In this video, I give my thoughts on living in the Philippines: dealing with culture shock, picking up Filipinas, and a whole lot more.
Hello there, boys and girls. In this video I want to talk a bit more about my experience living here in the Philippines. Now, by the time this video goes up I’ll have been in the Philippines for about a month now. My plan is, well, I have to stay a month more because that’s when my lease ends, and after that I’m planning to stay another couple of weeks. Right now I’m in Davao, which is on the island of Mindanao, on the south side of the Philippines. For the last couple weeks in my stay I’m probably going to visit Manila, the capital, in the far north of the Philippines, and then I’m going to come home to the U.S. I have some unfinished business to deal with back home. I wish I could stay longer, but I want to talk a bit more about my experience living in the Philippines.
Now, by the time this video goes up I’ll probably have experienced a whole lot more shit, but these are sort of surface impressions for those of you who are interested in this country, interested in visiting it. Now, keep in mind like I said, as of this video I’ve been living in Davao, which is very unlike a lot of Filipino cities, but at the same time I’ve got a good impression of Filipino culture, so I think I can speak with some authority on what Filipinos are like, what the experience of living in this country is like.
Now, to begin with, the city is a lot safer than you think; a lot safer than even I thought. Because when I first announced to my family that I was going to the Philippines, they all immediately thought I was going to get kidnapped and murdered and such, but here in Davao, Davao is probably the safest city in the Philippines, but even still I’ve yet to be ripped off by a taxi driver. Everyone on the street is nice to me. Every business in this city, or every reputable business has a policeman standing guard. In order to go to the malls you have to pass through a metal detector or get frisked by a security officer. Basically I don’t see how anyone, aside from the most psychopathic criminal, could get away with anything here. I haven’t been pickpocketed. So it’s a lot safer than you think.
My estimation is that a lot of the problems that Americans and Westerners experience abroad just come from being idiots and doing stupid things that would get you in trouble back home too. Like, if you’re wandering around drunk in a bad neighborhood at 2:00 a.m., then shit yeah, you’re going to get jumped and pickpocketed or at least fucking jeered at. But guess what, if you go wandering around, I don’t know, south side of Chicago at 2:00 a.m., the same god damned thing is going to happen. So, realistically, if you keep your head above water, don’t do drugs, don’t break the law, you’re going to be just fine here. Now, obviously, I mean there’s going to be corruption here, there’s going to be corruption there, but don’t be an idiot and life will turn out fine for you. Number two: Filipinos are hospitable to the point of almost obnoxiousness. I hate saying this because it makes it sound like an insult, because it’s not, but I’m just not used to it as an American. Well, I’ll describe my experience first coming into the country.
My plane disembarked at Davao. Going through immigration, I was sweating balls but it was a very painless process because the immigration officer asked me a grand total of one question: how long was I staying. After that he just stamped my passport and I was on my way. Then I passed my customs declaration to the customs officer and he was like, “Welcome to the Philippines.” I immediately get besieged by these three girls who are hocking smartphone cards, SIM cards. Here in the Philippines they call it “load” for whatever reason. You’re buying load for your phone; you get, say, 500 pesos worth of load and that’s good for calling, texting, your phone or whatever.
I get a taxi when I’m leaving the city and leaving the airport, and the guys are friendly, we’re chatting it up. Just everywhere is like, as a foreigner, at least here in Davao, you are an exotic specimen. On the average day, I’ll see maybe at most one other foreigner walking about, and usually it’s an older white guy in his forties or fifties. I’m probably one of a handful of foreign men under the age of 40 in this city. So wherever you go, you’re going to get stared at and in some cases get cheered at.
I was walking around downtown Davao one day, I walked past a playground, all the kids were just cheering and waving at me. I’m probably the first foreigner they’d ever seen in their entire lives. The Filipinos are absolutely nice, and not in sort of a predatory, they-want-to-get-your-money way, though they do want to get your money in many ways, but they’re genuinely curious about foreigners, foreign life; they’re curious to know what you’re doing in Davao, they want to talk to you.
I find it a bit overwhelming both as an American and as an introvert, as someone who needs, you know, I like my alone time. As an American, usually if you’re in a big city like New York and someone comes up out of the blue to talk to you, it’s usually for bad reasons, usually to hustle you. So coming to the Philippines has forced me to unlearn a lot of programming, a lot of my native American programming dealing with strangers.
One thing I can say about the Filipinos, they really seem to enjoy life as it is. You get that cliche a lot; when I see some dipshit idiot college girls, “We went to the Third World and they were so happy.” What do you expect they should be? Depressed that they live in utter poverty, just sitting around all day? Should they feel like those starving people in Ethiopia who are so weak they can’t even bat the flies away from their eyes? What I see in Filipinos, in all economic strata, they love partying, they love being social, they love hanging out.
Just the other day there was this huge-ass karaoke party at my condo, going all the way until I guess, not the middle of the night, but late into the evening hours. They’re just singing in karaoke bars. That’s another thing Filipinos are in love with, karaoke.
You get a lot of culture shock. Number three: Culture shock is real. One of my friends, Bill Price of The Spearhead, we were talking about this before I left; he was like, “Beware of culture shock.” I was like, “Eh, whatever.” When I first got here I was too tired to do anything other than just fucking sleep because I had gotten maybe about four hours of sleep the past three days, but after that I was just having difficulty adjusting and I just didn’t want to leave the house.
It’s not even a matter of whether you like the culture or hate the culture; it’s just as we grow up with a certain set of cultural expectations, expectations of how people behave and expectations of how we are supposed to behave, and when you go to a foreign country many if not all of those expectations are flipped on their head. So it’s like learning a new language; not just a literal new language but a new way of dealing with people, dealing with the various peccadilloes of how these people do things.
I’ll give you an example of a really small thing that can just trip you up, at least in the Philippines. Now in the Philippines they have a lot of fast food restaurants, or a lot of American franchises. They’ve got McDonald’s, KFC, there’s Dunkin’ Donuts of all things. There’s also a local franchise called Jollibee, but pretty much all the fast food franchises are run in a similar way. For example, if you go to Jollibee or McDonald’s. Now, when you go to a McDonald’s in the U.S., what will happen—you know what’s going to happen. You get in line, there’s a cashier who takes your order and that’s it.
In the Philippines, you get in line and there’s a worker standing in line to take your order, then they write it down on a piece of paper and they give it to you. Then when you get up to the cashier, you give them that piece of paper and then you pay. Then a third person brings out your food; depending on the wait time they may bring it out to your table. And then finally, when you’re done eating, as soon as you stand up there’s a fourth person who just whisks away the trash. In fact, at this one Jollibee I went to, in the dining area where the people sit down to eat, there was at least three or four idle workers whose job apparently it was to sit around, do nothing, and wait until someone was ready to leave, at which point they just whisk the trash away, whisk the tray away, and say, “Thank you for coming, sir. Have a nice day.”
I’m not saying it’s bad, I’m just saying it’s different, and it’s stuff like this that will trip you up constantly. By this point I’ve consider that I’ve adjusted to the culture more or less.
And one last thing I’d like to get to, I mean, this is for the guys out there. If you’re wondering about the women then yeah, it is… well, it is as easy to get laid here as everyone says it is. You got guys on Swoop the World talking about or Roosh V Forum talking about how they could bang, like, three different girls in a day or whatever. That is certainly doable in the Philippines. I mean, bang three different girls and not pay for it. They’re not going for prostitutes; they’re actually picking up women. I’d say something like that is doable because the women here really, really—just being foreign, not even necessarily white, just foreign, you have a massive advantage.
It’s not just, you know, there’s going to be naysayers, “Oh, they’re just interested in you because you have money.” That is a part of it, a small part of it, but a lot of it is just Filipinos genuinely seem to adore foreign cultures, particularly American culture. American pop culture is just huge here. Yet at the same time they retain this sort of traditional, sort of, all the women what they really want to do is, even though education and whatnot, getting a job and stuff, they’re all independent, but what they really dream of doing is being a wife and mother. So you get these girls who are obsessed with all things American, but at the same time they still want to be traditionalists. Maybe not June Cleaver type, but they’re interested in being traditional wives and mothers.
So, basically, it really is as easy as just putting yourself out there. The only way you could not get laid in this country is if you’re covered in AIDS, suffering with AIDS sores, or if you just never leave the house. You run around long enough, you’ll get into adventure. And when it comes to, say, night game, going to bars and whatnot, again, it’s fairly easy doing it there too. All you have to do basically is just go there, get a drink, and wait for a girl to make eye contact and, bam, you’re in like Flynn.
The big thing you’ve got to do here is online game, online dating. I’m not as… I’m not going to go into great detail here, but websites like FilipinoCupid, if you just open an account there, I mean, you have to pay to get premium features, but you can open an account for free. As soon as you put up a picture of yourself that shows yourself as a foreign white American man or whatever, you’re going to get love notes by the hundreds. When I first opened my account months ago, I had to disable e-mail notifications because I was getting dozens of letters a day from Filipinos.
So, really, I don’t care how much of a loser you think you are, I don’t care how much difficulty you have getting laid in the U.S. or whatever country you happen to be in. There is no, no fucking way you can fail in this country. If you can’t get laid in the Philippines, you should honestly just kill yourself. I’m not even joking, it’s that easy here.
These are my surface impressions of the Philippines. I’m hoping to bring more detailed information to you guys as soon as I can learn it and whatnot. Like I said, I’m going to be here for one more month at least, then another couple weeks in Manila. Then I’m going to be back in Chicago dealing with some unfinished business there, but, anyway, hope you’ll stick around. I have many more interesting stories to tell from this great land.
Illegitimi non carborundum: don’t let the bastards grind you down. I’m Matt Forney and I am out.
Read Next: Brief Thoughts on Living in the Philippines
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