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The Pros and Cons of Living and Dating in the Philippines

  • Written by Anonymous
  • January 16th, 2012
  • 23 min read


Here is my list of pros and cons on living and dating in the Philippines. Hope you find it informative. I gotta warn you though, there is no fake political correctness in this list like there is on the Travel Channel and those fake positive hippies who only want to hear cliches. This is telling it like it is, no holds barred, with insight and truthfulness. These are not absolutes, nor do they apply to everyone in every situation. But they are true to such a large degree as to become discernible patterns.

Pros:

– It is a dating paradise for men, especially foreign men. It is easy to get dates or sex anytime you want. No deprivation in this area for men. With most local guys being poor and a large percentage of them being gay or transsexuals, the supply of dateable men is very low. Hence there are always single girls who are looking everywhere you go, a huge surplus of them, never a shortage.

– Girls are tender, affectionate and treat their boyfriend or suitor very well. They are always there for you and make time for you. They are not hung up on looks.

– Girls like to flirt and enjoy flattery and compliments. They do not consider a guy who is attracted to them or asks them out to be a creep who ought to leave them alone. There is no such attitude at all. Flirting and signifying interest is not vilified, but seen as natural and adorable. Girls love attention and flattery too, even if they are shy.

– Females are not prudish or uptight when it comes to touching or physical affection, but are quite receptive and into it themselves. They are not puritanical like their British, American and Oriental counterparts. When they make love, they are tender and soothe you in a way white women can't.

– There are a variety of girls to choose from in terms of ethnic mixes, ranging from light skinned Chinese types to darker Malay types to Spanish looking white types.

– Go go bars and videoke bars are cheap to get a girl from to take home. You don't have to sleep alone if you don't want to (unlike some countries where you are forced to sleep alone every night without choice).

– Cost of living and day to day living expenses are generally cheaper than first world countries (not on electronic items though).

– With hotel and transporation generally cheap, it is affordable to travel around the 7000+ islands of the Philippines to enjoy beaches, forests, mountains, rice terraces or volcanoes.

– It is warm year round and never gets cold (if you like it that way that is).

– Many people speak at least basic English so there is less of a language barrier than in non-English speaking countries.

– Most people are nice and good folks who are cheerful and open. It is easy to meet people and start conversations. People are always willing to enjoy life and have a good time (especially if it's on your tab of course).

– It is the most nonjudgmental and least racist country in Asia. Filipinos are a mix of many ethnic tribes, including Chinese, Spanish and Malay. Thus it is truly multiculturally advanced and integrated. Everyone is accepted here, including misfits from other countries, as long as they are nice, courteous and law abiding.

– People are not stuck up, but warm, open and like to enjoy life. They are not too uptight or serious about relaxing and partying. There is a very relaxed laid back attitude in the populace. They are fun and enjoy corny jokes even.

Cons:

– Dirty streets and polluted air. Often the streets are littered with garbage and look like they were part of a sewer. It makes you feel like you are walking through a gutter. There are no quality control standards in cleanliness or maintenance, except in rich neighborhoods. Rivers and streams look dirty and toxic too. Thus the land, air and water are polluted in any mid-size city there.

– Most products are generally of shabby quality, unreliable and break easily. Even brand name products seem to be made inferior to their usual standard, for some reason. Most things sold at the SM Malls are from China and break easily. Clothes you buy there usually fade after 2 or 3 washes, which make them look worn. Even brand name products wear have defects that they usually don't have in first world countries. The power goes out randomly and sporadically out of nowhere. Don't expect the reliability of First World Countries. Quality control standards are very subpar, not at the level of First World industrialized countries.

– Food in the Philippines is considered by all foreigners unanimously to be the worst in Asia, hands down. Not only are the ingredients in the food of bad quality, but they are shabbily hacked together with no skill or class. 95 percent of restaurants owned by Filipinos serve food that is so disgusting that you wouldn't eat it if it were free, yet they charge high prices for it and get away with it! It's mind boggling.

The fast food franchises Chow King and Greenwich are disgusting, not even edible and shouldn't even exist, yet they are everywhere in the Philippines! It's bizarro world. To get decent food you have to be very selective, visiting only places that you know have decent food, which are usually foreign owned. Places owned by foreigners or Filipinos who were trained abroad also have a good chance of being decent.

As a result, this leads to overall nutritional deficits in the Filipino population, which most are unaware of.

– It is very HOT and HUMID year round. Arizona weather is like California compared to the Philippines. You never get a break from the sticky sweat on your skin. The only relief is to go indoors where there is air conditioning. This makes it hard to enjoy being outdoors. This also means that at your home you have to have the air conditioning on all the time, which skyrockets your electricity costs! It's unavoidable.

But you have no choice since it's so damn hot and humid day and not EVERY day of the year! Those who hate humidity will wilt in the atmosphere of the Philippines. In addition, the air also seems thin to some, making it hard to breathe or exercise.

– Food spoils very quickly in the Philippines, even when it's refrigerated, like it does nowhere else, probably due to the humidity that allows all kinds of molds and bacteria to grow. I've never seen food spoil as fast as it does in the Philippines.

– You can't leave food on the table or anywhere in open space without ants getting to it within minutes. But it's impossible to remember every time to put food in the fridge or within locked containers, so inevitably you're going to have ants getting into some of your food. It's very annoying, and does not happen in colder or dryer climates.

The humid air and unsanitary conditions in the Philippines makes it a breeding ground for all kinds of nasty insects, pests, viruses, bacteria and shit to grow and flourish everywhere. This is bad for expat health because there are more diseases and infections around for you to catch. So not only do you have to deal with greedy people around you, but nasty pests and insects as well. Ick. It often makes you regret being there.

– Many people are rude and inconsiderate without manners or civilized behavior. They cut in line in front of you, interrupt when you're talking to a salesperson, are pushy when they want you to buy something, etc. Beggars will touch you and stand in your way and demand donations. Trike drivers will cat call you as if you were their pet. I've seen construction workers use electric drills and saw wood right in the middle of a crowded restaurant, totally oblivious to the fact that they are annoying the hell out of the customers! (fortunately they were ordered to stop eventually) But boy I've never seen such clueless people.

– In the Philippines, you are constantly surrounded by people with a "give me, give me" look on their faces. And that's because the key to their survival has been in finding ways to GET things from others, taking advantage of them, and freeloading off them. They're always looking for free things and generous people to get things from. But of course, they never want to give anything for free, as nothing in their culture is free. It's obvious hypocrisy of course, but I guess in their position, they can't afford any ethics. This can get annoying and infuriating, as it makes you feel like a constant target, but some expats get used to it and just develop a firm stance against them, while others don't.

– Filipinos definitely love to GET and HATE to give. This explains in part why salaries are so low in the Philippines that many have to go abroad to work or resort to receiving funds from overseas relatives or foreigners. They are so low because everyone hates giving and is super stingy, while of course they are always happy to receive as much as possible from others. This creates an obvious imbalance in their society that leads to problems.

The basic hypocrisy here is that everyone is always wanting to get but no one wants to give. This creates an imbalance that leads to consequences.

To them, there is no shame at all in taking, but there is in giving. When Filipinos do give, it's always very little, and if it goes beyond that, there will be extreme reluctance and an attempt to make you feel guilty for forcing them to give. Giving goes against their nature.

This is why foreigners who live in the Philippines or have done business there will tell you that "When money is flowing from you to them (Filipinos) they will be nice and friendly to you. But when money is flowing from them to YOU, they will see you as a devil."

Many Filipinos feel NO SHAME at all in receiving things, even at great expense to the giver, but in fact have an OVEREAGERNESS and INSATIABLE appetite for it. They receive with a child-like glee, as if they were children jumping up and down in front of Santa Claus waiting for their gifts.

Try this: When you are in a department store, go to a sales associate and point to some fancy expensive item and jokingly say, "How about I buy that for you?!" Notice how they light up with glee and delight as they say "Oh really?! You buy that for me?" as though he/she were a child, totally forgetting the nonsensical nature of a total stranger buying an expensive gift for another stranger for no reason.

That's because their desire to receive without shame or guilt supersedes everything without inhibition. It's the nature of their character. There is no shame or guilt in seeing you waste your money either, even if you're poor or on a budget. They are always very willing to receive things from you, even if it bankrupts you.

Many are also not shy to ask you directly for a gift either, hence the popular cultural line they give you when you are about to travel: "Don't forget my pasalubong (gift)." Even jokes like that are revealing in regards to a culture's mentality. Such greediness is the worst in Manila and Angeles City, but not as bad in the rest of the country or the provinces.

In this area, there is a double standard in that while it is ok for a Filipino to want to receive things for FREE, and take advantage of any FREE thing they can get, it is considered out of line and rude for a foreigner to expect to get anything for free. Instead, foreigners are supposed to enjoy paying for everything, not expecting anything for free. Yet a Filipino is allowed to gleefully want and expect free things, especially from foreigners, as though it were an entitlement they had been waiting for, like a child waiting all year for Santa to visit his home.

– Foreigners are treated like Santa Clauses (without their permission of course). Filipinos hold two major fallacies regarding foreigners:

a) All foreigners have bottomless pockets and can never run out of money no matter how much they spend.
b) All foreigners do not care about price. It is never an issue to them. They are willing to pay any price for anything without dispute. Wasting money is not a concern to them.

They simply do not understand people. Even rich people will have preferences in what they want to splurge on and what they don't. Just cause someone is rich doesn't mean he will not be concerned about price vs. value, and making sure he gets his money's worth.

Now "b" may be true for many white foreigners who do not mind splurging, but not with Chinese foreigners. No way. Chinese are brought up with major shame and guilt about wasting money, even if they are from rich families. Filipinos do not understand or relate to Chinese in this aspect.

There are some foreigners though who behave exactly like Richard Gere did with Julia Roberts in the movie "Pretty Woman", (and can afford to) spending an obscene amount of money on the girl of their affection. They will shower their girl with expensive cell phones, laptops and other gifts. But unfortunately, these foreigners spoil it for the rest of us and contribute to the "Santa Claus" image.

But most foreigners are not rich. They are budget conscious, frugal and efficient with their money, not spending beyond what is necessary, which is how it is in the real world after all. The problem is that somehow, all foreigners in the Philippines get lumped into the "splurging unlimited cash" type personified in "Pretty Woman". It's an unfair stereotype, but it exists.

What's really funny though, is that even when hippie backpacker travelers walk around the Philippines, hustlers and peddlers STILL call out to them thinking that they are rich and treat them like cash cows just because they have white skin! Anyone with any worldly sense about people know that backpackers – the kind who stay in hostels – are often on a very TIGHT BUDGET, and are not rich at all! They even LOOK and dress like they're poor! Yet Filipinos are clueless about this. I guess their greed and ignorance transcends their common sense about other people. Lol. That would be the logical conclusion.

– Unfortunately, since foreigners here are used to being targeted by hustlers, peddlers and those wanting to sell them overpriced goods and services, or taken advantage of, as though they were rotating targets in a "carnival shooting gallery", they eventually become overly defensive and dismiss everyone trying to help them, including well meaning locals who are just trying to help without any ulterior motive. Such is the unfortunate consequence of "building up your defenses", in that eventually you stereotype them all as "greedy hustlers to be avoided" for convenience sake, or because you just don't want to deal with them anymore, period.

– Filipinos do not even feel guilty about wasting their own food, leaving it out to spoil or leaving uneaten rice in the cooker to spoil, which they will do over and over again. Thus there is no shame at all in wasting even their own resources. It is not uncommon for a Filipina to get taken to a restaurant, order a meal and then take only one or two bites, throwing the rest away, not even taking it home, all because they aren't paying for it. It's a total disregard for waste.

– Filipinos themselves will playfully admit that they typically behave like children in that when they want something, they want it NOW, without regard to expenses or consequences. So basically you would be dealing with "adult children".

– It is very difficult to find intelligent conversation in the Philippines. People there seem incapable of thinking and observing, or forming intelligent opinions and observations.

You will mostly only have intelligent discussions with other expats and foreigners. While middle class educated Filipinos will only be able to speak English more fluently with you than average, they will still not usually be able to form intelligent opinions and observations.

The average IQ in the PH is something like 86, which is quite low. So if you are an intelligent reasoning person, you will feel out of place, since dumb and simplicity seems to be the norm while thinking is out of place.

Also, the incompetence and inability to answer simple questions will seem quite annoying, especially if you demand competence and straight answers.

– Most people's English is only at the basic level. They understand you if you ask simple questions like:

"Where is the CR? (bathroom)"
"What time is it?"
"Where are you from?"

Those they will understand and respond. But if you ask them:

"Can I apply this retroactively?" or ask them things involving steps, details or specifics, they will struggle and look confused.

They also are not accustomed to intellectualizing over concepts. For instance if you say to them, "The term 'pure Filipino' is an oxymoron because by definition a Filipino is a mix of different ethnicities, not a purebreed", most will not understand this statement, nor will they know what "oxymoron" means.

In Asia such intellectual musings and observations are considered useless and irrelevant in day to day practical life anyway. Instead, people's minds are used to focusing on simple practical matters only.

Therefore, when travel guides such as Lonely Planet say that everyone in the Philippines speaks fluent English, it's more of a politically correct statement than the truth.

– Most waitresses in the Philippines are very simple (dumb and clueless to put it bluntly). They cannot fix problems or answer questions, only take orders and send them to the kitchen. But when you ask questions or request that items be altered, they seem to get a "brain fart".

They are especially clueless when you ask them why the same dish isn't prepared like it was last time. In such cases, they can do nothing but deny, deny, deny. They can only get the cook or manager to discuss it with you.

What's odd about this is that they seem to have a photographic memory of faces and will recognize someone they haven't seen for three years even, yet they can't recognize when items in their restaurant have been changed (usually for the worse).

When it comes to dealing with problems and issues, Filipina waitresses struggle, act confused and look blank, for such things are outside their box. They just don't like to think.

And that's annoying to accuracy oriented people with high standards, especially when we are trying to solve a problem. Therefore, I'm no longer shy to tell a Filipina waitress, "God you are sooooooo DUMB!" since it's often completely justified. And after all, a clueless person usually cannot feel insult anyway.

– Since many customer service people are clumsy, incompetent and not serious about efficiency, you have to double check everything to make sure they didn't mess up, since mistakes are frequent.

– If you are a perfectionist or have a bad temper about things going wrong, you will be often annoyed like hell in the Philippines.

– Most girls that date foreigners usually come from poor families who will expect you to support them or give her an allowance that she can use to support them. In other words, they will attempt to leech off you shamelessly. If you are frugal and prefer to save rather than to spend, your will will be constantly in conflict with their will.

– If you are a foreigner, there will be a double standard against you in that locals are allowed to be stingy toward you, giving you nothing for free and counting every peso. However, you are expected to be a super generous Santa who is happy to give away things for free, and you are supposed to be willing to spend away from your "bottomless pockets" without complaining.

In fact, although they may call a foreigner "kuripot" (cheapskate in Tagalog) if he is frugal or tries to save money, it is very odd and out of place for a foreigner to call a Filipino a "kuripot" because Filipinos are expects to be stingy, but foreigners aren't.

– People have a "do whatever you feel like and to hell with the consequences" attitude, which can be fun but sometimes hazardous too. They are prone to act out without inhibition.

– People have a strong sense of loyalty and duty to family, but not a strong conscience, sense of ethics, morality or fairness. Lying is not considered wrong, but a normal tactic. There is no guilt when one does wrong. There is a mentality that everyone has "an equal opportunity to ripoff each other".

– Many businesses have low ethics. The business mentality is generally stingy and greedy at the same time, a bad combination. They will charge high prices for low quality and services if they can get away with it. The mentality is "to hell with customer satisfaction, there is always another sucker out there to profit from". Filipino people may be kind and non-anal, but Filipino businesses and organizations are anything but, and in fact have low ethics and are stingy. They think nothing of using misleading advertising and claims.

The customer service concept is still undeveloped. There is not a real understanding of the relationship between "price and value", probably due in part to an overeager desire to make a quick buck. This is why in restaurants and stores, some items are underpriced while others are overpriced.

They don't even understand the concept of giving discounts for buying more. For example, in a grocery store, if a 100kg product sells for 100p, then a 200kg case of the same product will sell for 200p, exactly double. Usually, the more you buy, the more discounts you get, but they don't get that concept.

Waitresses are also not trained to come to your table after serving you and asking "How is everything? Is there anything else I can get you?" Instead they just ignore you after serving your order. Many hotels do not even check that their toilets and showers are working before renting out their rooms to customers. This is true even in expensive hotels and resorts! There are simply no quality control standards.

– Communication skills are not articulate or skillful (which is true of Asia in general). Thus when you try to get directions, they will usually be vague, not exact or step-oriented, and get you lost often. So when you try to dig for information, you have to be patient, persistent and probing, because frankly speaking, communication skills in Asia tend to suck.

– There is a lack of common sense in that mistakes are often repeated over and over again, as if they never learn from them. For example, if food is left out to spoil and has to be thrown away, they don't try to prevent it from happening again, but simply do it again and again. If during a party, someone puts their beer bottle on a narrow wooden plank, which common sense tells you will fall in only a matter of time, and it does fall as predicted, they simply do it again next time. When mothers give their toddler kids drink and food to hold, which they then spill all over the ground, the mother does not learn from that, but simply repeats the mistake again, resulting in the same consequence.

And if kids get hurt or maimed from playing with fireworks and throwing them in front of people on public streets, they simply do it again and again, like they don't care.

This is not just a lack of common sense, but a form of madness without regard for consequences too. It also shows a lack of regard for safety and wasting resources.

– There is a lack of education and knowledge regarding nutrition and health. In general, Filipinos do not age well. If you are involved with a Filipina, you may notice that after 25 – 30, their looks start to go down. They do not age as well as their Chinese and Japanese counterparts do. This is probably due both to a combination of genetic factors (handed down from their ancestors) and malnutrition from low quality unhealthy foods.

Therefore, if you are seriously involved with a Filipina, you will need to educate her on proper nutrition, healthy eating, fitness/exercise and other health related matters, if you want to help preserve her beauty and youthfulness for as long as possible.

Conclusion:

As in any place, you gotta take the good with the bad. Some people are able to tolerate the drawbacks described above and get used to them, while others get annoyed by them constantly and easily. Everyone is different. There is no one place or lifestyle that is right for everyone. Only the individual can weigh the pros and cons of each location and decide ultimately what is best for him or her in accordance with his or her needs and values.

Here I have done my best to list the pros and cons of the Philippines as comprehensively as possible, to let outsiders know what they can expect by coming here, to help aid their decision making process.


Stickman's thoughts:

It seems to me that you have spent most of your time in the Philippines with prostitutes and in the nightlife areas. You should consider spending more time with "regular society" Philipinos. Do that and I bet your experience will be so much better.

I laugh at those who live their life and whose experiences are predominately from the gutter, and the way they project the bad experiences they have had with troubled people to be representative of the whole population. I have never been to the Philippines but I would bet the farm that people in mainstream society would be much better to spend time with…but then maybe you wouldn't fit in with them?

I'll say it again – and I have not even been there. I bet that Angeles is not that representative of the Philippines on the whole.