Well, we’ve been in the Philippines for 27 out 35 days. We’ve been through Manila, spent 6 days in Dumaguete, a long weekend in Oslob, ten days in Sibonga with family, 5 days in Cebu City and are now in Lapu-Lapu. What are my overall thoughts so far? I wanna stay pleeaasee!!! 😉 A big part of the reason we came this time of year is it’s summer here and the time of year that most people complain about most. But for me it’s no different than a coastal southern summer in the US, and way less hotter than an AZ “it’s a dry heat” summer. When the sun goes down it’s very pleasant and if there is a breeze you can get a little chill. When we went to her parents’ house, I spent ten days without any aircon at all. I’ll admit sleeping was a bit difficult and sticky but I was able to bear it. When we make the move permanent I will get AC for the bedroom at least. I did shower 2 to 3 times a day while there, but again in AZ summers it is something I often do there as well. When we went somewhere on a jeepney or trike with the breeze from that it is actually quite comfortable. When the ocean breeze is up again quite comfortable. Even just sitting in front of a fan is enough to make it bearable. So overall as far as the summers go, I’m ok with them. After 25 years in the Phoenix oven for 8 months a year this is easy!
The people here are generally awesome to hang out with. I still am amazed how quickly Filipinos can build genuine and lasting relationships. Cindy & I met a cab driver that gave us a ride from Cebu City to Sibonga and by the time we got to her house we were old friends and we called him a few more times to shuttle people from Cebu to Sibonga, he even stopped and had lunch with us one of the trips! When Cindy & I went from Sibonga to Cebu to stay he gave Cindy & I an awesome tour of the city and it’s famous sights, even took us to a few out of the way places that aren’t on any tour company’s list.
In most things Filipinos seem to have a much more laid-back approach. Instead of letting things stress them they just continue on their way. It can at sometimes seem to be like they don’t care but nothing could be farther from the truth. Most I’ve met take pride in what they do, they just don’t let things get to them. Yes, I know there will be exceptions but I’m just stating what I’ve experienced so far.
There will be plenty of negatives to moving here full time, or even longer term. Internet is generally horrible here, but it is getting better. Many things we take for granted are hard to get here or need to be special ordered and wait for. Anything to do with government is longer than motor vehicle lines in the US. I think this may be part of the reason for Filipinos legendary patience, they’re so used to waiting in line it just comes naturally. Traffic in a major city can make LA or NYC traffic look like a dream.
In the end it comes down to what every other choice in life boils down to; what are you willing to deal with to get the things you’d like, pros vs cons. For me in what I’ve experienced so far the pros column far outweighs the cons column. This kind of reminds me of the time & place I grew up in, small town life in the late 70’s early 80’s. I’ve heard one expat put it “the Philippines is kind of like the 1950’s, just more humid.”