June 25, 2018 by Stephen Bentley
Sad Story of One Expat
What follows is one sad story of one expat here in the Philippines. I reproduce the tale unedited. I know him and he will remain anonymous. He’s a good man and deserves better. It is a cautionary tale for any who move here. I thank God I chose wisely and have a wife who ensures I am not exposed to any of the shenanigans you will read below.
For your information, one British Pound equals about 70 Philippines Pesos (PHP) at the time of writing. One dollar will get you about 50 PHP.
I have been here in the Philippines for almost 3 years and can honestly say it is a stunningly beautiful country. We bought land, designed and built our own house in an idyllic location. I intend to spend the rest of my life here.
The experience has been spoilt by Filipinos constantly asking for money, from children to priests to relatives to complete strangers. As of today we are owed just under P200,000 that we lent various relatives in good faith, without interest and to be repaid at their own schedule and amount and yet constantly we are not paid our money. This week one relative said he was not going to pay us back P100,000, money that would pay for our two daughters college education plus complete the work on our house. This seems to be normal practice here. No apology, just constant broken promises and face to face lies.
In the past two weeks alone one of our daughters has been verbally abused by a drunk guest at a party at our house. A motor tricycle taxi driver crashed into the back of our car and I have to pay for the damage to our car despite the police saying I am blameless (he’s too poor and no insurance). One of our fences, to keep our dogs in and safe, has been totally destroyed by a boat (no apology from the known owner despite being told that his boat is damaging the fence twice previously). A relative, as previously stated, who owes us P100,000 has decided not to pay us back after almost two years of promising to do so. To cap it all off the bank has fiddled me out of P10,000 and the chances of getting it back are slim to zero here.
I had the nieve [sic] intention of trying to help my new relatives
through interest free micro financing to get them clear of huge interest repayments on debt and the money they saved easily covered the repayments to me, but they don’t repay money here. We also made donations to various community causes which appear to have been, in at least one case, abused.
The negative personal experiences have far, far outweighed the positive ones. It seems Filipinos are very fast to ask and take money and good will but then treat one with great disrespect. There is a total lack of empathy, morals or ethics throughout society and commerce despite it saying it is such a religious country. I have never experienced this intensity of ignorance, overt corruption, blatant face to face lying, incompetence and personal disrespect and vandalism to private property.
I came here fully expecting and prepared to change my lifestyle, attitudes and social norms, in fact I was relishing the new challenges, experiences and possibilities, especially the interactions with people. That has all been crushed to death.
After much thought and lots of soul searching I have decided, very sadly and with huge regret, to greatly reduce my interaction with all Filipinos, including relatives, for the sake of my immediate family, my mental health and our bank balance.
To the too few who are decent, honest and respectful Filipinos I wish I had met more of you.
Despite being constantly warned by expats prior to living here, I was nieve [sic] and must take some responsibility, I really thought I was, in a small way helping those less fortunate but all I have done is destroy my own faith in my fellow man and become extremely depressed.
Tomorrow is another day.