When I decided to work in the region, this is one place I just didn’t want to go. I must say, however, I was pleasantly surprised. The people are nice and Jakarta is a big, modern, city. Surabaya is a smaller city, more typical of other third world cities in the region. Travelling across country you will see a mass of disorganize humanity, living in conditions that are a stark contrast to the west. The food is surprisingly good, and security isn’t too bad, but you must stay alert. You can get beer and the locals mind their own business. Although I can see how that could change if the political circumstances were right. I can’t say I’d bring my family here to live, but I would holiday here, in some form or other.
In a similar manner to Indonesia, I just didn’t want to go there. Similarly I was surprised. Manila is not dissimilar to Jakarta, but smaller. In fact, the entire Philippines could almost be described just like that. The press of humanity is not as great as Indonesia, but the poverty is. It is, of course, a Catholic country, with a Spanish and America history. So it’s a bit of a cultural melting pot.
People are generally friendly, but they have no hesitation in asking you for money. They don’t pester you or beg so much. They just ask.
I haven’t been to any, but quite a number of friends and colleges have reported good experiences from resorts in the Philippines. If people are looking for an alternative beach holiday, then consider The Philippines. I’m not sure I would ask the family to live there, however.