Would I recommend living in the Philippines today?

I originally went to the Philippines at the end of 2007 and have made the transition to Spain in the last couple of months with the family.

Matt Wilkie on his Kawasaki Rouser in Cebu, Philippines

But would I do it all again today? The Philippines has changed a lot in the last 7 years and its prices have increases significantly. At the same time the opportunities in the Philippines have also altered to that of 2007.

Back in 2007 it was still the realms of the forum and not blogging, blogs back then is where we made our monthly income that paid the bills. Today its not so easy simply because every man and his dog is doing exactly the same. Back then most people weren’t into it and the generations going to the Philippines have many more younger people. I am thankful that some of the people that made the decision to go to the Philippines came from reading my blog. As that is why we took the time to write it just to share information. It wasn’t until months later we started to make an income.

But doing that now in the Philippines wouldn’t be so easy although other new businesses have cropped up that weren’t in boom back in 2007. The call centre industry is something that continues to grow as does general outsourcing. Companies are taking offshore accounting and general processing sectors of their businesses. The Philippines has the ability to take on this work for the next decade but then I predict a decline. The reason being is that other countries can already do it cheaper. Yes I get the English language is better in the Philippines than many other places but those other places such as China are heavily investing in its population. The Philippines still takes the back seat approach on pretty much everything expecting to float through life. I may get a bit of flack for saying that but then again the truth hurts.

Also things like the online outsource sites for individuals have developed to a point where people can make a good income regardless of where they are in the world. The advantage of that one is you can develop it before you even move to the Philippines. Back in 2007 I relied on money in the bank and knowing my skill set was in demand so I could hop on a plane back to the UK if we needed cash.

The day to day life hasn’t changed much in the Philippines though which is a bit unfortunate as cleaning up the pollution would be a great help to the whole country generally. But I believe the grip of the vote on things like the Jeepney’s and Tricycles stops any politician really wanting to take action. Instead the smog continues to grow in places like Manila and downtown Cebu with no end in sight. Which for me makes no difference today compared to 2007 as we live out of Cebu city.

There are however some things I would change about myself if I did it all again. The first being is not trying to change peoples perception of the Philippines inside the country. Many expats live a certain way and although its not the way I like its up to them and the Philippines government if anything needs to change. I wouldn’t bother with forums this time round as I found although I made a few friends I would have probably made them anyway. I would have avoided the internal disputes that people have within the expat community. Its only when you see it back from outside again you see how trivial many people are but also how many people do it out of some sort of internet sickness (e.g. internet trolling).

But one thing I wouldn’t change is the people I have around me in the Philippines as the family and friends have all been fantastic and continue to be. Yes we have an annoying cousin next door with a loud exhaust on a small motorbike and yes we do get loud music at party times. But we also have friends who are everywhere and willing to help when needed. I have in-laws that don’t grumble even when I am running around in roof spaces running internet cables through the house. I have neighbours who look out for each other and I know when we do go back to the Philippines in the future its still home.

Although things are busy now with settling in a new country I am going to be building the call centre back up in the near future. But also being back in the West I can allocate more budget so in some ways we still haven’t left.