Everything comes down to one thing in life and its being happy, not the shiny new car or the expensive lifestyle as often the money just leads and people get dragged along putting their thoughts and dreams on hold for material things and what seems to be the essentials. Buying a car to get to work, buying a house and being stuck with a 25 year mortgage. These things hold us back. The happiest people I know are based on being content with what they have and they seem to have severe interests in particular hobbies that keep them from getting bored as well. The Philippines in all its glory can offer up a world of change and its up to the individual if it will make you happy. You will come across people promoting wealth as its the only thing in their life that matters at the same time others that are quite happily plodding along with life rich or poor and its that what is probably more accessible here than other countries especially for Expats. There seems to be no real line drawn about class in the expat societies that exist. Doesn’t mean your always going to like what you see at the same time it does mean you will probably meet people that you may never have met otherwise due to the openness of the expat communities.
Most Expats are willing to spend time giving advice and will help out a fellow expat if they can. People come from all walks of life and its that which makes the community interesting. At the same time within the Filipino communities you will find the dividing lines in a different way everyone is friendly and generally most people are welcoming especially to foreigners. The issues I have personally come across as well as several other people I know has been down to people using the friendship for leverage for business. Which in most case I don’t mind except when there is an expectation of being able to overcharge someone just because they are a foreigner. But saying that seen a few expat conmen here in my time as well generally the best way for things to go for a happy life is make the friends you share the same circles and interest and happily let everyone else do their own thing. Just makes life a lot less complicated, for people moving here full-time though with limited resources it will be a difficult journey unless you can find a job or having a way of making money offshore. There is money to be made locally but its not easy to come by and often the return on investment is a lot longer than most people are prepared to wait.
The weather, the beautiful women and the fact rentals can be cheap as well as being able to move around from island to island are all things that can make the Philippines unique and interesting every day. As I advised a friend last year that was unhappy with his location and problems with the neighbours was why bog yourself down with it just move. Another good reason to rent instead of own a property.
Myself I am content here in Cebu although itching to travel the whole of Cebu island before heading on to a different island a month to explore. Having that freedom to move around gives a unique mini holiday every month as well as a more in depth exploration of the country to parts the West hasn’t changed as much or even better unspoiled. May not be what everyone would find interesting but that’s the thing about the Philippines there are a lot of things to do and see but often you will need to spend time finding them. Happiness is deciding what makes you happy and making it happen, for me the initial thing was security followed by travel. Now travel is looking more likely to happen regularly new camera equipment would make life more interesting especially for sharing over the web. Others it could be just simply having a relaxing life to live out the days in warm weather its really up to you to make it or break it.