I’m about 11 days away from my 10th anniversary of living in the Philippines. I still haven’t figured out what attracts foreigners here. I really can’t speak for foreigners other than Americans and Filipino-Americans (usually dual-citizens) living here, so I won’t. I probably can’t speak for Americans either. I’ve met a few foreigners who weren’t from the United States while living here and not one of them had bad things to say about it. The only people who’ve ever said anything bad about the Philippines are those people who didn’t want to be here in the first place, usually coming here at the insistence of a spouse or something.
The Philippines Department of Tourism started the “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” slogan back in 2010. It’s hard to find the actual date – the website for the Department of Tourism redirects to the “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” website.
Shortly after the launch, a long-lasting meme to poke fun at the slogan started. Just yesterday, I spotted yet another meme picture on Facebook. If you bring up Google Image Search and enter “it’s more fun in the philippines parody”, you can see some of the outlandish pictures attributed to the slogan, which aren’t endorsed by the Philippine Department of Tourism. I’ll be posting some of them to Facebook (maybe more than some).
At one time, I would have said familiarity due to all the military service people who came and went up until the base closures in the early 1990s. A lot of military retirees ended up here and a lot of them are still here (and old). I’m one of them, but I moved here about 15 years after the base closures. Heck, I didn’t retire from the military until 1998.
Other than tourism, I can’t honestly say what the attraction is today. I can guess. Could it be the fact that big brother isn’t watching here? Could it be that racism isn’t nearly as visible? For the men, could it be the beautiful women? Is it the beaches? It can’t be the hot and humid dry season.
I came here for retirement. I have no idea what other people come here for, other than visiting their relatives or doing tourism things. Or visiting their relatives who retired here.
It’s a long story. Karel De Pape is from some place in Belgium. He doesn’t live in a city. He visits a girlfriend in metro Manila (Las Piñas, actually) who’s somewhat related to the girlfriend of one of my nephews. From what I understand, he tries to visit twice a year.
He was here, along with his sister and brother-in-law, in December of last year and January of this year. They only stayed at my place for two or three days of each month, but they stayed in the Philippines for at least of month. All of them spoke English very well, better than a lot of Filipinos, which surprised me.
Anyway, Karel loves it in the Philippines. He loved it before he met his girlfriend. The population of the entire country of Belgium is around 11 million, less than the population of metro Manila. Someday, I hope to visit Karel and his relatives while they’re in Belgium.
By: RT Cunningham
March 24, 2016
Expats and Foreigners
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