In all honesty life in the Philippines can drive you nuts sometimes due to the way a lot of things are. Not always obvious but like the issues of getting a nanny, I can run into people all day long asking for a hand out but get someone wanting to work isn’t as easy. The amount of people that don’t show up even after they asked for things like extra time because its Fiesta just isn’t funny. Its taken months to find someone willing to do a basic job. Now ok the salary isn’t huge at the same time neither is the chores which also come with free internet, free board, free food and a salary. I learned years ago you can chase your tail with a better salary but if you can get things thrown in for free its worth a lot more. No electric bills, no water bills, no worries about the food etc. etc. its taken a working student to take the initiative and took the job outside her schooling hours.
Why is a nanny/yaya so important in the Philippines? life here is slow in comparison to the UK there is no microwaves so rushing around for the kids meals at the last minute won’t happen, there are no ready meals either which means even straight from a tin something I was used to as a kid doesn’t exist. Everything is either cook it from scratch or from a restaurant/take-away which for kids of 1 – 3 is not the ideal solution. At the same time laundry is the same problem, in the UK I would return from work have a shower take my dirty clothes put them in the washing machine, crack open a bottle of wine and relax before putting them in the dryer before bed. Here you may have a laundry woman once or twice a week but it also means you need more clothes because they aren’t washed as regular. Now we do have a washing machine and only have a problem of drying if it rains as the humidity stops things drying for days. At the same time electronics go here extremely easily due to fluctuating currents and working with water you find they clog up pipes and things like shower heads rapidly due to very hard water. So hand washing is the only real full-time alternative without installing a small purification plant.
But now that’s some of the negatives out the way the reasons why I live in the Philippines rather than back in the UK are down to my wife and kids here. For others its the sunshine and young women chasing after them but in reality how long does that last for? I do ponder this myself as although currently occupied with making a living and ideas I do wonder what the future holds for us as I can’t see us being here full-time. As time has gone on more issues appear main ones for me are social engagement with people from a similar background or with completely random differences that I find enough to keep me occupied. I find the village type of life too restrictive for who I am and I don’t want my kids growing up without the scope of experience and life from outside. I was lucky I travelled a lot of the world as a child and even within 3 weeks of being born had moved to the Outer Hebridean islands off the coast of Scotland. Its spending time with other races and cultures that you begin to experience real life and how things should be. Too much media these days scaremonger people into sub groups where people won’t approach others in case they are attacked. Odd thing is I have approached many of who are now my friends this way, for years they lived a completely different way of life and its breaking those boundaries that open up the fact everyone is just human but with quirks. Like the other night being in Minglanilla town at night many people would be shocked that I was there and believe it to be dangerous. At the same time if your not safe in the town you live and don’t feel safe there then your in the wrong place. The people I met may be chancers after a free beer at the same time I don’t take more money than I need and don’t carry any valuables. Came away knowing a few people may not be good friends time will tell but the thing is like most people they are just doing they’re own thing not bothering anyone.
Big question these days is would I go back to the UK? Realistically the answer will be yes either for work or to see my daughter Nicole. Would I go back full-time? answer would always be no with the current house prices and economy, its better for me to hop in and out of the country than live there full-time. At the same time I do wonder if the Philippines holds a future for us because if the businesses continue to grow India may be a better option especially with education and networking.