Good post. That about summarizes the life in Pinas of an expat of 10 years and visits every years before. That would be me too. It's a balance to live here and save money. I live comfortably, but not in a nipa hut. Being able to speak basic Tagalog, Ilocano, Cebuano or whatever the local dialect really helps to tawad in the market. However, for large purchases, you can't talk your way to a fair price. I send my wife and make sure they don't see me. Of course I don't blame Filipino's for this. The colonial mentality is alive and well and while you get all the respect for your whiteness, the higher prices go with it. I always tip 20% just like the states. I realize that the waiter or girl working in SM makes minimum wage and these are the people I choose to help. Those receiving money from their OFW relatives are fine, they don't need my help. Some come here on vacation and find it to be expensive. It's easy to tell who is a Balikbayan and who lives here. Many years ago someone told me that things are so cheap in the Philippines that you'll go broke. Those that try that vacation lifestyle to live here long term almost always end up returning home. When you're on vacation you can treat the relatives and then go home. When you live here, you have to choose what you fund very carefully. Otherwise you will be sending everyone to college and paying everyone's hospital bills. I'm not generalizing, but I've seen it happen frequently. Find that balance I spoke about earlier and living here is a blessing. Mabuhay!!
Tombal- I dont think colonialism has much to do with over charging foreigners ( of every color ) its part racial , part nationalism, and part economic opportunity. ....and frankly part ignorance for the foreigner to pay it . Colonialism does set up some social standards , but you don see it in say HK , or other former colonies . Canada, for example , is a former colony of Britain up to 1867 . We dont rip off new comers , as a rule ... usually quite the opposite per se . many examples of former colonies and fair play and colour/race blindness . But that's just my thoughts . I respect yours !
Resect yours too Surf. Something I wanted to mention. When I go to a bank, I pick a number and wait till my number is called, even if the teller tries to call me up in front before those who've been waiting a long time. I've actually had Filipinos when I asked them why they gave me that treatment tell me "but you're white"! I came here for the slower pace of life and I figure that goes with it. Also gives me a chance to strike up a conversation with those waiting along with me.