While living through the pandemic in Dumaguete I sometimes think about history. It seems human survival has been regularly threatened during each of the past two centuries. The “war to end all wars,” World War 1, was accompanied by what was tidily called the Spanish flu that hit in 1918. What a cruel way to end World War 1. That virus infected five hundred million people or one-third of the world’s population at the time. It killed approximately fifty million worldwide. WW 2 had approximately forty-one million casualties, twenty million deaths, and twenty-one million who suffered significant injuries.
The consequence of the world stemming from the ill-advised Treaty of Versailles in 1919 resulted in an inevitable World War 2. That went on from 1939 to 1946. The impact of that conflict still reverberates worldwide from Europe to the Middle East, to Africa, and Asia.
Then came the Cold War, genocides on several continents, artificial famines, AIDS, SARS, and others, before the latest culprit, C 19. It sounds like an expensive perfume, or perhaps a soft drink. Sadly, it’s another challenge that’s presently moving unrestrained across the world while killing as it wishes.
I’m not going to discuss problems and successes in certain countries because my comments might be interpreted by politically motivated readers as my attempt to be political. Let me say just once, I was never a member of any political party. I mistrust all politicians of any stripe with one notable exception, the amazing Prime Minister of New Zealand. She’s an accomplished leader who has successfully combated many horrid challenges. Unfortunately, they broke the mold when Jacinda Ardern was made.
I’ve met with a lot of foreigners from America, Canada, Australia, and some European countries, who are, or were required, to be in Negros Oriental due to the C19 situation. While some of them decided to take advantage of the occasional Sleeper Flights that were available and left mainly for business reasons, most others decided to wait out the virus situation here in the Dumaguete area. Why did they choose to do that?
The answer is very interesting and, yet, again, confirms my belief those of us expats fortunate to be living here, are truly blessed. These foreigners looked at the situation in their countries and compared it overall to life here. They came to the conclusion it’s in their best interests to remain here until the situation quietens down. And why would they want to do that?
Nobody in their right mind is going to suggest everything is presently hunky-dory here or anywhere else on our planet. It’s all a matter of comparison and relative contrast. After an extensive conversation with foreigners who decided to remain in the Dumaguete area, rather than return to their countries of origin, I find it fascinating that they all express a profound appreciation of our way of life here, deep respect for the local people whose good humor and smiling faces reassure them on a daily basis.
They have also become aware of a sense of community connectivity that prevails here. For that, and other reasons mentioned, these foreigners decided to remain here for now. If you’re sitting on the fence and waiting for some magical moment of inspiration to convince you why and when you should move here, please consider the views of these foreigners as a rational sign now is your time to benefit by coming to Dumaguete.
Other Reasons to Come to Dumaguete
Other reasons to come here are, despite restrictions, its significantly more comfortable to be here than elsewhere else. I divide my day between writing, working out, cycling from Dumaguete up to Valencia, hiking above Casarora Falls, playing golf, laughing at my inability to complete the New York Times crossword, sipping coffee at the ever enjoyable Coffee Groove on the Valencia-Bacong road, and becoming a child again when I play with my daughter Sunshine whose beautiful spirit and energy always humbles me.
Another positive factor in life here is the influence of the barangay. The barangay is the central administration for any village, small area, or district. It’s only recently I’ve begun to understand the dynamics of barangays. To the outsider, it’s not clearly evident why they form such an important element in Philippine society. Barangays are the band-aid that holds the community in place, as best it can, during times of crisis. And because the Philippine people are sadly used to having to face regular challenges, much of the organization and relief are community-driven. An important aspect of the Philippine belief system is to be found in the following statement “One person’s joy is every-bodies joy, one person’s pain is every-bodies pain.”
And folks, that is the new reality in which we now live. If you come from the United States of America, where I lived most of my adult life, that’s a difficult concept to come to terms with. The concept of the rugged individual which I, like so many others working in America used live by, simply is not an effective model that will provide us with a successful outcome at this time. We’re all in this together.
I wish an Irish friend of mine would understand that. He’s so angry about restrictions and everything to do with his sense of independence being threatened. Anything from having to wear a face mask, to travel restrictions, anger him. It’s not about you Brian, it’s about all of us. Welcome to the barangay!
If you have any questions about retiring to Dumaguete. contact one of our ambassadors
Shortly after arriving into Dumaguete, Michael intuitively knew it was the right place for him. Everything seemed to be right. It was and is. In addition to enjoying the way of life, he also met a special Pinay, and is living contentedly with her near the city.
He now operates Veritas Consulting Group, a company dedicated to helping other expats and Returning Filipinos with their transition to life in Dumaguete City and surrounding areas
Contact – firstname.lastname@example.org