Estelea's Blog

French Mum, humanitarian, restless explorer and doer on sabbatical in Cebu (Philippines): one Attila in each arm, I am exploring the “toddlers safe” corners of the region, while trying to keep some room for Me.

5 ways growing up in the Philippines is ruining my children’s lives

2014 Maelles beachdancelr

Early January: The compulsory ritual of the screening of the passing year, what we did well and what we could do better.

Expatriating your family is a selfish choice: You are dragging your kids in countries they have not chosen, they must make new friends, learn new ways of life. After almost a year in Cebu, I am wondering: Is Philippines a Wise choice for my Attilas ? or should we consider heading back to Europe ?

  1. They are losing their « Europeanitude».

Those poor kids have no idea of what Autumn means, its colors, its tastes, the warmth of its pashminas. Here in the Philippines, there is no season: It’s either hot and dry. Or hot and humid.

Options are limited : the Attilas can only play by the beach, explore the sea life and know how to swim like fishes before they they can walk or do a bit of trekking by the rice paddies. What kind of life is that?!lifeguard

No winter shoes, No cold red nose, not even a little subway. Just flip flops, sun screen and a hat, and we are set for the day!

I just read that breathing Paris’ air equals living in a 20 sq m2 room with 8 smokers. And I am depriving my kids of my hometown, bad bad Mum!!!

Where did their French etiquette go? The baguette has long been replaced with the rice they love to eat wrapped in seaweeds. I almost feel ashamed for letting them eating their rice with their hand. Will they ever forgive me for letting them behaving like proper toddlers?

2. They will always remain “the white” and their self confidence might be at stake

My kids are the only blond heads in their school. No teacher, let alone their classmates can pronounce their name correctly, l. No way to hide in the crowd. To feel they belong to the community.

Yes but: in Asia in general and in Cebu in particular, being a white kiddo, with Big eyes and blond hair equals being a pop star. Flashes everywhere, the world pauses for endless selfies with the Attilas and any pose they would strike is worth a dozen pictures. Per fan. And they have many, many fans!

Confidence at stake? After a couple of months in the Philippines, my son would naturally answer “guapito” each time he was asked for his name. Both Attilas can sing and dance at the drop of a hat. They are so immersed into the Filipino lifestyle that they totally disagree with me when I swear that of all the martial arts, Karaoké inflicts the most pain.

What did we turn them into? They sing all the time, the loudest the merrier and are always rewarded by tons of claps of and “beautifuuuul babies! you dance very good! another song!”. Our neighbors don’t even complain, they really seem to like them…For half the noise in Europe, we would have been graced by a good dozen visits of the police and the social services 😛

3. They get confused which language to speak

Français? Bärndeutsh?Taglish?Cebuano?

They speak French with me, Swiss German with their Dad, English at school and with their friends. Ms Attila rehearses her songs in Mandarin with her brother. And they melt the hearts of the cab drivers and the guards when they show off with their few words of Cebuano.

I am always amazed each time I catch them switching from one language to another, with such easiness. No, they don’t end up mixing the languages, because we don’t. Children model what they see and hear, so if your children live in an environment in which mixing languages is NOT the norm, then they won’t.speakFrench

Did I tell you that they can speak all Filipinos languages without even opening their mouth? They greet by raising their eyebrows or tossing their head, can convey a good 10 messages just by their facial expressions and already know how to perfectly point with their lips!  I just wished they would not answer to all the  “hoy!” and “pssst” in the crowd.

4. They don’t have a big car to drive them to school

We take the jeepney. The most popular means of public transportation in the Philippines, mostly known for their crowded seating and kitsh decorations. No, there is no air con, no room to stretch your legs (hence its nickname jeep knee!). You pass the coins to your neighbor who passes it to the next until it reaches the driver. And the change comes back to you the same way. 1 ride is 8 pesos (20 US cents) and kids don’t pay as long as they are on your laps. The Attila love riding the jeepney, because there’s no window (hence fresh air) and the other passengers are always very friendly to them, helping them in jumping in and out, squeezing to the human limits to offer them a bit of space. Want to jump out ? Just pssssssst (the universal Filipino call) or do something like sounds like a kiss to the driver . I can’t do the kiss sound, I am far too French for that, so I only knock on the roof.

Jeepney

5. We don’t have a TV

No Disney Channel. No cartoons for hours. The poor kids certainly miss this essential social monument. Given the terrible Filipino weather, they can only spend the day outside, by the beach, the playground, the pool. Even when it rains, it is never cold, perfect weather for muddy puddles.

No plastic Chinese toy either. I am afraid exploring the neighborhood is much more fascinating to them..

Yeah… they should be able to endure the Philippines for another year…

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104 comments on “5 ways growing up in the Philippines is ruining my children’s lives

  1. lbeth1950
    January 2, 2015

    Sounds like a good life.

    • estelea
      January 2, 2015

      There is worse, for sure 😉 Especially for the Attilas, it is so very toddlers’ friendly! Harder for me sometimes to adjust, still after a year, but for them, it ‘s like a giant playground!

    • Daniella
      January 9, 2016

      I also thought that I would hate this post because I am also filipino but I’m glad to hear that you’re actually enjoying it there

      • estelea
        January 11, 2016

        Oh yes we do! Would be very hard not to like it here, sun, beautiful beaches, smiles everywhere .. Your country is simply beautiful ❤

  2. Gerry Ajesta
    January 2, 2015

    I gotta be honest, I was scared after reading the title. Why? ‘Cause I’m a Filipino and that title really scared me and intrigued at the same time but as I was reading, my heart started to melt by learning the content and even uttered “Yep, that’s how a typical Filipino lives.” Great read. I enjoyed it.

    • estelea
      January 2, 2015

      😉 so glad you liked it! Ms Gwapo and Ms Gwapita love it here, and tell you the truth, so do we! where are you living? Happy New Year 🙂

      • Gerry Ajesta
        January 2, 2015

        Of course, that was a lovely post to read. 😀 I reside here in Manila. Happy New Year to you too and your family. ^^

      • estelea
        January 2, 2015

        A Beautiful year to you and your loved ones too 🙂 And thanks again for stopping by!

  3. BrainRays
    January 2, 2015

    Nice post! Just like Gerry above, I thought the post was about poor lifestyle in the Philippines. Haha. I hope your enjoying your stay here too. Just like your kids.

    • estelea
      January 2, 2015

      Hehehe 😉 oh yes we do! Happy New Year !!!

      • BrainRays
        January 2, 2015

        Happy New Year! Manigong Bagong Taon! 🙂

      • estelea
        January 3, 2015

        😉

  4. onehundredtwentythreedays
    January 2, 2015

    The Philippines has a beautiful culture. I have visited Manila twice and really enjoyed it. The values and traditions are what I liked the most besides Ube (YUM!). I think your children will be healthier for the chance to grow up there, even for a little while. Enjoy!

    • estelea
      January 3, 2015

      Thanks 🙂 yes, for a couple of years it’s fun. Gotta make sure they are not spoiled though, you wouldnt believe the kind of Bday parties kids have here. Like a wedding back home 😛 but we make sure they keep their feet firm on the ground 😉 as you say, I believe it is an healthy opportunity for them to grow up here, the values and the sense of respect for the family is great!

  5. desleyjane
    January 2, 2015

    Beautiful photos and what a treasured way of life. Your children are growing up understanding so much more than others would. Kudos to you for embracing this opportunity. Happy new year x.

    • estelea
      January 3, 2015

      Thanks a lot 🙂 i love the fact that they don’t notice people’s looks or color anymore. Last month we were in an escalator with a couple of Sikh and my daughter was starring at the man’s turban. I was freaking out with anticipation to what she was going to tell him. After a couple of mn, she finally said “I love the color of your turban, really nice with your shirt”. 😉 third culture kiddo 😉 To a beautiful year to you and yours ! X

      • desleyjane
        January 3, 2015

        Gorgeous! I love that too. X

  6. GreenRideBikers
    January 3, 2015

    Enjoyed it!:)

  7. trablog
    January 3, 2015

    that is some way of growing up!!! 😀 They have the brightest future for sure 🙂

  8. LifestyleswithLia
    January 3, 2015

    I smiled the whole way through reading this! Your children are adorable and so smart! Thank you for sharing this with us…. I said it before but I’ll say it again 🙂 I’m glad I found your blog!

    • estelea
      January 4, 2015

      😀 thanks so much for the sweet words, thanks thanks thanks ! And I will say it again: So happy I met you too!

  9. Priceless Joy
    January 4, 2015

    They are absolutely adorable!

  10. Cool_Eyes (ChrisV)
    January 4, 2015

    Hi Estelea, at first I thought you will be saying not so nice about the Philippines which we usually encountered in some other blogs but I was wrong. I enjoyed a lot reading your blog. Just keep telling stories to your children about your country, your culture and even the upbringing. Western and Eastern really has a lot of differences but it’s too early to say since your kids is still a kids. One thing is for sure, their years of staying there in Cebu will be one of their most memorable year aside of having a fans of their own. 🙂

    • estelea
      January 4, 2015

      Thanks a lot dear 🙂 You are right, they’ll cherish the memories, they have so much fun here, and I appreciate your values too. The respect to the eldest, to the family. It’s paramount to me.
      And we are lucky enough to travel back home once a year, so they can get their dose of Europe for a month. I bet you’ll find easily what they really miss when we are in France?…..

  11. Soaade
    January 4, 2015

    I had so much fun reading this post… U really are a gifted storyteller Stefanie! There is “nothing like the Philippines” for kids indeed! 😉 One more year to go?! Hang on there and enjoy!! U will miss the easy going life for sure once back in Europe!!

    • estelea
      January 4, 2015

      Thanks so much dear! You said it all 😉 X

  12. Jeremy
    January 5, 2015

    Very interesting post! I usually do not have the patience to read long articles but you write very well and I just keep reading 🙂

    • estelea
      January 5, 2015

      Thanks a lot, your kind words really mean a lot! And make my week 🙂

  13. Ann GrubbsnCritters
    January 5, 2015

    What? NO Chinese toys! That’s just so, so wrong! :p But really, who cares for toys when you have a backyard full of wonders to explore? We are missing that here. It’s a good life. Enjoy while it lasts!

    • estelea
      January 5, 2015

      You too have awesome islands around 😉 there is always something missing, fedex us padthai and queen sirikit park, plus the swimming classes of coach Tom and would be awesome 😉 Or even better, come and cook 😉 X

  14. Pingback: Dansolihon, Me and The Family - Gone American

  15. ..Donah..
    January 13, 2015

    Makes me laugh reading number 2. White Skin = Pop Star. We are terrible with that, I’ve got to admit. Thanks for sharing this. Makes me miss Cebu even more. Can’t wait to come back home in few months.

    • estelea
      January 13, 2015

      You re most welcome 🙂 Funny how we are all looking for what we don’t have. In Europe, we spend so much on darker foundations and UV to look more tanned, while in Asia the obsession of “becoming white” is just crazy 😉 Are you from Cebu? Coming back for holidays ? Take good care, the sun and the warm weather are waiting for you !!!

  16. yolomoments12
    January 15, 2015

    Honestly at first, when I read the title of this post, my heart melts. Enjoy Cebu ! #Sinulog2015

    But such a great post Estelea !

    • estelea
      January 16, 2015

      Thanks my dear 😉 wish you an awesome and hopefully very sunny Sinulog. Will follow !

      • yolomoments12
        January 16, 2015

        Hopefully can post about Sinulog in my blog 🙂

  17. that traveling nurse
    February 4, 2015

    Thanks for sharing this to a true blooded “bisdak”! First of all, your kids are adorable. The first photo speaks for your post itself ~ the Philippines is indeed ruining your kids’ lives. 🙂 Her smile is just priceless!

    I agree with all of them, from the beaches, to the “fans”.Just curious, do you have househelp too? THAT can ruin them for life too. 🙂 But I applaud you for taking the jeepney, not having TV and not giving them those kind of toys. You are indeed a good mama!

    I am surely looking forward to reading more “bisdak” stories from you in the future.

    • estelea
      February 5, 2015

      😉 Yes, we met our Filipina yaya when we were posted in .. Bangkok ! and she flew to Cebu with us! They don’t behave as spoiled kiddos with her either, they are helping, doing their share.. to the astonishment of some of their classmates’ Mums, as you can imagine 😉 See you soon here or there!

  18. tinyexpats
    February 18, 2015

    Reblogged this on TinyExpats and commented:
    Here’s another expat mother writing on how being expats effects her kids – both challenging and rewarding.

  19. clara@expatpartnersurvival.com
    February 18, 2015

    Sounds like my own childhood in the Philippines. ..evenythough it was nearly four decades ago and we lived in Manila. No tv, spent all day in t shirts and flip flops, the beach was our playground (at weekends), as white, blonde haired children we attracted attention wherever we go. ..I’m sure your children will always remember this time as a very happy one. ..

    • estelea
      February 19, 2015

      Oh yes! I had been wondering about a potential move back to Europe, and each time I reading this post, I realize how great it is here! so children friendly, no racism as we have back home, always sunny.. what a playground! 🙂 How long did you live in the PH?

      • clara@expatpartnersurvival.com
        February 19, 2015

        Four years from when I was 4 until I was 8. I’m sure it wasn’t all easy, we were there during the time of martial law and curfews. But as a child that didn’t really affect us.

      • estelea
        February 19, 2015

        That’s the great thing about being a kid 🙂 as long as there is love around, it’s enough (mine would add that a few M&Ms can help too). Have a sweet day!

  20. authorsbmazing
    February 18, 2015

    What a beautiful life! Keep up the languages, especially the Bärndütsch 😉

    • estelea
      February 19, 2015

      Hehehe 😉 oh we do! My husband is only talking to them in SGerman, so they understand it perfectly. FUnny enough, my daughter never answers back in his language, only in English or French. And the very few times she would, her accent is very thick 😉 But my 2 y.o. is totally fluent and plays the game, so funny to see him in a conversation with his Dad, and the way he does the R 😛 DO you also talk to your kids in your mother tongue?

      • authorsbmazing
        February 19, 2015

        Yes, we do. My son is fluent and my daughter refuses to speak Swiss German. She says it’s not her language… If she speaks it is a strong accent as well. My son sounds like a Swiss when he speaks Swiss German. Well maybe sometimes the way the sentence is built is different, but he sounds like a Swiss 🙂 Funny, isn’t it…

      • estelea
        February 19, 2015

        It is 🙂 Is your daughter the eldest too? I heard that at mine’s age, they really want to conform and be like the other kiddos around, would be a reason why she s not putting any effort into speaking SGerman.

        Although last week, we met with another of your tribe and he spoke to her in SGerman directly. This guy’s english is so bad (and I am the one telling you that, let you imagine how bad it was!) that she did not have much choice. She answered in the same language. My husband was almost crying of joy 😉

      • authorsbmazing
        February 19, 2015

        No, she is the younger one. We moved when our son was 3 so Swiss German was his first language. I am pretty sure that she would be able to speak if someone would only speak Swiss German with her. She understands everything. But she just does not want to speak it. Oh well…they are both learning french now. So I am pretty happy with that.

      • estelea
        February 19, 2015

        Bravo! French is awesome 😉

      • authorsbmazing
        February 19, 2015

        I know!

  21. ItalianHurricane
    February 18, 2015

    As a Language student and a TV-hater, I’m very jealous of your kids! You made an awesome choice. Maybe they could help me with my awful German… 😛

    • estelea
      February 19, 2015

      😀 Thanks a lot! Come here, you ll get the best teachers and best weather 🙂 Plus I would LOVE them (and me) to speak some Italian.

  22. Lifelover
    February 18, 2015

    Hey!! I loved reading this. Kids are sure having a time of their life. Must be testing for you sometimes, but I love the way your kids are growing up….in love with nature, in love with humanity. Filipinos are treating the little angels well.

  23. Ailene Rhea
    February 19, 2015

    Hi there. I discovered your post & blog via Tiny Expats. The title caught my eye & I just had to read on. Being of Filipino background, this tugs at my heartstrings =) Your guapito is very adorable…..and can probably speak the language more than I can hehe

    My cousin (Filipino), his wife (Greek/Australian) & my 3yo niece lives in the Philippines. My niece was born there & they’ve all recently come back to Sydney for a few months. Since they’ve been back here, she’s always saying “I want to go home”, as in back home to Philippines. She doesn’t know what it feels like to experience 4 seasons in one day; play in our pristine beaches…or eat Vegemite heheh

    • estelea
      February 19, 2015

      Hehehehe, your message really made me smile 🙂 All the comments I had from Filipinos started with something related to the title 😉 Thanks for bearing with me and being curious enough to read the whole post!

      My daughter would TOTALLY relate to your niece! Her Dad is Swiss, so snow and cold are in his DNA. But it seems that none of my kids can share his love of cold weather : Just a couple of weeks ago, we visited Korea and the kids saw snow for the first time. My daughter was so amazed, I caught her putting some in her pocket, and when I asked her was she intended to do with it, she said “to show all my friends at school how nice it looks”… Took her 3 days to get used to socks, and her brother was crying for his flip flops 😉

      Needless to say, they were so happy to get back to Cebu! We are living soon for our European annual holidays, I am still pretending that the weather is “ok, darling; a little colder than Cebu, but ok” 😛

      Do you sometimes get back to the Philippines? X

      • Ailene Rhea
        February 19, 2015

        haha OMG what a gem! Stuffing snow in her pocket is hilarious =))

        My family & I moved to Australia in the 80s & I’ve only been back to Phils twice. I hardly speak the language which is quite bad of me but learning by watching Filipino movies haha

      • estelea
        February 19, 2015

        Poor thing, she was so disappointed when she realized that the snow melted 😛

      • Ailene Rhea
        February 19, 2015

        OMG now you’re going to make me cry haha

      • estelea
        February 19, 2015

        😀

  24. sassycare
    February 24, 2015

    You make me miss the Philippines more. I am a Filipino and was born in Manila but I think your kids are luckier being able to spend their childhood in the provinces, and in Cebu, among others! In Manila, every household would have at least 1 TV set and nowadays, Cable TV is a necessity especially for this generation’s Filipino kids who are getting reared by Disney Channel and Cartoon Network. Retiring to the provinces of the Philippines remain a dream for most Filipinos, most affluent families can maintain rest houses while continuing their busy Manila lives running their businesses (or the government, politics or show business, you probably get what I mean by now), so imagine how blessed you are to experience them all for free. The chaos, the noise and the fun-loving attitude though, they grow on you regardless whether you experience them from manila or from any other Philippine province. I know some colleagues who used to be expats in PH but had now returned to their homelands. Guess what? Their children, now on their teens, have got year-long schedules and bookings to Boracay, Cebu, Bohol, Palawan, etc. So I’d say keep exploring the 7000+ islands while you’re there. I wish I spent more time doing that when I was home.

    And by the way, you’re right about saying the Philippines has only 2 types of weather. But no, it’s never dry–it’s either sunny-hot and humid or rainy-hot and humid. Eitherway, it’s got only 1 season which makes it awesome, it’s Summer Forever! 🙂

    • estelea
      February 24, 2015

      You are so right: it is indeed Summer Forever! 🙂 Last week, I was considering potential other countries to live after the Philippines, maybe back to Europe?.. Then I read the news, checked the weather, looked at the kids wearing their bathing costumes singing out (very) loud the cheesiest songs they are listening to anywhere here (you know what I am talking about, right? ;). Then I realized how much we love it here, your people are so very friendly and smily. It makes a hell of a difference, you have no idea. My kids have a few words in Cebuano now, hilarious to see how they melt people’s hearts, you should see the jeepney drivers each time my son tells him “Salamat couyas!” 🙂 I think I ll start looking for a job in the region , a few more years of this diet can’t hurt…X

      • sassycare
        February 24, 2015

        I haven’t had much difficulty adapting where I am now (everything is much more efficient in the first world really, had no idea before that things could be done this much easier!) except for one thing really—the entertainment. Everything just falls so short of what I grew up with. This is not entertainment from a Filipino standard! LOL! I definitely get what you mean. And yes, if I come across your Attilas and they talk to me in Filipino, I will hug them! Always means so much to us for a foreigner to learn our language (knowing you’d never be able to use it anywhere else; unlike French, Spanish or Mandarin). I’m glad you’re enjoying Philippine living! 😀 xo

  25. Francis Aldana
    March 25, 2015

    Such a fun post to read. I am Filipino born and raised til I was 10. I now live in Caifornia with my family. I have twin toddlers that I reallly want to take back to our homeland. I’m so glad you found the true meaning of being Pinoy. I really loved reading the way you write. It puts me right back to my childhood days… the Jeepney rides, the playing outside in the rain, the random details that you captured. Thank you.

    • estelea
      March 29, 2015

      Oh thanks so much for your message, really really made my day 🙂 We are having a great time in your home country, my kids could be the Ambassadors of the ¨Pinoy Spirit 😉 Have a lovely week end!

  26. roamulofied
    June 3, 2015

    hello! I truly truly enjoyed every bit of your write up. Just like some of those who wrote a comment above, i was afraid it is something negative. but i didnt find it that way. i was smiling til the very end. and wow! your kids are adorable and i think theyll grow up really smart! kudos to you!

    • estelea
      June 3, 2015

      Thanks so much 🙂 We are definitely blessed to have the chance to spend time in your beautiful country!we are making awesome memories, but I know it will be very hard for the kids to appreciate a beach outside of the Philippines… Thanks so much for your very kind words 🙂

  27. Kabir Pradhan
    June 4, 2015

    Was a great read and i could only think about how you could share with your children stories from the west and in time they would understand the European culture from these stories. Moreover sooner than later they would also be telling stories from the East. Such would the power be of ‘the art of story telling’. Happy beautiful living.

    • estelea
      June 4, 2015

      Thanks so much 🙂 What you write is so true, when we visited Europe a few months ago, they were like tourists, comparing everything to “our home in the Philippines”. Even asking me how come people here don’t eat rice… And through all they learn at school, their friends, they can decipher so many things of the Philippines we have no idea about. Great team work for a better understanding of our surroundings.. here or there 🙂 Have a beautiful day and thanks again for your very kind message!

  28. Sandra's Blog
    July 1, 2015

    I don’t see that you are ruining their lives at all. Learning new languages and cultures is good for all children. When they grow up, they can move on if they desire.

  29. rinamala
    August 13, 2015

    Great post! Love to read that they can speak Filipino languages through their non-verbal cues, which are sometimes more important than verbal ones. I would be curious to know if they have also adopted to point at things with the pucker of their lips. 🙂 So great that they take the jeepney every day – best way to travel in the Philippines!

    • estelea
      August 13, 2015

      Thanks a lot 🙂 Yep, they are Pinoy by heart, for sure. My 3 y.o. son got the lips thing, it s hilarious. The guy is so lazy that he does not verbally reply to the “Good morning anymore”, he just arches his eyebrows, same thing if you ask him a question, that s his ways of saying yes! And we love the jeepneys, they are so convenient (except during rush hours though, but is there any convenient mean of transportation during the rush hours ?..) You should see the faces of the drivers when my blond kids knock on the roof to stop the jeepney and shout a very loud “Salamat Kouya” when we leave 🙂

  30. dunelight
    August 31, 2015

    What a dream!

  31. Sharon
    September 16, 2015

    Hi,

    Nicely written. We would like to visit cebu during july and aug. with 3 kids ages 5-13. Where would you recommend staying? Is there a beach that’s popular with longterm travelers with kids?

    • estelea
      September 17, 2015

      July and Aug is the rainy season but you can definitely be lucky.. How long are you planning to stay? Will you stay in Cebu or can move around? there are indeed lots of options and to me the most beautiful beach is a few hours drive (Bantayan), Mactan in Cebu is really nice too. Tell me more, I d be happy to help 🙂

  32. equinoxio21
    December 4, 2015

    I can only support your entire blog. (I speak french, what is your superpower. Love that t-shirt, can I get one?)
    You have committed them to a life of misery which I fully understand. I had my first shoes only when I was ten…
    🙂

    • estelea
      December 6, 2015

      …And I guess you were so much happier once you had the proper shoes, right ? 😛
      Of course you can get a Tshirt! It works wonders, it gives you this je ne sais quoi de brilliant and beautifully intellectual 😉

      • equinoxio21
        December 7, 2015

        Je vais essayer de trouver le t-shirt. Quand aux chaussures pas trop “happy”. en fait, j’étais tellement habitué à marcher pieds nus que j’aimais pas les chaussures… 🙂

      • estelea
        December 7, 2015

        Oh Je m’en doute bien, ca a du etre aussi rigolo que le jour où mes enfants ont du mettre des chaussures fermées 😉 j’ai fini par les laisser sortir en tongs pour qu’ils comprennent l’intérêt de la chaussette et de la botte … Et mes amis qui ne comprennent pas pourquoi on préfère passer noël ici..
        Le T-shirt je l’avais fait faire chez l’imprimeur du coin. Je t’en promets un si tu passes par ici !

      • equinoxio21
        December 8, 2015

        Merci de m’en garder un pour mon prochain voyage. Bonne semaine.

  33. rosemawrites
    February 10, 2016

    I am afraid to read because of the title… but when I start reading, I have nothing but smiles, Estelea. Especially with no. 2! 😀 😀 😀 Surely blonde with those gorgeous eyes, you little kids are surely stars! ❤

    • estelea
      February 11, 2016

      Hehehehe, I need to update this post now that they can speak some Cebuano. They are indeed the stars … of the jeepney ! You should see the big eyes and the laughs of all the other passengers when the blond heads shout “logar lang Couya!” 😉 priceless 😉
      Very glad you liked this post! Again, you Pinoy rock ❤

      • rosemawrites
        February 11, 2016

        “logar lang Couya!” What does that mean? 😀 😀 😀

        YAY! Thank you for the love, Estelea! Your family is lovely and I am glad you are loving my little country!

  34. justbluedutch
    February 14, 2016

    There’s always a Love& Hate relationship in everywhere when you’re an Expat. I am Filipino & it makes me cringe whenever I read or hear something about foreigner’s negative view about my country.But when I became an Expat in another country, it opened my eyes & my mind. Honest opinions are always great way to see the flaws but its also a very constructive way to improve. I am glad you’re taking the positive approach of your experience in Philippines. I admire your honest opinion.

    • estelea
      February 14, 2016

      Honestly, the only Hard thing to adapt to in the Philippines is the volume of the karaoke on early WE 😉 but after 2 y in the country,we too are singing mega loud!

  35. Emi
    February 15, 2016

    I got curious and a bit intrigued with the title. I felt sad when you mentioned that your kids are deprived of a lot of things. These are some of the general impressions of the world about the Philippines that, while unpleasant, are undeniably true.
    I am a pure Filipino and my husband is from Cebu, a beautiful beautiful place to live. I may have seen beautiful pictures of snow from other countries, which our country is never blessed with, but there were a lot of fun activities that I have experienced under the sun when I was young.
    I thank you for your honest opinion and I hope we’d be able to share your kids the Filipino traits every “Pinoy” in the whole world has. Our caring ways, adaptability, hospitality and a beautiful heart.

    • estelea
      February 15, 2016

      This is all second degree here 🙂 We adore the Philippines, really and my kids are definitely not deprived of anything !
      Filipinos are the best hosts ever, so welcoming, smiling and I do admire their resilience so much.
      Cebu is where our home is for now, we know the place like the back of our hand and please tell your husband that we love it! Many blessings from your home 🙂

  36. Emi
    February 15, 2016

    Thank you Estelea! your kids are so adorable and it makes me proud being a Filipino. I never followed any blogs before, but yours is truly exceptional with a heart of an amazing mother. Kudos! We will be visiting Cebu again this October. Regards to your beautiful family! God bless!

    • estelea
      February 15, 2016

      Heartful thanks for this beautiful comment! You can definitely be very proud to be a Filipino, my daughter dreams of long black shiny hair like yours and at 5, she’s already so much into manipedi. I know she got that from our jeepney rides, she s the one who made me notice that every woman has a beautiful pedicure. Being classy and feminine has nothing to do with money, I came to the conclusion that it is in your DNA 🙂

      Again, we feel very blessed to spend time in your beautiful country. The Filipino high spirits is no legend, we can testify ❤

  37. Emi
    February 16, 2016

    <3<3<3

  38. gretalamfel
    March 15, 2016

    Enjoyed this post 🙂

    • estelea
      March 16, 2016

      Thanks dear ! Philippines are not so bad, I must say 😉

  39. Joe
    April 25, 2016

    Hello Estelea, Very very interesting blog, which pushes me further to move to Phillipines, too. I am german, my wife filippina and our sons german-chinese. We thought about moving back from China to Germany. Because the schools here are either horrible or way too expensive. Then i stumbled over your blog and must say, that especially your post about “no racism like home” helped me a lot to prefer Philippines before Europe and Germany in special. May i kindly ask you if you have any more detailed advice for me concerning ling places and schools?
    We have been to Luzon for Christmas and New year last year and i totally share your point of view about Filippinos and Filippinas. Never in my Life i have met more frendly people than there. When i compare how childrens play between China and Philippines, i must say that the differences could not be bigger. In PH, children play for the sake of playing which i love, as it reminds me of my childhood. In Ch, playing means that a kid has to win at all cost and if winning is not possible, it must try to make others look worse than him. It is horrible.
    Have a beautiful day,
    Joe

    • estelea
      May 1, 2016

      Hi Joe! thanks so much for your comment andsorry for the late answer, as we try to unplug as much as possible when we are on holidays 😉
      Just back on the island, and as much as love France, the weather back in the Philippines made the holidays spleen disappear quite fast ..
      I would love to give you all the tips I can, with pleasure! Have you been to Cebu yet? is it a place you would consider? how old are your kids? feel free to contact me directly at stbouaziz@gmail.com and see you soon under a palm tree 😉
      Happy Sunday to you !

  40. Ion
    January 6, 2017

    Fun read! I hope the Philippines is ruining your children’s lives for good. haha. But seriously, I’m happy that you’ve come to appreciate the little things our humble country is offering to your kids. I hope to read more of your journeys here in Cebu 🙂

    • estelea
      January 9, 2017

      THanks Ion for stopping by ! We do love it here, even when it is raining cats and dogs like today 😉 Sinulog is looming, the kids and us can’t wait to admire the parade ! Are you Cebuana?

  41. Ion
    January 9, 2017

    Better prepare the umbrellas for the kids! 🙂 Yup, I’m a Cebuana. Although I wasn’t born and raised here, I now consider it my home for more than a decade now 🙂

    • estelea
      January 10, 2017

      Oh yes .. hopefully it will be a bit dryer, but the weather forecast talks about rains all weekend. We’ll may have our own little Sinulog with Spotify and loads of make up with the kids 😉

  42. Alena Beachy
    January 14, 2017

    Thank you for the article. I have a daughter that is nine and have a US home based business. I am thinking about moving to the Philippines. Do the kids just go to a regular school and what if they don’t know the language? Thanks for any advice.

    • estelea
      January 15, 2017

      Prices of the private schools are totally affordable compared to Occidental schools (with some exceptions of course).. And the teachings are in English of course – although Tagalog is taught from grade 1 and is compulsory, which is great to me. Feel free to email me with any question you may have, I ll be happy to help or direct you to a friend who could 🙂 Happy New Year , and yes, Philippines are a great choice indeed !

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This entry was posted on January 2, 2015 by in Cebu, Expat, expatriation, Family and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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