Why the Philippines and Why Now?

From: Living in the Philippines

the-philippines2Most of you may know the Philippines is know for its friendly smiling people, a breed becoming rare in other countries, wealthy or developing. It may most be know by Expat who travel here from all over the world for its non stop low priced quality night life, air conditioned taxis with start up of 60 us cents, beaches, golf courses, the national past time of beauty pageants and fiestas, hotels with service will not get in the best of hotels in more expensive parts of the world. But today there is yet another attraction for those displaced from high paying jobs, on purpose or just because they don't want to work for minimum wage, rather wait out the recession or world wide economic recovery in comfort with maids, helper and caregivers.

Some have been snow birding in the Philippines for years: hiding from the cold. Now some are "economy birding," waiting for the warmer economic climate by hanging out in the Philippines. Here is no sin to be unemployed. They enjoy living here and all the beauties of the country for a fraction of the cost of the more "developed," countries.

For those foreigners who have been here a while, they enjoy most basking not the sun and sea, but the warmth of the people, the Filipinos. For us who have retired here, visiting or just living here for a while, life here is not about the beautiful beaches, mountains, incredible rice terraces, skin diving, kite/wind surfing, five star hotels, non stop night life, massages, great food and low prices. We know being in the Philippines is a thrilling social experience, something you will not find in another country in the world.

Despite the cable TV, Broadband, proliferation of fast food joints and skyscrapers, the Philippines has not lost its old world culture and charm. It is still a place where children bow and put the hand of anyone elder to their foreheads to show respect, where age is a badge of honor, not of disgrace. It is a place where rap music is heard but not understood and does not need to be. It is the one place in the world where foreigners from every nation are welcome, are embraced in "Filipino Hospitality."

The Philippines is a "foreign country," where the people who are not totally fluent in English people listen to you and understand most of what you say. Yes, even if they have a thick accent or a hard time responding back to you they do understand and want to help you. It is a foreign country where everyone has a family member, or extended family members abroad. Many feel because you are from abroad you probably know their relatives abroad! It is a place where everyone is connected, where touching, talking and the intimacy of friendship is still more valued than watching TV. where birthdays are more important than work, where people are more important than things, rare indeed in non communal societies like Western ones most of us come from.

Visiting the Philippines is not a thrill like a roller coaster ride or a bungee jump but an insightful life changing experience, a rebirth, a reincarnation, a new way of looking at the world and others with compassion, understanding and empathy. You have to come here and made friends with the Philippines and its people to connect with these thoughts. I have tried to give you a taste of the experience you will have in these pages. But until you are here, and then maybe not until you leave it and remember, will you feel it. Most likely you will never understand it. But understanding is not necessary. Come and experience it, feel it, enjoy it, and you will know why the Philippines and why now!

Why You Will Want to Live, Retire, Travel or Do Business in the Philippines?

Living, Traveling and Retiring in the Philippines as a foreigner or "expat," is a dream come true for me. Beaches, ocean and mountains are all at my doorstep. The sun almost always shines here, where I live, out of the northern typhoon belt.

Almost all Filipinos and Filipinas adore foreigners, expatriates, (expats) who live here or retire here. And they welcome and appreciate or just tourist too, the only English speaking country in the world were foreigners from any country are respected and admires.

I was first here in 1980, two times. But in my two stays of several months, it got in my blood. Even after the first visit, I knew I would be back. But it took ten of the longest years in my life. I counted the days though I was reasonably happy where I was until I got back to what I consider my paradise. You too, will become addicted to the sunshine, smile and laughter if you come over to this best kept secret in the world, or it was until the Internet gave people access to information about the joys and wonder of living in the Philippines. Filipinos are too shy to promote their "poor," country, to me the richest in the world because of the Filipino people, the beauty of them and their culture of happiness, sharing and love.

So we expats who live here help promote the Philippines. It is truly a fantastic place to visit for many reasons. You will find out more on the website and if you join our free mailing list, Living, Retiring Traveling, and Doing Business in the Philippines. And if you want it all with you and more, do get the package of valuable information books and newsletters at Philippine Dreams.

As a man, I love to see the beautiful Filipinas smile. I even enjoy the smile of the men, coming from their hearts. I know many foreign women find the Filipino men polite, romantic and attractive. Many foreign men are attracted to Filipinas and marry them. Some stay here, some take their wives back to their countries. Some return to the Philippines later, to live or retire. Some only return every year to visit. Once you have been here, you will come back. The Philippines and the Filipino people are addictive.

Generosity is part of the culture in the Philippines. Getting to know the Filipino culture will greatly enhance your living or traveling experience. But it is not something you have to do. The Filipino people are very tolerant of foreign culture and customs. They understand it's hard to adapt to another country right away. Filipinos have traveled the world as contract workers, and know the problems of acculturation.The Filipino people make you feel needed and wanted here. When I lived in the States as a retiree, I felt lost in my own country. But here I feel wanted and appreciated, not yet put out to pasture. I can be a provider of help and information, and an asset to this developing country. I'm not just a barnacle on the bottom of the ship of the United States. Other foreigners living and retired here share this feeling with me. I hope you also get to experience the hospitality and the joy of being needed here. If you find it hard to understand or accept another culture, you will not be happy in any country, certainly not here. This website and our Yahoo list, Living, Retiring, Traveling and Doing Business in the Philippines, are great places to start learning the Filipino way.

Do You Want to Find Romance in the Philippines?

Many of our members are married to or involved in a relationship with Filipinas. This website has a link to a page called, Romance Philippine style. We are not an international introduction service nor a mail order bride service. Neither are we connected or linked with any.What you read here and on our list about members' marriages and relationships are not exaggerations. When we discuss challenges in relationships, we don't sugar coat.

We talk about the challenges involved in trying to relate to another person's culture and about the family relationships of the Filipinas. We discuss the pleasures and the challenges, the involvement with a Filipina present.It is important to know all this, and of the inherent risks of getting into a long distance relationship. And it is important to understand how valuable it is to first take a trip here, before becoming involved or falling in love.It is very easy to come here and meet wonderful women, in person. Surely you will find the one who will appreciate you. And you will know who they really are, not just their "Net Face". If you don't know anything about the culture, you will not know your Filipina friend though you may swear you do. Take it from the guys who have found out the hard way. You may find a Filipina wife, bride, fiance or girlfriend, but will you be happy together?

On the mailing list, soon to be a Forum here, we have people discussing how there relationship prospered or failed, relationships in progress, hear from those who have had many relationships with Filipinas, Filipinos, mostly foreigners who have had at least one Filipina wife. Many are the first and last Filipina marriages. But some have problems the first time, get addicted to the Filipina, go for the second, even the third. But so many are the first, the last and the only. Join our list and hear the stories and the comments. Our archives are full of them. That is what makes this website and the discussion list an even more valuable resource. You can learn about the culture of the Filipina and Filipino, so you can be a better guest, boyfriend or husband. Or just a friend of the Filipino people.

Do You, As an Ex-pat, Want a Life with Maids, Helpers and Drivers? Can You Afford Eating Out? What Amenities Do You Want?

Lifestyles - Costs - Who is Here.

Some foreigners here are retired or semi-retired, like I am, doing what they like. Sometimes that is doing nothing, the hardest thing to do. Others are working on "Ex-pat packages," provided by companies based in their home countries. Some are here as investors, staying on tourist visas and extending their stay for long periods of time. They may have investment, such as bars, restaurants, hotels, and other businesses. Maybe only a share of that business, as allowed by local law. They may watch their investment very closely, like some who own bars, and visit their investment every day and night for hours on end.(The bar business is not recommended. See the link on Jobs, Business and Investments) Some are tourists who came and forgot to leave the Philippine Paradise they found. Some play a lot, what else, with beaches, nightlife, golf and hoards of other things to do at discount rates. See the link "Other things to do", only a partial list of what could be an inexhaustible one. I live in Cebu City, the Paris of the Philippines. and its second largest city. I rent a six-bedroom, four-bathroom house in a 24/7 guarded compound (don't know why it is guarded, it certainly is safe here,) near Midtown and several huge malls. For this house, which is way too big for me, I pay $380 (U.S.) a month. In more remote areas of the Philippines, housing is cheaper. In Manila, housing can cost much more. To me, Manila is not worth it unless you need the excitement of a big city that never sleeps, and all the business opportunities there. I am a former U.S. Peace Corps staff member, retired, with a modest pension, a little Social Security and some savings. I do some consulting on e-commerce and outsourcing to and from the Philippines across borders. I am still active in medical hypnosis, biofeedback, psychotherapy and cross cultural counseling, resolving Filipino Foreigner relationship conflicts, but by appointment only. I believe I am the only individual practicing hypnosis in the Philippines and certainly biofeedback. But I try to reserve a lot of time for this Net based labor of love, the Philippines, this website and the Yahoo List. And I reserve a lot of time to play, while living a fine lifestyle, at low cost, with hospitable Filipinos and friendly expats, many of whom I have met through this website.

Manila and the Other Places To Live.

Manila has everything, and is the heart of the Philippines. It is the "National Capital Region", consisting not only of the city of Manila, per se, but the contiguous cities around it. Manila is a very big, exciting city, hard for some to deal with and not reflective of the Philippines as whole. If you have only been in Manila you have not been to the Philippines. There are many places to live, save with amenities. Check the links.Some are very inexpensive, remarkably so. On a $1,000 a month in some places you will feel like a millionaire and be treated as one, a strange experience for some, certainly for me.

Depending on your comfort level. in a small city or town you can have a good life on as little as $600 per month. In Manila you will not be comfortable with less than $1,000, unless you don't have many materialistic needs. $I,500 is better, but not required.

On the low side I lived by the beach, for more than a year. My house was a Nipa hut on bamboo stilts, actually in the South China Sea. My monthly expenses were $400 per month including food and the few amenities I had.I had more than most around me, and money left over to loan, really to give away.(When you "loan" money to poor people, it is folly to think they can pay you back.) I did not have steady electricity or indoor plumbing, but it was a good life and many helpers around to fetch water, cook and such. I had music, even TV when I had electricity. I used batteries when the power failed.I fished from the porch of my house and from my bamboo raft. And, I had many wonderful, loyal friends who provided me with lot of happiness, a life full of laughter and smiles.

As I said earlier, to live in Manila, you will need $1,500 per month to live comfortably. And, you need to be careful with your money. In Cebu you will do with less. And in Davao, Mindanao, cost of living is even less than in Cebu. Budgets, posted by members, are on the Link, "Cost of Living, Houses, Food and Other Expenses." These budgets include Subic. Olongapo, Angeles City and others.

Maids, Domestic Helpers, Nurses, Employees

My two live-in maids make me feel like a king. I can't remember when I have not had breakfast in bed. I pay the maid and cook $40 per month each (above average in the Philippines) plus the cost of their food. Registered nurses, licensed vocational nurses, gardeners and drivers are available at similar rates. When you hire people at the market rate they appreciate you and appreciate their job. Pay much more, and you may be asking for trouble. For those like me, who sometimes or always have minor or major physical disabilities, you may want to hire a caretaker. Those will help you get around, travel in comfort, and enjoy life, rather than being cooped up watching TV and doing Internet. My physical challenge does not require the services of a caretaker because of the excellent physical therapy I receive. I am very active with no help. But I know if I ever need help, here I can afford a batch of caretakers.

Eating in and Out

I spend less than $200 a month on food for me, my wife, and my sweet Filipina maids who are getting fat. I am a more of a vegetarian than not. But I do love the bacon. It is fresh and excellent as are other meats. If you like eating out, there are KFC, McDonalds, Pizza Hut and other fast food chains. You will also find excellent world class, upscale but inexpensive, international restaurants.

I have all the amenities: cable TV, two telephones, fax, DSL Internet connection, air-conditioning, exercise machines, a flower-filled yard and a dog. But, the best thing about living in the Philippines costs nothing: the legendary friendliness and hospitality of its people. Filipinos and Filipinas know how to have a good time, and they want to share it with you. There is no place on earth where a stranger is welcomed so quickly and sincerely.

What You Need, To Live in the Philippines?

You need a steady income or investment money and serious business skills to live here. This is a capital starved country. With just a little capital and a lot of study you can double your money every year and a half in the provinces. You can do the same in two to three years in the cities, if you know what you are doing. However, very few do that when they arrive here. (See the link on Investment and Business.) No one in their right mind is going to tell you business is easy for a foreigner here. But business it is not easy anywhere. It is much easier if you have a loyal and smart, business minded Filipina wife. That may be your best asset, almost a necessity. And if you have the right one, she will bring joy and happiness into your heart and life. Beware of local Filipino "friends". There will be many who "just want to help you". Most folks, like humans tend to be, are interested most in helping themselves, not that there is anything wrong with that. But as you know, free help is usually worth exactly what you pay for it.

What Do You Need to visit the Philippines?(Answer: Only: 1. A Passport from your country; 2. plane ticket; 3. money for room and board, expenses)

If you want to stay over 21 days or for life there are visa requirements. But for less than 21 days even a visa is not required.

We have a section on visas at http://www.livinginthephilippines.com/visa.html. But just come over, work all that out later if you want to stay longer as many do. If you are not that adventurous to just take off, read the visa section at and join the mailing list to get all the latest information, find out about spousal visas, fiancée visas for Filipinas, Filipinos, permanent resident visas, so may others. Find out why you can't or will not want to work here. Jobs are out of the question unless you are a senior executive with a foreign company who has an office here and wants to move you here, pay you.

But don't get confused about how easy it is to just visit. Those three things, above, passport, ticket and money, are all you need to get here and enjoy. The Philippines welcomes visitors from almost all countries. Don't make a visa a bigger deal than it is. Do get one if needed. Any travel agent or anyone on our mailing list you can join from there will guide you as will the Bureau of Immigration. There are offices all over the country. Some will make it very complicated. Some know it is just to visit is very simple. It is all simple is you break it down into parts. I hope to see you here!

How Can You Have a Job, Business, and Investments in the Philippines?

Cheap labor is a big plus in living here. The few that have capital and smart Filipina wives, do very well. That is, if they take the time first to learn about the Philippine culture and business regulations, the Filipino mind, culture and sensitivities. Jobs for foreigners are extremely scarce, There is more about special situation jobs, jobs available for those married to Filipinas or Filipinos, consultants and others on the "Jobs, Investing and Business,"the Link on the left. But here is the bottom line for most of you: Though business opportunities abound even with little capital, a job, unless it is with a foreign company, is hard to find. If you don't work for a foreign based company, with a few exceptions you need be married to a Filipina to legally work here. Most foreign based companies send members of their existing staff here. Since Philippines is considered a nice assignment, there is competition even if you are in the company. There are many well educated, experienced and highly qualified English speaking unemployed Filipinos and Filipinas in the labor market, who can't get jobs for even $3 per day. Work permits are not necessary if you are married to a Filipino citizen. You only need to register with the Department of Labor and Employment. But do you really want to work for local wages, maybe less than $3:00 a day?

So, It is much better to have your own business in the Philippines, the only real option unless you are married to a Philippine citizen. Even then, working for yourself in your own business or profession is the best option. But it is tricky.(Again, see the Jobs, Investments, Business Link, on the left. for more) You must know the local culture and customs. And former successful business experience is a requirement. Don't try to hit the ground running and cut you teeth as a business man in the Philippines, a culture much more different from yours than you may think.

If you have even a modest pension, you are in good shape too. And you can still probably save enough to run a small business, for additional income and something to do. But business as a hobby is often costly. If you are going to do it, most of the time you have to be watching the store. Remember, you may find better things to do here to keep occupied. There are many things that are a lot more fun than business, especially in a culture you may not understand. If you still want to do business, start with learning the culture, reading the appropriate civil codes on taxation, labor, corporations, and such and tread softly until you get your Philippine business legs.

How Can You Get More First hand Information, on How to Live, Retire, Travel and Do Business in the Philippines?

Not only does this site provide a multitude of information you won't find anywhere else. It also connects to a to a FREE Yahoo! Group!, Living, Retiring, Traveling and Doing business in the Philippines,This is a Free Yahoo Groups! Discussion list where you can get answers to your questions from expats living here. Some them you may want to know better and interact with, on and off line. They may become your friends and contacts, and even provide inside information, to help you before you come to the Philippines, not when it is already too late. more below...

How This List, Website and I Can Help You?

I have been living, traveling and counseling foreigners in the Philippines since 1990. My first visit to the Philippines was in 1980. Because I have been married to three Filipinas, lived here and in the US with the first one, I have a broad perspective. Living with a Filipina wife in a western country can be very different from living with one here. That is assuming she has never been to your country. Luckily I am married to a wonderful one now, Ani, as lovely on the inside as the outside. But the first two were good learning experiences The Philippines is a great place to live. Special to me is Cebu City where I have lived since 1996. I relocated from Hundred Islands area, Pangasinan, Luzon, my former wife's home. That is a beautiful area too, with great people, but not as cosmopolitan as the Queen City of the South. Since I am a psychologist, former contact cross culture trainer, US Dept of State and the US Peace Corps. Lay Philippine Cultural anthropologist, retired US Peace Corps staff, and having studied the culture so many years, I feel uniquely qualified to comment on it from the perspective of an ex-pat. By creating and managing the List, Living, Retiring, Traveling and Doing Business (jobs) in the Philippines since 1999 I have learned even more.. I have lived for periods of time in Cebu City, Baguio, Angeles City, Manila, Naga City, Olongapo/Subic Bay. I built a house in Hilongos, Leyte (2003) and one in Bolinao, Pangasinan (1994) I have many professional Filipino friends to help you with relocation or other needs you may have, including advice on business, law, medical and other issues you may face. I can advise you on many things. And maybe I can save you a lot of time, money and even grief. I do promote the Philippines, and I am responsible for an article on Cebu City in Kiplinger's Magazine, "Living in Paradise", April 2002, and other articles. You will find out some of the negative things about moving here. But to me, the positive ones far out weight them or I would not be here. Our Yahoo discussion list with 15,000+ members, and growing is informative, even for those who live here. I learn every day after 25 years of study visits and living here steady for the last 15 years. We have eight moderators who like I do try to keep it orderly and on topic. But being human, we don't always succeed. The List is hosted in Cebu City, Cebu Island, but covers the Philippines, most of which I have traveled and lived. And the places I have not traveled, And other Traveled or lived in these places where I have and have not will be happy tell you about them too. If you come, I urge you to learn to speak some of the language. I speak the Filipino (Tagalog) conversationally. My wife speaks Cebuano, Visayan, Tagalog . I am learning Cebuano, but slowly. Speaking the language is not necessary, but knowing a few words will really help you get into the heart of the Filipino people a warm and wonderful place to be.

I hope you have an opportunity to visit. You will enjoy the hospitality, sun and sand, the nightlife and certainly the people.

What to Watch Out For, How to be Safe from Scams, Scam by Foreigners in the Philippines

I am sorry to say, foreigners with no or little income, but yours, are the primary parasites you need to watch out for in the Philippines. So many want to live in the Philippines but don't have and income to do it. Like Philippine businesses they target foreigners as "easy pickings," with money. Philippine marketing people have foreigners especially tourist in their target market along with overseas workers who have good income too. Retirees have less money than tourist, no longer working. But they still have more than the average Filipino. As a tourist here, even if you are broke, you fall in the "Class A." economic class as potential customers for genuine and sham services and products. Do not give anyone money to get you a job, work permit or a girlfriend.

Read this website http://www.livinginthephilippines.com, ask on our mailing list http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LivingInThePhilippines3/ of 16,000 members, read its archives, and you will understand the folly of counting on working in the Philippines, the challenges of doing business here.  Don’t send any one money for a “working visa,” with the assurance of a job, eventually.  And as far as girlfriend, if you run fast enough, one will catch you!

Other “like sites,” knock off sites, that try to confuse with you with our site, Living in the Philippines, exist only to separate  you from your money. I would not bother even mentioning them if they did not use permutations of Living in the Philippines and our good name to solicit visitors, members, to take advantage of them. Don’t fall for get rich quick deals, E-bay from the Philippines, your own turn key outsourcing business, and such nonsense. These businesses are hard to do here, take a lot of experience and a business minded supportive wife from less than a needy family with connections to help you be even marginally successful in a land you do not understand.

Don’t be fooled by some of these people represent themselves as Philippine experts, business consultants who have made lots of money, legally. Most have only live in one or two isolated parts of the Philippines have no real awareness of the country as a whole and have not been here a tenth of the time they imply. They may have made more money here than in the States, but only because they were not very successful in the States. Maybe that is because they did not have naïve guys like you to rob in a country where foreigners look for other foreigners for guidance and it is easy to pick the wrong guy. 

Living all over the Philippines and traveling the country was something I made a priority in my first ten years here. I feel if you advise on the Philippines, best to have lived from top to bottom in the many cultures. Though Filipinos are conformists, communal they are diverse from province to province, language to language.

Remember, if the foreigners and a few Filipinos too, were so smart, they would not have to rip-off others. They would have enough creativity to do something different. I give you a source so can check them out as below. Be sure to use it if you are investing any money or accepting any "can't lose," "too good to be true," deals.

Most recently most of these 'wannabes" promoted the Legacy Group Investment scheme. It was allegedly backed by the Philippine Government. The Legacy Group is now exposed as a scam and now shut down. The scam hurt many including the Filipino people and those who are marginal, depend on Rural Banks for financing their crops. Most of the look alike, knock-off websites solicited List members and website visitors to jump on the absurdly high 20 percent per annum "Philippine Government backed." program. The "sellers," made there profit on the sale, up front, never had to pay it back. Buyers lost their money to the sellers, or coconspirators. Some got their money back. Some are waiting. Some may never get their life savings back. Neither Living in the Philippines, http://www.livinginthephilippines.com or me, Don A. Herrington, or my Yahoo List or my forum at http://www.livinginthephilippines.com/forum supported that scam. We have not and will not support scams.

For your own safety remember this is the original Living in the Philippines, http://www.livinginthephilippines.com is the original expat Philippines website, not a knock off. We have been here for about 11 years, and don't really provide any services, endorse only a few businesses that are well checked out. Most of the Filipino businesses I endorse have also been here for more than 20 years, as I have.

I do not screen the adsense ads from Google on my website you are on now. So don't assume they have any approval from me. Other advertisements I do screen. Most service providers I recommend I have used myself. I do not get any commission or pay from any of them as yet. I have some common affiliates, like Amazon.com and others you know about as well as I do. After 10 years Amazon send me a check for $101.00. I keep them and the others on the website only to serve you. I may remove them as time allows. I am not sure of their value to you.

These knock off sites at also full of links to sites that charge you for shoddy services if any service or product is received. Some of these sites are highly ranked because they pay underage workers to click on the Google Adsense Ads and their own pages to make money and get ranked high fraudulently. Some reportedly brag about Google adsense fraud using underpaid Filipinos and will teach you how to do it for a fee, of course.

I hear sad stories every day. Do not trust anyone here until you have been around a very long time or know a lot about the person. Be sure the person has a clean track record. I do have one affiliate you can contact at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .
They do investigations for would be Filipina girl friends and brides. But they also do other investigations for major companies: can check on titles, businesses, individuals with whom it is safe to do business. If you are interested in their services see http://www.livinginthephilippines.com/style15.html. You may want to book mark that page.

Best be careful with all new acquaintances. Money talks in developed countries. Money screams in developing ones like the Philippines. Keep your money safe by not being taken in by professional foreigner thieves in the Philippines. If there is any doubt, get away from the suspected con man or consider using a certified investigation service before letting go of money you may never see again.
News Update: Safety in the Philippines April 2009

The US Government and others are misinforming potential travelers to the Philippines with their and other and I feel grossly distorted and exaggerated and unnecessary alarming "travel alerts." My guess is the State Department is Playing it safe, not a bad idea after 9/1. If they scare you away with terrifying travel alerts, they can never be held responsible for anything untoward that may happen to anyone, anywhere. Then again we need to consider that maybe it is their policy is to keep people in the States visiting Disneyland and other traditional State side destinations. The States does have an economic crisis. Having US Citizens spend their money there rather than here is not a bad idea for the US Government.

Dominating the news from the Philippines is the kidnapping of Red Cross workers in the far off southern Islands of the Philippines, Basilan and Jolo Islands. Please know the areas where the three were kidnapped,(two as of today, April 1, are already released) Basilan Island, is remote indeed, not on any tourist itenerary. Those islands are to the Philippines, as the U.S Aleutian Islands are to the rest of the United States. These are not a places to visit for any reason. If you are a US Citizen have you ever considered going to the Aleutian's? If you are a Filipino or even a tourist here, you would have a similar lack of interest in Basilan Island,or Jolo Islands, far away from everything and nothing to see.They are very hard to get to even if you wanted to go. This is a country with a poor infrastructure, very poor for remote islands with little purpose but a place for bandits to hide.

Basilan Island is a place 99 percent of Filipinos and 99,999 percent of non military foreigners have never visited or ever will even see. The three Red Cross workers were in a place where they did not belong, something akin to a war zone for all but those who live there. And they knew it. They made a serious mistake by going there to inspect their humanitarian program though they were trying to do the right thing. Our prayers and meditations are with the remaining hostage, a middle aged Italian who will hurt no one even if he could. We are thankful two were released, pray the other two are also safely freed soon.

You should understand that the kidnapping is all about money not politics, revolution or terrorism. It is being done by "rebels ,"without an idealistic cause who want to finance their war or just make money, the latter not a sin in itself. These :rebels, are people pushed to the limit by poverty, people who would not be rebels if they had decent jobs to feed themselves. The Philippine government is working hard to reduce even eliminate poverty, not a new problem. It is one that has plagued past administrations too; some of them even aggravated the poverty. Sins of the past take a long time to rectify. We need to bear with the Philippine's Government's serious efforts. Their task is not an easy one.

To be correctly informed about what is really going on here, I suggest you join our Mailing List or our Forum at http://www.livinginthephilippines.com/forum . There you can read what the foreigners there say, not just me. You can ask the foreigners from every country in the world who have chosen to live here, if they are safe here. They will tell you how distorted the news reports are about limited safety here are, how safe they are, how safe it is even to wander around at night alone in most places. If you visit here, you will quickly learn that Filipinos are not confrontational, avoid conflict unless pushed over their limit. Even Filipinos who are so hungry they may rob someone on the street, and that is rarely done, will leave them with money for transportation! Where else in the world would a "holduper" be concerned about the welfare of his victim!

What are the Safety Concerns In the Philipppines?

There are some, mostly do to with infrastructure. This country is made for people who average about 5ft 8inches high. If you are taller you can get hung on some wire hanging on the street. It is also possible to step; in a hole, even likely if you walk a lot in the ;poorer areas of town where there is not enough pull at city hall to get streets upgraded. We have brown outs, no electricity. That can cause havoc when red lights go out. Yes, there are problems. But don't worry about the kidnapping. Unless you are were you don't belong, and you will be advised of that, and you have money or connections who will pay to get you free, there may be a remote chance of getting kidnapped. But you will have to work at it. It is not a common occurrence, extremely rare for a foreign tourist. Your changes of been hit by a teen age drunken driver in the States is much greater. And that I hope is pretty rare now too.

Be truly and correctly informed so you can come over and enjoy the Philippines, and its uniquely wonderful people, not be put off by the media, sometime even the Philippine tabloid media. To join our List, click here. To join our Forum, click here.

Update on Safety in the Philippines; Red Cross Workers in the Philippines, Safety in the Philippines Forum, Mail List Last updated May 1,2009 For more see http://www.livinginthephilippines.com/safe.html

05/11/2009 12:49

PHILIPPINES

Vagni in safe house, soon to be released, says Filipino military spokesman by Santosh Digal

The International Red Cross worker is no longer in the hands of kidnappers who moved him around, but rescue operations are hindered by the hostage’s poor health conditions (hernia) which prevent him from walking easily.

He spoke with relatives in Italy for a second time last Friday click here.

Philippines Rebels free Hostage

A Swiss Red Cross worker has been freed by Muslim rebels in the Philippines.

Andreas Notter was freed and unharmed on the southern island of Jolo, far south of Basilan. He has been given a medical check-up and is all okay.

Abu Sayyaf rebels took three Red Cross workers on 15 January after they visited a local prison. They are still holding an Italian, Eugenio Vagni.

Italian Red Cross hostage in Philippines gets new life

www.chinaview.cn 2009-05-20 19:26:31

MANILA, May 20 (Xinhua) -- The Italian Red Cross worker kidnapped by Al Qaeda-linked militants managed to phone his family days after the authorities monitoring the hostage crisis lost contact with him in the jungles of southern Sulu province, a military spokesman said Wednesday. Eugenio Vagni is still alive and talked to his wife on phone Tuesday, Navy spokesman Lt. Col. Edgard Arevalo told a local radio station.

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