As I spend more time here you start to see a pattern of those that managed to stay here the longest. You also see the survival rates in the first 6 – 12 months take the biggest hit as people get financially and emotionally burned. Now in their defence most of the traps are set before they arrive the recent murder of a Scotsman in Manila is typical where its being sold as a love triangle where its more than likely just a setup for a robbery of a Mariner as they know he had a lot of money on hand. The love triangle thing is very likely untrue but him trusting people wasn’t. You talk to guys that have been here a while their list of people they trust is a lot shorter than you would believe. Its not because they are paranoid or thrifty on cash most have experienced it first or second hand in some way. Not always big problems as a lot wouldn’t still be here if they were but often its the mentality of things that get to people more than anything. A discussion came up yesterday with a friend of mine about something else, this guy had created jobs for some of his wife’s relatives and in return when kids were sick they wanted P5,000 for medicines at which point he said he would go to the Pharmacy himself same with funeral costs of another relative an extra P10,000 was needed for the burial could he pay it.. both occasions he checked it out himself to find out the people concerned were fully insured the relatives just wanted to use the foreigner as an ATM cashing in on other peoples suffering. You talk to people who have restaurants and other businesses here they make them as tight clad as possible as they know theft is going to try and happen. Generally they trust nobody when it comes to business and they are right. The person who has worked for you for several years is just as likely to rob you as the person who started yesterday. Not in an armed robbery type of way but I know of chefs bringing in their own meat to sell at restaurants, relatives skimming all the takings from a restaurant as well as stocking the place with their own produce at night and its not always the obvious industries that get affected. A friend of mine has a fishing lake where he was breeding and fattening fish his caretaker went on the lake at night with a small boat and fish food as the fish are used to being hand reared he would through the food then net the fish once they swarmed. The lake was finally harvested to find it was virtually empty as it was not only large fish the caretaker had taken but also the fry. The owner only found out because his neighbours had told him the caretaker had been eating the fish as well as selling them to people in the area.
So after a long introduction how do you survive how do you get through the first 12 months? The golden rules would be :-
- Nobody says you have to get married.
- Nobody says you have to settle down and have a family.
- Nobody says you have to buy a house or land.
- Nobody says you have to take on the burden of relatives.
- Nobody says you have to form up a business/company.
- Nobody says you have to believe everything I say!
Now before someone’s quick off the mark saying all the above will happen my point is nothing says YOU have to.
Marriage is something that should be taken seriously and not jumped into I have seen it lots of times here and I wouldn’t advise anyone to do it for at least a year of knowing each other as there are a lot of things under the surface that you may not be aware of for some time not all bad but may affect your decision to get married once it all becomes out in the open.
Kids in the Philippines are expensive because the whole system is based on scrambling to the top. Best schools equals best jobs and a better chance to get abroad for the kids future and it doesn’t come cheap or free a good school is easily P5,000+ a month and the standards of education and social standing vary depending what school your kids went to. Now I am anti elitist at the same time I have either to build a big enough business setup that it can support the kids in the future or I am going to have to throw them into the rat race at some point myself either way its not cheap or easy.
You can buy a house and land if you want
only problem is you don’t own it! I have seen this go wrong for so many people and it normally happens a lot sooner than expected. Rentals are cheap and if you have cash available roll it in something more viable and use the interest to pay the rent.
You don’t have to take on the burden of family
You will see a lot of smiles from people on your arrival and at various times there are a good chance you will see why they are so happy its not always about you but your money. Not always but I have only heard positive from 3 people in nearly 3 years compared to the hundreds of people I have met. I don’t say all the family is bad but you will get a percentage that will take you for a ride given the opportunity. I was one of those people who “trusted” some people to later find they would take the shirt from your back given half the chance.
Businesses are for business minded
You don’t know the country, you don’t know how people work or how to get them to do the work it takes time. If you want to start a business start something small as the problems are the same regardless of size. After time you will understand some of the cultural things which will mean your business can grow if you decide to do it at the same time you might find it easier to find something in your home country to do and just hop in and out of the Philippines. What sort of things do I mean? Well a friend had to spend 2 weeks sorting out paperwork an administrator was doing because “she felt lazy sometimes to put receipt numbers on the paperwork”. Or maybe its the people that don’t go to work because its raining. Well they may seem bizarre excuses and to me they are but they are also true accounts of things people do. Same as another friend has several Jeepney’s out on routes if the drivers have a good day you might not see them for 3 days as they have enough money for the next few days. Meaning his vehicles make no money as they are sat up. Happens several times a month and its why he has added 3 – 7 days extra as “lost days” now if you had worked out loans on the vehicles and income needed to cover the debts you could really be screwed as you may not have accounted for the lost days. A lot of Filipino’s culturally look to the day not the month or the year and its not about to change anytime soon.
You don’t have to believe everything I say
Because I don’t want you to! I want you to think, look and learn before committing into things the whole point of my articles are information they are not gospel documents they are experiences I am aware of and its reading but having your own thoughts on it that is important. I have seen so many people here ignore good advice purely because they don’t want to admit it then come whining when their lovely girlfriend who worked as a sex worker for the last few years has several boyfriends coming in and out of the country and fleeces them out of every peso they have. Its not always as obvious as a case like that which is why you have to use the grey matter t
o work out what’s what yourself. If you want advice or help its here and I am happy to help where I can at the same time I can only help you if you help yourself.