The most frequently questions that I get are:
I answer, ‘Are you kidding me? I'm staying here!’ Immediately they give me a baffled look and ask ‘Why wouldn’t you want to move back to the USA?’
Common questions like these inspired me to write... My Top 10 Reasons to stay in the Philippines (instead of returning to the USA).’
#1 The Philippines is genuinely the most welcoming country that I have ever traveled. In a matter of minutes, you will be making friends, having fun and enjoying conversations about activities, the world, and your families. What do you have planned for today? Where are you from? Are you married? Do you have kids? Are you hungry? These might seem like personal questions, but the Filipino people want to welcome you and share their hospitality. Where we live on Tablas, it’s very refreshing to take a daily walk through the market or your neighborhood and engage in a conversation. Not only will you learn more about this beautiful country, but you will also gain the wealth of friendship.
#2 The weather in the Philippines is pleasant all year. The temperature in the Philippines is almost always above 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 Celsius). Not only does this mean that I can wear shorts and a T-shirt all year, it also means that we can get out to hike, bike, swim, boat, and travel to neighboring islands anytime I choose. Just last month (in February) we went boating, swimming and diving in the warm ocean. When I was living in the USA the temperatures were so cold that for nearly 7 months of the year I had to wear long pants, a jacket, gloves and a hat. Growing up in the USA, my mantra was ‘I hate the cold, I hate the cold, I hate the cold’. So being in the year round warm weather of the Philippines is Awesome!
#3 The cost of living in most of the Philippines is much less. (There is an exception - Manila, Cebu and Angeles City are about the same price as the USA). As I am writing this, I asked Rose what we normally spend on food, utilities, fuel for the trucks, cell phones and TV. You know - your normal household expenses. I think her answer will surprise you. Rose says that we normally spend about $450 or less each month. This does not mean we are starving or living like hermits. Quite the contrary. We actually eat a great selection of tasty, healthy, home cooked meals, as well as dining out a few nights each week. It’s just that we get more for the dollar in the Philippines. I could write a book on how far the dollar goes over here.
#4 The ocean is always just minutes away. We are close (very close) to the beautiful crystal clear ocean and talcum white beaches. Did you know that the Philippines is comprised of nearly 7,100 islands. This means that you can travel in any direction and quickly be at the beach. Being by the ocean every day, versus looking at a screensaver of the ocean, is very relaxing. STOP! For the next few moments, I want you to imagine yourself holding your favorite fresh tropical drink while wiggling your toes in talcum white sand and listening to the sound of the waves. Do you feel more relaxed? Does your stress melt away? Do you feel happier? Think about it. Which would you prefer: wiggling your toes on a tiled floor, or wiggling you toes inside your shoes on a carpeted floor? I’m sure we all know the answer.
#5 Miles of Smiles. The people in the Philippines are some of the happiest people I have ever met. Their great sense of humor, friendliness, and the ability to appreciate life. Let me share a story with you… Rose took me to her village in the jungles of Leyte where she grew up. Her parents, cousins and extended family are still living in their native homes made of bamboo, leaves and TLC. The shower is the river. Their TV is the fire burning outside their home (where everyone gathers and talks during and after dinner). Their night lights are the stars in the sky. Their music are the songs in the their hearts. And their happiness… it’s difficult to describe… but it’s contagious. I have to say that their happiness and smiles are more genuine than in anyplace I have ever traveled. Pure happiness & friendship is something you must experience in your life. If you need a recommendation on where to visit, let me know. You can experience this on a sailboat tour from Tablas Island.
#6 Asian Medicine. Rose comes from a family of doctors. Ok, she comes from a family of ‘Witch Doctors’. At least that’s what she calls them. But in the USA we would call them Homeopathic Doctors, or using herbal medicine, or massage therapists, or aroma therapy. I think you understand what I am trying to say. Here on the island, it is not uncommon for someone to receive herbal treatments for a cough, cold, or flu. I know when I start getting a cold, I get fed a soup made with tree leaves, a hot tea made with several different juices and herbs, and I might even get a 2 hour herbal massage. These treatments not only work, but they feel so good, that I sometimes want to fake being sick just so I can get the massage.
#7 Tropical fruit and organic vegetables. The Filipino farmers’ produce is so much better than the farmer’s markets in the USA. Why? Because this is not just a weekend hobby. It’s how we get our produce everyday. Also our produce is non-GMO, organic, and the seeds can be replanted (unlike the sterile produce grown in the USA). What this means is that not only can I eat these delicious fruits or vegetables, but I can also save the seeds and replant them. It also means that I need to be careful where I spit my seeds. Plants grow fast here in this fertile Filipino soil.
#8 The Dining Experience - The Recipes and Food are delicious. No matter what you desire, the variety and flavors of the Filipino food are awesome. The traditional food can be savory to sweet, mild to spicy, or smoked to barbecued. I like dining the Pica-pica method. This means that the food is served on a long table covered with banana leaves. Then the food is neatly presented on top of the banana leaves. Then after everyone takes pictures and selfies, it’s time to eat! But NO forks and NO spoons allowed. You can only use your hands. Needless to say, it’s a fun and enjoyable experience.
Before we go on, let me say that the Filipinos are not only known for the traditional food that I enjoy. Let me share this expample. Our neighbor’s personal chef prepares an array of International recipes from Asian to European to American. One evening, Harold the Chef, prepared a dream like setting on the beach with candle lanterns in the trees and a bonfire on the beach. Harold prepared hand made pasta, sushi rolls, pizza and roasted hotdogs (fire roasted marshmallows for desert). Not to be outdone, our domestic helper Mayca makes delicious meals too! From a chicken cordon bleu to a coconut butternut squash soup to a savory shish kabab to a Tuna Dynamite. Needless to say, we need to stay active around here or else we are going to grow a larger waist line.
#9 Family Fun for Everyone - Everyone in the Filipino family is Included and Valued. I love that everyone in the family is included in going out to either a family social event, a fiesta, and a night at the disco. One evening, Rose and I went to see an RnB cover band. Before the show began, a large family (more than 20) came to enjoying the show too. What struck me as endearing is that the family included their small children, the parents, the grandparents and the great-grandparents. And when the music started, even the great-grandparents got up to dance. Everyone in the disco was encouraging and supportive. Rose told me ‘Age is just a number. Even though the our bodies gets old, the mind, spirit and soul are still young. This is the only chance we get at enjoying life. So the Filipino people help everyone to fun & enjoy life to the fullest’.
#10 Home is Where the Heart Is.
I hope you have a better understanding of our great way to Enjoy Living and Life. Knowing this is how my life will be in the Philippines, I feel in my heart that this is Home, and the place for our family. Not only for today, but for the future… and beyond.
Island Life Is Awesome
Of course we have more reasons of why we choose to stay in the Philippines. So subscribe using the RSS Feed in the top right corner so you can see more reasons why we choose to make the Philippines our home.
Enjoy the Hilarious Adventures of my Move to the Philippines
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