Photo from anton.blogs.com
Several months ago I wrote two articles as a guest writer for Bob Martins' web magazine “Live in the Philippines. The first article is the ten items that I love about the Philippines from the perspective of a balikbayan retiree living the “snow bird” lifestyle. Snow bird means that if it is winter time in US, my wife and I flew to the Philippines. When it gets super hot and humid in the Philippines we fly back to US. We do this every year. Most of our friends and contemporaries are envious of our lifestyle. But I say, “Eat your Hearts Out”.
Of course there is no perfect place on earth even if I call Marinduque my Heaven on Earth and my Island Paradise, (http://marinduquemyislandparadise.blogspot.com). So I wrote a second article on the ten most annoying things in the Philippines also listed below.
The following are the ten items I like and love about the Philippines. I modified and revised this list from the one published in Bob Martin's web magazine a while ago to reflect current conditions in the Philippines. These ten items are not in order of importance. I also sited my blogs for references on the subject listed.
1.The cheap standard of living: The cost of food and services with the exception of electricity is cheap in the Philippines specially services. For example haircuts, massages , pedicures and manicures is much cheaper in Philippines than in US. A specific example are Mens’ haircut. I pay between 60 to 100 pesos in Marinduque, but here in Northern California, I pay between $12 to $14 for a haircut. For $1500 plus or minus 10% a month, my wife and I live like a Queen and King here in Marinduque. The current exchange rate is about 48 pesos for one dollar as of this writing date. For fast conversion from pesos to dollars or vice versa, use “50” as the factor.
2.The simplicity and peaceful life in the provinces. The locals are easy going and do not hurry for their appointments. There is not much traffic in the provinces and in small towns. (http://marinduqueonmy mind.blogspot.com).
3.The abundance of fresh meat and seafood, vegetables and fresh fruits ( papayas, mangoes and bananas) at a reasonable prices as well as the Filipino delicacies ( lechon, lumpia and pancit) and desserts ( bibingka , leche flan and Halo-Halo).
4.Accessibility to the beaches, mountains, caves , rivers , islets for picnicking, bathing, snorkeling, scuba diving or just relaxing ( I am talking about Marinduque, not the big cities).
5.The social support system is fantastic. The presence of friends and relatives specially during Christmas and Easter seasons is an experience one can not forget. The Philippines celebrates Christmas five months every year starting from September 1 to January 31. (http:/planningtovisitthephilippines.blogspot.com)
6.Availability of all modern amenities, good restaurants, international food , modern health services in Manila, Iloilo, Cebu and other big cities and five stars vacation resorts all over the islands.
7.The dry and cool weather, ocean sea breezes ( at Chateau Du Mer )during the months of November to February. (http://chateaudumer.blogspot.com)
8.The numerous Fiestas and Festivals the whole year round, specially during the months of January and May. (http://lifeinus1960present.blogspot.com).
9.The hospitality of the people and their attitudes toward foreigners and visitors.
10.Historical and Cultural heritage we have as a nation from Spain , such as our old churches, folk dances, Kundiman music, Putong, Kalutang and respect for our elders and freedom of the press and speech and educational opportunities we had from the United States.(http://theintellectualmigrant.blogspot.com).
The ten items I dislike about the Philippines are listed below. This list is modified from what was published in Bob Martin's magazine to reflect current conditions (#4, #6 and #10) in the island.
1.Traffic and Pollution ( in big cities) There is always traffic congestion almost 24 hours a day, especially in big cities. The only time of the day when there is no traffic congestion in Manila and suburbs is between 2 to 4 AM. This is a good time to go to the airport to be in time for your 6AM flight.
2.Jeepney and Bus drivers: They drive like maniacs. They pick up and drop passengers in the middle of the road. Most provincial drivers drive like maniacs. They will overtake private cars on the wrong side of the highway and even on dangerous curves.
3.The long lines in the banks and ATM machines and people cutting-in the lines
4.The noise of crowing cocks and the barking dogs at 4AM or even earlier and loud karaoke music and out-of -tuned and horrible singing of the neighbors
5.When you invite one in your party, he or she brings one or two others, without advising you ahead
6.Filipinos seldom RSVP an invitation or answers their e-mails in a timely manner. Some have Face Books accounts , but seldom or never opens it. ( why open an account if you do not open it at all ?)
7.The heat and humidity during the summer months especially the months of March, April and May
8.The smell of fish and Durian-(probably only in Davao) in the wet markets
9.Littering on the streets and on the beaches, parks and other public places
10.Frequent brown outs/ black outs, typhoons and torrential rains in the provinces.
You could probably add more items, but the good things outnumbered the annoying things.DO YOU HAVE ITEMS TO ADD TO THE ABOVE TWO LISTS? PLEASE SHARE!
Again as snowbirds, my wife an I are happy whether we are in the Philippines or United States. We believe that “HOME IS NOT A PLACE, BUT IN THE HEART!”.
Planning to Retire Soon!
If you are planning to retire in the Philippines soon, I suggest you visit several excellent websites on pro's and cons of retiring in the Philippines. However if you want to retire in the provinces, where life is simple, standard of living cheaper, less traffic congestion and pollution, availability of fresh seafood and vegetables compared to the big cities, my island province is the place for you! If this is your first time in my site, welcome. Please do not forget to read the latest national and international news in the right side bar of this blog. Some of the photos and videos on this site, I do not own. However, I have no intention on the infringement of your copyrights. The photo above is the front yard of Chateau Du Mer-Our Retirement Home in Boac, Marinduque, Philippines