Following on from our earlier blog on Vietnam we now move to the Philippines. Decades ago the Philippines had one of the strongest economies in Asia and with reasonable infrastructure. Potentially it was poised to become a significant economic power in the region but unfortunately the last few decades have been unkind to the Philippines and in particular its working people.
Decades of corruption, mismanagement and poor politicians have left the Philippines lagging behind almost every country in Asia. The quality of life for the average Filipino is poor due to the terrible infrastructure and poor food quality despite the country being possessed by fantastic natural resources and potential for Agriculture.
Despite the above the Philippines economy chugs along with good growth currently based on two significant contributions. The ‘Overseas Foreign Worker’ [OFW] provides significant revenue every month to the Philippine economy and has done for decades. The other significant contributor is the ‘Business Process Outsourcing’ [BPO] which now compares well with the income generated from OFW’s.
The BPO industry has radically changed the employment situation in the Philippines and means that people are no longer forced to work abroad as the BPO industry provides good jobs and with a reasonable salary.
For expats the most popular areas in Metro Manila are Makati, Bonifacio Global City and Ortigas. Generally if you live in Makati, it is best you work there and the same for the other areas. The traffic can be stifling and as one recent visitor put it takes away much of the fun when visiting the Philippines. The traffic situation is bad pretty much everywhere including Cebu and almost all towns and cities.
If the Philippines is your first posting overseas it will bring many surprises some pleasant and others not so. The poverty in certain areas is hard to ignore but as are the day to day smiles you see from the people who have a positive and happy approach to life even if they don’t have much. The Philippines like many places in Asia is generally safe as long as you are careful and don’t leave things lying around.
With English being the language of law and spoken throughout the Philippines it makes getting around and getting things done a little easier. As well as the friendly people the Philippines is a welcoming and hospitable country to tourists and expats, everyone mingles freely and without many issues.
For those looking for excitement, night life and good restaurants then Manila and other places now have this is in abundance. If you are looking for culture and sports, then you have probably come to the wrong country unless basketball is your game or boxing which are the Philippines national sports.