What To Live In The Philippines

I rent a two bedroom, two C.R. townhouse for under $190 a month, 16 foot ceilings, in a middle class area in Davao City. Back home in my area of New England I'll pay $700 plus for a 550 sq. ft. studio in a suburban area.

Full time housekeeper and/or babysitter here: $40 - $60 (less if you want to be cheap or take in a family member to help with schooling/food).

Full time housekeeper and/or babysitter there: Yeah right, most of us couldn't even afford once a week cleaning service and drop $10 - $20 to go out for a couple of hours for a babysitter.

Electric here: $90 - $110 (use lots of air con)

Electric there: $130 - $180 (elec heat winter, air con summer)

Cable here: $16 (HBO, STARZ, Cinamax, CS, Fox Crime, AXN, AXN Beyond, STARZ World, Discovery, National Geographic, Law and Order is on about 15 times a day, NBC Nightly News, everything I watch at home except History Channel, about 90 channels,)

Cable there: $50 (No premium channels but do get the History Channel, NGC and Discovery requires add on service for even more $$$$, don't know how many channels, don't care, I do miss the History Channel but actually find the lineup in the Philippines more entertaining then at home, and for a lot less).

DSL here: $24

Broadband there: $55 (but it is a lot faster)

Phone here: $14 (for fiancee mostly, SMART cards) Skype $8 (for me mostly w/ skype-in number, used mostly to call family in U.S.)

Phone there: $25 basic service, still use Skype (if calling Philippines CHA-CHING!!!! unless they have skype too, that is a Philippines issue though).

Food: Dealers choice, for the most part Philippines is cheaper unless you are talking Folgers coffee, Hershey's chocolate, ice cream, orange juice, potatoes, tomatoes... But than again, fresh tuna, Blue Marlin, squash, giant prawn, sweet potato, mango, bananas, coconut, meter long string beans, radish, cucumbers, etc are cheaper, in some cases a LOT cheaper.

Going to the wet market is an experience at first (little rat running along under the table and the smells), but how many of us visit the meat packing plants in the U.S.? It is more a case of being faced with the reality of where our food comes from here in the Phil's than a safety concern. FDA? USDA? What a joke!!! More than happy to go to the wet market here and make sure they cut my pork chops fatter than my thumb. Will admit they could clean their eggs a little better when packing them for the supermarket. But have never gotten sick.

Did you see the report on the percentage of canned goods with fecal matter in the U.S.?

Eggs are probably a lot fresher on the side of the road, though we do buy ours at the supermarket because for some reason they're a lot cheaper.

Hamburger is fine here, but boy do I miss a good steak!!

Two hours to pay SMART bill? Utility bills can be a pita, but there are tricks to make it a lot easier and quicker.

Auto insurance in the U.S. for me is $2,400 a year, it's a sports car. I could never afford being dependent on taxis in the U.S. and public transportation is only good in the big cities, Trykes, Jeepneys, Taxis are affordable and convenient here.

People watching you like you're stealing? Are you aware of the hidden security in stores in the U.S.? You are being watched as if you are going to steal in the U.S., you just don't know it.

Ever hear of Red Tide? How about the medical waste washing up on Connecticut beaches? What was it that happened in Milwaukee? It all depends on where you are in either country.

I love the lizards running around the house. Was very entertained at first with giant cockroach hunting with a banana broom, but alas only get the pleasure once every two months or so, killed them off it seems.

Went to the Outback in Makati a few weeks back and was impressed, service was great and I found the food to be just as good as in the U.S. and the service great! Really wish I could find a steak like that in Davao!!!

What I miss in the U.S.?

My family.
My sports car.
Good roads to lots of places to drive my sports car on.
Good steak.
Green grass.
Good paying job (If I save enough and the wife leaves me than maybe I can afford to live in Manila next time where the roads are good and I can find a good steak).

What I will miss in the Philippines?

Inexpensive living in the Philippines
Friendly people in the Philippines.
Treated like you're special in the Philippines.

Note: I would say beautiful young woman, that if you use you're head (on your shoulders), will love you like you never imagined, treat you like a king and with respect, are extremely clean, learn to be the best lover you ever had, etc. Why do I say exception? I have mine, I am male, I am weak, and this kid needs to get out of the candy store. Too much temptation! I don't know if that is a plus or a minus, depends on your mood.