5 reasons why we left Philippines for Canada
Back in the Philippines, I had a cushy job that I wouldn’t mind retiring to, had extra income from doing things I enjoy, we’re not in debt, I made a lot of connections in the media and tech industry, we had lots of support from friends and relatives… it was a rather comfortable life.
You’re probably wondering what made us leave all of it and move to a new place. A country where we don’t have any relatives and just a few friends. There’s no job waiting. No car. No household help. It’s a brand new start in an unfamiliar place.
Actually, we weren’t that excited pursuing our immigration application before. In fact, our application was returned to us after waiting for so many years. Then Callie came along. And we got an unexpected invite from the province of Ontario to live there (here).
After considering some of the good and bad points in making the move, we decided not to waste the opportunity to provide our daughter a better future than what we can offer her if we’re to stay in the Philippines.
Here are the 5 reasons why we sold as much as we can and left the Philippines for Canada.
1. Environment not conducive for us to raise our child
Moving to Mississauga (just outside Toronto), we immediately notice that we made the right decision. The air is cleaner with trees and grass all over the place, parks every few kilometers, and roads that aren’t too congested. There are community centers that offer a lot of activities for kids who also get allowance from the government for joining said activities.
Back in the Philippines, you definitely can’t take your kid on his or her stroller out for a walk unless you live in a village or a subdivision, or go to a mall which is often too crowded. You also have to pay good money to enroll your kid in pre-school activities.
2. Good schooling is expensive
One of the things you need to set money aside is for your child’s education. And it’s not cheap even for the small ones. Educational plans aren’t known for their reliability any more once your kid enters college.
Free education provided by the Canadian government lured us here as well. We only have to worry about college which isn’t too hard either. There’s this thing called RESP (Registered Education Savings Plan) which is a tax-free savings account registered with the government of Canada. What you do is put money into it and the government will match 20% of the amount (max of $2500 per year) you put into it. This is only to be used for your child’s education.
Once your child has chosen a college (anywhere in the world), you can then withdraw the money from your RESP to pay for it (tuition, books, lodging, transportation).
3. Poor universal healthcare
PhilHealth is a joke and it sucks to hear about the P1.4B in bonuses awarded to their officials and employees when a lot of people aren’t getting enough from it. I think we only got P10k from Philhealth when Tia gave birth considering how expensive CS is nowadays. And for those unemployed, you cannot avail of Philhealth benefits unless you contribute. Wealth is health in the Philippines.
With universal healthcare, we get to enjoy free health services even if unemployed. The only PF you will pay after a check-up, a treatment, or an operation, is the parking fee. Of course, you want to be employed (or get an insurance) to get dental, optical, and medicine benefits which are not covered in the universal healthcare.
4. Lost trust in most elected officials
Well, there’s no such thing as a close-to-perfect government but I hate it that Philippines’ is among the most corrupt countries thanks to a good number of public servants. What’s worse is that even if they’re already caught doing something wrong, they won’t admit it. And these people still find a way to get back to serving the public. Sheesh. This really made it easier for us to do what we did.
5. Middle class get screwed
One of my biggest frustration back home is that the country is screwing the middle-income people.
These are the major contributors to the country’s coffers since they make up the most of the workforce, yet they are the ones who feel the brunt of the tax. The rich don’t feel it, or have ways to minimize or go around it, while the poor, well they don’t really bother much about income tax.
And guess who’s the target of corrupt traffic enforcers? Not the heavily tinted swerving Mercedes SUV, or the jeepney drivers not wearing their seatbelts and blocking the road while waiting for the traffic light to turn red, or the counter-flowing tricycle. It’s…well, you know who.
I would like to live and work in a country where you know the government treats its people equally. A country where the working class is greatly rewarded. I don’t mind getting taxed as long as I know I’m also getting a lot of good from it. And that I found here in Canada.
Now I’m not saying it sucks to be in the Philippines (I miss my family and friends) nor it’s not good to raise a family there. We just felt that given this opportunity and the circumstance of having a baby, it was the right decision for us. Of course, with how things are going on in the Philippine government, it was easier for us to decide to do what we did.
I really like how in Canada, a couple who works in a non-corporate setting here can easily have their own home, car, and enough money for vacation and other things. Or how people aim to get a job working for the government (bus drivers, law enforcement, postman, teachers, janitor in a government office) because of the benefits and above-average salary they can get compared to working for a private company.
Yep, I think we made the right decision for our family.