There are indeed adjustments to be made to Life in the Philippines. Depending upon location and personal attitudes, it may not be a walk in the park for some expats. The transition was EZ for me. A number of expats from the Southern USA are taken back to another time in America, as there is a correlation of the laid back Southern lifestyle, as is still found in some areas of the Philippines today.
After being away for so many years and living abroad, even some returning Filipinos cannot make the transition to living here year round. They like to visit for a few months each year but they do not want to really live here full time.
I can honestly say that over the past 31 years of my experience of living in the Philippines 3 times and visiting annually, many foreigners made the adjustment. Among those who I have come to know and some, even befriended. The main reason they made the adjustment is because they wanted to. They realized that the Philippines is not back home. The Philippines as a whole is not trying to be like any other location around the world.
What You See Is What You Get
It is what it is. Like it or not and take it or leave it. Bacolod is not ever going to be Florida and I do not expect it to. I have long accepted the Philippines as it is. It is not Loxahatchee, Apalachicola, the Everglades, Sopchoppy, Cedar Key, Live Oak, Ft Walton Beach, Orlando or Miami Beach.
The last year, after the 2016 Philippines Presidential Election, has been much different than any time I have been here since 1986. Much different! A different Admin, a different Agenda and a different Direction.
And then there are the laws. Some foreigners think they can say or do anything here and the law is the same as in the USA or as in other home countries. Foreigners living in the Philippines are living under all the Philippine Laws. Freedom of Speech only goes so far. Libel and Slander are Crimes in the Philippines and not just Civil Offenses.
There are also Filipino Cultural Taboos, which a number of expats do not know about, while others are not interested in knowing about!
The Food Issue
I think for the most part, the expat food issue has been solved in the adjustment, especially for those living in mid-size and large cities. During the last 5 years, more and more food items that I enjoy have arrived in Bacolod and are readily available much of the year. Not all but many. Some food items turn up, are then sold out, never to appear again.
There are probably a few food items that I have forgotten about but if I do not think about them, then I do not want them or need them. I had not forgotten about Johnsonville Italian Sausage and it is now available at Cafe Bob’s Deli. I did not buy all their stock but I bought 2 packages. Silva Linguica Portuguese Sausage also returned to Bob’s.
That’s What Friends Are For
I think your life will be much more rewarding in the Philippines when you have good Filipino friends. I know someone in our area of the Philippines who can help me with anything that arises. Anything! Problems, bumps in the roads, inconveniences, trouble on the rise, can all be nipped in the bud if you have a good network of Filipino friends. I have found if they don’t know what to do to assist, they know someone who does. A friend of a friend of a friend or a relative. Maybe even a friend of a relative.
The Philippines is a great place with beautiful people. Whether you are planning to move here to live or not, I hope you will at least visit the Philippines one day. I think you will be glad that you did.
I hope to see you one day, somewhere…all around Bacolod.
~ Gary ~