13 Tips For Making the Move to the Philippines
While I’ve written lengthier stuff about some of these topics in this section here is a quick breakdown on what you need to do before making the move to the Philippines.
Move to the Philippines – #ProTips
1. Don’t expect every Filipina girl you meet here to be a stunner. If you read on some other expat message boards or blogs you hear about all these 9s and 10s that guys are pulling from girly bars. In my years in Asia I have seen two 10s, and one was a European tourist in Sihanoukville.
Actually I’m not 100% sure she was even a 10 because she had sunglasses on… but good god that body. That said there are many girls here that are 10s personality wise and that makes them awesome. There are plenty of cute Filipina girls all around and you will have lots of fun. Just don’t expect it to be with models.
2. Don’t trust anyone. That doesn’t only go for the local people but for expats also. I would guess your average expat in Asia is less trustworthy than your average Asian local. It isn’t generally your most upstanding citizens that pack up and move to the Philippines.
3. You don’t need to bring to much stuff with you. You can find 98% of the things you need here in Asia. If there are specialized things that you really need you should ask on the forums ahead of time so you can know if you need to bring them.
4. My first piece of advice is find as many forums as you can about the country you want to live in and read up on them. Ask lots of questions if topics aren’t covered. You will have to deal with a lot of trolls but just ignore them. Trust me having lots of knowledge in your head will come in handy so many times when you are first here. It will save you time, money, and may help you avert a disaster. The Philippines isn’t really a good place to just wing it.
5. Secondly get your finances in order and by that I mean get a Charles Schwab bank account (if from the US). That way you will pay the minimum for any ATM withdrawal – they refund all ATM fees worldwide. Then you can get a bank account in the place you settle down in and save even more. Remember to open a dollar account so you don’t pay the bank’s crappy exchange rate.
6. You should always remember to book hotels ahead of time before you go to any new city. That way you at least have a base camp for your first night. Even if you only want to book it for the first night so you have flexibility the next night that’s fine. Just don’t show up without a room reserved. You don’t want to be stranded on a third world street with all your possessions on your back your first day living abroad. I have been in that position before twice and it is not fun scrambling to find a place to stay. Use sites like Agoda, Airbnb (referral link for $35 off) or Booking.com.
7. Don’t move to the Philippines to fall in love with the first girl you meet on PinaLove or FilipinoCupid. I had read to be careful about falling in love before I moved that I had a bunch of silly rules like ‘don’t spend three nights in a row with the same girl.’ I already suspected that I wouldn’t have a problem with this rule and I was right.
That said I am completely emotionless and am cold as ice. The girls here are very sweet, kind, and caring and if you have the ability to fall in love then one will get you. If that’s not what you are looking for then be careful.
8. Don’t have set in stone plans and be to stubborn to change them. From the time I first started reading up on Asia all the way until I made the move my heart was set on Manila. Three years in I have never stayed there for more than 2 weeks because the traffic tilts me. You should try to come up with the best plan that you can based on the information you can get ahead of time. However you need to make sure that you can be adaptable. I would suggest moving around to a few cities you think you may like the most first, and then pick one to settle down in. It’s so cheap to travel around once you are over here, its worth a small investment of your time and money to find the right spot for you.
9. Do your best to not sweat the small stuff. You will plan to meet a girl and she will be 45 minutes late. Just pretend it never happened and smile and keep the mood light.
10. Never put an Asian person in a spot where they need to feel bad about something. Conflict isn’t something they are used to and it will totally ruin their mood and kill the day. You will get ripped off for small amounts from time to time and do your best to forget about them. It’s really not worth getting in a big argument over a dollar. And if you do get in that argument certainly don’t let that ruin the rest of your day.
11. Always ask taxis to use the meter before you get in. Try to have a short conversation with the driver and mention that you have been to the city before or even have lived there. That will lower your chances of taking the long route to your destination.
12. Know the higher crime areas before you arrive to a city and try to avoid them at night. Most cities will have some very safe areas, and some not so safe. Sticking to the touristy areas is a good idea because they police themselves and don’t want undesirables giving the area a bad reputation. I like to wear reversible gym shorts that have pockets on the inside. That makes it basically impossible for me to ever get pick pocketed. Getting your wallet or phone stolen could really mess up your trip so be sure to always protect them.
13. Lastly, and most importantly of all, just do it already (Shia LaBeouf voice). On some messageboards I read I’ve been hearing this one guy say for 3 years that he’ll move to the Philippines soon. Then life gets in the way. Less talking and more doing is definitely the best advice.