Leaving the Philippines – The Reasons

D’oh! I go stream of consciousness on the keyboard and friends email asking if I’m emotionally OK. Yes I am.

There are many reasons for leaving. I’ve known for months I was going to leave, the only question was when and to where. Given my discussion of Thailand and visas and such I didn’t think it would catch anybody by surprise that I’m headed for another country. Some of the reasons for leaving have nothing to do with being in the Philippines. They are because this is my first country to check out.

Perhaps the most important reason is that I can’t imagine settling in a country without checking out a few others unless I thought the first country was insanely great. The Phils comes in several notches below great.

I’m still relatively middle aged and most of my body works most of the time. I intend to use the mobility and health I now have to check out other places and just do some traveling. Bangkok is one of the world’s best hubs for budget airfare.

Checking out my first country was challenging, interesting, fun and educational. I’ve learned a lot. I think the next country, whatever it is (except Elbonia) will also be challenging, interesting, etc.

The more countries I spend time in the better my perspective of any one of them will be.

The more time I am retired the better my perspective of me will be.

Becoming conversational in another language is on my bucket list. I’ve discovered my hearing just isn’t anywhere near good enough to handle a tonal language.

I wonder how much day-to-day energy the tropical heat is draining from me.

There are some reasons for leaving that are all about the Philippines. These reasons also mean the odds of me returning here are slim.

The good parts of living here was not as good as I had hoped, the bad parts are worse – but not by much.

Health care in the Philippines is not good unless you’re in Cebu or Manila. My tendency for lung infections means I can’t live in those cities. There are smaller towns here that I like, I’m just not sure I’d like them enough.

The food, both raw materials and from restaurants, mostly sucks. Eating and cooking is too pleasurable to want to give that one up easily.

My allergies are much worse living here than when I traveled here. I’d like to live in a place that takes less allergy meds because even the ones I like the best cause brain fog.

And then there is the pervasive uncertainity of day to day life here:

Cartoon: "My Life in the Philippines"


2 Responses to Leaving the Philippines – The Reasons

  1. Gary Blonk says:

    Hi Sir.. We actually met in Dumaguete across from the promenade at a bar/restaurant on a sunny afternoon in the first week of December 2009.. You were eating alone and we were having a beer. I am sorry I can’t recall your name but perhaps you will remember us by what I write here?

    My long haired friend Al and I (we are Canadians) were just beginning our 3 month trip in the Philis on our way to Siquewhore island and you kindly jotted down a couple of island destinations for us to possibly check out. I ended up sleeping in 44 different beds in 31 different locations over those 3 months, so did see quite a bit of the Phils and co mingled with millions of people. Although I didn’t make it to Camotes I did make it to Biliran for a few days.. That is lovely scenery and certainly not a very touristic region.

    Indeed you are right, I also discovered food in general in the Phils is rather bland, primarily meat based, over cooked and limited in creativity and diversity, particularly outside of any major centers. I missed the veggies so much that I plan to grow my own the next time I am there.. For example once one gets out of Naval on Bilaran, finding decent fresh food of any description is a huge challenge and I lived off peanut brittle and bananas for most of one day.. lol.

    I met that Province gal in Tacloban we talked about and she is the real deal and so lovely and is in the cards for our next chapter in life, hopefully resuming in person this fall.

    I do wonder what you meant when you wrote this statement below:??

    And then there is the pervasive uncertainty of day to day life here:

    Can you explain how different that reality of day to day life is from any other developing country in this world? For me that is part of why many of we Westerners feel so alive there. It is by living in the moment, in the heart chakra, rather than in an unquantifiable future that seems to naturally keep 90% of the locals so upbeat, humble and friendly.

    Aside from skirting around the weekend beer and Tuba drinking alcoholics nation wide, I really did enjoy the friendly low stress culture though. In every corner I felt “genuinely” welcomed, which has not been the case in any other of the 50+ countries I have traveled to in my life. I have decided to go back to Palawan the next time and take her along for a longer look. Primarily Palawan over any other destination, because the air quality, water (both fresh body and the seaside) are cleaner and there is less humidity and most common edible veggies can be adapted to readily thrive there. Plus the politics are more geared to a more ecologically conscious tourism movement than elsewhere in the Phils. Not to mention, the rowdy weekend Manila and Cebu crowds tend to find Palawan (Porto Princesa) too tame and to far or to expensive to go to. I found the cost of living and transportation was surprisingly low as well, given the relative remoteness. etc

    I understand that lung infections would be debilitating for you and agree that sanitary medical facilities are far and wide apart when one gets out of Cebu or Manila. Apparently Porto(a city of approximately 200,000) has a couple of good private facilities and I saw several good expat owned restaurants. I know the under funded Immigration department is a breeze to navigate through as well.

    If you get this note .. I’d love to hear from you and see which oasis you are heading to next.


    • fourletternerd says:

      Yes I remember. You two were the only backpackers I had an extended conversation with in Dumaguete. I’m glad to hear the Phils was a good trip for you.

      >I do wonder what you meant when you wrote this statement below:??

      >And then there is the pervasive uncertainty of day to day life here:

      >Can you explain how different that reality of day to day life is from any other developing country in this world?

      Before my time in the Phils my exposure to poor countries was limited to tourist districts in Mexico and Dominican Republic. I don’t know if my experience was any different from other such countries.

      In my view, the Phils requires approaching any interraction with man, machine or environment with total acceptance that the interraction may go in any number of ways. I made it to being able to understand that, but not accept it often enough.

      >I have decided to go back to Palawan the next time

      It’s on the top of my list should I return.

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