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Saturday, August 23, 2008

Meeting Foreigners In Davao

I have now been here almost 9 months and have had a lot to get accustomed to. I also belong to 2 Foreigner organizations.

One is called Friends of Mindanao. It is a group that is organized as a networking group. They also look for ways for the members to help local charitable associations. At most meetings there is a speaker. It might be a member to speak about there occupation in their home country and what they did. Other times they have guest speakers. This group meets the 1st and 3rd Wednesday morning at Coffee Shop 51 in Victoria Mall’s parking lot, left side next to Metro Bank.

The other is Davao Area Expat Association. This group is more about support and information about being a Foreigner living in the Philippines. They have guest speakers to help inform and answer questions from the members. They also schedule social activities for the members, such as Bowling, Billiards, house parties, Poker nights (for fun, no real money), evenings out at a Restaurant Bar.

I have made some good friends through these groups and it was proved at my open house Wedding Party.

There are a lot of other foreigners here in Davao. This is something Ellen has comments on and I have noticed living here that many foreigners isolate themselves from other foreigners.

When walking through the Mall, or anywhere else, when I see a Foreigner I try to first try to make eye contact. Then I will say hello and see if they want to meet and chat a little. I have noticed many will do all possible to avoid contact.

Since I do not speak the local languages Bisaya or Tagalog, I enjoy talking to people that speak English. Even at home my family prefers to speak in Bisaya which at times is annoying.

I have tried to find reasons people from other countries avoid contact and cannot think of a reason. Is it because they are inapt in conversation, afraid of someone trying to con them, totally socially afraid of others….. I do not know.

Even though most Filipinos are nice, and most can speak English, a lot have such an accent it is hard to understand them.

It is nice to have friend with a common language and common goals. One main goal is to survive here.


Ellen said...

Hi Bruce, I am still confused and you probably are in a better position to find reasons why.

Let me be blunt here - and these are what I was told: 1 - Most foreigners are probably nobody where they came from, but here, the Filipinos treat them like they are the high and almighty. Other expats know this and so they try to stay away from each other. 2 - There are expats who are braggers, high talkers, name droppers - and they are the con artists targetting other gullible and innocent foreigners who are new here. These types try their tactics on local businessmen, and they usually fall on deaf ears. This is actually sad. Because of the acts of a few expats, there now exist mistrusts between local Filipino businessmen and expats.
3 - Some are narrowminded and then they feed their one-sided opinions on new foreigners coming in, causing more narrow-mindedness.

So, what do you think?

Bruce said...

You have made some comments I have heard too. One person I know comments that there are some expats here that were socially inept in their home country and do not know how to communicate here. Also I do find people brag anout themselves or tell things since there is no one to prove otherwise.
There is also a problem with filipinos, alot think all foreigners are RICH. I tell them if a foreigner is a millionare, why would they move here. There is a fear that foreigners are charged more in stores than locals.
What ever the reason, I try to be friendly to all I meet. If they want to chat with me and get to know me fine, if not, their loss.