Moving to Manila, Philippines

My previous post was titled, “Life 2.0″ for a reason; we’re moving to Manila, Philippines in July.

This newly created future was unplanned until very recently. Forgive me if some of you feel ‘left out’, but I wanted to make sure everything was 100% before announcing anything.

This post has been difficult to compose, as many of you may realize I’ve spent a quarter of my life in Indonesia, and have had more dramatic changes occur in that timeframe than in any other single period of my life in America. It won’t be easy leaving – to me, this is also home.

Despite some previous posts eluding to my curiosity for what the future may hold, I had fully planned on staying in Jakarta until at least June of 2010. However, an opportunity arose that I simply could not pass up. Just as I couldn’t pass on the chance to move to Indonesia in 2002, I cannot let this one slip away.

Only time will tell if this is the right decision, but for now, I am confident that this will be a very positive experience. I won’t lie, this is a career move first and foremost – but one that will challenge, expand, and test my skills and abilities. I fully welcome the chance to meet those challenges head on.

I’m also quite excited to move to the Philippines; I love learning about new cultures, exploring new destinations, and getting to know all about a new country. It’s only a 3 1/2 hour flight from Jakarta, so it’ll be quite easy to return ‘home’.

I’m very happy to remain in Asia – it’s a region of the world that has captured my heart and inspired me photographically. I had considered moving back to America at some point, but considering the economic woes and the fact that half of my family is overseas (in Australia and Japan), I’m completely content with remaining an expat. I have no idea how long I’ll be in Manila; the minimum is two years, but if things go well, perhaps it will be longer than that.

I’ve strived to keep a delicate balance between posting introspective writing and photographs while not publishing too much personal information. For these reasons, at the moment I’ll refrain from discussing my employment any further. Those of you who know me well may ask, but I am undecided about posting much more detail at this point.

I have maintained that policy in regards to Novita as well, but needless to say, she will be joining me. I’m excited to see how she handles living overseas, embracing a new culture, and getting around the quirks of a new life overseas. I’m sure she’ll adjust very well – probably my main concern is how she’ll handle the different cuisine! She’s a food addict and accomplished cook; surely she’ll be able to whip up some Indonesian food with ease.

I’ve only been to the Philippines once (in February you may recall – are the pieces fitting together now?), but most people I know have had very positive things to say about the country, the beaches (of course), and the people. Manila initially seems similar to Jakarta and/or Bangkok – correct me if I’m wrong. We’ll be in the Makati area; a posh, upscale section of Manila. I’ll be sure to share more about the area once I arrive.

The next three months will be a whirlwind of activity, planning, shipping, and paperwork. Lots of paperwork. I’ll be increasing my posting frequency once again now that this is ‘out’. It’s been tough sidestepping this subject whilst so much has been happening.

July is approaching much too rapidly. In many ways, I feel as if I’m not finished with Jakarta or Indonesia. The reality of leaving isn’t fully settled in, but surely it’ll hit us soon enough. For now, please know that I’m in no way leaving Indonesia because of anything other than the fact that this opportunity came up at the right time. I will always consider Indonesia my beloved 2nd home, fully plan on revisiting often, and perhaps will reside here again in the not-so-distant future. Only time will tell.

Now what about this blog’s address!? “thejavajive” won’t make as much sense over there.

Let the next chapter begin.

84 Responses to “Moving to Manila, Philippines”

  1. Brandon, let me say ( again ) that my prayers will always accompany you and your family. If there is one single regret I have, it is that I haven't known you for a longer time. I consider it a great honor to be able to call you a friend, – and I do hope that our relationship doesn't end come July.

    That said, let me know if you will hold some farewell event and/or garage sale, – especially for your books. :P

  2. Brandon, let me say ( again ) that my prayers will always accompany you and your family. If there is one single regret I have, it is that I haven't known you for a longer time. I consider it a great honor to be able to call you a friend, – and I do hope that our relationship doesn't end come July.

    That said, let me know if you will hold some farewell event and/or garage sale, – especially for your books. :P

  3. javajive is sort of your trademark, i mean, this blog's to be exact. So dont change it to manilajive or so, please! That sounds funny :)

    New adventure in a new place is something that I'm always up to, for all the excitement and all the change. I know you'd have the same opinion on that too.. As you said, learning new culture and try to live it instead of just see it for couple of weeks when we travel is very different! :) So, I'm looking forward to the stories you would publish in this JAVAJIVE blog (hehe); and my best wishes are for you, novita and family.

    Keep twitting and blogging so we'll always be in touch! :)

  4. javajive is sort of your trademark, i mean, this blog's to be exact. So dont change it to manilajive or so, please! That sounds funny :)

    New adventure in a new place is something that I'm always up to, for all the excitement and all the change. I know you'd have the same opinion on that too.. As you said, learning new culture and try to live it instead of just see it for couple of weeks when we travel is very different! :) So, I'm looking forward to the stories you would publish in this JAVAJIVE blog (hehe); and my best wishes are for you, novita and family.

    Keep twitting and blogging so we'll always be in touch! :)

    • Nadia – I was joking about Manilajive. Javajive will remain my name, trademark, etc :) The entire experience of becoming an expat is owed to my time in Java, so it has some sentimental value.

      Thanks for your wishes. I will indeed keep the photos rolling out and the posts updated regularly. If anything, I'll probably be increasing both since it'll be a new life altogether!

  5. wish you good luck there, brandon.
    actually I was told to move to manila next year, but last week my boss said that the plan might be cancelled due to budget constraint. oh well, life must go on.

  6. wish you good luck there, brandon.
    actually I was told to move to manila next year, but last week my boss said that the plan might be cancelled due to budget constraint. oh well, life must go on.

  7. congratulations, brandon. that is very exciting news and i totally look forward to reading about it and seeing it in your photos. ;) xoxo.

  8. congratulations, brandon. that is very exciting news and i totally look forward to reading about it and seeing it in your photos. ;) xoxo.

    • Thanks em. There's an excitement in the air. I look forward to getting back into photography after a few months hiatus. A new environment will do wonders for creativity and inspiration.

  9. brandon…

    exciting news indeed! of course for me back here in the US, just being in contact with someone halfway across the globe was already exciting and exotic feeling :-) as for the name of the blog, i don't know your drinking habits, but if you happen to be a coffee fiend like i am, you could still keep javajive, it would just take on a little bit different connotation.

    i'm certain i don't qualify as “someone that knows you well” but i am curious about what you'll be doing, so if you feel like it, you could email me and tell me (details are often helpful in how i direct my prayers for folks, but by no means are a necessity).

    in either event, you'll certainly be in my prayers as you start the arduous task of packing and moving (a task that obviously is much more involved than me just loading a truck and driving a couple of states away, but a task i have come to despise nonetheless!), and beginning a new phase of your life adventure.

    blessings on you and novita as you look forward to what the future holds!

  10. brandon…

    exciting news indeed! of course for me back here in the US, just being in contact with someone halfway across the globe was already exciting and exotic feeling :-) as for the name of the blog, i don't know your drinking habits, but if you happen to be a coffee fiend like i am, you could still keep javajive, it would just take on a little bit different connotation.

    i'm certain i don't qualify as “someone that knows you well” but i am curious about what you'll be doing, so if you feel like it, you could email me and tell me (details are often helpful in how i direct my prayers for folks, but by no means are a necessity).

    in either event, you'll certainly be in my prayers as you start the arduous task of packing and moving (a task that obviously is much more involved than me just loading a truck and driving a couple of states away, but a task i have come to despise nonetheless!), and beginning a new phase of your life adventure.

    blessings on you and novita as you look forward to what the future holds!

    • I do indeed do the 'java' every morning (despite Novita's unapproval. ;) )

      I'll email you more details about my job soon.

      Luckily the shipping should all be covered by the new company. Need to decide what to bring, what to sell, and what to give away. Arduous indeed!

      Thanks for the warm message.

  11. Hmm, I never thought about javajive not making sense in Manila. Manilajive? Yeah, that's really lame.

    I'm interested to see your photos of Manila, and wonder how different it is from Jakarta. Then there's Boracay, the softest sand I've ever had the pleasure of stepping onto. I think you guys will like it. The water is so calm and beautiful. No wonder there were a lot of honeymooners and families there.

  12. Hmm, I never thought about javajive not making sense in Manila. Manilajive? Yeah, that's really lame.

    I'm interested to see your photos of Manila, and wonder how different it is from Jakarta. Then there's Boracay, the softest sand I've ever had the pleasure of stepping onto. I think you guys will like it. The water is so calm and beautiful. No wonder there were a lot of honeymooners and families there.

    • Yeah, Manilajive just doesn't um, jive.

      It'll be weird hearing English everywhere, that's for sure. And yes, I look forward to new beaches to explore. I love Bali, but have spent so much time there, it's time for something new.

      I have three weeks this summer that I'm not sure what to do with. Too short for America, too long for sitting in Jakarta.

  13. Thank you, Fajar. Your words mean a lot. I think via Twitter and blogs, staying in touch is easier than ever.

    I may indeed have to leave some of my books here! :(

  14. Nadia – I was joking about Manilajive. Javajive will remain my name, trademark, etc :) The entire experience of becoming an expat is owed to my time in Java, so it has some sentimental value.

    Thanks for your wishes. I will indeed keep the photos rolling out and the posts updated regularly. If anything, I'll probably be increasing both since it'll be a new life altogether!

  15. Thanks em. There's an excitement in the air. I look forward to getting back into photography after a few months hiatus. A new environment will do wonders for creativity and inspiration.

  16. I do indeed do the 'java' every morning (despite Novita's unapproval. ;) )

    I'll email you more details about my job soon.

    Luckily the shipping should all be covered by the new company. Need to decide what to bring, what to sell, and what to give away. Arduous indeed!

    Thanks for the warm message.

  17. Yeah, Manilajive just doesn't um, jive.

    It'll be weird hearing English everywhere, that's for sure. And yes, I look forward to new beaches to explore. I love Bali, but have spent so much time there, it's time for something new.

    I have three weeks this summer that I'm not sure what to do with. Too short for America, too long for sitting in Jakarta.

  18. Brandon, I hardly knew ye, however, there's the twittersphere, fb, flickr and what ever lies on the horizon. Was looking forward to meeting you but, hey, life happens. Looking forward to your new adventures as the blogger, “Thrilla in Manila” Good luck and stay safe!

  19. Brandon, I hardly knew ye, however, there's the twittersphere, fb, flickr and what ever lies on the horizon. Was looking forward to meeting you but, hey, life happens. Looking forward to your new adventures as the blogger, “Thrilla in Manila” Good luck and stay safe!

  20. Well Yeah Manila!! Wisch you and Novita all the Best in the new town/country/job.
    So much new things to explore, can´t wait so see photos and to read your experience on this blog.
    Nana said as I told her you will move, “Still living in Asia, Novita will not have any problems to find the right spices for cooking”
    Have you found house/appartment already or will you stay in hotel for the first days?
    Hope you will write more about your movement to Manila
    Greetings from germany
    Juergen

  21. Well Yeah Manila!! Wisch you and Novita all the Best in the new town/country/job.
    So much new things to explore, can´t wait so see photos and to read your experience on this blog.
    Nana said as I told her you will move, “Still living in Asia, Novita will not have any problems to find the right spices for cooking”
    Have you found house/appartment already or will you stay in hotel for the first days?
    Hope you will write more about your movement to Manila
    Greetings from germany
    Juergen

    • Juergen, thanks! I hope you'll continue to follow our new adventure. I think you're right; Novita should be able to find whatever (almost) she needs to cook Indonesian food. I think she may have a harder time finding things like Teh Botol and warung food.

      The company is providing a nice apartment; I won't really have to do anything other than show up. ;)

      Now I'm dealing with the shipping; I arrived with two suitcases and am leaving with 12 cubic meters of 'stuff'.

  22. Whoa… EP certainly will miss your photo exhibitions, and I even haven't had a chance to see them!

    Good luck in your new adopted country. I'm sure you will have so much fun you could share with the readers.

  23. Whoa… EP certainly will miss your photo exhibitions, and I even haven't had a chance to see them!

    Good luck in your new adopted country. I'm sure you will have so much fun you could share with the readers.

    • Yeah, I haven't told Lens yet. The exhibition is extended until prob June 1st. I need to figure out what to do with my works!

      I'll definitely continue blogging, taking pics, and sharing the experience with anyone who is dropping by.

      Hope all is well!

  24. Juergen, thanks! I hope you'll continue to follow our new adventure. I think you're right; Novita should be able to find whatever (almost) she needs to cook Indonesian food. I think she may have a harder time finding things like Teh Botol and warung food.

    The company is providing a nice apartment; I won't really have to do anything other than show up. ;)

    Now I'm dealing with the shipping; I arrived with two suitcases and am leaving with 12 cubic meters of 'stuff'.

  25. Yeah, I haven't told Lens yet. The exhibition is extended until prob June 1st. I need to figure out what to do with my works!

    I'll definitely continue blogging, taking pics, and sharing the experience with anyone who is dropping by.

    Hope all is well!

  26. Hi Brandon,
    I've been lurking your adventure on this blog- I guess now I will follow your ( you and Novita) adventures. I think the javajive isn't supposed to be changed? just add another word or two like The Java Jive and under it -goes to Manila.
    So that the Javajive will be your trademark, copyright, and all that jazz, for good.
    Greetings
    Lulu

  27. Hi Brandon,
    I've been lurking your adventure on this blog- I guess now I will follow your ( you and Novita) adventures. I think the javajive isn't supposed to be changed? just add another word or two like The Java Jive and under it -goes to Manila.
    So that the Javajive will be your trademark, copyright, and all that jazz, for good.
    Greetings
    Lulu

    • Actually, I was kind of joking about changing the blog address/name. I don't think I'd ever drop the name; it's just kind of who I am at this point, regardless of where I live. ;)

  28. That's great to hear, a new adventure is always a great thing. Would love to know how you scored the new position especially in this climate. I have one eye on the lookout as one never knows in these times.

    Cheers
    GJ

  29. That's great to hear, a new adventure is always a great thing. Would love to know how you scored the new position especially in this climate. I have one eye on the lookout as one never knows in these times.

    Cheers
    GJ

    • GJ – Maybe I'm just.that.good. ;)

      In reality, I agree it's not the best economic climate for leaving a job / starting another. I'm pretty excited that everything has worked out so well.

  30. Well you can always have this site automatically direct all traffic to your new one called “Cebu-Jive” (lol lame I know).

    Maybe we can all come up with a name and then vote via an online poll to see which one fits best.

  31. Well you can always have this site automatically direct all traffic to your new one called “Cebu-Jive” (lol lame I know).

    Maybe we can all come up with a name and then vote via an online poll to see which one fits best.

  32. Wow, great news Brandon.

    All the best with the move. So exciting.

    I've spent quite a lot of time in Manila over the last few years. I love it and hate it, well hate is too strong a word, love it and less than love it is probably more like it.

    I would love to move there and have made some tentative enquiries, my firm has offices there, but no luck yet.

    I look forward to reading about your experiences, and most especially how you capture Manila and the Philippines through your lens.

    Take care
    Shaky

  33. Wow, great news Brandon.

    All the best with the move. So exciting.

    I've spent quite a lot of time in Manila over the last few years. I love it and hate it, well hate is too strong a word, love it and less than love it is probably more like it.

    I would love to move there and have made some tentative enquiries, my firm has offices there, but no luck yet.

    I look forward to reading about your experiences, and most especially how you capture Manila and the Philippines through your lens.

    Take care
    Shaky

    • Shaky – Thanks man.

      Love and hate probably is a similar feeling for most metropolitan cities in SE Asia for most people. I'm sure if I can handle 7 years in The Big Durian, I can make it anywhere. ;)

      Even if you don't move there, you're welcome to drop in if you have a business trip; we're always up for meeting new (or not so new considering how long you've been visiting this blog) contacts.

      I'll do my best to explore the new land with my lens. I've been slacking badly on the photo front for a few months now with all these other things.

  34. Actually, I was kind of joking about changing the blog address/name. I don't think I'd ever drop the name; it's just kind of who I am at this point, regardless of where I live. ;)

  35. GJ – Maybe I'm just.that.good. ;)

    In reality, I agree it's not the best economic climate for leaving a job / starting another. I'm pretty excited that everything has worked out so well.

  36. Shaky – Thanks man.

    Love and hate probably is a similar feeling for most metropolitan cities in SE Asia for most people. I'm sure if I can handle 7 years in The Big Durian, I can make it anywhere. ;)

    Even if you don't move there, you're welcome to drop in if you have a business trip; we're always up for meeting new (or not so new considering how long you've been visiting this blog) contacts.

    I'll do my best to explore the new land with my lens. I've been slacking badly on the photo front for a few months now with all these other things.

  37. Hey, congrats Brandon and Novita! Good luck with moving+packing and settling in with the life in the new country! Hope you enjoy it!

    P.S. One day, I will move to Asia – and perhaps one day you move to Europe? :)

  38. Hey, congrats Brandon and Novita! Good luck with moving+packing and settling in with the life in the new country! Hope you enjoy it!

    P.S. One day, I will move to Asia – and perhaps one day you move to Europe? :)

    • Thanks Yasmina, there's a ton of work to do, but the good kind.

      Definitely would enjoy a stint in Europe! But for now, Asia has my heart.

  39. Thanks Yasmina, there's a ton of work to do, but the good kind.

    Definitely would enjoy a stint in Europe! But for now, Asia has my heart.

  40. Congratulations on the new job. A new country and a new job are always really exciting. When I left Indonesia for Pakistan years ago, it was with some regrets, but also a lot of excitement. As it turned out, it was a great experience. I've only been in Manila a few times, but I've always enjoyed it. I hope that you will too.

  41. Congratulations on the new job. A new country and a new job are always really exciting. When I left Indonesia for Pakistan years ago, it was with some regrets, but also a lot of excitement. As it turned out, it was a great experience. I've only been in Manila a few times, but I've always enjoyed it. I hope that you will too.

    • Thanks Bruce. I'm excited and feel it's the right move at this point and time. I'll be back to Indonesia for sure, but also welcome the 'newness' once again of a new destination.

  42. Brandon, I wish you and Novita the best of luck with your impending move… and major Life Change. I also applaud your willingness to jump into the deep end of the pool and make that kind of change.

    Last time I was in the Phils – Makati, too – was 29 years ago. I suspect things have changed since then. But you'll find friendly people and excellent food – and San Miguel makes a fine dark beer.

    Selamat jalan!

  43. Brandon, I wish you and Novita the best of luck with your impending move… and major Life Change. I also applaud your willingness to jump into the deep end of the pool and make that kind of change.

    Last time I was in the Phils – Makati, too – was 29 years ago. I suspect things have changed since then. But you'll find friendly people and excellent food – and San Miguel makes a fine dark beer.

    Selamat jalan!

    • Elisson, man you've gotta be one of the longest standing visitors to this blog!

      It took a lot of huevos to agree to moving my entire life to another country, but ultimately, it was Novita's push that got me off my bum. I hope to rekindle some of those 'firsts' that make a new experience so interesting. Glad you've continued to drop by despite my sluggish posting this year.

      Cheers mate.

  44. Oh how exciting!!!! Things happen for a reason. I believe that everything's pre-planned, all written out for you, and something will just trigger you to make you live it. Just like moving to Indonesia… for what, two years initially? I've never been but I've seen a lot of gorgeous pics from the Philippines too. I'm sure Novita and you will have a great time with that at least. Food… I LOVE food. I think she'll be ok just because you can at least find the ingredients there. Tough here in the U.S. Prob. a good thing I'm not into Indonesian food although I do miss a few things here and there. What's wrong with thejavajive? it's still your 'home', right? :)

    I am hoping that my husband will get an assignment in England/Germany. I'd love to move to Europe for a few years.

  45. Oh how exciting!!!! Things happen for a reason. I believe that everything's pre-planned, all written out for you, and something will just trigger you to make you live it. Just like moving to Indonesia… for what, two years initially? I've never been but I've seen a lot of gorgeous pics from the Philippines too. I'm sure Novita and you will have a great time with that at least. Food… I LOVE food. I think she'll be ok just because you can at least find the ingredients there. Tough here in the U.S. Prob. a good thing I'm not into Indonesian food although I do miss a few things here and there. What's wrong with thejavajive? it's still your 'home', right? :)

    I am hoping that my husband will get an assignment in England/Germany. I'd love to move to Europe for a few years.

    • Savitri – I think I still owe you a long email. Sorry!

      Yeah, actually I agreed to come to Indonesia for only one year initially!? I think she'll be ok with the food; in fact I'm sure she'll transition even easier than I will. The only thing she'll have to contend with is the fact that everyone will assume she's Filipina and will probably speak to her in Tagalog!

      Yes, I'll keep “thejavajive” – I was just kidding actually.

      I have friends in Europe; actually those in Germany really prefer Asia and miss Indonesia quite a lot. But, I'm sure it depends on so many variables. I'd love to live in Europe at some point; but just.not.yet. Asia has my heart for now.

  46. Thanks Bruce. I'm excited and feel it's the right move at this point and time. I'll be back to Indonesia for sure, but also welcome the 'newness' once again of a new destination.

  47. Elisson, man you've gotta be one of the longest standing visitors to this blog!

    It took a lot of huevos to agree to moving my entire life to another country, but ultimately, it was Novita's push that got me off my bum. I hope to rekindle some of those 'firsts' that make a new experience so interesting. Glad you've continued to drop by despite my sluggish posting this year.

    Cheers mate.

  48. Savitri – I think I still owe you a long email. Sorry!

    Yeah, actually I agreed to come to Indonesia for only one year initially!? I think she'll be ok with the food; in fact I'm sure she'll transition even easier than I will. The only thing she'll have to contend with is the fact that everyone will assume she's Filipina and will probably speak to her in Tagalog!

    Yes, I'll keep “thejavajive” – I was just kidding actually.

    I have friends in Europe; actually those in Germany really prefer Asia and miss Indonesia quite a lot. But, I'm sure it depends on so many variables. I'd love to live in Europe at some point; but just.not.yet. Asia has my heart for now.

  49. I came across your blog by accident while googling. I understand the future holds a lot of uncertainties but I'm confident you'll enjoy living in Manila (it's a lot easier to navigate than Jakarta, but then again the traffic is just as worse). The food is mostly based on salty and/or sour thanks to their fondness for soy sauce, fish sauce and vinegar. Language wise, you will find that some words are similar to Bahasa Indonesia. Take it from me … I am an Indonesian who was born in Manila. I spent more than 20 years of my life there before moving back home and to the US. Good luck!

  50. I came across your blog by accident while googling. I understand the future holds a lot of uncertainties but I'm confident you'll enjoy living in Manila (it's a lot easier to navigate than Jakarta, but then again the traffic is just as worse). The food is mostly based on salty and/or sour thanks to their fondness for soy sauce, fish sauce and vinegar. Language wise, you will find that some words are similar to Bahasa Indonesia. Take it from me … I am an Indonesian who was born in Manila. I spent more than 20 years of my life there before moving back home and to the US. Good luck!

    • I think I'd really like to talk to you more about Manila considering you're background. Novita will also surely have some questions about Indonesians in Philippines, food, etc. I'll email you if you're cool with that?

  51. I think I'd really like to talk to you more about Manila considering you're background. Novita will also surely have some questions about Indonesians in Philippines, food, etc. I'll email you if you're cool with that?

  52. Nice blog.. I have the same experience. I’m here in manila for 10 years now and I love it here. I started my own family here in manila.. I don’t know that much indonesian language.. I have been living abroad ever since I was 6 years old. I spend most of my life in America and philippines..It’s been hard for me to find indonesian food here in manila.. Can you recommend me a place? thanks..

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