FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE PHILIPPINES:
REGARDING SUCH THINGS AS PERSONAL SAFETY -- DANGER -- PLACES TO AVOID -- PLACES TO STAY -- THE AVERAGE COST OF LIVING -- ETC.
Some of the most recently asked questions are included below. If you have any questions of your own, please send them to us and we will get right back to you.
QUESTION: Are there any areas that should be avoided ??
We highly recommend that you avoid "FIVE-STAR HOTELS."
Those types of hotels will only isolate you from the wonderful Filipino culture.
We recommend that you stay only in “NO-star” hotels -- where you can meet some wonderfully “average” Filipino families.
We further recommend that you get to know some of these awesome families.
Become friends with them.
Take them to dinner at an "average" Filipino restaurant (e.g. "Pete's Kitchen" in Cebu City -- which is one of our favorite restaurants).
Invite them to become a part of your life.
Visit them at their homes.
Meet their extended families.
Go places with them.
Participate in their life-style.
Become FRIENDS with them
Learn about the "TRUE" and "WONDERFUL" Filipino culture from them.
If you escape from your “five-star-prison,” and dive headfirst into the true Filipino culture, you will
soon discover that Filipinos are the most generous and hospitable people in the entire world.
If you free yourself from your expensive and culturally-isolating hotel, you are sure to fall in love
with the Philippines – the people – and the culture.
Once you “discover” the real Philippines, you will be in love with this country forever – and it will
become an important part of your life forever.
In fact, if you are single (as in “not married”) then you will probably end up marrying into this
culture – having your own family here -- moving here permanently -- investing money here –
living “happily ever after” here -- and the list goes on…
QUESTION: Is there anything else that should be avoided ?
Avoid "RICH FILIPINOS" --
because they often treat poor Filipinos very badly.
QUESTION: How much does it cost to live in the Philippines ?
Here is the answer according to the
GMA News TV,
Source: National Statistical Coordination Board.
“The average five-member Filipino family living in the National Capital Region of the
Philippines spent P8,254 per month last year in order to sustain its minimum basic food and
non-food needs, according to the National Statistical Coordination Board.
Of this amount, P4,920 (60 percent) per month was spent for basic food needs and P3,334
(40 percent) was spent for basic non-food needs of the family.
At the national level [including populations that are living in every other socio-economic area]
a family of five spent a total of P204 per day for minimum basic food and non-food needs.
ESSENTIALLY, THIS MEANS THE FOLLOWING:
#1. A family of five, living in the expensive National Capital area of the Philippines, would need to spend P 8,254 Pesos per month in order to cover all of its living expenses (residence, food, clothing, medical and dental expenses, educational expenses, transportation, miscellaneous).
At the current exchange rate of approximately 47 Pesos to 1 U.S. Dollar, this means that a family of five can currently live in the National Capital area for $176. U.S. Dollars per month.
#2. If the same family of five was living in an average socio-economic area of the Philippines, it would only need to spend P204 Pesos per day in order to pay all of their same expenses. In a “30-day” month, this would mean a total expenditure of P6,120 Pesos.
At the current exchange rate OF 47 to 1, this means a family of five would only need to spend $130. U.S. Dollars per month to live in an average area of the Philippines.
Obviously, if one is living alone – or with only one other person -- then the cost of living could be adjusted downward accordingly.
#3. If a family of five wanted to live twice as well as the average Filipino family, then it would need to spend $260. U.S. per month.
For example: Most guys would immediately hire a “stay-in” maid.
THE COST OF HIRING A MAID:
To be technically correct, a maid in this culture is called a “helper.”
be technically correct, one should use the term “stay-in-helper” rather
than “live-in-helper—which has a different connotation.”]
In rural areas of the Philippines, the average monthly wage for full-time “stay-in helper” is approximately P 1,500 Pesos per month. Depending upon the monetary exchange rate, this comes to approximately $32. U.S. per month, plus a place to sleep and food. However, foreigners, generally pay more – perhaps as much as 2,500 Pesos (e.g. $53. U.S. per month).
For that amount, it is not unusual for a “stay-in helper” to work seven days per week -- from the time she wakes up in the morning until the time she goes to bed at night.
On the average, a good helper will take care of virtually EVERYTHING for a guy – including cooking, cleaning the house, washing the dishes, washing the clothes, washing the car, shopping for groceries (and everything else), and the list goes on.
In reality, a helper might not cost you “anything,” because she can often save you money on purchases. In other words, many items will be cheaper if your maid buys them for you, because the prices often go “up” whenever the purchaser is a white-guy.
Therefore, the foreigners often stay out of the picture while their helpers negotiate prices for them – especially on “big ticket” items (e.g. motorcycles, cars, monthly rent, furniture, appliances, etc.).
Helpers love to work for foreigners, because we are generally very polite and kind to them. For example, they eat with us at our table – they go on vacations with us – they go shopping with us – they go to nice restaurants with us – and we treat them as though they are members of the family.
Also, we usually pay them more money – give them days off -- buy clothes for them – we treat them like the wonderful human beings that they really are – and they become friends of ours.
Five of Skip’s former helpers have married American friends of his that came to visit him here in the Philippines. Skip jokes about this with his friends by pretending to be angry about needing to find “replacement” helpers. However, in reality, he is always very happy when he sees his friends (including helpers) fall in love and get married.
Is the Philippines a safe place to "LIVE"
and/or "VISIT" ?
In Skip's opinion, the Philippines is much safer than America.
For example, in America Skip has had a PERMIT TO CARRY CONCEALED WEAPONS (pistols, revolvers, etc.) since he was 21 years old. Also, he carried a gun for five years before he obtained a license, which means that he carried a concealed weapon for more than 50 years in America. In fact, in America, he usually carried two guns every day of his life. Specifically, he carried a Star Starfire 45 semi-automatic pistol -- which is much smaller than a Colt 1911 (common in the Philippines), and therefore it is much more convenient to carry. As a "back-up" he also carried a very small, five-shot, 22 L.R. revolver that is made by Freedom Arms [North American Arms makes a similar piece]. The 22 revolver is small enough to fit inside a flip-top box of Marlboro Cigarettes. In America Skip was never without these weapons, because he felt that he might need them in order to protect his family and friends. For example, Skip knew that no one could successfully "shoot-up" a McDonald's Restaurant, or a school cafeteria (thereby killing a bunch of innocent people), if he was there having lunch.
In contrast, Skip has never felt that he needed to carry a weapon here in the Philippines .
In his opinion, he is 1,000 times safer in the Philippines than he ever was in America – and also he has MUCH more freedom here in the Philippines.
His exact words were as follows: "During my first five minutes of living in the Philippines, I experienced more personal freedom than I had experienced in America during the previous 50 years. "
MORE Q's and A's WILL BE ADDED TO THIS PAGE IN THE NEAR FUTURE -- AS WE GET MORE ORGANIZED.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR PATIENCE.
PLEASE NOTE: The well-known and highly respected photographer, Steve White, has made some excellent photos available for "free use" by the general public. These photos can be viewed at Steve's site: www.free-photographer.com
OUR THOUGHTS FOR THE DAY ARE AS FOLLOWS:
"Wanton killing of innocent civilians
is terrorism, not a war against terrorism."
"Terrorism has replaced Communism as the rationale for the militarization of the
country [America], for military adventures abroad, and for the suppression of civil
liberties at home. It serves the same purpose, serving to create hysteria."
Howard Zinn - Terrorism and War