Interview with Glenn Gibson: Black American Expat in Cagayan de Oro, Philippines

In this interview, I had the chance to connect with Glenn Gibson, the owner of Facebook group: Glenn’s Do’s and Don’ts in the South Philippines for Men.

Glenn spent most of his time living in Cagayan de Oro, Philippines. It’s a city located in the Mindanao region of the country. Most expats don’t venture into this part of the Philippines so I think you’ll enjoy his unique perspective in this interview.

How long have you been living in the Philippines?

Glenn: I was living in the Philippines for one year, from 2016 – 2017.

Where were you living before? Tell me a little about your background.

G: I am from New Jersey where I have spent all of my life. My professional background was media related. I am 43 years old and a black American. I have no kids or no wife.

What’s the biggest reason you chose to move to Southeast Asia?

G: I originally came to the Philippines to seek out better dating/marriage options than what are currently available in America. Once I had actually visited the Philippines to meet my fiance, I fell in love with how friendly the people are there, the low cost of living, the weather, the scenery and just the general feeling of being in control of my own life. I also enjoy the fact that the Philippines is a true nation for men, it is not like the gynocentric man-hating culture that you have back in America.

Tell Me About Your Daily Life in the Philippines

G: It was surprisingly normal. I would work online, go out to eat, do laundry…that kind of thing. Going out to new places was always a big thing for me but that was mostly on the weekends.

What is it about the Philippines that interests you?

G: The friendliness of the people, the low cost of living, the weather, the scenery and your dating options are 10,000 times better than in America.

What about 3 mistakes to avoid while living in the Philippines?

G: Don’t overspend. It’s very very easy to burn through your money there, despite things being so cheap. For one thing, the money will at first feel like you are magnifying your own money because when you hand over a $1.00 bill, you get a 50.00 peso bill. This can kind of exchange makes you think that you have $50.00 when you have just $1.00. While 50 pesos can get you a lot in the Philippines, there are many things in the Philippines that are actually more expensive than in America. Basically, the more you try to live a 1st world life in the Philippines, the more it will cost you because imported items and even fast internet connections are not common in the Philippines, thus they cost more. For example, if you decide to buy a $15,00 Ford Mustang in the Philippines, it will probably cost you $30,000 in the Philippines because that item is not in high demand there. Even buying something like Listerine can cost you slightly more in the Philippines. Finally, if you take taxis everywhere, instead of riding the Jeepney, you can spend your money REAL fast. If you intend to live in the Philippines, live like a Filipino as much as possible, unless you are rich. Avoid ATMs because you will get robbed, not by street thugs, but by banks! Your average ATM charge for Americans is going to be $20.00. Instead, use Remitly to wire yourself money for cash pickup. Remitly will even let you do this for no transaction fee if you can wait for 5 days.

Know what you want romantically and sexually. Be honest with yourself and be honest with any potential lovers. You do not want to create drama there. It will be very scary when a Filipino woman is raging mad at you, because at that point you will realize that she has the advantage there. She can run to the police and makeup a story about you or have some thugs pay you a visit. You want to remain low key and drama free there. Be open and honest and make sure the both of you have an understanding.

If you need internet access, as most of us do, please plan for the fact that you will not be able to get internet in your name for the first 2 months of living in the Philippines. This is because you need what is called an ACR-I card to get anytype of services (outside of a rental agreement) in your name. You can not get an ACR-I card until you have been in the Philippines for at least 2 months.

What advice would you give to first time visitors to the country?

G: If you’re coming as a short stay tourist then there is not a whole lot of advice I would have to give. All of the basic rules of traveling safe and smart would apply. Don’t wear jewelry, don’t carry your passport everywhere, common sense stuff like that. As was also mentioned, do not use ATM machines. Between the Filipino bank and your bank, you’ll be paying $20.00 just to use an ATM machine. If you are going to the Philippines to live, I would advise that you check out the city and rural areas first to see which one is more fitting for you. Drop your 1st world Western expectations and embrace change. Discover what cost what so you don’t overspend or get ripped off.

How can our readers get in touch with you for more advice & tips?

G: They can join my Facebook group for men who are interested in the Philippines by following this link.

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