This year (2019), I've been living in Philippines for the majority of the time since May! Before this, I've visited two other times, including a 2 month and 3 month stint. Many of my friends ask, "Matt, were you ever scared?" "Did you ever feel like you weren't safe?
My answer, YES! At times I thought I was going to have to kill someone while my phone was dying and I had no connection and I couldn't get home quickly!
1. Killing someone
This is a desire I get several times per week when living here. In the USA, it's a very very bad thing to be late. Maybe there's an acceptable grace period of 15 minutes. But if you're more late than 15 minutes, you're VERY sorry about that and you owe that person something if they stayed to meet with you.
In Manila, Philippines, it's incredibly common to disrespect my time and be late by 1, 2, or sometimes 3-4 hours! To adapt to this, I've established a strategy to 'meet' someone about one hour earlier than when I plan to arrive. And, I am generally only willing to meet somewhere walkable to where I'm staying. But I've still almost killed someone due to walking downstairs and 5 minutes, to only find myself waiting another 1 hour. And then another hour.
Luckily, I bring my computer and hotspot and can remain productive, despite vigorous and consistent attempt to disrespect my time.
If you travel to the Philippines I recommend you watch out for these common excuses that will trick you into wasting hours and hours of your time, over and over again:
"It was traffic." (yes, traffic is like the weather here. "It's traffic outside," not "there was a lot of traffic.")
"On the way na."
By the way, as I write this post, a date i agreed to leave my house at 7pm is still not here and it's 10:35pm. And my old staff member who agreed to meet me at 9pm is still not here to turn in his old company iPhone.
2. My phone was dying.
I almost died, too! Without data and information, you are probably pretty close to helpless as a foreigner in a new country. When your phone dies, you can't search for the closest place to buy a power bank. So, you might as well curl up in a bal l
Make sure to keep your phone charged to 100% when you leave the house, and bring a fully charged 10,000mAh power bank so you can charge your phone multiple times per day.
When you leave the US, you might also leave your car charger or your charge you keep at work. And there is nothing worse than hesitating to use your phone for information when you are in a new çountry when you need it most.
By the way, you can check out my travels here:
3. No connection
Another unexpected danger of traveling in Philippines was primarily outside of the Metro Manila area. Which, by the way, did you know this fun fact about Manila:
4. Couldn't get home
This is probably to be expected in any new country.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.