Cover The Metro Manila skyline / Luca Bucken (Unsplash)

Tatler asks seven foreign friends what the love about the country and what makes them stay

1 / 7

Arthur Tselishchev, Ukrainian

What do you do in the Philippines?

[I am an] interior designer, artist, fashion photographer, model and a DJ.

How long have you been living in the Philippines?

Six years.

What do you love most about the Philippines?

I just always feel this magnetism and so many signs kept showing me that I belong here. I do believe that everything has a reason and all the events in my life for the last couple of years have led me here—as well as by the nicest people in the world. So, if I really need to choose one thing that I love most here, it would be the people. (They are) extremely creative, progressive and open-minded.

2 / 7

Vanessa Matsunaga, Brazilian-Japanese

What do you do in the Philippines?

I am an entrepreneur, model and my biggest job yet, I am a mum of two little kids. My hands are full

How long have you been living in the Philippines?

I’ve been living in the Philippines since July 2009. I came here to stay for only three months and I fell in love with the country. I also met my husband here.

What do you love most about the Philippines?

I love the Philippines for so many reasons. I love the people, their kindness, compassion, sense of humour and I admire how passionate for life everyone is.

3 / 7

Alexander Grenz, German

What do you do in the Philippines?

I came as part of an acquisition of Allianz to enter the insurance market here. After three years as COO, I was offered to succeed as president and CEO.

How long have you been living in the Philippines?

I have been living here for almost five years. I moved here in July 2016.

What do you love most about the Philippines?

Mostly because of its traffic and a lot of inefficiencies, the Philippines for me was just love at second sight having spent some years in Hong Kong and Singapore. But the country grew on me over time as I travelled around and saw the beautiful islands, as I got to know the different regions, their people and culture. It is a country of tremendous potential in the Asean region and I’m happy to see progress even though the pandemic has brought new challenges. Lastly, as a European, I love the weather here. It’s sunny all year round and the humidity is more bearable than in other parts of Southeast Asia.

4 / 7

Dani Aliaga, Spanish

What do you do in the Philippines?

I am in the food and beverage industry with several outlets around Metro Manila. Ever since I set foot here in 2006, I have always been involved in the restaurant business.

How long have you been living in the Philippines?

I arrived in the Philippines in 2006. I remember my arrival so well. As soon as I left the airport, on my way to Pasig, I realised this was going to be my new home. Fast forward, 15 years later, here we are and looking forward to 15 more years in this beautiful country.

What do you love most about the Philippines?

The Filipino people. The smiles, the genuine hospitality, the love for family and lastly, the islands. I can’t get over the raw beauty you find when exploring the islands. I am in love with this country.

5 / 7

Paolo Azzola, Italian

What do you do in the Philippines?

Chief operating officer of PayMaya (an online payment platform).

How long have you been living in the Philippines?

Six years.

What do you love most about the Philippines?

(I love) how endearing and joyful Filipinos are.

6 / 7

Gilles Hage, French

What do you do in the Philippines?

I recently co-founded Rebel, an app that combines the best of fitness, food and care to help every Filipino live a healthier life.

How long have you been living in the Philippines?

Six years.

What do you love most about the Philippines?

The kindness, generosity and creativity of Filipinos.

7 / 7

Ashleigh Rye, Australian

What do you do in the Philippines?

I specialise in events and experiential marketing—but I wear many hats. Right now, I am currently a freelance creative director for BLK Cosmetics, a marketing and event consultant for the beautiful Palacio de Memoria and work closely with my event partner, Raymond Gutierrez, who was also my co-producer for the Halloween party, “Opulence, Let Them Eat Cake”. Aside from that I also conceptualise and execute digital campaigns for many local and international brands.

How long have you been living in the Philippines?

I’ve been living in the Philippines for ten years.

What do you love most about the Philippines?

The warm and friendly disposition of the Filipino people and of course, the beaches.