Is This The Way To Go For Those With The Cash?

There are over 400 Franchises in the Philippines that the budding entrepeneur can choose from.  Some of these are international brands or franchises known in the USA like McDonalds, KFC, Pizza Hut and so on. The majority though are home grown and that really isn’t all that surprising.

Firstly Filipino’s love to do things in groups so being a frenchisee means you are one of a group operating the same, identical business as many others.  Comforting to anyone brought up in a culture that promotes the group at the expense of the individual in so many ways.

Yet the individual, or couple, may still want the independence and financial benefits of being one’s own boss and running your own business.  It is a statistic that 95% of franchises succeed whereas
only 5% of new, start up businesses last as long as 5 years.  More than half will collapse within the first twelve months and the main reason is under capitalisation, usually followed by poor location.

The beauty of a franchise is that you are given a model to follow that is working for others and providing you follow the guidelines your business should prosper, too.  All of the expensive trial and error has been finished with a long time ago and by the time someone prepares their business for franchising, you can be fairly sure it will work. When starting abusiness from scratch, nobody plans to fail, but many fail to plan or plan sufficiently and buying a franchise erases a lot of these risks.

A good franchise will have a comprehensive operations manual, pre-selection process and a good marketing plan.  Many franchise agreements have you paying a monthly fee for the adverising and
marketing so make sure the franchisor is doing the right thing by the business in the local media.  On top of that there could be ongoing Royalties that are paid monthly.  Make sure you are getting something in return for these!

There are good franchises and bad ones, same as anything.  The bad ones take your money and give you a badly written operations manual and prety much leave you to get on with it.  The good ones will usually charge more as the franchise is worth more and will earn more) and they will also give you more.  More assistance with location sourcing, staff trianing, ongoing training and supervision, innovative marketing and advertising and lots more.  You will get some thing in return for you fees.

When choosing a franchise you should ask the hard questions, although there is no harm in asking them politely.  Really investigate what you get and what the franchiser will do for you and for how long.  Make sure you fully understand every aspect of the franchise agreement, before you sign and hand over your cash!

Buying a franchise can cost as little as Php27,000  (US$500 approx) (NachoKing Taco cart!) or well into the millions, McDonalds go for around Php15-30 million, which is serious money in any currency.
Anyone looking at investing that kind of money is probably not reading this newsletter, so don’t be surprised if we keep to the under US$30,000 mark when we look at individual businesses and franchises in future issues.

If you want to know more about this great way to get into business, visit the website of the Association of Filipino Franchisers Inc, or try the RK Franchise Consultancy site at Here are some other links to franchisers you may want to surf into and check them out: NachoKing, carts starting at only Php 27,000! Figaro Coffee Shops Laundry and Dry Cleaners

Philippine Dreams does not endorse any of these specific franchisers but includes them here for information purposes only.

What Vaccinations Will I Need?

A Quick Look At A Question Many Ask Before A First Visit.

Vaccinations for the Philippines

I am not a Doctor or qualified medically any further than a fairly competent First Aider with a fair amount of trauma management experience courtesy of the Army, scuba diving, sailing and getting around a bit.  I had a full set of jabs as we called them way  back in 1968 before accompanying my father on his posting to Singapore with the Royal Air Force.  When I joined the Australian Regular Army in 1978 I went through the full regime of just about every shot in the book except Yellow Fever and Anthrax.  Later, when I volunteered for active service in Namibia (South West Africa) as part of the UNTAG Force I was given that all important Yellow Fever jab and a few more besides!  Talk about sick!  I’m not sure which jab did the deed (the smart money was on the Cholera jab) but one of them laid me, and everyone else, pretty low for a day or so.  Of course the Army gave us the jabs on a Friday and before the effects took hold, announced we had the weekend free. Free to roll around  in our beds and groan, vomit and so on!

Since those long ago days I have travelled a fair bit in South East Asia and all over the Philippines and have never needed to show any vaccination certificates or have ever been advised to get any.  I have a friend who was caught on a bus in India once by a UN WHO team of injector freaks!  Apparently the bus was stopped and two guys with grubby white coats and face masks got on and started  injecting everyone on the bus with this vaccination gun. Same needle for all of course!  My mate was frantic trying to find his yellow card (international vaccination certificate) to prove he had already been given everything under the sun but the Hepatitis or HIV/AIDS that communal needle was probably spreading!  He came close to smacking the jabbers and bailing out through the back window but finally he was able to convince them not to inject him and his girlfriend.

Horror stories like that are common in India, but to my experience nonexistent here in the Philippines.  I have had Dengue Fever, but you can’t immunise against that anyway.  I am sure Typhus is lurking somewhere in the sewers, awaiting a flood or landslide but since I find little to fascinate me in slum areas, the risks are low.  Smallpox and any other similar disease is fairly well controlled and I doubt you would catch it.  Distemper may be something to worry about, or is that only dogs that catch that?  Be aware of course that Rabies occurs here (Australia is rabies free so we tend to be ignorant of the disease) so watch out for monkey bites and dogs acting strangely.

I would be more concerned about Tetanus from standing on a rusty nail while wearing flip flops than anything else.  Make sure your tetanus shot is up to date, I think they last only 5 years or so.  They are available here very cheaply so don’t panic if you are reading this on the airplane enroute to Manila!

There are courses of vaccinations for various types of Hepatitus, I believe.  I also have been told that you need to take the course long before leaving home, the shots are spread out over several months and if you contract the disease in between the first and last shot you’ve wasted your money.  Please, correct me if I am wrong and feel free to email in more up to date or accurate info!  Hepatitus can be avoided by applying good hygiene habits and watching what and where you eat, but I have been coming to the Philippines since 1988 and lived here constantly for over 2 years and haven’t had any problems bar the odd bout of food poisoning.  Nothing I haven’t suffered back in Sydney, either I might add.

Malaria is always a possibility but a rare one and the prophylactics available are hardly worth the effort in my opinion.  Some require you take them before, during and after the trip and others are daily, some weekly and of course there is no guarantee you won’t catch a new strain the treatment isn’t effective over!  Cover your arms and legs after dark and use a bug spray!  When it comes to Dengue, that’s a different species of mossie, so spray and cover during the day time, particularly
in the wet season.  I treated the symptoms with paracetemol for the aching back pain and lots of fluids, plenty of rest and an eye kept on my gums in case it turned haemorrhagic.  If you do start bleeding, then go to a hospital as they can at least keep your plasma levels up or whatever they do.

Other than that, I really can’t see how a series of vaccinations will do you any good other than maybe as a placebo to calm your apprehension of journeying into the unknown.  I am open to correction from professionals and those who know more than I do on this subject, in fact I welcome it!  If I am wrong, then please correct me.  If you are not sure then go and get professional advice and take what precautions you are advised to take.  Meanwhile, few things in life are ever fatal!

The Other Side Of The Blanket

Adventures Of An American Woman Married To A Filipino

the other side of the blanket

I take great pleasure in introducing “Kissy”, an American woman, writer, author of three childrens’ books and soon to complete the StreetWise Cagayan De Oro! Expat’s Guide, to readers of Philippine
Dreams.  “Kissy” tells it how she sees it and doesn’t pull her  punches, exactly what we need when it comes to gathering useful information about this country.  Perry Gamsby Editor/Publisher

Don’t kid yourself that life is any different for me than it is for a man. I am the foreigner.  I am from America.  Being both of course makes me rich.  My mother in law thinks I have a money tree, as does my hubby’s brothers and sisters.  They don’t seem to get it that I had to sell everything I had and take what little I had in the bank just to move here.  In the three years I have been here, I have had to leave every year to go back to the States just to earn enough to buy another ticket, and bring back more money to live on and fix up this little house we call our home.

This latest time I have been back since the middle of March, and have dished out over US$1000.  Not that I mind spending the money, I love my Filipino husband and he is so good to me.  I feel like he is my wife sometimes because he insists that I just relax and let him do the cooking and cleaning.  Hot coffee always awaits me in the morning, and a fantastic massage every night.  He has spoiled me, and life would be very bleak without him.  This is a far different relationship than I ever had with an American guy.  Oh, I know American men say the same about American women, so I think we should just realize that there are many who just can’t have a good relationship with their own race.  I say to each their own.  Be happy for life is too short.

My first year here I thought I could save the world.  Feed all the hungry children, and tend to all the sick with my nursing experience. What dreams I had!

My second year I realized I was no savior, and just relaxed and had a lot of fun. We traveled, went to beaches and the mountains.  My hubby had a great job, and we could afford to do a lot of fun things together.  I am not a drinker, but one night I decided to have a small cup of beer.  With a microphone and a karaoke player, and very big speakers I kept all the neighbors awake until the wee hours of the morning. The next night several neighbors showed up at our door wanting to have a party with the kano who loved to have so much fun.  I haven’t had alcohol since.

No, I have to say I did drink one more time.  My birthday is November 1st.  Hubby took me on a trip to Manila by ferry.  We had a stateroom there and back, and there was a Halloween party on the night of my birthday.  I was one of the three chosen to judge the crews costumes. I had a beer, and had so much fun.  Of course I sang, Happy Birthday to myself.  I have never had fun like that in America.  Filipinos know how to have a great time, and being at sea was a special treat.  I would love to live on a ship!  To me there is nothing as peaceful or beautiful than being at sea, the fresh sea breeze; and smelling the wonderful salt scented air, while watching the lapping of the water.  I am truly at home with the sea, and to know it is so close to me now is heaven.  I can look outside and see both the sea and the mountains. I love it here in CDO.  This is the most beautiful place on earth to me. I would never consider moving to another country.  I have friends here, and Filipinos make great friends, and I have my precious hubby who is my best friend.

There is another side to life here. It isn’t all a beautiful picture. There is always a dark side to everything. There is no positive without a negative.

MY 3rd Year
This is when the negative side set in.  Always before I could look beyond the poverty, the filth and the corrupt government.  Not anymore. My eyes are wide open, and I not only see the poverty, I live in it.
My husband lost his job just before I went back to the states last December.  His company was losing money so they cut many jobs. I wasn’t worried then.  He has an excellent work record, a BA Degree in Computer Engineering, and fantastic references.  I figured he would soon get another job.  How wrong I was.  With all the applications he has submitted he is still without a job. Either at age 35 he is too old, or too over qualified, that is always the answer he gets.  Now he just repairs computers for people who don’t want to pay over 300php at most, and even those repairs are only perhaps 2 or 3 a month.  We started a little sari sari here at home.  I put US$500.00 into it and lost everything. Oh the barred window and shelves are still there, but no stock.  Now there is no fun.  No trips and barely any food.  Even rice can be a luxury.

I wish I had read Perry’s idea about bed spacers before I wasted the money.  We have an extra room and live close to a teaching hospital. There is always a jeepney passing by.  If I had known about this bed spacer idea I wouldn’t be broke now, and living like a very poor Filipina holding an empty rice

See this is real experience speaking.  You have no idea just how much you can lose here, but with the benefit of hindsight gleaned from Newsletters like this, you can prevent losing everything you have.

UPDATE APRIL 2008:  Kissy wrote this in September of 2004.  Within a few months her life had turned around dramatically.  She was ill, starving and destitute.  She never submitted the manuscript for the CDO Guide and as far as I know she was repatriated back to the USA by the US Consul.  The Philippines can be a harsh mistress for any of us. Always have your ticket home and cash to survive the journey and resettlement and don’t hang on to a drowning horse too long!  Know when to change in mid-stream.  I had to do it in May 2004 and return to Australia for four months and work just to feed the family. I copped a lot of flak from tiny minds over that, being called a failure and so on but who cares?  Don;t be afraid to retreat and regroup if the dream turns nightmare-ish!  Perry.