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Finally- my Philippine rant

Discuss culture, living, traveling, relocating, dating or anything related to the Asian countries - China, The Philippines, Thailand, etc.

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Postby publicduende » Wed Jan 16, 2013 1:34 pm

Mr S wrote:They don't have a detachment from learning English as it is mandatory curriculum in the country and most foreign jobs require some to be able to be hired. The main problem is lack of educational standards and more TV available translated into Tagalog rather than staying in English. So basically the lower classes will be inundated with Tagalog or Visayan regularly cause that's all they are mainly exposed too while the upper classes know the value of education and either send their kids off to private schools where the education is halfway decent and in English as well as usually forcing their kids to mainly speak English in the home rather than the native languages. Filipinos have the capability to be highly educated and intelligent but the government, culture/society and lack of opportunities make mastery of any subject out of reach for the average Filipino for the most part. If you were to compare a Filipino that went to a public school with one that went to a private it is almost night in day in regards to their educational abilities. (Public schools here have between 50-100 students in one class room with only one teacher, so you put two and two together with that one) However the well to do Filipinos nowadays generally don't stick around to help their countrymen but rather go overseas to work or immigrate cause the opportunities are better for them than in the Philippines. Right now most Filipinos are either going to Canada or Australia to work and live.

Mindanao as well as rest of the Philippines have a lot of problems to deal with before they can become some kind of major economic powerhouse or pool of decent skilled workers. Too much corruption, red tape and ridiculous business requirements need to be met for international companies to set up shop here. Neighboring countries have much better economic and business deals so that's where international companies are going. Actually, many countries are pulling out of the Philippines and going to say Vietnam for example. I think Philippines will have a lot of problems in the future because of their over reliance on remittances and lack of flexibility for international businesses to set up shop in the country. Including the graft that goes on as well with all the potential quality citizens saying F' this country and moving overseas, leaving the uneducated or already corrupt to continue on with the show. They don't learn from mistakes and just keep spinning their wheels, it's part of their culture. I don't see the Philippines going anywhere, they are mostly stuck in neutral. It's been like this ever since I got here and I've been here a while. Things don't change here, that's why old Western retirees like it here cause they don't have to learn much of anything new in their life other than how to operate those new fangled touch screen phones for instance. The Philippines is roughly around 10 years behind the rest of the world when it comes to implementing technology and other things. They can't even decide whether they want to make divorce legal or not, last country on Earth right now. It took them 20 years to decide whether they want to make affordable reproduction health care available to the poor and teach it in schools. They don't even have a major Newspaper in Tagalog, they are only available in English. And the list can go on ad infinitum...

The country would run better with a benevolent dictator running the show, Filipinos can't run a proper Democratic type government. But until China eventually decides to invade the Philippines due to a potential war in the Pacific with the States in the future and place a puppet government at the helm, I don't see things changing anytime soon. The elites are currently thriving here and they are the ones who run things. They need the poor to do all their menial tasks for them at slave wages.


Everything you say makes sense, a lot of sense. Yet, I wouldn't be so catastrophical in spelling the PI's doom unless they become a Chinese protectorate. Let's not forget that we're talking a country of 93 million people that posted a 6.7 GDP increase in 2012 and whose stock index (PSEi) has recently reached and pierced its historical maximum of 6000. I think their recent statement about openly supporting Japan in (not so) hypothetical military action against China speaks volumes on where their expectations of economic development (via foreign investment) are placed. From what I could read, Aquino's policy has somewhat improved the landscape for foreign interest investing in the country, especially via mixed Filipino-foreign ownership.

It is true that new policies are incredibly slow and difficult to implement, especially on traditionally ticklish topics such as divorce and abortion. This might be due to corruption or other cultural factors. Without sounding too cheeky, don't we see this happening in our home country too (Italy and the US)? If you take the macroeconomic scenario of every emerging country in SEA, you will see the Philippines don't fare that well. Malaysia is on the rise only because of the state ownership of oil and the strict business conduct imposed by the Sultanates and their elites (not dissimilarly fron Dubai). Indonesia has huge resource, as the Philippines have, but is also plagued by political gridlock and an even less educated workforce. Vietnam: too small to count methinks - companies move there because they get even better deals than the Philippines. I guess the race for the status of "drama queen or emerging SEA country" will be fought between Thailand and the Philippines. With China and Japan pushing as much as they can on the dish of the scale.

As for public vs private colleges, private colleges don't cost a lot. When I was in Kaputian I met Mark, a perky English old chap from York who had spent a decade or so in Australia, and then married a localy woman and spending his summer in Samal. He said he only had a very modest disability pension to live on (less than $1500 a month) and his wife was at home with the kids, yet he reckoned he would be able to afford sending both her daughters to a good private college and then university in Davao. About the cultural level of those institutions, I was told their standards are high, in fact so high than only about 25% of a cohort will reach graduation on tough disciplines like engineering, maths and computer science, medicine or law. Hm sounds familiar...it's exactly the same in Italy.

All in all, I don't think the Philippines will become a tiger economy any time soon, yet I would feel it misleading to spell doom and gloom. If anything, a country of 93 million (and counting) people where at least a good 25% can aspire to middle class status in the next 5 to 10 years is a juicy territory for foreign investors. If Filipino politicians or the local talents aren't able to develop their own country, Japan will do, or Korea. Or China :)
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Postby Mr S » Wed Jan 16, 2013 2:43 pm

publicduende wrote:
As for public vs private colleges, private colleges don't cost a lot. When I was in Kaputian I met Mark, a perky English old chap from York who had spent a decade or so in Australia, and then married a localy woman and spending his summer in Samal. He said he only had a very modest disability pension to live on (less than $1500 a month) and his wife was at home with the kids, yet he reckoned he would be able to afford sending both her daughters to a good private college and then university in Davao. About the cultural level of those institutions, I was told their standards are high, in fact so high than only about 25% of a cohort will reach graduation on tough disciplines like engineering, maths and computer science, medicine or law. Hm sounds familiar...it's exactly the same in Italy.)


This is rubbish, anyways I'm was talking about grade school not college. Private grade schools are expensive in the Philippines, the GOOD ones. In regards to universities in comparison to Western Universities they are inexpensive, however most are not ethical and do not have proper academic standards. I should know I work directly in a field that analyzes their English as well as critical thinking skills. This is a well known standardized Western testing system that is used and recognized around the world. The only good universities with high academic standards that aren't manipulated in PI are the main or branches of University of Philippines, Ateneo, De LaSalle, Santo Thomas and a few scattered private ones that usually have to get reviewed by a Western accrediting system so they can't scam students.. Almost all the others inflate grades, have shitty teachers, combination of both, you can buy grades, etc. I've worked with a bunch of them so I have personal experience. I also work with a number of professors current and retired who currently work or have worked with the higher end schools I have listed above and confirm these findings. The test scores I see every month confirm my suspicions of sub par academic qualifications. I'm not writing my findings based solely on conjecture but with verifiable facts. As much as one would like to think Filipinos have their shit together, they generally have their head up their asses and it doesn't come out. Everything is smoke and mirrors here. If you lived here for longer then 2 years on an ongoing basis you would realize this. As much as tourists and part-timers have a fantasy and optimism about what they THINK is going on in the Philippines the reality of seeing things in person with boots on the ground is another matter. The same bankers that pumped and dumped the West is now doing it to countries in Asia like the Philippines. Later this decade the imaginary economic boom will go bust when the easy credit dries up. You won't read this in the mainstream news of course but have to read alternative news sources and expats who write their own blogs about the situation.

Don't get me wrong the Philippines and it's people have potential but due to many factors they ain't gonna take advantage of them anytime soon to see drastic improvements in the lives of the common people in this country. Yes, you can pull all kinds of numbers and what not showing economic growth but it's not trickling down to the masses, it's only going to the already well off. If you think building more SM Malls everywhere and Ayala building condos that the average Filipino can't afford all the while basic infrastructure is pretty much ignored then I guess you can call it an economic boom. I certainly wouldn't however.

BTW, the middle class is actually shrinking not growing in this country. To think that 25% of the population will be middle class in 10 years is looking at a parallel universe. I actually remember reading this in one of the main newspapers recently, even they admit it. It used to be around 18-19% but has shrunk to around 17% of the population now. As I've mentioned earlier the elites don't really want a strong middle class they are more then happy to send their best and brightest overseas and have them send money to their poor uneducated relatives so they can consume, consume, consume at SM, Ayala and Robinson malls without saving or investing the money. That is the economic platform of the Philippines. Waste money at local and Western branded big box corporations.

Japan will be dealing with radiation fallout this decade with the strong potential of having to relocate large parts of it's population overseas and that ain't going to be in the Philippines. Koreans are too insular and don't want to mix and be part of the culture here so they will only have minimal impact plus most Filipinos don't really like them. Mainland Chinese are just starting to visit but there are many restrictions and also there is a tit for tat thing going on with China regarding the Spratley Islands and that ain't going away anytime soon. The main investors in Philippines will be local businessmen/families, overseas dual citizenship Filipinos with capital, SE Asian citizens and various Western backed companies. The basic formula isn't going to change much. Russia may start getting a bit more involved in Philippines from what I read in the newspapers but that will probably take a decade or longer to come about if at all.
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Postby publicduende » Wed Jan 16, 2013 3:33 pm

Mr S wrote:
publicduende wrote:
As for public vs private colleges, private colleges don't cost a lot. When I was in Kaputian I met Mark, a perky English old chap from York who had spent a decade or so in Australia, and then married a localy woman and spending his summer in Samal. He said he only had a very modest disability pension to live on (less than $1500 a month) and his wife was at home with the kids, yet he reckoned he would be able to afford sending both her daughters to a good private college and then university in Davao. About the cultural level of those institutions, I was told their standards are high, in fact so high than only about 25% of a cohort will reach graduation on tough disciplines like engineering, maths and computer science, medicine or law. Hm sounds familiar...it's exactly the same in Italy.)


This is rubbish, anyways I'm was talking about grade school not college. Private grade schools are expensive in the Philippines, the GOOD ones. In regards to universities in comparison to Western Universities they are inexpensive, however most are not ethical and do not have proper academic standards. I should know I work directly in a field that analyzes their English as well as critical thinking skills. This is a well known standardized Western testing system that is used and recognized around the world. The only good universities with high academic standards that aren't manipulated in PI are the main or branches of University of Philippines, Ateneo, De LaSalle, Santo Thomas and a few scattered private ones that usually have to get reviewed by a Western accrediting system so they can't scam students.. Almost all the others inflate grades, have shitty teachers, combination of both, you can buy grades, etc. I've worked with a bunch of them so I have personal experience. I also work with a number of professors current and retired who currently work or have worked with the higher end schools I have listed above and confirm these findings. The test scores I see every month confirm my suspicions of sub par academic qualifications. I'm not writing my findings based solely on conjecture but with verifiable facts. As much as one would like to think Filipinos have their shit together, they generally have their head up their asses and it doesn't come out. Everything is smoke and mirrors here. If you lived here for longer then 2 years on an ongoing basis you would realize this. As much as tourists and part-timers have a fantasy and optimism about what they THINK is going on in the Philippines the reality of seeing things in person with boots on the ground is another matter. The same bankers that pumped and dumped the West is now doing it to countries in Asia like the Philippines. Later this decade the imaginary economic boom will go bust when the easy credit dries up. You won't read this in the mainstream news of course but have to read alternative news sources and expats who write their own blogs about the situation.

Don't get me wrong the Philippines and it's people have potential but due to many factors they ain't gonna take advantage of them anytime soon to see drastic improvements in the lives of the common people in this country. Yes, you can pull all kinds of numbers and what not showing economic growth but it's not trickling down to the masses, it's only going to the already well off. If you think building more SM Malls everywhere and Ayala building condos that the average Filipino can't afford all the while basic infrastructure is pretty much ignored then I guess you can call it an economic boom. I certainly wouldn't however.

BTW, the middle class is actually shrinking not growing in this country. To think that 25% of the population will be middle class in 10 years is looking at a parallel universe. I actually remember reading this in one of the main newspapers recently, even they admit it. It used to be around 18-19% but has shrunk to around 17% of the population now. As I've mentioned earlier the elites don't really want a strong middle class they are more then happy to send their best and brightest overseas and have them send money to their poor uneducated relatives so they can consume, consume, consume at SM, Ayala and Robinson malls without saving or investing the money. That is the economic platform of the Philippines. Waste money at local and Western branded big box corporations.

Japan will be dealing with radiation fallout this decade with the strong potential of having to relocate large parts of it's population overseas and that ain't going to be in the Philippines. Koreans are too insular and don't want to mix and be part of the culture here so they will only have minimal impact plus most Filipinos don't really like them. Mainland Chinese are just starting to visit but there are many restrictions and also there is a tit for tat thing going on with China regarding the Spratley Islands and that ain't going away anytime soon. The main investors in Philippines will be local businessmen/families, overseas dual citizenship Filipinos with capital, SE Asian citizens and various Western backed companies. The basic formula isn't going to change much. Russia may start getting a bit more involved in Philippines from what I read in the newspapers but that will probably take a decade or longer to come about if at all.


Agree 100% with what you're saying. You have a lot more experience with the Philippines and I am obviously learning from this last exchange of ours. However, from what you write you seem to be singling out the bulk of political and socio-economical problems as typical of the Philippines alone, when they are quite common to all the non-first-world Asian countries, including Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia. Again this is not quantitative information, but I have been told by several sources that the education system in Malaysia and Indonesia, to name two, is even inferior to the one in the Philippines. I spoke to an Indonesian guy who did high school and university in Australia. He said quite clearly that middle-class Indonesians don't stand a chance to enter the international job market if they come out of an Indonesian university. At least I have had some evidence that top students from the best (private) schools of Mindanao can easily find employment abroad.

I agree with you on the fragility of the trickle-down part of the economy. It's true that their economy is still too reliant on remittances from abroad, and this build a financial platform that's shaky and only encourages consumption rather than investment. I hope this will change...
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Postby ladislav » Thu Jan 17, 2013 1:49 pm

Publicduende.

Your experience and mine differ quite a lot which reminds me of the "Four Men and an Elephant" tale. This mystery of why people look at the same country and then start recounting personal anecdotes with totally different impressions of a country is something that largely remains unsolved. This is why my verdict is always- agree to disagree and let the reader decide. Better yet- let the local speak out and tell us the truth but even his/her view will be biased. Also, the Philippines is different in different places and Davao, Manila, Cebu and Pampanga people are totally different. This, as well as the existence of holographic parallel universes as well as how long you have been in the country and how well you speak the local language matters in the final count.

I have been to S. Africa. My personal experience is- I did not see any apartheid- the Boers and the blacks were mingling, all the black people treated me with utmost respect and all of them were very quiet and polite. I did not see any assaults on whites, nobody called me 'mhora' and when I was at the Joeburg airport, I did not see whites scrambling to leave the country.

So, is everything really honkey-dorey( pun not intended) just because I did not see it or is it because I was not there long enough, did not speak Afrikaans and did not really see what was going on?

I spoke to an Indonesian guy who did high school and university in Australia. He said quite clearly that middle-class Indonesians don't stand a chance to enter the international job market if they come out of an Indonesian university.


That is because the Philippine education system was simply the US system superimposed upon the Philippines. The Philippines simply has a mini-America in terms of schools.

At least I have had some evidence that top students from the best (private) schools of Mindanao can easily find employment abroad.


This relates to only certain professions which co-ordinate their programs with the overseas job markets. There is a trough so to speak which has been hewed out by many Filipinos who had gone abroad and now many people are following the formula. And a huge chunk of the educational system is there to help Pinoys find work overseas, make dollars and send them home. Nurses, caregivers, seamen, teachers, cooks, drivers, dentists are all there to serve the international markets and the programs are set up to take you from step 1 to the final step which is the airport and a good job somewhere abroad.

The most important factor is fluency in English with all ( or most of the relevant) courses being taught in English from American ( or American-like) school books. So, from the very beginning many a Filipino/a is groomed to be an English speaker who will go and work abroad with American-like qualifications.

Filipinos are seen by many employers as just that- clones of Americans- cheaper-to-hire Americans to hire who will do the job the American way.

Now, Indonesians are not cloned to be English speaking cheaper-to-hire Americans nor should they be and thus, they stay in their huge country working for its benefit. Nothing wrong with that.

Malaysians are different- the Chinese Malaysians are English/Chinese bilinguals but they don't need to work abroad- they just work at home and make big money. The Malays study all subjects in Bahasa but then they are supported by various gov't programs, loans, grants and everything to keep them afloat. The Indians can also survive pretty well, but many do go to the UK and Singapore and all.
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