Daryl is an imposing but calming presence when he enters a room. When he speaks, it’s with quiet authority. This is a man who generates respect. Perhaps that’s partially the reason why he was only the second ever foreigner in 119 years to be elected president of Silliman University Student Government, and also the first foreigner to hold the position of President of the League of Student Government for Negros Oriental.
Originally from Baltimore, Maryland in America, Daryl is now a confirmed Dumagueteno. He came here in 2014 after a successful, twenty year career in the United States Navy where he served as an Administration Officer. During his time in the Navy, he had exposure to many countries and cultures, but was particularly impressed when on shore leave at Subic Bay by his interactions with Filipinos. He intuitively felt a high level of respect for the culture and the people. So he decided to move to the Philippines to live. But where? He briefly considered Thailand, but the language barrier ruled that out as an option. Then an American friend suggested he live in Dumaguete which had become the primary city in the Philippines for foreigners to relocate. The city also had a long established reputation for being particularly welcoming to foreigners. Daryl completed his final paperwork with the Navy in America, and a week later, after saying goodbye to his family and friends, embarked on his new life in the Philippines.
The pleasant question he then had to answer was what would he, at the relatively young age of 38, do with the rest of his life. He was financially comfortable because of his pension from the Navy, but felt a compelling need to further his formal education. While in the Navy, he used his free time when at sea to study and received an undergraduate degree in International Relations with a focus on South East Asia.
Taking a long term view, Daryl decided to study with the goal of getting a PhD in clinical psychology. He used his GI bill to earn another undergraduate degree at Silliman University in Dumaguete. This was in 2015. Daryl is presently a graduate student at Silliman University where he is studying for his Masters in Counseling Psychology. After that, he will move on to get his PhD in Clinical Psychology. He will have several options then. He may open his own clinic here in Dumaguete or work with the United States Department of Veterans Affairs in Manila. That would seem to be an excellent option because of the combination of his prior naval experience, and his long long term residence in the Philippines that had created an insightful understanding of the culture.
Daryl had been told the cost of living here was low, but he was still surprised at how inexpensive it actually is in nearly every aspect. He was also appreciative of the way, in his words, “the people embraced me without reservation into their culture.” This seems to be a recurring theme foreigners experience when relocating to Dumaguete The warmth and generosity of local people is a bonus to the many other benefits they enjoy here.
Daryl’s face lit up when responding to my question about any regrets he might have regarding leaving America and relocating to Asia. “Absolutely not! I’m never going back. All I need or want is here.”
Daryl is an excellent example of an American veteran wisely using his GI bill to begin a new career and a new life in Dumaguete. He is a valuable addition to the Dumaguete community. Hopefully, in the future, more American veterans of his calibre will also come to Dumaguete and make their contribution to the quality of life here.