How well are foreigners accepted by locals in the Philippines?

There are different varying degrees of how people accept foreigners. Some people will be very friendly in the hope they can get spin off work for example doing your laundry, cooking etc. Others are looking to be the new long term girlfriend or wife. All in all most people are pretty welcoming and probably more social than you would ever find in your own country. The population is generally friendly but with sometimes a sting. Because people assume its “ok” to ask to borrow money which often you would be lucky to get it back. I haven’t had this problem but I know of others that have although indirectly I have had people trying to sell me overpriced goods or assume they can pitch sales at me all day long which really does irritate me because if I want to buy something I will ask. I don’t want to buy a condo at an inflated price or a car they have stuck an extra P20,000 on for themselves because culturally in the UK I wouldn’t do it as a favour is a favour. On the other hand though I am very blunt on the matter and everyone seems to grasp the point not to do it.

When your travelling around you will hear “Hey Joe” or “Americano!” as kids yell out at you with smiles. You will also find you get an excessive amount of women smile at you and guys will generally raise eyebrows in a social hello once you become more localised.

All sounds great but are there any issues? There are plenty firstly people will try to overcharge such as taxis who “forget” to put the meter on then try to fleece you for 2 – 3 times the going rate. Rentals are overpriced to the foreigner but that’s why texting is important because by the time your renting its too late for them to hike the price. Markets generally have varying prices but I will only buy from vendors I can see the prices up front e.g Mangos at P40-Kg. Besides this you will get people at immigration when you go to sort your visa that will “express you” don;t waste your money it doesn’t take that long to wait and the extra they charge you would be better spent on your lunch in a nice restaurant after you have been to immigration.

Advantages of being a foreigner are when you go into a bank or anywhere selling something you suddenly get priority service even if you don’t ask for it. Reason being is the amount of money they think you are worth. Which sort of makes sense when most people here in Cebu are around P10,000 a month or below. So having even a small pension of P40,000 a month your already worth 4 x the custom of the average customer going into the bank. Same with buying in the malls because your likely to spend a lot more. I generally find in restaurants as well you will be approached by the manager or owner as there is nothing better than getting people with a guaranteed disposable income into your business and a foreigner has generally got it.

So all in all being a foreigner is accepted the only exception I would say is the stereotypes that people assume foreigners are. Which is Sexpats, drunks, noisy, arrogant and violent. Which in a lot of places I could agree as certain hotels for example are well known for its foreigners and the sex industry. Does mean we have to set a good example where we can to prove we are different.

5 comments for “How well are foreigners accepted by locals in the Philippines?

  1. Tropicalpenpals
    July 4, 2010 at 11:29 am

    Thanks 🙂

  2. Ofoo45
    July 4, 2010 at 7:27 am

    nice article

  3. Tropicalpenpals
    July 4, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    Being part of local life and willing to blend in is a major part of getting on. I think as people get older they get more critical of daily life and in another culture they often get arguementative if people can learn to understand that there are many things here we will never understand and just go with the flow and willing to accept some things are just the way they are and we can't change them. I think everyone would get on

  4. July 4, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    I had no problems during my stay in Cebu.
    People were open and honest and acsepted me as I did them, I was invited to share a meal or a short trip to a local beach or what ever.
    Mind you having a Filipina wife that lives local im sure did help and friends with local knowlage.

  5. Romeo Delima
    July 5, 2010 at 7:10 am

    That is right Matt. Some things have to be left as they are, unchanged. We locals tried to change those bad things but got frustrated in the end. Going against the grain is a whole lot tiring business. Most of the times I did that because I have that spirit built-in in me but I learnt to know which and when to accept things as unchangeable by me or by others. I leave that to the Almighty.