Moving to the Philippines

Note: I’m creating these posts by taking pictures and jotting quick random notes down on my iphone. I figure this will be the most interesting (if disjointed) way to go about this. Plus I will actually follow through with this blog (unlike the New Zealand one…oops). Also I should note that this is basically a stream of consciousness type deal, aka it’s probably going to be quite candid about many things.

The most amazing goodbyes from my friends. Thank you. It was such a happy goodbye.

Pack until 2 am. OMG this is hard! My original suitcase was somehow full of soap? But got it sorted out. Not surprised this part isn’t going smoothly.

4 hours of sleep and carried on excitement…bleh.

Here’s what I ended up with in terms of my life for the next 6 months: small backpack and small suitcase, with the goal to whittle things down to just a backpack while I’m there.

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As irony would have it…snowing as I’m leaving Lexington to go to a tropical island!

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Sat next to the loveliest sweetest old lady who was super interesting on the way to Detroit. We talked about her travels all over the world and I helped her figure out her iphone.

Wandering around Detroit airport. Hope I don’t get bumped since I’m flying standby… But that’s it’s own adventure too I suppose.

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Freaking insanity. Apparently wasn’t cleared to enter the country or something….  Basically they told me I had a seat but I had to buy a ticket right there through them out of the Philippines for over 400 dollars. They were trying to close the doors as I said “do it!” and ran in. Felt like a crazy movie. On the plus side I got first class. [Note: have now gotten a refund on that BS pressured ticket and also found out the first class ride I got, which was insanely awesome, usually costs over 10k, but only cost me $377 to fly first class all the way to Manila]
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First meal in the Philippines was….drumroll please…mcdonalds! Only thing open.

People definitely look at me a lot. It’s kind weird and fun.

Interesting moment to have a security guard with a huge gun open your car door for you.

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Lovely people let me stay in their open apartment by myself. Their biggest concern was it not being good enough for me. Wow. Thanks for hooking me up Paul mah brudda, Between first class and getting picked up and taken care of this…this is going fantastic so far.

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Walked around taking it in. I love tropical climates. Sat outside against a palm tree in the dark just taking in the smells and feeling of the place.

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Manila is super smelly and polluted but so interesting in so many ways! Walked around these little shantytown market areas – reminds me of pictures of India. I get constant looks, high fives, and one woman even tried to hug me randomly haha. It’s sooo odd. I seriously feel like this is what it would be like to be Matt Damon or something. So much novelty here! I love it! Everything is so different.

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Streets are freakin nuts! No stoplights. Billions of carts trucks and people going every direction.

I honestly don’t think I would have made it to the boat without Paul’s fam. It sounded easy but was super complicated with a lack of signs and even though people speak english somewhat it can still be very difficult to communicate with them because they are not comfortable in it. Also was extremely nervous about getting conned (if been warned and was overwhelmed and connabley tired). But I made it. Sitting on the boat now with like a hundred people crammed way too tight and my luggage perched precariously over the ocean on that little metal bar thing that sticks out with only a couple strings tying it down….wawawhaaaat? I’m exhausted, uncomfortable, stressed out…and yet I wouldn’t trade this for anything.

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Arrived at badladz – so excited and overwhelmed. It’s a nice place but there are super sketchy slums all over within a short walk. Several oh my god what am I doing moments in good and bad ways. And experiences From chilling by the beach to my mind being blown by the talks about the perspectives on sex and prostitution in the Philippines and how basically being white means you can do whatever you want in a lot of ways, mostly involving women. Today was emotionally intense and utterly confusing! You can see all those national geographic pictures of third world countries, but actually being in one is a completely different experience.

Went to sleep at 9 and woke up at 7 and feel great. Everything is earlier here which I really like. Time to go work out in the sun 🙂

Getting accommodated and already feeling good about being here. Walked around and played with random kids. Also think I got hit on by a bunch of ladyboys asking for my number and whatnot…. Not sure on that one… but kinda hilarious…apparently there’s a bunch here.

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This totally fits my ideal lifestyle. Work hard play hard. Be outdoors. Hide wealth instead of flaunt it. Get by with what you need and mostly an appreciation of the world and the people in it.

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Went with my (coworkers?) to sabang for some drinks and what people call “girly bars”, which are apparently a big thing here so I had to check them out. I don’t even know how to explain these. They are dance clubs meets strip clubs meets brothel, but aren’t sketchy or trashy and the girls seem super sweet and fun. Also they are socially acceptable, as in everyone goes to them every week instead of the weekly bar hopping. I’m morally confused but if I’m honest it was indeed fun.

I like the whole casually going into town each day to go find that one thing you need at the market. It feels cool. Life moves slow here but it’s all super interesting so it’s slow but significant.


Productive day with lots of awesome beach time and walking breaks and a barbecue at night with sick food. Also had a group of girls all wanting to take pictures with me, including a 9 year old who was “in love with me” 🙂

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I’m finding subtleties are lost in the language barrier, so flirting and teasing is kind of hard because they don’t understand it.

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The super poor here are very different. There are tons of healthy looking gorgeous women living in grass huts. Whereas in the states the destitute to to be overweight and unhealthy. Here I can’t tell much of a difference. That beautiful girl you see across the street might be the mayor’s daughter or might be one of 12 sleeping on the ground. You really can’t tell.

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48 hours of brownouts (no power until after 6 pm). Sounds super annoying, but I just think no worries I’ll just go swim in the ocean, walk into town, and read a book until the power comes back on 🙂 live is simple but awesome here. I should also emphasize that I do still work like crazy here (like allll day yesterday nonstop) but that’s way less fun to talk about or take pictures of. The downtime adventures are way more interesting!

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Using a book of mma training to put together a workout routine with minimal equipment. Today I went out on the beach and was doing chin-ups on trees and throwing coconuts and whatnot for a workout haha. Also found an open coconut and took it bad to eat (even the Filipinos thought I was weird to do that!) got super sunburned though, so one of the super nice girl here went off and broke off an aloe Vera branch for me to rub on my skin (the actual plant juice!). Also managed to get a good amount of work done despite lack of power (until my computer died)

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Everything seems to move kinda slow here. It’s awesome and less stressful in one way. But I can tell I will need to be careful about not letting it get to me. I can tell it got to JD after a while. Hasn’t been a week yet and I’m already thinking about other places to see here and planning things to do. Also feel randomly inclined to go to Thailand next because of what I’m hearing about it.

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Had another night out. They are so much crazy fun and interesting compared to the lameness of going out that I knew before. Feels like a movie.

Also I’m finding that just about any girl that I’ve flirted with has apologized profusely for not being beautiful enough for me. Even the super gorgeous ones. I suppose female low self esteem is universal in all male dominant cultures 🙁 Although it can be a cute form of humility in a way.


Bought a bag of trail mix today for like 2 weeks salary of a decent job here. Also got a haircut, shave and massage for a dollar. He worked so hard for that dollar! I have him two but it still felt weird about it.

Also found a flyer to learn jeet kune do and Arnis mma in town 🙂

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Gosh the women here are so intense. They are basically all extremely sensual and caring and sweet. But a huge percentage of them (and 100% of the ladyboys, of which there are many) will also walk straight up to you and try to have sex with you. Very assertively. I can see why women in the states get so dismissive and detached when guys approach them. It’s all reversed here. It’s super tiring to fend them off tactfully without being mean. That sounds so weird even as I’m typing it. Culture is so interesting.

No idea how to drive a manual or a and have never ridden a motor cycle. So it’s time to drive one that’s both up the coast of Mindoro in shorts and a t shirt! Embrace the chaos eh… Haha.

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Talk about a flippin awesome day. After a beautiful motorbike ride I went around town to find the guy to teach me jeet kune do. So trippy being kinda in the middle of the woods at this dudes house and him randomly talk to me for like and hour about how he’s gonna train me in MMA on the beach. Oh and did I mention that he talked at length about how he teaches without rules, as in he teaches you to do what it takes to win no matter what? Sounds intense, but totally appropriate in a real-life self-defense situation. I asked him about money and he said don’t worry about it. We can talk later if you like it. I’m in this to help people learn self defense not to make money (he’s also a pastor who knows like 8 styles of martial arts). They don’t have salsa here, but hey I’m gonna learn something flipping cool while I’m here 🙂