Welcome to Life With Lani

family_at_mall
The family at Venice Grand Canal Mall in Taguig City.

Over the next few weeks I will talk about my life here and offer comments ranging from moving here to the Philippines, dealing with (massive) government red tap, staring a business, getting around, dining, and the culture of the Philippines. 

My goal is a weekly post, but I may post more frequently – it depends on my schedule. 

I have been here for six months now. I married a wonderful Filipina, Lani, with two children. We live in a small subdivision of the barangay Mambog 1 in Bacoor, Cavite province on Luzon. We are only a few kilometers south of Metro Manila. The whole area is densely populated and traffic can be nightmarish most of the time. 

We are currently renting here but we recently bought property in Lani’s home province – Bukidnon – and we are planning to build a house there. 

In April we will be moving to Naawan, a city of about 15,000 in the province of Misamis Oriental. It is closer to our property and I can keep an on the construction of the house I designed.

This has been an exciting adventure. I moved here from rural Arkansas in July, leaving behind a country lifestyle where I raised chickens and goats and owned 3 horses. The culture shock was not bad because I served in the Navy – I’m a disabled vet – so I am used to other cultures. I have even grown accustomed to the throngs of people and the traffic.

There is a forum here where you can create your own topics to discuss. You must register on the site to comment on my posts – sorry, but it keeps the spammers to a minimum – and you must register to join the forums.

I hope you will come along on this adventure with me. I look forward to reading your comments. Subscribe to my email list – you can opt out anytime – to get the latest news from Life With Lani.

Continue Reading

You may also like

Life with Lani YouTube

YouTube Page!

Our YouTube page is now online and we have posted our first video. Okay, the camera work is a little shaky at times – I’m still getting used to using the selfie stick. That will come with time.

Check it out!

So head over to YouTube and check out the channel. Life With Lani Barrett.

Please watch our videos, please like, and please subscribe. Comments are welcome.

Thanks for reading here and thanks for watching us on YouTube.

Continue Reading

You may also like

Vlog Coming Soon!

VLOG COMING SOON!

Stay tuned in. We are in the process of creating a Video Blog that will be available soon on YouTube. We’ll update you as soon as that happens.

Exciting addition

This will be an exciting addition to the blog and we both look forward to showing you what life is like for us here. We will show where we live and what our neighborhood is like. You’ll get to meet friends and family. You’ll go with us on trips to the malls and the food market in nearby Imus. You will see how we get around – we currently don’t own a car.

Our plan

Our current plan is weekly updates and we have not yet decided on which day to release new videos. I think Mondays will be our update day. We’ll just have to see how it goes.

Watch the videos and see how much I struggle learning the language. Yikes! You can laugh along with Lani as I stumble through Tagalog and Visaya – Lani’s native language.

Been done

Yes, we know there are many Vloggers who talk about their lives in the Philippines, but we want to offer a different perspective.

The popular vloggers, like Dwaine Woolley and Brian Ahern, are all younger men married to younger Filipinas. We will be showing you our life and sharing the unique problems of an age-different couple here. I’m 64 and Lani is 29. Age-different couples are not uncommon here, especially between foreign men and Filipinas.

Join us!

Go with us on our journey. We’ll post a link as soon as we get things finalized.

Thanks again. Paalam!

Continue Reading

You may also like

Not moving to Naawan

We were excited

We were all set to purchase and renovate a vacation home in Naawa, Misamis Oriental. Lani talked to her sister, Jaica, and she told Lani about a house near her that was for sale for only 50,000 pesos (~$960). It was located near the sea in a safe subdivision. Lani was familiar with the house but she didn’t know all the particulars.

So, we asked the owner about the house. She told us measured 10m x 10m and had 2 floors but it needed a lot of work. Two hundred square feet of living space, near the sea, for only $960? We would be crazy not to take it.

I asked Lani to have Jaica send us some photos and when we got them, I could see the potential. Yes, it needed a lot of work. But we could stay in Lani’s uncle’s house – rent-free – while we renovated.  

Things are not always as advertised

Lani asked me to draw up some plans for the renovations so we hire someone to get started. No problem. I opened my design software and set about to design the remodel. 

“Hey, Lani. I need exact measurements of the floor area to be able to create a proper design.

Lani called her sister, who took a ‘meter’, measuring tape in the U.S., and sent Lani a text. The house is only 4m x 8m, a far cry from 10 x 10, 136 square meters less!

We had already sent 20,000 pesos to the owner, based on pictures from Jaica and from the description by the owner. The owner finally confessed they just guessed at the size of the house. They had no concept of square meterage.

I was pretty angry and told Lani that I wasn’t spending 50,000 pesos on a tiny house that needs 50,000 pesos more in renovations. I said we aren’t doing this. 

Now, we have to try and get 20,000 pesos back from the seller.

I’ll update this when I can.

 

 

Continue Reading

You may also like

The Real Deal

Here’s the real deal in the Philippines.

tagay

First, let me say that I am not proud of so many expat Americans who come to the Philippines to retire. They usually move into an area where many other ‘Kanos (Americans) live and never get involved with their neighbors. These same people are the ones who complain about foreigners coming to America and not assimilating. These expats come here and do not assimilate and spend a good deal of time complaining about life here. They don’t learn the language, they don’t associate with their neighbors and then complain about they are treated by the locals. If it’s so bad here, go back to America.

I came with the idea of retiring permanently here. And that is what I have done. Yes, I’ve only been here for 8 months, but I have embraced life here. I know my neighbors and they know me. They say “Hi” whenever we see each other. They invite me to their parties – birthdays, christenings, etc – and I invite them to mine. 

Most of the tricycle drivers in our area know me and don’t even ask where I am going when I come home. They just take me. They say “hello” when they see me and are always trying to teach me new Tagalog words, some of which are NSFW. 

I travel all around our area, going to the local hardware store, the mall, the shops, and the market. My Filipina wife runs a sari-sari store (kind of convenience store without the hassle of convenience stores) from our home and I help out with that. I am learning Tagalog and Bisaya (my wife’s dialect). I do my best to communicate with the locals, and they appreciate it. They laugh, not because I make a mistake, but because they are glad a foreigner is trying to learn the language.

This is a great place to live IF you get out of your secure compound and get involved with the locals.

Here’s the real deal: if you want to be happy when you come here and live, I highly recommend adopting a Filipino lifestyle. Your life will be much better for it.

Salamat and Paalam!

Michael

Continue Reading

You may also like

Looking for love

Madam Lani

How I got here

The first real subject I want to talk about is my lie with Lani. My first wife passed away and I knew than I didn’t want to be alone and I knew that Asian girls make great companions. If you are fortunate enough to find one, don’t let her go. She will loving, loyal, and will take great care of you. They are good with money and will help manage the household budget, if you let them. I found my Asian girl on an online dating site and we hit it off. There are many such sites there but I think you can find the love of your life at Elite Mate.

Do’s and dont’s

DO spend some a little money to get full access to what ever site you choose. It is frustrating not to be able to communicate with the girl of your dreams. Most sites are reasonably priced.

DO chat with several girls at the same time. Then, when you find the “one”, gently let the others know you won’t be chatting with them again.

DO get to know the girl. Learn her likes and dislikes. How well does she speak your language? Is there religious beliefs that don’t agree with yours? Does she have children? If so, how many and what are their ages? What kind of family does she have? Is she married now or has she ever been married? Does she have contact with former boyfriends.

DO exchange pictures. Show her the real you, not some profile picture that makes you look like a GQ model.

DO be sincere. They can spot a phony.

DO find out about visa requirements if you plan to visit. And, if you are sincere, you will want to visit. Also, if you plan to bring her to your home country, check your country’s immigration laws.

DON”T DON”T DON’T send money. DON’T SEND MONEY. Scammers are everywhere, especially on dating sites. If they ask you money, BLOCK them and move on.

DON’T be stupid. Listen to your head. If it feels wrong, cut them off.

Finally

I found the girl of my dreams here in the Philippines – Lani. I flew here and met her and then flew home to take care of my affairs and to get ready to return to the Philippines. We met in May and we were married in August. It is not perfect (we have our spats like all couples), but it is very, very good. 

I will talk more about getting married in the Philippines and the red tape you must go through – it is a big roll of tape – in upcoming posts.

Thanks

Thanks for reading and I welcome your comments. 

 

Continue Reading

You may also like