The Republic of the Philippines is hitting the sweet spot for investors. Gross International Reserves stood at USD82.78 Billion as of February 2019. The S&P rating agency upgraded the Philippines to BBB+. The Philippines is richer than India based on per capita income. However, there are some misconceptions about the Philippines which we intend to demystify.
- English is not spoken in the Philippines.
The Philippines is foreigner friendly. Magellan landed in the Philippines in the year 1521. As a Spanish colony until the end of the 19th Century, Western culture has pervaded Philippines life, culture and dress. If you think you need to know Mandarin before you come to the Philippines, that’s not the case. The Philippines became a U.S. colony at the start of the 20th Century and as a result, English is widely spoken. It is taught in schools and is the language of business in the country.
- The Philippines is unsafe to visit.
One must not view the fate of Magellan, who was killed in the Philippines in April 1521, as the overall security condition in the Philippines. At that time international travel was not yet fashionable and the locals were unsure how to greet a visitor. Nowadays an unwary traveller can get mugged in any bustling metropolis. The lesson, therefore, is to know which areas should be avoided. Most travel/safety warnings are just limited to a specific region in the Philippines.
- Manila is the Central Business District of the Philippines.
Most embassies and big foreign firms like banks and insurance companies are located in Makati and Taguig City. Makati and Taguig are not the easiest names to remember, but they are within the Greater Manila area. Manila is the capital of the Philippines but it is best to view it as a name on the map, and the airport destination.
- The Philippines is one big land mass.
Swimming is a very good skill to have when visiting the Philippines. There are 7,107+ islands. At one point, the country did not much care if one or two went missing. However, the reality of geopolitics has struck home and the Philippines is squabbling with China over some very small islands. There is a popular vacation place called “the 100 hundred islands” and you can swim from island to island.
- Labour is expensive.
Not when an investor realizes the level of English proficiency in the Philippines. The labour force is skilled and educated. Finally, apart from a high literacy rate, the Filipino people are a happy lot. The Philippines ranked 69th in the world ranking of happy countries.