What to expect when moving to the Philippines for the first time

Bit of a frustration sometimes as peoples perception of the Philippines is completely opposite to reality in a lot of cases. Yes I can understand the “Live Like A King” in the Philippines story books as they do tell people they can live in the lap of luxury for around $2000 but is it true? For a start most people are living on a lot less than that when they arrive which is where the problems arise because they are normally around the $1000 a month mark and looking to skimp on everything possible.

They take on a cheap residential property with a rent of P5,000 – P10,000 and then complain it has no electric shower, only one Air conditioning unit if any and they have to fill the water tank as its on an electric pump. If it does have city water next complaint would be pressure is too low. I do wonder what did they expect? The reason rent is cheap is because properties are cheap and to a quality Filipinos are more than happy to accept. If you wander round when you get here take a look at the number of properties that have never even seen a coat of paint on walls or roof and it will give you an idea of what the majority of people are living like and mind set. I am still trying to understand why they don’t paint at the same time I do understand things like using a bucket and scoop make sense to most locals instead of an electric shower. They are used to power cuts which would mean in many cases with low water pressure no water or very little if not powered. On top of that water mains from the city goes off at certain hours which with an electric shower could mean no water unless you had also added the water tank as a reservoir.

Air conditioning is something most people live without and used to it as a local, generally I don’t use air conditioning and will either just have a cold shower or use the fans if hot the difference on the electric bill is around 60% if there is no air conditioning used (and that’s evenings only).

Bugs are another things which for the better part most people don’t get irritated except for cockroaches and ants there are ant solutions and to be honest they irritate me just as much as anyone as they have a habit of biting which can be difficult when trying to sleep. Cockroaches seal up the house with mosquito grills as it will also keep the obvious out and get rubber strips for the bottom of the bathroom and outside doors. They come up the drains from the bathroom so at least you won’t get a surprise in the middle of the night if they are stuck in the bathroom until they feel the slap of a faithful flip flop in the morning.

Expectations are always higher than reality and would just say keep the expectations down to nature not too much else as your likely to be disappointed. Even the nature you have to move away from the cities to experience it due to the pollution and population density issues. But every island has its place that is still fairly untouched, you can get a boat trip out to see other locations cheaply and if your more adventurous get a motorcycle as its the best way to cover the country and its natural beauty.

Food here is high and low, if your used to microwave meals your in the wrong place! but if you love seafood there are some amazing fresh sea produce you can buy. On top of that there are fish farms you can negotiate a regular supply with if your near enough to them.

If your taking everything off the internet would advise take it with a pinch of salt and just wait until you arrive. Don’t take on any commitments until you understand at least a bit of the country and the culture otherwise you may fall foul of enjoying it here and instead be clambering to get on the next flight out.