I’m in touch with a lot of people on a regular basis. Some are now married, some have been scammed. Some are still looking but all in all there are a lot of things people overlook when getting involved in a relationship if moving to the Philippines are getting a partner to move to your home country.
Firstly you need to realise that love is a life long commitment and also check that the person your planning on spending your life with is genuine. We can be thankful that the majority of Filipinos are genuine which constitutes to the huge numbers of ladies from the Philippines finding love online but I haven’t come across statistics stating the number of scammers to genuine people and as the net develops the scams will become better organised and harder to trace and find. But I would say its less than 10% of the “online community”. But if your serious about a relationship you should be looking in person because online your going to come across a scammer somewhere and you may not pick him/her up until its too late and you’ve lost a few dollars or even worse. So I would advise networking with the expat community aswell as visiting the Philippines in person.
Golden rule – NEVER buy a house straight away if your in a new relationship you have no rights of ownership and the legal system currently is biast towards Filipinos so you could end up losing your investment. Best thing to do if you’ve got the spare capital is invest it. Maybe in a house in your home country and get it rented out, but make sure its insured for any problems with tenants if your out of the country.
Get to know each other well.. this is a major part of any relationship and I hear so many people marry within weeks of meeting someone. With me and my wife April we had known each other a long time online and it was a case of finally meeting up to see if the way we felt online was more in person. Which it was, yesterday was one and a half years of marriage passing and we still feel the way we did when we first met if not closer. Compatibility is a major part of any marriage and something many people skip over if blinded by beauty. Spend time together that’s all I can say on the subject. You will know if things are right or wrong.
At that glitters is gold.. something a lot of people cause problems themselves with. Which is simply showing money everywhere. Ok it costs around $20 to take a group of friends out in the Philippines but why get stuck with the bill every time? No one else is likely to pickup the tab as your the only one with money.. after a bit of time it gets tiresome and difficult to stop because you let it happen. This also creates pressure on your partner as she is now seen as a meal ticket to many families and now you’ve created the problem your partner will be pressured for medicines or anything else that is a “family problem”. Even though they survived before you came along now they see you as a Kano.. a foreigner.. someone who literally can just afford it as if its nothing.. Its one of the biggest problems for a marriage aswell as family disputes with your partner. Don’t get involved!! Ok we all have our favourites within a family but I would trade it with work for financial assistance that way there is no favourites in anyone’s eyes as the person earned it.
Realistically finding work is a minefield.. I hear a lot of people asking me about work in the Philippines but ill tell you this from my personal experiences if it was easy to find would i be sitting writing this in the UK while I’m here for 6 months for work? There are international jobs and skills available but they are few and far between. Most local jobs don’t pay a big enough salary to even make it worth getting out of bed. So unless you have a pension, good bank balance or internet working. Things are going to be pretty difficult. Don’t get me wrong it is possible to find the ideal job but as the number of expats grows yet we are still mid recession the number of vacancies will naturally decline.
Opening a business.. I hear “ill open an internet cafe” or 101 other ideas which are already over subscribed in the Philippines. Truth is the majority of them can make money but I would advise caution as its experience that counts. Going into a business from scratch or buying a cafe that’s up for sale may sound like a good idea but in the Philippines there are a lot of hurdles that can get thrown in your way. The wrong business will eat your money and show little profit if any. The way I’ve found best to operate is pockets of businesses lots of little things as the market cant sustain a single large entity or in many cases the idea may start off well but suddenly you have some new competition. But with little businesses making money everywhere it soon becomes viable. Also look to maximise your property hopefully you’ve rented a place a bit bigger than you would normally have and there could be potential there to rent out a spare part of the house or a small store, net café.. Didn’t i say not to buy a net café or store? Yes i did because you don’t want the building the rent in a lot of cases costs more than the income a business can generate. I recently looked at a business where the rates are similar to what I pay in the UK but the income was about 1/4 so be aware some of the landlords are overcharging as its unsustainable in a local market. But open a store at the side of your house could help your income just make sure you make it very secure.
If your going to move to the Philippines or get your partner to your home country do your homework on Visas ask around to get an idea of how long the visas will take. What people don’t realise is some of them can take 9 months to be processed. Also the fact that if your partner is going to the embassy to be on time! its very important to give a good impression as the immigration officials know they literally can leave the visa in tatters and your partner stuck in the Philippines. If your going to the Philippines visas are easy to renew but getting expensive if it keeps going up we may move ourselves to another country. There is Balikbayan visas available for returning Filipinos which are valid for one year as a partner (you must be entering the country with your partner) you maybe able to get this its at immigrations discretion. There is also the 13a visa aswell as others which are for long-term or retirees in the Philippines and to be honest although a lot of people use the tourist visa extensions every couple of months there is no idea what the price will be next time you visit its fluctuating which makes it hard to budget aswell as a bit annoying as I’ve seen mine virtually double in price then the following time back to what it was.
Ok from a Filipinos point of view there is also a lot of things to take into account. Firstly being that some of the foreigners lie and in some cases are stringing several women along just for a sex holiday for a fortnight before disappearing back off to their home country. Also make sure you know the person well I have been to a wedding which simply shouldn’t have happened as every word that the groom had told his now wife was lies. She’s expecting the fairy tale life and in reality the guy cant even take care of himself and its unlikely the “visa” to be together will ever develop because of poor financial status on his part.
Communication is paramount to any relationship and you should both be up front with each other. One thing I do think a lot of expats should do is setup something that a wife/partner can take over if you pass on. Doesn’t have to be a business empire but more a matter of respect for your partner. As no doubt she/he will take good care of you and although they are unlikely to have financial backing you are looking for a great partner in life in Asia in the first place because you are likely not to find the same in your home country so play fair. But for Filipinos you really need to be more direct with things as I find very often that I’m thinking why didn’t they ask me in
the first place because I don’t always know things until its too late or a long time later and people struggle with things rather than ask. Its also important if your a foreigner to make your partner aware of this it seems to be a cultural barrier that a lot of people miss completely.
As a couple you need to put the couple first and family second. The reason being that if you don’t you are likely to have a lot of problems in the marriage. Putting your husband before your parents may seem odd in the Philippines but in the West its normal but also your husband needs to give a bit of breathing space aswell. As it is important to help family back in the Philippines although in context a lot of this gets abused so don’t get caught up in the monthly allowances because to be honest there is a lot of work out there and in a lot of cases people “choose” not to work. For me I would choose not to give them money.. as I have to go and earn it so why shouldn’t they?
For both parties be aware a lot of time will be spent apart until you can be together so if you suffer with jealousy or don’t think you can do it I simply wouldn’t even bother trying as you will only be anxious and stressed.. Causing unnecessary arguments and no doubt a breakup.
If there are other pointers you think should be added please leave it as a message below as the important thing here is to get views from others who have been through the same things already.