If you take it from a commercial prospectus there are a lot of downsides. Even for those living on a pension the truth of the matter life can be pretty hard and grim if you fall out of favour or hit ill health for example. If you have no ties to the Philippines there is opportunities in other locations such as China which are more geared up to do business and labour costs are lower. But one of the many things the Philippines does have going for it is the majority of people speak English fluently aswell as there seeming to be a culture change towards doing business. From what I have read to do with people who were previous generation expats the connections with local politicians were the difference between having a business or not. Over the years its still pretty tight but I think that some of this is starting to change especially in the more cosmopolitan cities. From my perspective it needs to change and even with the recession in full swing development is still going on in Cebu. Only issue I have with it is that it seems to be mainly on residential rather than commercial and industrial developments that could bring badly needed jobs and infrastructure to the cities. The call centres have brought a lot of jobs but even this isn’t as big as it yet could be. Infact one of my current ideas is a consultancy helpdesk for helpdesks and call centres to offer technical assistance on things they struggle with as recently I have been having to deal with a call centre in the UK which simply seems to forward phone calls instead of actually dealing with enquiries. A lot of improvement is needed aswell as training to get the call centre capable of dealing with enquiries more efficiently and I believe a lot of it can be done remotely with a good working knowledge.
So why is it the Philippines for me ? Well there is a lot of reasons main one being that is where my wife comes from and the fact we have generated a sustainable income in under 2 years allowing us now to concentrate on new ventures. The pace of life does take some getting used to as often something in the West that could take an hour could take a week or two due to a lack of parts for example. But you either learn to work round it, live with it or get frustrated by it. Personally I have experienced all three and now just go with the flow partly why I multi task so much as I have no completion deadlines for things simply because a lot of the time I simply don’t know as things can take a lot longer than expected. Just means like currently with the internet cafe you move from the construction onto starting to look for the software and computers. Then once they are ordered you look at the gym for the first floor to see what equipment we need and if it should be available to the public or family use only. If your used to having everything done in an instant then the Philippines is probably for you as your current way of life is probably causing you a lot of stress. Learning to step back a little develops an awareness of the fact not everything is under your control or needs to be.
The next major thing for us is we are central to the region. I’m currently looking to exploit our geographic position to start looking at goods to export either from the Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, China before moving more into India as also have friends there. But the thing is when looking at businesses is often you don’t have to develop a new product as often there are lots already out there that are lacking good marketing so getting products you can sell easily isn’t as hard as it seems.
The way of life is also a major factor for me as the family based communities and consideration for others is something I really miss when I’m away from home. If I’m ill at home in Cebu people bring me fruits and generally concerned. In the UK its a laugh and a joke, I think there are serious reasons behind it though as death goes so easily with illness in the Philippines and I have had a couple of near misses already. In the UK we have pretty much conquered the majority of illnesses and now targeting the ones that are difficult and often change such as Cancers.
Simply the Philippines is good and bad same as the UK there are a mix of things that frustrate and bring happiness in both locations and hopefully if your looking to relocate to the Philippines I can help you get organised but I would advise anyone looking to make the move to take a long hard look at what they want in life as so many people run out of money or struggle to get businesses off the ground leaving them living the life more on a local level. If you don’t like hardship and unable to be resourceful enough to have a good pension or generate at least £500 a month your going to struggle and a good chance of failure.