In the Philippines, jobs are highly concentrated in larger urban areas, especially jobs where telecommuting is not possible. This includes a majority of the service industry and factory jobs, and many categories of marketing, management, and sales positions.
It’s often considered part of the natural lifecycle of people in the provinces working in the Philippines to find work in larger cities like Manila, Cebu, and Davao. Others may work in other urban areas that offer opportunities simply not to be found in their hometown.
But even if you speak the local languages and dialects, there are still many things you have to consider when moving to any new city. Here are some tips we’ve found helpful for readjusting to your new home after you’ve found a job elsewhere.
Keep an expense journal
The cost of living can vary dramatically between different Philippine cities and provinces. The price of a tricycle ride, for instance, can vary quite dramatically where you live, as do the rates for room and board. Food expenses can also vary quite dramatically.
Perhaps more, unfortunately, there are also a lot more things in big cities that you might “want” but don’t need. For many first-timers, these unneeded expenses can wreak havoc on their budgets.
You will want to keep a daily record of your expenses on your first few weeks, later keeping at least a weekly record when you’re already familiar with how things are in your new city. This can help you avoid unnecessary expenses and help you only spend on the things you consider the most necessary.
Invest in your health
Bigger cities in the Philippines tend to have more pollution, more expensive fruits and veggies, and fewer opportunities for exercise, and more toxic people around. It’s not impossible to stay healthy in a strange town, but it does take some planning and some smart budgeting,
Be sure to get enough sleep, eat right, and get enough exercise and socialization to keep your physical and mental health at decent levels. This isn’t just for your own good, but your health will dictate how well you can perform at work as well.
Find social circles that share your interest
Try to find friends outside of work. This will help you become more accustomed to the idea of living somewhere new and you will be better able to understand what life is like outside of the professional sphere.
If you have a hobby, try finding those with similar interests in your new home through social media or through friends you already have. Even having weekend coffee with new friends can go a long way to keeping you grounded.
Even if you are not a social person, making the effort at this early stage can do a whole lot to prevent feelings of isolation that may accompany moves to a different part of the country.
Understand the signs of culture shock
Culture shock does not just happen when you leave the country for long periods. Every city, every workplace, and every neighborhood may have its own sets of unspoken rules and subcultures that while temporarily tolerable, can start to negatively affect you after some time.
This is natural and can happen to anyone at any workplace. At worst, culture shock can lead to feelings of depression and anxiety, which can sometimes lead to angry outbursts or even the lack of a desire to leave one’s house. Sometimes, it may leave you feeling ill-will towards your new co-workers, friends, and city.
While most culture shock resolves itself on its own after a few months, you may either want to seek counseling or try to identify whenever possible if you are acting differently because of culture shock. Talking to an authority figure like a priest, pastor, or psychiatrist can help you cope and even eventually master the culture of your new hometown.
Moving to a new place for work is not easy, but neither is it impossible. It’s often considered to be a unique part of the Filipino experience. That said, if you need a new career, try a Philippines job search website, like Mynimo.com. You might even find a job that keeps you close to where you live, making your life simpler and allowing you to build a career close to home.