The 5 Huge Mistakes I Made in My First 5 Years in the Philippines

There were too many little mistakes to count

Jason Weiland


In September of 2020, I will have lived mostly in the Philippines for nine years. I say mostly because stupidity caused me to keep returning to the U.S. to seek my fortune again and again. It was always a business opportunity I couldn’t pass up or project only suited for America.

Even if I had moved to a place that fulfilled my every need and want as the Philippines did for me, I was still drinking the kool-aid and thought that America was the only game in town.

It took me five years and a dreadful trip to the States to show me that I had everything I ever wanted right here on my little island in the Philippines.

I made too many mistakes to count over the years but somehow I narrowed it down to five big ones that I am still recovering from.

Mistake #1: I thought that changing my location would change my sad little life.

By September of 2011, when I boarded an airplane and experienced the 21 hours it took to get from Tucson, Arizona, to Manila, Philippines, I was a beaten man. Years of terror from mental illness, bankruptcy, divorce, and estrangement from my kids, had taken everything that made me who I was, and threw it in the trash.

The only thing I thought could change my circumstances was throwing away the life I knew before and starting over somewhere tropical. Deep inside, I hoped changing the location of my flag on the globe would be the solution I needed to help me get my life together.

I expected my life would change overnight.

You can guess what happened.

Mistake #2: I thought that a new environment and people would cure my mental illness.

Part of me hoped that when I landed in the Philippines, the humid air would somehow change the chemical makeup of my brain and take away 43 years of pain and angst.

It didn’t.

I arrived with enough medication to get me through a few weeks and a hope that I could get a job quickly. I had…



Jason Weiland

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