Your new local habits in the Philippines

Hello everyone,

Living in the Philippines is a great way to immerse in a new culture and lifestyle.

Have you embraced local customs since you've lived in the Philippines? If so, which one(s)?

Did local customs change the way you see things, appreciate life or organize your daily routines? As far as the language is concerned, did you learn new expressions or words and do you use them?

What do you like most about the lifestyle in your host country? Are there any local specificities you are still struggling with?

Thanks in advance,


Aha talk about open the flood gates LOL. Well I have made every mistake open to foreigners coming to the Philippines and probably found a few different ones. I am a well seasoned traveler living in quite a few countries so should have been a little bit more savvy. It is easy to be seduced with the easy going family gushing about you. Well despite that you have to be sharp about what you are doing. I am divorced from my Filipina, the joys of life in UK, were preferred to moving back here.  Likes and dislikes? Well to be honest you just have to accept that the only way is the PH way or the highway out, no matter how much a thing annoys you it will not change. Plenty of things to get hot under the collar over, mostly I glide over it but sometimes I feel forced to comment. hahaha. The life is easy, the weather is to my liking and I love my lady friends., one special and 3/4 good friends. Life is cool if you go with the flow, learn a few phrases and all will be good. Just accept that it is not London New York or Paris, some standards are shockingly low, Butn such is life.

I don't know if I'd call the things I do habits. But my way of life has really changed. I retired here with my Filipina wife of 10 years (I met and married her in the US.)
After 1 year living in Metro Manila she announced that she 'hates' the Philippines and wanted to go 'home' to the States.
And she left. I'm here in Bicol now, more than 3 years in the Philippines.
But I'm not alone much. I'm now in a 'relationship' with a very mature 30 yr. old, who lives with mom and 6 brothers and sisters. I paid for an 'extension' for their home and tuition and expenses for Law School at a local University. So far attendance and grades are the best. I provide transportation and my 'student' is the driver. Classes are 7 days per week Some days as early as 7 am and 'til 8:30 pm.
During class time I entertain myself doing volunteer work and socializing.
I enjoy the way the locals drive and I'm happy to be a passenger.
The city recently installed 'traffic' lights. When they are working there is indeed traffic. But they don't work all the time and the traffic flows better.
I avoid using cell phones, they just don't work well for me. I prefer Facebook messenger.
After 3 years I finally get to have hot showers, I installed one of those instant water heaters.
I did not drink alcohol since 1990. But here, what the heck, I'm retired. I love Red Horse beer.
Cleaning house is different too. I don't like the expense of the electric for air con, so I screened my windows and use fans. There is so much dust!
And the odors and noise have taken so much effort to tolerate.
Stray cats, dogs and farm animals (pigs, goats, chickens, roosters) add to the ambiance.
Some times a group of locals will have an animated conversation on the other side of my open window, and most of them smoke. Or they'll park and leave their Diesel engine running to keep their air con going.
My house is often filled with smoke !
The people talk loud, their music is loud, their pets are loud, their vehicles are loud.
I don't understand the language.
But, I love living here, I'm one of the few foreigners, the locals are friendly to me.
Very little of my life is like it was when I was living in the States.
It was so easy there!

I can go native in the right pace.  As her Dad has a small farm, her Grandmother on her Moms side the big farm. Her a small farm inbetween.  So there I have & do help pick mango's, banana, coconut. Eat what they are eating sleep on a mat at families houses.  I seem to get along well with them. Her Dads house is the last house at the end of the road with electric.  So at Grandmothers or other family no electric. Last Saturday do to big rain flash flood. We had to go out & remove some trees & brush that washed i in a small flash flood. Put up new bamboo that washed away from the garden.  And such. All showed up all helped. Wives place get water about once every 5 years. Good high bottom ground.  We all ate together. End of day we all set in the shade & drank beer on ice together. So I can go native here.  At our place in the city. I get along well with the neighbors. Daughter has her friends over. All that. No problem but city life is not farm life here. At our expat meetings I am all American. So I stay American. But get along well here.

Thought that I would add my bit also as I have an hour to spare.

First of all when I came to the Philippines I hated it but I could not go back to Australia because I sold everything that I had.....(big mistake at the time) but now after three years or so I am sort of slotting in, as I had to change my attitude or perish.

I am one of the lucky "kano`s" as my lady friend whom I came here for in the first place is really out of the box compared with my previous lady friends in Australia. Her or her family have never asked me for money ( even though I do send 3,000 peso`s to her mother who lives by herself in Mindinao, once a idea ) and I get on really well with the rest of her family, even better than my own family in Australia.

The things that still annoy me ( but am more tolerant of them now )
are,  the idiots on motorcycles,   poor bloody dogs that are chained from the time that they are pups, and bark constantly,   squatters who dont give a dam for anybody,    us foreigners who get the blame for everything,   loud boom boom music,   unnecessary noise,   when asking a local a question they never say that they dont know, but make up an answer,   all of the corruption and lies,   now I am getting wound up and could go on forever , but I am out of time as my lady friend has run out of a load, so I had better take her to get one, because she cant watch television, or read a book, and her I Pad has a flat battery, so she is in " panic mode"  but I wouldn`t swap her for anything.... what am I saying?   lol.

Just one more thing.  I went back to Australia two years ago with the intentions of staying for two months, but was back here in the Philippines after ten days, dont ask me why, I guess I just missed all of the above too much.  Maybe I am becoming brain dead also???????
( Said in a joking way. )

I return to America once a year to do tax's & such.  I agree. The best part of the trip to America is getting on the plane to return here.

LOL! Sorry about your brain being dead! Yeah, I know, it's a joke!

I went back to Oz in May to visit daughters and grandkids and I felt a bit like a square peg! I couldn't cope with the cold in the Adelaide hills! I was just longing to get back to the warmth in Phils. I love living every day in shorts and sando

I also sold everything to come to Phils and if I went back to Oz I certainly wouldn't have enough money to buy a place, even if I wanted to.

I do love it in Phils and have a really lovely lady who has a really nice family. No one has ever asked me for a cent here and her family are all quite content and working, etc.

My new local habits are not too many, except I eat more rice here than I ever did in Oz. I eat a part Western part Filipino diet and have found I can get most things I need in terms of food. Fresh milk and decent butter are non-existent where I am(Laguna), but fruit and veg are good and plentiful. Meat and fish are cheaper than Oz and the quality is good.

I've learned a few phrases and words of Tagalog and when listening to people talking I can usually follow the thread of what they are saying. Most people are really good and will include you by speaking some English.

I really enjoy karaoke, something I had done rarely in Oz and my lady and I sing together regularly, along with friends who also love to sing.

The shopping malls in Phils always impress me. Clean and spacious and the shops cater for all and are well-stocked.  I've never seen so many staff in shops and they are always polite and attentive. All the big brands are here if you are looking for something in particular. I am amazed at the number of technology shops in the malls. The cinemas are luxurious compared to those I've been to in Oz.

oz, try  the Magnolia butter

Hi Oz I live in Iligan city and because there are virtually no foreigners, no foreign food stuffs are carried. Recently the local mall, Gaisano started stocking lasagne sheets lol. If I eat out with my lovely lady, we eat local, I won't  use McDonald or Jolibee very expensive and not to my liking. Probably the only food chains I quite like are, Chowking and Dimsum, but not too often. I cook mainly at home a mix of international ie chick ala king Indian curry, spaghetti bolognaise and lasagne. Local foods humba, adobo, sisig bihon sometimes I fry fish in spices etc my lady will cook sometimes and she cooks stuff i don't know the name of, but I like. If you live in a foreign country, to me, there is no point in importing your own country, if that's what you want. stay where you are. Over the last 22 years I have lived in Spain and now Philippines, in each place I  have avoided expats, eat local, drink local, meet local, that's my style.

While my wife and I lived and worked in the U.S., we did most of our own cooking and rarely ate out.  The home cooking consisted of a mix of Filipino dishes and Western foods, some which became integrated forming our own hybrid recipes. We were fortunate enough to have a very well run and stocked Asian foods store in the city about 20 mins from our home and were able to purchase a lot of items from the Phil including fruits and vegetables for the pantry.
When we moved to the Phil our cooking tastes came with us. My wife is an excellent cook and we enjoy foods like chicken abodo, sinigang, local style spaghetti, some fish spiced to taste, longanisa  mixed with some western style foods we are able to purchase at the local grocery stores in Tagaytay and the malls.
We have a few local restaurants we enjoy on occasion, though for the most part we eat in the comfort of our home.
We enjoy the local recreation opportunities and the beauty of our new home, we are patient when dealing with local bureaucracies such as the LTO, BI, etc and find that whining about it doesn't make it move any faster or more efficiently and is a waste of energy to do so.
I have learned some Tagalog and have found that most of the local people, friends and family make an extra effort to converse with me in English, at least until the strain starts to show on their faces.
The people in the area are kind, helpful and friendly and many times we find locals stopping by to brings us fresh Buko or in season fruits or vegetables and we always try to respond with something for them.
My wife's family are wonderful people and without exception have been welcoming and friendly towards me and have asked us for nothing but a smile.
We both love it here and if we did not, we would simply leave.

Thanks for that! Magnolia is the one I use mainly and also I quite like Queensland Butter, nothing to do with Queensland, lol! Made in Philippines, but it's almost like Oz butter.

I am more for shopping Uni Tops & the markets.  Little more crowded.  Never know what you will find, not quit as clean. But much cheaper to buy there. I shop like a local here. Avoid the big Malls.  I see few nonnatives do this.  Never had a problem shopping at them. Save a lot that way.  But I was always a natural born tight wad. I should drive down & see you some time. I go to Nawawan  quit often.  Only a 30 minute drive to Illigan city from there.

I think I can safely say that I am the only foreigner in Iligan who does as I do. I have a great time in the markets and also the junk shops. I recently bought 8 steel chairs ex school for 100 each, a slightly battered lawnmower for 200 pesos, my best however I spotted a cooker oven in the junk shop, the top hobs were no good but then I didn't want them a little haggling got the price down to 200 peso and 30 for delivery a couple of hour elbow grease connect to gas, light and sit back to admire my very pristine looking oven working great. lol

Thank you Priscilla for this forum. It helps a lot. We are currently still staying in my home country (South Africa) but can't wait when we will rellocate to my wife's beloved country : the Philippines :-) Regards.


new habbits,only a few,i did not tuch alcohol for over 18 yrs and got do to family presure drinking a beer or a rum from time to time hehe.
the food we eat is mainly local ,we live les than 5 minutes walk from the market so i am a known customer there .
one thing i stick to is frys ,wy them cal them french frys is a puzzle to all belgians as this is belgium food ,after many trys i i now use canola oil and i have great frys hahaha,to bake my stake i use buttercup nice taste .
as the north sea is always cold i now enjoi regular swimming in the sea ( both fins scuba mask and snorkel )
not manny expats here in Mati (davao oriental),but wy move to another country not to enjoi the local ppl?
have a great wife and family here ,nice naibors no exes noice ( as in davao city or manila)
i so love it here .
greets Dirk

Ben Franklen. As Ambasador to France brought the idea back to America.  So they were called French Fries in America. A new way to cook potatoes at that time.  Or fried French stile.

one of those small historical facts that escaped me hahaha ,belgium was stil under french rule by that time .it took Napoleon to get an ass kicking to get the belgium state to become reality haha,but now i know i sal sleep better lol

greets Dirk

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