Moving to Pinas
I remember the day I decided to pack up, sell off and move myself to the Philippines, to live. For good. Forever. Well, for as long as I wanted to stay there. It was one of those light bulb moments. My wife had been trying to contact the Aussie embassy to get the ball rolling to apply for a visa to come to Australia. We hadn’t seen each other for a month or so since we were married and I have to say I was missing my honeyko. (Not that I would ever call her that, she’d ‘bunal’ me good!)
My wife couldn’t even get through to the embassy in those days. You had a 2 hour window each day and the line was always engaged from morning till night. So if the wife can’t come to Australia, the hubby will go there. And I did and it was great and I have no regrets, even if a few years later we moved back to Sydney for the sake of the two kids. Now there’s five of them and I know it was the right decision. But as soon as they are all grown and gone…
You see you can reinvent yourself when you make a major move like that. I know people who have been motivated by the mega change in scenery to try doing something they have only ever dreamed of doing; like farming, or writing, painting, whatever. I wrote and published my first book within a year of landing in Luzon. I had written books before but never had anything other than magazine articles published. This time I did it myself because technology had moved on and eBooks were now happening. It really changed my life and I will never regret taking that time to write. I had pretty much my first year’s living expenses put aside to do whatever I wanted to do before I would have to think hard about working for a living again.
It was probably the best year of my life. My year.
When the time came to find a job, I found one. Yes, you can find paying work in the Philippines, I did on several occasions. I even wrote a book about it. I wouldn’t advise anyone to go there and hope to get a job or start a business without at least a Filipina spouse to help with the visa arrangements. It can be done but it needs some planning and a bit of cash behind you. Of course, if it comes to a toss up, then just toss the coin and do it anyway. You have nothing to lose but your regrets and you will regret not doing it far more than giving it a go.
There is another kind of re-invented expat you find in the Pinas; the Walter Mitty type. Google that if you don’t know what it means. As an example, I met a lot of Vietnam War veterans in bars over there. Nearly every one of them had been in special forces or on black ops, secret, hush-hush stuff. They could tell me, but then they’d have to kill me and all that. I never met a single cook, clerk, storeman, driver or mechanic; just gnarled combat veterans staring off into the distance before regaling you with tales of their daring do. I did meet a few real veterans and they never spoke about combat, they just played down their role and changed the topic. Do be wary of re-invented personalities; especially the ones that want to jump into business with you after the first San Miguel, but if you’re thinking of a little re-invention, just do it.