The Philippines – A Perfect Example of Where East Meets West
It would be an understatement to say we are living in interesting times. While migrations of people have been a prevalent aspect of life throughout the ages, we are presently seeing people migrate at levels not seen since World War 2.
Migrations are predictable especially when wars or famines are involved. Civilians, mostly women, and children flee to avoid destruction. Their needs are basic. All they want is some level of physical security, food and clothing for themselves, and their children.
Presently Europe has large numbers of legal and illegal refugees flowing past their borders. Their hope is the same as always, physical safety, and basic needs. It represents the perennial hope for a better life. And who could blame them for wanting that?
But what about in our part of the world, the Philippines, and Dumaguete in particular? The dynamics are different, but there are also similarities in terms of wants and needs although at elevated levels. People from the Philippines want to find a better life in the West. They go to America, Canada, the Middle East, and also some European countries. As they move, think of them passing by Westerners heading in the opposite direction to live in Dumaguete. Isn’t there an irony in their relative positions?
In the medical profession, doctors and nurses from The Philippines are held in high regard. They are perhaps the most respected medical professionals from any country. Filipino nurses are in high demand worldwide because of their professional skills and their aptitude for caring. And how could it be otherwise when Filipinos are among the warmest, kindest, people on the planet? So, instead of receiving minimum wages here, qualified doctors and nurses travel abroad to earn the high salaries they deserve. They are the fortunate ones, the professional class.
Now consider Westerners seeking retirement in a country other than their own. These are interesting people who have had the courage to pack their bags and start a new life. When they come here, it’s not only to a new country, it’s to a new continent. When I told my friends in Canada I was going to live in the Philippines, their response was “You’re going to live where?” they asked incredulously while rushing to look at a map of the world.
Everyone who migrates to The Philippines has their own set of reasons. For me, I was searching for a new way of life, and hopefully, I would find a special woman with which to spend the rest of my life. Also, since I took over my father’s business at age twenty, I’d always been self-employed. I was fortunate to have left Canada in a financially healthy condition, so I was comfortable about whatever might happen. I was also fortunate to find my special lady. With the help of Shirley and our skilled Filipino employees, we built the PhilX Group into a successful business organization.
I understand it’s not as easy for other folks to make the decision to move here to retire. They have an understandable concern about the unknown. What if they had underestimated the cost of living, what if they got sick and needed specialized health care, would it be available? The list of “what if’s” is endless. But, fortunately, so are the comforting answers.
While they all have legitimate concerns, it’s possible that, beneath the surface, lies an irrational fear that prohibits them from presently making that fateful decision. And that’s OK in the short term. But what’s not OK is when they keep on analyzing the situation endlessly, turning over possibilities in their minds until time eventually passes them by and they’ve done nothing. They suffer from what I call, the paralysis of analysis. Then, sadly, one morning they wake up, and it’s too late. Now, they will never leave and change their lives for the better. After a few more years, first one, then the other will die after living their retirement in a predictable, safe, and boring manner.
But the wise ones, the brave ones, who rationally, logically, think the process through, move on to an exciting and productive life. They reward themselves with many years in Dumaguete of whatever it is they want out of their lives. I find it impossible to argue against the wisdom of their position, as opposed to those who allow themselves to be overwhelmed by irrational fears, and in the process deprive themselves of precious experiences that are waiting for them to enjoy.
Obviously, I’ve got business reasons for encouraging individuals and couples to come to retire in Dumaguete. But I do that with a clear conscience because, from the thousands of Expats who have come here to live their retirement years, I’ve never met one who has regretted their decision. All of us now living here had legitimate concerns before taking that important decision to come to Dumaguete. We addressed those concerns in a rational way , then came to the conclusion about what was going to serve us best in the long term. No prize for guessing what that conclusion was!