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6 Tips For Foreigners Who Want To Move To The Philippines

Foreigners move to the Philippines for various reasons just as Filipinos also move to other countries. Americans were married to Filipinas and learned to love the Philippines during their first visit to the country. The Koreans first wanted to learn English and eventually setup a thriving business. The Japanese chose to retire here after seeing a wonderful place that feels like small city in Japan — reminds them of home without being too far away from it.

Author: Cxicxi de Castro
Date: Jan 10, 2013 - 4:53:24 AM

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Foreigners move to the Philippines for various reasons just as Filipinos also move to other countries. Americans were married to Filipinas and learned to love the Philippines during their first visit to the country. The Koreans first wanted to learn English and eventually setup a thriving business. The Japanese chose to retire here after seeing a wonderful place that feels like small city in Japan — reminds them of home without being too far away from it.

Some move to save, others to spend. Some move to escape the heat back home, others to have more of it. Some move to be close to their families, others to be far away from them. Some move temporarily, others permanently.

Whatever your reasons for moving to the Philippines, wouldn’t it be nice to learn something about the place you want to live in?

The following are some of the most valuable tips you will ever have.

1. Learn about the Filipino Culture
First of all, Filipinos are Asians. They have some of the traits, traditions, and cultures shared by other Asian countries like Malaysia, Thailand, Japan, China, and Indonesia. They have high respect for their elders and they care a lot for them. They can be so shy, they don’t directly look at you in the eyes when you speak. They laugh when someone bumps his head while going for a jeepney ride.

Second, Western influences are also deeply woven into the fabric of the Philippine society. You will find names that sound like Spanish or Mexicans. That’s the result of more three hundred (300) years of Spanish occupation in this part of the globe. The Spaniards brought their religion, among other things, to the Philippines. The Filipinos love the Americans, too. The Americans brought with them a system of education that became the basis of the one currently practiced in the country. The Filipinos love anything foreign. As a matter of fact, they love everything that is not made in the Philippines.

The Filipinos speak a number of dialects and languages, too. You could easily guess that the Biblical Tower of Babel was erected here and broken down into 7,000 islands that make up the archipelago. Both foreign languages and native dialects are spoken all over the country. The poor and the middle class are struggling to speak fluent English. The rich wants to experiment with Spanish and Chinese-flavored languages. The super-rich just wants the speak the plain Tagalog orBisaya dialect.

This is just a small cross-section of the Filipino Culture. Learning more about the Filipino Culture is one of the best investments you will ever make if you don’t want to experience Culture Shock when moving to the
Philippines. If your spouse is a Filipino, you get a tip of the iceberg.
Here are some of the best books to get you started on the Philippine Culture:

• Culture and Customs of the Philippines (Culture and Customs of Asia)
• Philippines – Culture Smart!: a quick guide to customs and etiquette (Culture Smart!)
• Culture Shock! Philippines: A Survival Guide to Customs and Etiquette (Culture Shock)

2. Get To Know the People
Filipinos are among the most hospitable people on the face of this planet. But of course there are some who are rude, too.

Do you want to setup a business in the Philippines? Did you know that most Filipinas are highly sensitive? You can’t just shout at her and expect her to be back at work the next day.

Are the Filipinos friendly to Americans? You bet. And that makes it easy for you to mingle with them. Not only that, they can hardly distinguish the Americans from other Western races. They think if you are white, you must be an American.

If you can get along fairly well with your spouse or his/her friends and relatives, it would be easy for you to adjust with the rest of the Filipino people.

3. Learn to Speak a few native words
The Filipino Language (based on Tagalog) is the National Language of the Philippines. It is taught in schools and many Filipinos understand it and knows how to speak it. The Cebuano or Bisaya is also widely used especially in the areas of Visayas and Mindanao.

Knowing how to speak a few lines of these dialects is a plus factor in dealing with a Filipino. An American who can speak it becomes an instant celebrity.

One other thing about native language: A lot of foreigners are pissed-off when they join a group of Filipinos (perhaps in a party) only to realize that everyone is speaking in Greek. You have to understand that they are using a language they are most comfortable with just as a Japanese will use Nihongo most of the time. If you want to join the conversation, have an interpreter close by your side.

The following learning materials will prove to be useful in learning the Filipino Language:

• Learn Filipino, Book One, with Discs 1 and 2
• Teach Yourself Tagalog Complete Course Audiopackage

4. Know What It is That You Want in A Place
Do you have a clear picture of what it is that you really want in a place? Knowing that is crucial and will save you endless hours of search. Are you looking for a country living? Do you want easy access to the airport? Do you have kids who are going to school? Consider all things that you want and then search for the city or town that has them.

The Philippines is the same everywhere. Well, more or less.

Baguio — dubbed as the summer capital of the Philippines — is a cool place with an American ambiance. Davao was once called the Little Tokyo by the Japanese occupants. Manila is one of oldest city in the country and continues to be the center of commerce until these days. Cebu is a booming city known for its historical traces. And then there are smaller cities, towns, and provinces where all things bright and beautiful abound.

Fresh air and polluted air; serenity and noise; modern lifestyle and traditional living; wealth and poverty. The Philippines has it all. Chose which one you like and you will have it in the Philippines.

5. Familiarize Yourself with the Place You Want to Live In
One of the best ways you can be familiar with a place is by going there. Stay in hotel for a couple of days. Move around the city or town with your wife, Filipino friend, or fellow traveler. If you find a place that you like, rent an apartment for a couple of months and observe the place more. Check to see if that is really the place that you wanted to live.

6. Let The Philippines Be The Philippines
One of the nice things about being in a foreign land is that you begin to appreciate the good things you are doing back home. When you are here, you will find yourself comparing how things are done in your country versus how same things are done here. Wisdom consists in understanding the differences. Peace of mind starts with accepting what is.

Let the Philippines be the Philippines. Expect some things to be a little different than what you are used to. In fact, expect the unexpected.

View all articles by Cxicxi de Castro

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