Cebu: Should I Stay Or Should I Go? Part 2

Cebu City is a transport hub for all of the Visayas region. Flights and ferries to all the major towns can be had. That gives me the option of either using Cebu as a hub or doing one long connect the dots trip as I both check out other towns as possible places to live and to do some basic tourist stuff.

I know this trip or trips are going to be a combo of checking out possible places to live and tourism. I don’t know what percentage of each I will be doing. I didn’t come this far to not visit the places I’ve been reading about for years, but I don’t know how much my heart is into continuing to consider the Phils as a place to live.

All the usual third world drawbacks are as expected. Poor infrastructure, corruption, crime, air and water pollution, grinding poverty, etc. Those I can handle. Or at least I think I can until there is that knock on the door and a man from the Bureau of Immigration informs me that I have 72 hours to get out of the country because I don’t play well with others. All it takes is to piss off one connected person and the B of I does the rest. Or so I’m told.

What I can handle but don’t want to are the air pollution and ambient noise. Pollution is a function of city size so it should be easy to find lower levels of it. Don’t know if my respiratory system will be happy with the lower levels but there is one way to find out. As an aside, I just saw on National Geographic channel that 70% of all the outpatient visits in one Manila hospital are because of respiratory problems. The one that felled me for two months was on the top of the list.

Ambient noise should also be reduced as a function of city size but it’s also a function of the culture. I wonder if any place large enough to offer my minimum level of amenities aimed at foreigners is going to not be too loud.

Two staple topics on the expat forums are why people like living here and why they left to try someplace else. Few who can afford to retire in their prosperous home countries choose to live in the third world. The reasons for living in the Phils are mostly the same as any other low cost location that may have been on their list. The two exceptions are English and Filipinas.

Most of the countries where English is widely spoken are not cheap to live in. (Maybe Jared Diamond can explain why.) Enough people speak enough English here so that communication is rarely a problem.

Among those who have made the comparison, it’s said that Filipinas make the best wives and girlfriends in the world. I wouldn’t know yet because there is insufficient overlap between my comfort zone and the comfort zones of the girls and women I’ve dated. Some of them have been quite comfortable but it’s my comfort zone that’s giving me problems. I’d draw a humorous Venn diagram to illustrate the point, but it would suck in comparison to the master of such humor.

One of the advantages of attempting to bump up against another culture is that one also learns about one’s self and one’s culture, at least if one is paying attention. Learning how the fems operate here has by contrast given me greater awareness of how those in the states behaved and how I behaved in relation to them. In some respects it’s like a lightweight version of therapy. In some respects it’s like a 2×4 to the side of the head. D’oh!


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