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From the Philippines to India, Ema Trinidad: a Filipino expat in Bangalore

By Banani

25 March, 2018

She is an entrepreneur who owns anti-aging spas in Bangalore. Her friends and clients call her the “Anti-aging Guru”.  Ema Trinidad who is also the founder of ExpatLife India shares her experiences being in Bangalore, India. Ema- Founder of Ema spa and ExpatLife India Ema- Founder of Ema spa and ExpatLife India   About 13 years ago, Ema moved to India along with her two children from Philippines to launch her anti-aging spa business. "It’s an anti-aging spa that specializes in facials and body treatments that make people “look younger and feel younger”.  I teach certification courses on Face Yoga", Ema spoke about her business.   Ema enjoys staying in India and loves the fact that India has ample opportunities for entrepreneurs. She likes the exotic colours and flavours of India; its ancient temples, breathtaking landscapes, the rich flavours, herbs and spices which she hadn't tried until she visited India. She embraces the warm friendships with Indians and also the hospitality she received from the Indian people. She is impressed with how the Indians value their family and their community. "I discovered and learned Yoga and Meditation from the place where it all started", she exclaimed.   Like most expats, Ema was no different when she reached India. She faced many challenges like lack of skilled manpower in the service industry where one needs to train the staff from scratch to make them competitive in the industry. "I got cheated by some Indian people who issued me cheques that bounced. Sometimes I feel that they took me for granted because I am a woman. You need a lot of patience to live in India. Everything takes time – applying for a bank account, getting a utility connection, getting something fixed, talking to a customer service representative on the phone who is not really listening to what you are saying because he is reading out of a manual", Ema informed.  Fun!! Fun!!   Since Ema is also an Asian, she didn't face culture shock and found easier to adjust. She finds Bangalore’s housing and Dining more expensive. However, Ema finds vegetables, Internet and mobile connection cheaper.   Talking about the transport system of India she thinks that it needs improvement. "Public transport in Bangalore has a lot of room for improvement.  Should be available 24X7.  Best options are Uber and Ola, but are more expensive. The rude auto or taxi drivers (some).    It’s not advisable for an expat woman to drive because of the way women drivers are regarded in general.  You can, but you need to toughen up and be ready to face the risks", she expressed. To save time and spare yourself from traffic, live closest to your workplace.  Otherwise, it’s advisable to live in a more central location which also allows you to have a good social life – Indiranagar and Lavelle Road", she added.   Ema thinks that Indians, Bangaloreans, to be specific are used to dealing with expats.  In general, expats are treated with utmost respect.  The issue only arises dealing with some uneducated rowdies who treat non-Kannada speaking people as outsiders and are threatened by expats' presence, as if they are making the resources and opportunities scarce for the locals.   The challenge is not only for Ema but also for her children. They faced cultural and food differences and had been victims of bullying just because they consume pork. Ema loves being in India Ema loves being in India   Ema misses the beautiful beaches, the shopping scene which provides her with more choices, her native food. Inspite of all the challenges Ema loves being in India and loves being in the company of Indian people. "I must admit that the quality of life maybe is not as good as my country because of the lack of proper infrastructure like 24X7 water and electricity, good roads, hygiene of public places, etc. But then, there is really no perfect society on this planet.  Each has its own drawbacks and imperfections.  India makes up for it in other areas like cheaper cost of living, etc. There is no perfect society anywhere in this world.  India is not perfect as well.  Come to India with a clear sense of purpose, focus on that, and be ready to adjust.  It will not adjust to you", Ema expressed.