Live In The Philippines?

After 4 years I do question why live in the Philippines when there are other alternatives out there at the same time these are personal thoughts rather than asking why do other people live here. As we know many are here because they can get a reasonable life here for not a lot of money, or more importantly they come here to get a young wife or girlfriend and retire. I am not of that age and I find the life often too slow here too enjoy.

Back in the UK the rules and regulations tied to everything make it a pain to do things at the same time process of everything pretty much has been laid out with specific times, places and generally you can find and do whatever you want when you want. The Philippines on the other hand generally you can’t even get a fixed price out of government officials for things like visa’s as there is always someone abusing the system somewhere. Not all bad as you can ride a motorbike without a helmet in the provinces, drive without a license most of the time, drinking at anytime of the day is acceptable and generally its just a laid back society that isn’t in a rush to go anywhere.

But that’s where the problem lies I need access to technology that simply isn’t available here unless its at a huge premium and often its second hand more than it would cost new. There is a huge scope for business development internally in the Philippines to service its housing industry from local products as well as utilizing the local woods to make modern and custom furniture to suit peoples needs. The big issue is why aren’t more people filling in these gaps in the market as its things people want and can’t find. The food products may not bother too many people yet me and my wife love cooking yet we aren’t prepared to be robbed for overpriced goods yet at the same time we just had to wait over a month for cheese to be back in stock at a local supermarket. Often embargo’s stop things coming in when quotas are reached which may be something the UK should be doing with a lot of sub standard Chinese goods to help reduce imports to the UK.

But for a 30 something family I find the Philippines offers little in development right now that could benefit the family. Yes there are business opportunities at the same time I need more investment and shipping in some specific tools. At the same time we need more land and workshop area that we can utilize. Its one of the benefits of the Philippines that its building codes aren’t to well followed between industrial, residential and agriculture. Unlike the UK where I had a dispute over a building I had that was classified as an engineering works with an allowance for 10% space for a “shop” yet I was using it for carpentry and joinery which would mean reapplying for planning permission as it wasn’t engineering even though it was a cleaner and quieter process than the last occupant. Just money for old rope which is why the Philippines in the way it differs can give some great opportunities, I just need more capital to expand out. If business had expanded at the rate I had expected and with the budgets I had anticipated it would have all made sense. Generally though I find people let you down too often when it comes to the crunch of closing a deal for materials or something else that is a major importance to the business as well as things taking way too long than I am happy to work with. All of this has literally seen the last 2 years going at a pace I would have completed in 3 months in the UK.

Now for many to Live in the Philippines these issues wouldn’t matter as the majority of people aren’t interested in business they are either retired, have money offshore or just travelling. But the thing is if you do live in the Philippines full-time what do you do? As I know many people cut back on their lifestyles to be here which means things like motorbike trekking around the country, diving and travel become very limited due to peoples budgets. That isn’t for me as I enjoy travelling and I enjoy experiencing new things. At the moment we have a constant budget that is sustainable but growth is too slow to keep me happy in the country. I am looking to increase my income here by at least P150,000 a month to put us to a standard I would be looking to have here long term. Currently the only solution to that is going back to the UK and at the same time the education system is paramount to our children’s development. Another solid reason for the UK as I want our children to question things in life as to why this and that exist rather than just reading and taking exams without a true understanding of how things really are in the world. Opening a child’s mind enhances their future possibilities and I can’t see that happening right now in the Philippines for us. But for most other people they haven’t got kids here so its another thing that isn’t a problem for most.