I am back living in Australia. Well, I never actually left to live in another country. But I did go on holiday for a month, mainly in Surigao, Philippines. Like many Filipinos who go back to their country of birth or heritage, we have few things to say.
Philippines way of life is very simple. For us who goes back now and then to Philippines can see that, life in the Philippines is much simpler and is much cheaper too, when you use the dollar—whilst in Philippines, we could almost live like kings and queens.
Before going to Philippines, I made a budget, not a big a budget but enough to get me by. I thought it would be an adventure to live the way Filipinos do in Philippines. So I set out with only AUD$1,000.00 as a budget for the whole month. At the time this was about 45,000.00 pesos—that’s a big budget considering the minimum wage in Philippines is around 10,000.00 pesos.
Know the value of peso—Knowing how cheap it is there—for us “balikbayans”, it is important to know the value of peso. What I thought were cheap, actually weren’t! It is very easy to overspend as I did—I bought parmesan cheese as an example to go with my pasta and thinking that the product was cheap. It turned out to be expensive because parmesan is not common—I basically paid a dollar value instead of a peso value. There are processed cheese that were half the price, but does not really go well with the pasta. It was the most expensive item I bought for the meal.
Exotic fruits can be bought in Australia—mostly from Asian stores and are quite expensive. In Philippines, to me there were cheap. But apparently there weren’t.
Converting peso to dollar, doesn’t work at all—you may end up spending dollars in Philippines. But we sorta knew that, adjusting to the value of peso is hard. It took almost two weeks to partially adjust to it and I have already blown most of the budget.
Transportation—this would be one of the “things” I will be missing. Tricycles, multi-cabs, buses are everywhere and have no schedules. You want to go somewhere, just stand there on the side of the road and stop them—unlike here, we have to go to bus stops or walk to the train station to get a rid.
The easy life—My structure here in Australia, is in the range of low income earner, so there really isn’t much for me as way of complexity. I live pay check per pay check and don’t really have a life. So my life here in Australia, is in a way easy. In Philippines though, it is much simpler there—almost back to basics if you want to call it that and I love it! There’s no feeling of a rat race, just simply living with ease.
Being back in Australia—as much as I would love to say, I am glad to be back home in Australia, I can’t. I left my family there—I also have kids here, so I have a mixed feeling. I am glad to be back in Australia, because I get to see my kids—I haven’t seen them in about two months and noticed how much they have grown! But I am also saddened to leave my now family.
But I am back home in Australia and continuing life as I live it.