Reasons Are Many… and Also Few!
First, I would like to thank my friend (and fellow blogger) John for the inspiration to write this post. Sometimes all it takes is a simple comment or a reminder by a reader, and the post-creating sparks begin to fly. And in this case, the sparks have ignited!
As many of my readers already know, my wife and I have made the decision to depart from the Philippines, at least for the interim. We have some things that need to get accomplished that cannot be done while living in the Philippines. So we are in the process of re-locating to Guam (April-May 2017). In my friend John’s comments, he seemingly felt the need to remind me of why we moved to the Philippines in the first place. In my own mind, I looked back in retrospect, reviewing those very reasons.
The motivation for me to live in the tropics was inspired many years ago as I previously conveyed in one of my first writings titled My Enchantment. And, as a result of a nearly life-long chain of events coupled with reality, we chose the Philippines as the place to retire to. It became our chosen paradise. Did we make the right choice? Absolutely, we did… at that time.
Now, some readers might get the feeling here that maybe we believe we made the wrong choice, that we are living with regret and are now cutting our losses and leaving. Note: It has been said that the average length of time many expats spend in living in the Philippines is about 3 years, before they bail and head back to their home country. It has been almost 4 years since we settled here and “bailing-out” would just not be an accurate description. There are many “good” things I have come to cherish and love about living in the Philippines.
Chains Get Longer.
Nonetheless, the “chain of events” in life keeps adding more links, and it has resulting effects. It can change the path that one chooses in life, and can alter the overall enjoyment of life and living. Here is a good example of how one decision can change everything – Take the declining ski-resort industry in Colorado. Other states have been gaining in ski-travel market-share and Colorado has suffered economically, until recently. Last year, Colorado legalized marijuana and is now experiencing a resurgence in entrepreneurial spirit – the sprouting of pot shops and other marijuana related businesses across the state and specifically in places like Vail, Aspen and other popular ski areas. The result has been a recent big boom to the Colorado ski industry and a boost to many other economic interests in that state (and a resulting negative affect to other ski destinations like Utah). Would it be safe to say this link in the “chain of events” changed things in Colorado? Absolutely. How about for all those folks who closed businesses, lost their jobs, or left the state? Yes again! Stuff happens, decisions are made, things change!
Again, we are not leaving the Philippines. I look at more like we are simply expanding our scope of residency in paradise – we are just adding another location for our enjoyment, based on a new link in our life’s chain of events – and for good reasons. Afterall, we built a nice comfortable home in the Philippines, and have family and many friends here. We could never leave entirely.
While our main reason for retreating from the Philippines is focused and absolute, I could tack on dozens more reasons why the Philippines might not be the perfect retirement paradise for many people. The assimilation of information and experience gathered in my lifetime leads me to affirm that there is no real “utopia” (I think most rational people believe this). But, life can still be “utopian,” and to achieve that, it takes clear and abundant knowledge and careful planning and is an entirely different topic of discussion (which I have also addressed on this site). While the Philippines is still a great place to enjoy a more simple and less stressful life, it can become a dystopia for many who are ill-prepared to deal with such a large cultural shift.
If I have inspired anyone over the years (via this blog ) to simply pick-up and move to the Philippines, I’m sorry. I never intended to lead anyone to believe that the Philippines was the ultimate utopian choice. It was not my intent to incite discomfort or misery on anyone (some really love living here, others… not so much). While I have referred to the Philippines as my chosen paradise, it was the place WE (my wife and I) choose to live.
I have over the years, laid out some ideas about choosing a retirement location carefully, and I have always suggested serious planning and good personal-financial assessments. If you moved to the Philippines without in-depth knowledge of the culture, or without a plan and little financial resources, and you are not comfortable after making that choice, then you obviously were not prepared and you can blame nobody but yourself. But, if you planned well and are enjoying life to its fullest, good on you!
Assessing the Realities of Paradise.
What I really intend on doing from here forward is setting the record straight.
The Philippines may hold for some an easier life and less stressful living, coupled with warm weather and an abundance of natural beauty (it does for me). But, but all that easy living and natural beauty can be surrounded by and conflicted by many other things. As a visual example, take a simple video which depicts a beautiful view of the ocean at dusk. Lovely crystal-clear, warm, turquoise and blue waters shimmering below a back-lit red-orange sky. Now imagine the camera panning down only to witness the mounds of trash at your feet.
This is an aspect of normality here that is rarely captured in promotional videos or photos. I for one have never been personally inspired to capture photos of trash, poverty and all the cultural desperation. The trash – that is just scratching the surface of the negative side of Filipino culture. It is the proverbial “tip of the iceberg.” For every one pretty picture you see, there are likely to be 10 more that have no validity in attracting visitors, at least in the promotional sense. I am as guilty of this simple charade as anyone else. I have always written about most things from a sensationalist’s point of view (quite possibly to defend and justify my own decision to live here), and I tend to show the good and humor in most things. I take pretty pictures and publish scenic videos. I think maybe it is time for a change – to provide more balance in my presentations. “Real” perspectives so to speak.
To come… More Realties! The Good, the Bad, and Then Some!