Who Do You Trust? – Scams In The Philippines

Who Do You Trust? - Scams In The PhilippinesIn a recent article I briefly talked about running into people who pretend to befriend you in order to make you their own personal ATM machine.  What I’d like to cover here is a much wider look at this topic.  It’s something I’ve experienced on a much more frequent level here in the Philippines.  But it happens all over the world.  Even in your own home town.  So before we get into this, even though I’ll be making mention of recent events here overseas, the general principles apply to all countries, to all people.

There is a saying that I unfortunately have found to hold true over decades of time in my life.  It is, “No good deed ever goes unpunished.”  It’s not that I don’t believe in doing good deeds, I do.  But what I have found is that there is a wide gap between people who are genuinely in need of your assistance who deserve it.. and the people who live life in a constant state of desperation who will con you any way they can to get money to flow from your pocket to theirs.  For this second group of people the ongoing ‘con’ is how they relate to getting by in life.  It is as natural to them as breathing.  They aren’t interested in making their life better.  They are motivated by one thing; ‘Getting something for nothing.’  And over the years, they’ve gotten pretty good at it.

Years ago when my three sons were about 13 years old I took them for a day to Griffith Park Observatory.  But that was just part of what I had planned.  Later for lunch I took them to Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles, California.  Now, in the last few years Hollywood has done a bit to improve the area.. but much of it still the same.  Well, back in the mid 90’s it was every bit as grungy as it had ever been.  Homeless people everywhere, homeless in hollywoodmiddle-aged drag queens, sketchy characters all the way around.  I’d been there plenty of times with buddies and wasn’t going to take my boys there after dark.  But a short tour for the afternoon as we got some lunch was a real eye-opener for them at what the ‘real world’ can become.  After witnessing a bum-fight, my middle-son asked, “Why are those guys fighting?”  My lesson for the day was, “Something you need to remember is this; Desperate people will do desperate things.

Here it is almost 20 years later and nothing has changed.  Desperate people still do desperate things.  It’s human nature.  I’ve seen it in the United States.  I’ve seen it in Mexico and I’ve seen it here in the Philippines.  Consider the following statistics taken from a study done ten years ago..

Philippines Poverty Rate

 The Philippines has a lot of wonderful things to offer, especially if you have the money to enjoy them.  Great beaches, resorts, restaurants, romantic getaways, adventure and more.  But the daily reality for many, about 40%, of local Filipinos is a day to day struggle to make ends meet.  Really it’s more like 55-65% when you factor in that there is a very narrow ‘rich’ upper-class and not much of a middle-class as you see in a 1st-world country.  Now, my experience has been that despite poverty, the majority of Filipinos I know are honorable, religious, hard-working people.  Times are tough for them but they don’t let hard times compromise their spiritual values for the most part as a society.

But if I had to ball-park a figure.. I’d say there is an element that comprises about 4% of people here (or anywhere else for that matter) who simply are not to be trusted.  These are the ones I want to discuss.  Whether you ever plan to come to the Philippines or not, these shady characters exist in your home town as well.  You might even be related to them.  The difference is that with a larger middle-class you may not cross paths with them quite so often.  But they are out there and you will eventually meet them at a freeway offramp, street-corner, workplace or even knocking at your front door someday.  These people I label as straight out Con Artists.  And they are in every country, every community no matter how rich or how poor or how in-between.. there are con artists looking to separate you from your money.

con artistDo you have a mental image of what one looks like?  Well, forget about it.  Because these people excel at camouflage.  The phrase ‘con’ artist comes from the old description of being a ‘Confidence Man‘.  Their trade is built upon a very simple strategy.  First.. to gain your trust and second.. to lie to you so as to get your money.  It’s the same old game with different locations and different tales.  But no matter what the country, it’s the same old con game.  Make no mistake about it.

So.. you’re a foreigner in a new country here.  Fresh off the plane with pockets of cash and not a clue where to go, what to do and you could sure use a friendly face to guide you around.  The first thing you gotta realize is that the local con artists spot you right away.  You stick out like a hillbilly at a wine tasting function.  Just like sharks can smell blood in the water these con artists see you coming from a block away, make no mistake about it.  They don’t just bump into you or start conversation by chance.  It is the first step into Phase 1 of their strategy.. become your ‘friend’.

So who do you trust then?  Well, here’s one red-flag to look out for; Never trust someone who INSISTS on taking you down a predetermined path.  When someone says they are your friend, and you’ve only known them maybe two weeks (or less) and you really know NOTHING about them or their past.  When you know you couldn’t locate them if they suddenly disappeared.. your Spidey-sense should be on full alert.

Now.. here in the Philippines it really helps to have people you know you can trust.  And that takes time.  It is possible some people may actually be trying to help you.  Just don’t make any assumptions.  In the Philippines, people are very networked and will often use their family connections to genuinely help you out.  If they are genuine, like I said, they won’t be insisting you follow them blindly on some course of action.  Let’s take an example.  Let’s say you meet someone new and decide to have lunch with them one day. During the conversation they bring up something like how great ‘island hopping’ is now that you’re in the Philippines.  You express some general interest but have no immediate plans to go.  Maybe later.  A true friend would just drop it and talk about something else.

But the shady person will insist, you really need to go and they just happen to know a guy with a boat who will give you a big discount if you just charter them for some set ‘special’ price.  When you say, “Have them send me an email.. I’ll shop around a bit and decide later.” and their response is to isolate you from shopping around.. to make a decision right then and there.. you know something is up.  I had this scenario actually happen to me once.  One minute I’m just having lunch.. next minute and, whaddya know?.. the guy who does island hopping just happens to be in the mall and joins me at the table to finalize the deal.  It took quite a bit of polite deference to get them to understand I had no intention of making a commitment to go island hopping at that moment.  Maybe later, but all I wanted to do was have some lunch.

Maybe they were just trying to throw some business to their relative.  Okay, that’s fine.  But don’t start pushing me to commit right then and there or my guard is up in a heartbeat.

And like I said, it’s not just strangers you gotta keep an eye out for.  Sometimes it’s the family of people you actually can trust.  Maybe your friend is a great guy and totally trustworthy.  But the brother or sister of his, or the maid in the house.. they will steal the shirt off your back in a New York minute.  I know a woman who has had her pursed dipped into so many times.. even in her own home, from unscrupulous relatives and visitors it is unbelievable.  Jewelry disappears from her room as well as cash.  There is a pervasive mentality among the poor that if they perceive you as ‘rich’..it’s okay to steal from you because, “you can afford it“.  That’s it, that’s all the justification they need to salve their conscience about taking your watch, wallet, money, laptop, cell phone or anything else you didn’t keep your eye on while they were in the vicinity.

These people are not so much con artists as they are unrepentant petty thieves. They will honestly steal anything not nailed down.. and if left overnight, even stuff that’s nailed lots of security in philippinesdown.  One of the reasons I can walk down main street here in Mactan at 3am is because every legit store down the street is paying for all-night security guards to keep an eye on things all night.  Even in the daytime.. I am not kidding, you will see a security guard at every legit business.  Starbucks, the pharmacy, the mall (every mall has literally a small army of security people.. some of the female ones are kinda hot looking.. but I digress), fast food places, yes.. even the fast food places have security guards.  They aren’t worried about armed robbery.  It’s the petty thieves they are keeping an eye out for, including the employees.

Desperate people do desperate things.

Now, most of them are like any other thief.. trying to be sneaky and will lie their face off if confronted.  They will swear on all that is holy that it wasn’t them and even when caught on video they will say it was someone else.  And when you pull your own watch out of their pocket they will still say that you don’t really need it like they do.  You just have to accept the fact that some people are THAT far gone.  They do not have a moral struggle as they ponder whether to take money from your purse or put your cell phone in their pocket.  They do it in the time it takes you to get them a fresh cup of coffee from the kitchen.  They are that predisposed to seizing an opportunity when it comes up.  If you have a hard time believing that.. losing some valuables on an ongoing basis will help you see it a little clearer.

I know one guy who over the years has gone through at least six maids.  All of them started out okay.  All of them fired for stealing from the home.  Another guy, owned a piece of property and hired a guy to be caretaker for it.  Shows up one day asking, “Where’s my truck?”  The response from the caretaker, “Oh, I sold it for some money.”  No shame, no denial.  Just a “you can afford it” attitude with no pang of guilt crossing his mind or heart.  Another guy, had a pig farm.  According to the caretaker he hired, pigs kept ‘disappearing or dying’.  In reality, he found out the caretaker was selling them off whenever he felt like having some extra cash.. which was pretty often.  This is what about 4% of the desperate people do.. they see a chance to take something and they take it.  They might be a contractor, a gardener, a maid, caretaker or family member.

But let’s return to the Con, aka the Scam.  Because this is by far the most likely thing you will run into as a foreigner here.  In fact, I would bet dollars to donuts that you will have to deal with it in no more than two months from when you get off the plane.  They come in different forms and as we look at them you’ll always see the same pattern; (a)  Establish the trust then (b) take advantage of it.

“The Damsel in Distress Con”

This is by far the most common and most used con that you will ever run into.  I mean, people really should know better.  It occurs in person and it occurs over the internet on dating websites.  And it’s rampant for a reason, just look at the math.  A woman working a 10 or 12 hour shift at the mall might make about $12 USD per day.  That’s about $60 per week, $240 a month.. give or take depending on what job she has.  Let me tell you how a young woman managed to con four people at once.

My friend, a Filipina who has assets but it not necessarily ‘cash rich’ although still does well compared to most, was approached by her less fortunate sister.  “My daughter wants to go to college but I cannot afford it, can you help her?“.   Now, despite having been repeatedly ripped off many times before, my friend has a kind heart and decided to help her niece.  In exchange for paying for the niece’s tuition, the niece would move into her home as a live-in Helper (Maid) to do chores around the house.  Fair enough.

After a while the niece asks to borrow the one laptop in the home.  So my friend lets her.  Soon the niece is monopolising it and my friend buys another laptop to share with her son.  Now the niece has room, board, tuition and her own laptop.  Pretty soon it becomes obvious she’s not coming home at a normal hour and is out partying.  She then starts to show up with a new cell phone, new clothes and doesn’t even have a paying job.  Soon after it comes out she’s not even attending school and isn’t around often enough to do any chores around the house.  Words are exchanged but nothing changes for months.

What finally came out is that this girl in her early 20’s, the niece, has been convincing three different foreigners on a dating website that each is her “one and only“.  After spending some time befriending them and building a rapport.. she went into phase 2 and began withfilipina-online-scam the fake sob stories of money hardship.. little brother in the hospital, she might have to sell her laptop to buy food, can’t pay utilities, lost her job, cell phone got stolen.. the whole nine-yards.  She now has three idiots sucked into her con, EACH of them shelling out anywhere from $250 to $500 a month to her via wired money-grams for an average total of $1,000 USD a month.. and getting free room and board from my friend (her Aunt) on top of that.  That is the equivalent here in the Philippines of pulling in 4 months worth of pay in just 1 month.. without working.

Starting to see how motivated some of these con artists are now?

And this girl is no rocket-scientist.  She’s a silly girl with a greedy, lazy heart.  But it’s an easy enough con that she learned it from her friends in an afternoon of yapping over lunch.  She’s a pretty girl who can easily find a willing sucker on the other end of the Net.  All she has to do is be patient about the timing for when she lowers the ‘hardship boom’ and her next step is simply collecting the money at the local Western Union.. conveniently located in the mall so she can do some shopping.

Now, as a side-note.. I’m not against online dating sites any more than I’m against  visiting a dance-club.  I’m just saying that these female-predators are lurking in both and whether at a club or a dating site.. you need to keep your wits about you or you’ll get gutted like fish.  Speaking of fish, that leads me to..

“The ‘Teach Me How To Fish’ Con”

This con usually comes from someone who already has established some familiarity.. a relative or acquaintance but every so often can come from even another foreigner, so don’t be fooled.  It goes like this;  The con comes to you in a desperate state, things are going bad for them.  And it might even be the truth.  Utilities got shut off, no groceries, etc.  But they don’t want any money from you.  No, they wouldn’t dare to ask you to bail them out.. no, they don’t want any money that’s not why they visited you.

You know that saying, “Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day.  Teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.“?   Well, this is a longer-range con set on bigger money, usually fishfrom a relative or friend of the family.  It starts out like this; He has a business idea.  It’s a solid plan, too.  I real winner.  It’s some food franchise, or a Sari-Sari store.  Maybe an upholstery business or repairing motorcycles.. a sure money-maker and he’s all determined to make it happen.  He’s got a plan.  He’s got the enthusiasm and he just stopped by to share his vision with you.  Thanks for listening, and he’s on his way.  “Well, that wasn’t so painful.“, you think to yourself.  “He didn’t even ask me for a single dime.”

Every so often you get the text, the call or the visit that the plan is really coming together.  He’s got a lease lined up for the upholstery shop.  He’s got a guy he can get fabric from real cheap.  He’s got mechanics lined up who will refer him some business.  He’s even got a loan in process with the bank to fund his dream.  Life is so close to turning around for him and he’s sharing all this with you.  Meanwhile, not a damn thing is going on.  There is no lease.  There is no bank loan in process.  But then one day he/she comes to you, dejected and despondent that the bank turned him down.  All is lost and he will be turning to a life of alcohol or drugs soon to deal with his abject sorrow.  He will just slowly die behind a dumpster somewhere now that his dream is dead.

And then.. he turns his sad, puppy-eyed look at you and waits.

It’s sad to say but in this world, having a heart of compassion is such a disadvantage in life.  I believe in compassion, but not blind compassion.  I will spend my last peso to help a proven, trustworthy friend in a time of need without hesitation.  But I try my hardest to  differentiate between ‘real friends’ and ‘everyone else’.  Well, as you can imagine.. my friend gave the brother the money.. lots and lots of it to buy their upholstery shop.  Nothing happened.  No jobs were done.  No work was put into it.  He lived off the petty cash intended to start the business and when that ran out.. he began selling off the equipment and inventory a dime on the dollar to any buyer.  What did he care?.. it wasn’t purchased with his money.  A few months later.. he was right back where he started.  Only now.. he’s really “learned his lesson” and.. he’s got a new business plan if you can just give him some ‘seed money’.  Yah.  They are that brazen.

“The ‘Hello My Friend/You So Handsome’ Short Con”

This is something you will absolutely run into if you are at a club or bar with any regularity.  In fact, my 3rd day in the Philippines I got hit up with this scam just taking a walk out near the resorts one night.  It starts out with the same give-away words at high volume, “Heyyy!!  My Friend!“, coming from some total stranger dude you have never met in your life.  Even when I was in the U.S., it was one of my pet peeves whenever some salesman would address me as ‘my friend’.  Look, I’m just here to shop for some furniture.. I don’t know you and you are NOT my friend.  It just gets under my skin.  I know who my friends are and they all know my name, my thoughts, I’ve shared food with them, been in their home.. but the guy selling used cars that I’ve seen for 20 seconds has not earned the privilege to be calling me his ‘friend‘.  Really bugs the hell out of me.

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You can read a more detailed account of how this scam went down that night at the link above.  But here’s the nuts and bolts of it.  It might be two or three guys who side up to you and, without asking, start following you around making you the center of attention.  Asking where you are from and no matter what podunk, dust-filled town you came from.. they are amazed and impressed.  Yah, right.  Now, this scam is not hard to spot at all.  It’s just a pain in the ass to deal with.  Because the ONLY way you are going to get rid of these guys is to either get really rude or jump in a cab by yourself and get somewhere else.  They are really persistent.  They follow you around as self-appointed ‘tour guides’ and ‘body guards’.. and they expect that in exchange for showing you where the bars are, the girls are.. you will in turn pay for all their booze and food along the way.  Essentially these guys are a self-appointed entourage looking for a meal-ticket.  If you’re a foreigner.. you’ll do just fine.  And they can be as annoying as they are persistent.

Now, I say that anyone could see this scam right away.  But I’m thinking the reason they persist in doing it is because plenty of foreigners actually believe this fawning bullshit and end up getting taken for a ride on the town.. footing all the expenses for these ‘new friends’ they ran into.  In my case I fell for it not from the dudes I met while on my walk, but on a different occasion from a group of women.  “Hey.. this was easy.”, I thought.  My first week here and a group of women want to show me around.  I had a girlfriend already andyou so handsome - right had no intentions of taking any of these women home.. but a night of drinking and dancing at a local festival sounded like fun.  Well, we were only at the festival maybe 20 minutes and suddenly they all wanted to go to the local (and biggest) dance club on the island.  Before I knew it, I was buying all the booze and food for the night by the time it dawned on me that not one of these women had a single peso on them.  And if they did, they weren’t coughing up for any of the tab, that was for damn sure.  So.. when you get here, you unpack your bags and you’re ready for a night on the town, look out for these leeches because they don’t give a damn about who you are.  It’s a free night on the town at your expense.. that’s all their compliments or supposed interest is aimed at.  If you’re going to spend money at a club.. spend it on your friends and women you actually know and care about.

“The 2 Most Common Sex Scams”

This first one is somewhat exclusive to the Philippines.  It works like this.  You’re at a bar, dance club or even at one of the bigger malls in the city.  A well dressed, attractive woman makes her introduction and within an hour she’s told you about how her husband abandoned her and she’s just so desperate for some intimacy with no strings attached.  She just wants a one-time thing and knows of a hotel nearby that is cheap and discreet.  And there you are, forgetting that old adage, “If it seems too good to be true.. it usually is.”  So you take a short walk or cab ride and check into a room that rents by the hour.  Things are shockedjust starting to go your way with her when.. SHAZZAM!!, the guy at the desk is opening the door to let some angry dude into the room and there you are.. buck-nekked and totally caught off guard.

Turns out this dude is her husband.  For dramatic flair he might say he’s been following her for awhile, or he may just be up front and let you know you’re about to get blackmailed.  Because that’s what this whole scam was about.  You see, it turns out that adultery is a punishable crime in the Philippines.  The offended husband can have your ass thrown into a Philippine prison for about 2 years (up to six years if you get ‘caught’ in her home).  He’s got you.  And now the only thing standing between him calling the cops (another variation is his brother, the cop, just happens to be with him) is your ATM card.  Either you bribe off the husband and cop or you’re looking at adultery charges.  If he takes note of where you live or other personal data.. he might continue to bribe you long-term.  If you’re lucky.. emptying your bank balance might get you out of it and you’re on your way.

The other variation on this is the She told me she was 18.” scam.  Same set-up, same busting in of the door.. only now it’s her Dad, who ‘just happened’ to be following his daughter and NOW it comes out that she’s only 16 or 17.  Oh, and he just happens to have her birth certificate with him and the police on speed-dial.  So.. it’s off to the ATM or bank branch where you (hopefully) have enough to keep him from tossing you into prison.

The other common sex scam is the,I’m having your baby.” scam.  She might be pregnant, she might not be.  Doesn’t really matter because with all the screaming about needing money for ‘the baby’ (or an abortion) you probably won’t be able to think straight between that and her threats to sue you for social parent responsibilities.  So you start forking money out for several months until you realize.. hey, she’s not pregnant.  Who knows, if she’s smart she’ll move in with family on another island and tell you she’s still pregnant as she collects your money via wire-gram for all those baby-expenses she’s having.  My advice on this.. tell her she’s not seeing a single peso unless she gets examined by a doctor of YOUR choosing.  And it’s possible her boyfriend is the one who knocked her up so.. insist on a DNA test.  Just know that bribing at DNA labs has occurred so be on the lookout for that as well.

“And Finally.. the Chaperon Scam”

As I’ve mentioned in other articles, it really is a legit cultural issue here that the more conservative, ‘good’ girls will only go out with you if a chaperon comes along.  I won’t repeat all the reasons why, but it’s just part of the way dating is done here even with 20 year old women.  It’s totally common for them to bring along a sister, Aunt, brother or friend on your dates.

But once in a blue moon, it has happened that a girl who has been talking to some foreigner online, never expecting him to actually fly there, now finds he wants to meet in person.  Problem is, she’s either got a boyfriend or husband who is totally fine with her scamming money from foreigners.. beats having a real job in his opinion.  But if you’re a fish she doesn’t want to lose because you’ve been sending her some cash on a steady basis.. they go to Plan B.. the Chaperon Scam.

You guessed it.  She introduces her boyfriend or husband as her brother or cousin and insists that, because she is such a ‘good girl’, he will have to accompany them on their the chaperonoutings during the foreigner’s visit.  This can get pretty nice for the boyfriend/husband as he gets to enjoy all these nice restaurants, movies, island hopping, scuba diving, etc. as ‘the chaperon‘.  Now.. the way to sniff this one out is to ask to meet the rest of the family, to confirm this really is her cousin or brother.  Ask to meet the whole family.  She can always get some friend, or even a real sister to lie for her.. but getting the whole family in on the scam is too much work.  This is when she’ll come up with stuff like.. her parents are dead, live far away, etc.  It’s sad to say but some ex-pats make the whole trip and never do catch on that they were scammed during their whole trip into taking the couple out on a nice vacation.. on their dime.

Stay Alert, Make Decisions Slowly

There are other variations on these cons, but it’s really the same script each time.  Gain your confidence/trust.. draw you into their story and then put the lean on you for the money.  And then there are the people you even hire to entrust them to do a simple enough job.  Like the seemingly trustworthy woman, so humble and soft-spoken who was hired to simply collect the rents each month from the apartments she lived in.  She got both free rent AND a monthly allowance.  And yet, wouldn’t you know it.. those darn renters just never seemed to pay all of the rent.  In reality, she was pocketing the money here and there for years and finally got caught with a simple conversation with each of the renters.  Cons and Thieves.. there aren’t many of them percentage-wise, but they are looking for you if you seem to have money and they will seek you out.  That’s true here in the Philippines, Mexico, the U.S. and every other place where desperate people can be found.

I remember years ago working in a very good company where we all got paid pretty damn well.  It turned out there was one guy who was a flat-out kleptomaniac.  Poverty didn’t drive him to steal.. his greed and envy drove him to steal.  He would steal from fellow employees simply because he wanted their lunch, their nice key-ring, their nice pen, some doodad on a desk.  Poverty does not make people steal.  A greedy, lazy, envious heart motivates a person to steal.  Thieving isn’t a matter of just empty pockets, it comes from having an empty conscience.

Keep your guard up.  You might say to yourself, “Oh.. I’d see these cons coming a mile away.  I’d never fall for any of that.”  Guess what, that confidence is exactly what makes you the perfect target.  Because once your criteria has been convinced that this person is really, really ‘legit’, someone you can trust.. you will fall for the con fast and hard.  So, keep your wits about you when moving to a new country.  Keep your wits about you in your own country.  Take time with decisions, don’t let someone rush you into anything.  Ever.  If someone tells you some fantastic story, take the time to really verify the facts.  Ask lots of questions.  Do you know how the Israeli Anti-Terrorist Task Force is trained to sniff out lies in some suspect’s story at the airport?  They ask LOTS of follow-up questions.. VERY quickly.  It’s hard for a liar to continue coming up with consistent background lies for each new lie, on the spot and quickly.. and then repeat it consistently.  It soon becomes evident they are making it up as they go.  Most liars will try to evade this process when they are feeding you a line of crap and try to distract you from asking questions, often feigning tears or despondency.  So.. never rush.. and ask lots of questions.  And if you even ‘think’ something is up, don’t make any big decisions or promises.

How I Got Burned..

I wish I could say I’ve never fallen for some con job.  In my moments of thinking I was helping out some poor soul who had fallen on some hard luck.. several times I found later that it was ALL LIES.  A set-up from day-one to lure in some softhearted soul who would fall for their line of crap.  I’ll finish with a most recent occurrence of this.

I was eating lunch one day in my studio, just minding my own business (which is usually when crap suddenly hits the fan) about three months ago.  Suddenly I get a text of desperation from my (then) maid that she absolutely had to have some money or all hell would break loose.  She shows up at my door soon after all teary-eyed and in a panic.  Now, up until then I had given her up to a 600 peso advance on her pay for being my maid and she always honored it for the 3 months I’d known her.  Always paid her debts to me without fail.

So the story that day is that she’s in trouble.  She had put her motorcycle into pawn with some drug dealers a while back and didn’t have the money to get it out.  They were pissed, she had gotten a friend to make a payment and now needed to make a big payment or all hell was going to break loose.  I tried to calm her down.  I told her to just give up the bike.  I told her I wasn’t interested in taking the bike for pawn.  But nothing I said sank in.  She NEEDED to pay these guys and I was the ONLY person she knew who could help her.  Suddenly she’s Princess Leia and I’m Obi-Wan as all this gets dumped in my lap.

Now.. in retrospect what I should have said was, “Sounds like you got a problem, wish I could help but.. can’t.  Care for some more iced tea?”  That’s what I should have done.  But.. I felt sorry for her.  She’s crying.  She’s desperate.  She won’t go away.  So I start thinking that maybe it’s time I buy myself a motorscooter.  Looking for the win-win solution to this mess.  I’d been toying with the idea but a new one would cost me $1,000 USD locally.  I offered her $400 (I really should have offered only $175, again.. 20/20 hindsight).  I knew it ran fine, even though it looked like a piece of crap.  She countered, asking for $415 and we struck a deal.  I told her I could give her $100 down and make $50 monthly payments until it was paid off.  This way she has some money to count on and I get a motorscooter for a less-than-new price.

I drew up a Bill of Sale, she showed me the Title which was in her name and she signed for the down payment receipt.  I hadn’t paid her off yet so she held onto the title, but meanwhile I could make use of the motorscooter immediately and have it in my possession.

Two weeks later.. she says she is in desperate need of money (again) and if I could make the next month’s payment early.  I had the money so I got her to sign for receipt of that money.  She kept coming back and I figured every dollar I paid put me closer to paying it off.  Within six weeks, I had paid off the entire $415 (17,000 pesos).  That was in mid-November, 2012.  Naturally, I asked her to drop off the Title now that it was paid for and she said she was on her way to town but would bring it later that night.  That didn’t happen.  But she texted me the next day that she’d for sure bring it that following day.  That didn’t happen either.

For two weeks, still no title.  Every time I asked her for it, a different excuse.  She was busy.  She forgot.  For sure, the next day.  She’d been my maid for about 4 months and was one of the few people I even knew on a personal basis in the Philippines so I considered her a friend and gave her a bit of slack.  Pretty soon it was mid-December and still no title to the scooter I’d already paid for in full a month prior.  I got more insistent and she kept assuring me she’d bring it by.  Then.. it happened.

No, I didn’t get the title.  Instead she showed up at my doorstep, once again crying and despondent.  She said she ‘felt bad’ about making me wait for the title papers but that now she’d come to tell me that the real reason she hadn’t done so was because the title papers were in her Father’s room and since her Father hadn’t approved of her selling it she was afraid to tell him about the sale.  I was LIVID.  I told her I didn’t care about whether her Father and her were getting along or not.. she assured me I’d get the title when I paid her off and that’s exactly what I should have.  Her response?  More crying.  More apologies.  But still.. no title.

More weeks went by.  It’s now mid-January and suddenly she’s in hiding.  Fortunately I know where she and her family lives so I kept returning to sort this out.  Long story short.. she had no intention of giving me that title.  She had no trouble obtaining it the day we drew up the Bill of Sale to show it to me.  Since then, nothing but excuses.  I told her either she gives me the title I paid for or I bring the police in to settle the matter.  She went into a screaming rage that she doesn’t want to sell the motorscooter after all.  Well, kinda late for that.  Now that’s she hiding out in the land of Irrationality it’s pretty obvious the whole thing was a set-up from the beginning.  Now I’ve got a motorcycle I can’t register, can’t update the tags and can’t ride around without having it confiscated at some check-point, which are frequent here on Mactan.  ‘Tag.. you’re It.’  She got my trust.  She manufactured an ’emergency’ out of thin air and I got suckered into bailing her out all on the premise that she could be trusted to do her end of the deal.

And that’s how easily helping someone out turns into realizing you just got conned.

Update: Feb/2013.. After 3 meetings with the local Barangay Captain and two sit-downs with a Police Inspector, her Father stepped in offering to refund all my money if I would drop the charges.  This was actually a better outcome (for me) since my 17,000 Pesos was worth much more to me now than the registration for a crappy scooter I was getting over-charged for from the beginning.  I’ve gotten half my money already and a promisory note signed in front of the police inspector for the other half, due in two weeks.  So.. sometimes the system works.  — Reekay

So.. to re-cap… who can you trust?

It’s not just how long you’ve known someone.  Some people go for what’s known as the ‘Long Con’.  They will build up rapport for a year if necessary before going to phase 2.  Older women online fall for this and it’s heartbreaking.  They think they are emailing with some missionary overseas for almost a year, taking interest in his good work at such a sacrifice to themselves.  But when it all ends it’s because he’s tricked her out of the last dime in her savings and, now that she has nothing left to give.. he sends one last email to let her know she was conned, throwing her into too much grief to deal with pursuing him and he’s on his way.

So, time alone nor the fact that they are ‘family’ to your Filipina girlfriend is any good indicator.  You have to look at the phase 2 part.. that’s when it’s just about to hit the fan.  The sudden ’emergency’ that must be solved (with your money) right away.. no time for questions just wire that money and they’ll explain later.  That’s when you need to reevaluate whether you’ve put your trust in the wrong person.  Real friends are there whether you can help them or not.  Con artists play the role.. but their one objective is always to get their hands on your money.

I wish the world was a better place.  I wish there were no cockroaches or leeches in life but.. that’s not gonna happen anytime soon.  All you can do is (a) keep your wits about you.. (b) never rush into a decision and (c) always ask lots of questions.

Reekay V.
www.lifebeyondthesea.com

www.phsurvivalguide.com
philippines survival guide advice expats


Author: Reekay

After 49 years living in Southern California, USA, I decided to move to the Philippines despite never having been here before. In July, 2012, I took a leap of faith and transplanted myself to the amazing Philippines. I am a single man taking an honest look at all that the islands here have to offer, one day at a time. I hope you find my LBTSea site informative, entertaining and hopefully a bit of each. 🙂 Be sure to visit the Forum and other parts of what the site has to offer. Browse around and be sure to sign up for updates via email. Enjoy!
— Reekay

140 comments

    1. I gave her one last chance to give me the title tonight, to settle this peacefully. Instead she got all irrational saying she doesn't want to sell the bike after all. Which makes zero sense after signing a Bill of Sale and accepting all the money for payment.. to then not want to sell it. And of course, she spent all the money so a refund is out of the question.

      I'm going to the Barangay Captain tomorrow. They'll send a notice and I really doubt they'll enforce anything. The courts move so slow here it's pitiful, and no reassurance of getting any justice there anyway.

      What is the worst of all this is that I was a complete friend to her. I consoled her when her boyfriend treated her badly, I loaned her money when she needed it, I helped her with business ideas for her bbq place, cooked for her and hired her as a maid so she could earn extra money.

      And screwing me out of the title is how she pays me back. She is a real disappointment of a human being.

  1. Henry, be careful out there… people see dollar sign every time they see you….you are the rich foreigner…as always very good read and so true

    1. I can only hope the difficulties I go through and write about will prepare future ex-pats who arrive in the future. There are many wonderful things about the Philippines, but as I said.. there are those 4% who see nothing but their next victim when they notice a new foreigner in the neighborhood.

        1. From the Philippines. Where else would they come from? Plus, 4% is a little too conservative. It’s probably more like 40%.

  2. It's unfortunate that this thing happened to you. I've been following your writings and like reading your articles since you first wrote in LiP. I had even commented in one of your articles there. I like your writing style and I think you’re a good and honest person. In some of your articles you wrote here in your site, I’ve read that you had been to a lot of adventures there in the province. Sometimes I can't help but to somehow worry of what can happen in those adventures of yours. I don’t want to say unnecessary alarm, but perhaps you should be more careful. I don’t want to state comparison, but living in the province as compared to metro manila and the suburbs has a big difference (although I don’t want to go into details about it}.
    I can understand your frustration on the issue of your motorbike and former maid. You trusted her and help her in times of her need and now this is what she gave you in return. I don’t know what’s the real reasons she did it, but she’s really a disappointment and a big letdown. If I could give you some unsolicited advice, I guess it’s better to settle it in the barangay. If the girl or her family offers you less money than what she loaned to you, perhaps it’s better to accept it(you have used the motorbike anyway} and just forget her never to do anything with her again. If you can, stay away from people you think might just take advantage you. You may want to relocate to some other places. I’m sorry if I may sound intruding in your personal issues, just want offer some advice from a local. Hope the issue would be solved soon and you’re back on track again. Just my two cents.

    1. Thanks for the honest comments, I appreciate them. 🙂 The whole motorbike fiasco occurred here in Basak on Mactan. I'm filing with the Barangay Captain tomorrow.. not because I think it'll get me the title.. but just so my side of the story is on record. I'm anticipating her next move is to report that I stole it, being as how she has the title. That will be hard to prove though since I have her signature on the bill of sale.

      I'll be moving to the province area in Bohol in six weeks so all I gotta do is watch my back here until then. I have the motorscooter hidden away from my studio so she can't steal it. (this is when -real- friends come in)

  3. I hope b4 u leave Mactan that motorcycle becomes an artificial reef in the ocean. Don’t u leave that bike behind. I would park it next to her bbq booth, lay it on it’s side and start a bbq on top of it and give hotdogs away free for the night. She wouldn’t make a dime that night ! Con this BIATCH !!! lol

    I know u got pics of her in all her glory…POST THEM

    Good luck Henry…thanks for the article

    1. Oh.. I’m getting it off this island if I have to dismantle it piece by piece. After the crappy attitude she gave me tonight.. it’s personal now. The law around here is useless.. no justice to be found here. I’ll deal with this my own way in my own time. ‘Serenity Now’. 🙂

  4. Henry, it seems with the guy who had 6 maids steal from him and now with your example and stories, it is more than just 4% who are dishonest. The good thing is I think you are now inoculated against any future scams.

    As a soon to be retiree, your “feet on the ground” stories are very helpful. I already know from your writings that the Philippines would not be for me as I value anonymity and “blending in” very highly.

    1. Yah.. back in the States I literally felt like I had an invisibility cloak in the big city, even the smaller ones. Everyone is far more interested in their own world to notice what I’m doing. I’d have to be walking down the street on fire and handing out free money before people back home noticed me. But here.. fuggetaboutit. I thought it would more private in the jungle.. turns out it’s even more of a microscope there. But.. for me makes for a good challenge. Like being a spy on Mission Impossible. 🙂 “Always watch your six, and have an escape route.”

  5. You always have a choice in life. The easiest thing in the world is to trust no one – we all know people like that. Then you can’t get taken advantage of. But it’s a pretty dull life. On the other side you can trust with the realization that sometimes the trust will not be earned. That’s not just true for people you meet in the Philippines – it’s true everywhere. I have a couple ex-wives who no longer deserve my trust.

    But I am sure if you live there longer, and don’t succumb to cynicism, you will find a middle balance. You will add friends cautiously and learn who deserves and who does not deserve your trust.

    And you’ll learn to get the title before making the final payments 🙂

    1. Very true. In fact this whole incident has me ‘cleaning house’ as I go through my contacts-lists.. deciding who I will and will not be investing any more time with. Some people are just a drama-train waiting to leave the station and they’re trying to get you on-board. Not me.. I got my own list of stuff to take care of, don’t need someone else’s list as well.

      Meanwhile, as you said, I’ll add people slowly who can be trusted. It’s now a very short list. I was talking to my ex/gf and we both came to the conclusion that there is just way too much down-side to having a maid/helper. All culture aside.. people really don’t ‘need’ a maid. And given the terrible track record, a call-in maid maybe twice a month to clean up while I keep an eye on things is about as far as I’m willing to go.

  6. Hahaha. All true and I’ve personally experienced a few of the scams you described. I was born in the philippines and left for the U.S. at a young age. But I wasn’t born yesterday. A nephew of mine asked to “borrow” P50,000 so he can start a piggery in the province (he lives in Manila). With this money he’ll start out with six piglets and buy feeds and sell the pigs at 6 months old. I asked him to draw up a business plan including who was going to take care of the pigs, break even point, losing piglets to diseases and finally how I was going to make any money. His answers were so unconvincing that.I told him NO. He stopped communicating with me and I really don’t give a rip.

    When we left the country in 1971, my mother had 13 cows that her brother in law was supposed to care for. The agreement was that when calves were born, ownership will alternate between my uncle and my mother. In 2000, there were 5 cows left. Well, uncle woudl tell my mother that several cows drowned or died of diseases. It turns out he was selling the animals before they were even born. My mother sold the remaining 5.

    My father has a sister still living there who has a daughter (my cousin) with an “ear problem”. This sister would almost always ask for money from my father to pay for her daughter’s ear related doctor bills. Finally, when I saw my cousin I asked her how her ear was and she said fine.

    Another of my father’s nephew (brother of cousin with ear problem) and his family were living in my family home rent free. The chief purpose of letting them live there was for them to take care of the house. Nephew’s wife was a schemer and used the skills well. They would ask for money to fix the roof, fence, door, etc. My parents willingly gave them money. A couple of years later my mother went back on vacation and asked to see where the improvements were. Couldn’t prove that the money was spent on the house. My mother kicked them out. But my mother is smart too. To get rid of them quietly, my mother told them that they will have to move out because she will have the house repaired. Once they moved out, the house was repaired alright, but they were never allowed to come back again. Now they are struggling.

    Another scam is when people run for public office and either has no chance or did not intend to win and are in it just to collect “donations”. A boyhood friend of mine ran for mayor of the town and asked many people for financial help.. The people knew he had no chance at winning and his motive for running was to collect donations and not spend the money on his campaign. He emailed me soliciting donations and I never responded to that email.

    And lastly, when a couple of well to do families donated four school buildings to the town, the workers had the nerve to ask to be paid for work they had not performed. In other words, they wanted to be paid two weeks in advance. And I told them that’s it’s bullshit and that I’d find other workers. They withdrew their request. And while the school buildings were under construction, the Vice Mayor told us that the price of gravel will go up from P350 to P400 per cubic meter. The gravel were being taken from the local river. I told the foreman that if the Vice Mayor could explain why the price was going up and where the money would go that I would consider it. He could not provide an explanation so the price stayed the same. And that’s a donation that totaled about $300,00 in 2006 when the exchange rate was about P53 to $1.

    And on and on it goes.

    1. Thanks for the comment.. stuff like this would be hard to just make up, it’s so twisted how people will literally just LIE if they can squeeze a buck out of it. We have a piggery and I refuse to believe that 40% of the pigs just ‘died’ for no damn reason when they are getting virgin grain and a Vet is giving them both shots and check-ups twice a month. I’m ready to throw in the towel on that whole project. It WOULD make money if it weren’t for the constant thieving. But unless I actually move onto the farm in the middle of the province to watch it like a hawk.. it always comes down to trusting someone you hire. I’ve gone through two caretakers there already.

      In regards to people wanting to ‘borrow’ money.. here in the Philippines that concept just doesn’t exist. I don’t know anyone who has lent out money and gotten it back as promised. It gets pissed away and is never seen again. The same people who borrowed it, who never had more than 800 pesos to their name in their life at any given time, sure as hell will never pay back a loan of 10,000P or more. It just aint gonna happen. Holding some collateral would be the smart thing to do but, they usually don’t own anything worth what they want to borrow.

      I kinda laugh at people who say they will make money doing a ‘lending business’ here, charging exorbitant high rates of interest. Yah.. looks nice on paper and you’ll get plenty of people lining up to ‘borrow’ money. But.. good luck with those collections. ha!

      1. Henry, if you are not watching your piggery, give up on it. It’s a sinkhole sorry to say. Here is another story about a friend of mine from the same town I came from and who now lives in Canada. He has a shrimp farm that he’s been running for years. He went back to stock his shrimp farm in January 2011 and left for Canada and entrusted the operation to his new caretaker. He went back six months later to find that most of the shrimp was gone. Caretaker had harvested the shrimp before he arrived.

        I’d like to help the locals but after being taken advantage of a couple of times, I just say NO. After a while people catch on and they don’t even try anymore. And I feel like they respect me more.

      2. One more thing I forgot, Henry. When people ask to borrow money from me. I act like a bank and start asking them their gross income, expenses, and net income every month. I flat out ask them how they can possibly pay me back when they don’t have the means to do so. Like you said in your other post, word would get around that I’m very strict and a tight wad. After a while they stop asking. True story.

        1. I haven’t had anyone ask to borrow any large sum (yet). With me during my first 2 months here I was getting nickel and dimed to death every frickin’ day. I had about five new ‘friends’ at the mall who constantly asked for lunch, or transportation money home.. 100 pesos here and there from all of them every day adds up quick.

          I think if anyone DID ever ask me for a large sum I would not only ask them how they plan to pay me back without a job.. but also, what COLLATERAL that has value above what they are borrowing can they give me? That’s how the pawn shops have been doing it for years. And they get the title on stuff up-front or they don’t lend.

          I was in the barangay captain’s office waiting today and said to the secretary there, “You know.. it’s the constant scamming that discourages us foreigners from giving help to others when someone TRULY needs it. We eventually decide to tell everyone ‘No’ to avoid getting scammed again. This is why you should want these people properly punished.”

  7. You covered a lot of scams here Henry. Here is one I experienced years ago and shows just how brazen some people can be. Back when I lived in Olongapo City, my two brothers were stationed aboard the USS Enterprise when it made a port visit to Subic. So we put together a little reunion tour out to the barrio bars to have a night of fun. My one brother had just given me a new brass Zippo “USS Enterprise” engraved lighter. As we strolled in and out of bars, I passed by this one hot chick sitting on bar porch railing that said “excuse me, can I borrow your lighter?” So without hesitation, I let her use it to light her cigarette. After milling around with her and her friend we left and about 10 minutes down the street later, I was approached by two uniformed barangay officials saying I had a complaint filed against me. Seemed I stole some girl’s Zippo lighter. Well, it was pretty obvious that she could readily describe it in detail (after examining it closely for over 5 minutes), and with no witnesses or proof that it was mine (my brother that gave it to me left his matching lighter on the ship), I had no defense. After all I was not an Enterprise sailor so what would I be doing with an Enterprise lighter? So during the argument that ensued, I asked the barangy official if I could see the lighter one more time and he handed it to me. At that point I figured if I couldn’t have my lighter, then she couldn’t either, and hurled it as far as I could into the night. I looked directly at her and scowled “there bitch, go get your lighter.” The now “four” barangay guys and the shore patrol who had showed up all pretty much knew I’d been scammed and just let me walk. Talk about on-the-spot and in your face scams! >:O

    1. Damn.. ‘no good deed goes unpunished’, eh? And the thing is that ‘normal’, non-thieving people like us don’t see this crap coming because.. we don’t think like this. But for these 4%’ers who make it their living.. they find the slightest opportunity and dive right in.

      I ran into an ex-pat a month ago who was just sitting on the steps of the mall, watching the pretty girls go by. I’d seen him once or twice so I stopped to say hello. This guy was NOT into having any conversation. Maybe he thought I was a Filipino. I figured, ‘whatever’ and went about my day. But I’d bet he’s been scammed so much.. he doesn’t talk to anybody that seems ‘friendly’ anymore. I can hardly blame him.

  8. Henry, thanks for all your posts. I enjoy reading them. I have gf in Bogo City. We are waiting on her visa to be approved.

    It would help if you had a gf that you were with there. If so your gf would serve as a hedge of protection against scammers..

    I have been to the Philippines 4 times and each time my gf kept me from getting scammed.

    The key is finding the right filipina.

    Just a note of caution.. living in the province will be much harder than living in the city.

    Peace

      1. Both. Your a novelty in the province. And as such you will be constantly targeted. As far as conveniences you already know you’re in the boonies dude.

        Think about if you should get sick God forbid, but you need to be close to a decent medical facility.

        My gf and I have discussed these issues and we have decided Cebu is the best place for us to live.

        I don’t want to discourage you in fact I commend you seeking your life’s dream.

        Also, you have stated you have a business. Is this an online business?

        1. The province area I will be is only 2 miles from the main road, which is where a hospital is. (Already looked into that.) I also know the neighbor through my ex/gf (we’re on good terms) and they’ve been really helpful. Once settled in I plan to build my own emergency kit of anti-biotics and the usual stuff. Anything more serious than that and the neighbor can take me the 2 miles to the hospital. There’s also a mall within 15 minutes of there, so I’m in the province area, but not too far removed from the city limits. I do all my work online so that’s not an issue.

        2. I have to disagree with that statement also. I warn people away from Cebu and Manila because there are a lot of people and enough foreigners that these scams can keep people in money. In the provinces, there are much fewer foreigners and so the people there don’t think about these scams. Their aren’t enough targets there.

          My wife is a very sweet girl from one of the provinces. She also runs interference on anyone that asks for money. We talked about this just the other day. She won’t tell me how many people have asked her for money. She isn’t cheap and likes to give her family a few hundred pesos to enjoy the town fair, her siblings exam fees, keeping the motorbike running or the like, but she doesn’t take any crap either. It’s a great system and working for us very well.

          So, who do I trust? I trust my wife. That’s about it.

    1. Neither of those statement are true, as far as I am concerned. I live in a province, and it is much easier and nicer than a city. They try to scam any and everywhere. Even when my wife is with me, we still try to get scammed. It doesn’t matter that she is a Filipina or not. They see her as a visitor, just as me. I am from the US, by the way. Even her own family tries to take advantage of her and I. Sometimes, more than one at a time. It’s like they plan it all before we come here. We were suppose to stay here long term. The heck with that. 2-3 months is enough, and sometimes too long, and it’s time to go home.

  9. there’s a simple philosophy I adhere to while in the Philippines that has worked 100% of the time:
    NEVER TRUST A FILIPINO

    Follow that advice and all will be well.

    1. I would say that’d work, ha! But I have found about 6 Filipinos in my circle of acquaintances that have come to my aid asking nothing in return. Good people. Too easy to become a target as a foreigner though, that’s for sure.

    2. Dear Bobo,

      Don’t generalize all the Filipinos. We are not all scammers and We are not trusting ex-pats too, just like YOU!

    3. I agree to that philosophy. I have been screwed over by a number of Filipinos—and they called themselves friends and relatives–many times over the years—more so by enemies. The old saying, “keep your enemies close [so you can keep an eye on them], but keep your friends [and relatives] closer,” applies very succinctly in the Philippines. Enemies you can easily identify and be wary of; it’s not as easy to identify who your enemies are among friends and relatives.

  10. I think you have to trust some people there. If not you will find yourself on an island alone. You must now quickly assess the people you meet to determine if they are friend or foe.

      1. Henry I am African American so you know I stand out in a crowd of Asians.

        During my four trips there in the last two years I have learned to be humble as a dove but wise as a serpent (as the Bible says).

        When times are hard even your trusted friends will scheme for money.

        I look forward to your next post.

        1. Yes, in fact I’ve shared that same exact quote with my ex-g/f many times since she is a wealthy Filipina who is constantly getting scammed by her family and ‘friends’. Even though my guard was somewhat up before, with what’s been going on lately, I look at everything with a much more skeptical eye these days.

  11. Very Good my friend. By the way if you need a reliable maid in Bohol let me know. I have a friend there that I’ve known for 2 years. She has a daughter so she does not meet your gf requirements, but she is a great housekeeper and she has a great personality.

    Peace.

      1. Like I said to you in one of the ten commandments. Choose your friends carefully in the Philippines, its like buyer beware!!
        I have been brazenly scammed by my wife’s own family, not once but a few times, petty stuff but close to some major stuff as well. Also have seen many of the scams you mention over six years and many more. Me I trust NO one here and I am now as compassionate as wet rag. Stuff them all.

          1. My dad recently moved to the Philippines and I’m afraid that he is getting scammed. I received an email from him saying he was getting married and needs $9000 out of his account there as a good faith deposit to do it. Sounds like a racket to me and I think that money’s gone once I send it.

            1. How recently did he move here? As for the ‘good faith’ money, perhaps one of the expats here or on the Forum can fill us in on what the requirements are for certain Visas. But my first hunch is that the money is not going to Immigration, but to this woman’s family in some fashion or another. Stay in touch with him regularly and try to get him to take his time. I’m sure you’ve tried already but someone’s gotta get him to slow things down or he may find himself in a bad spot financially. Post asking about the Visa ‘good faith’ requirements here; http://lifebeyondthesea.com/lbtsea-forum/

            2. Good faith money?
              Which community/culture is she from?
              I married a Filipina (Kapampangan/Catholic/Pampanga), first in a Civil wedding and a year later in a Church wedding. Nobody ever asked me for “good faith money”. I have also never heard mention of such a thing from my wife or read about such a thing. I will ask her about this concept.
              In my opinion, your father should not give the money or lend money or exchange money in the Philippines, UNLESS he is willing to never to see it again.

  12. I don’t understand 6 months you are using her motorcycle. 17K pesos. Then you mention you enjoy 1K meals. Thus for the price of 17 good meals you are going after the maid you probably paid 3K a month or $2 per day. You are a man. Why not to fire her and forget about whole thing? Keep her motorcycle until she coughs up something if you like. Do you enjoy all this? Just let it go and don’t do more mistakes. Cebu is high risk area, you can move elsewhere (not Cebu or Angeles) and you will find people much more friendly towards foreigners. Areas rich with foreigners most of them going after girls naturally attract scammers. Choose the right place to live.

    1. Maybe you misunderstood something along the way. I only used the motorcycle a total of 3 days (not 6 months), and that was just on the property to learn how to ride it. I never used it in town because, without the paperwork she didn’t give me.. I couldn’t get the license renewed. I don’t remember mentioning any 1K meals. I usually eat for about 250P over at the bbq place or sometimes eat for less at the marketplace. I think the only time I ever paid about 1K for two meals was once over at the Maribago Grille, and that was totally worth it. 🙂

      As for the maid, she was not a live-in maid so I only paid her 400P once every six weeks (not 3k/month as you thought) to come in for about 3 hours to clean up, do dishes and laundry. So that only comes to about 800P per 3 months, or roughly 275P per month for a few hours of cleanup. Also, the incident began in November and I gave her repeated chances until January to do the right thing, what she had promised. I did fire her in January and have not used her services ever since. Oh, and I lived in Basak, on Mactan.. I did not live on Cebu.

      But, as an update.. in the end her Father finally met me with the Police Inspector at the police station and he agreed to refund all my money within 3 weeks if I returned the scooter. So, that is what we did. I got my 17K back, he got the scooter back and everybody happy. But I do agree, that people in the province seem a bit more friendly in a genuine way than the ‘friendly’ people I sometimes ran into in the city.

  13. Hi mr.or ms.bobo whatever your name is…don’t you dare generalize all Filipino as a scammer or cannot be trusted at all…I don’t like the way you said ” Never trust a Filipino” thing…all your bad experiences in Philippines depends on who you mingle with…maybe all you do in Philippines is go to bars and clubs that’s why you meet people that are not worth to be trusted of course it depends on How and Where you spent your LIFE with while you are in Philippines…Speaking of Philippines,it is a nice country and the people there are hospitable and friendly…but as I’ve said it depends on where you’re at…and WHO you’re with…maybe it’s better for you to say: ” Don’t just trust ANYBODY whether it is Filipino,American,Indian or whatever his/ her nationality is…know them first”. I am still proud to say that I am a Filipino-American…Whatever your nationality is…there is good and bad aspects of every person not only Filipinos….you just consider the fact that you are traveling in foreign country that you are not familiar with so don’t just go there and be scammed…do use your brain just a piece of advice,whether you go to Philippines or what country in the world always put in mind that those people you meet along the way is not always what you think they are so be vigilant…don’t be so dummy to just show off that you have lots of money if you cannot afford or don’t want to share a penny for a piece of food or whatever… while you are enjoying with them in the night life….Life is what you make it! if you have bad experience in Philippines that’s because you are ” Tatanga- tanga” there…you should have choose the people you’re making friends with or mingle with…that’s all up to you…if you make friends with people who are Professional like me am sure your stay in Philippines is worth remembering…but if you mingle girls in sidewalk or in nightclubs what do you expect? Of course you will be scammed because what the care about is money…that is there business…don’t be a playboy if you are not smart enough to handle your money wisely…..I’m glad am a Filipino…I maybe poor or how you describe US but at least we’re not a killer,a bomber,a terrorest,a kidnapper,a rapest,and a maniac like ……some people in America….at least I didn’t say ” Never Trust an Americans”… because I still believe some Americans here are nice and worth my trust….

    1. Very well said. I think some people, after some genuine bad experiences, find it’s better to just not trust anyone. That’s a simpler way but as you said.. it causes a person to distrust even the good people in a country, any country. Just this week I was invited to two family parties for fiesta de Fatima and the people were very wonderful, hospitable and generous to me even though they only know me seeing me in the barangay. In America, people don’t invite total strangers to a house party so.. I’d say people, regular people, are much more hospitable than we untrusting Americans tend to be. Whenever I used to throw a house-party in the States, I’d hide the valuables first. ha!

      And it’s true.. the people you hang out with will affect whether they are even trustworthy or not. Families, working people, college students looking to improve themselves are a much more easy-going, trustworthy group than bar-girls, hookers and men who loiter around all day. That’s just plain common sense I suppose. But good comments, thanks for expressing that other side of the equation.

    2. Jasmine–Bobo may have been over-generalizing but he’s also speaking from experience about the hard life in the Philippines where most people have often resorted to desperate means to protect themselves from others and to try to survive. I’m a Filipino and grew up in the United States. Seven years ago I moved my family to the Philippines to raise my kids there. It hasn’t been easy.

      Just the fact that we’re from the United States already make us a “sight for sore eyes” to the locals. We stand out wherever we went, both to the good and bad elements (sometimes we couldn’t tell the difference), and that made my wife and I very uncomfortable even to this day. We’ve also been swindled a few times by people we thought we could trust, but turned out otherwise.

      It’s a known fact that we admire(and envy) others who we think posses something, or someone, we want but don’t have. This a natural phenomena that occurs anywhere, anytime. It’s just the effect of it is magnified in the Philippines because of the hardship of life and the lack of material opportunities by the majority of the population there.

      1. I covered some of the points you made from your own experiences in a video I just posted. Most people notice the ‘street-hustler’, but there is a whole other element to deal with.. as you pointed out, the not-so-honest family and neighbors who suddenly want to be near you. And it usually is followed up with a ‘favor’ involving money. Here’s the 3-part video on this topic;

      2. im a American I met a good godly Pentecostal young lady on the internet and im thinking about going to church to see her. what would you being a Filipino advise for me.

      3. Coming from the neighbouring country where we deal with filipinos on a daily basis I tend to disagree. These are all ingrained cultural habits that tends to pass down to each generations. People that grow up under desperate situations usually come out strong or have a better appreciation when they are put into a better environments. That is not the case with filipinos, I suspect that it was cultural habits that put the country in their current predicament. I can also tell you that my countrymen are just as lazy, corrupt, laid back and conniving as the fellow next to us, so when even we complain about the same thing towards others, you can be sure that means something. Filipinos seem to take it to a much higher level.

  14. Hi,

    I agree that desperate people do desperate things, and the Philippines is no exception. Through its rich history and varied cultures from island to island…province to province, the Filipino people have never learned to think and work together as one nation, one people. This makes the people more prone to only fend for themselves and their family, with little regards for their countrymen, including their own country. This, I believe, is the true downfall of the Filipino people.

    Julius

    1. The ‘clan’ influence on government and relying too much on foreign investment is what prevents their GDP from rising as it should. Only a new generation with a different mindset on internal capitalism will change things. When will that happen?.. it could be awhile.

      1. Hi Henry–I agree with the “‘clan’ influence,” but it’s more an “icing to the cake” to the tribalism/regionalism mentality. To this date, I’m not that confident on the new generation’s thinking because I still sense a touch of the clannish and tribal/regional attitude that we both talked about. The young generation still have this self-serving attitude that doesn’t seem to parallel the direction of one country, one people that I’d mentioned earlier.

        1. Despite the many influences the newly formed Philippine nation took from the United States, one of them was not the idea of naming the new country, “The United Islands of the Philippines”. As you mentioned, it’s one country by name, but still fractured on too many levels.

  15. Well……I am old….over 50. I have lived in the US my whole life. I traveled some but always lived in a big city in the US. I just moved to the Philippines in December. I came here expecting a progressive modern country. Also, I am a very trusting person. I am learning the hard way that I have to change who I am to live here. I’ve gotten a few teaching lessons so far but this is the most disturbing one. I had only been here 2 months when I had to get a new credit card because mine expired. My new credit card was stolen in the Philippines 3 times. The 1st stolen card someone contacted me by phone through our apartment office. The woman told me she was with DHL here in the Philippines and needed to verify the card was being delivered to the correct person & address. She began asking me all sorts of personal questions. At first I was answering the questions until I heard a baby crying in the background. When I started questioning her she hung up. Of course when I contacted the credit card company I was informed I had just been scammed. The credit card company tried to send a new credit card 2 more times. All stolen.

    Now this was not a person I was “hanging out with” or sought out or met in a “bar”. She sought me out to rip me off. Several friends & family have tried sending me packages & cards since I’ve been in the Philippines. I have yet to receive one piece of mail since I’ve been here. I tried to send a dear friend a congratulations gift for graduation. That was 2 moths ago & you guessed it she never received it. Now I am fully aware that bad things happen in the US but in ALL my years that never happened to me in the US.

    1. Wow.. that is such a shame. But unfortunately stories like yours are not uncommon here. Here, it does not pay to be a trusting soul. I consider myself a nice guy. But here I had to thicken up my skin just a bit in order to survive. Can’t believe every story you hear, especially when money or personal information is involved, as you now know. “Desperate people do desperate things.” And here in the PH there is no shortage of desperate people looking to make a buck, legally or otherwise. Yah, it could have happened back home. But when you’re far from home it sucks to have it happen at all.

      There’s much to enjoy here in the PH. But what I’ve found is that it takes a bit more of a conscious effort to preserve your privacy, and thus your enjoyment of life here. I’m not anti-social, far from it. But I have a very limited list of people I trust when money is involved. It’s just how we gotta do things around here when we’re the ‘rich’ foreigner.

    2. p.s. Regarding shipping.. DHL is actually the only way I’ve ever gotten my packages. But it’s best to pick them up at the local office (usually at the mall nearest you is the best location to have it shipped), have it held there and pick it up yourself when you show ID.

  16. Hi, your blog was very interesting, first I will tell you my story a d can you tell me if there is anything I can do to help my situation. In 2011, November my husband went to the Philippines From Australia the first time, he’s friends warned him about Philipino scams, as they had been there before. My relationship with my husband who I had been With for 20 years was strong, we were soul mates. Until the faithful day he went to the Philippines. My husband came back to Australia a changed man, He would not sleep in the same bed as me and I knew Something was up, I got a Picture text on his Phone of a girl and a text message, call me from The car I love you, and he’s name, when I asked him Who it was he said a random person and because He is a business man someone took his cards And try to cause trouble. I stupidly beloved him.

    In 2012 he went back to the Philippines and he became Distant, would spent time on the phone, skypeing, Changed his passwords and I found a lot of Money missing at least 500 a week, then I started To find credit cards that I didn’t know about and He would spend extra weeks there saying it was for business. I had my suspicions he was cheating,but I didn’t want to believe it. Come march 2013 this year, my life changed for the worst, I found text messages about her, and her name,I looked her up Facebook and found intimate pics of My husband and her saying 1 year anniversary. I was devastated. My son and I left to go to my Mums house for a break and then that’s when things Got worse, he moved my furniture out, told me he wanted A divorce, said he was moving her to Australia To be with him and her kids,and that there is nothing Immigration can do as he will say they are just friends. Now he gives her all his money, she stole all My jewelry, my life, my house, my husband and She even texts me and says thank u for giving him to me. She even said she was married to him in the Philippines And I can’t prove it and she is pregnant with his child, I am still married to him for 12 months. Her family Even text me to say if u give me money, I tell u About them, and she cheat on him and take his money And she lies, she also has a husband, but I don’t know Where he is but she has other men aside I’ve seen it, When I tell him this he abuses me, and tells me I’m lying.

    Can you suggest anything I can do? Who do I contact In the Philippines to see if they were married or what Visa she has come on.?? I’m not getting any help here so I thought u might help me from there ? She lives in San Leonardo and is it wise to run A newspaper article for information about them? Thank you, Jenny.

    1. Hello Jenny. First let me say my condolences regarding your heartbreaking situation. It is a sad thing to hear when this sort of thing happens.

      One place you can start is with the following link. From there you can order online a CENOMAR (Certificate of No Marriage). This is generated from the records in the Philippines. All recorded marriages will show up on the CENOMAR certificate so, if the Filipina you mentioned was already legally married and then married your husband, she could be charged with Bigamy. (dual marriage) In addition, even if you could not prosecute her for that in the Philippines, it could entered as evidence to nullify her marriage to your husband. Also, you could file a Civil Suit (again, providing a CENOMAR showed her as previously married).. for Fraud and loss of your belongings. You could her, but in all reality you may have to sue both her and your (ex)husband. The link here is the one recommended by the records department of the Philippines. There are other companies who will look this up for you, but you may as well go straight to the source. https://www.ecensus.com.ph/Default.aspx

      Now, you will need some basic information on her. The form at the link will ask what they need (her name, birthdate, etc.). Also, if she only had a civil ceremony that was not recorded, a CENOMAR would not catch that. It may cross your mind to ask her family for the information you need. However keep this in mind; they are likely getting money from her and want her to stay with your husband. So if they say they will sell you her information, chances are they will also scam you and just take your money. If you can find a compassionate member of her family who truly wants to help you, they will do it for free. So beware of any promises of Info they say must require money from you first.

      Another way to approach this, as an option, is to seek an attorney and let him know you believe you are a victim of fraud regarding the marriage and the property losses. The attorney will need some justification for your allegation so any emails, texts, letters or info you have that might show she is committing bigamy would help greatly. He in turn could subpoena her records once it went to court and find out her status. Proving bigamy would lead to fraud and a civil suit as well as nullify the marriage to your ex-husband.

      To My Aussie Readers; If you know of any other resources that could help this woman, please post here. Anything that would be of help is greatly appreciated.

      p.s. Jenny, I removed your email address so you don’t get hit with email spam. If you need to contact me off-line, use the ASK HENRY page to send me a private email. Meanwhile, even if you cannot legally find any recourse, know that the life you once had is now gone. The man you once knew has changed. Your future is ahead of you and you will survive this. It will take time but you will find happier days. For now, it will at times be hard. But stick it out, go through the grieving process and eventually move forward. Do what you can legally and meanwhile find your own, new happiness. — Henry.

    2. Hello Jenny. First let me say my condolences regarding your heartbreaking situation. It is a sad thing to hear when this sort of thing happens.

      One place you can start is with the following link. From there you can order online a CENOMAR (Certificate of No Marriage). This is generated from the records in the Philippines. All recorded marriages will show up on the CENOMAR certificate so, if the Filipina you mentioned was already legally married and then married your husband, she could be charged with Bigamy. (dual marriage) In addition, even if you could not prosecute her for that in the Philippines, it could entered as evidence to nullify her marriage to your husband. Also, you could file a Civil Suit (again, providing a CENOMAR showed her as previously married).. for Fraud and loss of your belongings. You could her, but in all reality you may have to sue both her and your (ex)husband. The link here is the one recommended by the records department of the Philippines. There are other companies who will look this up for you, but you may as well go straight to the source. https://www.ecensus.com.ph/Default.aspx

      Now, you will need some basic information on her. The form at the link will ask what they need (her name, birthdate, etc.). Also, if she only had a civil ceremony that was not recorded, a CENOMAR would not catch that. It may cross your mind to ask her family for the information you need. However keep this in mind; they are likely getting money from her and want her to stay with your husband. So if they say they will sell you her information, chances are they will also scam you and just take your money. If you can find a compassionate member of her family who truly wants to help you, they will do it for free. So beware of any promises of Info they say must require money from you first.

      Another way to approach this, as an option, is to seek an attorney and let him know you believe you are a victim of fraud regarding the marriage and the property losses. The attorney will need some justification for your allegation so any emails, texts, letters or info you have that might show she is committing bigamy would help greatly. He in turn could subpoena her records once it went to court and find out her status. Proving bigamy would lead to fraud and a civil suit as well as nullify the marriage to your ex-husband.

      To My Aussie Readers; If you know of any other resources that could help this woman, please post here. Anything that would be of help is greatly appreciated.

      p.s. Jenny, I removed your email address so you don't get hit with email spam. If you need to contact me off-line, use the ASK HENRY page to send me a private email. Meanwhile, even if you cannot legally find any recourse, know that the life you once had is now gone. The man you once knew has changed. Your future is ahead of you and you will survive this. It will take time but you will find happier days. For now, it will at times be hard. But stick it out, go through the grieving process and eventually move forward. Do what you can legally and meanwhile find your own, new happiness. — Henry.

  17. Firstly, scamming and fraud is global, it’s not a Pinoy attribute solely, however the Philippines is an inherently high risk fraud and scam Nation by culture and the second most prevalent job function. If it was a profession (Legal) the PI would be a World leader and that is not me being funny. Likewise the PI does have traits or a MO to its scam culture that differ to Africa for example, it is not only directed to foreigners, but they will scam the shit out of each other, the root cause is ‘envy’ at the bottom, and at the top, unadulterated greed – scamming here is top down and bottom up, it’s rife.

    @Debtas, that is a very Pinoy reaction if your ‘part’ of the problem “If you spend 1K on a meal”, makes a person deserving of being a target. so what, even if it was 10K, a person earned it and can spend it how they feel. If she is paid 2000 a month or 6000, she agreed to that price. Take a look at middle and upper class Pinoy families when it come to domestic help, they pay less and provide appalling conditions, it s slave trade.

    My worker is paid 6000P, 3 squares (meals) a day, works 5 days a week and two weeks in advance cash, I put aside a pot 500 peso that is given out near Christmas, this pot serves another purpose, acts as a safeguard to the advance pay, and if they leave be it choice or let go, that pot is kept . one of the few good peeps I have to date has a Yaya, who he pays 500 peso a month and is a live in, by that she lives under a piece of tin on a mat, it freaks the shit out of me; It’s a cultural thing, nothing I can do about it, if brought up in conversation, it is simply pointed out that I have a house maid – This is the point, irrelevant of all details, even if they steal/scam 1 Peso or 100,000, it’s still stealing/scamming, that’s black and white and the perspective is very tainted.

    The outcome of a dispute is always diversion, never accepting blame and anger at being caught. If you catch the thief you end up being the bad person, a Filipino can’t lose face even if it is their fault and even when this occurs they will repeat the crime/action, and it is in their nature. I know a relation that has gone through the whole family, the extended family and even their friends scamming, each time he is given a chance, and each time he repeats the same mistake, he is now 44, and working in a Bar for peanuts. I agreed to take him on board under one condition, he goes to culinary school, gets qualified, I will pay and give him a wage, 12,000P a month and full board during the process. I thought like many of us do (The bad foreigner) , take the Guy out of his problem, put him on a track that has a future and that is the cure – 6 month later, my laptop, camera, mobile, leather jacket stolen, some cash taken and an debt at the sari sari store I had to settle (His txt habit, a priority of his life, asking random people what they are doing every 2 min’s), and he never went to school in that time, he always found a excuse or delay tactic; it was only when I pushed the issue and said $300 for you to eat and sleep is not going to work, he decided to steal and leave. You give opportunity and yet it’s pissed on, give a hand and they want an arm.

    As for choose the right place, dude, he (The author) is not opting to be scammed, no place is scam free, it’s not as if there is a NO-SCAM-ZONE. This is a typical counter argument that is utter stupidity, giving a green light to crime – Ah, she is poor, they have no choice, it’s bone idle, no dignity, lacking in moral fiber and ironically all are ‘God fearing’. My area -None goes fishing if hungry, they won’t grow vegetables, (I do both), in fact 90% of my veggies go to the people around me, most have larger plot’s than mine. They have many excuses; one will be getting arthritis next year, so he better not do gardening, another told me the land is owned by the cousin in the US and they don’t like planting stuff because of ‘Red Tide’ WTF, but I still give. They must have a mobile phone, be seen in the right places, and how that is achieved does not matter etc. Everything is about perception, going through the motions (Often never understanding the process) and most of all getting something without earning it and it’s getting worse. The country is top down, bottom up fraud orientated, scamming is an accepted MO, it’s a part of the culture and society, it has no borders, religion or status. In many ways it has to do with mental capabilities, systemic corruption within the Government and sadly the average IQ is very low, in the 80’s in fact the financial IQ is one of the lowest in the world, around 47, to put that into real terms, it’s about down syndrome, and they are lovely people that have no hate in their souls.

    BTW, as one of the few good guys told me, if your cleaner breaks something, specifically something you like or enjoy, be it a special cup, or something that has no value but they know it has meaning, they did it and with intent and when they get together (Friend/Family/Co-workers) they use this as the conversation highlight, a good laugh at the ‘Boss’, as he can afford it, but for this brief moment we got him back for being rich and not giving ‘us’ all his stuff – Yes you are to be blamed for providing a job, being a foreigner and for having some cash irrelevant if you worked your ass off for 30 years to get it.

    The other day I loaned out my umbrella, yesterday I asked for it back, ‘Oh my cousin lost it’, that was that, she was exempt from accountability as she borrowed it but the cousin lost it – what more can one say.

    1. Kev.. I’m sure you’ll get a lot of negative flack for your detailed comments on the subject. However, I agree with you. I would stop shy of saying “all” Filipinos are scammers, but would say that “many” absolutely do lack the personal integrity to take accountability for their wrong. And by ‘many’ I mean it’s definitely a cultural element I have run into and observed so many times. To the defense of ‘some’ Filipinos, I know some who, despite being Filipino, when they have Money.. they have each and every one of them been scammed by their own family and friends. Every one of them. The ‘rich’ here in the Philippines are seen as a target. That is motus operandi rule #1 here. I have heard from so many Filipinos, in one form or another when it came to shady dealings, “Well.. they can afford it.” That little mantra absolves so many in their conscience from the plain fact that lying, fraud, swindling, stealing or failing to stick to a written or oral agreement is wrong.

      For this reason I’ve covered, in video, the caveats and precautions one must take in the following interactions with the locals; Hiring a Contractor, Letting kids play in your yard, Hiring a Maid, Making a Motorcycle purchase from Owner. And even this does not scratch the surface because anytime when dealing with Filipinos, I can count on one hand the times it went as was originally agreed. Instead, even with a written contract, demands are made for either ‘bonuses’, ‘extra fees’ or early payments that ignore the contract’s payment plan.. and every single time was based upon either greed or deceit. If a contract item is in their favor, they will bleed it for all it’s worth. If the contract holds them to an obligation, suddenly the contract is irrelevant and the only thing that matter is their own version or perception of what they are willing to do.

      Now, yes.. there are honest Filipinos who won’t ask you for free stuff and will deal with you honestly. But after a full year living here what I can say is that those people are either (a) the exception or (b) most likely ‘rich’ themselves. Rich Filipinos I know have been defrauded in land purchases, business deals, the whole list of things that happen normally to us foreigners. It’s not so much that Expats are the target; Anyone with money is the target, including fellow Filipinos.

      I was at a festival and watching an event. A 16 year old girl was standing next to me. She asked me the usual questions, “Married?, Where from?”, etc. It ws no more than a 30-second conversation. As I walked away she held out her cell phone and said, “It is almost Christmas, you buy me a cell phone?” I told her “No.” and kept walking. She followed me a bit more and said, “How about for my birthday?”. This is the level of disconnect of logic here. I’m a complete stranger and yet there’s this expectation that I will buy her a phone. ??? And if not for Christmas, then for her birthday. Again.. ??? I could give so many, many examples of this it really isn’t even funny. It’s amazing to me how refined and sneaky the methods are to yank money from a target. Relatives will call their ‘rich’ relative and say they miss them so much and will be coming to visit. The visit turns into overnight. Which turns into a week or more with no end in sight until.. (wait for it)… they are given some travel money and a loan to be on their way. It’s either that or they continue to basically ‘squat’ and enjoy the lifestyle of their relative.

      One final cultural notation is that of the deceitful use of the word; ‘Borrow’. Everyone here wants to ‘borrow’ some money, which they promise seven ways to Sunday they will pay back. It never happens. Money loaned out is as good as tossed to the wind. And despite owing you money, that become irrelevant the next time they come asking for yet another ‘loan’.

      Now, many Filipinos may get offended at this reality, but that’s what it is here; reality. To deny it is absurd. True, not ‘all’ Filipinos are this way. But what is also true is that it is so prevalent it’s in the culture right down to the kids who have learned from their parents that hitting up the ‘rich’ at the sari-sari store is how you get ‘free stuff’. The key to enjoying life in the Philippines is to accept this reality and simply either, “Just say No.” or if you must have business transactions.. get them on paper and do not deviate from the explicit terms under any circumstance. Only then can one choose when and where they will spend their money here. Me, I have no desire for a maid. Not worth the risk. And that’s the shame of it all. On both a small and grand scale, in the end the scammer Filipinos end up cutting off employment opportunities that foreigners would otherwise provide. The only thing that makes the system continue here is that every day a fresh batch of naive Foreigners gets off the plane thinking, “They’re smiling at me, they must be trustworthy.” And then the games begin afresh.

      Link to my Youtube Video series; http://www.youtube.com/user/enricosuave263/videos

      1. Henry, I might, but reaction is action, and I won’t be the last to say much the same. To date, I can say that not one single person I have met has had friendship as the core value, and yes; a friend in need is a friend indeed. Even the good pass on contacts they know are dubious, it’s in many ways a way to say I helped (For them) but all it does is keep the cycle going.

        The good I know do keep their distance, but at some point will tout a business/product or service, then the road of friendship breaks, as every time this has occurred it has been a disaster.

        We, my Wife and I (She is Filipino, so I am not a racist, bigot or hater) over a decade tried to help many, each time we have been hurt, dismayed, let down, and I can select 20 other expats that will tell you the same story, in fact can select 20 other Fil-ams that can tell you the same story, and this is in a 1 km radius and a nice area, not your metro Manila where one would expect scams to a larger extent.

        In that, many start with the right intention, are ethical in thought, are good people, be it business or social, but it’s the framework of corruption that is so deep, they themselves can’t escape its clutch and that ugly head is reared. It is so morphed it is not seen as a scam or corruption, it is simply ‘facilitation’ and expected. Dude we have a 20 year old senator here, the restriction (Rule) is over 25, but it’s a Dynasty family. http://www.chanrobles.com/electioncodeofthephilippines.htm#.Ufhvtn89F8G

        You can only coexist, and always be on the defense, it’s not great, but one can get by. The last time we took a break, we hired 4 people to do the job of one, look after the house and feed the Dog, we needed one for the job, and 3 to monitor – A sad reality. We have a security Guard, his job is to sleep, and assist theft, 2 break ins. We have builders, they steal supplies, work slow to extend the job (Day wage), break drills etc by removing an internal part in the hope it’s thrown out (Degree in micro electronics, so I fix em) we have our 3rd cleaner, her job is to steal (Mostly hidden in the trash in a bag, we know). We (Wife and I) have worked in post and conflict regions for 2 decades, have seen every scam under the sun and know this happens pretty much globally, but at least they smile while doing it, a bonus I guess. Our largest restraint is simply choice, the 60/40 rule inpeeds, and we are in turn stuck.

        1. That’s why my philosophy with the Philippines is to enjoy it.. on my terms. I don’t agree to anything unless I feel I’ve covered my end of things. Even then I Know I’ll eventually get caught off guard. It’s inevitable. There is a lot of protection to be found in the word, “No.” No.. I don’t want to build you a new roof. No.. I won’t loan you money. No.. I don’t buy birthday gifts for some girl I’ve known three days. No.. I don’t want a housemaid, gardener, security guard or anyone else with access to my home. No.. I won’t give a straight answer about where I’m going or when I’ll be back.

          Our biggest weakness as Expats coming here is that we feel obligated to help the less fortunate. I’m all for that, but on my terms, my way. I’d rather give to the stranger who is not asking than give to the ‘friend’ who keeps hounding me weekly for petty cash. At some point I look at them and ask, “How did you ever get by before I got here? What have you been doing with your time instead of earning a living?” It may sound harsh but, as I told a visiting expat recently, “Go ahead, hand out some free money.. the line will be around the block in no time.”

        2. Since we are sharing our experiences and lessons learned, but much of it is negative, I feel compelled to share a couple of experiences which turned out well.

          On two occasions, I have lent money to family members which turned out well. On both occasions I considered the money as significant and tried to prepare myself against the hard road of trying to get money back and eventually realizing I would never see it again. But, on both occasions I was happily surprised to get my money back when expected or earlier.

          In the first case, the reason that the family needed money was because recent medical expenses prevented them from having the required funds. The family’s daughter, a cousin of my wife, wanted to travel to a foreign country, Country-N. Before granting a visa-for-studies, Country-N required that the daughter have a certain amount of money in a bank account, to prove solvency and her ability to afford to live within Country-N. So I lent the family about ninety thousand pesos for this purpose. When I lent them the money I so expected to hear that they could not pay me back because more medical problems had popped up that I mentioned that I would not accept that as an excuse or as a reason not to pay me back by our agreed time. To their credit and honor, they paid me back as agreed and without me having to ask multiple times.

          In the second case, a friend of my wife ( perhaps a cousin) was about to have a baby and just needed some money while her husband awaited money which he should receive as severance pay from one job before he began work at his new, better paying job. She told me she was borrowing from multiple friends. I expected to eventually suffer the fate of always being told that she had to pay somebody off ahead of me. We lent her some amount, I think it was around twenty to forty thousand pesos and I stipulated that I wanted to be first to be repaid and did not want to hear about other people being paid back ahead of me. Again, I was already starting to feel sad that this nice girl was going down a path which would cost us a friendship. Again, I was happily surprised. Not only did she pay me back, but she paid me back ahead of our agreed time.

          I was very happy to be paid back in both cases.
          I think that in both cases I was acting from lessons I have learned through life or by observing others.
          I have also learned that a con can have a preparation period to gain confidence, so if these people someday want to borrow even larger sums, I will still approach things cautiously and prepare myself for the worse, if I agree to lend. But for now, I am very happy I could help and very happy that these people acted honorably.

    2. Wow your comment really hit a chord with me. You give an opportunity and it is pissed on, you give an arm and they want a leg. One insightful filipina once told me, “We filipinos are one day millionaires, we spend and consume everything present with no regards to the future, you can try to change us but you will never succeed”

  18. This is not a reply to any comment, whether I agreed or disagree, on this post. This is just my observation and feelings about the matter of Filipino Mentality. As a Filipino who was born in the Philippines and raised in the United States, I will be the first to say that Filipino take their pre-colonial and post-colonial attitude with them wherever they go, even through the generations.

    When I say pre-colonial, Filipinos still adhere to the time-tested tribal mentality of only fending for their own family and province, with little regards outside of their own boundaries. From a post-colonial approach, Filipinos have this elevated sense of aristocracy by holding their foreign (for example, Hispanic and American) ethnic background, educational level, and financial standing in high regards. Just watch a typical Filipino television show or movie as a true litmus test of what I am talking. It is always the Regal lifestyle and the westernized features of the actors that get noticed and win the affection of the masses. The indigenous look and provincial lifestyle take the butt of the jokes and condescension, yet the majority of the Filipino looks like the latter.

    1. That is a very astute and accurate observation. After a year here and having watched about five Filipino mainstream films myself, I see what you’re saying. In fact, I believe the Filipina darling of cinema (Ann Curtis) is actually half-Filipina, half-Australian. I don’t see the the darker, beautiful girls in the movies that I see in the malls and streets.

      As to the pre-colonial disposition.. also, so true. It’s no wonder the nation was never officially titled, “The United Islands of the Philippines”. It’s mind-boggling how localized the politics and business practices are here, even to the demise of real, internal growth that doesn’t depend on foreign investments. But.. I can’t vote here so, not much I can do about it as a Foreigner. Just hope they hold it all together another few decades. Recently an entire island shut down their electrical grid due to corruption that allowed huge companies to let their electric bill go unpaid into the millions. But, that’s life in the Philippines.

      1. Thank you for understanding my strong sentiment about the Filipino attitude. I tried to share a similar comment in Bob Martin’s “Live in the Philippines” website, but it was met with a lot of defensiveness and backlashes from its readers. I guess they’re not ready to hear an opinion that negates–or questions–the way they(Filipinos, as well as, expats living in the Philippines)have always viewed themselves.

        Unless Filipinos realized and accept these lingering pre- and post-colonial attitudes to themselves and their fellow Filipinos, no positive change will ever come about for the good of the people and the country. Filipinos will continue to distrust and fear each other for generations to come.

        I’m a Buddhist practitioner and, like you, a Minimalist. Perhaps if the Filipino people (both rich and poor) learn to adapt a religion, form of government, and way of life that more closely resembles their Asian neighbors, instead of trying to emulate the Western attitude and lifestyle all the time, there might be a shift of paradigm (they genuinely, not strategically, become more humble) in the way they feel about themselves and towards each other. Just a thought.

        1. When an honest, objective scan is made of all that happens here in the PH on a repetitive, grand scale.. it becomes obvious that Catholicism is not having the impact one would expect. It’s well-put to say that the humility is ‘strategic’ rather than intrinsic. I do love it here, don’t get me wrong. But not for a minute do I mistake every Filipino stranger who addresses me with, “Heyyy.. my friend!” is actually being friendly. To be honest, those who have lived here long enough realize there is an ulterior motive behind that friendly smile and it always comes down to money. Okay, fine.. I know what’s going on and I just deal with it on my own terms. Some people actually are friendly. But considering how prevalent the incidents keep on rolling in regarding what method someone most recently got scammed by just can’t be ignored. The honest Filipinos are aware of this prevalence and are embarrassed by it.

          Meanwhile, all I can say about my own site is that I’m willing to follow the facts wherever they lead. I don’t believe in patent, aged preconceptions or looking at life via rose-colored glasses. I love the Philippines, but I also see it for what it is (good and bad) and I adjust myself to enjoy it to it’s fullest while dodging as much of the downside as possible.

          1. Great post, reporter. Thank you for sharing your perspectives with us. I don’t know why they were rejected elsewhere. I suspect they are the type that expect the Philippines to be what they want it to be, become abusive and vocal if it is not, and take advantage of anyone they can to the last half peso. I’ve known plenty of people like that, all about ME ME ME. They are the best hagglers and wasters of their own time. Sounds kind of like the scammers this topic is all about.

            1. Hi Jon–My ideas were rejected because my ideas do not validate–or question–the popular views of the readers about who they are and what they believed in. It’s really funny, when that website was just starting off about seven years ago, the publisher had asked me to write for him because I brought a different perspective as a Filipino-American who grew up in America and moved his young family to the Philippines for his children’s Filipino acculturation.

              When I tried to contribute the same ideas and thoughts about the Philippines and its people, my comments were no longer welcomed and met with harshness. I guess that is what success does to a person organization. It makes them indifferent to the people they had started with in spite of their differences, and they only associate with people who continue to validate who they are without question.

              1. It’s interesting that another friend of mine, who lives in Mindanao (for about 8 years) and has businesses there.. he tells me one moment, “Oh yah.. come to Mindanao, I’ve been loving it.” But then in the next breath tells me, “Oh.. and be careful of what you say and who might be listening. Just keep your head low and under the radar and you’ll be fine.” To me, that’s not living. We all know what’s going on in southern Mindanao. Those of us who deal in reality choose to live elsewhere. It seems to me those who cling to their perceptions are desperate for validation and don’t want anyone “rocking the boat” in any way. That’s just my observation. As for me, the way I see it, there are all these other islands to explore aside from Mindanao.. I’ll go check those out first.

          2. Catholicism has not worked in the Philippines in the last two centuries, yet the Filipino are not willing to replace it, unless it is threaded in the hem of its post-colonial origin.

            This is why Protestantism is openly accepted as the religion of choice for former Catholics, whose intellects are seeking more than restrictive message the priests deliver from the altar of the Catholic churches.

            Yet this new wave (within the last 75 years) of religious freedom is not only being relished by the abundant supply of intellects in the country, but it is also creating niches for opportunists that would otherwise be oppressed in the very competitive environment of politics and business. There is a growing parody in country that, “everything is for sale in the Philippines—including religion.”

            I believe that if the country expects to gain worldwide recognition and respect, it needs to stop aligning itself to its former colonizers and start creating its own image that is mostly Eastern than Western.

            Filipinos need to change their image as “Great Imitators” and become unique in their own culture. I realize we cannot undo two centuries of Colonial Mentality overnight; but, if the country of India can go through a century of English rule; Vietnam enduring more than two decades of war between Democracy and Communism, and still retain their Hindu and Buddhist practice and tradition, respectively; Why can’t the Philippines make the effort to the do the same?

            1. While I certainly respect your opinion, and you are probably way more educated on the Filipino history, philosophy, religion and government, I have to disagree that Catholicism is the problem. The problem I see is corruption. The corruption is driven down to the lowest levels by force. A lowly farmer or fisherman, trying to eek out a living, harvesting enough to feed his family that day, is forced to break the laws to make ends meet. This is because the leaders, perhaps at it’s peak with Marcos, have sucked all the wealth out of the poorest of the poor.

              It is so wrong on so many levels to force anyone to accept a religion not of their own choice. Freedom of religion is a God given right, and anyone who forces their religion on others is not enforcing Gods will. I understand Catholicism was forced on the Filipinos some 500 years ago by the Conquistadors. Those people were wronged, and the currently living Filipinos may or may not benefit from the forced conversion, but we will never know the answer to that. They certainly did not benefit from the corruption they learned from the Spanish. I guess they were great imitators back then too. Anyway, back to my point, you really can’t force the Philippines to change to another religion, unless they want to, and they don’t, or they already would have. You can kill half, and get the other half that doesn’t care about God to ACT like they accept, and their children might become part of the new religion, grandchildren more likely, and eventually you’ll get half in, and the other half not caring about God at all. It’s really a bloody mess too.

              I’ve been to many, many different denominations’ church services, including Catholic, and even a couple of all black churches (wow, try it if you haven’t, you won’t fall asleep in the pew!). The message is much the same, with differing emphasis sometimes. So I don’t like to divide Christians among denominations, and I refer to them as Christians and the religion Christianity. I may be wrong, but I suspect the divide among the Christian denominations in the Philippines is approaching 50/50 Cath/Prod. There were a lot of Methodist churches on Luzon when I was there in the 80’s. I realize there is a real peer pressure there to be Catholic, so perhaps they are still the majority of the Christians.

              I have several Buddhist friends; they are the best people you will ever meet. I certainly understand your reasoning that Buddhism, or other Eastern religion would be a great solution to the problems of the Philippines, as I see it anyway.

              1. Hi Jon–I realize that it is hard to accept the idea that Catholicism is wrong for the Philippines, and why there is such an outpouring of support for the growing Protestantism movement. In the last 75 years since the end of World War 2, and probably more prevalent during the Marcos era, religion and politics have become the two strongest forces in the country, and have rolled into one entity that influenced how the country is run. This was evident when the late Cardinal Jaime Sin and the Catholic Church played a very active role in Marcos’ presidency, his ousting from power during the Edsa Revolution, and as Cory Aquino’s spiritual advisers during her Presidency, as well as, to other presidents after her. Yet these combined forces–as a form of check and balance–did very little to eradicate the rampant corruption in government. I have never blamed the “little people” in the country; they are not the ones responsible for the state that the country is in.

                I believe the Filipino are sophisticated, educated, and have experienced enough of the world to know what they want in life, and they cannot be forced to do anything against their will in this time and age. The Filipino’s belief in God, whether through Catholicism or Protestantism, is not the problem. The real culprit is the sense of aristocracy that lingers and feed off each other from our Spanish heritage and the Catholic Church. It is like holding an immunity paper that says I cannot do anything wrong as long as I have my Catholic faith intact and ask for forgiven and salvation afterwards. This is evident from the self-serving deeds of our corrupt officials, to the lowly criminals who walk the streets.

                For Filipinos who are bothered by these double-standards of the Catholic faith, where the left hand washes itself of the guilt and deed of the right hand, Protestantism brings a fresher approach to an otherwise antiquated and ineffective way of looking at life. This revolutionary means of rekindling their faith in God is not forced, but chosen with open arms. However, our lingering sense of Spanish aristocracy, our regional (provincial) differences, unquenchable admiration for our Caucasian savior from our Spanish and Japanese oppressors, and benefactors of our Western lifestyle, leaves us with little doubts or resistant to the Protestantism that the Western world is offering. It is almost like saying that, “you never bite the hands that feed you” lest they take the food away. You see, the Filipino have never been given a chance—through oppression or influence—to choose their own faith.

                I am not forcing Buddhism in place of Christianity to the Filipino people. This is like trying to convince the Filipino to change their staple diet of rice to bread. What I am proposing is to take a closer look at Buddhism and how it has positively impacted neighboring countries in Asia and throughout the world. Perhaps the non-religious practice of selflessness and genuine humility could serve as antidote to the Filipino’ heightened sense of aristocracy because of their rich Spanish and American culture and history. This refreshing way of looking at their religion, without replacing it, may just change the way Filipinos look at themselves, their relationship with their own people, and the rest of the world. It may even change the negative way the world looks at the Philippines and its people.

                1. Perhaps we will not agree, my friend, which is OK. If we agreed on everything, we wouldn’t have anything to talk about but the weather.

                  I think we actually are on the same page in some respects, and some of the difference in opinion may be as much semantics as anything else.

                  I believe sinning with a plan of being forgiven later is a distortion of Christianity. And I don’t see that being different between Protestant and Catholics as far as the teachings. In fact, the many Protestant denominations with open communion may encourage that behavior more than closed communion denominations, Catholic or Protestant. This may also be very regional. I know the few times I attended Catholic services in the Philippines, I had no idea what was going on. I was new to the Philippines, and had never been in a Catholic church before that. The only thing I really remember about PH Catholic church was how beautiful the church was… and the young lady who brought me there. Long after my stay in the Philippines, I attended several Catholic churches, and especially St. Lawrence, which is only a few blocks from my home for the past 20+ years. I can assure you, at that particular Catholic church, the message is loud and clear, to resist sin, and to be good to your fellow man, as Jesus Christ said to.

                  I believe Buddhism has had a positive impact on many who practice it, but it is not immune to the same distortion and does not prevent the aristocracy, which I don’t believe belongs in a republic. Primarily Buddhist China, by pressure of their government, is very corrupt. To learn of their corruption, you have to become very good friends with a person who has immigrated from China, because they won’t talk to just anyone about, for fear of their family being punished. That is absolutely, in no way, shape or form, the fault of Buddhism.

                  I actually would like to study Buddhism, as I am fascinated by the little I know of it. I have to put that off for a year though, as I have taken on a company paid one year self study program for a professional certification and that will take my every ounce of energy and spare time. That will begin in a week or two, depending on how they decide to pay for it. So life as I know it, is about to end LOL back to school.

                  1. Having worked in conflict and post conflict regions around the World for the last 20+ years I can out rightly say that religion ‘segregates’ where faith ‘unites’, this segregation disparity is not just individuals, or small communities, but an entire ethnic divide in many cases the root cause of sectarian violence.

                    The danger is when religion becomes politics and in some cases a parallel Government when religion should be a private and a personal consideration, likewise practiced in one’s own time not infringing on others. Then we have the attitude of ‘My God’ is the right one.

                    The tipping point of many religions is when the realize they have power and in turn gain massive amounts of wealth from the followers and to keep the donations going sell ‘bogus’ damnation savior cards and admonish sin’s like it’s a casino. Most religions prey on the poor, the poor turn to religion for solace, this ‘fix’ is psychological and with a promise without any proof other than ‘It was God’s will’.

                    The sticking point – No one is accountable, or above the word of God as uttered and blessing from a man or woman that has never heard such words, lives in means well beyond its congregation, has privileges and never truly suffers or has suffered and still takes the coin off those on the poverty line without remorse or regret – Yet they still believe it’s right.

                    On a last note, and my observation, here I find people at not taught how think,they are taught what to think, and all to often this is under a blanket of religion as a tool to cap, control, even instill fear if they go out of the circle.

                  2. Jon—I think we have agreed to disagree and started a dialogue to point out our differences in view without cutting each other off, that we are on the same page on bringing to light what we think is wrong with the Philippines and its people, and actually coming up with solutions that may or may not have been thought of before.

                    The Catholic churches in the Philippines are indeed beautiful, and they serve not only as a spiritual haven for the Filipinos but also as a sight for tourists to behold. Taoism is actually the prevalent religion in China today and only followed by Buddhism, which has its origin in India and spread throughout Asia through the centuries. Buddhism found its home in Tibet, where the Dalai Lama was born. Since the Chinese invasion of Tibet in 1950, the Dalai Lama was forced to leave and relocate its headquarters to its humble beginning in India and has been there ever since.

                    I do not believe for a second that any religion is immune from corruption, because they are all controlled by people who are also subjected to their own self-serving purposes like the rest of us. The main satisfaction I got out of my Buddhist practice is to be mindful (or aware) of my own selfish desires, and how these desires have cause my own suffering as well as those of others. In order to minimize (even if not to completely eliminate) my own suffering and the sufferings of this world, I have to be aware of those desires and encourage others to do the same.

                    My Buddhist practice has become so much a part of my life that I do not even call it a religion. It is more a way of life that it had procured me to be a Minimalist in my lifestyle. I believe everyone, not just the Filipino people, could really benefit from Buddhism without having to give up their religion or faith.

                    1. Thank you both for your perspectives.

                      I was under the impression that Buddhism is more a way to live better, inwardly and outwardly, than a religion. More of a philosophy. That is why I am interested in studying and learning from it. I don’t believe it is a sacrilege to Christianity to study and learn from Buddhism and take up Buddhist practices in addition to ones’ already established faith.

                      Also, I thank you for pointing out my inaccuracies. As I said in the beginning, I think you are much better versed on these topics. I have not lived full time in the PH for over 25 years now, and I was very young when I did. BTW: What region are you in?

                2. While I agree with you in theory.. I think it may be too late. The desire for Western materialism has been absorbed part and parcel into the Filipino mindset with this new generation. Just as I’d like to see mainstream America return to it’s conservative roots, likewise I realize that entropy has taken its toll on American culture in ways it may never recover from.

            2. Mr. Reporter:

              First, the Philippines has indured at least 400 years of colonialism, not 200. In both India and Vietnam the dominant religions were not eradicated as they were in the Philippines.

              If the Philippines was to go back to the dominant pre-Spanish religion it would not be Hinduism or Buddhism. There are several pre-Spanish mosques in the Manila area. Islam was the most unifying pre-Spanish religion. The Philippines has always been a breed apart from the rest of Southeast Asia. The the rules of engagement here are unique and reflects a blend of Eastern and Western culture. Personally I would not have it any other way.

              Are there problems here? You bet your ass there are! But the challenges here are down right refreshing to those I faced in the US.

  19. I am from Bohol, but living here in Australia.I found your website very informative to foreigners planning to come to Philippines, I am going to share your website to my friend who is planning to move to Bohol in few years.Keep up the good work.God bless.

  20. Welcome Sergio. I hope your family and friends in Bohol have not suffered any losses from the recent earthquake.

    How do you like living in Oz?

  21. I have lived in phils for 3 years because I wanted to be with my wife, I would NEVER invest there or buy real estate, you can trust NO ONE, even her nephews took 100k from me and her uncle ( POLICE) did NOTHING,,,,,, I even paid a 105 k deposit for a house and the woman a MUSLIM ran away. When i wanted to press charges ,,was told shes a muslim and maybe my family would be killed when im not there if i did. THE POLICE ARE CORRUPT, THE POLITICIANS,,,,ITS A EPIDEMIC THERE ,,PLEASE BEWARE

  22. In case foreigners reading this are NOT aware,,,,,,,,, YOU CAN NEVER BECOME A CITIZEN OF PHILIPPINES EVEN IF YOU MARRY ONE,,,,,,YOU CANT HAVE A HOUSE YOUR NAME,,ONLY A CONDO,,,,YOU HAVE BASICALLY NO RIGHTS. BE VERY CAREFUL ABOUT MEETING WOMAN OF CHAT ROOM SITES LIKE,,,www.blossoms.com as most there are FALSE. Remember there is NO divorce in Phils,,only ( Annulment) and that costs on average 400k and takes about 2 years. Thats if there is Grounds for annulment and they are limited. Personal as a New Zealander married to a philippino im sorry to say I would be glad never to go back there again…

  23. Hi Henry,

    This topic is very helpful for fellow foreigners who likes to visit/live in the Philippines. I am born and raised here in the Philippines and though it is quite a shame, it cannot be denied that this nation is teeming with con artists. Even my family had bad experiences with a several number of maids already. My mom, as an instinct would never trust a newbie maid around the house (even if she is a distant relative) because of past experiences. Most of the time, they’d concoct an “emergency” back at home, ask for an “advance pay”, but wouldn’t come back after. Our recent maid also went home for the holidays, and we allowed her because of course, why shouldn’t she visit her family once in a while? But then she took some clothes and jewelry from us. So now, we’re also in search for another house helper. It’s so hard to look for the right one because you have to make sure they can be trusted. Oh well, I wish you good luck in your life here. And be more vigilant next time. 🙂

    1. When it comes to maids, personally I can only see too much downside and not enough upside. I never had a maid in the States and, while the going rate is very affordable in the PH.. to me it’s just not worth having to be robbed 6 or 7 times before finding an honest one. And then I also would rather have my privacy within my home, especially if I am married. I can’t see having spontaneous intimacy when there is always some 3rd person always in the house. For me, I’d rather keep my own house clean and avoid the hassles.

  24. You guys do realize that they except no for an answer right? Its not hard, just say “no” I cant help you. What do you expect, It’s a 3rd world country? Their only goal 24/7 is to survive. It’s the way it is.

    Always expect the unexpected and you will not go wrong.

    1. It’s true. Most guys who get scammed don’t take the time to consider saying, ‘No.’. They want to be the nice guy and help out whoever approaches them. That is what scammers are counting on.

  25. My brother has been sending money out to a Philippine women he is suppose to have married. So far she has had over 100,000 UK pounds. he is almost out of money and it does not matter how many time she is told that he has very little money left she still asks him to send her more. In January this year he sent her over 2,500 pounds and she said it is not enough for her to buy food and pay for her electric bill. He seems to have been besotted with this woman and no matter how much everyone tells him that he is doing the wrong thing sending her all this money he still sends it as he believes that she needs it to live on.
    I am at my wits end trying to convince him that she is being conned but am getting no where.
    This is only a brief idea of what is happening but the whole story is a lot worse
    Any help would be appreciated
    Jennie for England

  26. As the old saying goes, flaunt your money and you’re setting yourself up for trouble. And it can happen anywhere. I can’t believe there are soooo many gullible people

  27. Mr. Reporter:

    First, the Philippines has indured at least 400 years of colonialism, not 200. In both India and Vietnam the dominant religions were not eradicated as they were in the Philippines.

    If the Philippines was to go back to the dominant pre-Spanish religion it would not be Hinduism or Buddhism. There are several pre-Spanish mosques in the Manila area. Islam was the most unifying pre-Spanish religion. The Philippines has always been a breed apart from the rest of Southeast Asia. The rules of engagement here are unique and reflects a blend of Eastern and Western culture. Personally I would not have it any other way.

    Are there problems here? You bet your ass there are! But the challenges here are down right refreshing to those I faced in the US.

    1. I do not believe it really matters if the Philippines has been under 200 or 400 years of Colonialism; no one is 100 percent sure of how long the Filipino people have been colonized and by whom exactly. All I know is western religion (Catholic or Protestant) has not taught the Filipino people to apply what they were taught by the Spanish and Americans, because of their deep-seated, self-serving desires to emulate an aristocratic way of life, by creating their personal dynasties in this country at the cost of their own people.

      I am not sure if Islam is the solution either because of the tribal (feudal) nature of the people and the propensity of this particular religion for violence. I am not clear by what you meant by “the Philippines has always been a breed apart from the rest of Southeast Asia.” Could it be because the islands are separated by large bodies of water that makes it harder for the Filipinos to unite as one people and much easier for foreigners to invade and colonized?

      If that is the case and we fast-forward everything 200 or 400 years later with a supposedly much more sophisticated and educated Filipinos today, then it should be no problem for the Filipino people to re-evaluate their antiquated Catholic and Protestant religions that have not worked for centuries, and start embracing one of a more peaceful and sensible nature for the good of the country and its people. It seems to me that Filipinos prefer the convenience of their Catholic and Protestant heritage, since these religions put them in the same category–at least in their mind–with their former colonizers and benefactors; and, at the same token, above other Asian countries (with the exception of Australia) when it comes to being westernized through the use of language and way of life.

      If this is true, then it proves my earlier point that Filipinos are haunted by their aristocratic mentality, and it will continues to plague the country and its people for generations to come. I’m even willing to bet my ass on it!

  28. Hi all,

    Some thoughts of my own…

    There can be no leaders without followers.
    There can be no bosses without workers.
    There can be no con-ers without con-ees.
    Many of the real cons exist because the con-ees expect to get something for nothing and it is their greed, the con-ees, that leads them into the con.

    So what you might ask is the reason that so many people, in this case people with money and good stuff, fall for the small scam. Most of you have said the “good heart and compassion” of people of means, allows them to become the targets of scammers. But this is not true!

    What is true is that much of society for much of history has saddled people with guilt that they did not earn and do not deserve. This underling attitude of unearned guilt pervades most cultures. This is especially true of the “western, developed nations”. It is promulgated by religious institutions and socialist ideals. It is woven into the fabric of our lives and is so insidious that we hardly recognize it’s existence.

    It is often touted by these people that if you have something, you only got it at the expense of others. Therefore you are guilty of greed and exploitation. Your only chance for redemption, your only chance to salve your guilty conscience is by returning what you have “stolen”.

    Part of this philosophy is the “entitlement” mentality. The “have nots” are willingly lead down this path by those who seek power. The “have nots” are encouraged to believe that they are “entitled” to have what the “haves” have. Why? Simply because they are breathing. The “haves” are only entitled to guilt for stealing from and exploiting the “have nots”.

    Therefore the “haves” become the target of the scammers. But I have a good heart and am a compassionate person. I only want to do good, you might say. Certainly this does not mean I am a “con-ee”, I am not looking to get something for nothing from these poor, disadvantaged people.

    But you are! You do want something. And that something is freedom from or a lessening of guilt. But it is a guilt you do not deserve and have not earned. It is a guilt that is loaded upon your shoulders and your life by a philosophy that promotes guilt as a way of redistributing wealth. And it is given to you because you have the temerity to be a “have”.

    When Magellan first hit the shores of Cebu he said(I am paraphrasing here) “In no other place have I ever met a group of people who are such liars and thieves”. Magellan was later killed by the inhabitants of the island. Unearned guilt was already a part of the culture. This is true of all primitive societies. Because it is a way for the leaders of the people and the people themselves to control their society.

    Many years ago I read a book about the pre-European culture of Samoa. In days past the Samoans elected their tribal leaders. The leadership was not inherited. But if a chief was too “lordly” he was fired. The people wanted a good leader but not one who would use his station to belittle his people. He could be canned for being too proud of his position. He could also be demoted for being too good. Because being too good might make other people feel inadequate.

    Christianity promotes forgiveness of sin but if only you believe in the doctrine of Christ. What is often not emphasized from that doctrine is that this forgiveness only comes with the addition of true remorse, restitution and contrition for your sin. The lack of emphasis or even the mentioning of the second part gives people a lot of latitude for wrong doing. The message is mostly or only “Believe and you will be forgiven”.

    Those of you who have been in the Philippines for only a day or two and certainly those of you who have been here for longer have run into the street urchins. “Hey Joe, give me piso” is their call. “You give me piso?” is their never ending question. My reply. “You give me piso. I have to ride the bus/tricycle (whatever) and I do not have enough”. The looks I get are usually of pure astonishment. The look says it all. How can this rich foreigner possibly not have enough for a trike ride. What they do not know and what I never tell them is that if they display this small and simple act of charity, of trust by giving me P1, I would give them P5 in return. I have never had to make the P5 payment, because they are already well indoctrinated in the philosophy of entitlement, something for nothing, they can not see any possible upside in giving me P1.

    BTW for those of you not up on the current exchange rate, P1 is about US$0.025.

    I have noticed that some of the urchins have become more demanding. As if it is my duty to give them money for no more on their part but to demand it. Since you have more than me, I want some of it. At least some of the street people in the US will offer to clean your windshield in exchange for a gratuity.

    In the translated local vernacular, family members are often asked if they can “shoulder” the financial requirements of another family member. This is usually a short term commitment. It is generally understood that the “shouldered” “loan” is really a gift with the unstated caveat of future re-imbursement in time of need. Because the local people and their extended family are often living on the edge of survival the small back and forth “loans” are an everyday fact of life. But if one person manages to accumulate a large chunk of money then they might as well hang a sign around their necks that says “Come and get it” or they face ostracism from the family. I often wonder how long the money from a big Lottery win remains in the hands of the winner.

    If you as foreigner understand this then you will realize the “loan” is really a gift and while your sign may not say “Come and get it” it almost most certainly says “ATM”. What you may not realize is the recipient of the loan has entered into an unspoken agreement to repay you in the future in someway. Now this repayment will most likely not be dollar for dollar and you may see some resentment when you ask for it but it is still yours for the asking. In this I am talking about small amounts say around P1,000 or less. For big amounts you might as well know that the money is gone, because as Henry said the people simply do not have the ability to accumulate that large of an amount on their own and most likely never will

    If you want to “get your mind right”(from Cool Hand Luke) I suggest you read Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged”.

    Take care,
    Fred

  29. Hi all,

    Some thoughts of my own…

    There can be no leaders without followers.
    There can be no bosses without workers.
    There can be no con-ers without con-ees.
    Many of the real cons exist because the con-ees expect to get something for nothing and it is their greed,
    the con-ees, that leads them into the con.

    So what you might ask is the reason that so many people, in this case people with money and good stuff,
    fall for the small scam. Most of you have said the “good heart and compassion” of people of means,
    allows them to become the targets of scammers. But this is not true!

    What is true is that much of society for much of history has saddled people with guilt that they did
    not earn and do not deserve. This underling attitude of unearned guilt pervades most cultures.
    This is especially true of the “western, developed nations”. It is promulgated by religious institutions
    and socialist ideals. It is woven into the fabric of our lives and is so insidious that we hardly
    recognize it’s existence.

    It is often touted by these people that if you have something, you only got it at the expense of others.
    Therefore you are guilty of greed and exploitation. Your only chance for redemption, your only chance to
    salve your guilty conscience is by returning what you have “stolen”.

    Part of this philosophy is the “entitlement” mentality. The “have nots” are willingly lead down this path
    by those who seek power. The “have nots” are encouraged to believe that they are “entitled” to have what the “haves” have.
    Why? Simply because they are breathing. The “haves” are only entitled to guilt for stealing from and
    exploiting the “have nots”.

    Therefore the “haves” become the target of the scammers. But I have a good heart and am a compassionate person.
    I only want to do good, you might say. Certainly this does not mean I am a “con-ee”, I am not looking to get
    something for nothing from these poor, disadvantaged people.

    But you are! You do want something. And that something is freedom from or a lessening of guilt. But it is
    guilt you do not deserve and have not earned. It is a guilt that is loaded upon your shoulders and your life
    by a philosophy that promotes guilt as a way of redistributing wealth. And it is given to you because you
    have the temerity to be a “have”.

    When Magellan first hit the shores of Cebu he said(I am paraphrasing here) “In no other place have I ever
    met a group of people who are such liars and thieves”. Magellan was later killed by the inhabitants of the island.
    Unearned guilt was already a part of the culture. This is true of all primitive societies. Because it is a way
    for the leaders of the people and the people themselves to control their society.

    Many years ago I read a book about the pre-European culture of Samoa. In days past the Samoans elected their
    tribal leaders. The leadership was not inherited. But if a chief was too “lordly” he was fired.
    The people wanted a good leader but not one who would use his station to belittle his people. He could be
    canned for being too proud of his position. He could also be demoted for being too good. Because being too
    good would make other people feel inadequate.

    Christianity promotes forgiveness of sin but if only you believe in the doctrine of Christ. What is often
    not emphasized from that doctrine is that this forgiveness only comes with the addition of true remorse,
    restitution and contrition for your sin. The lack of emphasis or even the mentioning of the second part
    gives people a lot of latitude for wrong doing. The message is mostly or only “Believe and you will be forgiven”.

    Those of you who have been in the Philippines for only a day or two and certainly those of you who have
    been here for longer have run into the street urchins. “Hey Joe, give me piso” is their call.
    “You give me piso?” is their never ending question. My reply. “You give me piso. I have to ride the
    bus/tricycle (whatever) and I do not have enough”. The looks I get are usually of pure astonishment.
    The look says it all. How can this rich foreigner possibly not have enough for a trike ride. What they do
    not know and what I never tell them is that if they display this small and simple act of charity,
    of trust by giving me P1, I would give them P5 in return. I have never had to make the P5 payment,
    because they are already well indoctrinated in the philosophy of entitlement, something for nothing,
    they can not see any possible upside in giving me P1.

    BTW for those of you not up on the current exchange rate, P1 is about US$0.025.

    I have noticed that some of the urchins have become more demanding. As if it is my duty to give them money
    for no more on their part but to demand it. Since you have more than me, I want some of it. At least some
    of the street people in the US will offer to clean your windshield in exchange for a gratuity.

    In the translated local vernacular, family members are often asked if they can “shoulder” the financial
    requirements of another family member. This is usually a short term commitment. It is generally understood
    that the “shouldered” “loan” is really a gift with the unstated caveat of future re-imbursement in time of need.
    Because the local people and their extended family are often living on the edge of survival the small back
    and forth “loans” are an everyday fact of life. But if one person manages to accumulate a large chunk of money
    then they might as well hang a sign around their necks that says “Come and get it” or they face ostracism from the family.
    I often wonder how long the money from a big Lottery win remains in the hands of the winner.

    Below I am only talking about immediate family members of your “intended”.
    If you as foreigner understand this then you will realize the “loan” is really a gift and while your sign
    may not say “Come and get it” it almost certainly says “ATM”.

    What you may not realize is the recipient of the loan has entered into an unspoken agreement to repay you in the future in some way.
    Now this repayment will most likely not be dollar for dollar and you may see some resentment when you ask
    for it but it is still yours for the asking. In this I am talking about small amounts say around P1,000 or less.
    For big amounts you might as well know that the money is gone, because as Henry said the people simply do not
    have the ability to accumulate that large of an amount on their own and most likely never will.

    If you want to “get your mind right”(from Cool Hand Luke) I suggest you read Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged”.

    Take care,
    Fred

  30. I used to the think the Philippines wasn’t corrupt but then we have to cast our minds back to the reign of Ferdinand Marcos he wasn’t exactly a role model and neither was his wife with all the expensive shoes she had in her closet hundreds of them. We all like to fantasize about these women and some of them are quite beautiful but the old cliche is, all is not what it seems Jack Lallane coined the old phrase ”Dying’s easy living’s a pain in the butt” which is quite true.

  31. Well guys interesting reading and informative I like fillipinos and lived with one here in the uk for 2 years and was lucky she was great and treated me like a king and we enjoyed many good time but in the end we fell into common trap of many relationships not trying hard enough however we enjoyed it.

    I have recently been involved with a girl fro a dating website and found myself a little poorer and the story although fascinating is just to fantastic to be a lie or so i thought Im in the middle of this scenario and the next few weeks will see if ive been involved in a real elaborate scam or its genuine i really hope im not being scammed as i really do like the fillipina culture and their warm and friendly ways.

    If its a scam then hey we learn in life

    Thx again for the read fascinating

    David

  32. Jennie James, he is being conned big time, the daily wage here is around $4 a day for unskilled labour, so she is a scammer, I live here and I have seen what I thought were wise people but got seriously screwed, me included.

  33. jennie an average electic bill with air con full blast all month would cost a maximum(In manilla) of 8000 pesos or 200 dollars…
    100,000 in the flips is millionaire lifestyle….rent is at most 500 and that is what a westerner pays not locals….

  34. I have a friend who asked to borrow money from me because he needed to take his GRE and he had no money to pay the fees. He had no job at that time and it’s just a small amount of money (around $200), so I helped him. He has had two jobs since then and is now half way through his PhD. Still, he has not paid me a cent.

    Filipinos have no palabra de honor. They don’t pay their debts until they have been sued,

  35. My dad was also conned by a Philipino partner who got my dad to sign over his house and re-mortgaged it 3 times. She had my dad's pension direct debited into her account for 13 years with my Dad only getting what she called pocket money of £5 a week but for this my dad in his 70s had to deliver Avon books. She had a life insurance plan for my dad. My dad left this lady in 2013 this is when I found out not by her or my dad who can not read or write but by the land registry and banks to find out what had been going on. Needless to say my dad did not receive a penny from a house he had lived in for 40 years. Filipino cultural prostitution!

  36. So I am really concerned about these constant scammings.
    Not even members of your own family can be trusted. I will be back in a couple of days to Mactan but will not go to the place where the family is living.
    They never stop texting me for money and finding ALWAYS reasons why they need money.
    So I did go the hard way and text back that I will break up with all of them when this will going on and I will do so.
    I learned my lesson in a very hard way all the years before there in the Philippines.
    When someone has tons of money it doesn´t matters but the most Expats I met were living in any kind of budget. So for my opinion the way is ,being upfront .

    1. It is very hard to find any legitimacy in anyone or anything in the Philippines. From religion, politics, and business, all the way down to the very fabric of the quality of life in the country. I totally empathize with you of not trusting anyone, including members of your own family; they’ll be the first one to screw you over because they know you won’t do anything to them. I’ve had my own share of being scammed by my wife’s side of the family–as well as by other people. I can put my foot down on these people, but my wife can’t. Blood will always be thicker than water. I realize the best solution is to always downplay how much money you have–even from your your wife sometimes–and get as far away from family members as possible. Never give in to any request for money. Once you do, you open up the proverbial can of worm. There is a magic in saying, “NO” You might not be the most popular guy if you say “NO” often enough, but you’ll definitely attain the much needed peace of mind.

  37. Hello

    Stories posted here are on the whole tittle-tattle. Hard advice is usually more effective:

    You can spend your life thinking you will learn every dirty trick in the book. New tricks are on the whole a variation of what has been done sometime before. Just a modern version of it. And do not think is restricted to the Philippines. It is WORLDWIDE, just maybe more prevalent in Asia. Just be thankful you still have your organs intact, and or still in good LIVING health!

    Look on expats site who are moaning about this that and the other, be it Phil or Thailand or any. Most are single men, retired, residing in CITIES in areas that drugs and prostitution is rife. Yes, on the prowl for easy girls. Otherwise why there? They are not working. There are lots of lovely quiet clean places in the Philippines or anywhere.

    Reekay or Vincent or whatever your name is, and any other who is an ALIEN to Philippines or any:
    that is what you will always be. You will never know what is being said about you even in the environment you deem as a safe haven with the smiley friendly locals. .Things go on around you that you will not be aware of happening. And you are a sitting target.Especially if you believe LENDING is meaning such. If you dont know this by now you are certainly an easy mark: Filipino asking to borrow any is meaning to GIVE for keeps, so anything returned is just a big bonus haha.

    You are a foreigner. You are not one of them. The novelty of you being a welcome tourist has expired! It is not so much what you know but who. So stop being a sad loner and find a nice Filipina and make an honest woman of her. This is respect. You will then be much safer and made more welcome within the community!

    1. i’d have to disagree. and for specific reasons. first thing, i’ve been in the PH over three years now. i’m not some fresh-off-the-plane newbie, clueless about the positives or negatives in the PH.

      secondly, you are obviously convinced that the ONLY way to be happy is to get busy with a wife. totally untrue. i know plenty of expats who (a) have decided they will never get married again and (b) are very, very happy with this lifestyle. to think that being single is the reason expats either complain or are not “part of the culture” is a false conclusion.

      third, i hear “moaning and complaining” from married and single expats. in fact, it is more the opposite of what you say. the married ones are the bigger complainers because they are approached by the filipino in-laws for “loans”. he KNOWS they won’t repay the ‘loan’, so he is not some target/victim who is unaware of the culture in the PH. if he was as ignorant of his surroundings as you seem to think he is, he’d be happy with the situation. single guys, if they keep getting hit up for money, he just finds a new girl.. problem solved.

  38. I have been dating a Filipina woman for about two years now, during that time, I have fallen very much in love with he, I have made it my goal to come to the Philippines this November (2015) to see and meet her for the very first time. During this time many of her female friends have been trying to steal me away, by making up stories about her. I have been going crazy trying to disprove these stories. Tell me what is the best way to check up on a woman there to verify who and what kind of woman she is? I am not a newbie to the Philippines either, years ago I lived there for just over a year, I fell in love with the place and the culture and the values of a good Filipina woman.

    1. one thing you can do, is to contact her through some other account that does not have your account as a mutual friend on facebook. so that she has no idea it’s you. a friend’s account or whatever. begin contacting her for neutral conversation, without her knowing it’s you. and then see what her reaction is. see how she responds to basic questions like, “do you have a boyfriend?” or “if i came to visit you in October could you meet me just for dinner?” and then see what her reaction is. that should tell you what you want to know.

      if you met her on a dating site.. create a fake profile there and try the same approach.

  39. Making fake accounts is good advice, and I understand there are scammers out here. But let me be devils advocate here. You know how many Americans, Chat with many ladies there, claimed they are exclusive with each of them and they claim they are going to the Philippines soon, next month, next year who have no intention, or the financial ability to come to the Philippines? I always advise guys to keep their options open when they are coming to the Philippines for a relationship. So why would we expect even a good girl to not keep her options open too.

    Personally I would advise someone to avoid someone who request, or demand, you to be exclusive with them, when they haven’t met you in person. If you want someone to be honest with you, be honest with them. I think a good lady there would really appreciate the freshness of honestly.

    Good rule of thumb, never send money until you know you have a relationship you have verified in person. Avoid ladies who seem to be always online, every time you get online. Find someone who maybe is working. They will not be online all the time. Maybe you will get a response from a email twice a week when they can check their email. Most working Philippine ladies don’t have the resources to have internet in the house, or a laptop to chat with you all the time.

  40. my brother is involved with a woman who is scamming him via the “damsel in distress” and the “teach me how to fish “con. While there he has been conned by strangers who are his “friends”. He has sponsored a well building project ($1000.00)for the community, sent money to her sister’s school. Paid her mother’s hospital bill (3 day hospitalization for high blood pressure cost-= $500.00). And is ‘seed money’ supporting a farm. This all looks fishy and he says he is moving there in 2 years. Is there a way of find out if any of this is legitimate?

  41. Wow; shame on these people (I am a Filipino but live in the US for almost 30 yrs now!). I receive texts and calls all the time regarding relatives (who I don’t know) wanting money for medical emergency, child about to take an exam in an hour but the money was stolen, for an urgent life-saving surgery, etc, etc. The sad thing I actually fell for these scammers, a few times!

  42. Excellent article, well written. “No good deed ever goes unpunished”, is classic and so fitting to the culture one observes there where “it is as natural to them as breathing”. With all the additional evidence well presented, what would motivate someone to live there when they have other options? I can understand a trip to the tropics, but if it’s cost of living and natural beauty, one can find that in safer and gentler places in many parts of the world. I’ve tried to find the common denominator, and I believe it boils down to SMV (sexual market value).

    Scarcity of the good stuff (hot young women) is ALL it’s about. It’s men looking for some passion before the sand in their hour glass has gone. But at what price? I envision lot’s of potential in the Philippines; one example could be lower cost retirement “assisted living” facilities considering the high hourly wages charged in the West for nursing services. The same could apply to “romance” if they had legalized and highly regulated prostitution of various contract lengths and freely available contraceptive services including Mifepristone and Misoprostol. In reality, we find only seedy red-light districts with high mileage ladies, cops on the take and a theocratic oligarchy offering narcissistic supply.

    If legally accepted, there could be various types of sugar-baby arrangements, which I believe is all that is happening at various levels; with marriage being the worst deal of all (but the church likes that one). To avoid becoming a sucker/petitioner and befall under Divorce v. 2.0, men have to live there. But, with all the the dating nightmares, wasted time, unpleasant conditions, constant “dead ends”, lady-boys, and numerous other problems, for many men the whole ordeal is not worth the bother. Your boots on the ground intelligence gathering mission is a real sacrifice and we are grateful for your reports, ability to keep calm under fire, and report in a politically correct manner as required by Philippine law. Mabuhay!

    1. Thanks for the detailed commentary and kind words. For myself, I find plenty of reason to enjoy Asia as a single man and not running after the whole marriage-picket-fence scenario. It’s great if men want that, but they have a lot of obstacles to clear in order to get to that point. Not all men make it through the gauntlet with their heart or income left intact.

  43. With all due respect, if all these scams have befell you, you must be the unluckiest guy ever.

    Anyway, i stumbled upon this site whilst “Googling pig farming”

    Its kind of similar to Thaivisa.com

    Okay, scams, Ive only ever met one Filipina and married her, had no money issues at all, seems i left those problems behind when i left Thailand 2 years go.

    Yet, Im sure i am not the only one here to of been “TOTALLY RIPPED OFF BY MANILA TAXI DRIVERS”
    My very first visit to the Philippines to meet the Samar girl that is now my wife turned into disaster when the airport taxi passed me a bill for PHP 2800 I should of known, i should of been on my guard as Thai taxi drivers where similar, i use the word similar as i used to live 2 hours drive from Suvarnabhumi Airport the fare is approx. 1000 baht, Thai taxis would charge 1500 which is fair enough for a 2 hour journey.
    Yet 2800 Peso from terminal one to Makai?? WTF.
    So basically the only problem i have been victim of “Manila taxis”, “Ill use the meter” some say, NO NO NO There are rigged meters for us foreigners so beware the meter, always agree a price, never let a driver grab your bags at the airport, if they persistently insist you have to use the firm F–K Off, not interested. Making sure other drivers can hear you. Then ask and keep on asking other taxis until you get the less than 500 peso nod.
    If you land at terminal 3, take the short walk through the car park to the main road, a flagged taxi will charge approx. 400 to Makati and 200 to a Pasay hotel or 200 to another terminal if you’re heading off to an island.

    Thank you for this site, its good to share ones experiences.

    Kenny, British expat living Calbayog Samar..

  44. After visiting the Philippines for many years my only advice is don’t get involved in a long term
    relationship. I’ve met good and bad girls and in the end there will be financial issues.

  45. The one question that I’m desperately trying to get information on is: As a foreign female, what scams must I be aware of with respect to male Filipinos? You hear of so many common romance scams involving male foreigners and Filipinas… But what about the opposite scenario?
    Here’s the situation: I’m a 23 year old Australian female who’s met a Filipino male. Now, I didn’t meet this guy through online dating. I’m a sincere Christian- I’m reformed – and I met this guy on a reformed forum online/ through Facebook . I saw a few comments and questions of his on the forum, but didn’t really think all that much of it. A few weeks later, I was causally scrolling through my Facebook feed when along came the ‘suggested friends’ list…and coincidentally enough, this guy was right there. He so happens to have a mutual friend to me! Now, I don’t normally add random people as friends on Facebook- in fact, I don’t usually add people at all… Usually I wait till someone adds me. But I added this guy, and we started chatting. Because of the unusual way in which we met, I’m very doubtful of the fact that this guy could be a scam. But I told one of my Filipina friends here about him, and she immediately started warning me, and saying ‘he could be a scam!’
    What should I do in this situation? I’ve known this guy since March, and never once has he asked me for money, or gone out of his life way to tell me anything negative. It’s only because I’ve asked him about his home life that I know he’s doing it tough. He’s working a low paying job and putting in lots of hours. His father has been able to rent a house from the boss of his company for a very low price. However, this boss is now moving to another city, and wants to sell the house. He’s offered to sell the house to my friends father for a very low price, but at this stage, there’s no way he’s gonna be able to afford it. My friend and his 2 sisters are working as many hours as possible to try and save what money they can.
    I’ll stress this again: I’ve only gleaned this information because I’ve questioned this guy- he hasn’t volunteered any negative information whatsoever. Also, never once has he asked me for money, or even gotten close to it.
    My Filipina friend tells me that to know for sure whether this guy could be a scam, I need to ask questions. But the last thing I want to do is give this guy the impression that I don’t trust him- because he really hasn’t given me any reason not to trust him. The only reason why I want to find out for sure that he’s not a scam is to get my worried friend off my back But I dont want to risk the friendship. Is there any ‘gentle questions’ I can ask, or any unobtrusive ways in which I can ‘investigate’?

    1. I will share with you what I can from what you’ve mentioned in your post. First thing.. “Take it slowly.” Okay, so you two have a connection and are starting to communicate. But until you spend time with him in-person, and even then for at least 6 months.. for now he’s at most a ‘good penpal friend’. Meanwhile, do not even consider any kind of land purchases or loans for the next year. You’re just not at that level in the ‘relationship’ yet.

      If all works out well over the next year.. knowing him in-person, then that’s a whole other ballgame. But for now, keep yourself in check that you really don’t know much about this guy and are under no obligations to him (or his financial issues.)

    2. In most cases here in the Philippines most people are poor compared to western standards. So yes, if you are earning a standard wage in the west you will be considered a good source of assistance and income. It will always be up to you if you want to part with your money.

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