Why I’m a Filipino Who Won’t Go Abroad

Everyone wants to go abroad.

Two of my high school friends, Rachel and Joy will go to the California, US and Australia to try to establish a new life in “greener pastures”. My aunt is always pushing me to find work abroad for me to prosper. Yeah, I’ll be in Hong Kong later this month for the HPAIR 2007 Business Conference for a couple of weeks – but that’s just to visit.

Why would I want to leave? Not because of the money…

  • Freedom from this “conservative” society – yet decisions are made on principles and morals, not your environment
  • Run away from corruption-infestation – traffic enforcement, long lines to get a passport or a license – ah, the simple joys of living in a corrupted developing country?
  • Young e-commerce and web startup industry. It’s rare to find talented web and software developers and programmers who are willing to give up a cozy job to bootstrap a startup and develop something new and innovative.
  • Independence – Close family ties have the benefit of saving you rent money but also distorts the concept of independence for young adults. My parents would take it against me if I move out within the metropolis, but it would be okay if I lived alone in another country.I want to stay in the Philippines.

I have no immediate (or medium-term) plans of going abroad to find work. For graduate studies maybe but I’m fine living here in Manila, Philippines. I’d also rather move to the cities of Cebu or Davao when I settle down.

I’m one of the rare Filipinos who won’t go abroad.

Prosperity in entrepreneurship and investing. There’s money to be made right here! Henry Sy is expanding SM by at least 5 SM Supermalls every year and Jollibee is going into the carinderia industry. Heck, the Chinese, Indians, Koreans, and Western expats are migrating here because there’s money to be made off us!

Things are looking up! I almost cried when I heard on the radio that Dr. Romulo Neri was the new Chair of CHED. On one side, the the public now has to confront the reality of the worsening “mismatch” in the education sector. Fortunately, 88% of female college students are starting to recognize the vast potential in the Philippine market and want to become entrepreneurs.

“To solve that mismatch, we have to reorient our education system, particularly higher educatio… So we have to go through more ‘techvoc,’ or technical-vocational, engineering courses. We’re promoting entrepreneurship, education reoriented to entrepreneurship, instead of just [studying to be able to get] employment, among other things.” [Neri is education czar 7/29/07 Inquirer]

On the other hand, the currently unemployed and “mismatched” have to recognize that self-employment, starting their own business, and learning right money management can give them a better life than any instant cash loan or pitiful job (“just for the sake of having a job”) they don’t like.

Low cost of living. Infrastructure isn’t perfect and pollution in Metro Manila is so bad. Still, the Philippines has the conveniences of broadband internet connection, telecommunications. A single individual can live comfortably on $500 a month or even less and still have savings.

Filipino families in the Philippines can even afford a house maid ($2/day) to take care of laundry, cleaning the house, and tending to the children. We spend too like the Westerners but we manage to keep the costs down.

In comparison, just look at the string of OFW-themed movies that display the good and bad of working abroad. It’s sad how they work their asses off, live less comfortably than in the Philippines, and are unable to build enough funds for retirement or for a business.

  • Dubai (Claudine Barretto, John Lloyd Cruz, Aga Muhlach)
  • Anak
    [youtube tdH3u0WFZyI]

Do something for the Philippines. I truly want to make a difference – whether it’s just accompanying someone to a money management seminar, or finishing a project for a new client or spreading the campaign for financial literacy. I’m happy to do what I can from my home base.


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6 Comments on “Why I’m a Filipino Who Won’t Go Abroad

  1. I completely understand the bootstrapping…I am in the same boat. I just recently contact JP dela Torre and perhaps you can join my virtual team. Let’s talk.

  2. Good for you! I remember back in the early 1990’s i was toiling myself to death in one of the factories in hsin chu in taiwan.. back then to work in taiwan had not yet been legalized…

    I remember an encounter with a co-worker who was also surnamed “Tan”, he to told me: “You are lucky to have finished your studies, you are a college graduate so why are you working here in this factory”. From that day i finished my work term there.. I came home and decided that my firend was correct.

    Money may not come in bounty to everyone, but i agree there is money to be made. The problem with our society is parents send kids to go to school have good jobs instead of sending them to school so that they may hone their skills and become entreps.

    Unless such a paradigm shift may be realized, each year colleges are just churning out employees and not entreps..

    Anyway as for me, I am a filipino-chinese.. born, raised, schooled, earning and will eventually die in the Philippines… I am proud to be who and what i am… a FILIPINO-chinese.

    Mabuhay po tayong lahat!

  3. Hi!
    Just got interested in the topics where you have some posts in income-tacts.com.

    I also have the same feeling as yours about staying in the Philippines until I expire. I am 45 years old and have been an employee for 20+ years. It’s only these past 2 years that I really decided to make things work without employment and without having to desire going abroad.

    A lot of my friends that have gone to other countries for that proverbial greener pasture. We’ll it’s good that they cannot just uproot everybody and they somewhat remit to the Philippines that’s driving our peso a little stronger. If there’s a drain then there’s rain for all of us who will stick to contributing to the Philippine economy.

    I am still seeing a lot of opportunities here.

    Great site and blog!

  4. hello im glad i have found this website, i have a debate about this topic in my philosphy class and it helps me to defend why i am not into Filipinos going abroad.

  5. hi,I'm already 23 and my family wants me to work abroad. I'm not sure if it is a good idea but I don't want to disappoint them. I also want to make a difference here in the Philippines but I don't know where to start. My parents are expecting a lot from me financially in the future.I'm in dilemma, what if they are right and I'm wrong. I want the Philippines to become a better country so Filipinos don't have to go abroad. I'm thinking we can do better than working abroad.

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