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A reader commented on the Expat Report Culture Shock in Manila, Philippines
Do you have any advice or thoughts about culture shock you would like to share?
It took a great of courage and faith for me to accept this move. Having made the decision, then I vowed to truly enjoy the differences I might encounter and delight in every day with it's new adventures.

I have been writing an "Adventure Journal" of the culture here and emailing it to about two dozen family/friends who expressed an interest. I get enthusiastic feedback. My family is now talking about making my monthly journals into a book. (Continue)

A reader replied most recently with:
Thank you very much for your thoughtful and astute comments about culture shock. I quickly noticed that you stated that "It's a good time to be getting out of the USA." I love the US (I was a Peace Corps volunteer, a Marine officer stationed overseas, a health administrator, and then retired as a university teacher.), but I knew it was time for me to leave years ago. It is my opinion that the United States continues to truly struggle economically, socially, politically, culturally, and globally. I am particularly sad for the *millions* of well educated, young, unemployed, underemployment, health-uninsured youth of our nation. It's hard to sustain the belief that the US is a superpower any more. For me.... I've been living in east Africa for a few years now. About language: It helped me a great deal to learn the language where I reside and, as I will be re-retiring to the Philippines soon, I wish to learn Filipino. Learning the language is "country respect" issue for me; connects me with people; and helps me really learn the culture. Anyway, thanks for your comments. Well written.
shgetovrit replied recently with:
Thanks for the information. Have you posted your experiences online? I'd be interested in reading them. Ingat Palagi (Take care always), Rick
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Expat Report Review of International School Manila in Manila, Philippines was published
Review-of-International School Manila
How would you describe the facilities at this school? What extra-curricular activities are available?
Superb facilities that get better every year. All kinds of activities after school from Grade 1 to Grade 12. (Continue)
A reader commented on the Expat Report Review of International School Manila in Manila, Philippines
Review-of-International School Manila
How would you describe the facilities at this school? What extra-curricular activities are available?
The facilities at ISM are lovely, and there is a wide-range of after school activities from which to choose. Most of the activities have no fee associated with them, unless it's a costume or small supply fee. (Continue)
ismparent replied most recently with:
As a parent with a child in ISM, I agree with the above comments. First, the classes are geared to a learning paradigm where the children learn from group activities. There is also no homework to reinforce what they learned. If your child is in the kindergarten, first, second, or third grade, you may find that your child is behind when you leave and may repeat a grade. Although I do admit, their curriculum is geared to critical thinking. My question is though, “What about mastery of the basic skills? How much time is spent developing those skills that can only be developed through practice?” If you do not believe me, ask for a random sampling of parental references. Every parent in my child’s class is thinking the same thing but is afraid to utter their thoughts due to a fear of creating a poisoned atmosphere for their children. Think long and hard before you enroll your child in the elementary school. If there was a comparable option in the Metro Area, ISM would lose 30% of their student population. If I was an administrator in ISM, I would ask the parents the question, “Do you feel that your child is being challenged enough?” I have a second child in the Chinese International School in Manila founded by a former ISM employee. I am astounded by the homework they receive in the basic courses in elementary school. You will find the same story in Gandhi or BSM. The PTA is ineffectual. In the last ten years, they have not passed a single curriculum based reform that the school has implemented. The IB score in the 30’s can be easily explained. First, most of the children are transient. Their parents are there working for private firms or embassies on two or three year projects. The skills reflect a lifetime of private education in other IB programs all over the world. Secondly, ISM has a strict admission program for their high school so they are getting the upper echelon students. Finally, a good high school does not reflect a good middle or elementary school program. Have them show you what they are teaching. Sit in on a class or two. You will be surprised!!!
A reader replied recently with:
My children have been in the school for many years and they love it. The school gets amazing results - not only for the really able students but for those who face learning challenges. So sad that a few parents use a site like this to make such cowardly complaints.
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BillLeland commented on the Expat Report Living in Manila, Philippines
Describe how you "dreamed" expat life would be before you moved overseas. Please provide as much detail as possible.
I thought Manila would have beautiful beahes and I would spentd all my days in a paradise island setting (Continue)
BillLeland replied most recently with:
You need to move to the Provences AKA: COUNTRY
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robJ commented on the Expat Report Culture Shock in Manila, Philippines
Do you have any advice or thoughts about culture shock you would like to share?
Getting connected is absolutely key. So often I have encountered people who've waited to get the house perfect before socializing and not taken an early opportunity to get out and meet others. This means that suddenly they are not 'newcomers' any more and those perfect opportunities for making new friends have drited by. It's pretty dispiriting sitting in that perfect house all alone and miserable!

Join everything, try everything you possibly can, then work out what really works for you and refine your involvement. Try something you've never done before - this could be a golden opportunity.

Be easy on yourself. In a new culture it takes much longer to achieve anything, particularly if there's a language barrier as well. You may have run a large department, taught classes of difficult teenagers, run your own business at home, managed a family of five kids under ten, but overseas, especially in the early days, you'll find yourself comparatively inefficient. Don't take this to mean you are not functioning, it's just cultural differences, process adjustments and misunderstandings getting in the way, slowing you down.

Talk about how you feel, to friends and to your spouse. They're likely feeling the same way too. However, try not to get into a 'moan-fest'. Have a whine, laugh about it and then move on to something more inspiring. Interact with positive people when you can.

This is hard to say, but...know that you can leave. There will be consequences (financial, career, relationship), but you can actually leave. Just knowing that makes you stay. It's like having an open door. You might not go through it, but you do have an escape route, even if you never use it.

Find a cultural bridge to guide you: someone who knows your culture, but who is from the culture to which you are adjusting. Invaluable!

Above all, watch and listen: observation skills are crucial to understanding the values and expectations of your hosts. (Continue)

robJ replied most recently with:
all i can say is thanks!
shgetovrit replied recently with:
All I can say is WOW! Really insightful information. I am planning to move to Boracay next year. I will try to keep all of this in mind to adjust. Appreciate the report, Rick
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Expat Report Info about Lucky Buggers Club Philippines in Manila, Philippines was published
Describe your group.
You just might be asking yourself what is a Lucky Bugger? Well, it’s a group for men who happen to be the “trailing spouse” or “significant other” of someone on assignment here in the Philippines (and now worldwide with a group in Guatemala). We try to stay out of trouble by keeping ourselves busy with. well. with just about anything we like really, just as long as we don’t get our better halves too angry with us (a little angry is okay). We are always looking for ways to stay out of trouble, whether it’s golf, bowling, diving or other sporting activity and have actually been known to volunteer our time to charity or other social projects.

Of course we can’t forget about the nourishment of our minds and body, so we meet for lunch often to share “intellectual” enrichment and, while not a political group, are always willing to criticize world politics and politicians, but no gossiping allowed, we’ll leave that for others.

So, as long as you are an expat living in the Philippines, your better half works and you don’t (part time is okay), you can become a member of the Lucky Buggers Club, Philippines. You’ll be sure to make some friends and find ways to spend your precious free time. And of course suggestions on ways to use our valuable time are always welcome.

So, just click on the “Ask To Join” button; or send email to us if you'd like more information.

And While you're at it, check out the Lucky Buggers Golf Club group on Facebook; it's where those Lucky Buggers (and invited guests) can get together for golf here in Manila and elsewhere in the Philippines. (Continue)

demimarkbenedict commented on the Expat Report Moving to Manila, Philippines
What advice would you give someone preparing to move to your area about the actual move, choosing a neighborhood and finding a home?
Don't be scared to move to Manila. It is not nearly as scary as people would have you believe. I am more scared wandering around deserted Sydney streets at night than in Manila.

Of course be sensible. Dress modestly, don't wear expensive jewellery or watches etc. Look out for pickpockets on the trains - I got a wallet with a chain after my introduction to pickpockets on the LRT!

You can't really live an insulated western life so try to fit in with the locals wherever you can. For example, jeepneys are often convenient, NOT scary and you really get to live the local life. Learning how to get around teaches you a lot which you will find valuable in your time here.

Smile a lot! It really opens doors. (Continue)

demimarkbenedict replied most recently with:
Hi Steve Im Demi. I saw that you are looking for a realtor. Let me just ask you if you have a particular place where you want to live in the Philippines. Are you familiar with Makati and Bonifacio Global City? There are lots of expats in those places. If you are interested kindly reply at my email at
A reader replied recently with:
Getting to the Phils has been a challenge so far, as I left only a small window of time to get my papers in order. Wondering what some of the laws are for obtaining perminet residency in the Phils still with mt american citizenship.You talked of costs between 20K and 70k a month, hopefully that is the PHP your quoteing. Any help on requirement of Alien Residency certification papers..and any other paperwork I will need I am only looking at a bit over 2 months of time before i plan to hop a plane and travel there. I understand no visas is necessary for the first 21 days as long as I have a roundtrip/further distination ticket in hand. anyone wanting to help me with advice please contact me at "" thanks a million .
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Expat Report Jobs in Manila, Philippines was published
What advice would you offer others about finding jobs and working abroad?
check with locals, however always keep your financial status (as well as social status) to yourself. If you need help, I'm just a email or chat away! Mabuhay, Aloha, Salud, and Cheers!

email: (Continue)

Expat Report Review of Brent International School Manila in Manila, Philippines was published
Review-of-Brent International School Manila
How would you describe the facilities at this school? What extra-curricular activities are available?
Everything is available in this school. Most sports allow you to travel across the world and play other international/american schools in the asia and the pacific areas. (Continue)
Expat Report Review of Mahatma Gandhi International School in Manila, Philippines was published
Review-of-Mahatma Gandhi International School
How would you describe the facilities at this school? What extra-curricular activities are available?
The school has spacious auditorium equipped with a professional sound system, a well stocked library, computer suite with Broadband Internet connection, clinic with resident nurse, and access to the adjacent Nomads Sports Club which offers excellent playing fields and a 25m swimming pool and a learner pool as well as tennis and squash courts. (Continue)
Service apartments give you more space, more privacy and at a cheaper rate, available from one night to one year.

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