Ignorance Is Bliss
Before I begin, this story was inspired by Pattaya Gary's "How Did They Cook Us? Or Did We Do It To Ourselves?", sorry just Gary these days. Or maybe soon to be Angeles Gary perhaps (?) sub of the other day and I agree that the Phillippines vs. Thailand debate has been done to death. This sub is to serve as a bit of a travel warning to those that haven't been to the Philippines often or are thinking of living there long-term.
I am in the unique (possibly) position of having lived and travelled to both places quite extensively for a number of years and would like to shed a little light on the off chance that some may believe that the Phillo's is an idyllic paradise far superior to Thailand. Also I have stated in previous subs I think personally the Philippines is pretty ordinary, very picturesque, more so than even Thailand and really has some beautiful coastal locations but the major bar areas are disgraceful. Angeles and Manilla are depressing places to visit and I can't imagine what it would be like to live there. You've really scraped the bottom of the barrel if you choose to live in Angeles. The national food is shithouse and the only thing going for it for most of the people I have met that go there is that it is ridiculously cheap compared to Thailand (which is why they have chosen to go there and nothing to do with the quality of the girls, oh and they speak English) but then again same with Cambodia (but Cambodia I like), so, predictably as always my views may be a little biased.
First off, if you love a gun culture heavily inspired by the US then you will love the Phillipines. The joint is heavily "gunned up" and even at the local McDonald's or shopping mall you will find security guards with Glocks, Magnums and shottys and that has extended throughout the illegitimate community much like the US. It is a piece of piss to buy a gun (you can buy an M4 assault rifle for less than $1000 Aussie if you know where to look) in the Phillo's and some would argue it isn't that hard in Thailand – but not to the same extent.
The Phillipines has one of the highest unsolved murder rates in the world, up there with Iraq and Mexico and the incidences of assassinations and kidnappings against foreigners is immense. I know many of the deaths of Farangs in Thailand may be classed as fairly dodgy but the number of foreigners who get assassinated by order of their wives in the Philippines is way above Thailand. Simply put, the average Pinoy is far, far poorer than the average Thai and poverty breeds desperation. I personally have had a few friends stabbed, 2 kidnapped (1 was just held in a hotel room for 3 days at gunpoint till his family released some cash). I have had 1 friend shot in the face and another, it was later determined, murdered by order of his wife by 2 guys driving by on a motorcycle who shot him dead in the street and then took his weekly payroll off him as he had quite a successful business at the time. I also know of guys who have been set up on false underage sex charges and deported by their wives never to return and in one case her brothers just rocked up on the property and not unkindly told her husband to remove himself from the property, and the house he had just finished building and never come back again under pain of being shot. Not unsurprising really in a country where only 2 months ago a major political figure was slaughtered in broad daylight with his wife and 2 babies at Manila "International" Airport with no witnesses, no security and of course no arrests yet to be made. Another salient point is that this is also the same country where they have had a swag of "My Way" murders where pissed up Pinoys were having gunfights in karaoke joints because they didn't quite enjoy each other's singing capabilities. Now I have had some mates have some fairly dodgy shit done to them in Thailand mostly involving losing money or property and occasionally the odd bashing but nothing compared to the magnitude of violence I have witnessed in the Philippines.
Again. if you are just an infrequent visitor then again like Thailand or Cambodia most of the seedy underbelly will pass like ships in the night. You will still have a great time but there are some things to think about if you wish to live / retire there. See, unfortunately, I truly understand the need not to learn Thai but to live in Thailand (or any country really for that matter) and not learn the language is pretty stupid, especially when a bar girl with no formal education speaks English better than you speak Thai. Then again ignorance is bliss if you were to learn Thai / Laos or Khmer or Tagalog then you would put yourself in the unfortunate position of finding out what these girls really think about you. I will give you a hint, it is no different from what any other working girl thinks about you. You're a mug, a mark and a quick way to make some real cash (for her family mostly and more than likely for the boyfriend she has that she really loves). I know, I know, harsh but unfortunately in most cases very true. Now I know a few here will be getting their backs up and telling me how these girls can fall in love and they are not all the same and that yours was different… Fair call, and that may be true for some but generally speaking hookers are hookers are hookers no matter what you believe or whatever their race, colour or creed may be.
First off my congratulations, and good luck to you! Secondly, WAKE UP! Enjoy it while you can. I would! Suspend reality for as long as you need – that's what it is all about in the sex industry anyway. If however you believe that it is anything more than a transaction wherever you are in the world, you are seriously deluded. Now as some who live in Thailand have never taken the time to learn Thai well, I guess because they speak English in the Philippines most will never take the time to learn Tagalog either. I admit my Thai is far better than my Tagalog but at I least I tried. I never had an affinity for languages and I found Tagalog near impossible but I did pick a bit up. The point of this is that a very common saying amongst the girls of Manilla, Cebu, Puerta, Subic and of course Angeles City is (please excuse my transliteration) apat na em (the 4 "m's") MMMM. Matanda, mayaman, madaling, mamatay. Literally put, Old, Rich, Soon, Die. So if you're cool with that, fine by me, but realise bar girls are bar girls. Some are much better actors that's all, as some have come to find too late down a long and costly road.
Now it is not up to me to tell people how to butter their bread or as my grandmother would say, how to "suck eggs". Be aware though that the Philippines can be a very dangerous and desperate place, and far more so than Thailand. For all its political instability and the fact that the Thai smile may not be as genuine as it used to be, for the average foreigner in the street, in my experience you are much safer as a cashed up expat in Thailand than the Philippines. Also, as I have stated, those that seem to be such a big wrap on it are only there because they are starting to realise that they can't afford anywhere else. <Beware of making assumptions for you cannot possibly know other people's financial situation – Stick> There are lots of better places to be in Asia than the Philippines, or even Thailand for that matter. You just have to find them and I'm not giving away any trade secrets…do your own leg work.
So, as usual, where am I going with all this? Well, as usual, nowhere really. It is up to each and every individual to do what they think is best and live life as they see fit, and as long as you are happy and your shit isn't affecting my life then I sincerely wish you all the best. As Mega so succinctly put the other day "Once you take off those rose tinted glasses and begin to see the bigger picture, the dark shadows between the trees, you'll come to understand the only way to assess any situation, person or thing here is with cold, hard logic. The guys who continue to assess things with their feelings / emotions are the ones who'll continue to compromise themselves and their personal needs." and that goes for wherever you are on the planet particularly when your day to day life revolves around dealing with seedy joints the bar "scene" and prostitutes no matter how well they play the GFE game. The real point being, stay anywhere long enough and not just as a tourist and the veneer starts to fade and you start to see things as they really are and of course then it may be time to move. Wherever you go though, if you stay there long enough, once it is no longer a holiday, everywhere begins to get a little mundane and stale. The solution? Keep on keeping on…. Oh of course disregard all this information if you really are a "hansum" man… Well, you must be, to be able to keep getting all those pretty young bar girls right? Why else would the be with you? It couldn't be the money.
All the best, have fun out there!
One of the most frequent debates on this site is one of lifestyle choices – the way we choose to live our life, the places we choose to live, the money we spend, the women we date etc. In some cases things are measurable (such as the price of a long-time in Bangkok vs. Pattaya vs. Angeles City), but many things are not measureable, such as which of these places is the best to live. It all comes down to what an individual is looking for. As such we have to be very careful when we talk about these things not to overly project our own opinion and beliefs, at least that is if our goal is to be objective. If we wish to be subjective, then it doesn't matter – we can say what we want and simply purport it as our opinion and what we believe.
It's amazing how sensitive some expats in the region are about comments of the place they choose to live and their lifestyle. Over the years there have been some comments about the Philippines and some well-known submissions writers have not always been complimentary about the place. Wow, some of the vitriol that comes back is nasty! Same for Pattaya when that place is hit on. Who really cares what someone says. So long as we are genuinely happy and are living our life in such a way that no-one else is suffering, then my advice is always to disregard what others say.
We all have stuff going on in our lives that others don't know about. It might be that our financial situation is much better or worse than others believe, it might be that we have a love child others don't know about that we want to help raise, it might be that we had to get out of Dodge fast. No-one really knows all the factors going on in someone else's life, or all the factors that go in to making a decision on where and how they choose to live.
Personally, from all that I have read, Manila and Angeles City don't appeal either to visit or as a place to live. The beaches in the Philippines sound nice – and my experiences with people of the Philippines have been extremely positive. Unfortunately that's not enough to get me there. If I want nice beaches and nice people, frankly I'd just go to Australia or New Zealand where there's an abundance of both.