- 1 Things I Wish I Knew Before Moving To The Philippines
Things I Wish I Knew Before Moving To The Philippines
By Erica Villas of Girl Unspotted
After living in the Philippines for nearly six years, I could honestly say that I like it, despite a number of things I’m not entirely a fan of. Forfeiting my ticket home was kind of an impulsive decision, and with hindsight, there are definitely a few things I wish I knew before committing to that. Not that it would have changed my mind, but it would have been nice to know nonetheless.
1.) Your diet will be compromised.
Us Filipinos love to eat. And if there’s one thing Filipinos know about their food is that everything is better fried. That said, it’s quite a struggle to find balance with my diet. Especially for college students, unless you’re willing to splurge a little more on your weekly budget, then eating healthy is going to be a problem. Not only are the healthy meals pricey, but they’re not easy to find either. Cooked or not, healthy ingredients are not always readily available.
2.) The country runs on extreme bureaucracy.
Not that it’s always a bad thing, but when they make you go through five different windows with about 20 people in each line, just to process some minor documents, it could get really inconvenient. I understand it could be a scheme to provide more jobs for people, but it’s very time consuming and unnecessary especially when some certain process can be simplified. For example, I recently applied for my Nursing license. I took the board exams a year ago before I got married, and to me, it just makes sense that once they print my license, it would be nice if they use my new last name. But in the Philippines, you can’t just do that. So after waiting for three months to get my license with my maiden name, I have to file another application again to change my name and wait another three months for them to process it. Now that’s just silly.
3.) Filipino culture thinks it’s okay to be bullies.
Ok, they don’t entirely advocate it, but the sense of humor here tends to be more on the blunt side. Somehow, it’s not considered rude to tell someone they’re fat. No no, not in a subtle “did you gain weight” type of way…but in a blatant “you’re fat” no shame type. If you turn on the tv, the idea of comedy includes making fun of someone’s broken English, skin complexion, or general physical appearance.
4.) The public buses aren’t all that bad.
For my first few years here, I would refuse to go out of my way and commute via public transportation. I wasn’t entirely spoiled, but that was probably the hardest part when I decided it’s time to step out of my comfort zone. I’ve heard too many stories that I avoided the idea as much as I could get away with. But I realized how much I’ve been missing out– all the places I could reach! Soon enough, I managed to get comfortable with it and long bus rides are now my favorite. Since then, I’ve been able to make a journey to different provinces with or without the company of anyone!
5.) You will fall in love.
The truth is, I was born in the Philippines and spent a part of my childhood here. But moving to a different country at a young age where I adapted entirely to their culture, it wasn’t easy to get reacquainted to my birthplace. I expected the worst, you know, the ones that they show in the news. But the more I’ve gotten to know the beautiful places here, the more I opened up my heart to it. It’s such a beautiful country, and if you know where to look, people are incredibly kind and goodhearted. So yes, I’ve fallen in love. Because here I am, six years later, ready to see the rest of the archipelago. Yes, there are things about this place that I absolutely cannot stand, but I suppose that applies to any place. And would knowing all these things I listed stop me from coming? Absolutely not.
About Erica of Girl Unspotted
Erica is a third culture kid who grew up in the land of the free, but moved around too much to consider any place “home”. She’s a nurse by profession and an adventurer at heart. Currently sojourned with her husband in her birth country, Philippines, Erica has an undying affinity for virgin beaches, secret waterfalls, small rustic villages, abandoned buildings, long bus rides, hole in the wall restaurants, hikes to extraordinary views, and substantial conversations with strangers.