The International Writers Magazine: Retiring Abroad
Moving to the Philippines?
Fred C Wilson 111 on life in Paradise
There are many advantages to living in the economically thriving Philippines. The economic and social benefits are enormous. But don't rush - there are things you should know first...
But first, the advantages: Case in point; I suffer with sleep apnea and require the services of a C-Pap machine to curb my snoring and sleep depravation. My little machine shorted out twice ‘back home’ (Philippines) and had to be repaired. I took it to a curb side repairman who fixed it for P1,000.00 ($23.00 USD) a real deal! Had I busted it in Chicago the same repair job would have cost me plenty.
Got a problem with your car call a repairperson who’ll fix it for only a tiny fraction of what you’ll pay Stateside. Don’t take my word for it Google it: ‘Retire in the Philippines.’ or ‘Retire in Cebu. It has most you’ll need to know about living the good life in the Islands.
Filipinos like most peoples are friendly to a fault only Pinoys do it with style. For non-Filipinos intending on settling in the Archipelago the culture shock is minimal. The only time I experienced it was with the food. When I eat I drench everything in hot sauce. Your average Filipino hates spicy foods. I find the Philippine diet bland for my palate though delicious! My wife and I make it a habit to dine at Little Quiapo a well known Chicago eatery.
I travel extensively but rarely encounter any serious problems. I have a four point rule I follow when abroad:
· Don’t interfere in local politics.
· Don’t interfere in the religions.
· Respect the local female population.
· Obey the laws. Philippine prisons are hellish!
Observe these four maxims and you’ll be alright. The Philippines can be a very dangerous place. With kidnap gangs who’ve made people snatching (usually rich Chinese business persons and ex-pats) a fine art you can’t be too careful.
Read the US State departments bulletins concerning security in the areas you may be considering. Latest postings include:
'U.S. citizens should continue to defer non-essential travel to the Sulu Archipelago, due to the high threat of kidnapping of international travelers and violence linked to insurgency and terrorism there. ...
U.S. citizens should continue to exercise extreme caution if traveling to the island of Mindanao in the southern Philippines. In 2013, separatist and terrorist groups increased the tempo and scale of their activities and confrontations with Philippine security forces, with increased bombings, attacks on civilians and political leaders, and battles with security forces.
Ever hear the one about the guy from New York City who swam back home? I’ll tell ya;’ once upon a time there was a young man who was married to this really knock-out Filipina, like she was FINE (drop dead gorgeous); the dude had it all …good looks, muscles on his muscles, perfect health, was a real nice guy for a jock, a dream job guys like me would die for, married to a rich woman with a heart of purest gold. ‘Homeboy’ had it all but wasn’t satisfied. He got greedy. His wife caught him having sex with one of the helpers. He had been ‘doing’ the entire female household staff long before his wife caught on. ‘Dufus’ nearly got divorced and almost had to swim back to the ‘Big Apple;’ nearly because the bum was ‘gifted’ in ways only wives and girlfriends could appreciate. Homeboy was a Top Notcher in natural abilities and stupidity! The moral of this story boys and girls is hands off...
Once you plan to relocate finding a nice place to stay is essential. Quality rentals are cheap depending on the neighborhood. Need a referral service go to http://www.moveinthecity.com/; its’ FREE! Here’s the web address of two international haulers http://www.intlmove.com/ and www movingservicequote.com.
You can ship dishes, silverware and other items anyplace in the Republic at minimal costs. All you gotta’ do is hire a reliable balikbayan (large thick brown shipping container) box shipping company and for $60-$75 depending on what island you want to ship your stuff to per box; beats UPS, Fed Ex, or DHL any day. Shop around for reliable shipping companies. There’s crooks out there who’ll overcharge you, bust up your stuff and months later when your shipment finally arrive they’ll tell you it’s in Cebu when you paid for Luzon. Balikbayan boxes don’t have weight restrictions.
Reader if you’ve never traveled to the Philippines go there; you’ll discover how grand it is. With its thousands of picturesque islands Palawan in particular is a true paradise on Earth; however if you plan to take advantage of the many world class dive sites, hot springs, the caves and other natural wonders be careful. Deadly sharks abound the venomous translucent sea wasp its stingers equipped with enough venom to kill as many as 62 human adults this jelllyfish is truly to be feared. My wife was bitten by one but thankfully lived to tell the tale. Warning when it rains - rains!
The island of Boracay in the region of Visayas is visited by thousands of tourists annually. With its white sands, fun filled activities such as diving, parasailing, snorkeling, ocean kayaking and just plan having fun you might not want to go home. If you’re planning to relocate in the Archipelago Boracay, Palawan and the many other islands will only enhance your Philippine experience. Visiting Muslim provinces can be hazardous to your health; terrorism, rebel activity, and kidnap gangs operate with impunity throughout the country, caveat emptor.
The web sources I’ve listed are chuck full of fun facts but before you make your move permanent . I’ve suggested some cities you may want to spend vacation time before making your final decision: perhaps visit as many as five times to make sure you like the lifestyle and more importantly - they like you.
· Cebu is the richest province in the Philippines. And judging by their many malls the island province is ripe with investment opportunities.
· Metro Manila (including Quezon City and Makati) are good places to set up shop though Manila is overcrowded, has humongous traffic jams and the air quality is like Godzilla’s breath-bad. If you got cash to spare I’d pick Makati the plumb of the Archipelago; however watch yer’ ass—kidnap central.
· Davao City, though it’s in Mindanao the heart of Muslim territory it has a mayor who could make fictional ‘Dirty Harry’ look like a pansy. The guy’s hard core and takes a no-nonsense approach to crime. Unless you’re a drug dealer, gangster, or terrorist he’ll leave you alone.
· Baguio City is arguably the best place in the country to live. The summer Capitol of the Philippines,
Baguio is hilly, has great restaurants, the women are perkier (I guess from all that exercise of walking up and down those high hills), the food the freshest, it’s pretty, and you won’t roast in summer.
The United States Department of State recently (May 20th & June 2nd) issued two Philippine travel warnings through the Embassy of the U.S. at Manila. ‘We encourage all U.S. citizens in the Philippines to enroll with the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program or at the U.S. Embassy in Manila. By enrolling you can receive most recent security and safety updates during your trip. Enrolling also ensures that we can reach you or your designated emergency points of contact during an emergency. The U.S. Embassy is located at: 1201 Roxas Boulevard, Manila, Philippines, tel. 63-2-301-2000.
The Philippines is culturally at the apex of Southeast Asia; Asian, European, Mexican and American art has culturally influenced the upbeat art of the Philippines. If you like art you’ll love Philippine art; type ‘Philippine art and culture’ and see for yourself. Manila has a great selection of art galleries. Most of the art galleries are headquarters in major shopping malls on the upper floors. The art like the religion go where the people are, here’s a short list of my favorites:
· Ayala Museum
· Metropolitan Museum of Manila
· Museum of Contemporary Arts and Design
· San Agustin Church Museum
· Art museums of the SM Megamall chain
Reader take a side trip the city of art Angono Rizal located 19 miles east of Manila. Dubbed the ‘Arts capitol of the Philippines’ this art colony is devoted to the visual arts.
Food: Here’s one recipe I’m sure you’ll rave over; one of my favorites Kare Kare and here’s what you need and how to make it:
1 kilo of beef (round or sirloin cut) cut into cubes, beef tripe or oxtail (cut 2 inch long) or a combination of all three (beef, tripe and oxtail)
3 cups of peanut butter
1/4 cup grounded toasted rice
1/2 cup cooked bagoong alamang (anchovies)
2 pieces onions, diced
2 heads of garlic, minced
4 tablespoons atsuete oil
4 pieces eggplant, sliced 1 inch thick
1 bundle Pechay (Bok choy) cut into 2 pieces
1 bundle of sitaw (string beans) cut to 2" long
1 banana bud, cut similar to eggplant slices, blanch in boiling water
1/2 cup oil
8 cups of water
Salt to taste.
In a stock pot boil beef, tripe and oxtails in water for an hour or until cooked. Strain but keep the stock; in a big pan or wok heat oil and atsuete oil, sauté garlic, onions until golden brown, then add the stock, toasted rice, beef, oxtail and peanut butter. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes; salt to taste. Add eggplant, string beans, pechay, banana bud and cook the vegetables for a few minutes but don’t overcook your veggies. Serve with bagoong fish sauce on the side over rice.
Kare Kare tastes good but if I were you I’d save time and trouble hunting down these hard to find ingredients and simply go to a Philippine restaurant and let the cooks do their thing. A favorite Chicago area restaurant my wife and I frequents is ‘Little Quiapo.’ Call 773-279-8861 or go on line at http://www.littlequiaporestaurant.com/. Sample the food to see if you like it. Why go to a country and hate the food; type ‘Philippine recipes’ for additional information on the cuisine of the Philippines.
The Almighty is nice to this old boy in more ways than I can count. I married my Filipina dream girl. We have seven kids including two granddaughters all of which are doing exceptionally well. We’ve been married nearly 25 years. All that good stuff you’ve heard about Philippine women being beautiful, hard working, caring, entrepreneurial, devout, sexual, tough and highly educated is true! The lovely ladies are also feisty, combative and a bit puritanical. My beloved is all of the above. A sizable number of American, Australian, and European men travel to the Archipelago each year to find their ‘Ms. Right.’ Here’s some vital information you should acquaint yourself with if you’re considering visiting the Philippines in search of your potential significant other.
· ‘Philippines Scams and warnings’ at http://www.philippinesscams.com/
· ‘Warnings on Dating Girls in the Philippines
This article barely skimmed the surface. My aim is to inform you of the many possibilities that exist and the decisions you’ll make if you want to live in the Philippines. Once you move overseas please LEARN TAGALOG. The Yankee dollar ain’t what she used to be; study the dollar to peso exchange rate.
Fred C. Wilson III
Ho Chi Minh City, like Manila on the other side of the South China Sea, is a ‘young’ city; a city of ‘20 Somethings.’