Who reads TropicalPenpals.com ?

A lot of people may be surprised that its majority of readers are from the Philippines quickly followed by readers from the U.S. and Canada. A thank you email arrived this morning :-

Hello Matt,

I stumbled across your blogsite while researching on  a business that we are thinking of putting up.

Funny how your insights about living and doing business in the Philippines hit the mark for me who have been living here all my life (and proudly, by choice too). I had several "aha!" moments while reading your posts.  Hopefully we could use those when we draw up our business plan.

Thank you for your candid comments about all things Filipino.  Just goes to show that one can be completely open and objective without being cruel and bigoted.

More power to you!



which was quite an important one to me as it shows the two sides to the coin as the whole point of the blog is not to insult but make people aware of the problems that face everyone everyday. Because the more people are here the more you realise that a lot of the things that happen people can’t see or understand what is wrong with it sometimes. E.g the painter and his mate that ended up taking 3 days on a 1 day job then asking for the exterior work as well at which point I said they weren’t needed. For them they see they got an easy 3 days work (work in the loosest of terms!) but from my side I see ok I have lost 2 days on a job but they just lost 2 – 3 weeks of extra work. It’s all about perspectives. It is very easy to get into disputes here if you take everything seriously but to be honest I often look at things as “what is the point?” fire someone and replacing eventually sooner or later you will get reliable workers just takes a lot of time. You also have to take into account the skill shortage issues so when someone says they are a carpenter/plumber/electrician or anything else it is more likely they are a mate of one of the trades or a trained labourer. The problem with that is generally they are used to certain ways of doing things and generally don’t understand why its done a specific way they have just been shown how to do it not why its that way. Same reason college and work experience need to go hand in hand as college teaches you why its done a certain way and work shows you how to do it.

Truth of the matter is often you just have to accept things as is because a lot of people here haven’t been taught differently or even given the opportunity to learn. Sort of hit home with the latest price hikes on student fees when a principle said “It’s business as usual” that’s it!! Education is bought and generally if you can afford to pay for the education or in debt for it your going abroad as soon as you finish to either escape poverty by repaying your debts, getting a better life or just really want to escape to another country. Either way its a widening void of skills that is appearing all over the Philippines. Its one of the biggest problems when employing people as if they are good enough and capable they will leave for abroad at some point in the near future. Your left with a skeleton staff if your lucky if dealing in a technology based industry. I have been thinking of looking at developing businesses in the 35 – 55 age group not sure how well it will go but generally they have already gained skills and knowledge but with the way the employment market advertises jobs “Maximum age of 30” etc shows how hard it is for someone 35+ to get a good job so may actually generate a lot of company loyalty along the way as well?

Either way the important factors with this blog is its written as things are seen and often with multiple views if I can manage to read what other people are thinking or find out what the reasoning is behind things being done a certain way. One I couldn’t get my head round lately though was a friend of mine had someone dealing with paperwork at his office who hadn’t been filling in receipt numbers on the forms and when he asked why she hadn’t done it the reply came “sometimes I feel to lazy to do it”. I tried to compare it to things in the West and in the West people would generally try to lie their way out of it as that response would get the same result it did here she got fired.

Another thing to remember is that you can SUBMIT articles to TropicalPenpals and they will generally get published (things with adult content etc won’t).