5 Common Misconceptions About The Philippines!

When I first came to the Philippines I had a lot of preconceived notions that didn’t exactly turn out to be the way I thought.  In this blog I will talk about the top misconceptions that I had that I believe most people share.

#1 All Filipinas Want a Foreigner

There is nothing further than the truth than this misconception.  The first time I visited the Philippines was in 2015 I for some reason had this notion that every woman would just be falling down over themselves pursuing me.  It seems quite laughable but this was my thinking at the time. Now, in 2015 I remember getting a lot of looks but no girls were chasing me through the streets of Davao.  Fast forward to 2022 and I have noticed that there are a lot less looks and interest in foreigners than when I was here first in 2015.  Now whether it has to do with the pandemic, masks, every being on social media now or the fact that there are a lot more younger expats coming here now, I don’t know.  But these could all be contributing factors.  Bottom line is don’t expect or think that every Filipina you encounter wants to date you.  There are a large number of Filipinas who simply don’t want to date a foreigner whether it be that they are afraid, insecure of their English, or maybe they are interested but do not want a large age relationship.  That doesn’t mean you will be lonely on a Friday night here or you won’t have a much younger beautiful girlfriend, you will be very happy with your options here.   

#2 The Philippines is a 3rd World Country

My first trip to the Philippines was a real eye-opener because I really was not expecting to find beautiful condos, malls and restaurants that have been as good as any I have eaten at in the west.  I was pleasantly surprised when I checked into my nice hotel room and the next morning came down to a phenomenal breakfast buffet.   The buffet had an omelet bar, fresh fruit and pancakes made to order.   The hotel I stayed at and recommended in Davao can be booked through this link Pinnacle Hotel Davao

My first day I went to a really nice mall called SM Lanang Premier and had a nice dinner and at night they had a light and water show set to music.  So needless to say I wasn’t expecting any of this.  Now this is not to say you won’t see poverty that breaks your heart with the living conditions and the poverty level that you see.  You will indeed see this but don’t be disillusioned in thinking all of the Philippines is like this.   There are luxury resorts, restaurants that have amazing food, beautiful condos and much more.  


#3 Everyone Speak English Fluently

Before coming to the Philippines I only knew of the Philippines as being a former location of military bases and where the Navy used to frequent.   I knew it was an American territory for a while after the Spanish American war and I knew that we had call centers there for various companies.  That was first hand experience since every time I called my cell phone company I would get a representative from the Philippines.  So my first thoughts were that everyone spoke English fluently there.  Well, after arriving in the Philippines I quickly found out that nothing was further from the truth.  I actually encountered many people with limited English speaking skills. I have also found that most family members in the province will barely speak any English at all.  Even in the city it happens.  Now most people who are living in the Philippines will be interacting with people at the malls, stores, banks, and therefore should never have any problems.  However, if you meet a girl from the province or even the city sometimes, prepare yourself to be a bit out of the circle as they speak their local language only and your girlfriend will likely have to translate everything.   

#4 The food is horrible

I’ll be the first to admit my first impressions of Filipino food were not really good.  But as time went by and experimenting with different local cuisine I eventually found quite a large list of different foods that I absolutely love.  Some of my favorites are Sisig, Sizzling Bulalo, Spicy Bicol Express, Adobo and various other dishes.  I also have found that many recipes are just in need of some minor touches, like getting rid of the sugar or using olive oil instead of the vegetable oil and also using better cuts of meat.   So bottom line is the Philippines has so much more to offer than Balut, Chicken innards, and other foreign things you may not be used to.  Give it a try, you might just like it!

#5 Cost of Living is so Cheap!

When I first moved here I thought that everything would be cheap, what I quickly discovered is that is not true.  Now of course certain things, yes, they are inexpensive compared to the west.  But most of us who come from the West want to maintain a somewhat Western lifestyle.  Certain things like rent, eating out, activities, transportation and data for your cell phone are much less than the west.  I have found that I probably spend more on groceries here, electric, and internet.   My first six months here I blew through money very quickly for a few reasons.  One I was thinking in pesos, I was still thinking in dollars.  So, for example I would hop in a taxi and they would say 1000 pesos and in my head I would say oh that is only twenty dollars.  But what I didn’t think about was the fact that it should have only cost maybe 300 pesos instead of a 1000.  I just kept thinking in dollars and saying out in the west it would be three times that amount.  What you need to do is start thinking in pesos immediately and start learning the normal prices of items and services.  However, like I said electricity, internet, a fancy coffee, groceries if eating a western diet will be even more expensive than the West often.   So save where you can and understand that for some items you will just have to pay more.  

Final Thoughts

So there you have it, my top five misconceptions I personally had when moving out to the Philippines.  Now others may have other opinions on other misconceptions and I would love to hear those in the comments but these were my top five.  I know depending on the area or city that you live in some of these may be different.  If you live deep in the province well, food probably won’t be as bad because you won’t really have the option to shop western style foods.   I know we all have preconceived notions about The Philippines when it’s your very first trip.  Hopefully this blog helps!