Changing the Philippines one step at a time

The most talked about thing on the Philippines in forums is generally complaints. But my question would be what are you doing about the things that are bugging you to make things better? Most issues are small but one of the biggest ones is immigration visa costs. Which I would simply say if you can get on a better visa than the tourist one do it! a lot of the problem is people find it easy to go every couple of months but then when it comes around complain about it. Ok not all of us are married but then again have you done anything to try and get a new visa type added? There are literally thousands of expats in the Philippines and believe it or not there are parts of the Philippines government that value tourism aswell as people retiring here. So writing a letter or two as a group could actually start the foundations of something better for all. Why don’t I do it? Because I’m getting a new type of visa this time anyway after the expense and hassles of last year. But it doesn’t mean I wouldn’t be interested in helping others as the Philippines is my home and the success of the country is as important to me so I will do what I can. If the opportunity arises I will try and raise the concerns of the expat community and see if we can do something about the increases. Because lets face it we put a lot of money into the economy and a lot of it is what I call “dead money” may not sound a nice term but the idea being the money doesn’t leave the Philippines your here to retire and spend your last days. When you do pass on the money is still in the country which is a lot more than I can say what I do in the UK which is empty my account each week to send it home like every other OFW.

Moving onto other subjects like the neighbourhood if the outside of your place looks shabby do something about it. If you have high walls maybe adding some plants to the top will discourage break ins but even if graffiti appears it will slowly hang over the top of it and hide it. One thing i discourage is donations to neighbours etc.. Ok your fish heads and tails that most westerners don’t eat is fair enough because we would throw it out normally. But things like cash shouldn’t be done it doesn’t help anyone. Much better to get a neighbour working on your garden or painting a gate etc. than giving money for nothing.

I want to encourage more plants to grow in the area in the hope it makes it brighter and people start to look after it more. Everyone no doubt remembers passing a nice garden at some point and seeing how it contrasts to its surroundings. But there is nothing to stop that being an everyday thing along the road and something I think should start with your own home and maybe offer cuttings to neighbours etc. and letting it spread out amongst your sub-division or road. Not only would the neighbours be thankful of the gift but hopefully it will trail all along the road from house to house making it a more beautiful place to live.

illegal dumping is my gripe at the moment. Not because its there but the fact I don’t know the owner to get it cleared up. There is currently 3 Lots in front of my wife’s parents which is full of crap. Discarded papers, wrappers and 101 other things how I will get it sorted I’m not 100% I would ideally  like to approach the owners to set it up as a temporary play park for kids and get the rubbish removed. Doing it as a community project rather than a one man band as I think these sort of things have to involve everyone to get everyone to take care of it. I was a bit surprised about the lack of play areas for kids in Cebu but hopefully this will be a little corner we can make a difference.

Do I grumble too much? I’m not sure if I do as I know I talk a lot but its mainly down to so many things I want and need to do. I’m more of getting on with it than complaining about it type of person and I really want these things to work. Not for me but I’m hoping to help others make a difference. If i can cut down on rubbish dumping I know I can help impact in reducing Dengue aswell as other diseases because rubbish tips are homes of mosquitoes and rats. Maybe in 10 years time I will look back and think why didn’t I do something else instead of so much energy into helping others. But I’m hoping I will be sat there thinking look at the differences between then and now.