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Response to Steve at Philippines Plus

Response to Steve at Philippines Plus



I was reading a comment by a guy named Steve at the website Philippines Plus.  I wanted to respond to his comment, but it got to be so long that I decided to make a post of it and just reference the link.  It sounds like Steve doesn’t like the Philippines much, but it also sounds like he hasn’t really given it a fair shake either.  He talks about things that are not really necessary  and are just flat out wrong.  Of course he does make a couple of good points also.  You can read his long comment by going to this link.  This is my also long response to that comment.

Wow Steve, why don’t you speak your mind a little clearer.  Okay let’s see. At first living in the PI, the food is not great, but you get use to most of it after awhile.  Of course there are still vegetables and chicken that tastes about the same as in the US.  Just buy the meat at a regular supermarket and not the wet market and cook it yourself.  The fruits and vegetables are not a problem.  I can buy fresh pineapples for P30 (.75), coconuts for P8 (.20) and bananas for about P3 (.075, less than a penny) each.  You can’t do that in the US.  Heck even in the US I can’t stand Mikey D’s, so that’s not a problem for me at all.

I can’t argue about the electricity, but my monthly bill here is much less than the monthly bill I had in the US.  I have yet to have a bill over about $175 and that is only the first bill with all the extra fees and things added.  I was constantly paying over $250 in the US, even $401 once.   Usually our monthly bill here, with 6 people using it, is between P4000 and P5000 ($100-$125).  We use the majority of that electricity for us, but the others pay at least P1000 ($25) of that bill.

As for gas, who pays for that, not me.  There is so much public transportation, your own vehicle is not needed.  For P250 ($6.25) per person with one of the van services here, I can go all the way to Tacloban and that is a 2-3 hour drive away.  If you get your own vehicle, well you know the price of gas, so that’s on you.  I will agree though that the gas is too high, especially for a country with such low wages.

Fresh milk?  I find other ways to get my calcium because the stuff they call fresh milk here (in a box), I don’t even like much.  They do have plenty of cheese though.  You can also get your calcium from nuts, seeds, herbs, soy and green vegetables.   There are always vitamins too.  You only need about 1200mg per day.

You got me on the electronic stuff, except on often do you buy that?  It’s not all expensive, but it’s not all the best quality either.  We have survived almost 3 years without paying anything except a refrigerator and a freezer.  Bring your stuff from the US and buy a transformer if you don’t want to buy things here.  That way it’s already paid for.

Who pays for a Visa to live here, not me.  In fact my wife and I have been here almost 3 years and we have yet to pay a penny for a Visa.  We are here in balikbayan status.  Not everyone can come in that status, but if you are moving to the Philippines, the odds are that you are married or soon will marry a Filipino citizen.  You can get the balikbayan status now or later.  We do need to leave once a year to another country, but with the P88 deals on Cebu Pacific, plus tax that’s comes out to about $200 per year for two.  If you are that short on money, just go to Hong Kong and spend the night at the airport.  You just come home the next day (if you want to), get a new visa and you’re good for another year.   We just treat it like a yearly vacation and you can stay gone as long as you want, up to a year I think.

You must be in the big city of Manila if you are encountering beggars everyday.  I rarely see them around here anymore.  Once the people get use to seeing you they just about leave you alone.  At least that has been my experience.  Again, I’m not in a big city.

About the noise, again you must mean in the big city.  Most of the time around here, it’s pretty quiet.  We leave next to a highway and the only time that I have to plug my ears is when someone decides to play their music too loud.  If you don’t live with the relatives, as we do, then the noise shouldn’t be a problem in most cases.  In most of the smaller provinces I’d say it was too quiet 90% of the time.

Pizza is too fattening anyway and there are not very many of the ones here I like.  If you just really have to have pizza you can make your own a lot cheaper than buying it.  Even in the US it is cheaper than buying it.  Plus you know it’s the way you want it because you did it.

P24,000 for an apartment. Good Lord man where were you looking. We have our own house, paid for, so no payments, but there are people, including Americans, renting here for about 1/5 that.  You must be trying to keep up your expensive American lifestyle or something.

Paying $1200 for a one way ticket to the PI is also pretty high, but even if that’s true, it’s a one time thing.  If you are retired military and not in a hurry, you can take Space A to Korea, then a cheap Cebu Pacific flight to Manila or Cebu.

I don’t know what that ‘abandoning’ children thing is all about, but I can tell you that here people watch after their families and I know of no abandoned children here.  There are a lot of poor ones, but they all have homes to the best of my knowledge.  Maybe not in the big city, but they do around here.

So maybe the Philippines ain’t paradise, and it sure ain’t for everyone, but it’s better than having to live off the US Government because you lost your job because of the place shutting down.  Of course being over 50 is a big strike against you for getting a job in the US.  If you have been planning to retire, like you should, then it’s very possible to live here on less than half of what you can in the US.  Unless of course you insist on maintaining your American lifestyle, then it could get expensive.

If your goal was to get responses, then I think you will meet your goal.  Especially when some of my readers see it, they will have things to say, a couple of them for sure will have written responses.

So to sum it up, no one is going to ‘force’ you move to the Philippines, it’s a choice.  Come check it out, if you don’t like it, don’t move here.  We live here because we want to.  If you don’t want to be here, then we don’t want you to be here either.


  1. UJ,
    You are right. This is one of those so called expats with experience who just write about things they see the first day of their arrival.
    They do not have any experience at that moment, but think that their experience is what others also have.
    People like that better stay in the US or elsewhere.

    • I mean I know that the Philippines is not a paradise, as some try to make it out as, but it’s pretty decent. It’s like scotch, an acquired taste. I just can’t understand people that want to be that way. Spreading things like that is wrong because it gives others inaccurate information to make a decision that will be affecting their entire lives. I hope that anyone seeing it also sees the other comments and does some further checking. I also hope that anyone that he has told in person, does further checking.

  2. Howdy UJ,
    It appears the poor guy may be suffering from brainus deadous. It’s the Philippines for god’s sake, suck it up and enjoy the people and country and all the mystery foods they cook and serve. All the years we lived there was an adventure for me, and each day I loved it more and more. Yea, there was filipino time, but hell that’s just like living on the south Texas border with Mexico. Sorry I haven’t been by in a while, had a case of kidney stones starting the night of Dec 23rd until Dec 29th and was more or less knocked out from the pain meds they put me on until i finally passed the stone(friggin bowling ball).
    John D

    • Hey John. I had strong feelings about his remarks, that is why I was prompted to write a whole article on it instead of just leaving a comment on that site. I will agree that the Philippines is not for everyone, but he was just throwing out things that he didn’t do any research on at all.
      I’ve never had a kidney stone (knock on wood) and I hope I never get one. I hear it’s the closest a male can come to giving birth, so I’d like to stay away from anything like that. Being knocked off your feet I can understand. It’s like when I had gout, it’s just not feasible and sometimes not possible to get to the computer to do things.

  3. Hi John,
    Finally catching up on your posts. The Holiday season gets crazy here with my family. In Calbayog Cheryl entertained her family for Christmas and while it was expensive it wasn’t outrageous. It was the first time she had done everything herself and she wanted everything to be perfect. I was going to go over for Christmas but my Dad has some problems here and I wanted to see him as it may be our last Christmas together. In regards to this post our total monthly expenditures there come to about P20,000 but that’s for everything; food, house, electricity etc. Doesn’t even cover the mortgage here.

  4. Good response John. Obviously this person had more should re-look at his priorities and decide on a better place to visit or travel to. Myself, I cant say enough good things about the PI. You will never meet a more down to earth people any where in the world. Sure there are problems with poverty but it seems to me you always see these poeple smiling and happy and forever gracious to help you in any way they can. I dont know if i could permanently live in the PI but i will be staying for extended periods of time and returning home with my wife atleast twice a year.

    • Well Blair a lot of people that can afford to travel back and forth do exactly the same as you say you will. Heck if I could afford it I probably would to, at least I would go somewhere. It’s not that I don’t like it here, but being retired, I’d like to travel a bit more. I’m still working on the how to do that, but I’m getting closer.
      I think Filipinos are very friendly and I still have not met one I didn’t like, but I’m sure they are out there somewhere. I’m going to keep looking for that ‘bad’ Filipino, that way I can meet a lot of ‘good’ Filipinos along the way.

      • My problem is getting wife to stay in Philippines longer then a month yearly, even though we have all the comforts of home there. After she catchs up on local gossip and in 2 weeks she is ready to leave. She say’s she gets bored and tired of listing to all the problems of her relatives. Maybe when the shopping centers finally opens she will not be so bored.

        • Well you need to be sure she stays busy I guess. I’m sure that when the stores start pouring in, she’ll be able to find some things to do. I don’t think you can do much about the listening to the relatives though, unless you don’t live near them, that might help.

  5. Unfortunately, guys like this will complain regardless of where they are. He is obviously out of touch with the realities of living in the Philippines. Most guys I know move there for a more simple life with less stress. Yes, adjustments must be made to live there, but the same could be said about moving to any country. Better if he just stay in the U.S. where he will have plenty to complain about in the coming years.

Texan in the Philippines