Back in Good Ol’ Philippines

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Back in Good Ol’ Philippines

Mike’s Blog 156

Welcome back (insert sound clip of the Welcome back pop song). Philippines is always a nice place to come back to. Well – I think most would agree the traffic is not the best part – and unfortunately something you need to accept and deal with as soon as you leave the Manila Airport.

But the people in Philippines are always so positive and happy. When I spent more time here in 2010/2011 timeframe it really helped me to de-stress a lot from the more high pressure China lifestyle.

Just arriving so haven’t had too much time to explore old neighborhoods, but generally seems things are more and more developed. More buildings created, systems seem to be more smooth. It always amazes me that there isn’t more economic growth in Philippines with such a huge population of English speaking, internet loving, social people.

For sure there is so much art and music here. The Uber driver from the airport (thanks for the help Rhea and Ana!) was singing along to the radio, the cashier at the hotel was singing along to the music on their portable music device (couldn’t see what they had), it is a very artistic place.

Probably the two biggest improvements from working with a remote team here would be the internet speeds, infrastructure, and the traffic (public transportation). I am always having different people on the team having issues with their internet line, the power outage, stuck in traffic traveling to a government office. If these things could be fixed it would massively improve the country’s economy.

I wonder what is happening behind the scenes to make this happen. These were the same items I had on the list to improve when I was here years ago, are they being addressed? Many of the Filipino people tell me it is the government and the ulility companies that don’t prioritize certain items (for more selfish reasons). Which seems crazy, as these improvements would help so many people across the board.

Yet the people stay happy. It is something that has really lightened me up over the years, and every time I come here. Even if the person is so poor, sleeping on a dirt floor in a crowded shack home, they enjoy their life. They sing at a KTV box, drink, eat, and are merry.

What really blows my mind is on the other side of the coin, when I see people who have so much money. They are stressed and not happy. They are not fulfilled with what they have, and want more. Desire – the pursuit for more.

The majority of Filipinos I know are satisfied with what they have already and in a way it could be holding them back at the same time. I think it is a balance – “desire” or “wanting more” generally isn’t good, but at the same time you need to have that drive to get out and get more.

This place always helps me loosen up a bit. Open internet (although sometimes slow!) and friendly people (even in congested traffic conditions) loosens anyone up.

I am happy to see progress here in the economic development in Philippines, but believe it deserves much more. And for those of you not interested or involved with Philippines- you can still learn a lot from this – you can appreciate what you have. Stop that endless pursuit to pad your wallet and get more in the bank. We need to take a deep breath and realize we have accomplished quite a bit already and need to realize that.

Balance. The key to life. And I’m not one to lecture, I am still trying to find my own balance in life- of the “desire” to grow and accumulate with the other side which is “enjoying” and appreciating.

How do you find your balance?

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