Living in The Philippines > Expat life in Philippines

just one old soldier\'s opinion

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I have taken the liberty of copying this post from our Yahoo group for those who haven\'t had the chance to read it. I have sent the poster - Eugene Murphy, an email to tell him & to invite him to join us here. I think he has things to say. I hope you agree:

I would never attack you nor anyone personally on this venue. My days of
\"fighting\', \"flame wars\" or any other kind of things that raise my blood
pressure I have long since laid to rest. I in no way meant to infer nor suggest
that \"I love them all\" as you quote, my God there are many horror stories I could tell you of my time \"in country\" in the PI, but I tend to focus mainly of the \"positive\" aspects of both my life and surroundings for I am retired , have worked hard towards that goal and deserve the best this life has to offer me, and I try to live every moment of life I have left, just being the \"murf\" and
having fun with my family and \"barkada\". As for as your statement of \"would my family love me as much if I did not share my wealth with them\", well first off I live on a very fixed income, certainly sufficient, and certainly within the main demographics of the last post regarding income on this site. Before I met my wife I went through money like it was no tomorrow, but never really worried about it for I was happy and knew the \"eagle\" would s*** again on the first of the month.

After three years of writing, communicating with my then just girlfriend I asked her to quite her job as a school teacher for when I came to retire in the Philippines I wanted to go and do things with my wife. And yes I sent her money, every single month, for she was the one bread winner out of a poor family of 10 who was the main stay of their survival, for where we live the current rate of unemployment is nearly at an all time high of 68%, thus if she was willing to quit her job for me, who was suppose to support her family?, that was my question of her she never once asked for anything, nor have any of her 9 other brothers and sisters since 2004 when after 3 years of sending her money for the support of her family....when I arrived in Manila to meet her I was greeted by not only my soon wife to be but also my wonderful mother-in-law and many of my brothers and sisters nieces and nephews...and here is the real kicker...all those 3 years of course I knew how much money I was sending her, I also knew the price of a bag of rice (not the 9 pesos kind) but the 26 peso kind and I knew there was other food stuffs to be bought to supply proper nutrition even if it was only 2 kilos of dry salted fish for 10 pesos. The family gathered around me and escorted us to our hotel where they had booked a honeymoon suite for me and my bride to be, and where they had secured a one room \"taxi room\" for 9 others for 150 pesos a night. Much to my amazement when later on the next day I got around to ask my asawa about the bank book, I was taken aback by the amount , not only did she not spend one \"centavo\" of the money but had gained 3% interest to boot. Yes I have been extremely blessed and lucky I guess in both the honesty, integrity and compassion of my family. My wife due to
being a teacher believes very much in higher education and knows that the only way out of poverty for her brothers and sisters , nieces and nephew\'s is through education. With that said she \"rules with an iron fist\" when it comes to the rules she has laid down for those in the family we have chosen to help. Just ask our now 22 year old niece who while living in her mother\'s house made the mistake of not coming home one night, it was all just a bit of having fun in
staying overnight with a girlfriend, but that young lady was told quite harshly
by my wife that \"if you chose to live here, eat our food, have us help you
through college then you will not be disrespect full to My Mother and worry her as to your whereabouts...if you want to leave and be your own boss, so be it , do it now but don\'t come back!\"Add that to the fact that our niece works 3am every morning in the fish market as a bookkeeper to my sister -in-law who is a fish broker and also helps take care of our family by giving weekly supplies of fresh fish.

Thus I and my wife believe firmly in the odd adage of \"if you give a man a
fish, he will eat for today, if you teach a man to fish he will eat for a
lifetime\"...there are no free handouts in the family that I allow my wife to
usually run...for she is much better with money than me and it frees me to just sit in the hammock and pour back a cold one.Your correct of course when you say \"would they love you\" are we as human beings ever suppose to trust another human being because we have been hurt before by a lover, friend, relative or other. I am sorry that you were hurt before and I support your premise wholly that there are plenty of bad \"Filipinos\"...but in the same vein there are many good, caring , compassionate and honest ones also. Maybe I am \"naive\", but I choose to see the good in everyone, until you prove to me the reverse of that at which time I will simply wish you a better day tomorrow and go on my way.But just as sad as I was for you because you were \"hurt before\", I am extremely happy for both you and your significant other now. God Bless you and Yours.

I am a very blessed and happy man, but I have many sad tales of doom and gloom and personal tragedy I could share with you, but I see no sense in bringing you to a place of depression or sadness because of my woes. One day at the local open air market where we shop I brought 3 Kilos of \"baboy\" (roast pig) which was unusual for my wife or mother-in-law usually do all the shopping for they get a better price than this round blue eyed Yankee gets. Well, I don\'t know the price even but I remember given the man a 500 pesos bill and received some changed and just went about my business. I was half way around the other side of the market when I heard someone shouting my was the man who sold me the pig, he was very excited, very red faced and explained to my wife that he had overcharged me by 100 pesos and apologized deeply. Needless to say when every I go to the market, even though there are 4 pig vendors I choose to go to this man ever time.

In closing first and foremost am a very proud American, lived a life as a
soldier and will die as one. That doesn\'t mean however I can not find love and
happiness in the Philippines...even if your premise might have some validity to
it...that in some strange way I am not aware of I am \"purchasing love\". Remember the days of our youth when we would wine and dine some fine young lady...and end up with only a \"handshake\" instead of a kiss or more at the end of the evening....To make life more complex than it really is somehow to me takes away from ones enjoyment of living in the \"moment\"...I love both the Philippines and \"most\" of their people...I find them the friendliest people in the world with their government being one of the most corrupt in the world. But please remember this is a third world country still...You mention you live in Manila...I could tell you of the times that I have spoken with others while visiting Manila and they ask my wife or me \"is is true that killing people in Mindanao is just like killing a chicken\" my wife much to her spunk would reply\" oh yeah, its an ever day occurrence now so we are used to it\"...of course that is both wrong and maybe something not to turn into an \"urban legend\"...but it makes like so much more enjoyable when you can see one laugh or be afraid of things which simply are more rumor than fact. Dare I forget when I was young and in my prime...I to would be probably just
like \"gailen\" and having 3 girls waiting on me, thus who am I to judge...but as
one grows older an hopefully a little wiser one learns that usually what you get
out of this life is what you put into it. Thus for me I will continue to help my
family in anyway I can as long as they are responsible and giving something back to both our family and the Filipino community at large. I will continue to have a party every Friday night with Beer na Beer,Tanduay, and Kulafu for my
brothers, some Grey Goose Vodka for myself, some wine for my sisters and friends with my wife bringing up the rear doing shots with salt lime and Jose Cuervo. And as far as \"some girls\" willing to do anything to get to the USA, mine has been here for two years, has seen all the glitter and bling-bling that we have to offer has been a godsend to my dying mother and ailing father, has stayed with me in the hospital for months at a time through 2 heart attacks, 2 kidney failures and one hip replacement, many times sleeping in a chair with just her coat around her for a blanket. And now come October of this year I am getting rid of everything here, moving and retiring to the Philippines to live, enjoy life and hope the pesos gets back to 57.5 Some say and probably wisely to us expats (I first came to the Philippines in 1968 Clark AFB where I was medivaced in from a hot landing zone 27 miles northwest of Danang AFB,Charlies Ridge where they had to fix a blown kidney that a 14
year old boy had snipped me from a coconut tree where I stupidily stood up at a 3am watch and light a cigarette) I first fell in love with the Filipino people
then, after two and a half more tours in the \"Nam\", I had a year in Thailand to
\"unwind\"...for one of my \"Tops\" said I was \"wound up to tight to be released in
the USA population.\", ....thus live my friend...I hope we can be friends for I
am fully aware that I need American \"brothers\" when I come back to the PI, thus to any and all out there , feel free to write me a line publicly or offline, and I will gladly respond and see if we can\'t get together for a weekend or so of fun.

Hopes this clarifies everything for I have a tendency to ramble and do not want to eat up the posts with my \"the great american novel\". Thus this will be the last I post of this subject to allow others to get back to more serious matters. Good luck in your ventures wherever they may carry you, be good to yourself for your worth it and always is not HIV that is the most contagious entity in the world....It is simply.....a Smile...

God Bless to You and Yours
Semper Fi
The \"Murf\"

I for one most certainly agree and I hope he accepts your invitation.
Arlie :)

 I also am pleased you did. I read it on LinP3 and was impressed. Wish I could coherently put down my thoughts as clearly as \"murf\" 

4/6/2008 2:05:46 PM

Keith and other Moderator…sorry forgot the name already. This is my first post after your invite so go easy on the “jarhead”…never said I was too bright just good looking lol…anyway writing this in word for I really am struggling with exactly where it is I post to a certain person can only find… “don’t know where to post, post here”…so by God I clicked the link and just like while in the Marines if you put a big enough “arrow” painted in florescent orange we can eventually find our way to the “head”.
This will probably be a “long post” so for the gentlemen who said “you better catch me in the first sentence” or else I click onward…how about?...You know if you’re a “Redneck” when your cousin from West Virginia invites you to the Jerry Springer Show and you accept!...If I lost you at that one…well that’s all I have for now.
I have been reading the posts faithfully here and on the other site, shucks I really don’t know which one is which, but I am both amazed and delighted at the wealth of information that one can glean from these pen to paper delights. The vast amount of differences you can find here with little to no outward display of “anger”, and/or resentment only bespeaks of the maturity of those members here. That includes you “Rufus”, or is it Mr. Rufus to you due to you being my elder, either way I love your wit and humor it helps take the edge of some of the other at times honest, truthful but at times sad remittances we all must make at times if we are honest with ourselves.
I will not bore you all with too much of my personal background for I am just a simple man seeking a life of peace harmony and good will toward all, while at the same time being fiercely independent when it comes to the protection of my family and friends. You all know I am a Marine and that to me means something but is not worth a nickel in some of your eyes as well it should be and I respect you for that. I simply mention the fact that I was a Marine for what a man is usually based solely on where he comes from, where he has been and his life’s experiences. The one thing you need to know is that although a Marine and yes did experience some horrible things both done to me and some I did to others is that not by any stretch of imagination do I claim any title to either be a hero, brave or for that matter maybe at times not even honorable, although I have a good record with the Marines go, they only looked for soldiers who did what they were trained to do and sometimes after about half way through my second tour there were times when I did not tow the military chain of command and reported back to the CO, that they were wrong, there were no active enemy in this village and I will simply head the squad back to the fire-base. Thus the only real heroes I know out of that crazy war are the some now 58,000 plus names engraved on that cold black granite marble called the “Wall”.
Thus why am I here? I am here to learn from you all how to better myself about living and retiring in the Philippines. I am here as a “sponge” to take in all the verbiage run it through a course filter for I do not wish every to dismiss an opinion just because I may stand or sit on the other side of the issue for I have learned finally in my 61 years on this earth that if I just shut up my Irish mouth long enough listen to those whether older or younger than I that I may just learn something. My biggest fear  is not that the peso falls to a point where I am no longer looked upon in my community as the “heyJoe” guy who throws free parties every Friday night not just for my family but for the whole purok . My biggest fear is not dying for although I have no inside knowledge or privileged information about where I will go upon my death…for me dying is just a part of living and neither is to be feared nor revered. No my biggest fear is waking up one day…and finding out that I think I know “everything”, god what a horrible thought…I would dread to live in a world where I felt there was nothing left to learn, nothing left to experience, not one more smile to be created on a dirty little Filipino child with no sandals and rags on for shelter, no more shitting on the front porch with my asawa and her family listening to them talk in their native tongue only catching a few words here and there that I fully comprehend but being happy anyway that they are happy, happy with the fact that I while never forgetting that I am first and foremost an American and yes probably a proud one, while at the same time realizing that I found peace, contentment , caring and happiness half way around the globe in a third world country whose people are some of the friendliest and kindest in the world and their government and its leaders are amongst the most corrupt.
And what do I bring to this group in the way of “helpfulness”. My background is full. I think at times I am the luckiest man in the world, for I have been fortunate enough to traveled much of this world and have been both a dishwasher, a car salesman, a clerk, a medic, a nurse, a health care professional, a chef, a bartender, homeless, living in a condo in Boca Raton, Florida for a Lawyer making a 1000.00 dollars a day and working 3 hours in the morning and then playing on the beaches of Daytona trying to get young girls to believe the well used lies of a forty something guy who still thought he was the “best he could be” when it was 19 and just graduated from Paris Island .I can offer some insight into the human psyche at times , for after the military and college I worked in Forensic Psychiatry for the State of Maine where only the worst of the worst were committed by coping to a plea of “not guilty by reason of insanity” so they would not have to do hard time at the state prison, for the “boys” there did not cotton much to a man who under the influence of crack put his 3 month old baby in a roasting pan and him and his wife set there the rest of the night smoking pot while their child died a horrible death. I set with that man, I watched his face as he told me, “You know you have to watch me don’t you for I have to be protected from the other “crazies” in here and the sad thing is the court was dumb enough to believe my “insanity” plea. Unashamedly , I admit to having to take a break one night to go to the head and I did not wake one of my co-workers to take my place but did make enough noise as I passed the other inmates rooms to let them see me in the bathroom, with Mr. Insanity Man left unguarded. The rest is history.
Although not as long as most of you in the Philippines, I do believe I have a fair amount of something to share with this group. Understanding the opposite sex is both a complex and sometimes scary situation. Understanding and respecting the opposite sex especially if she is you asawa is even more multifaceted. For me it meant given up some things that most men would and maybe should find “not worth it”. I agree totally with any man who sees himself as the master of his house and all he takes in. That is an innate character that I humbly omit I think all males are born with and I am certainly no exception. But with time and open and honest communication between my wife and myself I have learned to bridge that gap not only between the two sexes but also the two cultures. What I say next is only to be taken as something that works for me, neither do I ascribe it to be of any value or the correct or proper way to live your life, I just offer it merely as an opinion and something that has helped me immensely  in my marriage.

First, if possible don’t take yourself so seriously. Lighten up, life is way too short for you to have a heart attack over “I just don’t understand why my wife and her family eats with their fingers”…hey we eat chicken here in the USA with our fingers, Filipinos eat with their fingers because that is their culture, my wife and family when going out to a restaurant know precisely how to use both a knife, fork and spoon. So what do I do now, I just eat with my fingers also when I am at home, and there is less damn dishes to wash.
Second, remember when you first met your now wife in the chat room or on an internet service such as Cherry Blossoms, or Filipino Friend Finders. You loved her tight jeans, her dark finger nail polish her low cut shirts, or shirts that showed her belly button. My god you even liked her usually black hair but was now streaked with some blond or red highlights. You were enamored by those high spiked heels she wore for it made her ass wiggle just so cute when she walked and her flirtatious mannerisms made you weak with desire. Ah! Then comes the wedding day, things go just fine you run off to cloud nine or Bohol or some other honeymoon spot and rekindle the days of your youth. But after a month or so you notice that every time you go out with your wife, you find she is getting more and more attention all the time, some whistles and even cat calls come her way and you become “unglued”…you get home and tell her, I don’t want you dressing like that anymore, get rid to the tight skirts the short shirts and change that damn dark finger polish to pink only…for god sake you look like a damn bar girl??? My question for you is why? Why before when she wore these things did you like, then love, then marry her? Has she changed? has she been unfaithful…or is it YOU and your ego that is getting in the way of you possibly pushing away a perfectly loving wife. Control is a very Powerful and Additive Emotion…it is that feeling of adrenalin coursing through our veins making us feel super human and super in Charge. Remember the only one thing you can change in your whole adult life is yourself. Pretending that you are doing it so your wife does not bring disgrace to you or her family is just in my humble opinion an excuse for your own lack of understanding and commitment that you made to your wife to love and honor her for better or worse. For me my wife sometimes ask me if she looks “good” in this dress or that dress….now that is a different story…that is a loaded question and there is no way  a man could answer that , that would not get him in trouble.
Giving your wife some power and control in both managing money , hiring outside help, getting her to go alone when shopping for just the blue eyes you posses will only raise the price of a 45 pesos black market DVD to 135 when I try and purchase them. Accepting the fact that your wife is vastly different than you when it comes to family values should not make you upset but gain you the knowledge of knowing that she and other members of her family will always be there to tend to your needs when you become too old to care for  yourself. You won’t lose face or respect in your local community if you treat your wife and family with respect and dignity. You will only gain respect and admiration. Hey everyone wants to be liked, but there will always be those who do not like one another it happens on that side of the ocean as well as on this side…I just say Live and Let Live, and as I tell my wife…honey when I get to the point that I am having a hard to breathe due to my failing lungs, put my legs up on the hammock, bring me a Drink, give me a cigar and kiss…and let life become Full Circle.
Finally the end of the Great American Novel # 2
God Bless and Peace and Health to You and Yours
Semper Fi
The “Murf”


Great post and let me be the first to welcome you to our ever expanding little group. I am Wayne, an Aussie, but spent the last 15yrs in the US. I am able to see both sides of the Atlantic, or the Pacific as the case may be. Thanks for joining us.

Wayne ;D


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