I’ll Miss You, Philippines

I’ll Miss You, Philippines post image

Some people have asked me if I’m getting sick of Bali– I’m not.

What I had been craving, after months of relatively little travel, is the rhythm of life on the road. I like always knowing how many pairs of underwear I have available (2 dirty, 4 clean, 1 wet from pool), moving to a new place everyday, and logging into a budget airline’s website and letting their dodgy UI determine where I’ll go next.

I’m a toe-tapping, impulsive, restless guy. Getting back on the road feels like home.

Aside from my primary attraction to the Philippines– an amazing group of ambitious and like-minded friends (and a swarm of DCers!)– here’s a short list of the things I’ll miss until I return.

Floating bars.

I admit I’m not that sophisticated. I’m hugely impressed by bars that float on the water. You can take a swim, dive off the roof, and tether your boat right up to the side of the damn thing. Could floating bars be a sensible solution to the DUI problems we have in America? Keep those drunks out in the ocean!

***Related business opportunities: A pirate themed floating bar complete with water pumps and hoses to gun down civilians getting too close to the bounty. Arrrr!

The view from Badladz’s new beach resort. Awesome!

Pork sisig.

I read that the dish Filipinos miss the most when abroad is pork sisig. I can understand why. Crunchy and fatty pieces of pig face chopped and served on a sizzling plate with onions, chilies, raw egg– and if you are lucky– a little chicken liver. Masarap! Oh my gulay what a perfect dish to accompany a few beers.

Sisig was invented in 1974 when a local restauranteur noticed the kitchens from the American military bases using every part of the pig but the head. They decided to turn the wasted head o’pig into an unforgettable culinary experience.

***Related business opportunities: Take note of the Vietnamese sandwich phenomenon sweeping America– another niche food item composed of funky meats. I’d start serving this stuff in hipster neighborhoods ASAP.

Nom nom nom nom nom nom….

No tourists, few touts, fewer scams.

In 2011, almost 20 million people visited Thailand. By contrast, only 3.9 million people visited the Philippines, and many believe those numbers are inflated by Filipinos returning home to visit relatives.

***Related business opportunities: Scams would go over well here in the Philippines as most tourists drop their guard after just a few short hours on the ground. When I got my first flat tire in the Philippines (a common time to run a scam in other countries) I hurriedly called my Filipino friend to ask him for the fair market price. Once I was confident I had the right figures, I walked back to the garage where the smiling mechanic asked 10 pesos less than the “market rate.” Provincial price break!

90 million friendly English speakers.

An almost universal opinion when tourists visit the Philippines– Filipinos are damn friendly people and they like to have a good time. Many of them speak better English that us westerners. That’ll come in handy when your bonka boat breaks down while island hopping, or when you want to make some friends in a remote province of the country.

***Related business opportunities: Teaching English has traditionally been one of the most viable ways for travelers to make money while in Asia, and…. well… not happening here in the Philippines. This morning I went to the ATM and my language options where “Taglish” (Taglog and English mixed) and “English.”

Crowds in Cebu City… this gathering was put on my a powerful local church.

One of the best places in the world to hire for your business.

I used to write a whole blog about it! I’ve met successful people everywhere I’ve gone in Asia, but the Philippines is full of stories of folks who moved here with very little, or just doing okay, and massively improved their stake by providing jobs, products, and services to an economy that sorely needs them.

***Related business opportunities. Any business that needs heavy manual data processing or has developed, scalable, repeating processes that are labor intensive. Link building, phone support, data analysis, developing custom software widgets, building out websites, you name it…

Taking in the view from DCer Jonathan Kennedy’s office (ClickingLabs.com)

The most luxurious visa in South East Asia.

It’s nice to know that you can come to the Philippines, relax, and not worry about your visa. You also won’t be subjected to inconsistent visa policies (hey Thailand!) or draconian overstay fees (I’m looking at you, Indonesia). Come hang out and stay for two years if you like. Just don’t forget your outbound ticket!

***Related business opportunities: After 2 years you are bound to come up with something!

Grabbing a taxi near the entrance to Chris Ducker’s office (VirtualStaffFinder.com). Check out those DUBS!!

I can’t imagine a better place to bum around for a couple weeks. My time here in the Philippines has been incredibly memorable. In particular, I enjoyed getting the chance to meet many of the readers of this blog.

To all my friends in the Philippines, I’m already looking forward to returning. Thanks for being great hosts.


PS, if you like the TMBA you can subscribe here.

Published on 03.15.12
  • It was great having you mate, we shouldn’t wait so long to catch up again. I should definitely take the plunge and visit Bali soon to see how the “other half” live…

  • Justin Miramontes

    Sisig, man. I loved it until one bad plate of it nearly put me in the hospital. Now I can’t even look at it without getting queasy :'(, bummer because I really loved it. I’m now a chicken afritada guy, just ask Stephen W. I went a weekend in Sabang ONLY eating chicken afritada  :D 

    Floating bars, they are brilliant are they not? Can’t think of a better place to drink. I like the pirate ship idea. Especially with the right waitress uniforms ;P

    I’ve been in Philippines  for 8 months now and only once has someone has attempted to scam me, but that was in Tondo… a dangerous city I had no business being in in the first place! (still got out only paying $5USD, woo!)

    Catch’ya next time, eh? haha.

  • TMFproject

    This blog post thoroughly made my morning. Particularly because I will now be contemplating whether we should, in fact, have more swim up bars with perhaps pool side cabanas to pass out in afterward. Keep the drunks in the ocean! Indeed, Andrews, indeeeeeed. 

  • Dan

    Thanks Ash… I’ve spent years thinking deeply about, you know, the issues… this stuff doesn’t just come out of the nowhere. 

  • Dan

    And this sir is a very sad story!!! :( 

    Tondo is a rough spot for sure, one of the few places I’d try to avoid in the Philippines… been in a few similar rough spots in Cebu as well but 99.9% I feel safe and nobody buggin’ me. Next time for sure man! We are like passing bonkas in the night… with no lights. 

  • TMFproject

    Pretty sure I need to make my way out there and buy you a damn beer.

  • Dan

    haha, you’ll love it man! looking forward to showing you around. great to see you man.

  • Dan

    It’s a no brainer.

  • I’m reading this while travelling around the Philippines, and I suspect I will be saying “I’ll miss you, Philippines” as well. Having spent over a year of my life in mainland Southeast Asia, it is remarkable to see just how off the banana pancake trail the Philippines is.

    On the visas, I assume you are talking about for US passport holders. Australian passport holders get 21 days on arrival, upon which I had to go to a immigation office to have it extended for another month (for approximately $70usd!)

  • I’m pretty sure you need to come out here as well. In the next 4 months definitely. #justsayin’  ;)

  • Pig face?! Really?! *shudder*

    Gotta admit, between you and David and Ian’s adventure stories and my ever-gaining mobility I’m almost there in my love for SE Asia again. Keep it comin’, man, keep it comin’!

    (Honestly, how can you not love a place w/floating bars?)

  • Just saw the dislike video yesterday! Hilarious. Love your related business opportunity tips here. No sisig for me. Oh my gulay lang. :D Also, the pirate floating bar idea should tootally be done at Badladz if that’s not the plan already 

  • Looking forward to flying over into the Philippines while I’m out here in Bali. There’s already an unofficial DC meetup brewing with Ducker et. al. the weekend of Startup Weekend in Cebu, which I’m very seriously considering attending. Your post practically seals the deal.

  • Dan

    oh yeah that sounds like a blast!!! 

  • Dan

    it should be put in to the plan immediately! dislike video is pretty good, I liked the bag and receipt part, i always wondered about that! 

  • Dan

    OMG it’s AWESOME!!! yeah, there’s nothing left to complain about once you make it aboard a floating barge with cheap beer. 

  • Dan

    James really glad your trip has been a good one so far… no it looks like we’ve got the same standards as AUS at least on the surface– here’s the thing, you don’t really need to re-new it after 21 days, you can do it whenever you come across a visa office. There are penalties, but they aren’t that significant or worth changing your travel plans for. Be sure to ask for 60 day extensions when you do go to the visa office rather than 30 days. They’ll give them to you if you ask. 

  • Fin


    You had me at floating bars. I’m going to try it out on your recommendation, especially from a business perspective, but also so I can get drunk and jump into the water from the bar roof.

    I’ve stayed at Bali in the past and loved it. I think Thailand is still number 1 for me. I didn’t enjoy the food so much in Bali, though the buffets for a few dollars (with your basket filled full of protein) was certainly amazing.


  • Dan

    haha yeah you can’t really go wrong here :) agreed food in Thai much better than Bali exception is western stuff find myself eating more like I would back home when in Bali, although I’ve found a few awesome local spots that I frequent as well, they just aren’t on every corner like in Thailand.

  • Haha I didn’t know that Sisig is pig face.  Sure tastes good whatever it is.

    I’m definitely planning on hitting Cebu Startup weekend.  Hoping to both promote our biz & recruit some fresh dev talent.

    By the way I’ll have two TMBA type opportunities coming up shortly.  One will be full time in Cebu, the other will be split between Cebu and Penang, Malaysia (my current home base).  Keep your eyes on TWF :)

  • Dan

    haha that’s TROPICALWORKFORCE.COM!!! :D

    Have fun in Cebu!!!!

  • So it is :)  And dude, you didn’t visit our LMR IT office.  Next time, K?  It’s only 2km from Ducker’s office.

  • Dan

    I want to see YOU man!!! :)

  • Yeah buddy, we gotta catch up again soon!  I’m sure our travel plans will line up again one of these days.  I’ve been telling my wife we should visit Bali :)

  • Payman

    Love reading your posts Dan. I also miss the Philippines big time and can’t wait to return there, plan is for the fall to meet with you and as many DCers as possible. Btw, I nominate the idea of floating bars as a great biz opportunity. That could turn into a very profitable global franchise operation…;)



  • Dan

    cheers man! will be great to meet you :)

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