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 What has happened in my spare time is I have begun cleaning up articles which I think are out of date and now irrelevant.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.

New windows being installed in the new building in Cebu, Philippines.

Philippines house construction update new windows going in 2014-08-23 12.07 (1)With the lower windows either having new windows or with original. We are now concentrating on the top floor to seal up for the next process of renovations. Its been an on going project but with looking to relocate at the same time (Although keeping our buildings in the Philippines) its a month to month project. E.g. this is another batch of the windows, we did others the month before. Spending around  P15,000 a month buying and having them installed.Philippines house construction update new windows going in 2014-08-23 12.07 (2)Philippines house construction update new windows going in 2014-08-23 12.07 (3)Philippines house construction update new windows going in 2014-08-23 12.07 (4)

As you can see the top floor is still empty as we are working on the layout at the moment as this may just become a 3 bedroom apartment with open dining and sitting area. The windows on the right will be the next to be replaced and by November should hopefully be all the windows done. Next on the list will then be the partitioning and installing the bathrooms.Philippines house construction update new windows going in 2014-08-23 12.07 (5)Philippines house construction update new windows going in 2014-08-23 12.07 (6)Philippines house construction update new windows going in 2014-08-23 12.07 (7)

You will find people complain about quality of workmanship in the Philippines and I am one of them. It takes a bit of time to find the right people as you can get cheap labour but for the same price and waiting you can get the right labour. We even gave them a raise during the main construction phase to stop them being poached. But have to say the quality on this project I managed and had the right people working was a huge difference to work we had done before. The big thing being is that the right guys understand what your talking about. The wrong guys just say yes and take a rough guess on what is needed or do it they’re way even if you said don’t do it that way. The guys on this project although I went down every day to check progress knew what they had to do. Any issues told me so it could be dealt with the same day. This will soon be our main residence in the Philippines. Originally was going to be the main floor for the call centre but after analysing the business model I decided that we just need a tick over centre and a few good staff rather than a lot of staff where the quality would go down.

Top 10 good and bad things about the Philippines.

Good and bad things happen everywhere but in the Philippines they can be a little extreme in every day life. Although you will find a lot of it is about knowing what to expect more than anything else.

Being able to adapt to a new country, new culture, new environment and new way of living is what moving to the Philippines is all about. If your expecting everything to be the same as the West you need to think very carefully on how you want to live. You may find the Philippines can offer the perfect life but it will cost you, or if you adapt you find it gives you the perfect life without the usual Western comforts. After 6 years in the Philippines I share my experiences and a couple of videos on things I picked up in the Philippines.

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.

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