I hopped in and out of the Philippines since the end of 2007 but this has been the longest run so far in the country and there is something that changes over time. I noticed on previous visits that after about three months you start to become a bit restless and all I can put it down to is the end of the holiday period when you switch from tourist to living here. Because as a tourist the financial side isn’t too much of a strain, the day to day things that leave westerners puzzled doesn’t matter because its temporary and issues with relatives don’t really matter as you will soon be back in the UK for a “work break”. So what happens after the three months become six and six becomes nine? I have found you start to work round things, you can’t find a great plumber, tiler or most other trades due to most of the good ones have become OFW’s with a ratio of around 1 in 10 Filipinos abroad your going to get brain drain and skill shortages all over the place. So you start to realise doing a bit of DIY is not only interesting and keeps you busy but often necessary. Planning to do something within a few days can soon become weeks and the whole point of planning seems to be just have a tick list rather than one that is on a time scale. Doesn’t mean its always going to be out but more often than not the order will be. Generally I like to work things in a methodical manner but due to supply shortages things need to be ordered etc you will sometimes find your creating more work for yourself due to the order your forced to do it in to try and stay on schedule.
Another thing I noticed is how much people I actually know and also the number of people who may seem online Cebu residents but so many of them aren’t here full time which does create a problem sometimes when everyone wants you to go out while they are in town. Once your a resident and not the tourist though your wallet comes with a lock and key to try and keep the budgets on target for expansion.
I have also find its easier to understand and manage things if here. Or should I say I understand more of the problems than I was aware of before. Some things will never make sense to me but every now and again I get surprised by something being better than expected or that a work around is found that I couldn’t have seen from Western eyes. Either way it keeps life interesting.
I am also finding my work schedule is just as hectic as the UK if not more as I can’t plan it the way I like things. The main thing for us now though is everything is stable and now we can start planning for the future. The big problem at the moment is locating a good lot for us to start our new construction and finally start the build of our own home. Renting is cheap here and viable in most cases but as my friend Andrew says I have an obsession with construction which is fair comment after nearly 20 years it does get into the blood somewhat.