[Video] Life’s Not So Easy in the Philippines

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While the Philippines is sometimes described as a tropical delight, it truly can be a paradise to those foreigners who come to live – as long as they bring with them a sustainable form of income. Because of work limitations placed on foreigners in the Philippines, those without an income need not show up with plans on finding work or building some business to survive. It simply will not happen…it just doesn’t work that way. The below BBC (British Broadcasting Co) video, while focused on the job of learning to drive a jeepney in Manila, highlights one of the most densely populated urban areas in the world with a heart wrenching look at a Filipino family and the living conditions to which they and many Filipino people are subjected to.  This video depicts this somewhat typical family living in poverty living in the heart of Manila where approximately 50% of the entire population lives in substandard housing. Filipinos are known to work very hard for long hours each and every day and know nothing of a vacation from working. For many there is no rest as they simply work today so that they can feed their families tomorrow.  The video even makes a simple comparison between life in the city and life in the province where living can be more peaceful and serene. Living in the province can be more laid back but with even fewer jobs, the harsh realities of life can be the same.

Before anyone thinks of coming to the Philippines to live, they must understand the realities of living in a country where an estimated 30% of the population lives in poverty – a place where the jobs are held by the lucky few – and where the average daily wage is $12.  Coming here without a steady income or a boatload of cash with the intentions of living long term in this tropical paradise can be a recipe for disaster, and a big dilemma.

If this video doesn’t make you think twice, then make sure you do your homework because living in and with this culture takes more than a pocketful of pesos. It also takes understanding and compassion. Boatloads!


About RandyL

I first arrived the Western Pacific (Guam) in 1974 and for several years, I lived and traveled across the Pacific region and fell in love with the SE Asian lifestyle. Once bitten by it's culture bug, it never really lets go, and lingers on as a permanent affliction...forever. So henceforth, myself and my Filipina bride of 26 years, have decided that our best antidote is to simply return to the Philippines and take up residence in the Eastern Visayas on Samar Island. Our mission - to step back in time, relax, live....and Discover Samar Island before others do! Please visit my Blog for information that might help or inspire you to find your island in life.
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4 Responses to [Video] Life’s Not So Easy in the Philippines

  1. Michael says:

    Hi Sir Randy, this is true, my cousins work as a jeepney driver. They start to work at around 3 am and go to school at night. What they earned they still give some to my aunt.Never saw them complaining though,, they seem to like it because they are earning and helping with the family. Our family is not well-off so we have to work hard to meet our needs. Here in the Philippines, you have to have what we called ‘diskarte’ being street smart is one of the characteristic of ‘diskarte’. It is not taught we just saw it on our parents, how they deal with everything to give us good education and decent meals, because life is sometimes unfair and you have to outwit that. And in return when our parents were too old for work. It is our turn to do things and provide them what they need. The thing is, life is really hard here, but if you just complain and stress yourself out with unnecessary stuff and do nothing you will never go from point a to b. And if you see many filipino smiling despite all of this, is that because were very hopeful, hopeful in the sense that their hardwork will translate into a better life for their children in the future. I know this because i am a product of an OFW parent hehehe, and we work as a unit, when my father went to middle east my grandma, grandad, uncle and aunt took turns to be the proxy parent. Anyway life is hard but still more fun in the philippines 🙂

  2. RandyL says:

    Hi Michael, good to see you back here. What part of the Philippines do you live? I like your comment about how you must outwit all the unfairness to be able to move on with life. This is true almost anywhere but especially there in the Philippines. You seem to have a great attitude and most times, that is what helps get many people through a tough life. During my working life, I was always taught to be optimistic although I know sometimes it is difficult. Being married to a Filipina has helped me to retain the values that I grew up with, as I see her practice them in her everyday life. And I will also agree with you that while life can be tough, it’s definitely more fun in the Philippines.

  3. Michael says:

    HI Sir Randy, I live in Manila, Ortigas. I work as a software engineer for an insurance company working 9-5 + 2 hours ha ha. We migrated here in Manila because my parents need to support us 3 kids and cousins ha ha ha. My father is from the island of Mindoro while my mother is from Catbalogan Samar. I have never been to Samar though i was raised up in the province of Mindoro, and my mother families are all here in manila, except from my distant relatives. I am also married, also from Samar but migrated in manila, aren’t they feisty? ha ha, kidding aside i accidentally stumbled on this blog and liked it because it shows Samar from a perspective of an American, I am also curious about your culture and also baffled, why do you like retiring here (Third world country) as opposed to yours (Great country). But now i know, based on some comments and articles. Maybe someday we will meet in Samar have some cold SMB ha ha, were also planning to go there for a vacation to see our parents birthplace.

  4. RandyL says:

    Michael, once we get settled I would enjoy a visit and will buy you a cold one. About why I as an American (as well as other westerners) desire the Philippines, you should read my post “To the Philippines With Love” to read the letter of Dr. David Harwell’s. Many expats cannot say it any better. Besides, living in the Philippines with a steady income, well…it doesn’t get any better than that. My asawa has also been away from her family for 27 years and it’s time for her to go home. 😉

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