Advice for Expats

What NOT to Do as an Expat in the Philippines

While The Philippines is a relatively safe place for expats that doesn’t mean you’re invincible while you’re here. There are a few things you as an expat can do that could land you in hot water or worse.

Here’s What Not to do As an Expat in The Philippines

It’s important that you conduct yourself with common sense (if there is such a thing). If you do you’ll be fine but there are some important things not to do here. Don’t be a shameless foreigner. Please don’t fall in order too quickly and don’t assume the girl you’re talking to is a real woman. Don’t get into bar fights and don’t forget you’re in a developing nation. Avoid investing here for at least a year. Most importantly never hold a grudge. If you follow these tips you should be just fine here.

Don’t Mess With The Wrong Girl

Too many guys come here thinking with the wrong head and they get involved with the wrong woman. Specifically, they get involved with a woman that is already married or a swindler. There is no divorce in The Philippines and many native Filipinos don’t want ‘second-hand goods’ which is why many girls who have been left by their Filipino men go after foreign men. Often these women will have multiple children from multiple men. The problem arises once her Filipino ex realizes that she now has access to a gold mine. At that point, he’ll reconcile with her, have her convince the expat to buy property in her name, then once she’s squeezed everything she can out of him or once he becomes more trouble than he’s worth it’s time for him to go.

Related: Signs a Filipina Actually Likes You

Another big issue is stiffing a bar girl. Sometimes guys will get buyers remorse after the fact and not want to pay the bar girl for her services. That’s a great way to get yourself arrested if you’re lucky and whacked if you’re not. It doesn’t matter how good or bad it was. Just pay her what you agreed to and move on. It’s not worth your life.

Entering in Shady Business Dealings

The most common shady ‘investment’ guys make here is trying to get around the land ownership prohibition. Listen, if you don’t have Filipino blood or you’re not a citizen or resident you can rent, lease, or own a condo–that’s it! I’ve seen so many guys try to do some stupid tricks like setting up a paper corporation or even using a fake Philippine ID and they always get screwed. What usually happens is the girl (or her family) will sell the land and keep the profits and if he tries to get any of the money he’s disposed of.

If you come here you’ll no doubt be solicited to enter into some sort of ‘investment’ with a local. Don’t do it. New expats that end up investing with a local usually lose their money and when they try to get it back they get whacked. The Philippines has strict laws regarding foreign investment (to protect the oligarchy). I wouldn’t even consider doing any sort of investment here until you’ve been here at least a year and you’ve spoken to an attorney to see if it’s even legal for you to make the investment.

List of Businesses a Foreigner May Own Expanded

Forgetting They Are Not in a 1st World Country

Simon Rawlingson was walking down the street in downtown Naval when two people were waiting for him on a corner. Once the lookout gave the signal his partner in crime shot Mr. Rawlingson in the head once, took his money, and then shot him in the head again before riding away in a motorcycle with his belongings.

Mr. Rawlingson was no stranger to controversy, constantly embroiled in disputes with his neighbors. The New Zealander often spoke out publicly against the mayor and a few other officials over what he perceived as unfair treatment in a land dispute. It is reported that in an argument with his barangay captain the official told him to ‘get f—‘. His neighbors even signed a petition to get him deported from The Philippines but when that didn’t work they took other measures.

Making False Promises

Guys that are tired of paying for fun will make false promises with local girls in order to get the milk without having to buy the cow. They’ll tell them, or imply, that they’re looking to take her back to their home country or that she’ll get a life happily ever after. Many guys justify it in their minds as payback since they’ve been scammed a few times. You can do that but you’re risking your life. Hell hath no fury like a slighted Filipina. A Danish man was recently stabbed and disemboweled by his Filipina after she found out she wasn’t getting a visa to Europe despite letting him on top of her for 6 months. She claims he ‘stabbed himself’. If you’re interested in meeting Filipinas take a look at my the best sites to meet Filipinas.

Related: Meet Asian Beauties Online

Getting Into Bar Fights

Recently an expat was shot and killed in a bar fight in The City of Silay, Negros Occidental. Eric Henderson was minding his own business at a bar when two locals asked him for cash. He declined and they insulted him in their native tongue which he understood. Once he confronted them a fight ensued and they shot him dead. He left behind a wife and three children that he was going to adopt and take back to America. Bars are a big source of trouble for expats. Whenever alcohol is involved sometimes expats forget they’re in a country where the rule of law is a luxury that they don’t have.

Understanding Philippine Etiquette

If you are ever in doubt about how to behave in the Philippines, just remember pakikisama, which roughly translated means “to get along”. Foreigners coming here espousing their culturally liberal values as if they are right is actually a form of cultural colonialism and it’s not appreciated.

Don’t be a shameless foreigner

At a restaurant, if the waiter messes up your order even after he said ‘yes sir’ three times that he understood, don’t angerly confront him. If you do you’ll offend his amor-propio or sense of pride. More so than that you’ll not only embarrass yourself but anyone who is with you.

I remember while standing in line at PLDT to pay my bill a French man was having a go with the girl at another desk. He ended up shouting ‘the amount is wrong!’ so loudly everyone in the entire building heard it. I looked and saw the two women who were with him shrink to half their size and then heard a man behind me say “walang-hiya” (shameless foreigner). I have no doubt the Frenchman was right about the bill and PLDT does suck, but in the eyes of everyone in that room (including his companions) he was wrong.

Cultural correctness vs technically right

That’s the thing we foreigners need to understand. Being ‘technically right’ and ‘culturally correct’ are often two very different things in The Philippines. And as we saw in the two examples above the latter is far more important than the former.  No Filipina is impressed by a loud-mouthed malcontent foreigner. Situations here are best handled in a manner of delicadeza (delicateness) in order to ensure that everyone saves face. When debating whether or not to pursue an issue, ask yourself do you want to be happy or do you want to be right?

Don’t Assume The Girl You’re Talking to Is a Real Woman

If you are a man living in The Philippines you’re going to be hit on by men at some point. So you might as well be prepared for it and get used to it. Usually, it will be a ladyboy who does it. The reason so many western guys find it so infuriating is that some ladyboys or ‘gays’ often pass as real women.

In a notorious incident, a US Marine was jailed for killing a homosexual who he took to bed thinking he was with a real woman. It created an international incident and was a diplomatic embarrassment for The United States.

How to Stay Safe in The Philippines

If you are traveling alone to Manila or The Philippines for that matter, there are some common sense tips you can use to stay safe.

  • Think with the right head
  • Avoid bar fights
  • Don’t try to ‘cheat the system’. Specifically, when it comes to trying to loop around the land ownership laws
  • Don’t lie for sex
  • Hold off on investing or trying to start a business right away
  • If you get cheated just suck it up and move on
  • Get More Useful Tips for Living In The Philippines
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