Japan VS The Philippines: Which one do I prefer?

Since I always get this question a lot from new people I meet, old friends that I haven’t seen for the longest time, Filipino friends that I made in Japan and decided to move back to the Philippines. I’ve been wanting to write this post since I’ve moved back in Manila in 2015 but I kept on stalling it since I felt like I wasn’t fully decided (about the pros and cons of living in Japan and moving back to The Philippines yet). And now, maybe 2 years is enough?

Here’s a summary: I grew up in Manila, moved to Japan from 2009-2015, moved back in Manila from 2015~

Being in Manila for most of my life, moving to Japan is a dream come true for me. Living there for 6 years made me realise a lot of things especially the not so good ones. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard, “you’re already there, why did you comeback?” kind of questions but I’m sure some of you are also curious. I won’t answer it yet but I’ll share some of my experiences while living in Japan (pros and cons) first.

Living in Japan


Japan is generally safe, I usually travel alone to far places and I didn’t experience any form of harassment (unlike in Manila where my butt sometimes gets touched by random people)

My family lives there

You can live a decent life even if you have a relatively low salary (you can still eat 3x a day, travel to near places hahaha bullet train is expensive)

You won’t get judge for living a “luxurious” life even if you’re not that rich (even “poor” people in Japan are capable of buying second hand luxury goods)

It’s easier for me to follow a sustainable lifestyle – I can buy affordable and good quality second hand clothing, shoes, accessories; everyone follows the “how to throw the garbage properly” rule

The government provide a working health insurance (which you have to pay at about¥22,000 per month)

I can bike around without fearing my life

Commuting is not a hassle

Food is good and HEALTHY!

Four Seasons (my fave is Spring of course, my birth season)

I can dress-up, I can actually dress whatever I want without getting judged

Japanese snacks ARE SO GOOD!

If you accidentally lose your things, expect them to be at the police station or left wherever you place them (except for umbrellas haha)


Transportation is expensive (this is not for you tourists people, residents in Japan are not allowed to use the JR Pass)

Language barrier

You are tempted to buy lots of cute stuff!!! And pay for expensive cute cafes!!! (Target market = me)

You have to have a lot of money in order to be happy (at least for me, I felt the need to travel a lot to keep me sane)

I have to work with just 5 vacation days per year (this stresses me out, I always feel envious of my friends in Manila who could travel around Asia on a normal work week)

(Some) Japanese people lacks affection (your friends there are just like your acquaintances here)

You always have to wear make-up and bra or else you’ll be considered as “rude”

Living in Manila (The Philippines) 


Justin is here, my grandparents are here, my friends are here (and they all care for me)

Food is life (I love Filipino FOOD! I just hate that I gained so much weight here)

We have nice beaches and it’s like summer all year round

The people are super nice (especially in the provinces, I always feel at home)

I can live a simple life and still be happy

I can just easily take uber / grab / taxi / tricycle / jeep when it’s hot or I’m lazy (in Japan, no matter how hot/ hard it is, you just have to endure walking or biking)

Everything is relatively affordable

If I have enough guts, I can be whatever I want to be (which is harder in Japan since you need more money in order to live)


Commuting is hell (I hate the traffic so much it gives me anxiety attack sometimes)

Diet is hard

It’s also difficult to find safe places to exercise, jog or run

Some Filipinos are too judgemental and overbearing (it’s a challenge for me as a free spirit to be who I am without getting judgements from traditional-thinkers, especially when I pursued an unconventional path like blogging)

I can’t wear my winter clothes haha

There are much more to share but that’s it for now. To answer your question, I prefer living here in Manila even if living in Japan received more pros. Hope you understand that these are my personal experiences and biases. Haha! Share yours too.  

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  • Reply
    October 4, 2017 at 11:55 am

    I wonder if magka chance din ako to live 5 yrs max in another country. Feel ko mamimiss ko din ang Pilipinas after that, haha! 🙂

  • Reply
    October 7, 2017 at 8:00 am

    One thing I kind of dislike about living in Japan is that no matter how long you stay, there’s no guarantee of permanent residency and most especially citizenship (and getting a JP passport). I think it’s kinda unfair because after all the taxes you paid, all the work you did to prove yourself to the country at the end of the day you will always be considered an ‘outsider’. I still find myself jealous of people who after 5 years of staying in US, AUS, CANADA were granted of citizenship. It’s big deal cause your US/AUS/Canada passport allows you to travel the world without breaking a sweat MOST OF ALL it’s enough proof that the said country/government has already considered you as their own people/countrymen. Double citizenship also allows them to use their other passport enabling them to stay in their home country for as long as they want sans all the trouble (paying tourist tax/getting a separate tourist visa/withdrawal of your citizenship, etc) I bet you already know this.

    I could use all day to add more about this issue but just wondering, now that you did choose to stay in the Philippines, who will gonna pay for your taxes and health insurance contributions in Japan? I have many questions in mind but I think theyre too personally so I’d really understand if you won’t consider talking about them.

  • Reply
    October 20, 2017 at 2:46 pm

    Japan has a special place in my heart, but I’ve never considered living there permanently. Despite all the conveniences they have, your home country is still the best. It’s just that you have A LOT of things to complain about here. All we can do is wish for the best.

    Although I have to admit that if ever I get the chance to just blog about cute cafes (and never worry about living expenses), I might consider living there for good loljk. Target market = us.

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