The Value Of Living In The Philippines
As I promised in my earlier article entitled “The True Cost Of Living In the Philippines“, I am following up with a sister article about the benefits or value of life here. At least as seen through my eyes in the almost five months that I have called this home.
New family – I mentioned about missing my family, and I do, but I also have the benefit of a new family here. I’m not cheated either, as in typical Filipino style there are a lot of them. Most immediate are my daughter and son-in-laws. They have been very loving and accepting to me, even though I know it must be a big adjustment for them. They are young adults. They have their own lives, but they go out of their way to make me feel part of the family.
The rest of the family is a little shy around me due to their fear of speaking English, but we are working on it. My Bisaya is improving, and their English is not as bad as they fear. They view me as a little odd, which puts them right in the same boat with everyone else.
There are plenty of family functions, often in at Tatay’s balay in Buda. That’s always a good trip. It would be nice to have some notice though, but maybe that brings me to the next one.
Time – both free time and filipino time. As I hoped and expected when I retired and moved to the Philippines, I have a lot more free time. Not all my time is my own, but much more than I’ve ever had before. While this would be true to some extent if I had retired in the States, the fact of the matter is I could not have retired in the States at this time.
Filipino Time is something that bothers a lot of foreigners, myself included, that are used to rigid schedules. What I’m learning is there is a lot less stress with Filipino Time if you allow yourself to engage it. I ride the jeepney a lot, and I can’t control how long it will take to get to many destinations. The fact that those I’m meeting know this, and probably expect it, takes all the pressure off.
I doubt I can ever become one of those that is never on time, but it sure helps to not have to be concerned about it constantly.
Fruits and vegetables – there are so many exotic, delicious fruits and vegetables here. I have only begun to try some of the unknown (to me) fruits, and a few of the vegetables. If you are careful where you get these, and wash well, then it can be a true bonanza. I’ve not gotten to where I can eat Durian yet, but I’ll give that time.
Bukidnon, which is right next to Davao, is the home of some of the finest fruits in the world. I’ve even found a place that can order many organic herbs and vegetables for me, again coming from Bukidnon.
Transportation – I was so, so tired of driving. It is such a relief not to worry about getting behind a wheel anymore. The last 20 years or so of my life I had jobs that required me being one the road. It was fun at first, an adventure, but after doing that for many years, and in extreme winter conditions, it no longer had any appeal. Combine that with what I felt was declining focus from other drivers, well I had enough.
Not all my jeepney rides are pleasant, but the majority are. It is was one of the things I really enjoy. I can be mindless if I care to, and if I want to go local I can enjoy a quick nap on the way. Often I find the jeepney ride very soothing and meditative. This is one of my quiet treasures.
Beaches and mountains – a truly beautiful natural environment. Everyone knows that the Philippines is famous for it’s beautiful beaches, and while I don’t live on Samal, it’s always available to me. I have friends I can visit there, or take advantage of one of the fine resorts for the day or longer.
Samal Island isn’t the only place for beautiful beaches. The country is full of them and there are many more close by. I hope to eventually get around to some of the other areas, both mountainous and beaches in the future.
(No) Snow – Ok I had to put this in considering the weather at this time from where I moved, Spokane. I no longer have to shovel snow. I no longer have to drive on roads that are pure ice. I no longer need to throw three layers of clothes on to go the store. I don’t miss the winter one bit. Maybe someday again I will think that I do – it won’t be true.
Dental & Healthcare – good and affordable. I’m really pleasantly surprised at how good the care has been here. I knew it was affordable, but I didn’t expect the level of service that I’ve seen so far.
I broke a tooth earlier this week. I sent a text (yup, text) to my dentist, and not only did she reply right away, she told be to come in any time – no appointment needed. I went in the next day and she accommodated me, though the office was busy. It was determined that there was enough tooth left to save it, and a reconstructive insert would suffice. She could have told me I needed a crown and gotten a lot more money. We did discuss that but she didn’t feel it was necessary at this time. Do think my dentist in the States would have done the same?
She drilled out the old filling and took an impression. I had to come back in a couple hours to have it set. Yes, the same day I was out of there with a fixed tooth (excellent job BTW), and total cost was P2000 (about $50).
My dentist, Dr. Lourdes Lebosada, was referred to me by my friend Bob Martin, and I’ve been very pleased. She treats me very much like a friend, and I hear the same from others.
I’ve had similar experiences with the clinics and doctors I’ve seen (well except the friendship part). P995 for an Ultrasound, at a facility that had newer equipment and what seemed to me, a very competent staff. The results were given to me within a couple of hours.
This is one area that I think the Philippines should really promote. Medical Tourism should be big business for them.
Well there you have my list, at least for now. Sure there are other positives, but that’s probably the top of list so far.