Making the Philippines home as an Expat while still remembering why we came..

Something I noticed a lot lately is how much people complain, may sound like I am complaining here but its actually the opposite. Truth of the matter is many of us are here for different reasons yet we choose to come here. The Philippines has its faults and at the same time things in the UK used to drive me mad.. The fact in the UK we are taxed to the hilt yet the crimes that happened around me the Police seemed never to be in a rush. What sort of crimes? A burglary that took them six hours to eventually arrive, a murder involving a drug dealer who was stabbed over 60 times and the most recent was an attack on a friends home that can only be described as a bizarre event. I had stopped over at a friends house while I was in Worcester sat on the internet talking to April with headphones on there was some knocks at the door. Didn’t answer as it wasn’t my house and the owner was still at work (late shift) it was getting quite late in the evening and nobody was expected. An hour later there was pounding at the door Opened it to find the Police were looking for someone who had assaulted someone on the doorstep. Some guys had made a false call for a pizza delivery before jumping the guy on the doorstep and beating him with a metal bar. I had taken a short glimpse out of the window earlier when the first door knocks appeared to see three guys coming away from the alleyway. The Police quickly realised I didn’t fit the description so went about their way. Another couple of hours passed when there was more beating at the door at which I just ignored. My friend eventually got home from work and we were just kicking back with some beers when the banging started again. Shortly followed by a dustbin being thrown through one of the windows. By the time we got outside they had already gone, 10mins later the Police turned up again and pretty much nothing they could do as usual yet they knew it was the guys from the Pizza place that were retaliating on the house. I went as witness against the people who beat the guy and the bizarre thing is nobody else would yet all those curtains were tugging away as eyeballs watched him be assaulted and nobody seen a thing. Why? because they were all scared of the guys. One of them had set fire to a taxi driver previously as well as poured lighter fluid over a nightclub bouncer in the city before setting fire to him aswell.

So you may wonder when people complain about security here why I don’t its simply because in the UK its declining rapidly. Generally here people fight amongst themselves the reason the guy was attacked on my doorstep was not because of the money but because he was Pakistani, the taxi driver was also Pakistani and the bouncer was Italian. They were racial attacks and its stuff that doesn’t get a lot of press in the UK as its seen as “counter productive” when in fact they need to deal with the problem today as it will be a lot worse tomorrow. Yes we have racism here in the Philippines at the same time it doesn’t really bother me as most of it is about making money out of you not physical harm. If you can work round peoples logic you can avoid the brunt of it.

Driving a vehicle here is easy to register and cheap to maintain. In the UK they want to cut the numbers of vehicles on the road which is why its become so anal on the way it deals with motorists and light offences.. e.g. forgetting to register your car isn’t on the road. Easy targets and easy money for the government. Here in the Philippines hardly anyone bothers you unless your doing something really stupid. I am often found riding my bike with more than I should such as tomorrow I will be transporting 100 tiles as well as tile adhesive all going via the bike to the house. Not all in one go mind!

So all I can say is when something gets under your skin remember why you came and what your here for. People complain about the food quality but we make most of the stuff ourselves so its not really an issue here. Also we know what goes into the food can you say the same about Tesco’s or Asda? Why do we know so much about the food because we are making things from the raw ingredients and about to start sorting our garden out for food production properly so we can start doing vegetables ourselves. I am not an organic hippy infact my reasons are different, I want to see if it can be done as the soil seems very dry but also I want to be able to show others and learn about it as I go keeping me busy as a hobby.

Also I find people are more social here than in the UK. I’m not talking work wise as I do have a good work/social relationship when I am at work. But the neighbours etc. reminds me of a chat I had with my dad a few months back about complaining to the neighbour he needed to cut back his trees (they have never been done in over 15 years) as they overhang by at least 8ft and 15-20ft high. The neighbour cut them down and the guy who done it for him dumped the logs in my parents garden. You can guess how much wood came from it.. at which point my father said to the guy “do you want me to throw the logs over the fence for you or will do you want to send your worker to pick them up?” with a response of “go F%ck yourself” quickly followed by a threatening of my brother which ended up with the police being called and the guy sending his wife round to apologise and organise getting the wood moved.

In the UK there is a feeling for many that they don’t have to do something and its bleeding out everywhere. The amount of times I have had morons walk across in front of the car look towards me as they are on a mobile phone then look away as if “can’t you see I am on the phone”. When in reality they should see I am about to run them over as they don’t look where they are going. I wonder what the future holds for the UK as its definitely not the place we moved to back in 1989. Its changed drastically and not for the better.

On the other hand here in the Philippines so many things aren’t working you could say it should go the opposite way as people struggle to get farms to work due to farmers can’t afford to own the land themselves yet seem to steal from people who employ them to farm their lands. As well as the political corruption and things like poor internet connections, telephone lines and power blackouts.

But guess what.. I prefer here even so as it seems easier to adapt people are used to things going wrong so don’t get too bothered by it, so even when the people are right they still just go with the flow. In the UK more often than not they have a lot better things going on and very rarely do you get power cuts etc. yet when you do get one the phone lines will be jammed with complaints about how poor the service is. I choose the mellow life leave behind the anger and frustrations that a hectic life brings with it for one where I wake up with my beautiful wife in a warm climate which gives me sunshine everyday and the ability to be in a stones throw of the beach. So when your annoyed about something remember why you came and generally we are a lot better off than we would be in the West. Laundry is done by our laundry woman, getting Zoei sorted in the mornings and fed etc. are taken over by our Yaya and at the same time we are creating jobs and building businesses for the better of the community. I tried to do stuff in the UK and its red tape everywhere you look, here although people don’t like you doing something that can embarrass a politician for not doing their bit pe
ople are grateful for help. At the same time that is my frustration in some cases as I want to “help” not do it for someone. I need people who can and will lead to encourage others..