Get Here!.. Then Take Your Time

get hereThe way I see it there are two main reasons the Philippines is such a fantastic place to retire early to;  (1)  The Leisurely Lifestyle and, (2)  The Amazing Filipinas.   Back home in the U.S., I could get coconuts, pineapples and mangoes at the grocery store.  I could get authentic Filipino food in just about any city.  But let’s face it.. our whole lives we’ve grown up and gotten accustomed to running on that hamster-wheel, faster and faster just like all our neighbors with that carrot at the end of a 45-year career dangling in the far-off distance to keep us going.  That’s life in the big city.  But a lot of us who think outside the box are deciding to jump off that wheel and make some changes.

Today I remembered yet again a phrase that has stuck with me for years, “The man who clings to nothing is capable of anything.”  I don’t even know who first said it, but it’s one of the reasons I have a minimalist philosophy in regards to material things.  In short, I’m not opposed to wealth or having nice stuff.. I just don’t glean the majority of my joy from it.  But, back to the point at hand.. several Filipinas I’ve talked to here dream about a life outside the Philippines.  Just today I was telling one, “Well.. sure, we’re all looking for something different.  Me, I grew up in Southern California.. it holds no mystery or glamour for me.  And you, you grew up in the tropics, being surrounded by lush jungle is an everyday experience for you.” Some people thrive on and desire that hamster-wheel pace of Western culture.  That’s fine,  more power to them.  Many of them are my friends back home and I wish them all the best.  The Philippines is not for everybody.

But.. for the adventurous, for the person willing to break out of the usual paradigm… the Philippines is such a fantastic place for a man to go.  The Philippines has so much to offer it will literally take you a lifetime to explore it all. Today, just a few hours ago, I went to the local mall to get some groceries on a Saturday filipina womennight.  Best time to get groceries is during the week from 9am to Noon when the lines are short.  But my siesta got kinda outta control and by the time I got my act together it was already 7pm as I walked into the mall.  Now, I’ve been here over 7 months at this point and I gotta say that even after all this exposure, the women here still just knock me out.  Especially on Friday and Saturday nights when they get especially dolled up to either cruise the mall or stop by there before going out for the evening.   Ohhh… myyyy.  I mean, it’s all I can do to just ‘act normal’.  Some are beautiful.  Some are super-cute.  Some are drop-dead sexy.  Some are conservatively dressed yet amazingly alluring.  Some of these women can literally leave you with your heart racing and your throat whimpering like a dog at the smell of bacon.  There are that many and they are that attractive.  You gotta see it to believe it.

Now, in the U.S., when I would see some woman THAT attractive it was usually a bitter-sweet experience.   The odds of walking up to them and getting even two minutes of conversation with them, let alone a date, were just about zero.  I’m no handsome guy.. but I’m not a complete shlub either.   I’ve dated some wonderfully attractive women over the years.  But in the U.S. you’ve either got to be rich, funny or have a whole lot of personality. I’ve usually had to rely on the latter two.  But here, I’ve happily discovered that the sky is the limit.  It doesn’t matter how amazingly out of your league you might think this girl is.. the fact that you are a foreigner boosts your odds of getting a date on the first meet to about 97% success rate.  Will a few turn you down?  Of course.  Some are already in a relationship.  Some are married.  Some don’t speak much English.  Some are extremely shy.  And some.. well, you’re just not their type. But so far any girl I’ve asked out has said ‘Yes‘, each time.  An introduction, some small talk, offer to meet up later for lunch or dancing, exchange numbers and.. you’re all set!

Sounds like a dream come true, eh?  Well, the amazing women here is not necessarily why I’m writing today. You see, the lifestyle and women of the Philippines is downright intoxicating.  As westerners we are just so unprepared to handle the amazing bounty that exists here.  It really is like being a kid in a candy-store.  In fact, unless you are accustomed to having your pick of women the last ten years.. I’d say that most men coming here are totally knocked off-balance for at least the first 6 months they are here.  No kidding.  It is a condition that makes him ripe for falling for what some women call here, “The Exotic Beauty” syndrome.  I covered this in more detail in the article, “What Do You REALLY Want?“.    Now, the guy who comes here and falls in love his first two months with the first lovely Filipina he spends time with is not altogether a bad scenario.  If he finds love with a wonderful woman, they get married, have a few kids and enjoy life together.. that’s a beautiful thing.  In fact, those guys that it works out for right away save themselves a lot of dating drama.

However.. those same guys who fall for the first ‘exotic beauty‘ that crosses their path are also the guys most likely to be taken in by an opportunistic Filipina who knows a vulnerable victim when she sees one get off the plane or show up as a newbie in the local mall.  Those guys are the ones with bitter stories of how all Filipinas are ‘bad’ and not to be trusted.  Well, using some common sense could have saved him from his troubles.  So, Dude.. my best advice to you is this;  “Get here.. then take your time.” Let’s look at it from a statistical point of view.  Most, not all, but most men making the permanent move out here are doing so because there isn’t a whole lot tying him to his home country.  His children are grown.  He is either divorced or widowed.  No current relationship or he wouldn’t be thinking about moving out of the country in the first place.  He is doing okay financially to make the move and figures it’s time to see what the Philippines has to offer.  After all, that Henry-guy seems to be having a blast there.  (And I am, too.)  So when he gets off the plane chances are he has not been doted on or treated like a king by ANY woman in a long, long time.  Add to it that she’s such a cutie.  And the cherry on top is she’s about 20 years old and she’s on a fast-track for him to meet her parents and start a family.  She might be one of the ‘good girls’, might not.  Only time will tell. And this is why I am telling you.. “Take.  Your.  Time.

Here is my 3-Step ‘Plan of Action’ to any man planning to make a permanent move here to the Philippines.

#1.  –  First, focus on getting situated.  Just like in a military operation, your first priorities are to establish a base of operations, supplies and communications.  When you first get here focus your first attention to where you will be living.  Find out where the nearest grocery stores are.  Where to get filtered water delivered to your home.  Get a cell-phone and calling plan.  Get your internet connection established.  Figure out what interesting things are within walking distance and which ones are best reached by tricycle (cheaper) or taxi (faster).   Most of this will take you about the first month to really become functional in.  I’ve been here in Mactan for 7 months, was functional in about the first 2 weeks with all the basics.. and YET, just last week I discovered a wonderful little sari-sari store nearby that makes fresh banana bread loaves for 35 pesos.  They also are closer than the mall for when I need little items such as eggs, beer, cooking oil or cooked rice by the bag.  I’m leaving for Bohol in two weeks, I wish I’d found this little store six months ago.  But this is what I’m saying, it takes some time for you to discover your new neighborhood and what it has to offer.

#2  –  Get to know some local MARRIED people.  Listen to me on this.  As a single foreigner you will have single women coming at you from all angles.  What you need as your secondary directive is to know; who you can trust.  Now, single people whether they be male or female (or ladyboy) are not to be trusted right away.  Too often their motive is to make a meal-ticket out of you.  Guys will want to be your friend so you buy them beers.  Women want to be your friend so you give them money.  A good article to read is one I did recently on scams to look out for.  This is why it’s best to make friends with some married people.  Not that married people won’t put the lean on you for money, because sometimes they will, but less often than single people.  The big asset you have with married people is that they are very networked with who the GOOD, single Filipinas are.  Out in the field it’s pretty much “buy beware” and you gotta do a lot of due diligence.  With a girl referred by a family, you have a much better chance of meeting a wonderful, beautiful woman who has the character reference of people who have known her for years.  If you want the surest way to weed out the gold-diggers, go this route.  I know you’re still going to want to hit up the beauties at the mall and dance clubs but, I’m just letting you know now to keep your guard up.  So, get to know some married locals in your neighborhood once you have your basics taken care of.

#3  –  Date the woman you love for a year.  Now, even though I’m telling you a year, chances are you may only date her 6 months and will just pull the trigger anyway.  That’s fine too.  But my main point here is.. don’t do like these other sad-story ex-pats that rolled the dice to just marry or knock-up the first exotic-beauty they met after a month together.  These girls are on the fast-track to marriage.  They want you to meet their parents by the second date, sometimes the first date.  I am not kidding or exaggerating on this.  This is how fast things move here.  This is why guys end up getting spun around losing their true North and wake up married three months after their plane lands.  That’s Russian-roulette in my book.  Marrying someone you’ve only known a few months.. maybe she is what she seems, maybe not.  Good luck with that.  Take.. your.. time.  If she really loves you and you present the dating-time as “courting” in order to know each other better, chances are she will comply so long as you are faithful to her.  If you really think she’s the one.. date only her, don’t screw around on her and at the end of six months you will have a much better idea of who you’re planning to marry.

Now, on this last note.. notice I mentioned that during this 6-12 month courting period.. you are faithful to her.  If you love this woman then I’m just preaching to the choir, you’ll be faithful to her because you love her.  But, if you think you’re going to have a relationship with her going towards marriage and still date other women.. dude, you are in for a world of hurt. Filipina women are very passionate women.  I’ve dated American women, Irish, Puerto Rican and a woman straight from Mexico.  I will tell you.. Filipina women weave jealousy intricately into their concept of Love so tightly that you cannot break the two somanyfilipinasapart.  To them, their love is measured by the level of jealousy and protectiveness they have for you.  The more they love you, the more they fear losing you to some other hootchie out to steal her man.  She will treat you like a King.  She will be faithful to you come hell or high water.  She will give you 100% of her love, heart, energy and commitment.  But if you cheat on her.. oh jeez, your life is gonna suck so bad and so fast with her.  I’m telling you, if you have a committed, exclusive relationship with a Filipina.. thank your lucky stars and love her with all your heart.  Just put all those other lovely options outta your head because nothing but disaster is what they will bring.  Appreciate this woman’s love and stick to the path that ends with the two of you married and you waking up each day as the luckiest husband that ever lived.

Now.. to you guys who do NOT intend to get into any committed, exclusive relationships right away, don’t worry, I’ve not forgotten you.  Here’s the thing.. it really is a fully-stocked candy store here.  Whatever you are looking for, you will not only find it.. it can be yours.  If all you want is sex for the night.. go to a club, a karaoke joint, a bar or even just park angeles cityyourself at an upscale mall and drink a cappuccino.. they will come to you.  No lie.  Why do you think the girlfriends and wives are so jealous?  They know that a man doesn’t even have to look for sex in the Philippines.. it comes to him.  And if he looks for it, he finds it with no problem.  And as if this weren’t easy enough at any bar on any island, there is always Angeles City.  You want sex?  Angeles City is like a 24/7 buffet   What gambling is to Vegas, if what you want is several women per night, everything your body can handle is waiting for you at Angeles City.  Just know that you’ll be right in the heart of the world’s oldest profession, surrounded by seasoned professionals who know every scam in the book so.. tread with caution.

But here’s the thing.  Every silver lining has its dark cloud.  Even though these one-night stands are NOT your girlfriend.. if you hook-up with them, in their mind its “as if” you are now hers in some way.  Not the ‘pros’, with them it’s all business, they get paid and they are on their way without even looking back.  I’m talking about the one-nighters you might meet up with from the mall or dance clubs.  They will still get immediately jealous of any other woman who texts or calls you.  They will still hit you up for money at some point now that they have your number.  They will offer a passionate full-weekend as a way of getting their foot in the door and.. before you know it, they’ve moved in.  Never asked, they just.. move in.

Oddly enough I had this happen to me years ago while I was living in the U.S.  A co-worker that I never knew but had seen around, a Filipina, one day struck up some conversation with me.  We both loved the beach, Chinese food and martial arts movies and instantly became friends. That was on a Thursday, the first day that I met her.  By Saturday we went out to the beach.  That night she had me stay overnight at her place.  Sunday I went home and by Sunday night, she came to spend the night at my house.  Naturally, Monday morning we each went to work as if nothing had happened.  Monday night.. she calls and says she’s bringing over Chinese food and her copy of “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” (original version) and she spends the night again.. only this time brings some clothes.  By that Wednesday.. only six days from when we first met as complete strangers, she had managed to move into my apartment.  Even though she lived with me for five months, she still kept paying rent on her empty apartment.  She wasn’t raised in the U.S., she was straight from the Philippines.

Here in the Philippines I met with a wonderful young Filipina, just super cute and really, really sweet.  By our third date she said I should move closer to her side of town.  When I asked her why she said, “Well, since we’re going to live together I need to live close to my school.”  Live together?  This was the first I was hearing about this.  And on the third date?  So when I tell you that things move a bit faster here, believe me.. they do.  (And no.. I did not move her in with me.)

As to the leisurely lifestyle you will encounter here in the Philippines.. I offer the same words, “Get here.. and then take your time.”   Wherever you decide to first live when you get here, just think of it as your temporary landing location.  A place to get your bearingspanglao and scout out the land.  It doesn’t matter where you first move, chances are high that as you take little boats rides or plane flights to nearby islands, visit with people you meet here.. you are going to visit a place and say, “Wow, I want to live here instead.”  That’s what happened with me my first trip to Bohol.  I honestly had NO thoughts of moving at the time, I just had a great opportunity to go check it out for a few days.  Four hours there and I just knew I had to relocate there. You might get here and move to the downtown area of Cebu or Manila.  There is SO much more to the Philippines than those areas.  To me, you seen one inner-city, you seen ’em all. Don’t move there and think to yourself, “Well.. this sucks, I hate the Philippines.”  No, no, no.  Go out, travel locally.  Go to some of the province areas.  Go to Boracay, Bohol, Dumaguete and lots of other places you can find out about from other ex-pats on the ex-pat newsgroup forums.

I’ve checked out about five or six of the bigger ones and, in my opinion, the best one that has the most information and has been the most helpful is .  I don’t get any kick-back for referring them, they are simply the best forum I’ve been a part of.  Check them out and you’ll see.  Too many other forums are just old-dudes having cranky political arguments that have nothing to do with life in the Philippines.  Not at this one.  They have info on where to go, find stuff, stuff to do.. you name it. So once you get here take a look around, explore the area.  Whatever island you choose it will have it’s city and it’s province areas and you gotta check them out.  Take your time and I suggest just getting a 6-month lease instead of locking in to a 1-year lease.  Before your 6 months is up I guarantee you that you’ll have found some really cool area to relocate to and enjoy even more. So.. whether it be women or living locale, don’t commit right away on the very first one.  Get here, take your time looking around.  Enjoy the adventure.  Keep your wits about you.  Keep one hand on your wallet.. the other on your heart and you’ll have the time of your life here.

Henry V.


Author: Reekay V.

Since 2012 I’ve been traveling through various islands of the Philippines as a full-time Expat and spent 1999 living in Vietnam.

Share with me my ongoing adventures of life in the Philippines. Hopefully you find my observations helpful in your own adventures.
— Reekay


  1. Very good advice. Unfortunately, many will not follow it. Many come here already engaged in internet relationships thinking that girl (oftentimes ugly one) is the one for them when in fact there are thousands in line right behind her. Other guys have low self esteem and are just happy a Filipina would be interested in them at all. But those that read websites like this and do their homework will in fact be in that candy store you speak of and have the Philippines their way. When I first read you, I thought this guy makes too many rash decisions, too opinionated about things he doesn’t know about especially women. He hasn’t been anywhere or really done anything in this country. too trusting ie:motorcycle event. All he knows is Mactan . But this article has changed my thinking as your advice nails it on the head. BUT!!!! Now Bohol. Henry, I wish you luck and success there. Certainly not my cup of tea living in the wilderness but hey too each their own. I think you will get severely bored out there and will end up moving closer if not into town itself. Hey when you start talking to yourself you know its time. But its all part of that great adventure and enjoying life and having fun is what it is all about. Enjoy Henry

    1. Yep, I already anticipate life in the province will not be as social as it is now. Which is why I plan to make an effort to meet some of the locals (women) to show me around and get my mind off of talking to the coconuts. In my case, having some uninterrupted privacy is perfect since I plan to ramp up my writing.. keeping up with this site as well as a novel and some short stories. For a writer, the province is heaven.. until the coconuts start arguing among themselves. Then I know it’s time to make a run for Alona Beach for a few days of fun and sun. 🙂

  2. Henry your advise is priceless. All men contemplating a future in the Philippines would do well to pay close attention to your experiences. Just last night my fiance told me about a gringo that met a beautiful filipina on line, sent her all his money to buy a house, sold all his stuff in the US & moved to paradise. He arrives and she truly is a beauty but there’s no house, all the money is gone and surprise, surprise she’s a ladyboy. Now he’s penniless, scrounging 4 food & too ashamed to return to the US and face his family. So like they say “A fool & his money are easily parted”.

    I believe the vast majority of filipinas make the most wonderful partners but you have to spend the time and effort to make sure they are what they claim to be. I spent months chatting with my fiance and viewing each other on live video for hours at a time nearly every day. She has been 100% honest with me, never telling me what I might want to hear or trying to present herself as someone she’s not. I chatted many times with lots of her friends and relatives on line and even talked with her mother live on Skype. When I offered money she refused to accept it. As skeptical and suspicious as I’ve learned to be through my experiences with US women and cyber dating for 6 years I found her to be surprisingly honest. It was so easy and natural to fall in love with her which in itself caused me to wonder at times if I was just dreaming. She is as real as real gets and truly is the most wonderful woman I have ever known by a wide margin. I recommend to any man that is sincerely looking for a wife for life you won’t find a better one anywhere else.

    1. “Due Diligence”.. whether choosing the right Filipina, avoiding a scam or both.. making decisions slowly with as much solid info as possible is the only edge we got. As we’re often chided, we only think with the head “down there” when it comes to women sometimes. ha! Me, I saw a good friend of mine go from being a wealthy widower with a full pension to getting gutted like a fish.. all because he dove right right in with both feet after meeting a young Filipina that had targeted him. He’s a good guy too. I saw that happen more than ten years before it ever entered my mind to leave the country, but it stuck in my head alright.

      There are some fantastic, loyal, lovely women here.. with absolute hearts of gold. But as the old saying goes, “Not all that glitters is gold.”

    1. As Alex commented (above).. that’s IF and only for the guys who take it to heart. I was talking on MagicJack with a reader until 3am (my time) about his Filipina he’s been Skyping with for about 6 weeks. As it turns out she lives only a few blocks from here. I met her in person today and he’s lucky.. looks like he’s got one of the good ones. They are out here.. just gotta separate the wheat from the chaff is all.

  3. Now, I just need someone to peel me off the ceiling. Thanks Henry. For the last two days I have been having a bit of drama with a girl I met online thru F.C. Seem like a really nice girl. Actually to tell you the truth it seemed like about 3 were really nice but soon…..well you can imagined. And that’s after going thru a TON that were absolutely not good. Scammers to the core. I’m already a platinum, premium whatever member until mid March so that is why I use it. This was before you told me of the others. Anyway,this article is a reminder that there really are plenty more fish in the sea. Not only that but it does give a balanced and “mindful” approach to moving there. I happen to be looking at different airlines and prices for my one month visit which will start in June. I will search your site and if you have an article about transportation you can point me to, great. So far Air China is looking good. Again, this is great.

    1. I’m glad you’re seeing the situation as it is. The online sites are better used once you get here.. to get their number and meet them the same day. From a distance.. too much chance for fake-stories and drama. Even if it’s a “good girl”.. you end up committing to seeing only that girl when you arrive here. She won’t tolerate you seeing anyone else even if she’s one of the good ones. So.. to me, a guy is in a much better situation with more options by using those sites after getting here.

      I’ll do an article soon on working out transportation and various logistics to getting here, good idea.

    2. Just a quick note on air travel, tickets.. there are lots of options and in the end I used to fly with Cathay Pacific. I got my ticket from CA for about $900, most other places were about $1,300 for that time of year. Travelling during December, be ready to get hosed since they jack up the prices all the way to mid-January. Spring is supposedly the start of the tourist season. I did my flight in July last year and got a decent enough rate.

      You mentioned you will using a round-trip ticket, so that takes care of itself. For anyone else who wants to fly here and stay, but not pay for a round-trip ticket to satisfy immigration.. read my article on how to get around that here..

      1. The best deal I found for a ticket last December was through which is also International Travel Network. I dealt with a lady named Payton, her direct line is 877-767-4980. She worked hard at getting me a price on short notice that was several hundred dollars cheaper than I found everywhere else. There are restrictions with their deals but it worked out fine for me.

        1. That’s good to know. To get a deal during December, and on short notice.. win-win! The restrictions are usually ‘non-refundable’ or ‘no cancellation’.. but if you know you’ll be there to take your flight it’s no big deal. Worth the savings.

          That’s how my ticket was. I didn’t choose my airline, but I was really happy with Cathay Pacific. I watched my choice of movies on my own screen the whole way there, music, decent food, and pretty flight attendants so, I was happy. 🙂

          1. Yep, same restrictions I had. I flew Alaska Air from AK to Seattle then Korea Air to Inchon & then Manila. Korea Air was the best I’ve ever flown, free headsets & current movies at each seat along with slippers, blankets, pillows, wine, good food and great service all included.

  4. well done. I love this writing. Guys who are into marrying a filipina should read your article. Most foreigners will come here to have a caramel skinned woman because it is exotic and beautiful. They dont take their time to dig deeper into the culture, manners and traditions. Coming to the Philippines doesn’t mean marrying and locking yourself into one woman as their are lots of strip clubs for entertainment only and a one night service without attachment.
    A filipina takes a word very seriously when a guy talks about a relationship and commitment. Filipinas feel threatened and jealous because their are so many here who dont have reputation and dignity to keep for themselves. They don’t mind stealing a man behind back .It has happened to me, around my friends and to other girls I’ve talked to. It is so common. It gave me so much fears and distrust that is affecting my present relationship with my fiance too but I have to overcome it. I wrote several articles explaining about filipinas since I know our culture and personality are way different than the westerners.

  5. Interesting article, know plenty of Filipinas but never dated one. Curious where you got the photo of the girl in the black dress, and who she might be. Stunning, to say the least! Do you per chance recall where you might’ve found it?

    1. i’m not 100% sure, but I think her name is arianny celeste. you can try looking her up on google-images to see if that’s her or not.

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