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Before you come to Cebu Island, you should know about life troubles summary (Life, money, and disease troubles)

Cebu Island in the Philippines is a fun place because prices are cheap. However, if you are used to the standard of living in Japan, it is not uncommon for you to feel stress or experience happenings because you cannot get used to the environment in the Philippines.

In this article, I have summarized what Japanese often experience in Cebu Island, the Philippines, mainly with living-related troubles.

*By the way, I’ve been in the Philippines for two and a half years and have been through everything but illness.

life trouble

Wi-Fi is slow and unstable.

The Internet environment in the Philippines is especially unstable in Southeast Asia. Even 4G and LTE networks are less than 1Mbps, and it often takes time to see sites with a lot of photos or videos.

If you are used to a stress-free internet environment in Japan, you may find the internet environment in the Philippines stressful. For studying abroad, the Internet environment varies greatly from school to school, and the Internet environment in the Philippines is improving year by year. However, even schools that spend a lot of money on Wi-Fi may not be able to get the kind of comfortable Internet experience that you get in Japan.

Measures and Attitudes
・If you are concerned, check or inquire beforehand about the Internet environment of your study abroad/stay. (I think it’s good to have a speed test.)
・Check to see if there are any cafes with fast WiFi around the school. (Cebu City and Mactan are very different in Cebu.)

power outage

Power outages are not uncommon in the Philippines. Some people refer to the sudden blackout of the whole city as “blackout” and the blackout of a part of the city as “brownout”. It may take tens of minutes or hours. It may happen many times a day.

In a well-equipped place, the generator (private generator) starts up immediately after a power outage, so you don’t have to worry too much. However, if you do not have a generator, you may not be able to use the Internet, electricity, air conditioning, etc.

Measures and Attitudes
・There’s no big problem with generators.
・Keep in mind that power outages may occur and do not panic or panic if they do occur (It can be stressful if the lights turn on and off.)

The food doesn’t suit me. I can’t eat vegetables.

Many Philippine dishes are basically oily and have a strong flavor. Many people, including myself, like Philippine food, but it’s hard for people who don’t like greasy food. It is easy to become vegetable shortage.

We also often hear stories of similar meals in the dorm “get tired of eating”.

Measures and Attitudes
・know ahead of time what one’s diet will be like in one’s place
・know the dining options outside one’s place of stay
・Prepare supplements if necessary.
・There are times when shops add a lot of sauce, so ask for details such as “Less sauce/none”

I can’t get the package.

When you send a package from Japan to Cebu, it does not arrive directly. Unfortunately, my package is kept at the post office and I need to pick it up. Not only does it take a long time to pick it up, but I sometimes have trouble with things like “The package has not arrived.”.

Measures and Attitudes
・Check the tracking number to see if the package has arrived in the Philippines.
・It is better to check if it is delivered directly to the post office in Cebu (Luggage in Manila may not have arrived in Cebu).
・If you are not in a hurry, you can wait for the package to arrive at the address.
・When you go to the post office, you bring a copy of your passport, tracking number and money (tariffs vary).

interpersonal trouble

People and cultures can cause stress. Troubles often happen at my friends in the Philippines or at the service or agency I applied for there.
In the Philippines, punctuality and courteous service to customers are not always natural.

Measures and Attitudes
・Concretely convey information such as “When” “Salmon roe” and “Where?”
・Remind and follow up when there is an appointment or due date
・Japan and the Philippines have different cultures, so it is also necessary to be tolerant

difference in hygiene

In the Philippines, air pollution caused by exhaust gases from old jeepneys (vehicle like a local bus) and used cars is becoming a problem.
The more local you are, the less clean the roads, buildings and restrooms are. I think the living environment is very important especially for people who stay for a long time.

Measures and Attitudes
・Always have masks, handkerchiefs, and other items to cover your mouth.
・Clean-up lovers and long-term residents choose a place with a decent living environment (There are many condominiums and hotels where they stay.).

There is no toilet paper.

Not only in the Philippines, but as is often the case in Asian countries, toilet paper is often not available in toilets.
There are quite a few places where there are no toilet seats at high locality.

Measures and Attitudes
・Toilet paper is always available when you go out, such as in a shopping mall or in a local area (It is easier to carry if you remove the core and crush it.)

Outbreaks of insects and animals

That’s what you’d expect from a tropical country. Even if the building is clean, you can still encounter ants, mosquitoes, lizards, spiders and cockroaches. If you’re unlucky, you’ll run into crowds of cockroaches on the road.
At one point, I suffered from sleep deprivation due to the loud chirping of large lizards (Be known as Gecko) outside the house.

Measures and Attitudes
・keep one’s room as clean as possible
・It is better to tolerate insects and animals to some extent (I think people who stay for a long time get used to it to some extent.).
・Buy local insecticides and insect repellents as needed
・If it is too serious, consult with the person staying in the dormitory.

money trouble

have no change

You can’t get change everywhere, such as in a taxi, a convenience store, or a local store. Some shops that don’t have change say with a smirk, “I don’t have change!”.
If you take a “basically no change” stance, you will have less trouble.

Measures and Attitudes
・Break large amounts of money, such as 1000 pesos or 500 pesos, into coins at places where you can easily get change, such as shopping malls, department stores, or Starbucks.
・always try to have small change

I can’t withdraw money from the ATM.

Money should be managed in several ways other than cash. There are many people who would like to use international cash cards or credit cards in the country. It is very convenient because you can withdraw money easily at an ATM on the street.

However, some cash cards or credit cards you thought you could use may not work, or the ATM machine itself may be broken.

Measures and Attitudes
・Make sure you can use it in the Philippines before you travel.
・Checking if overseas cashing is available (credit card)
・Try multiple ATMs (another bank ATM)
・make sure the withdrawal limit is not exceeded
・In case you can’t withdraw money, share the method of overseas remittance (Western Union, etc.) with a reliable person such as your family.

Lend me some money, I won’t come back.

It’s a money trouble that happens in Japan, but it happens more often in the Philippines due to the difference in the price level. There is a case that a friend of mine in the Philippines said to me, “Lend me some money.” and I couldn’t refuse it and didn’t return it.

Measures and Attitudes
・Never lend money (That’s it.)
・If you really need to lend it, be prepared not to get it back (It’s more dangerous to fight and get resentful.).

trouble with a disease

There are many people who get sick because the living environment changes drastically. Hospitals in the Philippines often recommend hospitalization even for mild symptoms, so make sure you have overseas insurance.

food poisoning

In the Philippines, the most common case is hospitalization due to food poisoning. The main causes are water and food that is not properly cooked. In many cases, you will be discharged after 1 or 2 days of hospitalization.

Measures and Attitudes
・Watering (buy bottled water instead of free water at restaurants)
・Eat cooked food as much as possible (Be especially careful in local restaurants).

dengue fever

It is a disease in which high fever continues for 4 to 7 days due to dengue virus infection such as being bitten by mosquitoes. You should be especially careful when you walk in a place where there is no sanitary environment.

Measures and Attitudes
・Wearing long sleeves or using insect repellents when walking in areas with high locality


It is a terrible disease that will lead to 100% death if it develops. In the past, there have been cases of people who were bitten by dogs in the Philippines and died of rabies in Japan.

Measures and Attitudes
・No matter how cute they are, they never touch the animals (especially stray dogs).
・If you are worried, give me a shot.
・If you are bitten by a dog or a cat, you must go to the hospital immediately even if it is a small injury.

No matter what the symptoms are, if you feel sick, don’t hesitate to go to the hospital. Insurance is essential for that.

the most important attitude to have a good time
I think people who stay in the Philippines are more or less likely to encounter cultural differences and problems in their lives.

The most important thing in my stay in the Philippines is to be tolerant. Why don’t you try not to stress yourself with the feeling of “Trouble happens.”?

Sometimes there are troubles that are not funny at all, but I think you can enjoy the Philippines more if you have troubles in your life that are big enough to laugh at and use as a topic of conversation.

I think knowing about it before studying abroad will help reduce stress in the future, so I hope it will be helpful for those who are going to the Philippines.


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