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Expat Advice: Culture Shock in Batangas City, Philippines

Mar 15, 2017


Batangas City, Philippines

A retired US Naval Officer and his Filipina wife moved to Batangas City. He shares how he has adapted to live in the Philippines, what he appreciates most about the Filipino culture and more.

What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

Batangas City

Did you receive any cross-cultural training for your move abroad? If yes, was it before or after the move?

Extensive on-line research, looking at expat blogs, and online self research.

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If they speak another language in your new country, do you speak the language? If yes, did you learn the language before you moved or while abroad? If no, are you planning to learn the language?

PH has good English, but it is not universally spoken. My Filipina wife does most of my interactions, but for simple affairs I can use my pidgin.

Were you worried or concerned about culture shock before you moved abroad?

Yes, but as a lazy kano retiree I just felt my wife could take up the slack.

How significant was the culture shock you experienced when you moved abroad?

As an ex-Navy officer, I was not effected by the move to PH. I had been here before, as well as Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Singapore. and the Seychelles, Oz, and Guam, Hawaii, and the Bay area.

Expats often talk about going through the "stages of culture shock." Examples include the honeymoon phase, the irritation-to-anger stage, the rejection of the culture stage, and the cultural adjustment phase. Do you feel like you went through these or any other stages as you settled into the new culture?

Just a lot of depression after realizing that I really was not in US. Soon to see it was good times here, and the US was just the garbage dump I left it for.

What, if any, were some of the changes you noticed in yourself that might have been caused by culture shock? These might include things such as anger, depression, anxiety, increased eating or drinking, frustration, homesickness, etc.

Sleep more, insomnia, drinking more, anger at the folks in US, anger at the folks on the roads when I am driving.

What are some things you appreciate most about the new culture?

Loving family, individual kindness face to face, general happiness, work ethic.

What are the most challenging aspects of the new culture?

Language differences, cultural dissonance re life and death, religion, sexual mores.

Did you "commit" any embarrassing or humorous cultural blunders? If you did and you'd like to share them, please do tell!

Yes, and NO to tell

Do you have any advice or thoughts about culture shock you would like to share?

Please read as much as you can, then find a Filipino/a who will mentor you in respect to day to day life and customs.

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