Friday, April 27, 2007

The cost of living

Whenever I talk about Philippines to Americans, many of them seem to be fascinated by the cost of things in other countries. Americans believe that everything is cheaper overseas. It fits into their idea that we Americans are getting the short end of the stick. They love to believe they we are being taken advantage of by the powers that be.

They often ask me how much gasoline costs in Philippines. For a long time, I was unable to answer that question. I had never paid for gas I had no idea of the cost. This last trip, I made a point of finding out. In Dumaguete, the price of gas is 38 pesos per liter. After converting pesos into Dollars and liters into gallons, it comes out as $3.06 per gallon. Hardly cheap. As I write this, gas here in Georgia is $2.80 per gallon. In real dollars it costs less in the U.S.. When you take into consideration the length of time it takes to earn that amount of money in each country the difference is even more startling.

An American will work maybe 10 or 15 minutes to earn enough to pay for that gallon of gas. Some will work even less. No one will have to work 30 minutes. Compare to how long it will take the average Filipino to earn the more than 140 pesos. Many would have to work all day to earn that much.

Any wonder why there are so many motorcycles on this photo?

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