Moving to the Philippines was the Best Decision I Ever Made

Nothing is perfect, not even this place

Jason Weiland
4 min readJul 5, 2022
Photo by Mikel (ᜋᜒᜃᜒᜎ᜔) 🇵🇭 on Unsplash

The Philippines is not paradise — far from it. I don’t think there is one place on earth that could be called perfect. I mean, the power goes out all the time — sometimes in Iloilo City, we have days where it is out for 8 hours.

Nothing is perfect.

Since I have been here, there is a list of things that annoy me. But, one thing the Philippines has done for me is to make me more forgiving. I am willing to be more flexible and look at the positive things in life. I don’t dwell on the things that make life difficult at all — I choose to find a silver lining in everything.

I haven’t always been like this. Back when I lived in the USA, I complained about everything constantly. I was never happy with anything. I lived to be miserable. But everything changed after I gave up my life in America and moved to a place much less forgiving.

I quickly learned that I was a guest in my new country and had to lose that sense of entitlement that so many of us from the West have. I still catch myself sometimes expecting the people in the Philippines to do things as I want. Take driving — I still get upset when someone does a maneuver that I know is outlawed in the States, but the people here have their own way of doing things and it works for them. Who am I to expect them to drive as I expect them to?

So many people come to the Philippines as expats and expect life to be exactly like it was for them back home, and it never will be. These people are so inflexible that this country chews them up and spits them out, and they end up hating it here. I’ve seen it many times, and I still see them sitting in their little groups talking about how much they hate it here and how stupid Filipinos are.

I have no patience for the people who treat these people like they owe them something. If you are going to come to this country as a guest, you damn well better have a good attitude about it.

Leave the privilege at home.

So that is what I did. I tried to be more easygoing like the average Filipino. They were happy with what they had and what they were given, no matter what. They were elastic instead of trying to make everyone else bend to their will. They went with the flow instead of against it.

I tried to be more like them.

It took me years, but eventually, I stopped taking myself and my life so seriously. Instead of stressing about what I couldn’t change, I started trying to understand it better. Instead of working against the current, I let it take me wherever it would.

I still haven’t conquered all my bad habits. I still do things that an asshole would do, and my wife has to put me in check. She doesn’t put up with my bad attitude, she always calls me out for bad behavior.

But I think I am doing better. When I stopped finding so many things to hate I found a life that I loved, I found a country that embraced me, and people who were always friendly and kind. I’ve never run into racism or anyone who looked down on me for my white skin, on the contrary, people treat me like a kind of the castle everywhere I go.

I don’t use the kindness of the people here as an excuse to be a jerk to everyone. I am learning how to treat everyone like I want to be treated, no matter what kind of annoying things they do. It’s even spilled over into my interactions with people on social media from around the world. I am trying to understand everyone, as hard as it is.

No, the Philippines is not perfect. You could probably find other places just like this around the world, I just happened to have fallen into this one. I just happened to have gotten lucky and found a place that excepted me for who I was, and taught me to be a better person.

I hope you find your place in the world, but if you look and can’t find it, come join me in the Philippines.

Look me up, I’ll show you around.



Jason Weiland

Personal essays and articles from a guy who never tires of writing about his life -