A few people have been asking lately why do I live in the Philippines? besides the obvious of having a beautiful wonderful wife there are a lot of other reasons. Although I find lately more of the expats who have been here longer than me are getting close to calling it a day but most issues seem to keep stemming from family rather than from things directly relating to the Philippines as a country. People may complain of the smog but at what point did anyone say they have to live in a city? We live on the doorstep of Cebu city yet in a quiet neighbourhood where everyone knows my name and my biggest problem is kids being loud in the net cafe.. not exactly a hard life. Food costs here are all related to peoples diets I hear people complaining about the costs being “cheaper in the U.S.” then maybe its the diet that doesn’t match the surroundings.. We can buy a whole chicken for P140 and rice at P2.5 a portion meaning we can have 4 meals out of less than P200 where can you do that in most countries? On top of that the chicken and rice is already cooked we just have to eat it. A lot of the food here is poor import quality but it doesn’t mean you have to be buying it your habits need to change to not only save money but to get a healthier lifestyle. Coconuts grow on trees, pineapples from the ground how much fresher do you need it? Most meat is killed the same day as there is very few people with freezers and a culture of not trusting if its not fresh that day. Its called “double dead” which is a term used for animals that have been slaughtered but didn’t die but in a few hours either got slaughtered again or died. People can tell from the meat if this has happened and its a sure fire way to lose customers.. In most cases the meat vendors here have been here for a very long time and unlikely to do these things. I haven’t had any problems with meat or fruit, only an odd upset stomach from sea foods which can occur anywhere in the world depending if its cooked properly. Others will also tell you “not to have ice” in your drinks etc yet most ice you see on the streets etc are not for drinking its for cooling round food to stop it going off in the heat.
Life here can be as easy or as hard as you make it. Most days I can stay in bed until late as often I am awake until 3-4am and nobody will bother me to get up as most things here run like clockwork without me. In the future I can see a lot of project developments that will make our small area something people will take an interest on how to do or to inspire others to take part in as I strongly believe the Philippines has a future and its not from sending its work force abroad but from within. Many lands lay empty here like a lot of conflict countries the food is not sown so it isnt harvested. People complain of poverty but is the truth that a lot of people that own lands should be forced to farm them instead of lay them bare.. If there is land disputes on ownership isn’t it better to get the land working than sitting looking at a field of nothing? There is also the problem of rental costs on land which is too high for people wanting to lease the land for farming but its also tied into farming methods that are obsolete. Multi crop development is the only way these things can work as well as moving away from aggressive fertilizers to natural ones that are cheap or even better free! instead of poisoning land with chemicals. Can I prove it can work? Its not can I but I will.. at the same time though I need to change peoples way of thinking as a friend of mine and others have found that your biggest thief is often your own staff. Yet they do not look to the future of the farm but of today only. They don’t look to the fact they look after the farm and the farm looks after them and their family. I take on these projects because I know things can improve and I take on these projects because most others won’t or don’t I know often I will return here to write how crap things get sometimes but at the same time I will return to show how positive things will or have become because these are all reasons I am here and why I live here. Back in the UK I have a good job as a consultant which many things fall into the same categories as often I do work because of failing sectors within a company. I go in change things for the better and then leave. Only difference with the Philippines is that I will be staying although have so many projects on going I don’t think I could run out of things to do.
One thing I would advise anyone going through hard times lately if its family related you need to sit and clear the air with your partner and explain how things are likely to go if things don’t improve. I hear from several people they are 2nd or 3rd in line when it comes to loyalties if that is the case you need to get everything in perspective if your so disregarded then you cash flow stream should stop immediately as nobody respects you. Someone mentioned respect to me recently and the fact I didn’t respect someone. Truth of the matter respect is earned not given as a right because it all falls back on the “gift” ethos that if you give a gift its appreciated but if its expected then you shouldn’t give anything. I may appear harsh sometimes but if you listen to expats who have been here a lot longer than me they have been through all the same problems I have and are a lot more aggressive in actions from it because they have seen and realised being nice and friendly more often than not people will abuse you. Doesn’t mean all people are like that though we have a lot of good friends and family but as well and its the bad that generally end up really bad and disrespectful and that is also my point most of the trials that come along do not respect me and at which point the hammer comes down firmly and will stay that way.