Although there were some negative things that happened in the Philippines everything had an upside. Which is a point I want to make on this as I find so many people dwell on the negative and the past. Yet they forget to see what is right in front of them.
The disaster of typhoon Haiyan left a lot of destruction in many parts of the Philippines and although I could grumble about the charity organisations and things like the U.N. I simply won’t. We all know they are corrupt and inefficient, what I learned was the compassion of real Filipinos the ones that sacrificed their weekends running aid to the North of our island. As well as those who went in search of family and friends in devistated areas. People pulled together in the hardest of times and even those without a real connection with areas still pulled out the stops where they could.
Business in the Philippines is extremely hard at best, corruption, poor infrastructure and the difficulty of building trust with clients from a distance all play their part. But I regained my ability to make money from nothing which I had when I was much younger. As my career progressed I stopped doing it and the Philippines relit that fire. Which not only gave me back the freedom of building business outside of my comfort zones but also the drive and ambition to do it. We had a few headaches along the way but year on year we have built on the last. Although things seem a bit slow at the minute the last couple of years showed some gaps in my knowledge and skillset. This is currently what I am correcting to move things forward further.
The value of family life is something I seen with fondness and some with a bit of a slap in the face. Family politics plague many parts of life in the Philippines yet at the same time you find bonds between family members that last a lifetime. For me I gained the love of my life and a family as well as strengthened family bonds in the UK. Like any family there is turmoil from time to time but its how you deal with it, forgive and forget that matters.
Friendships in the Philippines I found to be either lifelong or people I would have rather not met. As travellers come from all walks of life and society you either find a good friend, someone of no real connection or someone you don’t get on with. Either way its building on friendships and moving away from those you don’t connect with. Although there does seem to be an undercurrent of bitterness amongst some unfortunately. The longer your in the Philippines you understand but also you can find that you can become part of it. Many people go to the Philippines to forget their old lives and rebuild new ones, others for adventure. But some built these ideals on their new life in they’re mind which can often mean they are miles from the truth. The expectation of living with good wealth and health can fizzle out in no time at all. Yet I never experienced the problems most of these people have had, they do love to let everyone know how bad the Philippines is. Yet in the real world many of the problems can be avoided and should be. Doesn’t matter if its in the Philippines, Germany the U.S. or UK the fact is all these problems exist in the world. The key to it is avoiding getting into those situations in the first place.
Poverty and wealth mean a lot more these days as being in the Philippines I became more humble. But also I recognise the difference between people whining about being poor and people who just get on with life that are poor. There may be real poverty in the Philippines but there is a lot of false poverty in the West. Yet being in the Philippines and understanding good budgeting and having a wife that can recognise the path we are on means we grow towards wealth. Previously it was far more difficult when in the UK as society is built on debt and keeping you locked into it. Being in the Philippines gave me time out to redevelop wealth and go back to zero financially. At zero you can build your life but buying/renting a home in the UK and general living costs keep you tied to debt. These days I always have money spare and buy things in cash, back in the day things were on credit and moving away from that UK life has given a new lease of life which is much happier.
Forgive and forget is something I have began doing more and more as the Philippines is often like living in a fish bowl, people often know your business and you know theirs. But this is multiplied further by others wanting to stir the pot of disputes between people. I have forgotten or forgiven pretty much everything over the years I was in the Philippines as they simply don’t matter. The present and the future are what are important, yet its also seeing those people who have and still dwell on the past that show why you should simply move on. Life is an adventure that continues to develop it doesn’t help to dwell stuck on pause!
Pretty much the Philippines helped me develop in many ways and although still stubborn I find I am a much more responsible and giving person compared to when I arrived in the Philippines. I still do some charity projects when we have the budget and most recently helped out with several medical bills for friends. Some might question why should I do it, but I would say because it makes me happy knowing others are safe and here today because I helped. Its not always about large amounts either as sometimes its just giving people the support they need when they needed it most.