September 29, 2011

In moving to the Philippines, we knew there were going to be some great experiences and adventures to be had and the country has definitely not disappointed us! After being here for a while, you start to view some of the things that freaked you out early on as more commonplace. We wanted to share with you a few of the wacky things that have happened to us since we’ve been here and, hopefully, give you a little more insight into us personally.

There are two videos and some pictures we wanted to show you.  In the first video, you’ll see Joe explaining how they transport pigs around town and a bit about their security at banks and ATM’s:

Here’s the picture where I’m hanging out with ATM guard and his shotgun:

Please don’t shoot me…

And here’s the picture with the pig in the sidecar:


The quality isn’t the best, so I took the liberty of pulling another off the web for you:

Our first time to the Philippines it was a bit more shocking…fixed the transmission with some vine and had a dead chicken in my taxi:

There are definitely some crazy things going on out here, but it’s a part of what makes this place so interesting to us. If you like these kinds of posts, make sure to check out our FaceBook Page and Twitter account and we’ll try to put up more odd pictures there. Here are a few more random shots:

Someone didn’t think the name through very well…

Soon-to-be bacon…

Alright…who rode the goat to work?

It’s not ALL about work! :-)

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  1. I think it is very general when you tell your experience. Where in the Philippines are you guys?

  2. mabonitalla says:

    Hi Justin and Joe, nice to know you have a great time here in the Philippines. I’m a big fun and follower of your site. Hope to meet you two sometime if you happen to visit here in the nearby city of Cagayan de Oro from Davao

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Awesome, Mike!

      Joe was through CDO about a month ago…he took a quick break with his GF and went to Camiguin Island…said he had an excellent time. Will try to look you up if we swing through in the future!

  3. Thesuccessmaker says:

    I just LOVE you guys!!! You are fun, real, and give so much to all of us that visit here. I hope to meet you someday! I have a dream to retire in a year to the DR or Costa Rica or who knows. I like the Independent, less touristy travel too.

    • We love you too! ;-)

      Best of luck with your plans, it is possible to use this stuff for a full income replacement.

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Awesome…thanks so much! We’re into the travel or work-anywhere model for sure. We have a home-base in Davao because of our company here, but we’re lucky enough to get to travel quite a bit and really enjoy/appreciate the opportunity!

  4. […] It’s amazing how much use my headphones get, come to think of it. I wear them when I go out for a walk, when I hit the gym (aka once a decade), when working, browsing and even when I go to sleep to block out the sound of crowing Filipino roosters (trust me… there’s always roosters). […]

  5. Glad you’re enjoying your stay here in the Philippines. Thanks for providing opportunities for Filipinos. ^_^

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Thanks, Vincent…Salamat po!

      We’ve been fortunate enough to build up a great, energized team here and we’re very proud of the work they’re able to accomplish. Definitely a crazy country, though…that’s why we love it so much! heh…never a dull day!

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Wow Aldo…funny stuff! Yes, that’s exactly the kind of craziness you see living here as well. Looking at pictures online don’t really do it justice though, eh? Something you have to experience for yourself, hehe.

  6. Sud.Lamiran says:

    Just curious … Did you ever come across with Ian del Carmen yet? :-)

    • JustinWCooke says:

      I haven’t…but looked him up based on your comment. He looks like a successful IMer from the Philippines, eh?

  7. KevinGomes says:

    Cool pictures. I actually would feel safe with that ATM guard and his shotgun, because even in San Jose I get sketched out at certain ATMs.

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Yeah…I’d have to say that I feel completely safe in Davao City, actually. Many expats in Manila are shocked when I say I live here…they always ask about safety, terrorism, etc. Overall, the Philippines seems extremely safe to me, compared to some other places I’ve been…some of them in the US! There’s some petty-crime and street stuff going on in Manila, but VERY little of that in Davao. The people down here are relaxed, nice, and just great overall.

      I remember being 18-20 and getting shaken-down after visiting an ATM at LEAST twice in Mexico…and there are definitely some ATMs that look less than safe in the US, hehe.

      • KevinGomes says:

        There must be more poverty in the capital. I’m not surprised to hear you say that you feel safe. All the Filipino people I have came across in my lifetime were very nice, carefree and enjoyable people.

        • JustinWCooke says:

          You’re right, there is more poverty in Manila from what I’ve noticed. Same goes for the provinces too, though. The poor will come in from the provinces to try to make some money in the city. If it doesn’t work out, the results can be disastrous. I’ve attached a really sad picture of a woman sleeping on the curb with her child in Malate (Manila) and another of someone’s front door in the “Squatters Area”.

  8. Sud.Lamiran says:

    Why did you choose Philippines?

    • JustinWCooke says:

      We worked with VA’s in the Philippines back in our Real Estate days and had some success. It seemed to us best choice for outsourcing as they’re heavily English speaking, have a similar legal system to the US, are open and supportive of outside investment, etc.

      Personally, there are cities and places I find more interesting (Hong Kong, Bangkok, etc.) but it’s awfully cheap here in Davao. I can take off for a few weeks…even months and just continue to pay for everything back here without breaking the bank or feeling bad about it. I’m far from retirement-wealthy, but living here allows me to live extremely well.

  9. Anton says:

    Wow you could advise a good logo for the cockhouse :)

    • JustinWCooke says:


      I like the disapproving look from the girl behind the counter. Joe was teasing her a bit, but she wasn’t having it.

  10. Sud.Lamiran says:

    Welcome to third country!

    1. Why were you guys hang around in Philippines?
    2. Are you moving over there as permanent residents?
    (Or just a matter of money sake! he he…)
    3. Any plan to visit Surabaya, Indonesia? :-)

    Anyway, it’s always good to see marketers playing around in their real world!

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Hey there!

      1. We live here! We live in Davao City, Philippines and run our outsourcing company from here.
      2. We have something called an SVEG, or Special Visa For Employment Generation. (Well Joe does…I downgraded back to tourist, but that’s another story)
      3. I’d like to visit Jakarta and would love to get back to Bali…I just had a friend get back and looking at her pictures was making me jealous, heh. Not yet for Surabaya…but I guess you never know? :-)

      I love to travel…it’s really my thing. I can’t get into the minimalist mindset of most of the “Lifestyle Design” crowd, but the Location Independent stuff really appeals to me.

  11. Steve Wyman says:


    fun posts. So what the maximum number of people and animals that youve ever seen on a scoter/motor bike in the phillipines?

    In thailand mine was 7 souls- 2 dogs, father, mother, teenager, tiny baby, toddler !

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Oh God, Steve…I’m not sure. Probably only 4-5 for me on a scooter only, but I think Joe’s seen more. I’ve seen pictures of, and heard of even more. What some people will do is take their motorbike and turn it into a trike with a sidecar. They can then put 5-6 people in the sidecar and 2 or 3 on the motorbike as well. It’s like turning a scooter into a van! lol

      Another tactic will be to weld on a bar that rides perpendicular across the back seat. You can then have people sitting across the bar on either side, weighed out evenly…crazy stuff! Really creative, heh.

  12. Derek Bruce says:

    Hi, Nice to see some light stuff on IM websites – not all ‘buy,buy me’ stuff – I know we’re all tired of that. You mentioned the guard with a shotgun, and how Americans were not used to that. I’m an Englishman who went to work lakeside East Chicago, not too far from Gary,In. When I went to the bank to open an account downtown East Chicago, there was a security guy at the door with a big old shotgun … take care.

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Don’t worry, Derek…it’s going to be SELL, SELL, SELL in the next one! lol

      Yeah, we have guys with guns guarding banks in the US too…they’re just a bit more quiet about it, I guess. Plus, you’ll see this at almost EVERY ATM here, which is a bit odd.

      Still, I bet you don’t have taxi drivers opening their doors to snatch up dead chickens off the side of the road…I HAVE to have you beat there? :-)

  13. haha and this summarises why i missed it here so much … love the Philippines!

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Hey John!

      I’m sure you guys are collecting up some pretty crazy stories here too. I had a “less appropriate” story about a he-she and a dwarf I met and talked to in Manila…wild experiences, for sure!

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