In the time ive been in the expat community in the Philippines generally everyone fits into one of the four stereotypes above. The friends are the hardest to find as even in general life good friends are rare without moving to a limited community. Also the con men are at different levels could be the one selling gold that doesn’t exist or an e-book that isn’t worth the time of day. Real information is difficult to source and generally time consuming if you think the answers are in an e-book I would ask you to look around at where you live now and tell me could you write a good e-book on how to move,live and survive there ?
There are experts and exberts the exberts are the ones who think they have done it all and have plenty to say on every aspect of what you are trying to achieve. The difference is an expert will generally have positive information and wish you success with the ideas. Also very likely if the project is likely to fail they have already tried it and can probably tell you the pitfalls they had. But the experts are there and there are some very smart people amongst the community with a wealth of experience aswell. There is no clear quick solution to finding who is who its more a suck it and see approach.
But the one that can be the hardest to find of all is the true expat who lives, and breathes the Philippines each day. They have adapted and developed businesses and really are integrated. Generally they have little interest in forums or the politics involved round them simply because they are part of the country even though in many cases still regarded as an outsider. Doesn’t mean they are unfriendly but I think if your working full-time what real benefit does a forum bring to your life unless you are trying to help others but it would literally mean your spending a lot of time doing something that is a daily thing to you its no longer out of the ordinary. There is also the factor of getting fed up with a lot of the people on forums that you put up when you first setup which turns you off the idea and if you have other things to get on with it could quite easily be time to switch off the PC and play golf instead.
I think the term enemy may be a bit strong for the last type of people but its more they are looking for the new expat to find a way to make money. Its fine to make a living but sometimes I find the methods are a bit extreme. I have met people that are simply networking with everyone to find out how people benefit them. They pick and choose what they want and when they want it. Which is fine if they were honest about they way they operate. Simply I haven’t got the time or interest in these type of guys as you cant trust them on any level as if they are buying you a beer no doubt they are earning a crate or more off your back somewhere else. What I do like about the expat community though online is you can ask opinions on people and generally they will tell you things about background information. Which sort of gives you the truth or at least another perspective on some people so you know not to let your guard down. I treat life in the Philippines often with a business mentality not always because its business related but it does allow you to think a little bit further ahead and distance yourself from things so you can think clearly.
There is a friend of mine who is currently struggling with a business because he was ripped off by another expat on its value and its not the first person. The issue is people arrive and assume they can trust people from home countries. Its probably the worst mistake to ever do as you instantly give them breathing space you wouldn’t normally give anyone else. The community talks about not being able to trust a lot of Filipinos but personally I think more should be said about the Expat community and some of the crooks amongst it. Don’t get me wrong generally most expats are harmless but if your looking to buy a house, buy a business, invest or anything else you really do need to look at the people you are dealing with because the airport is never to far away and there are plenty of other countries they can disappear into.