When I initially arrived here i was taken back by the greenery as the plane dropped through the sky onto Mactan island, Cebu. On arrival I met my now wife April who had met me at the Airport along with several of her relatives. A journey from the Airport towards Cebu itself I could see the place was run down and a friend described it as a post war country as it seems a war had just recently ended and awaiting rebuilding. Problem is its not rebuilding its stagnant except in small pockets of growth. Buildings are rundown, roads with potholes, electricity power cuts are all normal occurrences here.
The fact is opportunity is everywhere. The Philippines due to its make up of design has rich and poor with very little in between, this allows for a lot of growth of small to medium sized businesses if you can find the right niche. The main thing though is everything here seems to take a lot longer than it would elsewhere. For example developing a new business could be difficult to launch with an advertising campaign as most people I know don’t buy newspapers, listen to radio or even with the TV its not a major medium. Word of mouth is the biggest way to get things done which is always a slow trek. One thing that does work and you see all the political parties doing it is “FREE” T-Shirts because people love things that are free and spreading the word via shirts is probably one of the most economical ways to do it as the people will still be wearing your shirts in several months time.
Mindset and the fact you need to keep going are the important factors in staying afloat and getting successful here. You will go through many ventures some will fail, some be successful but the main thing is to keep going until something works well. Even the failed ventures may be recovered as there is always a resale market here or having something in a location that is cheaper rent but you can work on other projects at the same time it could become viable. I have found its easier to make P200 per venture than it is to try and make P3,000 from one. The important thing is time management, most people I see here will start something like an internet cafe and just sit there. Nothing to stop you earning money from doing work online, nothing to stop you adding bolt on businesses to it. Truth of the matter it all comes back to being switched on with a solid mindset to make it happen. Get it right and you will be able to enjoy life here. I know of several people in the younger generation of Expat’s here the odd thing is they seem to be mainly Scottish nationals (including myself) not sure why but thought it was worth a mention.
The Philippines does offer a future if your prepared to work for it. One thing I have discovered is the work ethic is very different to that of a Western mindset which is to our advantage. People wonder why the Chinese are successful wherever they go its down to the fact they will work for it and its the way you need to be. Get the setup right you could be sat in a position of early retirement before you hit 40. Doesn’t mean its all easy just means its possible and I find it a lot more viable here than I would in the UK.