Rise of a middle class and decline in US expats?


Talking to several people about the subject, both Filipinos and foreigners, I think we are about to see a rise in the Philippine middle class. I don't have any numbers or data to support, only my ears and eyes. Cebu and also the suburbs are changing, even here in Toledo. Prices rise, you see an increase of nice, or stronger houses, nicer cars and computers. Most families I see, even in the poorer places where I live, have a TV at home. Having internet and a computer at home is getting more common. Almost everyone seem to have a cell phone. Looking at the malls, which was not present in Toledo before, they are pretty crowded most of the time. People are shopping, not only groceries but clothes, household items, cell phones and computers.

Going out on town, you see a lot of Filipinos. Foreigners opening a restaurant or a bar are a bit surprised to see that 70 % of their customers are actually locals. Walk around in IT park in Cebu, or similar places in Iloilo and Bacolod, and you'll see what I am talking about. The Filipinos are out there, it's not just about three guys hanging around sharing a bottle of Tanduay anymore.

A few years ago you could read e-books about how you can retire like a king for 1000USD a month in the Philippines. I won't say you cannot survive on that amount, I've even written an article about how you can survive on 500, and I have seen foreigners surviving for less than that. But they are not kings. No way. They are about to be overrun by the middle class who can have a better material life than themselves. The people becoming middle class knows better than an expat how to save money when they need, and where to get value for their money.

I have seen and I know foreigners living on 1000 USD or similar, and they certainly don't live a posh life. They have to watch their spendings carefully, and cannot afford to eat at fancy restaurants, or even middle class restaurant very often. They cannot afford to do much traveling and shopping. A lot of them have already moved back home, unable to maintain a good life here as the dollar is weaker and prices rise here.

A large middle class is good for the country. They are more educated, and they want a stable democracy and freedom of speech. More people will stand up against religious authorities, which we are seeing with the new RH bill coming, allowing people to divorce. They will set the standard higher for service, power and internet supplies, as well as expectance of better roads and infrastructure.

Let's hope they also remember to lift the poor among them.

Lars



 

Reader Comments:

Stranded Shipscook commented:
Mar 21, 12 -1:34 AM

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