Expat Complaints: Angry White Guys

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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.

Noise

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 ~

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Actually Living in the Philippines

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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.

 

White Knuckle Drive

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I recently said that driving in Bacolod is a snap and it usually is. However, that was not the case yesterday! Many things came up!

A young boy darted in front of me when he was crossing the street. It was close. I don’t tailgate but a red Honda without brake lights came to a screeching halt that I was behind and if not alert, I would have rear-ended it. I almost clipped a jeepney when the driver cut me off!. A dog decided to stop in the middle of the street and I almost ran over it. It seems like every slow driver in the city was waiting just for me! I was behind 3 or 4.

Detour, there’s construction ahead and not even a single traffic enforcer. Cars were trying to move in both directions in only one lane. They were in a Mexican standoff and none were giving way until they realized, we would stuck like that until hell freezes over. Cars don’t fly yet. An empty pedicab was parked in the right lane, blocking it, and I had to wait until traffic was clear to go around. The pedicab driver was nowhere to be seen!

I wish I had just stayed at home yesterday! Normally, it is not this bad but I guess yesterday was just one of those days. I can’t hardly wait later today because I know it will be a much better yesterday to make my day.

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

~ Gary McMurrain ~