Living in the Philippines on a shoestring

I originally came to the Philippines in 2001 and like many others fell into the trap of seeing a world I wanted to be part of but financially ran out within 3 months. My return ticket had expired and there was no way to finance my way back home. My then girlfriend stuck with me through things and we moved from the place we were renting back to her parents. Not an ideal setup as I now relied on them for my daily needs as I had no work visa and very few ways of making any income. I had now learned what it was like to be poor. One of the hardest times I have experienced as well as the most humbling as people gave me what they could and couldn’t afford to help me out and I think many people forget this is the real Philippines. I keep hear living like a king in the Philippines on here and other sites and this definitely wasn’t living like any king I am aware of unless they were on the run or in exile!

The turning point came though when a charity started doing things in the area with feeding programs and education. A few of the people took pity on me enough to get me to take an English speaking course as a second language and shortly after that I managed to get work via a friend I made on the course. Its odd to think how much luck fell into my hands and the job I got in China helped me get back on my feet and eventually settle down with my now wife. I hear so many people talk about Filipina’s after your cash and assets but when the chips were down my wife and her family stuck with me and long term its benefited them but at that time there was no guarantees on anything. One thing for sure is that I know I can and could rely on them for anything and at the same time I never wish to be the burden I became for the 2 years I was there. I lost a lot of weight and pretty much was stuck in Paradise at the same time I learned a lot from them. They take every day for granted simply because there is no guarantee of what tomorrow will bring.

What has changed though now even though I no longer teach is that we can and do live on a lot smaller budget than when I arrived my whole attitude changed over time and now I can honestly say I am a lot better for my experiences here and a lot happier. We try to save a bit every month just incase of emergencies but generally we are doing well and I just wanted to share my experiences with everyone here to say that even when things fall into despair there will hopefully be someone there to catch you.

John