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Philippines culture shock on the first visit

Philippines culture shock can occur the first time an Australian man visits the Philippines to meet his Filipina fiancee or girlfriend. The Philippines is a third-world country (developing nation), and the noise, crowds, smells and the poverty can make it very difficult for a first-time visitor.

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I remember my first trip to the Philippines in the 1990’s and the special Philippines culture shock that I experienced. I look back now and I’m amazed at my naivety. I had travelled in the East before in the 1980’s and was definitely out of practice, however I should have had some idea. But no, I didn’t. I’d seen the various photos that exist of towns and places in the Philippines, but minus the noise, smells and high-speed chaos, a 2D photo gives a very unclear picture.

But yet, there I was. Arrived on my first Air Nauru flight (which used to do a milk-run flight with multi-stops that was fairly cheap), and arrived at the open doors at NAIA airport in Manila. Had a connecting flight to Tacloban Leyte at the domestic terminal, to whisk me away to meet a very wrong woman. I wasn’t prepared for anything at all, in hindsight. Not the country and not the people. This was back before Perry Gamsby had first put pen to paper, so I knew nothing other than a bit of dating website nonsense about what a perfect wife every Filipina girl was.

Note right now that this is not dating advice. At Down Under Visa we keep right out of that. You come to us for help with your visa when you have a relationship already. This is just meant to make your existing relationship and the start of the Australian visa process a bit easier.

Philippines – A third-world country

I think the trendy new term is “developing nation”, but I think this term works a little better. The point is that if you think you’ll be arriving into somewhere like Hawaii full of shorter, slightly-darker Aussie girls, think again! If you are not expecting differences, then you are in for some culture shock! That’s how it hit me, I can tell you! The crowds, the noise, the heat, the smell….and that was just at Manila airport!

It’s not a rich country, and therein lies the issue as well as the contrast between where you are no-doubt used to. Less money means less efficient infrastructure. There are cars on the road which belch smoke. Roads, footpaths, street wiring etc is often in dire need of repair. The cities are crowded with those who need to earn some money. And it means that there are plenty who will see you as a target for getting rich. That could mean taxi drivers, beggars and street kids, shop people and even the intended love-of-your-life if you weren’t very careful and if you gave your heart and your trust too easily.

So you will be in a place which is obviously not home, surrounded by huge contrasts. You will not just blend in like you do back in Australia, and you will be a target to some people. And at the same time you need to figure out if this girl is truly the soulmate you’ve been looking for.

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