Van in Cebu: "Philippines has a laid back happy lifestyle"

  • Van in Cebu
Published last year
Van comes from California. She moved to the Philippines four and a half years ago with her daughter to study Nursing. She particularly enjoys going to the beach, partying and blogging.


I am a Travel/Mommy blogger over at I have adventures with my almost 4 year old baby girl aroind the tropical islands of the Philippines.

Where are you from, Van, and what are you doing nowadays?

I am from California USA. I moved to Cebu, Philippines to study nursing.

Why did you choose to expatriate to the Philippines?

Nursing studies are a lot cheaper in the Philippines and it is easier to get in. If I stayed in California for nursing, my student loans would be so rocking high.

As a US national, what where the procedures you had to follow to move there?

Actually, I applied for Dual Citizenship because it would have been a lot easier. If I got a student visa or just used my American Citizenship, I would have had to go back to America every year and that would already cost a lot. Round trip tickets to California and Philippines are expensive.

How long have you been in the country?

Four and a half years.

What has attracted you to Cebu?

The school which I was supposed to attend is found in Cebu. My cousin graduated from that school and told me it was a great school. So this is why I chose to be there.

What has surprised you the most at your arrival?

Poverty. Philippines is a 3rd world country. You will see poverty all around you: children begging on the street, a blind man who can play the guitar asking for a little change, an old lady knocking on the car windows asking for food, and a lot more.

Was it difficult to find accommodation there? What are the types of accommodation which are available there?

I stayed at my school's dorm, so it wasn't difficult at all. There are places for rent: hotels, motels, pension houses, resorts, etc. Philippines is crawling of tourists, so there are accommodations everywhere.

What are the local labor market's features? Is it easy for an expat to find a job there?

There are many call centers which are always hiring. If you a good command of English, you will get in right away. I have a lot of friends from the United Stated who are part-time call center agents.

How do you find the Philippine lifestyle?

Philippines has a laid back happy lifestyle. You can always go to the beach if you need a breath of fresh air. It's literally just 45 minutes away.

Have you been able to adapt yourself to the country and to its society?

Yes. It wasn't that hard to adapt to it. I am also Filipino, so it wasn't hard for me to fit in right away.

What does your every day life look like in Cebu?

School, beach, eat, island hopping, rest and repeat.

Any particular experience in the country you would like to share with us?

I went to Siargao last year and it was the best trip I have ever had in the Philippines.

What is your opinion on the cost of living in Cebu? Is it easy for an expat to live there?

It all depends in your lifestyle. Yes, it is easy and people here are very welcoming.

How do you spend your leisure time?

I go to the mall, to the beach , have dinner out, party sometimes and blog.

What do you like the most about the country?

The people. People are always happy here, no matter the circumstances.

Your favorite local dishes?

Adobo, Dinuguan and Karekare are at the top of my list.

What do you miss the most about your home country?

I miss my family and the super fast Internet.

What has motivated you to write your blog "Travelvan"? How does it help?

I wanted to actually create a diary for my adventures with my daughter. That's why I made a blog. Later on in life, when my daughter and I get old, we can look back at all the fun things that we did together.

Would you like to give any advice to soon-to-be expatriates in the Philippines?

Don't bring large amounts of money in your wallet or really important documents when you are going to the slums. Pickpockets are everywhere. You can never be too safe, so leave them at home in a safe.

What are your plans for the future?

Since I just graduated for my Bachelors of Science in Nursing, I will go back to California to take my NCLEX and probably move to Texas.

last year

Acutally, I have a dozen friends who took up nursing in the Philippines who are american citizens. All they need to do is graduate, pass the Philippine Nursing License Exam and then pass the NCLEX. Then they can work in the states.

last year

I understood that... She can do whatever she wants... My post was Just warning to others as I find my asawa and her filipina friends also pass on a lot of wrong advice and even very poor immigration information. Were you aware of this info? Isn't this what this forum is about...or should we all just lie, keep our mouths shut and delete our subscription?? Please do that for me... Delete my membership... I am too honest not to warn people about problems or misinformation...

last year

Hello GDT, Thanks for your comment. The aim of this Interview was to allow Van to share her own expat experience and her every day life in Cebu. You might have understood that expatriation is a choice. So whatever had been reported in this Interview is purely her personal choice and we cannot judge her about that. Still, we would like to thank you for the information you shared. Expat life is not always easy, but it always depends on the individual on how to manage it and succeed. Regards, Veedushi Team

Gideon Kriel
Gideon Kriel
last year

Thank you :-) It was great to read about your experience :-) I dream to rellocate to the Ph (Davao). My wife is a Pinay from there and we are currently staying in South Africa (also a 3rd world country)

last year

Awesome! I was just in Davao and it's true, it is clean and safe there. There are curfews though like. Liquor ban is at 12 midnight I believe and Minors have to be home by 11pm. Just message me if you want more information -

last year

Wow, did you check what countries recognise a Filipino nursing degree without major institutional backing and retraining in a new country??? There is a reason its way easier to get in there.. I know many a filipino nanny here in Canada, who is bitter finding out they have to go back to high school first and then retrain as a nurse. if they can get pass entry tests to a school here... Also there is at least 300,000 nurses in the Philippines who can't find work as far back as 2012 as the world economy slowed. (200,000 plus 80,000 new grads in 2012... So up to 500,000 as of 2016) It always pays to do your own research and not listen to misinformed friends and relatives. See It is cheaper and easier to get in for a reason.. Not many degrees from there are worth the paper they are printed on, in first world countries. I remember friends back in the 70s going to the Carribean or Mexico for medical school because they couldnt get in at home... But they could never practise anywhere outside of another third world country. The degree was worthless/ a joke at home.. Sorry, but someone sold you a bag of B.S

Share your expat experience!

Contact us to be featured in the Interviews section.


Expatriate health insurance

Free advice and quotation service to choose your expat health insurance

Save on your moving costs

Get free quotes from international moving companies. Compare prices and services.