Pinoy Macau: My Pinoy Life in Macau, China

Michelle Graune 

Since when have you been staying there? Can you recount why and how you moved there?

My husband and I were dating back in 2010 when he accepted a Dive Technician job in Macau. Since then, I have been visiting the country back-and-forth.

Tell us about where you live. What is the place famous for? Are there any notable landmarks, sites, etc. What do you like and not like about living there?

Macau is a small Chinese territory and is hugely known for its casinos and its Western cultural influence. It is an hour away by a ferry or 30 mins bus ride on the famous longest sea-crossing bridge from Hong Kong to Macau.

The Portuguese colonized the area until 1999, reflecting its vibrant mix of cultural influences in food, language, etc.

Macau is also known as “The Las Vegas of Asia,” because of its giant casinos, duty-free shopping, and entertainment that each hotel and casinos have to offer.

Macau’s popular landmarks include the Ruins of St. Paul Cathedral and A-Ma Temple.

For me, living in Macau is easy and straightforward, I guess because I have lived overseas and consistently traveled abroad. For food, you will find restaurants that offer a fusion of Chinese and Portuguese cuisine, as well as different buffets and western restaurants in hotels.

Tell us about your life there. What do you do for a living? What do you do for relaxation? Describe a typical week. What’s the typical lifestyle over there?

I’m a freelance writer, Makeup Artist, and hobbyist Photographer. I blog about my travels and share my experiences on my website. I also collaborated with different artists and photographers in Macau. In my free time, I go hiking on the Coloane trail or Grand Taipa. I also like doing makeup and taking portrait photos of my models. I find satisfaction seeing work during post-processing and the joy of the outcome from my models.

Is there a Filipino community there?

Yes, there are numerous Filipino communities and organization which can make one transition uncomplicated. There are several restaurants, such as Jollibee, The Road Macau, etc.

Rua da Alfândega, more known as São Lourenço to tourists, is referred to as the “Pinoy Street, where you’ll find Carenderias or Filipino food stalls.

What are the main cultural differences between there and the Philippines?

Macau has a diverse culture firmly fixed in Cantonese Chinese and a mix of influences from Portuguese. Both cultures pay great importance to family, which is similar in the Philippines. There are Roman Catholic Bishop and several catholic churches in Macau that you can attend a Sunday mass. The significant barrier for me living in Macau will be the language since indigenous languages spoken are Cantonese and Portuguese.

How were you able to adjust to the culture? Did you pick up anything new (practices, life lessons, etc). Do you still observe Filipino customs and traditions?

It’easy to adapt to the culture in Macau. I guess because our culture is diverse enough that we can quickly adapt and survive wherever we are in the world.

The fusion of both rich Chinese and Portuguese culture is visible in street signs, architecture, food, and more. Here are the eminent practices I have acquired:

  1. Drinking tea regularly at casual or formal events.
  2. Wearing crystals as charms. Feng shui is a traditional practice originating in China that uses energy forces to harmonize individuals to their environment.

What advice would you give to Filipinos who want to move there? Give at least 3 tips.

If you are an aspiring actor, photographer, or vlogger, different Filipino or local groups can help you fulfill your goals. I love the small knit community of artists in Macau where you can share your talent without judgment, considering each different culture and personality. I was involved with Click PH Production; it is a photography group of overseas Filipinos based in Macau.

Macau is still considered an expensive place to live in compared to elsewhere in Asia. I suggest living within your means.

There are several trails in Macau for active Filipinos where you can go walking and running on a sunny day. Most of the people here are into sports, and Macau holds different Marathons annually. Several public Olympic pools are also open to those who are into swimming.

 How about Filipinos who want to travel there? Also give 3 tips. 

Macau has an excellent public transport system compromise of taxis, buses, and LRT. If you are visiting Macau as a tourist, I would suggest utilizing the free hotel shuttle bus. It is less crowded than public transport, and you can get to your hotel and casino destination quickly. Public buses are equipped with Wi-Fi and USB ports for phone charging. There are also numerous Public Wi-Fi areas around the city.

Macau is very safe, however, visitors and Filipinos should exercise precautions when in crowded and touristy places and bring their passports with them as random checks happen once in a while. Conversing with locals is still a challenge for Filipinos and visitors. It’s wise to download google translate or use WeChat on your phone for a quick translation.

There are different attractions and places that you can visit in Macau other than casinos. It’s worth visiting Coloane Village to get a glimpse of Portuguese heritage and eat famous egg tarts while exploring. I suggest avoiding weekends and public holidays too. Sites, such as Ruins of St. Paul and Senado can get stressful.

What’s your message to Filipinos across the world?

It fills my heart when I see different Filipino communities or friends helping out fellow Filipinos during hard times. Our world-famous hospitality is also imminent in Macau, and it stands out.

I have found my bearings in Macau. I have followed my dreams with my husband’s support and loving every work I make, with dedication and passion. If things may not work for you, change your perspective, and refocus on the meaningful things and move forward and enjoy the journey.

Furthermore, Macau is worth the visit if you haven’t visited the country. It is rich in culture and has beautiful world heritage sites to see. You may feel you haven’t left the country because of the vast majority of Hotels and casinos from the Philippines. Plus, Macau is 2 hours away from Manila. I considered it a treat!

How has the pandemic changed living there for you? Has getting around/traveling become hard (especially considering that you moved out of the country)?

The first outbreak in January 2020 was challenging, and the government implemented a strict lockdown and encouraging masks. Incoming residents are asked to do 14 days of quarantine in specific hotels.

Because of the border shutdown, entertainment and hotels were greatly affected. Tourists are still banned from entering the country, and many have lost their jobs.

We moved to Germany in July 2020. Before that, we had to cross the border to Hong Kong to get a flight, and quarantined in a hotel before flying out. Staying in a room for 14 days is mentally, emotionally, and physically draining. One must stay positive all throughout and trust the journey during this time. Nurture and love ourselves a little bit more.

Up to this day, Macau has zero cases for six months. With the help of our beautiful friends, the transition was smooth.

Dorothy Panganiban Gomez

Since when have you been staying there? Can you recount why and how you moved there?

It was way back in 2003 when I first set foot here in Macau. I was a singer in a band when we got an offer to work in China. We moved and performed all over Mainland China for several years until we got a big break in one of the biggest bars here in 2007. It went well and the rest is history.


Tell us about where you live? What is the place famous for? Are there any notable landmarks, sites, etc. What do you like and not like about living there?

I live in the center part of Macau ‘Rua do Campo’, it’s behind the famous ‘Senado Square’ or ‘San Malo’. It is a paved town square and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Many large events such as festival celebrations, flea markets and performances were hosted on this square, lots of places to eat and shop as well.

What I like about Macau is its weather, it’s good. Aside from being able to feast on the best authentic Portuguese and Chinese cuisine, we also have huge variety and good quality of foods in supermarkets and restaurants.

I like how Macau is one of the safest cities in the world. Crime is very rare here, a minor vehicle accident can be a headline on local media. However, Macau is exceptionally small about 11.39 sq. miles, so it’s kind of crowded and the housing price is quite expensive.

Tell us about your life there? What do you for a living? What do you for a relaxation? Describe a typical week. What’s the typical lifestyle over there?

I am currently working in one of the biggest Casino/Hotels here in Macau in-charge of Security Control.

Although Macau is relatively small it is surprisingly diverse, it has the best quiet spots to unwind. Among my favorites are Guia Hill. Everyone also loves a comforting and relaxing massage after a busy day, and fortunately Macau is packed some of the loveliest urban spas.

Is there a Filipino Community there?

We’ve got a few wonderful Filipino organizations that make the living transition in Macau easy and assistance for us Filipinos is consistently offer by Philippine Consulate General in Macau .

What are the main Cultural differences between there and Philippines?

Although Macau is also a multi-racial society, Chinese and Portuguese are still their primary languages. Establishment signs and official documents are strictly written in Chinese and Portuguese as well. Families in Macau are what we term to as Nuclear Family where it mostly consists of 2 to 4 members compared to large Filipino families.

How were you able to adjust to the culture? Did you pick anything new (practices, life lessons, etc) Do you still observe Filipino customs and traditions?

It’s not hard adjusting to the culture here in Macau, as it is consisting of a free and easy society that embraces diversity in cultures and nationalities.  I adopted some of their beliefs relating to Chinese superstitions such as giving Red pockets on Chinese New Year as it spreads good luck and good health, and to keep the bad spirits away. I still observe Filipino customs and traditions too.

What advice would you give to Filipinos who want to move there?

  • For those moving here for work, know what you’re getting into. Understand what your contract states, visa conditions and negotiate compensations that will cover the new cost of living.
  • To easily fit in and save some money too, find out where the locals shop and then shop there too. You’ll feel more at home once you know you’re living the same way locals do and besides they do know where the best deals are at.
  • Transitioning is hard in the beginning so remind yourself that you are on a mission to find these life essentials! Macau is a very interesting place and you’ll surely enjoy your stay.

How about Filipinos who want to travel there?

  • Best months to visit are October till December (Autumn). Fine weather, comfortable temperature and little to no typhoon threat. January till February is dry but colder. April till June are the months for rainy season.
  • Macau is best known for its 5-star hotels, but there’s a lot of cheaper forms of accommodation around the city center. Budget hotels, guesthouses, and hostels can also be found on the outskirts of the historic core.
  • Visit the many museums of Macau and enjoy the many exciting shows on offer. A day trip is not sufficient to fully experience Macau and the great cultural highlights it has to offer so plan for a stay of at least 3 days or more.

What is your message to Filipinos across the world?

Always be proud that you’re a Filipino because wherever part of the globe we’re at we always give the world the best we have!


Useful Links: 

Philippine Consulate General Macau SAR AIA Tower, 251-309 Av. Comercial de Macau, Macau, +853 2875 7111,

Macau Government Tourism:

Click PH Production: