Tropical Penpals is it still alive and kicking?

Matt Wilkie from Tropical Penpals

Matt Wilkie

Tropical Penpals blog isn’t going anywhere soon. What has happened in my spare time is I have begun cleaning up articles which I think are out of date and now irrelevant. We posted things like rugby games in Cebu but with things going back as far as 2007 we have over 5,000 articles. I am hoping to simply filter out the stuff we don’t want anymore and leave a much leaner blog site.

This isn’t the end though its simply a transition period of too much going on to talk as much as I would like. I am currently in the UK and preparing for the big move of the family to Europe. Business is still ticking over but until the move is done I am preoccupied until everyone is in the new home. But there is still plenty going on in the Philippines such as the windows going in as you may have noticed.

The upper floor of the new building we are still deciding to make it a school or a three bedroom apartment. The store is still ticking over and even there we have dropped a window in to cut down on road dust. As you may have guessed already this isn’t an abandonment of the Philippines but simply a timeout. By next year Spain will be settled and things will continue to develop in the Philippines as its our main home.

What I care most about is family and although still in good health and a young 40 year old I am aware the kids are hitting school year this year and as such the move has to happen. As the future is not based on what I want for myself but being able to rest easier knowing whatever happens my wife and kids are safe and have a future.

Family pretty much means everything to me and I am happy that this year I have had time to make the changes to make everything happen and along the way had time with my daughter in the UK. As simply that is life for me knowing that my family are content.

Hyundai Galloper II–For Sale Cebu, Philippines

Hyundai Galloper II - For Sale - Cebu, Philippines - 2014 (8)

As we are preparing to start our move from the Philippines to Spain I am putting our Hyundai Galloper II up for sale. Its had a recent engine rebuild, the alternator has just been rewound and pretty much its in good shape for its age. Haven’t really advertised it too much at the moment as the kids are still using it for the school run. But with my last trip into Spain I noticed some Galloper II’s there and looking to sell the one in Cebu to buy one in Alicante. Its 3.0ltr Turbo engine gives it some serious poke, it does have air conditioning and runs extremely well. If it doesn’t sell it doesn’t sell as we aren’t in a rush to get rid of our yellow car. But if your looking for a good quality well built family vehicle then this is ideal. Drop me a message if interested in our 7 seat 4×4 in the comments below. No tyre kickers as I am not interested in giving it away and not needing to sell in any urgency. If its still there next year its ok.

Hyundai Galloper II - For Sale - Cebu, Philippines - 2014 (1)Hyundai Galloper II - For Sale - Cebu, Philippines - 2014 (2)Hyundai Galloper II - For Sale - Cebu, Philippines - 2014 (3)Hyundai Galloper II - For Sale - Cebu, Philippines - 2014 (4)Hyundai Galloper II - For Sale - Cebu, Philippines - 2014 (5)Hyundai Galloper II - For Sale - Cebu, Philippines - 2014 (6)Hyundai Galloper II - For Sale - Cebu, Philippines - 2014 (7)Hyundai Galloper II - For Sale - Cebu, Philippines - 2014 (9)Hyundai Galloper II - For Sale - Cebu, Philippines - 2014 (10)

Visit the Philippines jump in at the deep end!

Matt Wilkie from Tropical Penpals enjoying a relaxing time at the bottom of a swimming pool.The Philippines is still home to me and my family and although we will begin traveling more soon its still where we have our roots. Many people stop themselves from traveling and yet doing it you will see that your missing so much more in the wider world. The worry over the mortgage, what about your job? The fact is your sticking yourself to at least 20 years of following like sheep. Where do successful people come from? The answer is by doing things differently. When you see the difference between wealthy private education and government funded see any difference?

Because schooling is orientated around preparing you for the working world, its not there to promote you or push you forward in life its there to produce people who can conform. Bit like the debt situation in the West where we are encouraged to spend, spend spend yet at the same time its bad not to repay. Even though the system is actually spending well above what it can accommodate for and proactively encouraging it. Because the whole system is tied to one simple thing a constant burden that leads to conformity.

I ask you a simple question if you left and traveled for a year would your world end? If I asked you this next do you know people who have traveled do they seem a bit different to the average person? Of course they are because they have seen and experienced more, they have a more important value in life that simply the world doesn’t end when you can’t afford a new car.

Life is but a dream unless you make it a reality. Right now I am on the long road home.

road to europe

I left the Philippines at the start of 2014 but not to close our life in the Philippines but simply begin a new chapter in Europe. Life in the Philippines will go on and business will continue to develop.

Yet I made some major choices this year which will be the biggest hurdles we have had to deal with to get where we are going. When I look at my life in the Philippines it is one we could and can maintain at the same time I worry for our children’s future. What happens when the golden goose dies? A motorbike crash, an accident at work? Whatever it is I cannot leave things to chance in the hope that things will be ok until our children are adults.

The return to Europe is neither an easy one or one that I take lightly. I love life in the Philippine and with all its warts its still home and where most of my friends reside. What doesn’t reside there is the life of the world, there is a bubble of being Filipino and in the Philippines that my wife and kids need to break.

The journey into Europe began already and right now I am somewhere between half and a quarter of our budget for the journey to Europe. My biggest concern is what do we do next as all the wheels have turned. Passports in process documents filled in and signed. Yet my question is will Spain, France or Germany be able to provide the needs for us?

The UK is on the list but other countries sit much higher due to standard of living and costs. As I can commute anywhere to make ends meet but I want to make sure the trip is worth making for the family. The route we are taking is that of EU citizens and not British, as the anti-EU games are at play in the UK and yet I cannot see myself being fully UK based again. There is so much more inside Europe that the UK is not at the top of our list.

If you follow our YouTube videos you will see our updates as we make the transition from the Philippines to Europe. But also as this is our “Philippines blog”. You can read more about what we are doing in Europe at my Matt Wilkie Blog.

Leaving the Philippines but like McArthur I shall return!

The age in which we live today is far more opinionated than it once was. I am not sure if this is the rise of Celebrity nonsense shows like X – Factor where there “has to be” an opinion or something deeper.

But the fact is I have left the Philippines at least for now and we will continue to grow things there even if I am abroad. The reality is for me the kids are getting a bit older and I want an international recognised education for them. As well as the social network that can be developed into a business network. The Philippines doesn’t have the same level of opportunities that the West can offer.

I say West but don’t say UK? The fact is I am looking at Europe for our home and which country is still negotiable. I lived in Germany for 6 years as a child and it feels more like home to me than the UK in many ways. My schooling was mainly there in my last school years and its a country I have a fondness for. The strict rules that are often enforced in Germany others find a bit strange or annoying. The joke about towels on chairs at swimming pools is something that crops up in UK TV shows with stereotyping Germans. But I will see they just think differently and offer a way of life I actually love.

May not live in Germany though we will simply see what opportunities occur and right now the main thing is looking at life outside of the Philippines.

Matt Wilkie back in the UK and enjoying back at work surveying.

This week has also been a good week with my new car turning up for work. As its something that also gets overlooked with my life in the Philippines is I come from a professional background.

I had 5 job offers within 2 weeks of being back in the UK and have been contacted multiple times already for more work. The fact is most people going to the Philippines are at retirement age. The rest are mainly made up with people looking for something different, travellers, people escaping something or professionals.

Although we have had a good life in the Philippines for me I know I can make a bigger difference to my children’s future in Europe. They will get a positive impact here and on top of that the ability to decide to go back to the Philippines or not will be their choice.

For me I have seen over the years the legacy die with expats and this is caused by short sighted thinking. Retire or move to the Philippines and the paranoia of the wife taking them for everything (yes some of it is well founded I know!). But the husband dies and the money goes with them. Be it being business enterprise or pension the grim reality is that the family is then often dropped into poverty.

Its also something I considered myself is that much of the money we generate comes from the way I am and naturally can see money in ideas. I could not leave my family in a situation where they couldn’t take care of themselves and its one of the reasons I am driven towards the change alongside education.

But also I will say my time in the Philippines is full of happy times and fondness. There were good and bad times but the funny thing is even when life was difficult we were happy. Because we work through them as a family.

Yet I am not abandoning the Philippines, unusually though I am not focusing on many of the things I normally do as I need to focus on family and work for a while. I have several charity projects I will complete once things are stable and I will help others where I can. Yet my time commitments have changed for 2014 to make all this happen.

I wish everyone good luck for this year and those on hard times right now I am thinking of you and if I can find some solutions to the problems your facing.

Custom made clothing made to measure and style.

Matt Wilkie - 2014-01-28 11.46 (1)I decided to get some suits made in the Philippines but also now starting a small side line business as well.

Fact is the Philippines has some fantastic tailors and seamstresses. As well as designers, I have to admit though its much easier to find a design elsewhere due to the cut and styles at the moment. This is mainly due to a “Asian cut” being very different to the European. Jackets are a lot shorter for example. But its not really a big problem as everything is custom made to measure.

In fact you don’t need to be in the Philippines either as the measurements can be done via Skype with the designer and tailor to get the correct measurements. I have had 2 suits and 4 pairs of trousers made. The suit in the photo is very similar in design and the same Cashmere material and pattern that costs £1,000 in London. But I can sell and produce these at £200 + Postage for those interested.

Adding to that custom made wedding dresses, children’s clothes and other high quality clothing can all be done remotely. If your expecting to compete with ASDA price or another supermarket would want to remind you its quality not quantity its one off clothing made specifically for you.

If interested drop me a message.


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