I base myself in the Philippines during the winter months for several reasons. The culture here is very friendly towards Americans, and nearly everyone is speaking some English. The cost of living is quite low, despite the dollar’s drop from an exchange rate of 55 Pesos to 41 over the past five years. For example, I live in a very comfortable 2-bedroom apartment in a quiet, gated, comfortable setting for about $150 per month. Not bad! The beaches here are fantastic!
It’s only around $100 from here to any of the other locations in Southeast Asia where I do a lot of my mining-related projects during the winter months. Manilla is a main hub that will get me to anywhere else I need to go.
There is incredible gold down on the southern island of Mindanao; but that is just another one of those places where you can easily “lose your head” over gold. Though that could all change in time, since one of the two significant Muslim separatist groups signed a peace treaty with the government here yesterday. Meanwhile, I mainly use this as a comfortable place to live and manage my other responsibilities over the Internet between mining projects.
Another reason I like to live here is that every day is an adventure. Just driving my car to the mall across town can be an extreme or terribly frustrating ordeal. The rules of the road here are not the same as in America. It took me a while to adjust. The answer is to never make any fast moves and always have lots of patience. After all, this is not my country. So now I just turn the music up loud and treat my drive across town like an action adventure, never in a hurry, always amazed at what can happen on the road. I laugh a lot. Sometimes I even get jolted into the realization that I am happy to be alive!
There are a lot of retired Americans and Australians over here, so there is a nice social scene, and also a comfortable night life for a single guy such as myself. It’s a lot better than television! I also have some Extreme Prospector buddies who have settled over here.
While there are plenty of benefits to living here, there is also the continuous struggle of coping with a different culture. I have learned to balance things, mainly because I don’t attempt to do any serious business in the Philippines. To give you an idea how things can go, here is an email I just received from one of my prospecting buddies who lives down south of me:
“Dave; I am making plans to return to the US in 2014 to prospect for gold and a rich woman who will volunteer to support me.
Why am I returning? Because my questionable better half, Rose, went to see a healer a few days ago. This healer is a person who does not have a medical degree, but heals people and dispenses medicine, this time in a bottle with a Gin label. I believe Rose might have had a mild stroke and needed to go to the hospital. But she insisted on going to the healer.
She returned home later with 3 Gin bottles stuffed with plant stems and leaves floating in a clear liquid. The bottles are 120 Pesos each ($3). Once she finishes these bottles, she has to go back over to this Muslim area and refill the order 3 more times.
I have to respect their customs but I am reaching my limit since I am an evolution-type thinker. The person that went with her believes that Rose has rabies because of her bad headaches. I asked Rose if she was bitten by a rabid dog. Rose said she didn’t get bitten, but she did eat a dog that didn’t taste too good. So she thinks she caught rabies. I do not know what the healer gave Rose to cure her rabies. But I sure hope it works!”