In the last article we touched on a few expat comments that gave negative comments about the Philippines. There is a huge difference between coming here for a few weeks and setting up home. All the good points are well known. But, to balance those out here are a few more not so positive comments from expats here in the Philippines.
The problem with the Philippines is accommodation. For some bizarre reason rent seems to be totally disproportional and unruly compared to the rest of living expenses and the average wage.
I was planning on renting a 2 story house in the slums, though all my Philo friends told me not to and said it was just way to dangerous. Getting a decent place is almost as expensive as rent in Australia :S
The Bad: The country remains over-dependent on electronic sector exports, and (if the states’ free fall continues) may be about to pay the price. Almost 60% of Philippine exports in 2000 were made up of semi-conductors. Further, a good proportion of those exports are concentrated in the American market. Ouch.
The Ugly: The ugly has to do with the global economy, which is not a soothing thing right now. High tech firms find their inventories piling up, which means exporting firms here (and in other Asian countries) are going to be hurt. The entire region is flirting with recession. The US economy has at least a bad cold and is sneezing repeatedly; as a consequence, the threat of pneumonia is hanging ominously in the air.
Bangko ng bayan – If you retire in the Philippines, some of your relatives, friends, even neighbors will come and ‘borrow’ or ask money from you. There’s always some sort of medical emergency going on or a child who needs tuition money. They will approach you too if they need money for a birthday party, baptism, wedding or burial. If you say no, ikaw pang masama. And don’t expect them to repay you if you do lend money.
Security issues – I think no matter how simply you live, word will get around that you’re receiving some sort of retirement income from the US or abroad. You could become an easy target of ‘akyat-bahay’ gangs or kidnappings, either by strangers or by disgruntled people you didn’t lend money to.
No 911 or emergency services – unlike here in the US where you can call 911 & an ambulance will be there in a few minutes, in the Philippines, no such emergency service exists. Even if there were, with the traffic in large metropolitan areas like Manila, by the time the ambulance does reach you & transport you to the hospital, you’d probably be dead or close to death by then. And if you don’t have any health insurance, I doubt you’ll be taken care of.
Corruption – things happen faster if you bribe people. I clearly remember hearing that it takes years for people to get a phone line, but the process could be speeded up if you knew someone at the phone company. Those who have drivers licenses, what’s the percentage that they actually took both a written & practical driving test? At almost every contact I had with the government, things were slow & people would ‘offer’ to speed things up for me if I paid a little extra, which I refused.