TBH, having lived in Asia for over 6 years now and travelled over for three before that, I find the Philippines the easiest of the lot to live in. English is widely spoken, beer availble anywhere (unlike Malaysia), you don't get the active dislike of White Guys you get in Malaysia and there's none of the out and out xenophobia often encountered in Thailand. It's certainly easier from a work perspective.
However, they do have a way of complicating what should be easy tasks, witness the above process. It's also taken me since August to open a local bank account. Gawd know's why! And renting an apartment is worth a book in intself.
As to the RR, well my company have just been bought out by an American outfit who recommend (despite not one representative having been here) that we should all drive around in cars that look like they've just been dug up out of the ground to minimise the risk of car-jacking and kidnapping that they've read about in the papers. They'd have a bleedin' duck fit if they saw what I was smoking around in! I've only seen two others on the road so far, so they do stand out a bit.