,

Can Filipinos travel? : A response to Traveling Pinoys

Filipinos travel

I have recently came across an article written by a Filipino about why they can’t just quit their jobs to travel. While there is some great points in it (and worth checking out), I find some of them to be at outdated thinking that many in the Philippines still hold. Here is the article in question. 


This is written by someone who wants to travel, see the world and experience differences in culture globally. I understand that and I understand what seems to be holding her back: fear and cultural expectations.

However, most of these people who quit their jobs are the “lucky ones”. The privileged of the flock. The people who were born in first world countries. And I’m not saying this in a condescending tone.

This is not true anymore. The world of freelancing online has opened the door so that many can travel as they want. I personally know of Filipinos that have traveled every province in the Philippines and been all over the world. One of them just got back from Hawaii. Being born in America or Australia has its benefits but it is not as a big deal as some people think it is.

The lines between a developed country (what she called a first world country) and a developing country is getting more and more blurred in the 21st century. People are judged by their finances, not their passport in most places of the world today. I do not think that Manny Paquio will have any problem traveling anywhere he wants as a Filipino.


It is more important that you have a model for profit than where you are from. If you have a website that is making money and getting the traffic; you will be just fine. Most Affiliate programs do not care if you live in the Philippines. The truth is that you might do better because Americans have all new laws centering around affiliate marketing.

She goes on to talk about visas,

Being a Philippine passport holder, we know a lot about visa struggles. Unfortunately, we can only enter 67 countries visa free. And most of them are too far away for us to even afford it.

This is a legit issue but it is not as cookie cutter as it looks. The issue here is that many countries are not Filipino friendly because of the OFW program and all the problems that are connected to it. When thousands of Filipinos have overstayed around the world, it does make getting a visa for another one very hard. The problem is not the embassy but the mentality that overstaying in other countries is a means to an end.

However, Filipinos can travel to much of Asia without a problem. Under ASEAN rules, they have free access to visit Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Laos to name a few. I believe they can even go to India now. There are many countries that they visit. It become a question of where do they want to travel, not where they can.


I understand that many Filipinos want to go to America, Japan, England and Australia to vacation. Those places might be hard to get a visa for. There is no denying that. The way to overcome that is visit places like Thailand, Hong Kong and India and build a case for getting the visa to the United States.

Most of us are breadwinners or helping the family with bills and daily expenses. We have a very family oriented tradition. It is our duty to help our family, especially the parents once we get our own work.

Now, we are to the fear and culture part of the discussion. The culture of the Philippines does not celebrate people having dreams but a collective uniformity. There are cultural expectations that are put on the children, especially the girls that is just downright wrong.

I have noticed something. In every developed country, prosperity flows from parents to children; not the other way around. This concept that children are retirement programs to support you when you are older is one of the biggest ills of the Filipino society. This unwritten expectation is the main killer of dreams among Filipinos.


I do not understand why the people in the Philippines can’t see this mentality that came from the Spanish era is counter-productive. I also notice that this mentality is stronger at the lower economy levels. I do not see Herny Sy asking money from his kids, after all.

For cashless society such as USA, having a credit card is a necessity. Americans use credit cards to pay for everything. In fact, a lot of my American friends rarely bring cash. So why a credit card matters you say? It is a good back up to borrow money from when you’re unemployed.

First of all, I believe she is confusing credit cards with debit cards. Many Americans do have debit cards but not credit cards. I do not own a credit card. I do not believe in them for religious reasons. It also is not smart for a traveler to throw away money on interest. Let’s get real!

For Filipinos, this is a little bit of a challenge. They can’t just book a flight on Fiji Airways or Air Asia. They have to go to the office and pay for it. Many times, they can not get the online prices. This is factual. It is a pain and there is not much that can be done about it.


It is also worth saying that the Philippine banking system is having a revolution of sorts. After some guy managed to steal eighty million dollars using the Philippines, it forced the issue of bringing the country into the 21st century financially. That is always good for everyone.

As much as we want to travel the world, especially if you’re quitting your job, one of the facts that we always have to face is the low value of our local currency compare to other countries.

This is connected to the banking but it is another misunderstanding of how these things work. The pesos is pointless outside the Philippines. As soon as you land in Hong Kong or Bangkok, you are not living in a US Dollar work. You buy and sell in dollars. From this point forward, you have no inferior position that I would as a US Citizen.

It is true that Filipinos have made some serious mistakes in the political realm that has caused the pesos to tank hard. This is why traveling makes even more sense. It would be smart to take off to India or Thailand and wait out the Duterte era of the Philippines. (Things will not improve economically with his “Robin Hood” ideology)


I believe the bigger question here is not the currency exchange but many Filipinos felt it is not “fair” that Americans make ten times the pay for similar work. This might or might be true but many Filipinos do believe this. As this is largely political issue, I will leave it to the bloggers about the crocodiles in the Philippine Congress.

Bottom line?

The issue facing Filipinos is that they need to answer some hard questions about they want in life. Do they value traveling more than they value their cultural identity? Are they willing to follow their dreams even if it upsets a few people? I know these are hard questions to answer but once they are resolved; traveling becomes a lot easier.


3 replies
  1. Christine
    Christine says:

    I think you must have misunderstood my article 🙂

    First off, the article tackles why Filipinos cant quit their job to travel the world, not why Filipinos can’t travel. There’s a big difference between the two.

    “This is written by someone who wants to travel, see the world and experience differences in culture globally. I understand that and I understand what seems to be holding her back: fear and cultural expectations.”

    This is a big assumption on my background and in which I have discussed shortly in my article as well. I have travelled in almost 40 countries. 6 years ago I quit my lucrative job and while I was at the top of my career. Was I afraid? Of course! I wouldn’t deny that but everyone who quit their job for the life of the unknown experienced the same fear as I did. But I still quit anyway. Cultural expectations? I’m not sure. I grew up differently from the usual Filipinos. People think I’m too Westernized so the common expectations doesnt really apply to me.

    “This is not true anymore. The world of freelancing online has opened the door so that many can travel as they want. I personally know of Filipinos that have traveled every province in the Philippines and been all over the world. One of them just got back from Hawaii. Being born in America or Australia has its benefits but it is not as a big deal as some people think it is.”

    I agree with this. My proof is myself. However, you think that 2 or 3 people as proof disregard the fact that not everyone in the Philippines can buy computers easily or can transition to an online job. Or can actually live not knowing when she/ he can find her/his next online gig. I work in Outsourcing by the way. We outsourced jobs and I have a broad networks of freelancers. So I know the struggles of these people. I have a lot of talented and educated friends who are struggling to find freelance gigs to support their love for travel. Being born in the US or Australia are in fact a big advantage when you travel. From someone who have fairly travelled, I can give you several proofs of my experiences and what other third world passport holders have experienced. And using Manny Pacquiao as an example is like comparing apples to oranges. You are using a man with money who can buy an entire island. Not a commoner who doesn’t know when she will get her next meal.

    “It is more important that you have a model for profit than where you are from. If you have a website that is making money and getting the traffic; you will be just fine. Most Affiliate programs do not care if you live in the Philippines. The truth is that you might do better because Americans have all new laws centering around affiliate marketing”

    Not everyone will make it on blogging alone. Everyone knows that. Not everyone has a talent in writing and neither web designing. Im not being negative Nancy but the way you made it sound, money will just come in as long as I have a website. 🙂

    “However, Filipinos can travel to much of Asia without a problem. Under ASEAN rules, they have free access to visit Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Laos to name a few. I believe they can even go to India now. There are many countries that they visit. It become a question of where do they want to travel, not where they can.”

    This goes back to my point above. I’m talking about Filipinos who are quitting their job to JUST travel. And also my other point that it’s a different when you are white and has a strong passport. Even without visa, you can still be denied boarding by our own immigration for a lot of reasons which includes not having a job in the country. If we ever pass our immigration, there’s still a big chance for us to get denied entry in the country we’re going to if we failed to provide proof that we’re going back. This is the story of brown skinned travellers every day. And I hope you will acknowledge your white privilege and strong passport with this one. Because you don’t know how lucky you are.

    “I have noticed something. In every developed country, prosperity flows from parents to children; not the other way around. This concept that children are retirement programs to support you when you are older is one of the biggest ills of the Filipino society. This unwritten expectation is the main killer of dreams among Filipinos.”

    This is something that I can agree on. I am finance savvy which is why I don’t understand people who think their child is an investment. But this is not the case for everyone. We have a country that limit old people to work. This is a topic that’s not being discussed often but when you get old here, you can see from the ads how i’s hard to find a job here for old people. And obviously not everyone has the capacity to invest while they are young. Or not even have the knowledge. By the way, I am the breadwinner of my family not because my parents are lazy or just want to rely on me. Our family business had some issues where my parents lost a lot of money. I know you would say it happens but what I’m trying to say is, although there are people like that as you have described, sometimes life is not simple as it is. And for sure there are lots of breadwinners like me who can tell you the same.

    “First of all, I believe she is confusing credit cards with debit cards. Many Americans do have debit cards but not credit cards. I do not own a credit card. I do not believe in them for religious reasons. It also is not smart for a traveler to throw away money on interest. Let’s get real!”

    I’m not sure where you live but I have been working with American companies in the last 10 years and have tons of American friends since I was a kid and I barely see anyone use cash. I have visited US thrice and it’s one of the most cashless societies I have been. Also I included links on my articles how people use their credit cards to travel. And I know a lot of people who use it. Even if they don’t have money they can still travel by racking up points or debts from their credit cards.

    “This is connected to the banking but it is another misunderstanding of how these things work. The pesos is pointless outside the Philippines. As soon as you land in Hong Kong or Bangkok, you are not living in a US Dollar work. You buy and sell in dollars. From this point forward, you have no inferior position that I would as a US Citizen.”

    I’m not sure where you get the idea that when we go out, that our currency won’t work the same way. If this is the case, then the thousands of people I met along the way won’t choose South East Asia because their money is stronger here. I’m going to give you another example. My taxi in the US can cost me between US$20-45 between 10-20 mins ride. Here in the Philippines, the same drive will cost us between $3-5. Average salary of people here is $8-9 per day. In order for a common Filipino to afford a taxi in the US, they have to give up a couple of day’s salary. A simple lunch from a street food stall in Manhattan can cost me between $8-10 per meal. In Bangkok, you can get meal between $1-3. It might be the same price as in the Philippines but an American who can afford to eat $8-10 thrice a day, can definitely afford more from their money in Bangkok compare to us.

    Also, we don’t think Americans earning more is unfair. I have never met anyone in my life who think that way. The only reason why I brought up this comparison is to justify why people from Western countries can travel more compare to us. But we don’t think it’s unfair. I’m just stating facts that a lot of my friends from Western countries acknowledged and it’s just the way it is.

    Again, I’m not saying it’s not doable (because I did it and some people I know) but what I’m trying to say is it’s harder for us. And it’s harder for Filipinos who don’t have the same privilege as me. I work for a US company as an upper level executive receiving American salary. And with a job that I can do remotely. My family is not exactly poor. We have more than a roof over our head and I can afford to go to any country I wanna go. And I acknowledge all these privileges that I have. Travelling is a luxury for most people. And quitting your job to travel is not exactly easy for majority of the Filipinos. And these are facts that can’t be changed just because you changed your mindset.

    Reply
    • Andrew
      Andrew says:

      Why don’t you think that Americans earning more than other nationals for the same job is unfair?
      It is unfair!
      I’m European, but let’s face the truth: there’s nothing fair in this world! When you see a Russian billionnaire in Monaco wasting his dirty laundered money on a luxury car or a yacht worth GDP of a small country while some kids in Mindoro are starving – it’s unfair.
      When a floor cleaner in Zurich earns more than a highly educated professional in Manila – it is unfair.
      The only fair country in the world was USSR, and everyone was fairly equal and poor there.
      Until there are borders between the countries – the world will always be unfair.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.