The Philippines is a country located in Southeast Asia with a population of over 100 million people. It is known for its beautiful beaches, diverse culture, and friendly people.
In recent years, it has become a popular destination for foreigners, including those from the LGBTQ+ community. However, the question remains whether or not gay foreigners should relocate to the Philippines. In this article, we will explore the current state of LGBTQ+ rights in the Philippines, safety concerns, and the overall quality of life for gay individuals living in the country.
Gay Acceptance in The Philippines
According to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center in 2013, the Philippines is one of the most accepting countries of homosexuality in the Asia-Pacific region, with 73% of respondents saying that homosexuality should be accepted by society. This level of acceptance is higher than in many other countries in the region, such as Indonesia, Malaysia, and Vietnam.
However, despite this level of acceptance, incidents of discrimination, harassment, and violence against LGBTQ+ individuals still occur in the Philippines. This can be attributed in part to the country’s conservative Catholic values, which influence many aspects of society, including attitudes towards LGBTQ+ individuals.
It is worth noting that although the Philippines may be perceived as an accepting country towards the LGBTQ+ community, there are still challenges that the community faces. In a survey conducted by the Philippine LGBT Chamber of Commerce in 2020, 48% of the respondents said they have experienced discrimination in the workplace due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. Additionally, same-sex marriage is not yet legally recognized in the country.
Another important factor to consider for gay foreigners who are looking to relocate to the Philippines is the language barrier. While English is widely spoken in the country, the official language is Filipino, which can make communication challenging for non-Filipino speakers.
Another potential challenge for gay foreigners in the Philippines is the social stigma attached to being gay. While the country has made significant strides towards LGBTQ+ rights, conservative attitudes towards homosexuality still exist in certain areas. The Catholic Church, which wields significant influence in the country, has been vocal in its opposition to same-sex marriage and the LGBTQ+ movement in general.
LGBTQ+ Rights in the Philippines
In terms of LGBTQ+ rights, the Philippines has made significant progress in recent years. In 2017, the country ranked 10th out of 49 countries in the Asia-Pacific region in terms of LGBTQ+ rights according to a report by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA). The Philippines has also been described as one of the most gay-friendly countries in Asia.
In 2019, the Philippines saw its first-ever transgender woman elected to congress, Geraldine Roman. Additionally, in 2017, the country’s Supreme Court ruled that a ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. However, it is important to note that same-sex marriage is not yet legally recognized in the Philippines and there are still legal barriers to full LGBTQ+ equality.
In terms of discrimination, the Philippines has no national anti-discrimination laws to protect LGBT folks. The SOGIE anti-discrimination bill has been stalled in congress for years as of the time of this writing.
According to a 2020 report by Human Rights Watch, transgender women in the Philippines are at particular risk of violence, including physical assault and murder. The report also highlights the need for more comprehensive anti-discrimination laws and better enforcement of existing laws.
Safety is a major concern for anyone considering relocating to a new country, and this is no different for gay foreigners considering the Philippines. While the Philippines is generally considered safe for foreigners, there are still safety concerns that LGBTQ+ individuals should be aware of.
As mentioned earlier, discrimination and violence against the LGBTQ+ community still occur in the Philippines. This can range from verbal harassment to physical assault and murder. It is important for gay foreigners to exercise caution and be aware of their surroundings at all times.
Additionally, the Philippines is prone to natural disasters such as typhoons and earthquakes. It is important for anyone living in the Philippines, including gay foreigners, to be prepared for these events and have an emergency plan in place.
It is advisable not to come here if you don’t have a preexisting income. Foreigners who wish to work in the Philippines must obtain a work visa and work permit. This can be a challenge as the Philippine government is committed to providing employment opportunities to its citizens first. The government has established guidelines on the employment of foreigners, with priority given to those who possess exceptional skills and expertise that are not readily available in the Philippines.
Foreigners who are looking for job opportunities in the Philippines should focus on industries that are in demand and where their skills and experience are needed. These include information technology, business process outsourcing, engineering, and healthcare. The Philippine government has also implemented initiatives to encourage foreign investments, particularly in sectors that create employment opportunities.
Foreigners who are interested in entrepreneurship can also start their own businesses in the Philippines. The country offers a range of investment incentives, such as tax holidays, duty-free imports of capital equipment, and simplified customs procedures. The government also provides assistance to foreign investors through various programs and agencies.
Overall, the job opportunities for foreigners in the Philippines are quite limited compared to other countries in the region. However, with the right skills, experience, and mindset, it is possible for foreigners to find suitable employment in the Philippines or even start their own businesses.
Cost of Living in The Philippines
The Philippines is a Southeast Asian country known for its beautiful beaches, friendly people, and rich culture. It is a popular destination for expats due to its affordable cost of living. However, the cost of living in the Philippines can vary depending on your lifestyle, location, and personal preferences.
One of the biggest expenses in the Philippines is housing. Rent prices vary depending on the location and the type of housing. In Metro Manila, the capital city, rent for a one-bedroom apartment can range from 10,000 to 25,000 Philippine pesos (PHP) per month (approximately $200 to $500 USD). In the provinces, rent can be significantly cheaper, ranging from 5,000 to 10,000 PHP per month (approximately $100 to $200 USD).
Food is another expense that can vary depending on your preferences. Eating out at local eateries can cost as little as 50 PHP (approximately $1 USD) per meal. Western-style restaurants can be more expensive, with meals costing around 200-500 PHP (approximately $4-10 USD). Cooking at home can be very affordable, with groceries costing around 3,000-5,000 PHP (approximately $60 to $100 USD) per month for a single person.
Transportation costs in the Philippines can be quite affordable. Jeepneys and tricycles are the most common forms of public transportation in the country, with fares typically ranging from 8 to 20 PHP (approximately $0.16 to $0.40 USD). Taxis and ride-sharing services like Grab can be more expensive, with fares starting at around 40-50 PHP (approximately $0.80 to $1 USD) and increasing depending on the distance traveled.
Healthcare costs in the Philippines are generally affordable, but the quality of care can vary depending on the hospital or clinic. Basic consultations with a doctor can cost around 500-1,000 PHP (approximately $10 to $20 USD). Prescription medications can be quite affordable, with common medicines costing around 200-500 PHP (approximately $4 to $10 USD) per month.
Utilities like electricity, water, and internet can also vary depending on your location and usage. In Metro Manila, the average monthly cost for utilities is around 5,000-7,000 PHP (approximately $100 to $140 USD). In the provinces, utilities can be significantly cheaper, costing around 2,000-3,000 PHP (approximately $40 to $60 USD) per month.
Overall, the cost of living in the Philippines can be quite affordable compared to other countries. However, it is important to keep in mind that the cost of living can vary depending on your lifestyle and location. Expats who live in Metro Manila or other urban areas may find that their expenses are higher than those who live in the provinces.
It is also worth noting that the cost of living in the Philippines can be influenced by factors like inflation and currency exchange rates. As such, it is important to keep an eye on these factors and adjust your budget accordingly.
Safety in The Philippines
According to the Global Peace Index 2021, the Philippines is ranked 137 out of 163 countries in terms of safety and peace. This ranking is based on various indicators such as the level of crime and violence, political instability, and the likelihood of terrorist attacks.
While the overall ranking may not be encouraging, it is worth noting that the Philippines has made some progress in recent years in terms of improving safety and security. In 2019, the country’s crime rate decreased by 11.1% compared to the previous year, according to the Philippine National Police.
In terms of specific types of crime, the Philippines has seen a decrease in some areas but an increase in others. For example, the number of murders decreased by 18.7% in 2019, while the number of thefts increased by 16.3% during the same period.
When it comes to terrorism, the Philippines has faced some challenges in recent years. The country has been dealing with a long-standing insurgency in the southern region of Mindanao, where several militant groups are active. In addition, there have been incidents of terrorist attacks in other parts of the country in recent years, including the 2017 siege of Marawi City by ISIS-affiliated militants.
However, the Philippine government has taken steps to address these security concerns. In 2018, the government signed a law establishing a new autonomous region in Muslim Mindanao, which aims to provide greater political and economic autonomy to the region and address some of the grievances that have fueled the insurgency.
Overall, while the Philippines does face some security challenges, it is important to note that the vast majority of visitors to the country experience no problems. As with any country, it is important to exercise caution and take appropriate safety measures to minimize the risk of becoming a victim of crime.
Some specific safety tips for visitors to the Philippines include:
- Be aware of your surroundings and avoid areas that are known to be unsafe, especially at night.
- Take precautions to protect yourself from pickpockets and other petty criminals, such as keeping your valuables out of sight and avoiding carrying large amounts of cash.
- If you are traveling to Mindanao or other areas that are known to be prone to terrorist activity, be sure to check for any travel advisories and follow the guidance of local authorities.
- When using public transportation, be cautious of your belongings and avoid taking unmarked or unregistered taxis.
- If you are traveling alone, it is a good idea to let someone know where you are going and when you plan to return.
In summary, while the Philippines does face some security challenges, the country has made progress in recent years in terms of improving safety and security. Visitors to the country should exercise caution and take appropriate safety measures to minimize the risk of becoming a victim of crime.
Overall Quality of Life
Despite the challenges, the Philippines can be a great place to live for gay foreigners. The cost of living is relatively low compared to other countries, and the quality of life is generally good. The country is known for its beautiful beaches and scenic landscapes, which can make for a great living environment.
The Philippines also has a vibrant LGBTQ+ community, with a number of LGBTQ+ organizations and events taking place throughout the year. This can provide a sense of community and support for gay foreigners living in the country.
It is important for anyone considering relocating to the Philippines to do their research and consider all factors before making a decision. Additionally, it is recommended to seek out the advice of other gay foreigners who have lived in the country to get a better understanding of what life is really like for LGBTQ+
In terms of healthcare, the Philippines has a mix of public and private healthcare systems. The quality of healthcare in the country varies depending on the location, with urban areas having better facilities and equipment compared to rural areas. LGBT individuals may face discrimination when seeking healthcare services in the Philippines, particularly from medical professionals who hold conservative views. However, there are also healthcare facilities that cater specifically to LGBT individuals, such as the Remedios AIDS Foundation, Inc. in Manila, which provides free HIV testing, counseling, and support services to LGBT individuals.
Another factor to consider is the cost of living in the Philippines. The country is relatively affordable, with a low cost of living compared to Western countries. However, the cost of living varies depending on the location, with urban areas being more expensive than rural areas. LGBT individuals may also have to consider the cost of living in areas that are considered LGBT-friendly, which may be more expensive due to higher demand.
Despite these challenges, the Philippines can be a welcoming and accepting country for gay foreigners. The country’s vibrant LGBTQ+ community is growing and becoming more visible, particularly in major cities such as Manila and Cebu. The annual Metro Manila Pride March, which first took place in 1994, has grown significantly in recent years and is now one of the largest Pride events in Southeast Asia.
There are also several LGBTQ+ organizations in the Philippines that provide support and advocacy for the community. These organizations include the Bahaghari Center for LGBT Research, Education, and Advocacy, the Philippine LGBT Chamber of Commerce, and the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of the Philippines (GALANG).
In terms of cost of living, the Philippines is generally affordable compared to other countries in the region. Housing, transportation, and food costs are relatively low, which can make it an attractive option for gay foreigners who are looking to relocate.
In conclusion, whether or not gay foreigners should relocate to the Philippines depends on their individual circumstances and priorities. While the country has made significant strides towards LGBTQ+ rights, there are still challenges that the community faces, including discrimination in the workplace and the lack of legal recognition for same-sex marriage. Additionally, the language barrier and social stigma attached to being gay may make it challenging for non-Filipino speakers. However, the country’s vibrant LGBTQ+ community and affordable cost of living can make it an attractive option for those who are looking for a welcoming and accepting environment.
It is important to conduct thorough research and seek advice from those who have already relocated to the Philippines before making any decisions. By doing so, gay foreigners can make an informed decision about whether or not the Philippines is the right destination for them.