I’m enjoying my life in the Philippines. For you to know what it’s like I’m opening up and sharing parts of my life. Here’s what I’m enjoying so far:
I’m finally a freelancer. I live and work from anywhere. I’m also a minimalists. I don’t see the need for a car (or at least not at the moment because I won’t use it as much). I’m pretty good with traveling by bus. Sometimes by train and the usual public transportation. I’m trying to muster the courage to take the older trains that lead to the province. Maybe someday I’ll write about it soon. Public transportation is cheap and convenient. Taking it may sound somewhat a bit more stressful because you won’t always have a ride on demand but if you weigh it against the costs of buying and maintaining a car (gas, parking, cleaning, engine and wheel maintenance) then I guess it’s a fair trade.
When I go to work I cook my own food. I also have carinderias that I trust just in case I don’t have time to prepare my own food that day. I like eating at hole in the wall types of places. I see more adventure in trying out meals there. I’ll recently wrote a few tips about carinderyas. There are pretty good restaurants to eat but I reserve that for weekends and dates.
I get a lot of my work shirts and bags from a thrift store. Yes the ukay ukay. Thrifting allows me to find good brands of bags, and work shirts that are in pristine condition for under three dollars. It’s a skill that took me more than five years to learn. The Philippines has several malls all over the place. You’ll never have to worry about what to wear. Whenever I buy at the mall it takes me forever to pick one because I don’t often feel like spending a lot.
I’m currently staying with relatives in exchange for contributing a but to the household expenses. This is a pretty common setup here. I’ve also rented my own place and a few times I shared a condo, and a room with someone else. I recommend renting a much smaller place than you feel you need and spending most of your time outside. I recommend investing in a really nice bed and not much furniture. That way it’s easy to move around.
I work as a freelancer. I used to work in corporate sales so I get to move around and see different offices. I don’t have much recommendations for work other than to do well in it and save money.
I used the investment strategy I learned from church. Which is pretty much the same one successful investors and financial planners recommend. I live on 50% of my income. 10% of my income goes to God through the church. 20% goes to savings. 10% goes to investments. I give away the other 10% for people who need it. When you take care of your expenses well you can live an awesome life and since I started managing my money this way, despite only using half of my usual income I never feel like I’m running out of money and unexpected expenses don’t show up as often as when I was spending everything.
I go to church at Victory Pioneer. It’s a Christian church that has branches all over the Philippines. I like the way that their Sunday messages are easy to understand, relevant and actionable. Many positive changes that I originally thought was impossible began when I started going there. You’re free to join me at the 9am or the 11am service. Their Sunday messages are also available on podcast in their website.
I love to travel but initially I was scared of it because I thought that it takes a lot of money to accomplish. What gave me that impression is that when I worked in sales and we had goal settings travel budgets are crazy. Mostly because companies don’t want you to be out of the office so this is highly discouraged. In fact you can travel well with whatever amount you’re making right now. It’s not a fancy hotel and restaurant kind of travel. What I offer is more fun. You can see the places and interact with the people. Hotels and fancy restaurant’s are the same almost everywhere. Don’t settle for that and experience the real thing. Here are some examples:
I live in Paranaque so I’m a bus ride away from Manila, Makati, Quezon City, Mandaluyong and Pasig City. Try wandering around and look for something amazing. Do in by yourself or with a partner. Avoid the malls. Go on recommendations or just get lost and try something new (see the last tip if you clicked the link).
There are pretty awesome places outside of the city that doesn’t require a plane or boat ride. I recommend exploring Rizal (I have some pretty good experience at Morong, Cainta, Antipolo and Tanay), Tagaytay, Cavite, Batangas, Baguio, Pampanga and a whole bunch of places. It could be a day trip or the entire weekend. Try staying at a friend’s house or look for new friends on blogs, couch surfer or AirBNB. The best part? Your budget can range from $20 to $100 and it’ll be fun.
The Philippines have 7100 islands. Need I say more? I’ve been to Boracay and not much else so I can’t say much about it really. I’m planning to go to Bohol, Palawan, Cebu and Iloilo sometime next year.
Did I miss anything? Is there anything you want me to share? Have some suggestions. Feel free to contribute in the comments below.
Written on July 22nd , 2012 by Kevin Olega