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2 Financial mysteries in the Philippines I can't figure out!

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Re: 2 Financial mysteries in the Philippines I can't figure

Postby Winston » Tue Feb 02, 2016 8:22 am

Last night i talked with the chef in my hotel for a long time about deep subjects and conspiracies. He told me that in America, you cant live and eat without money. But in Philippines you can. Many filipinos have no money at all yet they are able to eat and live, they still have food and shelter. How is this possible? Anyone know?
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Re: 2 Financial mysteries in the Philippines I can't figure

Postby Balmung » Tue Feb 02, 2016 10:54 am

Winston wrote:Last night i talked with the chef in my hotel for a long time about deep subjects and conspiracies. He told me that in America, you cant live and eat without money. But in Philippines you can. Many filipinos have no money at all yet they are able to eat and live, they still have food and shelter. How is this possible? Anyone know?


Welcome to the world of subsistence living! I suspect several things are going on here:

Food: It literally grows on trees! Last month visiting my girlfriend in the Visayas, she remarked how now that she lived in the city, it felt odd to have to *pay* for mangoes. She said in the semi rural area she grew up in, there were so many mango trees that didn't really even belong to anyone, you could just take the fruit right off the tree. Other fruits widely available are lanzones, rambutan, and dalandan, as well as more familiar ones like pineapple, banana and avocado. Also, if you have even a small patch of land- even just a strip of a few meters between shacks- you can grow something, vegetables or corn or something. Chickens can be raised feeding them scraps and bugs, and can lay eggs. If you have enough or the right land to grow rice, congratulations, you're now officially a subsistence farmer! Google-fu tells me rice yield is about 1200 kg per acre. Even a half acre paddy will give 600 kg, which is 1.64 kg per day, which would certainly feed a whole family (especially if they are getting eggs/chicken, fruit trees, ect.)

Shelter: One major advantage the Philippines has is climate. I'm in the US again now, and I'm living in an area so cold that if you didn't have heat, you would die. But there, as long as you can keep the rain out, no climate control is needed. Lots of people live in shacks or nipa huts made out of bamboo or scrap wood. Ever wonder why when a typhoon roars through, so many are left homeless? Because those houses just blow away in the wind. Still, you can build a shack out of materials that are almost free, all it takes is a bit of cleverness and work. (I'm always nonplussed about people who say peasants aren't clever. Have you seen some of those shacks?! They do things with bamboo and vines that would amaze engineers.)

Money: So, you've got a diet of fruit, rice, and sometimes a bit of pork/egg/chicken, and a nipa hut. These are people without bank accounts, who are certainly not spending cash on a daily basis. But are they truly totally without money? I'm not so sure. As has been said before here, there is a great flow of money from family members overseas or in big cities. Also, if you're farming land that's been in your family for generations, is it really fair to say you live without money? And there are people who I think are doing some odd jobs, not regular work, but may earn a few pesos here and there. There are also people bartering their extra food or items for those of other people. GDP is low, but it doesn't tell the whole story.
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