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There are a few things expats should know when planning to live in the Philippines. Here are the Basics:

Use of Alcohol

Alcohol drinks in the Philippines is very cheap compared to the cost you have back home and it is available anywhere you go. The beer that is famous in the Philippines is the San Miguel Beer. And take note most expats love the taste of San Miguel Beer. Yes alcoholic drinks in the Philippines are very cheap which makes most foreigners easily hooks up with drinking spree. This is one thing that expats should try to avoid. It can be very easy to get hooked-up and before you know it you become a regular drinker already.

Unlike in foreign countries where drinking is regulated, here in the Philippines you can practically buy alcoholic drink anywhere you are. That is the reason why you see so many drunkards along the streets since you can buy one as long as you have the money. So be a responsible drinker.

Shopping for Appliances

Expect not to find the best quality of appliances here in the Philippines. Shop for the appliance brand that you know which is durable like General Electric, Panasonic, Samsung, Sony and many more. It is much more expensive but at least you are assured of its quality. You do not really get the appliance that you want like the one you have back home but the appliances you get here should do its job.

Electricity / Water in the Philippines

One thing that is frustrating are unscheduled power interruptions and lots of that happens here in the Philippines. Most of the time electric company shuts down power without warning to do short repairs. Most of the time if it is a scheduled power interruption it is often scheduled over the weekend. So if your refrigerator is full with meat, you will end up cooking all to avoid the food from getting spoiled.

City water is not really safe so it is still best to buy purified water. Purified water here is cheap. You get three five gallons of purified water for just one hundred pesos. Sellers for purified waters even offers you free use of hot and cold dispenser. That will be just perfect but it is better if you only use the cold dispenser and turn off the hot because it consumes too much electricity.

Culture Shock

If this is your first time here in the Philippines then it is best if you know some of the usual thing happening around:

  • People are usually nice but cleanliness seems to be out of the question. You might find men urinating along the road, children running around naked and urinate anywhere they want.
  • You will find lots of beggars in the streets and it can be irritating especially if you are not use to it since most of these beggars are children and they follow you begging for money.
  • Air in congested areas can be much polluted. The city is quite polluted so it is best to find yourself a home out of the city and into the country side.
  • Even if you see poverty all around you, still you observed that people can still smile and be happy despite their situation.
  • Crimes are often present in poor areas. There are still drug users who are out there trying to find their victim just so they can feed their habits.
  • Filipinos loves to celebrate and they often celebrate special occasions like birthdays, Fiestas with feasting, drinking, dancing and singing all night long. Their celebration is not complete with out serving Lechon in the table. Lechon is one whole roasted pig.
  • Filipinos often come un-announced. Filipinos have a tendency to just visit without calling or inform the person they visit. They have this attitude to just stick out their face in the window and announce their presence.
  • If you are a foreigner, your wife’s family, relatives and even fiends would ask you for a loan. Be wise and be the judge for it. Most of the time, the money ask as loan is never repaid.

Driving in the Philippines

It would be one effort to be driving in the Philippines. There are of course driving rules but drivers especially in small towns pay much attention or follow the rules in the road. Besides you will find not only cars in the road but you will be surprise to see dogs, chickens, goats and cows in the road. Instead of getting mad you cannot help but laugh at the scene. The best thing to do is to hire a Filipino driver.

Health Care

It is a fact that health care insurance here in the Philippines does not pay that much so that most expats think it’s not worth getting one. But still it is best if they explore more because there is a lot of health insurance now that gives more benefit than what you pay for.

As for medical care, hospital stay and medicines are quite cheap here in the Philippines than abroad but it is important to note that when you get admitted in a hospital, it is always money first or you won’t get admitted. Even in any major operation or surgery, you need to deposit a certain amount before the procedure is done.

Another advantage here is dental treatments which are really cheap here in the Philippines. And even if it is cheap you can be assured that you are receiving the best dental care just like what you get if you are back home.

As for purchasing drugs in the Philippines you sure will be surprise. If you just know the name of the drug that you want to purchase you can usually buy it over the counter with no problem at all.

As for health issues in the Philippines it is important too that you are well aware of the diseases that is prevalent in the Philippines. There are infectious diseases present in the country like the food and water borne diseases like the hepatitis A, bacterial diarrhea and typhoid fever. Mosquito borne disease is also present like Japanese encephalitis, malaria and dengue fever. Another common ailment is the water contact disease which is the leptospirosis.

Mosquito borne disease mentioned above is surprisingly always present in some areas of the country and also a large number of populations of the country is also affected with tuberculosis, this is so because of the lack of health care in large parts of the country especially the rural area.

Sex with Under Aged Girls

If you do not know the law here in the Philippines then beware, if you are with underage girl then leave her alone or better yet run and do not come back. As always “ignorance to the law is no excuse” so better stay away from under aged girls if you do not want to go to prison. If your girlfriend is less than 18 years old then do not go out with her or have sex with her if you do not want to lose your reputation, your money and even your freedom. If you really love her then wait until she is 18 and then you can ask her parents consent to marry her if you want.

Stay away from Illegal Drugs

Philippines belong to the third world country and just like any third world country the country is also struggling from some health issues like the use of illegal drugs. Plenty of Filipinos is involved with the use of illegal drugs, but the government has dealt with this problem and fortunately the number of drug dependents has markedly decreased.

As anywhere in the world nowadays illegal drugs are available around the corner. If you love your freedom and your life do not mess with drugs because:

  • The penalties throughout Asia are very harsh, as in length prison terms and even death penalty. You don’t want to get caught. The law prescribes the death penalty for drug traffickers caught with at least 0.3 ounce of opium, morphine, heroin, cocaine, marijuana resin, or at least 17 ounces of marijuana. The Philippines has imposed a moratorium on the death penalty, but drug offenders are still punished harshly if caught – the minimum sentence is 12 years in prison for possession of.17 ounce of illegal drugs.
  • You really don’t want to know what the inside of a Philippine prison looks like (Think: truly appalling third world conditions).
  • Filipinos don’t want and will make examples of foreigners coming to their country to partake of these substances.
  • The person who just sold you something may turn around and have you arrested for a reward. Why? Because he’ll be getting a very nice cut of money you have to pay off the cops with to keep your virgin ass out of prison. Or because you’re buying from an undercover cop. It happens. Corruption in the Philippines is considered to be the worst among East Asia’s countries.

Illegal Stay

Illegal stay in the Philippines means you have stayed over the thirty days that you are given as a tourist visa. Beyond the thirty day stay is no longer legal if you have not file for any extensions. If your visa has expired then you need to pay the penalty for it. You will have to pay the fine for overstaying plus the motion for reconsideration. To get the exact amount of the fines, consult the Philippine Bureau of Immigration.

There are still more to know but those things you will discover in your first months here in the Philippines. You might get cultural shock for a time but in due time when you get to adjust you will learn the ways of the Filipino people. You do not have to change yourself and try to adopt everything for that is one big mistake but you can begin by understanding it and try to adjust without really giving up what you believe. One thing for sure, what is discussed above is the most obvious ones, there is yet to come that will really surprise you. Indeed Filipino culture is very colorful.

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