Expat Complaints: Angry White Guys


Over the years, I’ve heard many expat complaints from guys who are living in the Philippines. Sometimes, they have a valid point and a complaint of merit. Sometimes, their complaint is about something that really bothers them but other times, they seem to be on a witch hunt. Other times, I have wondered if they ever spent any quality amount of time here before making the move. If they had, they would know what they were getting into. No surprises!

Not finding a plumber or an electrician, who measures up to their expat standards, is one common complaint I hear. We have not had any plumbing problems to speak of during the past 7 years, other than an occasional clogged drain, which was easily fixed. We have not had any electrical problems in our houses. Occasional brownouts don’t count, as there is nothing we can do about those and most of us know there are brownouts in the Philippines.


I learned long ago about the Art of Making Noise in the Philippines. Whether you live in the city or in the countryside, there will be noise at one time or another. In some locations, there is constant noise! We are blessed in that there is not normally loud, disturbing noise in the Bacolod subdivision where we live. We know during the Festivals, we will hear music in the distance but it is not disturbing to us.

Even though I have not lived at the farm full time in 5 years, the crowing of roosters do not disturb me. For others, it may well be a disturbance. Chickens are most everywhere, even in some city subdivisions.

Get With The Program

Some complaints are attempts to change the Filipino Culture to suit the expat and that’s not realistically going to happen. At least not over the long haul. Such complaints will often fuel ill feelings and resentment from our Filipino family and friends. I am not here to change anyone and Filipinos are not trying to change me. We have mutual respect. They have their way of doing things and I have my way of doing things. Both sides with mutual respect.

Some expats do not know the taboos in Filipino Culture and some Filipinos do not know the taboos of various Western Cultures. I think for those living in the Philippines, it should be asked about, after all…this is the Philippines. Even if our wives never lived in our home countries, those who have been married to us for some time know about our Cultures. My wife has spoken up several times and said, “Don’t ask him that. It’s not polite.”

Just sharing recent and long time expat complaints I have heard. Some expat complaints are the same as they were 30 years ago. “Why are they speaking their language?”

I hope to see you one day, somewhere….all around Bacolod.

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

Actually Living in the Philippines

One of our late American friends made a comment about me and another good American friend, Bob from Texas, several years ago. We have both lived in the Bacolod area for 7 years. Our late friend said, “those 2 guys are so laid back, they have to lean forward to walk!”

That is one of the keys to our success and happiness in our area of the Philippines. No, we do not see 3rd World where we live, either!

While others are banging their heads against a wall and crying out for other expats to get on their soap box, we are enjoying life in the Philippines. Bob and I are also still alive. Stress kills. Too many expats put life sapping stress on themselves. Over trivial things. Over nit picking things and about things which do not amount to a hill of beans. Yet, they make it out to be a life ending crisis. There may be inconveniences but nothing life threatening.

Don’t Change A Thing

Some of the same people who complain about immigrants going to the USA and trying to change the very fabric of American Culture fit the same mold here in the Philippines.They want to teach Filipinos how to do things correctly! Some foreigners say they feel like strangers in their own country due to the influx of refugees or other immigrants and their way of doing things differently from the American way, or the UK way or the Australian way, etc. Then, why come to the Philippines and try to make Filipinos feel like strangers in their own country?

I agree 100% with my best foreign friend in the Philippines, Don. He has lived here 25 years. “Learn how to learn from your hosts, not teach them.”

Keep On Rollin’ With The Flow

Despite the current advice we often give nowadays, I did not have any real experience or quality time in the Philippines before I moved here for one year in 1986. There was no internet in the those days, no Yahoo Groups or Forums about the Philippines. I left my American logic back in the States and I enjoyed my new life in the Philippines very well. I was not looking to find Monday Night Football, Budweiser, Louisiana Hot Sauce, Krystal Hamburgers, Waffle House or the other things commonly found in the USA. I had that much figured out before I arrived. I was not going to find it and I had already accepted that aspect of life in the Philippines. I was not even looking for those things, as I was on a new adventure in life. I enjoyed every second of it!

In 2016, it is a great bonus that I can buy Louisiana Hot Sauce, Heinz Chili Sauce, Horseradish and many other food products that I enjoy in Bacolod. However, I lived here and enjoyed life very much before any of those were available. I was still happy in the Philippines. Of course, I am happy that I can buy things in our area of the Philippines that I enjoyed in the States but my happiness is not based upon that. My happiness does not revolve around trying to find America in the Philippines.

In the land of the blind, even a one eyed man is King. An old saying. Well, I have 2 eyes and I can see clearly. It seems there are some in the expat community in the Philippines who are blind. They haven’t actually seen and fully realized where they are. They are now in the Philippines. I do not think anyone put a gun to their heads and made them move here, di ba?

I hope to see you one day, somewhere…all around Bacolod.

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

PS I still plan to post the article soon about Day 2 in Sipalay City.


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!