John: Texan in the Philippines
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to the Philippines, etc.
My name is John Jackson and I am from Belton Texas. My wife (a Filipina) and I moved here to Calbayog City Samar Philippines in May 2010. We were bored with the rat race in the US and thought the slower pace of the Philippines would suit us better.
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?
I actually started blogging in August of 2010, but had a slow start because I was unsure of how to begin. Once I got going I found out that it is not as easy as I thought it would be, but eventually it gets easier.
I started because I wanted something to do and I thought it would be a good way to make a little bit of money and to help people in the process.
So far I have helped people more than I have made money. That's okay, but I'd really like to be doing both.
Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?
- Well I have my initial post that is not very good, but it expresses my intentions of starting a blog.
- There is also this site that was really the beginning of my new blog after I got some help and a much better idea of how things are in the blogging world.
- Finally I would say that the posts that I started when we went on our trip to Texas via Space A travel was the beginning of my biggest adventure since being in the Philippines.
Tell us about the ways your new life in the Philippines differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?
Well the pace here is much slower, that is what we were counting on. It's a bit of an adjustment moving to the Philippines and it definitely is not for everyone. We have a smaller house now, but at least it is paid for.
I really did not have any culture shock because I have visited here many times already, which I would recommend to anyone thinking about moving here.
Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in the Philippines? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?
Like I said, I had visited here several times and I was somewhat prepared, but I believe that no one will be fully prepared for the adjustments you have to make. It's just something you have to make work for you. I'm told it takes about 5 years to fully adjust. I didn't believe that at first. It thought I could adjust faster, but I was wrong. I now believe it will take about those 5 years.
Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?
I can't think of anything right now. You do have to kind of re-learn English while you are here though. Like “Falling in line” means “Get in line” and some Filipinos have a hard time pronouncing the letter “P”.
That can get interesting at times.
Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in the Philippines?
- Visit before you commit to moving here. Preferable to the area that you plan to or think you want to retire to.
- Even after you move here, have an exit plan in case things don't work out the way you thought they would.
- Be sure to have a guaranteed income before moving here. It is near impossible to get a decent paying job here, especially if you are a foreigner.
How is the expat community in the Philippines? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?
I have met a few expats in person, online and both. So far they have all been nice and pretty helpful. Some more helpful than others, but that's normal. There are not too many at this time living here in Calbayog, but I hope that will change soon. The main reason for my website is to help people that want to move to or visit here. I know that accurate information for this area is hard to find on the internet.
How would you summarize your expat life in the Philippines in a single, catchy sentence?
Surviving in the Land of Smiles