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Common misconceptions and clichés about life in the Philippines

Hello everyone,

Old clichés die hard, as the saying goes... and living in the Philippines can generate lots of misconceptions in the eyes of the people.

What are the most common misconceptions about the expat lifestyle in the Philippines?

What are the most common clichés about life in the Philippines in general?

Did you have a biased view of the country before moving there? What is you view now?

Thanks in advance,

Priscilla

I want to express my opinion as a local who have a perspective towards expats living here in the Philippines. I think most locals think that all foreign nationals are rich or are businessmen/women here since they can afford to travel in this country. I think most expats have problems in accommodation in terms of where they are staying, may that be a house, condo unit, apartment or hotels.

the common misconception is this place is mainly to meet sexy good looking women
from 18 to 27,  that will sacrifice for a little less fun with the older guys.   
That is not correct there are many other great things here and that is a
misconception.   You can try some local food like lechon and belut., and experience the
local flavor or riding in a traditional jeepney,  or see a local museum or zoo.

before entering The Philippines i did lots of reasurch as i was in a internet relation with Perlie and she is filipina ,so wen i came here it was to marie and retyer here or return with my wife to Belgium and retyer there ,as i lurned how dear my wife is to some of her familie members we desaided to stay .
i never had any problems with acomodation ,i enjoi the culture and the filipino ppl as they are very nice ppl .i must say this how ever i served with the belgian navy for 20 yrs so i'm used of other cultures and in Belgium to many of my frends were from other cultures so for me there has never been a "culture shock"haha.
and i adept quit easy to other ppl as i lived, workt and go in to war often with ppl i knew only short time ,i gues not many ppl are used of such sircomstances .but after 2 yrs i feel safe to say this is now the country i love and belong,and i dont think i wil ever return to europ other than to go on vakation ,the Philippines have been and stil are good to me ,i love it here and i love my Perlie dearly .
Tank you ppl of the Philippines for allowing me to be happy here

greets Dirk

They do think all foreigners are rich.  All whites are Americans.  All blacks are from Africa & relitives of oil kings.   T.V. has a lot to do with this. As they have never seen the truth.  I agree it is hard to find a home that they will not try to overcharge for. So look careful  use more than one agent. So they compete.  Language is a problem. They all speak English here most like I have never heard before.  Learn to do things there way. They do things the strange way on many things.  If you have a good wife or girlfriend here let her do 75% of the talking. Filippinoes do not think like westerners at all.  Travel I have little problem here but finding a good map very hard to do. Google maps are often wrong.  The maps in adds if you wish to find a dealer or such are often very out of date. Will take you to a office down town that they moved from 3 years ago.

Travel in the Philippines can be exciting . Roads pavement ends for no reason. Begins again for no reason. May dead end at No were.  Last weeks trip to Illigan city.  They had a festival there. So we went. Rides for the kids, & tent shopping with some buys.  I own a 5 passenger van. So Wife daughter, Me. But she makes phone calls.  So Her Mother wants to go. Pick up mother on way. Leave Mothers home. See Aunt walking down road. Wife yells stop. Talks to Aunt she wants to go.  Drive threw Illigan city. As she has uncle who lives on other side of town. See Uncle & family. Get free lunch there. But several wish to go with us. Now have 8 in 5 passenger van packed in rear.  Get stopped at check point back into town.  Officer shakes head feels sorry for me I am sure. But they know private place to park near the rides. Park in someones small yard. Told it is relitive so all safe. Go on some rides, try a few games, Women go on mad shopping digging spree. But buy little. Did buy a few things. Next walk back to van.put all in. Stuff relitives on top of things & pack around them. Return to uncles house. Other side of town. Get rid of them. drive to Nawawan. Get rid of aunt, drive to back side of town get rid of Mom. Return to our house. This takes from daylight till dark to do.  All relitives know I am rich. I own a second hand van. They have motorcycles.

I live in philipines. I am a American. Was station here as a marine.

Television and wrong beliefs have shape the thinking of the people. My experience have lead me to believe that many of Filipinos think foreigners are all rich. Mine you rich is a relative term. When a person here (providence) makes $4.00 dollars a day and a foreigner has a monthly income of $1000.00. To them you are richer than they.

Because of this belief we pay more for things that has no fixed price. This is if the foreigner is negotiating the price.

i have heared a lot of bad expieriances from expats here , but, wen i came here and we had a day in a resort or so the family did not acepted me paying for any thing ,they never asked for money and more than once we got presents .
so maibe am just lucky or one just has to be realistick on the fact there are good and less good ppl any were in the world ,i go to the market on my own often and never i felt cheeted as i payed always the same prices as filipino ppl .same thing wen i used a trike or jeepny to get around
up til now i have only nice expieriances here .
one thing amazed me,in 2 yrs+ i have seen no racism or prejudice ,i wish i was able to say the same about my own country but i cant .
greets Dirk

Has anyone ever noticed, that the ambition of the vast majority of philippinos is to run there own 'Buisness'?
Drive down many Streets, and there seems to be more Sari Sari Stores than Houses.

Of course many Thousands do run succesfull Buisnesses. By hard work over long Hours they are able to support  there Families. People such as Market Traders, Farmers, Fishermen, to mention just a few.

There are however. Those that believe running a 'Buisness' is just a matter of sitting
on there Bottoms,  telling other People what to do. Especially if this 'Buisness' is financed by some Hapless Foreigner.
Even if the 'Buisness' is at first viable. Within Six Months. The same Buisness will have opened up in at least Seven places in the near vicinity, and the origional One will go quickly Down The Tube.

Enjoy life in the Philippines. It's a Great Country.
But spend your Money. Don't Invest it.

you said 8 in your van, every day 150 cc ruski motorcycles go past our place they have 8 or 9 on board thats not a trike, 2 wheel motorcycle with extended steel seat lol.

i partialy agree on the busenis thing ,iff, and that is a big iff,i wood invest in a busenis ,i wood make sure first of all that i start with no competition ,a nice in the market .and that i stay in control ,full control ,i wood train the employees my self and make it clear that it is as i show and not different ,those who do not aply to this rule wood not stay long ,they get fyered on the spot.i say this becorse of what i have lurned .
i see electricians plumbers masons and carpenters working and see imediatly they did not have any propper technical education ,those who want me to explain how i see this feel free to ask i wil explain .
i am very technical myself so i see these things and notice many times they just folow what they have been teached by on the job training by ppl who did not get that education themselves ,sad thing ,i think .but also dangerous,if an electrician go from a licht cable to a more heavyer cable this can overload the lihgt cable and start a fire ,just to give 1 example .
so expats who want to invest in a busenis i advise to ceep in charge ,thinking just investing is the thing ,to my opinion are  trowing away funds .
a good thing to ceep copy cat oposision away is to make it so that it takes an investment of quit a ,for filipinos ,large sum so without sufficiant funds one dos not have to fear those compeeting competition and one can start a good busenis .
ofcorse the secret is to know what the niece in the market isss hahaha.

i have been thinking on such an endevour ,  but , i am stil contemplating on ,do i need this ;not realy -
do i want to invest a large piece of my time in such an adventure ;wel ,it woold ceep my busy -
can i ever leave the busenis in other than my own hands ; this is a hard one to answer .it wood depend on if i find a person who i can trust to folow my rules and be ruthles enoughf to fyer ppl if needed .
there are some other considerations to to this desision haha,but am reyerd and i got all the time in the world to make them .
to many ppl make such desisions very lightly and later regret them .walking over one night ice is taking a serious risk he



greets Dirk

I am not American and I am not rich. Local people are kind, helpful, understanding if they know You! Most of them speaks English with different results but not always like to do it. "Bleeding nose..." only because some are ashamed and worry that they might be not understood.
Since I am not working any more, our life goes up and down and my lovely wife is often doing miracles for us to survive. We have also unbelievable friends and they helps us whenever they can. We help them too when possible.
I think that within my 7 years here, I am learning more and more - not to criticise and not to judge anyone, especially locals. We, foreigners, are guests here!

Mentioning skill sets for building houses well they do not exist apart from banging a tin roof on top of hollow blocks with no concrete content that crumble when dry. If your not around they will throw a wall up with substandard materials and plaster over the mess. Plumbing is  a joke they forget to glue joints and a two year trained plumber couldn't install a water gauge without it leaking. The icing on the cake comes to mind..what's inside maybe you will never know. A good tip with building a house make the corner and supporting posts at least 25cm by 25cmit might hold the roof up then. Excuses abound and it'll get done after is a common phrase. Its the worst place in the world for passing the buck.
So what I am saying is their is no pride in their building work and at all stages of a build corners will be cut to pocket money that would have bought say a decent electrical cable instead of a burn out copy and fuse box.
Maybe that's why you can get a house built at one fifth or less of the price of the west its just not anywhere near the same build.
From an architects mouth here " they done care" as she took the money and produced a poor outcome ironic isn't it.
Its a great place for a tourist holiday but challenging at times to exist residing as an ex-pat when your spending they all want some almost mercenary in construction. Maybe half get lucky the other half get ripped off.

Moonshine Star. :

Mentioning skill sets for building houses well they do not exist apart from banging a tin roof on top of hollow blocks with no concrete content that crumble when dry. If your not around they will throw a wall up with substandard materials and plaster over the mess. Plumbing is  a joke they forget to glue joints and a two year trained plumber couldn't install a water gauge without it leaking. The icing on the cake comes to mind..what's inside maybe you will never know. A good tip with building a house make the corner and supporting posts at least 25cm by 25cmit might hold the roof up then. Excuses abound and it'll get done after is a common phrase. Its the worst place in the world for passing the buck.
So what I am saying is their is no pride in their building work and at all stages of a build corners will be cut to pocket money that would have bought say a decent electrical cable instead of a burn out copy and fuse box.
Maybe that's why you can get a house built at one fifth or less of the price of the west its just not anywhere near the same build.
From an architects mouth here " they done care" as she took the money and produced a poor outcome ironic isn't it.
Its a great place for a tourist holiday but challenging at times to exist residing as an ex-pat when your spending they all want some almost mercenary in construction. Maybe half get lucky the other half get ripped off.

i agree on the fact house construction is not up to western standart.but,i do not blame the ppl as i am convinced the lack of good technical education is to blame .i had long conversations with ppl working in the sector and i observed there working skils ,one of the things that struckt me was the way they had to work bekorse lack of tools and knolidge .
those i spoke to had pride in there job but just did not had the so needed education .
in Belgium carpenters masons electricians plumbers and so on all have 4 yrs of technical education on there desired job.all those i spoke to had only on the job training by ppl who were trained on the job themselves . so ofcorse they dont have any idea about structural strenght or how to calculate wich electrik cable to use for wich tension of power .here technical education is ondevelopt .
so please do not blame the workers who work so hard for a very small pay .
it is up to the goverment to better the education wich will better the ppls future.
wen i build or house i wil not use a contraktor that's for sure . i wil hire workers and supervise all the work and do a lot of it myself togetter with them.so later i will not be able to complain about corupt contractors or substandard quality ,the only one who i will be able to complain about will be me.

greets Dirk

excuse my bad spelling i never had education in  englis, i do hope i get understood do,lol.

I am planning to move to negros oriental in a few weeks. I've been researching all i can on the ppl, culture and everything in general on the Philippines. I don't have an illusions about too much ive been weighing the pros and cons of life there.
i've met a very nice filipina online and hope to meet up with her there soon. I'm honestly hoping to take advantage of costs and that's my priority for living there. I'm on sociail security for my income now solely. After too divorces here in the states i have little left to show lol. I'm giving up a lot here by moving since I'll be taking virtually only the shirt on my back when i arrive.
So ya i'm definately not a rich foreigner.
I appreciate everyone's comments here and trying to soak up as much knowledge as I can before i depart.
To Dirk. you go man! your english is fine my first language is english and i have difficulty spelling my self
My gf there maybe gets nose bleed coz she doesn'[t speake english well but we communicate fine. Her father only speaks bisaya her native language so ya there will be culture language differences but I'm excited to go there learn their culture language and start my life over in what i think is a country of freindly people. sure there are good and bad on both sides. here in the states youj never know if youj go to macdonalds someone may come with a gun and blow everyone away.
and scammers abound here in the states. some of it by what they deem as leagal bribery by lobbyists in congress so who is setting agood example here?
I enjoy the forums here and hope to post my experiences of my life there when i arrive
everyone have a great day and again thanks for the interesting topic and posts

HI guys,  enjoyed reading your posts. Would it be a good idea to invest in the stock market over there.

danish12 :

HI guys,  enjoyed reading your posts. Would it be a good idea to invest in the stock market over there.

If you have to ask us, then no.

If you have enough to invest consider elsewhere because banks go down in the Philippines and online hacking is rife.
Rich people do not live in the Philippines and even rich Filipinos move overseas to invest in property that's a good yardstick.

Dirk...

I must agree with you 100%.  From what i have seen, what the workers produce, with the few tools they have is quite amazing.  They have no training....it is so obvious, but they blunder through, and somehow get the job done.  It may not be to a standard that we are used to, but it is done.
Training and education is the only way forward.

Peter

The only thing I see I would invest in here.  Would be a business for children if you had them here.  Then take a long term slow loss to build it for them. No money for yourself in it.  You go in business here against them. They will cut your bottom line to a loss. They can do it cheaper here than you can.

Our experience of House-building is entirely different.
Our house was built by a local contractor. The owner is himself a qualified Engineer.
The Company don't just build Houses. Also Sports halls, Sea walls and other large Projects.
He employs a competent Architect. Who produced all necessary Drawings, and even a Computer Graphic of how the House would look.
We had a Fixed Price. With a Payment Schedule, with payments due after certain parts of the project were finished. A full list, and costing of all materials used.
The Roof is a welded Steel structure. But of course the walls are Hollow Block, backfilled with Steel, and Cement.
We were not happy with the standard of Two large windows at the front of the House. The Contractor replaced them without arguement, and no cost.
Apart from the Windows, and we have now lived here Three Years, we haven't had any other complaint. This is not always the case with Houses built in Europe.
Maybe we were lucky? We dont live in a large City, but a small Visayan town.
One small point. House Contracts here dont seem to include Ceilings. These we had to 
pay extra for, and I have seen other New Houses with the same problem.

Sorry to say but I have seen racism but not from The Filipino people but mainly from A few Americans against the Filipinos, don't get me wrong most US guys are ok but I have encountered some pretty nasty guys who are not nice to know . From the locals I just get " Heh Joe" but when I reply they are confused not being American

Sorry to say but I have seen racism but not from The Filipino people but mainly from A few Americans against the Filipinos, don't get me wrong most US guys are ok but I have encountered some pretty nasty guys who are not nice to know . From the locals I just get " Heh Joe" but when I reply they are confused not being American

The land of ...."for a while"

Deca 2015 :

Sorry to say but I have seen racism but not from The Filipino people but mainly from A few Americans against the Filipinos, don't get me wrong most US guys are ok but I have encountered some pretty nasty guys who are not nice to know . From the locals I just get " Heh Joe" but when I reply they are confused not being American

Deca,

Just to clarify, there is expat trash here from around the world and unfortunately they get the attention while the majority just want to live peacefully with the Philippine people and their culture.   

Those who love to bash the Philippines may not necessarily be racist but have in all likelihood never been happy with either themselves or their surroundings, they are simply miserable people. We avoid them like the plague they are and embrace the beauty of our home and the good people we call family and friends.

TeeJay

Cliches about foreigners in the Philippines:


- Foreigners are assumed by locals as having lots of money. And that if they're married to a Filipino woman, she only married him for money or to be able to go abroad.

My assistant's teenage daughter said at one time that she would like to marry a foreigner so that she could start a business and build a big house. My assistant explained to her daughter that the business was established and partially funded by my parents, and that the house was built with "ma'am's hard work, business savvy, and profits from the business which sir has no interest in managing."

One of my clients instantly thought that I was an illegal in the US, and that I married my husband to legally stay there, when in actuality, we were both US citizens even before we met. I think she still doesn't believe what I told her.

- Foreigners are assumed to be rude, that most of them have a habit of belittling Filipinos, which is why they are looked upon by some locals with disdain.

When my husband complained at the subdivision's clubhouse, the admin there  told me that they heard him say an invective, and "only in the Philippines . . . blah  blah blah" which my husband denies. (He's done this before.) So, when one of my foreigner neighbors complained about something at the clubhouse, he got in an argument with one of the board of directors, which almost resulted in a fist fight. He said that some of the staff's reaction was due to their experience with my husband.

Cliches about life in the Philippines:

- You can live like a king with just US$1000.

"Like a king": NO. "Live": Yes, but this word has a lot of qualifiers. I think it means you can afford to retire here on a US$1000 from SS or a retirement fund (which you may not be able to do in your own country) if you can adapt and live a simple life.

- That in the entire Philippines, there's a high probability that you will have to evacuate from your home due to a typhoon like Ondoy and that there's high risk of getting kidnapped .

My sister-in-law called and asked us, after Ondoy hit Metro Manila, if we have an inflatable raft. Haha. My mother-in-law's general view of the Philippines after her visit here: peaceful and a place to get cheap massages, haircuts, facials and other beauty treatments.  The risk of being kidnapped is mostly in southern Philippines. So, avoid setting foot on certain areas.

- The biggest discomfort you'll have will be the hot and humid weather.

In my opinion, it would be the really bad traffic (which some might have already expected before moving here). And also being stared at  like  you have a physical disorder, when you're out taking a stroll, like at a mall.

You might think it's rude of Filipinos to stare, but they just sometimes can't avoid it. Imagine going to a fine dining restaurant with a big hat as the one in "Cat-in-the-Hat," or wearing a tuxedo, like the one Tom Hanks wore in the movie Big, and pink-dyed hair in your company's formal dinner party. In a land where most men are 5'6" or shorter and have medium-toned brown skin, you will stick out like a sore thumb. To stare at you would be a natural reaction.

Well to a degree your right about the kidnapping again it depends where living or want to visit , if you want to visit somewhere like Zamboanga or anywhere that far south you will almost certainly encounter problems but if you in Davao or its environs you should be ok , again don't wander out alone at night that is the latest Police Intel we have , there are now increased Army patrols in the city itself as only 3 days ago I went to one of the malls in the city and I noticed 2 soldiers who were fully armed . Apart from that the city was just going about its business, on the subdivisions where most of the expats live there has not been any reported problems against any expats even so we are vigilant and take nothing for granted

I have met rude expats.  The question need ask is did you get along at home before coming here.   If not you probably will not get along here also.   Philippine driving is a adventure I agree there.  Almost as bad as South American drivers. Were the inside lane is posted walk gallop & cantor for your house.  Same here for pedal trikes, motor trikes, overloaded trucks & such.  But no inside lane use for them.

That "The Philippines is cheap to live in"

This may be the case if you want to live as many of the locals do.  If you want to live a life style you had in Australia (air conditioner, western style food, etc), when then you may well be better off staying in Australia and holidaying in the Philippines.

we live in Mati City ,Davao Oriental,no problem here and we live not in a enclosed neiborhood whit guards.
we have muslim relatives who deeply regret the fanatics problem,we love to visit them they have the same pinoy hospitality as others have and we always feel welkome ,it is prestine snorkling there as they never used dinamite fishing.the other muslims living there also are very nice ppl ,what shows it is not there faith wich is the problem .
other expats here to live simular life style and as far as i know they to feel no problem living here.
and as far as the food is consurn ,wen i cook it is westernised style pinoy food hehehe,and our visiting family love itt.
for the moment ER is the only supermarket here but next to the public market NCCCis building a big supermarket so i gues in the future more inported products will be availebol ,so that's great.
greets Dirk

I agree. My neighbors are Muslim. We get along great.  over 1/4 the area is Muslim no problems. But in a gated subdivision.  As for Philippine food it is good or most.  It is the sauces they put on it that is the problem.  They do like hot!  As long as the sauce is put in a side dish for them to dip into little problem with there food.  I have never had a problem here even when I was in there section of town that is 90% Muslim.

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