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Expand your social circle in the Philippines

Hello everyone,

Moving to the Philippines means leaving one's family and friends behind. Creating a circle of friends or joining an existing one should therefore be paramount in order to fight loneliness in your host country.

But how can one develop a social network in the Philippines? Where and how to meet people there?

How easy is it to meet locals? What about cultural specificities?

Share your advice and experience!

Many thanks in advance,

Priscilla

Very difficult to make GOOD friends here. If you're a beer drinking, chain smoking grossly overweight guy chasing females same age as your granddaughter maybe?

hey jonnyboy why you bother to join an expat group with your totally ignorant condescending statement ! yes of course there are many overweight Americans chasing young women, and catching them ,Why you may ask, just think! The majority of us men just want a loving wife, a settled life in a beautiful country. If your a foreigner go where you want to like.  if your Filipino try and behave as most foreigners do and respect your women. . I am a little overweight i like a beer. I love my girlfriend, her age like mine is immaterial love and not derision conquers all. I suggest you find a more suitable place for you . I think you have many years before, if ever you find that place.

Good question,  we live in Tagaytay and have not met many expats nor have i heard if there is a group who meets or not.   Seems some expats tend to be introverts which nothing is wrong with that either.

Hi Mikenjane

I have lived in Tagaytay for the past eight years. There are many ex pats living in this area and several expat groups that meet regularly which I know of, Germans, British and so on.

It did not seem to hard to do.  We have a daughter here. She soon made friends with the neighbor kids.  That led us to knowing all parents who live close to us with children. About the same as America. Kids are Kids were ever.  Parents are parents. Also joined a expat group that meets once a week here.

Get out. Shop at the markets. Ride the Jeepneys. Walk to the Sara Sara stores. Nod smile say high.  Not long till people are speaking to you here. That is one thing I do not see a lot of expats do.  You need meet people. Share there lifestile.  They get to know you that way.  To many come here. Only shop at the malls. Don't smile or speak.  Stay inside there homes.  Get out mingle you make friends here.

My son has been here since grade school in 2008 went on and got his high school diploma. After a few years of being lazy he got a job or two but as he is English no work permit. However he is now studying HRM at a local college. Due to the fact he did 10 years in Spanish schools he now speaks English,Spanish, Visayan and Tagalog. A huge circle of friends, plays in two or three basketball teams, he has a great life

absolutely true I enjoy haggling over a few peso in the market, flash about my few words of visayan mahal mahal, barrato, walay quarter etc brings smiles and laughter especially my pronunciation. If you say hi, they will ask your life story, A vehicle breakdown is a group participation sport, they gather round give advice, call their friends over. haha  and all your trying to do is stop being embarrass that you broke down lol.
Most people here are your friends if you give them a chance. as in most countries you make your life good or bad your choice

@jonnyboy - I think the question is how to be friends with the locals, not with the other foreigners here.

OK, maybe my view is a little unusual, but i did not come to the Philippines to be friends with other foreigners. In fact, 99% of my social contacts here are filipino. I meet with my filipino best friend every week, we drink a beer and our families go to the beach together. Sometimes I almost forget I am a foreigner, but my nose will always identify me! :)

For me, it has been very hard to make friends, in fact so hard that I do not really have any here. I have been called one of the nicest and easiest persons to meet by more than one person, so what is the problem? I walk into town, or ride a tricycle, I say hello to more than 100 people every day. I share what ever we have with our neighbors and my wife's family. We have parties for our neighbors and friends on a regular basis and invite everyone. I have asked many people why I can not seem to make friends with Filipinos, and I get a variety of responses, but mostly its just because I am a rich foreigner, and I will never fit in here, as a neighbor, son-in-law, friend, etc. I would like to go home.

Dondee 31

My experience is similar to yours. I actually have made many expat friends here but unfortunately none that I have anything in common with. Making friends with Filipinos is both easy and difficult too because of culture differences. Making friends is easy because they are such friendly people and I have many; but would I trust them?. In my experience, and that of expat friends too, how every well you treat treat them and respect their culture and so on, they almost  always let you down in the end. Just a personal comment.

Hi Good Morning Where I live in Mintal in Davao we have a very good Social circle where some, not all expats meet at the wakeboard cafe every Tuesday Morning its is all light hearted where the guys talk about their experiences etc also we have a chapter of the Foreign National Keepers Network here ,That is also very good as a senior Officer from the Local police comes to the Meeting, this coming meeting we hope to have someone from Immigration  to explain about Visa extentions  and any other related immigration issues again its all light hearted nothing heavy , we also discuss things like what to do in the event of an earthquake or other Natural Disaster like if MT Apo erupted  where to go etc
also One of the ex pats here makes food at his House with His wife some of the Guys play cards in the evening and have a few beers there so yes we are lucky here most of the ex pats get on with each other
so far I have not witnessed any problems between other Nationalities

You can "fit in there"! Definitely. But you have to make the first step. Especially if you are already considered "a rich foreigner", the Filipinos hesitate to build a relation with you. You have to consider they are used to the rich Filipinos in upper class being boastful and suppressive. The simple filipino people don`t know that for us foreigners it is natural to be respectful with everyone, not depending the income level.
For you that means: Show interest in their life, ask what they do for work, how they get along, what did they experience in life and what are their plans. They will definitely open up! And speaking about having more money: The more you know about your filipino friends, the more specifically you can identify if and where they need financial help. Or you can pay for a short vacation together with them, something they usually could not afford. I really enjoy doing things like this. About the other comment here, that Filipinos always let you down in the end is absolutely wrong. Sure there are people that only want your money, but you will identify them quite quickly. Just ignore them and focus on people you trust.

Its not too difficult to make up a group if you have the nerve to approach other expats and pass the time of day. not everyone is happy with that. I find that the group will become a drinkers and a non-drinkers and the former will have wives g/fs who also drink and sometimes smoke.
The non drinkers will chat about home comforts such as old cars and living standard comparisons and I feel its a pleasant way to spend a few hours once a month.
Sometimes you can expect too much as part of a group and be disappointed when some do not  turn up for dinner dates other times the friends you invite will bring their friends expecting you to include them in the celebrations that I find offensive. Strangers arriving at my house to a meal after much preparations usually upset the meals portions. I know a guy who always takes his three young girls to meetups but doesn't contribute anything to the party.
There are chaps wives who include their single friends hoping to meet a foreigner and of course don't add anything to the overall atmosphere except embarrassment.
Its a give and take situation but sadly there are those that just want to take!!!

Am I the only foreigner in the Philippines that has a filipino best friend? Is it really so difficult for you all to build friendships with filipinos?

danielkoepf :

Am I the only foreigner in the Philippines that has a filipino best friend? Is it really so difficult for you all to build friendships with filipinos?

nope you are not alone hehe,wen i was living in Astoria ,i spend a lot of time with my naibor who was always working at cars and we had a lot of fun with he's frends who came to inquire about there car that was in repair or just frends who came for a talk ,at times in the evening some broght a few beers and til late in the evening we were talking and joking .
later i became godfather to his youngest child .
so wen open and talketif it is easy to make frends
greets Dirk

I think learning some of the local language helps. They appreciate when you at least try to speak the local language. I'm not much of a drinker so I don't relate with some of the Filipino's. I know that even if I live in the Philippines for 20 years I will still only be a guest.

Well I have a great friend whom I met as a tricycle driver when i lived in Bacoor,Cavite. We just hit it off and I trust him like I do my brother. I have brought him and his family things back from Hong Kong and Singapore,plus he is the Godfather to my son. Willie is someone, I hope if I have the money when I come back home in Oct he can drive a van that i will buy and we can split the profits. I have gotten to trust this man like he is my own brother and anything I can do to make his life better and mine. I will do without thinking about if he is out to cheat me. I have been cheated by someone,I thought loved me only to find out I was being used,but that is life. I have my son now and a great partner to live with so no complains. I smile and say hello to everyone I meet at the store or on the street. The only one I had a problem with was a fellow who's mother was number two in BIR he seemed to think I might be beneath him and his family,so I let them be. Who you meet depends I think, on how you act towards them,be nice and most will be nice also.

Maybe you are trying too hard!! I have no problem in finding friends saying hello to many each day. Sometimes just a raise of the eyebrows is sufficient, I live in Mindanao say, Maayong buntag,  this is good morning, just wait and see the big smiles you will get for that simple phrase. I don't speak visayan just have a few phrases that people appreciate. Try it you will find a world of difference, Stop being the rich foreigner, shop in the market haggle over pesos, you will never be short of smiles and thank you's. Most Filipinos feel shy of rich foreigners because they somehow feel they can't relate to your style. My style is shop in their markets eat in their cafes, drink in their bars, Always somebody will ask where you from are you married etc. just roll with it, soon the opportunity will arise for you to say have a beer and that's it, easy just be comfortable with yourself don't overwhelm them, treat them with respect. Even when introduced to people younger than me I address as sir or ma am. It cost nothing and they feel happy that you respect their customs.

davtjo :

Maybe you are trying too hard!! I have no problem in finding friends saying hello to many each day. Sometimes just a raise of the eyebrows is sufficient, I live in Mindanao say, Maayong buntag,  this is good morning, just wait and see the big smiles you will get for that simple phrase. I don't speak visayan just have a few phrases that people appreciate. Try it you will find a world of difference, Stop being the rich foreigner, shop in the market haggle over pesos, you will never be short of smiles and thank you's. Most Filipinos feel shy of rich foreigners because they somehow feel they can't relate to your style. My style is shop in their markets eat in their cafes, drink in their bars, Always somebody will ask where you from are you married etc. just roll with it, soon the opportunity will arise for you to say have a beer and that's it, easy just be comfortable with yourself don't overwhelm them, treat them with respect. Even when introduced to people younger than me I address as sir or ma am. It cost nothing and they feel happy that you respect their customs.

i totaly agree on this maayung buntag po,salaamat po ,comusta ka po an ppl smile be very open and inviting to me and doors open.
respect is given were it is shown he.
greets Dirk

Hello Priscilla,

Good idea and hope to hear from you and al other people in the nearest future.

Wish you al the best

Willem Lensselink

Hi I would like to meet some new expats living in the Lucena City area.

Lucena is quite a distance from here in San Pablo and we visited the Land registry not long ago. The road has improved a lot and will do more when the highway gets connected.

Try a Facebook group called Expats of Laguna which we are part of and i believe some of them are from that area.

Already a member thanks Peter

any expats in Mati City Davao Oriental ? would like to meet some.

greets Dirk

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