Warning Signs

There are about a hand-full of expats in the Philippines who I can truly call my friends and they are the ones I trust concerning the foreign crew. For those coming to the Philippines for the first time and to those who are retiring to the Philippines, I would like to give you heads up! Every foreigner you meet in the Philippines is not your friend! I have heard some say that locals try to get their hands in their pockets, however, over the past 28 years in the Philippines, it has been my experience that it is not the local people I have to beware of but rather, a number of expats! Believe it..or not!

My Filipino friends and regular acquaintances outnumber my expats friends and regular acquaintances 100 to 1. I am certainly not anti-American or anti-UK or anti-Australian but can we be honest here? During the last 14 years that I have lived in Hong Kong, mainland China and the Philippines, with only 3 or 4 exceptions, any problems in my life or any stress were not created by Chinese or Filipinos but rather..by foreigners! Figure that one out! Who would have ever dreamed this?

Please do not misunderstand me! There are a good bunch of expats in Bacolod City, however, there are also some down right scoundrels!

This Bud’s for you! Be very careful with alcohol when you meet up with foreigners! I have learned that a number just can’t handle it! I had an expat tell me many years ago that if you give the locals too much alcohol, they will run amok on you! That has never happened to me once in the past 28 years. However, I have seen a number of expats show their azz when they had too much to drink and in public to boot!

It seems that in many expat meet ups, there is some mean old drunk who wants to fight! Just like in most bars!

Are You Talking To Me?

Tismis? The local word for gossip. But let me tell you something! Many expats like to tismis. What they don’t know, they make up! If they are bored, they make up stories and tell them. These stories spread like wildfire! To be more accurate, many of these tall tales are outright lies!

Crab Mentality

Once again, I think this term was actually coined to describe a number of expats! Crab mentality!! Did I ever tell you that I was once pushed down a flight of stairs by a teacher from Australia because I was chosen by the university, where we were both teachers, to be a judge in an English speaking competition and he wasn’t?

For the past several years, there have been two Americans who go online, trying to destroy my business. Why? Because I am successful and they are not! Their attitude is just like the crabs in a basket. If they can’t have it, they do not want to see you have it, either! Just like the crab that has climbed to the top of the basket, another crab will always reach up and pull them back down to the bottom of the basket again. Back down to their level! Well, I have worked hard for the past 40 years to get to where I am today and my reputation is sterling. I will not go down to the crab’s level! I wish everyone all the best in their lives and more power to you all! God’s blessings, as I am very well blessed everyday! I am happy for you in all your success. I am also successful!

The Love Of Money Is The Root Of All Evil!

That is probably one of the misquoted verses from the Bible. Money is not evil! The love of money is evil! Just yesterday, I met with an American in the Bacolod Area who wanted to hire me as his personal consultant about the Philippines. It was upon his initiative, not mine. His offer of pay was not only insulting, it was freaking ridiculous! That’s the way it goes! Too many expats expect something for nothing and these are the same guys who will leave a P5 peso coin on a restaurant table for a tip to the wait staff. Also the same guys who think $5 for a very informative expat guide all about the Philippines is expensive! Kuripot? Cheap Charlies? Right on both!! Talk about needing a check up from the neck up! Where is their brain? Oh, I forgot, it is in their wallet!!


I am not setting myself up as judge and jury. I am not the executioner! However, I have a problem with 60 year old men flaunting their teenage girlfriends in public! I am a firm believer that age is only a number but to a certain extent! I know a number of expats who married younger women in the Philippines and they are happily married. It happens. But can we get real here? A 60 year old man with an 18 year old girl? Yes, a girl, not a woman! These guys pull out their cell phones to check their files, like they are some hot shot executive,  but I am only thinking one file. Ped-File! You know what I mean?

In the Philippines, the bride who is below 21 years of age requires their parent’s consent to marry. That means an 18 year old girl is not an adult, right? Or, am I missing something here?

Well, I suppose some may view this as Gary’s rant! Some may even say that I am having a meltdown. I was already accused of that yesterday during a meeting! Actually, it isn’t either. Just some friendly advice to those nice expats who are visiting the Philippines for the first time or to those who are actually retiring to the Philippines. Do not be mislead into believing that there is a large community of expats who will welcome you with open arms and be your best friend for life over here because..it ain’t going to happen. Beware, amigos!

As long as I stick mostly with my Filipino compadres and Kabayans, I am happy as a lark! I never have a problem! Nope, not once in the past 28 years during my experience in the Philippines. I never had a Filipino friend mess with me!

Just so  no one reads more into my article than intended, my experience is collective over the past 28 years in the Philippines and this has been my overall experience, as it is not  based solely on a recent experience. I just happened to have a flashback! I was inspired yesterday to dust off this article and finally publish it. History repeats itself and has since way back in 1986! By the way, one of the most popular songs in 1986 was by Howard Jones, “No one is to blame!” Sound familiar?

Take care and I hope to see you one day, somewhere..all around Bacolod! Just not everyday!


5 thoughts on “Warning Signs

  1. A very concise article Gary and let’s hope any new expats heed your advice. Many expats in the Philippines are running away from problems in their native countries and a leopard doesn’t change his stripes. Or something like that.

  2. Thank you for your comments, Greg. Many expats not only bring their problems to the Philippines with them but their problems are compounded for a variety of reasons. Not being able to adapt to the Filipino Culture, trying to make the Philippines like their home country and getting ticked off when it doesn’t work, relationship problems with a local woman, money problems and on and on.

    Because they are so miserable, when they see other expats who are happy and successful in the Philippines, they take their feelings out on them! Some are even hell bent on trying to destroy other’s happiness!

    I understand why a couple of expat friends never attend any expat gatherings. They told me they tried it in the past and it just brought problems into their lives. I haven’t reached that point but I can relate to their feelings at times!

    Take care, mate!


  3. Whether they be American, German, Swiss, Austrian, English or Aussie, you hit the nails on their heads. Even be careful sharing ideas as they will steal it as their own. Of course the problem is that it can take numerous meetings or exchanges before you see their true colors. People will lie unnecessarily making you question everything they say. The more expats I meet the less I want to interact. You are certainly one of the exceptions and I wish we lived closer to each other.

  4. Thank you much, Meyeshua, and I appreciate your comments and compliments. To borrow one of your phrases, with a twist, if you get 10 expats in a room, you will have 12 different opinions, or something like that!

    I have expat friends that other expat friends do not like but I don’t take sides. If you are my friend, I have your back. Until a friend personally screws me over, I don’t get involved in personality clashes among them and others, as that is their business. We all have different types of people we enjoy being with.

    I have never fully understood why some expats engage in cut throat tactics! For what? To be King of the Hill..in their own mind? I’ve known men who had their wives stolen, their businesses destroyed, huge loans never repaid and even the old sugar in the fuel tank trick, all by..their own countrymen in foreign lands. No unity, no solidarity whatsoever. Friendship? Hard to come by among the expat crowd.



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