Victoria Turegun – Top 5 Things to Appreciate about Living in the Philippines
Derek is joined by Victoria and today they will talk about the five things that she appreciates about living in the Philippines and the five things that she finds frustrating.
- Derek asked Victoria to enumerate five things that she appreciates about living in the Philippines and five things that she finds frustrating.
- Five things that Victoria Appreciates about living in the Philippines.
- The first thing which Victoria really loves about the Philippines is the weather. For others, it might be hard, but for her, she prefers to be in a warm climate rather than in a cold climate. Also, wearing light clothes all year round is more convenient for her than putting bulky clothes.
- The Philippine islands are the most untouched islands that she has ever seen. It can be quite pricey but it’s unexplored, beautiful and amazing. Victoria thinks that this is the only place where every year something is discovered. Completely unfamiliar to the rest of the scientific world because of its very rich flora and fauna.
- The third one is she likes that people are always smiling even in airports. Filipinos are very kind and warm.
- Having such terrible traffic and a very distorted perception of time it still works to their advantage because they feel more relaxed. There is less stress. In Europe, if you’re 10 minutes late or 15 minutes late for a meeting due to the traffic people would really get upset. In the Philippines, even if you’re 15 minutes late you will be the first to arrive. So, in the end, it gives you less stress.
- The Philippines taught Victoria to be more patient and more relaxed.
- Five things that Victoria finds frustrating.
- Victoria likes her schedule to be fixed. However, because of the heavy traffic, it’s almost impossible to accomplish everything that you have planned for the day.
- The second one is the heavy traffic. In Europe, everything is fast paced, however, in the Philippines, since traffic has always been part of the lives of Filipinos they have come to accept it.
- The third one is infrastructure which is a part of a deeper problem. And one of the things that are holding the Philippines back.
- The next one is telecommunications and the internet which is monopolized by a few companies. It’s not only frustrating but it is also embarrassing especially when you are having a conversation with people in foreign countries. This is very ironic since the Philippine economy relies heavily on BPOs.
- In the Philippines, not everything is cheap. The Philippines is a very service oriented country, so most services are cheap but some goods are really expensive. Utilities, rent, accommodation, airfare, these are some of the examples that Victoria cited.
- Filipinos are very kind and warm people.
- The Philippines has very rich flora and fauna which is something to be very proud of.
- Traffic in the Philippines is terrible.
- Filipinos prefer to text because of the bad mobile signal and internet reception.
- Filipinos are more relaxed than people living in Europe and in the West.
Hi and welcome to another episode of the Outsourcing Accelerator. My name is Derrick Gallimore. And today we are joined by Victoria Turegun. She first appeared on our podcast in episode 30. So, if you haven’t listened to that one please do go back and listen. Victoria introduced herself and you got a little bit of the backstory. So, Victoria is an ex-pat in Manila. She’s lived in nearly five years and deals among other things in fine art. So, she has a slightly different perspective on life in the Philippines. And so, in our chat today I slightly catch her off guard and ask her to list five things that she appreciates about living in the Philippines and five things that frustrates her. So, it is quite a polarizing city. There are some fantastic things, incredible experiences and then it’s also slightly frustrating because there’s 22 million people here and it is a developing city. So, it gives you a good insight. And this podcast is really intended to be a bit of a Humans of New York view of Manila and a day in the life. So, hope you enjoy if you want any show notes please go to outsourceaccelerator.com/podcast/episode45.
Derek: Welcome back Victoria.
Victoria: Hi, nice to see you again.
Derek: Okay, nice to see you again. So now we’re just going more broad, So we’ve had a couple of chats before. And today I just want really a perspective of life in Manila. So, you’re clearly an ex-pat as I’m sure people can pick up by the accent you’ve been living here for a good number of years now. What is it six or seven years?
Victoria: No, four and a half years.
Derek: Four and a half years. And might feel like six or seven years sometimes. And I wanna know five things you appreciate about living in the Philippines I’m putting you on the spot here. And five frustrations about living in the Philippines. I should say Manila is basically the Philippines because of two very different things. I’m sure you love my accent because this is like the third or fourth time you’re mentioning my accent.
Derek: Novelties are so easy to pick up over the shortwaves.
Victoria: Oh, let’s start with appreciating things.
Derek: Why not?
Victoria: The first thing which I really love about Philippines it’s the weather. For somebody might be hot. For me, I prefer to be in the warm climate than to be in the cold climate. So, for me wearing the light clothes all the year round it’s more convenient than putting bulky stuff on yourself coats, boots and everything. So that’s the first thing.
Derek: It’s liberating, Is it? And actually, one thing I noticed is that it’s always about 30 degrees but it’s also so you look down like Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday 30 degrees. But then it’s also 30 degrees at midday at midnight at 9:00 a.m. at 9:00 p.m. Like it’s 30 degrees the whole time.
Victoria: Exactly, it’s almost the same. But there are these months you know which I really love it’s like December or January February especially in the evening. It’s amazing. It’s like 24,25 degrees with a light breeze. You can really enjoy sitting outside all the year round. You know so it’s cool. It’s really cool. The second thing it’s I think this country is very, very lucky to have amazing nature. I don’t know if the people really appreciate what kind of nature they have. I’ve seen a lot. And to me the Filipino Islands are the most virgin ones I’ve seen.
Derek: Yeah. I think that’s because I’ve got seven thousand one hundred one.
Derek: You know you just can’t get to them all.
Victoria: There are so many. And because of the let’s say it’s not really the very popular tourist destination. It’s not that much you know polluted and with tourist and everything so it’s still virgin. And another thing it’s quite pricey if you go to places you know. And that’s why there are so many tourists still. And it’s quite difficult to get here from as we already talked about. You know it’s not really easy traveling to the Philippines. They are virgin, they’re beautiful they’re really amazing.
Derek: It really is untouched. I had a holiday at a dive resort in Coron and there was just this one British guy that owned the beachy parts of the island and it was one of those volcanic islands where like almost like a Dr. Evil kind of volcanic Mountain middle and probably no one has ever walked out there. There’s probably, you realize that no human came out there.
Victoria: You know that exactly. I was in Coron a couple of weeks ago and it was while we were on the speedboat going into the island. I was looking around to the smaller islands. And I had in my mind that probably there were nobody on those islands. There were no people on those islands. I don’t think that somebody even tried to get there. So, it’s really unexplored. And I’m sure in the Philippines if Chile with the flora of the Philippines and with the scientists every year find new species of plants flowers insects in the Philippines.
Derek: Right. Because it’s just completely untouched.
Victoria: Yeah, they find new species. I think this is the only place where every year something is discovered you know. Completely, I mean unfamiliar for the rest of the scientific society because it’s very rich, they have very rich flora and very rich fauna in the Philippines. So, they are very lucky with this.
Derek: You made me want to go on holiday.
Victoria: Yeah. You should.
Derek: So, what’s number three?
Victoria: Number three I would say it’s being lots of times in China in Hong Kong you know I really like people when they’re smiling, kind and Chinese culture is different you know people are not in my own perception it’s a little bit rude. But that’s their culture. That’s how they were brought up you know. But for me it’s not really acceptable. And coming back to the Philippines every time when I come you know when I enter the airport I really like the feeling. People are smiling people you know everybody says hello to you. That’s the kindness of the Filipino people.
Derek: They’re very warm.
Victoria: Yeah, they are very warm you know. Like many people can say that they just you know it’s not that they’re so sincere or something. I don’t care you know what is behind this. As long as they are kind and warm that’s more than enough for me.
Another thing what I like in the Philippines. You know it’s I’m a person who is I like my schedule to be organized in at once you know I need to have a plan I need to know at what time I need to be somewhere where the Philippines it’s impossible. Having such terrible traffic and having Asian culture that, let’s say very distorted perception of time.
Derek: Yeah, they say it’s a bit of an island culture.
Victoria: It’s a big disadvantage of the Philippines. But on the other hand, it works like an advantage because you feel more relaxed here. You know there is less stress. So, if it was in Europe if I was 10 minutes late or 15 minutes late to the meeting due to the traffic or something I would really get so much upset you know. In the Philippines, you know that even if you’re 15 minutes late you will be the first to arrive to the meeting still. So, it’s kind of giving you less stress.
Derek: there’s an irony there isn’t that because actually there is sort of bit of a ‘manyana mentality’ here they keep complaining about.
Derek: But actually, maybe they’ve got it right. You know I guess.
Victoria: You know there’s like less stress you know traffic, traffic. And another thing which I appreciate about living in the Philippines. The Philippines.
Derek: Number five.
Victoria: The Philippines taught me to be more patient and to be more relaxed. Honestly. You know that you cannot demand from people who are foreign and different cultures and are more relaxed more easygoing culture you cannot demand from them to do things like right on time and what you want. And then you also absorb it and you adopt this culture as well and you become less stressful you know less demanding more patient.
Derek: Well, look at that. You’ve had an awakening.
Victoria: You know funny things which doesn’t work in Europe when I go back to Europe you know and then I have to I have really hard time to adjust to European schedule and all because you feel more relaxed and you don’t get why people get so much obsessed with time and everything everybody gets nervous you know like chop chop. My time is money. It works on both sides on the good side and on the bad side as well you know. But I’m more patient more relaxed and less stressful you know. So, I think it’s cool.
Derek: Wow. I concur with all of those so let’s segue way into the five things that frustrate you.
Victoria: The biggest one. It’s not traffic really.
Victoria: Yeah. Traffic is this set.
Derek: Must be in the top five.
Victoria: But it’s also related to traffic because I like as I said my schedule to be fixed you know I need to know what I can do per day. But in the Philippines, it’s almost impossible to accomplish what you, what you have planned because it depends a lot on the traffic. It depends a lot on the people, punctuality and all when they show up at the meetings. You have you sometimes you can wait even for up to one hour. And in Europe people would definitely leave. They wouldn’t wait for up to one hour. But here you know the traffic also the culture so you just wait you know and then you’re late for another meeting. That’s why I cannot plan many things.
Derek: Yeah, you need to have a lot more fluid.
Victoria: Yes. I cannot plan as much as I would like to plan you know per day. So, it’s a little bit different standard than in Europe you know in Europe I can do let’s say three times more things than I can do here. And second.
Derek: Which is maybe not a bad thing.
Victoria: No, it’s not a bad thing you know.
Derek: More coffees.
Victoria: You’re so busy all the time because you cannot accomplish things which you can do in one day you and you have to do it for four three four days you know. And it’s also related to traffic. Traffic is really terrible. But I also learned to get the advantage of it you know so I don’t waste time. I listen to some things you know do some books or I read or you know I tried to use it you know in a nice way.
Derek: It is actually astounding how bad the traffic is, isn’t it? It can. I don’t commute now but when I was commuting it would take you would be traveling on average between about 12 and 5 and 12 kilometers an hour.
Victoria: Yeah. You know and I think it’s also related the same to this perception of time. You know here because people are easy going. They don’t rush anywhere.
Derek: You don’t wanna be commuting for two hours.
Victoria: You know you go to Europe you go to some other countries and if somebody is so slow driving. I mean you would hear a lot. So here nobody would object. Nobody would say anything. Everybody is relaxed. I mean and that’s a very good thing to be in such environment because you learn you cannot change anything. Right. If you’re already stuck in the traffic you cannot change the traffic. You cannot fly to the place. So, you just accept it as it is and you are less, you’re not stressed. But in Europe, everybody’s stressed you know everybody’s kind of negative notes you know when it’s related to being.
Derek: There’s a lot more urgency with everything in Europe and the West is in there. And I noticed this when you get picked up by a car or a driver in the West they would almost zoom up to you and then stop as they are at you. Whereas here they almost try that one kilometer an hour for about 500 meters getting up to you. Do you notice that?
Victoria: Exactly. Yeah.
Derek: And it’s sort of a maybe it’s just nice in a way that everything’s kind of it’s so relaxed.
Victoria: No, it’s a very good approach you know to take things like you feel relaxed. You’re not stressed you don’t you. You can’t change anything. So why get yourself into trouble you know by being stressed and by being nervous you know. You just relax in the car and you just read or listen to audio books or something. So, I think it’s a good thing since they cannot change the traffic and they cannot change the traffic because infrastructure is not that well developed you know for.
Derek: And that is a deeper problem, isn’t it? The infrastructure is actually going to really hold them back yet over the coming years.
Victoria: And it’s getting worse and worse with the traffic but
Derek: And so going to number three that frustrates you. Could I suggest is internet one of them?
Victoria: Oh, you know that’s.
Victoria: Oh yes, oh yes. Yeah that’s a big I think gap which needs to be filled in the Philippines. I don’t know maybe it’s lacking some foreign investments or I don’t know what you know most.
Derek: What with the internet and telco.
Victoria: Yeah. There’s more monopolized you know by some companies and I don’t know it’s probably.
Derek: Because I don’t know if you’ve heard that Telstra was gonna come over here. The Australian telecommunications company.
Victoria: Yeah, but they’re still not here.
Derek: And I think they’ve backed out now because they found it too competitive.
Victoria: Yeah, of course because it’s a big monopoly you know, that’s why. But honestly, I compare now the communication the quality in the Philippines to the quality in Europe which was like 10 years ago even more. I mean maybe 15 years ago. It’s really very frustrating and it’s really hard to when you’re on the phone especially related to your business you know. And then it’s just cuts off in the middle of conversation and then you try to dial again it doesn’t connect.
Derek: And it’s embarrassing.
Victoria: It’s. Yeah. Exactly.
Derek: And especially when you do business overseas and you’re trying to have a Skype call and.
Victoria: And you cannot explain to people that’s the thing you know they think that this is kind of excuse we make that there is a bad communication quality here. They cannot get it that in 21st century and or in 2017 we have a we could have such a poor quality of communication. And it’s really frustrating.
Derek: Which is interesting because the economy is largely supported by the BPO sector which we obviously discussed a lot and this is a great concern because the BPO survives because of the internet connectivity and communications with the foreign world.
Derek: And I mean having run an office before here you can get good internet but it’s enormously expensive, enormously expensive.
Victoria: Yeah. But that’s also the good. There is a good positive thing about it. When I go to Europe I really appreciate the communication there. You know it’s like you know WOO-HOO which makes me more happier to be there.
Derek: You forget actually and you forget you can just have a Skype call on your mobile in the street whereas you.
Victoria: there is a you I’m sure you know that I could not understand when I arrived here why people are texting so much. And I was thinking like why you’re wasting your time by texting. Why not to call. And now I realized that you don’t call because of the quality of the connection.
Derek: Yeah, that’s a good point.
Victoria: You, it’s people prefer it because you can call several times and it can be choppy it can be cut off that people can, not get what you are saying. So, you just send a text and text messages work. I mean brilliantly in the Philippines which doesn’t work in Europe because people are asking you like why are you texting us why you cannot just call us. And it’s kind of habit way which you get here you know and then you it’s kind of pattern you are trying to shift to the Europe but it doesn’t work there.
Derek: Interesting. Asia though it is very text oriented, isn’t it?
Derek: Asia and Germany like I think you know even like Hong Kong Singapore with good internet they’re fairly.
Victoria: It is yeah. Yeah.
Derek: Text buffs. And what are we up to four or five. This too. What’s the fifth frustration? Are there any more? Maybe you’re out of frustrations.
Victoria: My only frustration is that as I mentioned as well, you know the Philippines are not really the whole the country is not really cheap. You know in terms of vacation and everything it’s quite expensive and there is not very there’s not a lot of competition here. So that’s why you know it’s also kind of monopolized I think you know, it’s a monopoly. And if you want to go to for a good resort you have to pay a lot of money.
Derek: That is a good point actually people expect this to be very, very cheap and you can live very, very cheap.
Derek: But you can if you want reasonable accommodation like a normal apartment or condo you’re paying.
Victoria: Exactly. It’s very expensive here you know.
Derek: Sort of almost not New York rates but kind of well it’s kind of like
Victoria: No, it’s very expensive
Derek: Middle America rates. And utilities are very expensive.
Victoria: Utilities. That’s what I say it’s very expensive utilities are very expensive rental, fee is very expensive traveling is quite expensive in the Philippines especially for the last like let’s say six months. The airlines there are like three or four major airlines in the Philippines which operate flights to different destinations. But if you look at the prices before I remember like even three years ago you could book in advance and the price could be really cheap. Now I think the cheapest ticket would be like $150 which is for the Philippines standard. It’s quite a lot. You know people cannot afford to.
Derek: But you know they’ve have opened up flights to the de-regulated the airspace. So, there’s going to be a lot more European carriers flying into the Philippines.
Victoria: I hope, I do that I hope.
Derek: I think that it is big because they wanna increase tourism. So in 2016 which 16 goes into maybe they’re happening at 18. There’s this agenda to open up deregulate all the space.
Victoria: But I really cannot understand why you need to pay $200 for a ticket. Flying 25 minutes.
Victoria: With budget airlines in the Philippines we’re not talking about like first class business class. It’s a budget airline. And in Europe for two hundred dollars you can fly through the whole European you know for that. And in the Philippines when they’re low I mean income and everything. People cannot afford. That’s why people still travel, you know the public transportation is not developed here at all. It’s a big really a big gap here which they need to sort out in the nearest future because.
Derek: There’s an opportunity.
Victoria: You know there are more cars you know but people cannot access many places and this is the cause of the traffic as well you know. There are these jeepneys and everything.
Derek: Yeah. And so, to counteract the expense there is an aspect that’s cheap and its service. It is a very service oriented.
Victoria: Yes, it is.
Derek: Country and you can pretty much get everything done for you very cheap. There’s obviously a lot of home helps as domestic help there’s drivers there’s cooks. That’s pretty cool.
Victoria: Yeah that’s pretty cool. But that’s one of the biggest advantages of the Philippines. And I think this is the only problem with cheap stuff in the Philippines. Cheap service you can get the rest is quite expensive it’s not really cheap and I would say the big advantage here is all this beautification stuff you know which is very well developed here and the price wise if you compare with Europe it’s really.
Derek: Ah you mean as in beauty.
Victoria: Yeah, beauty salons beauty.
Victoria: business you know it’s very well developed because Filipino ladies they really take care of themselves.
Derek: This is actually quite a mature sector isn’t it.
Victoria: Yes. And you know this is probably the one of the few countries which spends a lot into the beauty products even if people of people from different classes from different layers of the society. As you know probably that to for the definition of the beautiful the Filipino lady it’s to have a fair complex, complex.
Derek: Yeah complex.
Victoria: So being fair it’s already a definition of beauty in the Philippines so people really invest a lot in the whitening products here.
Derek: Skin whitening.
Victoria: Yeah, a lot. Even I look at my maids you know helpers with their, the income is not like the income of other people but still they do buy those products you know. Okay. They buy it from supermarkets from other sources from chains not from high-end beauty salons or something but they still invest a lot into beautification.
Derek: They’re very conscious of the whole beauty thing because the beauty pageants are huge right throughout the provinces and the whole community is built around beauty queens.
Victoria: It’s a good thing I would say that the country is really, really proud you know of having beautiful ladies. They are. And it’s really a good thing you know that they support their own Asian beauty. They have lots of beauty parlors as you said. You know like runways everything contest. I’ve never I’ve never heard of so many, you know. And they’re willing to sponsor them. That’s another thing.
Derek: Right. Beautiful. Thank you, Victoria.
Victoria: You’re welcome.
Okay. Hope you enjoyed that chat with Victoria in that insight into the Philippines. I just want to summarize by saying that the Philippines is a superb place. I live here. I live here by choice and it’s really a fantastic country with a fantastic future ahead of it I think. And as we touch on in this podcast vast amounts of untouched natural beauty incredible, incredible islands. Seven thousand one hundred seven islands to be explored. So, if you’re coming of business or pleasure or both do make sure you can add Manila when you come here and enjoy the islands. And if you want any information if you want to get in touch with Victoria and get around she notes that is an outsourceaccelerator.com/podcast/episode45.