Response To A Canadian Guy Thinking Of Living In The Philippines

I wrote an article a while back about Canadians thinking of living in the Philippines as a topic that is becoming popular in my personal site and also as a frequent inquiries being asked from us at our Toronto travel agency business.

I also said in that post that I will write more about the subject but I think I reneged on that promise because I’ve never really followed up after that.

Apologies for that.

Anyway, I’d like to write today a follow-up post related to the subject in response to a recent comment by Kevin from Alberta about his plan to live in the Philippines with his girlfriend.

Here is his new comment:

Hey Manuel, i’m back for some of your great advice. My filipina gf and I are planning on her coming here to canada in apr on tourist visa. I am going to marry her while we are here together but now i’m thinking of a new idea that I think and hope you can advise me on.

I just recently found out I will be coming into a substantial amount of money and if I have a choice, I would prefer to live in the philippines with her where it’s much better climate than us living here.
It is not enough money to live off for the rest of my life so I am hoping you can steer me toward investing in something there that would be safe and provide an income. Any business ideas that would be profitable etc. I will have 6 figures but don’t want to blow it and be broke in the Philippines in a few yrs as I know it would be extremely hard to find a job there. I currently am a forklift operator here for a major company in alberta and also have a licence to drive a big rig (semi truck) tractor trailer, just so you know my skills. I anxiously await your advice, as you’re the best!!

Thanks in advance


Kevin, thank you for visiting again as well as the compliment. Those advise that I’m giving you didn’t really come from me but from other people who were caught in the same position as yourself who in turn are “chatty” enough to tell us their stories even if we don’t ask about it. LOL.

No, really. I got those information from my long association with people who we cross path with in our business. It helped you and others who inquire so I thank them endlessly for imparting the knowledge.

Now, regarding your new idea of living in the Philippines – it’s great that you’re thinking of that. A lot of “orig” Canadians who were married to Filipinas I talked to are also thinking the same way you are and have successfully done so. I also know a lot of Filipino residents of Canada who are already making the move – me being one of them.

It is true what you said that the weather is more friendly there and so are MOST of the people. But I’d like to warn you that it’s not all rosy in the Philippines.

It is still a third world country eventhough technology wise, it is not far behind Canada or any Western country – so expect a big difference. The culture is also different from what you are accustomed to here.

The local Pinoy’s life is laid back and time seems to be slow specially in the rural areas (or what is locally termed “in the province” or in Tagalog “sa probinsya”).

In general, most of the people you will meet are sincerely friendly and will really like to make you feel at home. But not everyone. There are also those who would just want to take advantage of your ignorance of a local’s life in the Philippines. Which will mostly involve money.

If this is your first time to visit, you’re in for a big culture shock! So, depending on your ability to adapt, it might be easy or it may be difficult.

I’m not saying all this to discourage you of your plan to make the move to the Philippines. I’m saying all this because I wanted you to feel at home when you are there. It really is like paradise if you get to know how to live and adapt in the Philippines.

Regarding working in the Philippines, I don’t think you would want to work there. First of all the pay is so low even local Filipinos themselves are having a hard time getting by on their salary alone.

Secondly, truck drivers and forklift operators are a dime a dozen in the Philippines, so before any employer would even consider hiring you, they would opt to choose the cheaper alternative first.

Third, it is very difficult to drive in the Philippines. The rules of the road (if there’s any!) is so vastly different than in Canada or the US. You will have to get acquainted at the driving habits of the Filipinos first – using a stick-shift car before you can even drive a truck – that on most probability do not have power steering and airconditioning. Trust me on this.

If you really want to get more information about work in the Philippines for Canadians or Americans, my blogging buddy Dave have frequently discussed this topic at his site – living and retiring in the Philippines. Dave is an American who’s been walking-the-walk when it comes to living in the Philippines by expats. Subscribe to his feed and get the education on the Philippines that you need to know about living in the country as a foreigner.

Regarding investing in the Philippines, be very, very careful before deciding to get serious on this subject. Foreigners like you will have a hard time putting up a business there. The bureaucracy at even the provincial and municipal level in the Philippines is so darn hard to understand. The Philippines, in my view, is not a business friendly place for small investors like you or even me. I had tried investing in different businesses in the Philippines so many times eversince I decided to go back and live there again but it has been a constant failure. I wasted a lot of time and money on it.

Just imagine, if it happened to me who lived half of his life there, with family and other connections in place – what more to someone like you who absolutely know nothing about what goes on in that country. So, be very, very careful where you intend to put your money. If I were you, I would not let anyone know – even your girlfriend, that you’re planning to bring money with you for the purpose of investing. Money is the root of all evil and that is also true in the Philippines.

It would be better if your girlfriend or your future friends take you for what you are – a regular Canadian guy with a regular income, rather than a milking cow. You will enjoy living there more and you will get to meet really nice and “real” locals who will sincerely like you as you are.

I always tell new friends in Balanga whenever they ask me about my status in Canada – that like them, I’m just a regular income person. That the only difference between me and them is that I earn money in dollars but I also spend them in dollars. I tell them when they ask why I like to be in the Philippines more – that I like the weather there much better, that I like to be close to the ocean when I want to, that the food taste better because it is always fresh and healthier, that life is not as rushed compared to Canada.

(Note: I’m originally from Manila and is now a resident of Balanga, Bataan whenever I’m in the Philippines.)

When you don’t flaunt about materials things that you have which they don’t – makes getting along with the locals more enjoyable and safe. By the way, you did not mention where in the Philippines you like to live? Because living in Metro Manila or Cebu is much more expensive than living in other less populated or rural places. You also need to consider this in your plan.

In parting, due your own diligence before diving in. Learn from those who have walked-the-walk (like Dave of because even I are learning from them. Like I said in the beginning of this post – I learn a lot from experiences of other people.

Goodluck to you, buddy. Tell me when you are in the Philippines because I surely want to know how it went.

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