I recently shared with you the trip Lynndee, Yogi and I took to their hometown, General Santos City, in the Philippines. And the thing I now want to share is an interesting exercise in economics. You will find it amazing what one can do in the Philippines with the American dollar. Having lived my life in the US, I’m totally familiar with the cost of living and the inflationary factors that control it. But I was amazed to find how well I could live in the Philippines using American dollars as my form of payment.
Cruising down GenSan’s National Highway, on the way in from the airport.
The most surprising thing I discovered was the cost of health care in the Philippines. With all the current controversy and politics involved in the American health care system, it was a joy to be introduced to the Philippines’ system. After being there a couple of weeks, our son Yogi started coughing a lot, apparently having caught a cold, though we suspected it might be the tropical humidity and pollen that might be bothering him. But as it got worse, we decided he needed medical attention. However, it was a Friday evening so we had to take him to the emergency room. And of course, being an American and having dealt with emergency rooms, the first thing that entered my mind was what the cost involved would be. But after our surprisingly short wait to be seen, when I went to the check out to pay for his visit, I was informed that the cost would be 650.00 PHP (Philippine Peso). And that’s easy math to do the conversion with: one peso equal two American cents, thus the entire cost of seeing an emergency room doctor and the services involved came to $13.00 American! Incredible, huh? Later on, Lynndee had to go to the urgent care at the same location for the same problem and the cost was the same. Another discovery was that the cost of the prescriptions they received were nothing compared to what it would have cost in America. But after the first surprise of the emergency room and urgent care costs, that was no great surprise.
Another couple of things we took care of while there was getting her Dad a much-needed new cell phone and getting Lynndee’s eyes checked. The phone was a Samsung Smart Phone at about one-fifth of the cost it would have been here, and as for Lynndee’s eyes, she got her examination and a pair of glasses at about a third of what the US cost would have been.
One thing Lynndee has missed by being here in the US is her routine of taking care of he finger and toe nails, as in manicures and pedicures. While there, on one of our many trips to the area malls, I treated her to a mani/pedi. And the cost? 220 PHP, or $4.40. But then, even better, is the home service offered. By sending a text message, Lynndee got a manicurist to come by her Mom’s house to provide services. This is something she really misses because while living there she would get this done every-other week at the cost of 100 PHP, $2.00, including polishing. And I even had a pedicure for the first time in my life for $1.00! Also offering home delivery was a masseuse who came by and gave her a massage for 250 PHP, $5.00.
I’ll spare you the photo of my ugly footsies; here’s Lynndee’s.
Even more home services are available in the Philippines. This is the way many Filipinos make a living and survive. In the development Lynndee’s parent live in, on a daily basis vendors will come through selling either fish, fresh from the bay, of vegetables, fresh from the garden. On a weekly basis, a lady would come by and wash clothes. After our first week there, the lady came and washed not only her parent clothes, but also mine, Lynndee’s and Yogi’s for the cost of 500 PHP, or $10.00. And this was done the old-fashioned way. I remember seeing my grandmothers doing it, with an aluminum tub and a scrub board. Living in the world we now live in here, imagine that in this day and age.
Those are just a few of the economic miracles I enjoyed while on vacation. I’ll have even more to share later on when I begin telling y’all about all the eat-out journeys we made.