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You know what is increasingly getting on my nerves lately? The Aussie (or American or Englishperson, etc) who lives in the Philippines and complains incessantly! The websites and internet forums and fanpages that are full of nothing but complaints about how terrible are all things Filipino to Aussies in Philippines.

As Australians, we all know the expression “Whinging Pom”. It refers to the Englishman (pommy) who comes to Australia and complains constantly about how much better everything is in England. Well, guess what happens to many Aussies in the Philippines when they either visit a lot or particularly when they settle here as Aussie expats? They turn into Whinging Aussies.


Incidentally, why is it that everyone “migrates” to Australia, yet Aussies are only ever “expats” here? Worth thinking about.

I’ll always identify as an Aussie. Always loved Australian values. I was the kid at school who used to get annoyed when the other kids thought the last letter of the alphabet was “Zeeee”, and always preferred saying “G’day”. To this day I’ll never say “Hi”. However, I choose to live here (not just because I have an Australian Filipina relationship) and make my home in the Philippines, and the more I’m here the more I love this place.

Why does Jeff particularly love the Philippines?

One word (well…..three words):  The Filipino People!

Speaking as an Australian expat in the Philippines, I really love the Filipino people, and they are the ones that make this place such a great place to live. Nothing to do with the food, climate, scuba diving or whale sharks. I’m speaking for myself, of course. I’m not a huge fan of Filipino food, but I am a fan of Filipinos.

What in particular? I’ve already said what I thought about kindness in a previous article HERE.

I might just add something to that topic of Filipino kindness briefly. I had to go to the main NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) Office in UN Avenue in Manila the other day to get an NBI Clearance (which most will be familiar with). I have a slipped disc in my lumbar region, and standing for even short periods causes me severe pain. We told them this, and I was literally in and out on 10 minutes. They rushed me through and made serious allowances…..and no, we did NOT have to bribe them. I’ve had staff members in other Government and business offices actually come outside and see me in the car for the same reason, simply because we’ve asked and because they’re kind.

Tough, resilient and brave people

And what else? I think “resilience” is partially the right word. Plus the ability to not to dwell and obsess on negative things. I can’t find the perfect words, so I’ll describe a scenario that you would have difficulty in seeing in other places (ie. other than the Philippines).

We have a house full of kids. Love kids. Hate silence. And I’m a big kid myself. I think I’d rather talk to a bunch of kids (especially Filipino kids) than to a bunch of adults any day, and I believe that whilst growing old is compulsory, growing up is optional! Our kids are mostly children from the family. My youngest actual biological child is Jeremy, who is our office manager. We have kids from the province whom we make a permanent home for. They call us Mum and Dad. Well, the other day we took in a couple of orphans. Nieces of a brother-in-law from Samar. Their dad died last week, and they have nowhere else to go. And note that we’ve never met them, and neither have our kids here.

Well, they have been here since yesterday morning. Please look at the photo below taken last night, and take note of the faces.


I see two kids in that photo who are incredibly brave, and who are much happier over what they have now than over what they’ve lost. And I see two other kids who have opened their hearts as willingly as we’ve opened our doors and accepted two new sisters without the slightest hesitation.

Is there a word for that? An expression? Probably not. Not something we all see very often…..except in the Philippines. I’m sure that such topics have been the substance of TV shows, both about the emotional trauma of the newcomers and of those who resent the intrusion. Here? It’s handled with a courage, a resilience and an unwillingness to entertain miserable mental-states. Is it toughness? Innocence? I don’t know. All I know is that I have the greatest respect and admiration for this. Yes, us westerners can make money and make efficient things happen all around us, but at the end of the day we need to have a life that’s worth living and able to be enjoyed. We can learn a lot if we look and listen!

Prospective Marriage Visa versus Partner Visa
Philippines Public Holiday today - No office!


  1. Barry Bolin

    SO true. I love my Philippino family and they have done the same, 2 children (Tatay’s brothers son) were abandoned and they are now part of our family.

  2. wayne

    Yes, Filipinos are different to us over there even staff members in their gov. departments or business offices. They are not selfish unlike us Australians here at home. Here in Oz they wouldn’t wee on you if you were on fire and certainly LOL no staff member here in Oz would care to come out to your car to see if you were ok if you were suffering a condition.

  3. Graeme Gow

    Too right Jeff. It’s the Filipino people that make the place what it is. Even tho I can’t speak Tagalog, my social life here is better and more fun – and I don’t hang out with expats. If I had little kids, I would want them to grow up here – even in the shanties. This is why the Filipina woman makes such a great mate for us – even if they have to live in a foreign country – no problem, they can handle it.

  4. Mike Trotter

    Well said Jeff!. Totally agree with you on all accounts. My 20 years of visiting (and some lengthy staying) in the Philippines, has shown me how wonderful the Filipino people are, with exception of course, some of the politicians (locally and Federally). The resilience shown by the Filipinos whom live with little substance and poor conditions never cease to amaze me. If some of these “whingers” you mention of could just see what these people have to put up with then they should thank their lucky stars they have it so good amongst themselves. Other than that, if they can’t accept that is the way (unfortunately) it is in the Philippines, then they should just shut up and go back to Aussie! It
    makes me so angry to see the Filipino people “put down” by inconsiderate and insensitive foreigners. I have several black eyes over time to testify my support for the Filipinos!…

  5. Graham Jones

    I agree wholeheartedly with you , and of course Wayne’s comments are absolutely spot on.

  6. Ray Divertie

    Fantastic effort Jeff. Great admiration to you and your family to take in relatives and give them a life to look forward to especially after tragic events. 🙂

    • Jeff Harvie

      The kids are absolutely adorable, Ray. They’re a blessing. No question about it.

  7. Chris

    Totaly agree with this post, i never know why i love it so much in philippines. But this is it. The people make it.

  8. Daniel Baxter

    Hi jeff well put i am yet to make my first trip to Philippines and you know you hear all the beware story’s but since i found your page and reading your posts i am looking forward to my holiday and meeting a certain lady like anyplace one has to beaware but you have made the big difference with your honest visions of the filipino peoples and seem everyone i know in OZ that has a filipino partner all simply rave about them i never heard one single bad thing so keep up the good work and hopefully things going well we may meet thanks for you articles


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