Category Archives: Foreigners in the Philippines

Excuses for Leaving the Philippines

I have no qualms when foreigners complain, and point out the bad side, or cons, of living in the Philippines.  I think by sharing their experience, they provide an invaluable service to those who are planning to move here.  What I do have an issue about is when a foreigner blames his own failings on the Philippines’ misgivings.

I initially got this excerpt from an excellent and well written blog Expat in Davao, who quoted it from another site Blogger News Network.   Here is what a certain “Disgusted Foreigner” wrote:

I sold everything at home to retire in the Phils. I am a holder of a Special Resident Retirement Visa (SRRV) issued by the Phil. Retirement Authority.

I regret that I am here in this country for the following reasons:

1) most Filipinos look at white men with dollars popping on their eyes. They often think of ways to rip you off. They think that because you have white skin, you have zillions and zillions stashed in the bank. Beggars and sidewalk vendors always make sure they can get something from me. Taxi drivers also want to get some more from me other than the usual fare.

2) lack of effective law enforcement in the Phils. In the rural areas, they just allow people to go on doing illegal activities because they are poor and do not have money to pay for court procedures. But, take note, that when it is a foreigner doing something wrong, the police will swoop down on you at once because you have the MONEY. There is one law for those with brown skin and another for those with white skin

3)Corruption is prevalent even in the remotest barangays in this country. Beware of places ruled by political dynasties. You will not get anywhere. The poor people who can easily be bought for VOTES will always be sided by the officials. The mayors in this country have the final say, they control everything!

4) You see in the newspapers, TV and radio that there are trainings, programs, conferences on the government’s drive to protect the environment or whatever program. But, even these government workers see for themselves clear violations, they won’t do anything. Preservation of the environment takes a BACKSEAT because of poverty and political ambitions. It is ALL TALK, NO ACTION!

As soon as all my wealth can be pulled out of this place, I will go and never come back!


The writer of the comment seems more like a “disgruntled” than a “disgusted” foreigner.  I strongly believe he already knew the issues he enumerated above before moving here, as do a lot, if not all, expats. But something went wrong, either about love or money or  both, and he played the blame game, using the above issues as excuses for his own failings.

Here is my take on each of Disgusted Foreigner’s excuses:

For #1: You cannot change what people think of you.  With the beggars issue, there are beggars in all countries.  The way to deal with it is give them money selectively.  I’m actually an open target for beggars and solicitors because I have a shop.  But despite that, I probably dole out less than 150 pesos – around the price of a tall Starbucks Mocha – in a year.  It’s no big deal to me, and it shouldn’t be to you too.

On taxis, research first the correct fare before getting in one. Be an educated foreigner, and not a push over. I actually hate getting on taxis in the US, more than I do here. I had to give tips to drivers, even if it appeared they’re running the meter as long as they can.  If I didn’t, the driver would look at me in disgust like a was a shit-eating fly, or mumble a racial slur about Asians.

For #2: Do not do anything illegal.  Period.

For #3: Corruption exists in all countries.  And so do political dynasties.  If political dynasties disgust you, then don’t live in a town that has them.  If corruption doesn’t affect you or your business directly in any major way, just live with it.

I lived around 10 years in the US.  It is not perfect either. I can’t understand why the US government had to bail out all these big companies with trillions of dollars.  Why can’t it just divide the 7 or so trillion dollars by the total population of America and hand out each resident $20k+, and not just the $600 tax “rebate” back in 2007?  In America, rich people have control of everything. When my kids are of age, it could be that I would be telling them: do not go to or work in America, because we’re not rich, and you won’t get any social security by the time you retire.

For #4:  If you really care about the environment, you take action.

The way to live happily here in the Philippines is to embrace the pros and live with the cons.  Many expats have made the Philippines their home because of the lower cost of living.  They might be able to retire earlier because their retirement money stretches farther.  And some actually end up finding love.

I would have to say with disgust to Disgusted Foreigner: Every country has its own pros and cons.  Go ahead and pull out that “wealth” from the Philippines, and move to another country. Or take it back to wherever it is you came from, where you might have to work till you’re disabled, 75, or dead, which ever comes first.