Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Depending On Your Point Of View

(taken and edited for clarity from here)

The funny thing is, down here in Cagayan De Oro, we all like to talk about how cheap it is compared to the far-too-expensive Manila. And of course, out here in Jasaan, things in general are cheaper than they are in Cagayan De Oro.


Anonymous said...


Hate to tell you this as I feel you already know but in any country on earth you get what you pay for, nothing more and nothing less. Now in those countrys that pay more for services I suspect incomes of the populace are higher and they buying better goods and living to a much higher standard than the average citizen of Manila. I mean in Philippines you can buy cheaper goods but fact is most the cheap junk you see there is fake and would be marketable only in a swapmeet frequented by ghetto people in more developed nation. Now you can buy quality goods there but as you know quality merchandise there cost the same or higher than same producted in America.

Jil Wrinkle said...

Oh I hate to debate your point, but here goes:

• A 1.5 liter bottle of Coke costs 54 cents in The Philippines... and is the same Coke you drink in America.

• A pack of Marlboros costs $1.10 here... and is the same as the Marlboros you smoke in America.

• A Big Mac costs $1.00... and tastes the same as the Big Mac you eat in America.

• A bottle of San Miguel beer costs 40 cents... and tastes the same as Budweiser.

• The most recent Harry Potter movie... $1.75.

• 3-course meal at a fancy restaurant for two, with 3 rounds of drinks... $22.

• Full physical at the doctor's office is $45... same tests as in America.

• A loaf of bread... 40 cents.

• A whole roasted chicken... $2.80.

• One liter of iced tea... 25 cents.

• Live in maid... $40 per month.

As for the "cheap and fake junk" you refer to: Of course it's cheap and fake. That's why we expatriates all have stuff like that shipped from America, or we go to Hong Kong or Singapore to do our shopping for big-ticket items... like all of our electronics... or we can always go to the local mall and pay higher-than-American prices for the quality goods with guarantees. But, of course, those are once-a-year purchases anyway and really don't factor into the day-to-day cost of living here.

Also, sometimes we choose to buy the cheap and fake stuff and are perfectly happy with it (like the two 3-liter plastic drink pitchers for 40 cents each that I bought the other day)... just like you buy certain stuff at Walmart (for 5 times what I pay). Epril loves her $10 dresses and $5 shoes. I enjoy my $2 sunglasses and $1 pirated DVDs.

And sometimes the local stuff isn't junk, but would be considered quite luxurious in America, such as the hand-carved bed from local hardwood that I had made for $300 that would have cost thousands in America, and my tailored suit for $80.

Also — as I mentioned with the maid — labor is fantastically cheap. I'm going to have a pizza stand built along the road in my side yard for $100. I'm having my lawn re-turfed this coming weekend for $30. It costs $2 to ride a taxi 4 miles home from a night out on the town. It costs $1 to fix a flat tire. Epril gets a manicure and pedicure with a beautician who comes right to our house for $2. A 1-hour massage costs $4. And — not to put too fine a point on it — if you have an itch to scratch, the local gogo bars are quite cheap, and they certainly aren't selling junk.

Taking the entire family of 12 out for a day of swimming at the local pool resort costs $15... with lunch for everyone. My recent 40th birthday party for 80 people (with enough alcohol to flatten everybody, free bus transportation 30 miles to the party and back, a ton of food including a roast pig, and pool rental) cost $350. Our wedding, with 120 guests, with gowns, full reception and feast, open bar, live band, fireworks show, and celebrity radio DJ party in the park for 1,000 people afterwards came to less than $3,000. The all-you-can-eat buffet at Spooks is $4, and beers there are 90 cents. Next year's 1-week trip to Thailand for two will cost $700 total.

Even the things that you are right about, such as my $240 per month house, which wouldn't meet building code in America, or my $1,000 scooter, which can't hold a candle to any proper bike, or my $80 desk from which the veneer is already peeling, or even Tyson's $1 stainless steel leash, which is already rusting... are all things which I have no problem living with.

But, ultimately, when it comes down to it, if you want to live a life surrounded by goods and services that are the same quality as what you get in America, then indeed: You are right. It will cost you as much... more actually... to live here at that level of quality than it does to live in America. But then, if things like that are so important to a person, he or she wouldn't be contemplating a life in a place like The Philippines anyway, so it's kind of an empty point in the end.

Jil Wrinkle said...

p.s. Anon, just to add a thought:

Most cost of living survey's like this are done on an apples-to-apples comparison. They take New York City and assign it a value of 100, and then go out and determine the cost a month's worth of ubiquitous goods and services of a pre-determined quality (apartment rental, utilities, food, clothing, transportation, entertainment). Then, they compare that package in New York City to the same package purchased in other cities around the world, and arrive at a percentage (such as 112.5% for Oslo, or 39.3% for Manila).

Surveys like this are usually done to determine how much to compensate a company's overseas workers for an equivalent level of quality of life as they had in the city they left. Ergo: The point you are claiming (as far as I can tell without the actual details of the survey available to me) is the exact opposite of the primary purpose of the survey.

Unknown said...

Like you say compare apples with apples.
Thailand is cheaper and with better services than PH.
Thailand is certainly a better investment and in most cases a better place to live. No country prospers with its best workers abroad.

Anonymous said...


No idea why but I sent one message several times and none went through on this article, Ill break them down and try again. I think maybe because my comment was to long as one went through on another posting

Anonymous said...


Ill debate you on this.

Buy a decent bike there even used and your looking at like 150,000php for a used 1980's model Virago, here I can buy a used Ducati for same price. Cars , trucks etc follow suit , of course some are cheaper there but they arent up to US standards, for example the Fords there are Mexican Fords, made to lower standards. Also boats , jetskis etc are cheaper here.

Anonymous said...

Housing is far cheaper in America. I live in a gated community , my house is nearly 5,000sqft (thats about 500sqm) my lot is 15,000 sqft (about 1,500sft), of course it has all modern things like central vac, granite, centralized hot water and ac, reverse osmosis system, came with decent appliances etc etc. Cost now on same house is about 150,000usd, in PI you couldnt duplicate it at same price, I mean construction there is 20,000 per sqm and land in gated community no less than 5,000 per sqm, not to mention those prices even are void of the amenitys found in America. Just for land and building youd spend 17,500,000 in PI and even then not have the amenitys.

Consumer goods, Yes we can buy cheap knock off junk in America also, every major city has a ghetto that contains stores and swap meets that sell it and its cheap. On decent clothing it is cheaper in America. Other goods follow suit.

Anonymous said...

Now as far as the items you mentions.

Your 1 litro coke you buy for 50 cents there, cost 1 dollar here for 2 liters but generally can see it on sale for 8 cents for 2 liters. Although not the same, there it uses pure cane sugar like in mexico, here it uses corn syrup sweetner, I preffer the sugar and buy Coca-Cola de Mexico for that reason.

Marlboros, I dont smoke, quit 1 year ago. They cost 5 dollars a pack here but we ordered them from PI at 12 dollars a carton including shipping and buy 40 cartons at a time. Also in Mexico they cost 20 a carton on the border. BTW they are not the same, the American marlboro is made to diffrent standards as is very obvious when smoking menthol especially because the menthon lights from PI barely have a menthol taste.

A roasted chicken here cost 3.40.

Doctor visits, Well jill based on the income youve posrted on here and that other expats have posted your check up would be free in America, not to mention many expats are on SSD and etc so would have medicare or medicaid plus very likely a state plan as well that pics up what the other didnt pay on things like dental work, eyeglasses etc. This stated medical cost is irrelivant for the most part, but for what its worth Id far preffer to be sick in America bcuz a story like yalls tom hunt saga would be unlikely here. Not to mention some of the meds that daisy placed prices for are far (way far) cheaper in Mexico and would be even free for tom hunt in America since he was a old, dissabled and a vet. So that cost is irrelivant.

Your dvd, For that price its pirated without doubt. Here pirated movie cost 5 bucks in any ghetto but most ppl can afford and have highspeed internet so can burn it for free. I dont do that though as we pay like 10 bucks a month for netflicks.

Your beer, Im a 3.5yr member of AA so no longer pay attention to alcohol but today I will go to store and write down prices just as a comparision, its not a problem as Im going to store anyway.

Labor, Yep it far cheaper there but I find it hard to believe you have live in help at 40 bucks a month as you must also factor in their utility consuption, the space they take up, the food they eat etc. Anyway even factoring that it would be cheaper there as a live in yaya cosat 800 a month here at current time or can higher a mad service for 25 bucks a week. Then again with our amenitys such as dish washer, washer, dryer, pressure washers, drive through car washes , riding lawnmowers (for non desert dwellers),vaccume systems, steam mops, etc household chores take up far less time and energy here.

Regarding the 3 liter plastic drink pictures, nope dont have any. I only have 1 gallon glass pitchers which costed 1 usd each at frys marketplace. They are made for sun tea but I use them for lemonade, sweet tea, coolaid etc. Other than that I only have a 3 gallon bubba keg that I take to my kids soccer games, tennis matches, etc.

Anonymous said...


I just got home and here are your beer prices. I just priced Budweiser and Bud Light since those where your examples. The MGD and others where cheaper. The only other price I noticed was on Fat Tire which was 20 for 24 bottles.

Anway it was priced at 16.00 for 24 glass bottles or 18.00 for 30 cans. So 66 cents for bottles or 60 cents for cans.

Other prices where100 vending machine sized bags of potato chips for 20 bucks (works out to about 9php per bag), Spam at 2 dollars (94php) per can, Milk at 1.50 (70php)a gallon, chicken breast at 1 dollar per pound (works out to 103php per kilo), Thai Jasamine rice at 14 bucks per 50lbs (would work out to 1447php for a 50kilo sack like yall buy there). Other deal I saw was Polo Ralph Lauren cargo shorts on sale at 8 bucks and Polo Ralph Lauren T-shirts at 3 bucks. So 11usd (517php) for entire Polo outfit.

Jil Wrinkle said...


Heh. Even though the facts are more than ample, simply based on the amount of effort you've put into making your point, it would be a social crime not to concede your total rectitude in this matter. Well done and thanks for the information.

You'll have to forgive the brief response to all your work: I'm in the middle of a busy morning here. But thanks again for commenting and being so astute.

Anonymous said...


LOLOL Its ok, was at the store anyway so only think I had to look at I wasnt buying anyway was the beer.

Anyway, I lived in Philippines from age 20-28 and know for certain many things are cheaper here, especially consumer goods.

Cheaper there is labor intensive stuff but in that it takes a while to find quality workmanship.

Unknown said...

anyone who thinks PH is value for money is crackers

theres only one thing thats cheap and thats the women

Fretzie said...

Hi jil,
I just would like to comment about this Owen guy said here...
"There's only one thing that's "cheap" and that's women". Personally, and in behalf of the rest of the Filipinas here,I find it really offensive to us Filipino women... Why would he say that??? he may had some experience with some women here but that's not enough reason for him to say that. For me, criticism is good especially if it's contstructive but downright insult is another story, saying "cheap" "women" is like adressing to all of the women here in the PH in general. If that's what he thinks women here are, How does he call himself??? What does that make him??
And also Jil, if Epril reads this comment of this guy am sure she will be offended too. Am just mad and sorry for the reaction, but I cant help it! This guy has to know what he is talking about!

And lastly Jil,how would you feel about this knowing that you know a lot better than this guy as to what Filipino women really are? Am sure you won't just let this pass.


Jil Wrinkle said...

Hi Fretzie.

I'm sorry for Owen's comment, and maybe I should have rejected it because it is low-brow and crass; but I figured that anybody who wanted to respond to his misogyny could do so... as you did. I personally chose to just let it slide.

Besides, my figuring was, in a way, Owen was correct: Epril doesn't have any expensive tastes, she is always happy with the simple things in life, and doesn't insist on me supplying her with a big house or a fancy car or a fat bank account. (I bought Epril a $7 computer video game last night, and she was as happy as I've seen her in weeks.)

Owen determines the value of women based on how much money he has to pay them to have sex with him, and I think that says more about Owen than about women, Filipina or otherwise.

Some guys are like that, but you can be comforted in the knowledge that you'll never run the risk of running into a guy like Owen outside of a whorehouse... and even if you do, the pay-for-play mentality that people like Owen have will have insinuated itself so deeply in the way that they treat women that you'll figure out very quickly that men like this don't see women as real human beings... only things to be used and discarded. (Don't be angry at Owen though; have pity instead. It's probably something Owen learned from his father.)

Mike said...

Well I really hope that OWEN can rinse the nasty taste out of his mouth from the taste of his foot. But it really looks like he really needs a foot in the ass... But im sure that will probally happen in due time...

Unknown said...

you really stuck your foot in it there Jill, implying that your wife is easily pleased and as such cheap

we both know everything in this world has a price on it

so well done for posting my comment and no offence about not publishing this one

Jil Wrinkle said...


Your juxtaposition of "easily pleased" and "cheap" is true to a point (Epril doesn't care for expensive things, and thus does not cause me to spend large amounts of money), but yours is really a post hoc argument replacing my wife with a straw man of your own design.

What you are attempting to do is to measure a person's quality based on their level of materialism, which is of course as simplistic and childish now as it was you employed it in kindergarten to determine who the best kids were based on their toys.

I told Freztie she would be able to quickly see how pay-for-play has damaged the personality and ability of people like yourself to judge and treat women (and people in general) with respect. Your thinking here is a perfect example for Fretzie to study: "Everything in this world has a price on it," you say... but I think what you mean to say is "everybody". Fretzie: I rest my case.

Fretzie said...

Hi Jil,

Now we know who's cheap here, making such a comment like that just concludes that person really is what he speaks for...that's what I meant about
" How does he call himself and what does that make him?" Just consider the source! He just confirmed it! And Jil, you were right, we should pity on this guy. Maybe he should go back to her mother to teach him some manners that if, his mother would still own him. Poor him.:(

Congratulations to you and Epril on your first year anniversary and wish you'll have more... and probably kids this time? I would love to see pics of your li'l jil and li'l Epril...;)

Unknown said...

For what its worth i have never been to the ph, no point no money to be made and no future for ph. But i do know Ph girls and have seen enough to know they are inferior to the rest of homo sapiens, even Thai homo sapiens.
And i dont pay money for sex with beautiful girls, i pay with my good looks, charm and sharp mind. Yes i do them service and pay them with what they get out of it.

Dont publish this Jil, i'm not posting on your blog anymore since the readers are idiots.

Jil Wrinkle said...

Nice try Owen... but meeting my intellectually-sound observations about your nature with potshot and racist low brow insults and spurious defenses of your own personality are hardly refutations of the points I have made.

Owen, your observations are impotent, pointless, and (since you've never been to The Philippines) borne out of ignorance... and, I'm assuming, no small amount of misogynistic anger and jealousy at the happiness and contentment of others. In the end, above all, your efforts to stand up for yourself are pitiful and just show you to be a lonely man who harbors far too much animosity towards those who enjoy life and the little things that make life worth living.

But go ahead and keep checking people's price tags, Owen. I'm sure eventually you'll find somebody as discounted as you are to be happy with.

We won't miss you.

Anonymous said...

Hah! Owen, you confirmed it again! See??? You just locked up our conclusion as to the kind of "dog" you are! You're the one who's an IDIOT! May you rest in peace looser!

Jil Wrinkle said...

Just had a funny thought:

I knew an Owen once in Pattaya. I've never met a man who treated women as poorly as he did. He was abusive, assultative, and socially and sexually perverted. All the girls at this bar, TQ2, hated him. Most of the people there eventually just tried to avoid him when he walked in. The man was a walking erection. He thought he was immensely popular, but in the end, everybody found a reason to dislike him. I think he eventually figured that out because he just disappeared and I never saw him again... either that or some of the other guys asked him to stop hanging around. Last I heard, his Thai wife kicked him out of the house because he was such a louse.

It would be too funny if this Owen leaving comments was the same Owen I knew in Pattaya... because everything I've written about this Owen here suprisingly applies so well to the Owen I used to know.

Mike said...

Well Owen It seems you just dont have a clue... If you are of such high intellect,why would you be sooo stupid to make such a racist post and then basically dare Jil to post the comment... Well as far as good looks go for you, Anything you might have going for you on the outside is totally lost by the way your warped mind is now. So good luck on your next relationship. I dont think there is enough listerine to wash that nasty taste you have in your mouth. But i really think it has soaked all the way to your nasty mind now. So dont bother trying to wash it now...You are what you are, and now everyone that reads this blog now knows what you are also