UU Cost of Living in the Philippines

Your UU ministers and other professional staff make about as much per month as I spend gassing up my 1998 VW Jetta – about $40/month.  Some make more, wage scales top out at about $200/month for the President of the UUCP.  Before you think, "its the exchange rate", or "everything is cheaper in the Philippines," know this –

None of the Filipino UU’s I know, with the exception of the new
"middle-class" outreach ministry members in Quezon City/Metro Manila,
even frequent the cafe’s, coffee shops, bookstores and other cultural
hang-outs that UU’s in the USA and Canada are typically found.  No punk
shows for the youth, no after service espresso and scones, no arts show.

Dumaguete, headquarters of the UU Church of the Philippines for
nearly 60 years, is an up and coming college town.  Something like
Madison Wisconsin.  It is vying to be the educational capitol of the
Visayas (sorta like the Midwest of the USA).  It has a number of
growing universities, and a fine reputation for its quality of life.
There are some fantastic eateries and progressive thinkers.  My family
personally loves Sans Rival Cafe, and their delicious buttery creamy
crispy Silvanas.  Yet these elements of life – a good college
education, and tasty treats, are generally beyond the cost of living
for members and staff alike in the UU church. 

Change is coming slowly to the UUCP.  The younger generation is
going to college in greater numbers, more are becoming professionals.
However more are also moving away for work, beyond the island of
Negros, beyond the Philippines in general.  Nurses travelling to Canada
and Europe, housekeepers going to the Middle East and Japan, and so
forth.  There is a real brain-drain happening here.

The UUCP (www.uuphilippines.org) is understanding their context more
and more, and embarking in a 5 Year Strategic Planning Process.
Particularly relevant with the ending of dedicated annual UUA support,
which amounts to about 80% of their annual budget (about $20,000/year)
supporting a broad range of spiritual and social enterprise programs.


One response to “UU Cost of Living in the Philippines

  1. WOW, that is so interesting. Now I am curious as to the UU economic realities in other countries. I suppose I kind of always assumed that in other countries it was much like the US… upper middle class/ upper class.

    Are the congregations in the Phillippines growing? And if so why do you think that might be when we have such a difficult time drawing the economically disadvantaged here in the states?

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