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Your experience of culture shock in the Philippines

OK Jay, I think I'll delete my email address form the previous message. Contact me any time. Sometimes my response is a lot slower though. Thank you.

john.soby :

Thanks. My wife and I need to go out for a late evening snack. I will be in touch with you.

jasonswits :

@ABCDiamond, don't be too general when I'm pointing out a specific situation. I know the Philippine government is a hopeless case so many of us, Filipinos would much rather focus on enjoying life,  no matter how simple it is, than wasting it complaining about something that is unlikely to obtain change. Life is short so don't make it shorter by being disgruntled. :)

I truly believe that things CAN change, but effort is needed, not just give up, saying it's too hard.

Complaining and highlight problems need not spoil a persons happiness.  But it can bring long term benefits.

You say it is a waste of time trying, maybe you are right. maybe it is time to get out, as it won't get better after all.

liberty9133 :

You seem an intelligent guy. Until the corruption at the very top of Philippine society and government ceases, there can be no hope of changing the culture. It will continue to worsen. Sorry to say.

People need to try to do something, not just join in and do the same; join the corruption.

But that's the mentality that I have seen for years.  Everyone wants to do the same, and maintain that culture throughout the entire population.

I should give up on this argument though.  Many Filipinos seem to prefer no change to their life, unless someone else does it for them.

Other countries have gone through this too, but have fought it. Things have changed.

All the time that your leaders hear you say. "There is nothing we can do, just accept life as it is"  Guess what they will do...  They will keep you right were you say you are happy, and never bother improving things for you, as you don't want them to.

My husband and I were surprised of the proliferation of ads for whitening products everywhere . . . billboards, print media, tv, etc. When I left the Philippines back in 2000, there were already whitening products out in the market, but not as much as they are now. Now, when you go to a mall, there would be several spas and kiosks offering whitening treatments, not to mention several shelves with lightening lotions and soaps at supermarkets.

He also noticed that most celebrities are also fair-skinned, either using lightening cream or they're from a mixed racial, often Caucasian-Filipino, family. Even "imported" actors in Korean "telenovelas"  / miniseries are fair-skinned. Many Filipinos, mostly women, would slather up on lightening products, and would even get injections to get quicker results. Yikes!

Coming from a western country, he wonders why Filipinos would want to hide their brown complexion. He said they should show it, not cover it. He really likes my skin tone, and is envious that I didn't need to do anything to get a permanent tan.

My Girl friend has a friend who has been using skin whiteners for some time, and is now lighter than she was.  She just lost her boyfriend to another darker girl.

Not sure if it was because of the colour or the amount she cost him in paying for these whiteners.  But his words did include: "I liked you the way you were".

But I agree with the comment about the amount of advertising for it.  It has grown massively.

I, myself, can't understand why most Filipino women want to have lighter skin. My complexion may look lighter than an average Filipino's but I want to look darker. Well, I blame the Filipino entertainment industry for setting the standard of Filipino beauty. Most of us look up to them as if they're gods and goddesses and little do we know that we are getting ourselves drowned by our desire to look like these celebrities who are, forgive me for saying this, shallow and untalented. I know there are those that are really good but most of the TV networks in the Philippines are patronizing the mediocre ones who are fair-skinned and went under the knife. I wish most of us, Filipinos were proud of our own color.

Two words:  RICE EVERYDAY.

As in:
Rice for breakfast.
Rice for lunch.
Rice for dinner.
Rice treats (chocolate rice or champorado, popped rice bars, rice cake or bibingka, rice squares with coconut syrup or biko, etc.) for snacks.

Locals are so used to it, such that they would not feel filled if they don't have rice. If you're not used to it, it can drive you crazy. (Just joking.) I used to make rice crispy squares with marshmallows back in the states. But I held off on that here in the Philippines.

But once we moved out of the house of my parents (who are used to eating rice all the time) to our own house, we starting making tacos (on Tuesdays) and corn, potato (such as shepherd's pie), all sorts of italian dishes and non-rice baked stuff, breads. We still have rice which go well with certain local dishes. It took some time for our housekeeper and nanny to get used to the new menu.

Thinking of making those marshmallow rice crispy squares again.

FilAmericanMom :

Two words:  RICE EVERYDAY.

As in:
Rice for breakfast.
Rice for lunch.
Rice for dinner.

You know when you have found the right lady here... When she wants egg on toast for breakfast, Meals with mashed Potato, and proper French Fries (Not the Jollibee ones).  And one kg of rice can easily last a couple of weeks ;)

I think it is a social thing here.  The more you work in the sun the darker your skin gets.  So they all wish to look like office girls here.   I have the same problem in the sun and I am of German background and light brown hair.

James Mitchel :

I think it is a social thing here.  The more you work in the sun the darker your skin gets.  So they all wish to look like office girls here.   I have the same problem in the sun and I am of German background and light brown hair.

And the more time you spend on the beach, the darker your skin gets and the more attractive you are....  Oh, buts that only to us Western men ;')

ABCDiamond :
FilAmericanMom :

Two words:  RICE EVERYDAY.

As in:
Rice for breakfast.
Rice for lunch.
Rice for dinner.

You know when you have found the right lady here... When she wants egg on toast for breakfast, Meals with mashed Potato, and proper French Fries (Not the Jollibee ones).  And one kg of rice can easily last a couple of weeks ;)

That girl may be hard to find. She's likely someone who has stayed for some time in a western country.

If it was just I and my husband, a kg of rice would last us for 3 weeks, considering we use brown rice, which, though more expensive by weight, is actually more economical, as it makes a bigger batch of cooked rice.

I miss having biscuits with fried chicken. In the states, we bought frozen Meetinghouse biscuit dough, and baked them in the oven. Perfect biscuits, but pricey. You can't find those here. Certain fast food restaurants here sell biscuits. But they taste weird, like cardboard with butter, at least to me. I've tried making biscuits from scratch a few times. I've used buttermilk substitute also (can't find the liquid one). They taste good, but not as fluffy. I'm thinking of buying a food processor to make them better.

Has anyone here tried making biscuits?

Pot Bread if you have a grill outside is good.  We had a porkrib roast last night glazed with sweet & sour sauce, 2 small baked potatoes and a potbread.   Turn heat as low as you can on the bread cooking side. Up on the meat side and put 2 layers of tinfoil over the grill held in place with 3 small rocks for even heat at 350f.  Bread is best baked in a grill lid on the pot. Cake no lid.  In my grill.  Last night I used 1&1/2 cups bonus hotcake mix, 1tsp bakeingpowder, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/2 cup whole cream milk, 3 large eggs, 1/2 cup sugar--1/3 sugar mix was brown sugar, 1 tsp vanilla extract.   That is basic, to make. Then I added pineapple extract, some crush pineapple drained, poured in a little wild honey,  Mix milk, butter,salt, together and heat till butter melted. Then add rest except soda. Mix well. Add soda & bake in grill in pot.  Makes kind of a sponge cake. We had vanilla icecream with it.  Use a thick pot. If it burns on the bottom of pot next time put a double layer of tinfoil under the pot.  That is easy to make. From there in a grill you can make other breads if you can hold heat even in the grill and bake in a pot.  open for cake lid on for bread is best in my grill. It is a gas grill.  French bread is good with garlic & fine chopped green onion tops. Make ball of bread so it sets on bottom but is 1/4 inch of sides of pot when you start baking. Lightly oil pot! I use a paper towel with oil on it to just wipe the pot inside.

FilAmericanMom :

That girl may be hard to find. She's likely someone who has stayed for some time in a western country.

I found one eventually ;) and she had never been to the West until I took her last year.  Now we are heading there again, almost exactly 1 year later.

FilAmericanMom :

My husband and I were surprised of the proliferation of ads for whitening products everywhere . . . billboards, print media, tv, etc. When I left the Philippines back in 2000, there were already whitening products out in the market, but not as much as they are now. Now, when you go to a mall, there would be several spas and kiosks offering whitening treatments, not to mention several shelves with lightening lotions and soaps at supermarkets.

He also noticed that most celebrities are also fair-skinned, either using lightening cream or they're from a mixed racial, often Caucasian-Filipino, family. Even "imported" actors in Korean "telenovelas"  / miniseries are fair-skinned. Many Filipinos, mostly women, would slather up on lightening products, and would even get injections to get quicker results. Yikes!

Coming from a western country, he wonders why Filipinos would want to hide their brown complexion. He said they should show it, not cover it. He really likes my skin tone, and is envious that I didn't need to do anything to get a permanent tan.

If you  put whitening products on the  shelves in America you'll start a damn  riot... And whites as well as blacks would tear up the store... Hehehhe

Avon products are sold as whitening.. At first I wouldn't buy products that had it on them but I came to  realize that it's just a name added to the product.  My deodorant says whitening.  This is a  recent picture of me and as you can see the whitening lotion and shower jell hasn't actually worked... Hehehhe

But you smell terrific ! (so I'm told)

sirrobcentral :

If you  put whitening products on the  shelves in America you'll start a damn  riot... And whites as well as blacks would tear up the store... Hehehhe

That's an interesting thought...  I couldn't help but look into it.

Skin whitening and bleaching products are flying off the shelves of ethnic-oriented beauty salons and stores in the U.S. whereever Asian and Latin American immigrants live, and for that matter, in African American neighborhoods as well. The pressure to alter skin color is enormous, even for super-successful baseball players.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/phillip-m … 80323.html

1) Loving mullato type Filipino type skintone as I do, I always found the whitening phenomenon, which I saw from my first trip to Phil 15 years ago, unusual..but of course explainable, unfortunately.
2) Michael Jackson was at the forefront of this movement ! Except I don't think all of those Filipinas want to look like Diana Ross ! (maybe 20 year old Diana Ross...wow !)

sirrobcentral :
FilAmericanMom :

My husband and I were surprised of the proliferation of ads for whitening products everywhere . . . billboards, print media, tv, etc. When I left the Philippines back in 2000, there were already whitening products out in the market, but not as much as they are now. Now, when you go to a mall, there would be several spas and kiosks offering whitening treatments, not to mention several shelves with lightening lotions and soaps at supermarkets.

He also noticed that most celebrities are also fair-skinned, either using lightening cream or they're from a mixed racial, often Caucasian-Filipino, family. Even "imported" actors in Korean "telenovelas"  / miniseries are fair-skinned. Many Filipinos, mostly women, would slather up on lightening products, and would even get injections to get quicker results. Yikes!

Coming from a western country, he wonders why Filipinos would want to hide their brown complexion. He said they should show it, not cover it. He really likes my skin tone, and is envious that I didn't need to do anything to get a permanent tan.

If you  put whitening products on the  shelves in America you'll start a damn  riot... And whites as well as blacks would tear up the store... Hehehhe

Avon products are sold as whitening.. At first I wouldn't buy products that had it on them but I came to  realize that it's just a name added to the product.  My deodorant says whitening.  This is a  recent picture of me and as you can see the whitening lotion and shower jell hasn't actually worked... Hehehhe

Be careful I see a little white spot your cheek..:)

Oh yeah ?! I see a little white spot between the eyes of your smiley face, dude !

ABCDiamond :
FilAmericanMom :

That girl may be hard to find. She's likely someone who has stayed for some time in a western country.

I found one eventually ;) and she had never been to the West until I took her last year.  Now we are heading there again, almost exactly 1 year later.

You never know if after having eggs on toast with you, she secretly opens a can of Spam and eats it with rice. Haha. My aunts in the US do that sometimes.

FilAmericanMom :

You never know if after having eggs on toast with you, she secretly opens a can of Spam and eats it with rice. Haha. My aunts in the US do that sometimes.

I can imagine some do.  My ex wife still preferred rice after 20+ years. 
But my fiancee really does prefer all the western food now.  And we spend so much time together, including shopping together, I would know.  We did buy a can of spam about 6 months back.  It's still on the shelf :)
But she makes great Pancit Bihon :)

I lived in the Philippines 2.5 years, can't say culture shock, just can say cultural differences
(between my experience in Vietnam and my experience in the Philippines):

+ Filipino consume meat more than vegetables. They can eat rice with meat, and without vegetables for long time. They don’t usually consume boiled food. Fried breaded chicken is quite frequent in the meal. There are lots of international food company here. There are many restaurants. And Filipino like to eat outside more than Vietnamese.

+ Their mother languages depend on regions, in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao can have different languages and not easily to understand each other. At Luzon, the most popular mother language is Tagalog, but in each area, it still can be different (Pampangan language in Pampanga).
In Vietnam: Vietnamese is understandable for whole country.

+ Christianity, includes both Catholic and Christian, are very developed in the Philippines. They usually go to church on Sunday morning. This religion appears everywhere, even on television, enter school. There are universities are named after religion or being funded by religion, i.e: Philippines Christian University. In these schools, religion students are being favored, and learn some more subjects about religion. While the school still provide courses of other majors. There are people from many countries come here to learn about religion.

In Vietnam: it's more on Buddhism.

+ They have a greeting habit: younger people both bow their head and hold hand of older people to put onto their forehead. Normally, that’s greeting way of niece, nephew to uncle, aunt; grandchildren to grandparents. Seldom seeing children greet parents or siblings great each other.

Vietnamese doesn't have that.

+ They don’t celebrate longevity for old people, but regularly organize birthday party for children, specially early age. In the birthday party, they prepare foods, invite other children to come, and hire clouds to make fun and games. They have habits of giving gifts to attendants in both birthday party and wedding.

Vietnamese celebrate for both old people and children, but different style.

+ Christmas and New Year are their important holiday, but they organize it very lightly, not too formal. They even just wear home clothes to visit relatives’ houses. Even when the guests arrive, host family doesn’t go out to welcome, as relatives, guests just enter bedroom, find the gift has their names then get it.

In Vietnam, it's mostly formal.


Read more about my overview experience here.

Not to bump an old thread - it seems like a lot of people here are retirees with Filipina wives. 

What about if you just want to be in the SP region and you have an American wife and a kid? 

I do work for an international NGO, and I have the option of living in PH for a year or so.   My fantasy is beaches and 6 hour, rather than 35 hour flights to Japan, Korea, and SP Islands. 

Many of the groups I work with are based in Manila, so I have some contacts, no personal friends, and no family.

Where do you get that fact of quarter of a million living there?

the culture shock..

no chili here. it says chili sauce or hot sauce, but it's just a sweet and sour sauce. came from a country that always have chili everywhere and i used to eat chili as well, it was hard for me to adjust. even until now. thanks to my mom brought me a lot of stock of chili sauces. eating kfc with gravy sauce? we used to eat it with a full plate of chili sauce. it frustates me sometimes when it comes to food. we used to that 4 healthy 5 perfect kind of meal. here? 1 rice, 1 ulam. so dry, so boring. and no chili :(

In jakarta, it's not a clean city. it's full of trash, you can smell it in some area. here? people urinate everywhere. i'd prefer trash though..

being a single parent in a younger age, having children with your partner but no marriage and the weirdest is, getting pregnant because you want a baby, but you dont want the father to be with you when you know you're pregnant cause what you want is just the baby. being born and raised in indonesia, which is the biggest moslem population in the world (i'm a christian btw :D ), we were taught to not being pregnant out of wedlock. seeing those girls is one of the biggest culture shock here.

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