived in Arizona). “Too convenient” really meant just “convenient” but what the hey, she was a Filipina and she spoke Filipino English. Yes, there’s a difference between American and Filipino English and I can’t explain it in just a few sentences.
Moving to the Philippines is a Big Deal
Yes, even if you don’t think so. If you don’t have an escape plan should things go sideways, you’re asking for a world of hurt. Until you’re ready to settle down in the Philippines, you need to make sure you have enough money to pay your way back to the United States. That may or may not include your spouse, if you have a spouse.
I have a Facebook friend from Texas who used to live in the Philippines. He hated it here. He moved here because his wife is a Filipina. Being married to a Filipino or Filipina is usually why certain Americans attempt to make a life here after retiring in the United States. Anyway, he returned to the United States and he never has anything good to say about his time here or the Philippines in general.
I can’t blame the guy. His wife was from one of the worst areas in the Cebu province and that’s where they were living. That’s usually how it goes – the spouse of someone from the Philippines will usually move to the area where the spouse grew up or lived for the most years.
There are a lot of good reasons to live in the Philippines and a lot of bad reasons as well. I’ve written about moving to the Philippines on multiple occasions, but nothing beats the experience of actually living here.
If you’re thinking of moving to the Philippines, consider this: Nothing’s convenient, even in the shopping areas of Manila. Traveling around the islands is better than it’s ever been, what with all the expressways being built, but getting around can take a lot longer than you might expect.
Moving to the Philippines requires an informed decision. Just because you don’t like what’s going on in the United States doesn’t mean the Philippines will be a better place for you.