Philippines - everything you need to know before you come here.

Philippines - everything you need to know before you come here.

The Philippines is a remarkable country, swarming with extraordinary, picturesque islands, I will tell you about one in detail, but the information contained herein applies to the whole country.
Siquijor is a very scenic island, located not far from Bohol or Cebu in the Philippines. Everything you need to know before you go there, you will find in this guide.
This is where I lived, where I experienced some of the most beautiful moments of my life. This is where I fell in love, this is where I said YES to my wife, this is where I learned the taste of freedom. I would like to bring you a little closer to this island, tell you what is worth seeing here, so I decided to write a little guide to show you that there is a beautiful paradise on the edge of the world. Living here, I laughed saying that you don't have to die to live in paradise. This is the truth, can you imagine life without stress ? where there is no hatred ? And everyone around is smiling selflessly. No need to advertise such a place. I have visited many countries in my life, but I have not yet met such a great and open-minded people as the Filipinos. Of course, not everywhere is as colorful as on this tiny island of Siquijor. I've also been to several others, and from my experience I can tell, the smaller the island, or town, or village, the more fantastic the people. My perception of this phenomenon is based on many expeditions, nights in the wild with strangers, or people I have just met. We have visited a lot, as well as later with our wife. Today, however, I will focus on this one tiny island, which I still call my paradise. It was from this trip I came up with the idea of writing a blog. So what do you need to know before you come to the Philippines? The answer is simple, I will point it out and explain it one by one:

  • You have to get used to "Filipino time".
  • You must understand that the way you treat others is how others will treat you.
  • You need to get used to the omnipresent insects.
  • You have to understand, that the prices are higher for tourists.
  • You have to get used to the lack of hot water.
  • You have to understand that fridge and washing machine is not standard here.
  • You have to get used to the transportation in the Philippines.
  • You must know that you eat everything with rice here.
  • You must know that karaoke is a national sport.
  • You must know that homosexualises are treated equally here.
  • You need to get used to the frequent power outages.

You have to get used to "Filipino time".

Time in the Philippines, especially in small islands or provinces, runs differently, slower. You have to get used to it. It is not Europe or any other busy country. Here, everything has time, it has to mature and reach the right moment. Here, if you are late, no one will look at you in a crooked way, no one will hold a grudge against you. Whether it is a visit to a doctor, a lawyer, an office or any other. This should also work for you. If someone is late, it does not mean that they disrespect you or do not respect your time. The only thing it means is that they have not been able to reach you on time. The rest of the stories we tell ourselves, and that does not mean that they are true. You just have to get used to it. When I came to the Philippines, it was unthinkable for me. All my life I tried to be punctual. Especially when I came straight from the capital of England. In the city of London, being two minutes late to see the doctor meant losing the appointment and having to make an appointment for the next free date. And here in the Philippines, shock, here everything has its time.

You must understand that the way you treat others is how others will treat you.

It is in the Philippines that it works best. If you are aggressive towards someone, you will experience aggression; if you are distrustful, you will experience distrust. If you are a brawler, if you complain about everything, you will experience the same. I guess the only clue worth giving here is to be yourself, the so-called easy going, go with the flow. There are other standards here, you just have to come to terms with them, be nice to everyone, smile. Here people look into each other's eyes, which in London only aroused aggression, here people are different, calmer, distanced to each other. Accept others as they are, and you will be accepted as you are.

You need to get used to the omnipresent insects.

Oh yes, the Philippines and insects, whether ants, spiders, cockroaches or any other insect, are everywhere. There is no place without insects. Somehow people have come to an agreement with nature and live in symbiosis. Leaving a bun on the table results in the ants carrying it out piece by piece. You have to get used to it. No matter if it is a brick house or a house made of bamboo, there are insects everywhere. There are many of them and they are big. I once saw two ants in the forest, one was of normal size, often found here in Polish forests, and the other one passed over it, it was so big that the small one was the size of the foot of the big one. The spider I met at home was the size of a big fist plus legs, a nasty hairy one. Don't panic, this is normal here. Snakes are also the tiny ones and the big ones, over two meters long. What we saw on the way home with my wife, we both got numb, the fat, big and green one was walking along the path we were walking. Enough about insects, because you will never get here, and my goal is to encourage you to visit this beautiful country. You must understand that this is the whole ecosystem. They are also useful when you see a lizard on the wall, do not shout, because it eats all other insects, especially flying ones - mosquitoes and moths. Let's accept how it is, and everything will be fine.

You have to understand, that the prices are higher for tourists.

This is one aspect that I could not understand as a visitor. The first cab, paid three times higher, the first ride of the tricycle get the price from space. And yet after a few weeks I understood. The Philippines is a country of poor people, yes of course they are rich ones, but most are generally quite poor. A tourist is a "big stuffed wallet" in their eyes. Everyone just wants to make money. Even if they count you twice, you won't feel it and for them, it is another fish for dinner. After a few days people recognize you and start treating you in their own way and surprisingly everything will be cheap. What you need to know is that you have to bargain a little. In a cheerful and nice way, it always works. After a couple of weeks, those who have been charging  you so high up, will offer you to drink with them, then you just have to take the beginning. After will be just fine.

You have to get used to the lack of hot water.

Just after arriving in the Philippines, I could not understand how, hotel and there is no hot water. And yet, after a while I understood. I did not use it here myself, even if it was. It is hot here! Why do you need hot water ? The cold water here is not icy, which is a pity. It could have been icy, then you could have cooled down, but in the hot days the water stays in the long pipes and get warmer.  Sometimes when you live in the province and have long pipes with water from the spring, you cannot take a shower during the day, because the water is even hot, heated from the sun. So the lack of hot water in the tap, or rather the lack of a hot water tap is completely understandable. I have no hot water at home in the Philippines and I am very happy about it.

You have to understand that fridge and washing machine is not standard here.

As I mentioned earlier, the Philippines is a poor country, maybe I wrongly put it. It is a financially poor country, but culturally it is one of the richest I have been in. A fridge at home often makes no sense. You eat on the daily basis, what you have on a particular day. You do not store things here. You probably know from your own example, you go to the market, buy large packages of everything because it's cheaper, a full cart, valuable food, and after a few days, a lot of what you bought will end up in a trash can, because it was molded,or it lost its term. There is no such thing here! You bought it, you eat it, you don't store it, you don't accumulate it. There are three cloves of garlic on sale, packed in a bag. A disposable sachet of washing powder. Toothpaste in a sachet, sufficient for a few days. Shampoo in a disposable sachet, and used at least three times. In Europe we are consumers, we buying a lot. You do not spend a lot of money on something that is unnecessary. You cook, you buy it for today's cooking, not for stock. Here people live "here and now". A washing machine hehe hehe, here the luxury is our old frock. Everybody I know washes by hand.  Maybe one of you has a T-shirt from low-cost supermarkets, which after a few washes in the washing machine looks like a  pulled out of dog's ass. Here they lasted several years when they were washed by hand. This has its big advantages, besides, there are no thick pants or other warm clothes to wash. The only thing that are washed here is underwear, T-shirts and shorts. After all, it's hot in here, it's almost the equator! The lowest temperature I remembered was 24 degrees at night. And the average is about 35 degrees.

You have to get used to the transportation in the Philippines.

The standards we know from Europe have nothing to do here. There are few cars, especially on the islands. Most of them are old and decrepit, but they are good here. People usually drive their bikes here. There are plenty of them. Three, four or even five people can carry one motorcycle. This is not bullshit. There are tricycles, they are the kind of converted three-wheeled motorcycles that can carry ten people or more. You can sometimes even travel on the roof. There are the Jipneys, An American military cars, modified for transport, they are beautifully decorated and have more than a million kilometers driven. None of them has working kilometer meter. Riding such a long distance, especially on the roof is a lot of fun. In the mountains there are so called Habal habal - it is nothing more than a private motorcycle with a driver who will take you high up into the mountains, along a path, not a street. There is no other transport there in the mountains. 
There are taxi, but I have rarely ridden it, only in big cities, there are no such luxuries on the islands. Buses, hmmm, there are some better ones, those with windows and with air conditioning, but these are only in the long distance. Locally, the bus are without windows and without air conditioning, and the seats are covered with plastic covers, which burns your ass. Trains only in Manila. Something like a onground subway. 
The Ferryboats. As this is the land of seven thousand islands, water transport is extremely popular. Ferries are large, for long distances, and smaller and faster, but more expensive. Often such a long journey is one big event, where people get to know each other, drink together and spend time chatting together. Everything, including animals, is transported by such ferries. The loading time takes place and continues. Sometimes there is a wave and there is nothing. You stand in the port until it passes. You can always buy yourself a hard-boiled egg and drink it. This is also the case with the Philippine time. The loading of time takes place and continues. Sometimes there is a wave and there is nothing. You stand in the port until it passes. You can always buy yourself a hard-boiled egg and drink. Often there are hammocks instead of seats or beds on this ferry.

You must know that you eat everything with rice here.

Rice can be compared to bread or potatoes in Poland. Like breakfast or lunch with bread, dinner with potatoes, here everything is eaten with rice. Rice tastes completely different here, it is good on its own. There are different varieties, and the best for me is the balsami.  Once I cooked broth for my in-laws and they ate it with rice, the pasta was left whole for me. Bigos with rice. Everything with rice. Rice grows everywhere, it is harvested twice a year. Rice is also here made of corn, it is a variety for the poorer. Just like ketchup is made here from bananas. 

You must know that karaoke is a national sport.

Karaoke is a national sport here, no kidding at all. In fact, the real sport is basketball and volleyball, but karaoke is everywhere. It is a nation that loves to sing ! There are more talented singers here than anywhere else in the world. Just as in Europe we go to a pub, here friends meet at a karaoke machine and sing. Every Filipino has karaoke at home and is proud of it. The way people sing here you can check many videos on YouTube. My wife and I often went to karaoke. There are even such karaoke houses, where there are many rooms, each one separated by a soundproof walls, each room has a karaoke and a table, you rent such a room for an hour or an evening. With your friends you can buy something to drink,  and have a good time. It is not expensive, but it attracts many people. Imagine that sometimes you have to wait for a few hours until some karaoke room is free, and there may even be over thirty of them. Such cabins are rather in big cities, small towns and villages have karaoke at every bar, cafĂ© and some stores have them too. Especially if you go to a big market, you can see that where they sell electronics, there are always several microphones, prepared for those who want to sing.

You must know that homosexualises are treated equally here.

This is a country where acceptance is an example to all other highly developed countries. Here one simply accepts everything as it is. This is not Poland, where everyone complains about everything and everything does not fit everyone. Here, no matter who you are, no matter what your religion, ideology, or whatever distinguishes you from others, you are accepted. Here some gays act like women, called shemale. Sometimes they look like, you wouldn't be able to recognize whether is  a woman or man. There are even Miss Shemale national elections. Here in the ladies' toilets there are urinals for them. Here is ACCEPTATION. There is no hate, envy, nerves. Take it easy. Accept others as you would like to be accepted. Apropos of acceptance I wrote a fairly readable article, which I wrote being inspired by the Filipinos. I wrote in it a simple way to accept yourself as you are.

You need to get used to the frequent power outages.

It is really strange how we in Europe are dependent on things, on prosperity, on possession. Here I often did not notice that for some time the current stopped flowing. Just like that, there is no electricity, sometimes a few minutes, sometimes a few hours. My phone was more often used as a camera than anything else. I always charged it in the evening. Sometimes when there was no electricity it was charging from the solar. This is probably the only device I had that was charged. Although most of the time it was still in the drawer. You live differently here. You do not sit for hours mindlessly stuck in the TV set, hours in front of the Internet. I blogging, write articles, make videos, so yes, sometimes I spent a couple of hours, but it was a forced labor. Here you live outside the house, there are so many real friends, not those from Facebook, here you don't get bored. You can always visit someone, or someone will visit you. You go to the water, you go to the mountains, you explore something new. Everyone has candles at home, in case of power failure. Do you still remember those times in the eighties ? How did you have candles, or any other source of light in your house, in case of a power outage ?  It is there. Nobody makes a hello of it, there is no such thing and it will be soon. 


I wrote this article with you in mind, you live in a city, in a developed country, where the rules have been instilled in your head. That you can't do that, don't tolerate it, don't do that, wait for the green light, and so on, coming here, just leave the rules and live. In England, looking into someone's eyes is considered to be unsasthy, You can give many examples, it is best to see for yourself. I avoid big cities with a huge arch. I have enough rules of conduct, I want to feel free. The only rule I have always followed is not to do to others what is not nice to you, treat others as you would like to be treated. They say - It's more fun in Philippines.