Since even before arriving in the Philippines I have been an active member of many forums and several times I have left to eventually return after realising a lot of drivel gets put out and it miss guides peoples directions on coming to the Philippines. The “come to Paradise and live like a king!” (just send me lots of money and I will tell you how but happen to forget to mention the books are worthless and the original contents are out of date). Or the constant bickering between older generations of expats with opinions on everything but little experience on most. I have listened to Expat’s tell me how to live in the province yet they live in a gated sub-division community and have never gone further than a mall. The business mind that has based all the information he gives on things he thinks rather than has experienced. It all goes round in circles time and time again to the point most people arrive get a mixed view of things at best and at worst they may actually believe the information.
Is the Philippines a paradise? it can be its what YOU see as paradise. I have sustainable incomes, I can get out of bed at 11am without someone whining why do I get up so late yet I work during the night. I live on an island where the beaches are nearby but have great beaches further south within a 45min ride. I have 4 holiday resorts nearby with nice pools and cheap rental facilities. I can be in the city within 20mins and shop round malls that have more stuff than I will ever need. I am developing businesses in several directions to a prosperous future and at the same time reducing costs. Am i living in Paradise?
For me I have everything I need a beautiful wife and children. A small house but we are currently in the process of organising a bigger one. We have an apartment and likely to increase the rental portfolio this year on another lot once we secure the seller. Gadget wise we have more than enough and people complain about the cost of electronics but they obviously haven’t lived in the UK. Buying premium or luxury goods are on par with the same in the UK pricewise and quality. Where people get caught out is buying none branded as a lot of stuff is surplus.. but at the same time how many times do you need to buy a plasma TV or a top of the line refrigerator? They may be expensive to get the “right ones” but you should only ever need to buy them once. I never have to work again if I decided not to and some may assume I am broke because I limit my expenses but the truth of the matter is I have been increasing wealth in Cebu month on month for over two years I choose to drive a jeepy instead of wasting half a million pesos on a new car because half a million can buy me another lot which I can add apartments or use for something else. Ask anyone who bought a new car and had to go back to the U.K. for example how much money they lost on the vehicle selling it.. In reality us foreigners buy things cash as we have limited access to loans. Pinoy’s have the same problems but often they will buy new vehicles and properties on installments so where do you sell an expensive second hand car? If you leave it behind who can you trust with it to look after it until you come back?
all these questions need to be answered and you should do it before even thinking of coming as well as how do you dig yourself out of a hole if you lose your money on something or even better how are you going to be able to afford to live here long-term. You can make money regular here but it takes time to get it all going not because of the slowness of processing but getting reliable staff here is a real battle and something a lot of Expat’s forget or don’t understand. But remember the locals have the same problem! I have had friends have all their fish stocks stolen by their caretakers, others who had restaurants where the staff bring in their own food to cook and sell There are scams and thefts going to happen not a case of they might happen but they will.. You just need to prepare and work out how to beat them.
Every now and again I am made aware of rumours which at first I thought I was just being paranoid until I found out other expat’s had the same thing if you don’t fit into the normal grouping which are generally the 60+ generation which have little interest in business or actually generating anything positive out side of their own interests. Now personally age isn’t an issue even the Sexpats aren’t an issue because they don’t form in any part of my life and this is where a lot of people go wrong. They assume the Expat’s are a community when its actually a very splintered tree full of sub groups also I don’t have an issue with anyone here for being diverse or whatever they are upto but I do have an issue with people that will proactivily go about sabotaging myself and others. The way its generally done is someone approaches me or the other people with a request which could be business or something else. Then suddenly it just goes cold. This is what I have found every now and again and its down to people twisting a tangled web and putting spanners in the works on purpose.
The problem with putting spanners in the works the way its done it often doesn’t come to light the cause but more of a case we know who does it. Does it matter? Not really as most expat’s aren’t here for business but what does happening is what I currently do which is moving away more and more from the expats and I have noticed the long-term business people are often in the same mind.
Can I teach you how to make a successful life here? I wouldn’t even start to teach anyone.. I can offer advice on things I know that work and Tropicalpenpals.com is full of articles on things that can and do work. But don’t expect to arrive and just throw money at something and expect it to work overnight. Everything I have developed here has been over a period of time and an important factor is I think in Pesos not Pounds or Dollars. I don’t think thats only P300 for the day from a venture I see that the food for the day is paid for. I sub divide ways to make money and use them to help each thing develop. Lots of people will quickly point out to you Sari-Sari’s don’t work. On a Saturday afternoon we offload crates of RC Coke and beer and its at a location that doesn’t require staff because people are already there. On top of that we sell kids ice-pops and ice water we make about P1 on each item not a lot right? but some of the kids can be eating 5 ice-pops an hour and if you live anywhere in the Philippines you will know how many kids are in any neighbourhood.Then there are the general stocks which
are the day to day things people come from as well as buying sacks of rice and sub-dividing it into kilos as most people can’t afford sacks they are living day to day. Does it make a lot of profit? Well if you look at the stock in both photos and tally it up this originally started with a few crates of beer and has just rolled profit for about 2 months. Another thing to remember is people don’t like to travel so if your a street nearer they will go to you even if your a little bit more expensive.
Before we started the Sari-Sari we started selling snack packs in the net-cafe aswell and some of them you wonder how you make a profit on a pack of 24 when they are P1 each and you only make P3 on the full pack.. how? because kids buy junk food regular pork scratching’s in vinegar we can sell upto 12 packs to one kid in a day not including other buyers.. Its all small profits but its all being run by the same person who is operating the net cafe. The big picture is the Sari-Sari is costing nothing to run. The netcafe provides enough for salaries,electric and internet for not only itself but the main house and the first apartment. As well as a profit on all the ventures.
If you tied up the incomes from the Sari-Sari the net-cafe and the apartment we already earn more than most people do on their pensions and these aren’t our main source of monthly income. But the other things are like having bottles of coke delivered you may drink some yourself every day and they cost upto P5 for a 220ml bottle but a can in a supermarket is P22+ so you are already saving money just by not buying cans and drinking the bottles instead. I am tight with the money when I need to be which is why we have stopped spending at the moment as I have a new development that needs more funds.
But getting back to the point of this post if your a user of any of the forums you will see the amount of responses I have given has reduced in the last 18 months and from today I won’t be using any of the forums at all. For me they have run their course and I have encouraged people to work together to get things moving positively but things just constantly side step or go backwards. So re-evaluating the time I waste on forums I am just going to delete them from my browsers and stop using them completely. The blogs at Tropicalpenpals.com will still be up and the CebuExpat.com will be a development that I will continue to build on at the same time I am still accessible via emails and the usual channels but no longer via forums as I won’t be logging back into them.