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  1. #1
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    Moving from Metro Manila to Puerto Galera

    Background:
    As some of you know, I was transferred to the Philippines from Singapore in 2015.

    It was not really a decision that I wanted at the time, but the company that I worked for decided they could no longer pay me the rates for a "Singapore" contract, and gave the choice of either terminating my contract or take a move to PH on a reduced contract.

    I had never been to PH before, but I was working with mostly Filipinos in Singapore.
    Many of the Filipinos that I'd work with here in PH had also been transferred back here from SG also as a cost cutting exercise, so I already knew quite a lot of them.

    Anyway, I came and did a reconnaissance mission for a month and then returned to SG to tell my boss that I'd accept the move.

    During that month I learned just how bad the Manilla traffic is, so decided 2 things:
    1) No car
    2) Live as close to the office as possible.

    To work here, they had to get me a Pre-arranged Employment Visa (9G), before I could start work.
    The company put me up in the Shangri-La Makati while I waited for my visa to be approved, and I waited and I waited, and I waited.
    After a month I told them that I'd fly to Sydney to visit my family and let me know when its OK to come back.

    After 2 weeks in Sydney.I returned and my visa was approved. So condo hunting started, and I managed to get a small one bed apartment directly over the road from the office.
    At least I had the best commute of anyone else in my company. And to top it off, the bar that we would visit after work was on the ground flour of my condo, so any staggering home was also a breeze.

    That lasted for 2 years until the company decided to move from their Makati office to a nice new building in BGC ( Bonifacio Global City ). Even though BGC borders with Makati, commuting between the 2 was never going to be an option, so I decided that I'd also relocate to BGC.

    (to be continued)

  2. #2
    Making people dance. :-)
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    Interesting story TM.

  3. #3
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    This is a video I took around my condo grounds and surrounding street about 5 years ago.
    It was taken just around sunset, so the bars and restaurants are still not very busy. It does liven up a bit later.
    This is just a small part of BGC, called Forbestown.

    The video wasn't really made to showcase the area. I had just bought a stabiliser for my gopro and this was just a first outing to test how it worked. It worked Ok for about 8 minutes, but if you last that long through the video, you'll see that it starts to not stabilize very well... I've since learnt that just turning it off and on will fix it for the next 8 minutes, so just now make a habit of filming shorter uncut segments.
    Anyway, even if the video gets a bit boring, the soundtrack is worth staying til the end !!


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    This will be great, bring it on. I look forward to it

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    Great choice of music. Green for that alone owed.

  6. #6
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    During my time here in Metro Manila, 2 significant events have taken place. (well 2 that I'm willing to write about just now)


    1) Along the way I have become we, as a very pleasant lady and I have become close and now live together.
    She and I both work in I.T, she's smart, fit, sexy, and I think a pretty good match for me.


    2) The Philippines has some labour laws to protect staff from being exploited due to companies only hiring contractors, and therefore denying them rights that are required for full time staff.
    The law states that after 6 months on contract, they should be converted to FTE.
    One of the local contractors reported the company to the Department of Labor and Employment for not employing him after 6 months. As a result, all contractors were terminated, or made FTE.


    How this affected me: They wanted to convert me also to FTE, but the available salary band was quite a bit bellow what I was earning as a contractor, so I knocked that back.
    The solution was to designate me as a consultant, rather than a contractor, but this also meant that I was banned from working alongside my colleagues in the office.


    So since well before COVID, I have been working remotely. I've been to the office twice since moving to BGC 7 years ago.


    This has been great. I love working from home.


    My partner also works from home, she's employed as a team leader for a technical group by a U.S company and so works Florida business hours. She leads team members who are located in the U.S, and the Philippines and also in Egypt and Spain.
    Not ideal working hours, but she earns a pretty good salary for a Filipino.


    While we've been together, we've done a fair bit of traveling together, both in and out of the Philippines.
    Within PH, we've travelled to Tagaytay, Palawan, the Banaue Rice Terraces, Subic, Bohol, Cebu, Baler, Dumaguete, Bulalacao and many other places.
    The island of Mindoro has become of of our favorite getaways within PH, as its relatively easy to get to (just avoid long weekends, Christmas & Easter in particular). My partner also comes from Oriental Mindoro and has family that live about 80 klm south of Puerto Galera.


    As we didn't own a car, for many of our trips within Luzon, we'd hire a car for a few days, but for visiting Mindoro, we'd catch a bus to Batangas Port, about 2 hours from home, and then ferry across to either Calapan or Puerto Galera, depending on exactly where we were headed.


    One our favorite spots to visit was a small isolated resort called Tuko Beach Resort. It is owned by a lovely German lady, and never had more than 10 guests staying at any time we ever visited.
A great place just to chill out for a few days.
    Even though the resort is on Mindoro, there are no roads going there. We’d usually overnight at White Beach in PG on both our way there and back. 



    Anyway, enough typing for today, here’s a video I took on one of our trips in 2018.

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    Cool stories. Looking forward to more.

    Do you have an apartment/place to stay already in PG? When I was in Sabang beach area (April 2019), I saw the Jack Daniel apartments. I think they accept daily & monthly rentals. The vlogger "Philly in the Phils" stayed there for a month, I think (as a test period to see if he+wife could live there.) His decision - good as a vacation spot but not to live. (same as mine)

    During my stay there (it was summer), there were several brown outs. The water pump for the resort was ran by electricity, so no power = no water. The resort had a genny but water pressure was low.

    Philly also experienced brownouts during his 1-month stay there. The apt complex had a genny and had a pool too. However, I think the power cut was a factor in his decision (to not live there).

    @BLD - I'll answer your Q from the other thread. There are many restos in the White Beach & Sabang areas. Many bars (including gogo bars) in Sabang. For my 2019 trip, I stayed in Sabang area. For my 1st visit (2015), I stayed at a place near Muelle port but visited both White Beach & Sabang areas.

    *******

    I think if one lived there, one must stay at a place with a generator or buy your own. Prices of gasoline & other goods are slightly higher than in Manila/ south Luzon, since goods have to be transported to the island.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TizMe View Post
    Wow. I watched that to the end. Thanks for sharing .your girlfriend Is a stunner and yes your to tall to fit in those bgc cars. Without knowing what it is you do I'm pretty sure Singapore would of been better for the $ but for overall quality of life I think the Philippines has done you a solid. Might not be everyone's cup of tea but i have spent a lot of time there as a tourist and working it's my fave country in the world . Of course I haven't been everywhere but it's stuck in my head. I can now fly perth to Manila direct from Perth, told the (.Lao) wife about this option and she was all smiles. Sure looks like you got all your ducks in a row time. Crack on

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by katie23 View Post
    However, I think the power cut was a factor in his decision (to not live there).
    Here in Bacolod, they're a way of life. Is it different up north?

    Nice video Tiz, I also watched it fully. It's gotta be hellashily expensive to live in BGC and since you both can work from anywhere, why not do it from the beach, especially from a beach where the cost of living is a bit lower. What kind of place are ya'll getting, an apartment or looking for a house?
    "I was a good student. I comprehend very well, OK, better than I think almost anybody," - President Trump comparing his legal knowledge to a Federal judge.

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    Are brownouts still a thing? I thought they would of had that under control by now? I can recall at one point they couldn't power all of Manila all at once. Had to ration the grid between areas..the more industrialised getting the bigger share. Under the Ramos admin he towed in big floating power stations on barges as a stop gap .which Kinda helped. Most people I knew figured it wasn't gonna get better anytime soon so bought generators. And they govt reduced the tax on em . Sorry to see the ole Brown out situation still persists

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    ^ Saturday there will be no electricity to my part of the island from 6am to 6pm and the electricity usually craps out for short periods once or twice a week.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by katie23 View Post
    Cool stories. Looking forward to more.

    Do you have an apartment/place to stay already in PG? .
    Thanks Katie. Yes, we signed a lease on 1st Feb in the Muelle area. We still have the condo in BGC until May, so we'll flit back and forth, taking more stuff each time we go.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BLD View Post
    Without knowing what it is you do I'm pretty sure Singapore would of been better for the $ but for overall quality of life I think the Philippines has done you a solid.
    Yeah, I'm glad now that I made the move.
    Yes, I took a 50% pay cut to come here, and the higher tax rates here wiped out another significant portion of my take home pay. But money is not everything, I still earn quite a lot more than my Filipino colleagues and live a comfortable life.

    My original intention was to stay for 2 years, and use it as a working holiday, then decide to stay or go somewhere else.
    Now, 9 years later, I think I'll be here for a while...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Topper View Post
    Here in Bacolod, they're a way of life. Is it different up north?

    Nice video Tiz, I also watched it fully. It's gotta be hellashily expensive to live in BGC and since you both can work from anywhere, why not do it from the beach, especially from a beach where the cost of living is a bit lower. What kind of place are ya'll getting, an apartment or looking for a house?
    Power cuts may become an issue for us. If so, I'll have to get some backup.
    I already have my computers & modem hooked up to APC UPSes, but if I need to get something a bit more powerful then we will.

    We spent 10 days in the apartment earlier this month and during that time we only lost power once for a total of about 5 minutes.

    BGC is definitely more expensive than living in the province. We were lucky, that after the initial 2 year lease on our condo here, I renewed for 5 years. In that 5 years, rents here have tripled, so we are luckily in relatively "cheap" accommodation.

    We'll definitely miss some things about BGC, but overall I think we'll be happier in the apartment in PG.
    Last edited by TizMe; 14-02-2024 at 08:03 AM.

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    @topper & BLD - in my area (I live south of Manila), we don't get regular brownouts. It's very rare - maybe during or after a typhoon. I think the Luzon area has good power supply from the grid. My apt building doesn't have a generator & the neighboring apts don't have either (to my knowledge).

    I've also seen another US expat vlogger who complained of regular brownouts in his wife's town in Occidental Mindoro (I think it was San Jose city). I don't watch him anymore so I don't know if their power situation has been resolved.

    My friend who's from Antique province in Panay island - their power is supplied by the local cooperative. When I visited there some years ago, there were brownouts since the supply wasn't enough. However, they've built some wind turbines in the mountains so maybe the situation is better now.

    ****

    @tizme - the Muelle area is good. It's near the port and a short walk from the local market, as I recall. Looking forward to more pics & stories.

    Btw, how are you guys going to transport your stuff? You'll be bringing them with you or will you ship them? Is the place that you got furnished or do you have to buy furniture?
    Last edited by katie23; 14-02-2024 at 08:08 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BLD View Post
    Are brownouts still a thing?
    We never experience brownouts here in BGC.

    My partner's family live in Oriental Mindoro, about 2 hours drive south of PG. They experience brownouts about 2 or 3 times a week. Average about 2 hours each time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by katie23 View Post
    @tizme - the Muelle area is good. It's near the port and a short walk from the local market, as I recall. Looking forward to more pics & stories.

    Btw, how are you guys going to transport your stuff? You'll be bringing them with you or will you ship them? Is the place that you got furnished or do you have to buy furniture?
    Yes, we fell in love with the Muelle area.
    I don't think any ferries come into Muelle or Sabang anymore, (not sure about White Beach) as they have built a ferry terminal at Balatero Port, which is about half way from Muelle to White Beach.

    Our apartment comes as fully furnished, but we have asked them to remove a few things as we want our own refrigerator, lazy boy chairs, bed, washing machine and a few other things.

    As we still have our condo in BGC until May, we'll be back and forth regularly and take some things each time we go.
    My partner's brother has a commercial truck driver's license, so when we do our final move we'll hire a van and get him to drive it for us.

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    A few other places on Mindoro we've visited.

    Bulalaco: 200 klms south of Puerto Galera.
    We really enjoyed visiting Bulalaco. Its only 75 klm from Boracay.
    As it doesn't have an airport or as easy access as Boracay, it also doesn't have the crowds of tourists that Boracay has.

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    ^^Ooh, I didn't know that they don't have ferries to Muelle port anymore. But then my last visit was Aptil 2019. I think our trike driver said that they were building a new port at that time - prolly the Balatero port.

    Thnx for answering my Q re: your furniture. Refrigerator, washing machine etc are big pieces - you'll prolly need a truck to transport those - and maybe need permits? I dunno, but check it out. I know that one can hire big or small trucks from Lalamove and Transportify. Good luck on the move.
    *****

    Re: Bulalacao - I've been to Bulalacao port, but not to the beach. From Caticlan port, we rode the ferry to Bulalacao port, then rode a minivan from Bulalacao to Calapan port. It was in the middle of the night/ early morning. I travelled with my friend ftom Antique. All of us in the minivan were asleep/ half asleep. I woke up a bit and during that time, I saw that we were almost hit by a bus which was travelling in the opposite direction. I told my friend abt our near accident when we were back in Batangas port. (travel was a cutting trip - Caticlan to Bulalacao, B to Calapan, ferry at Calapan to Batangas port, bus from Batangas to Manila - we didn't have direct tickets)

    After that incident, I vowed that never again will I travel by minivan in the middle of the night!

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    We spent St Valentines Day in 2017 in Sablayan.

    To get there, we'd travelled from Batangas to PG, then banka to Tuko Beach.
    Spent 2 nights there and then another banka to Abra de Ilog. From there, a bus trip to Sablayan.
    Even though Abra de Ilog is only 20 klm from Puerto Galero in a straight line, the road trip between the two is 440 klm, so much faster to go by boat.

    They are in the process of building the road between the two places, but no idea when it will be completed.
    I have been told that a 4 wheel drive can negotiate the track during the dry season, but there is a few rivers that need to be crossed. Maybe I'll give it a go next dry season...

    Anyway, from Sablayan we took a banka to Pandan Island and stayed there for a few days.
    The accommodation on Pandan Island was very basic bamboo hut, and electricity supply wasn't very good, but it was a great place to unwind for a few days.


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    Quote Originally Posted by TizMe View Post
    A few other places on Mindoro we've visited.

    Bulalaco: 200 klms south of Puerto Galera.
    We really enjoyed visiting Bulalaco. Its only 75 klm from Boracay.
    As it doesn't have an airport or as easy access as Boracay, it also doesn't have the crowds of tourists that Boracay has.
    Wow. That was amazing you've really lifted the bar of teakdoor trip reports. Most of us are to damn lazy to post up pictures let alone quality video. Bulalaco sounds interesting . I seem to recall my first trip to Puerto when I decided to leave and head for boracay was a jerpney to the other side of mindoro then a banca to panay? I think then another banca
    That was way way before boracay became tourists. I would look with anticipation for the banca with the ice turning up so the beer got cold

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    Quote Originally Posted by katie23 View Post
    Refrigerator, washing machine etc are big pieces - you'll prolly need a truck to transport those - and maybe need permits? I dunno, but check it out. I know that one can hire big or small trucks from Lalamove and Transportify. Good luck on the move.
    We'll hire my partner's brother to handle all that... he is constantly back and forth between Batangas and Calapan, driving trucks and he told us he can borrow one from his friend.

    Quote Originally Posted by katie23 View Post
    I travelled with my friend ftom Antique. All of us in the minivan were asleep/ half asleep. I woke up a bit and during that time, I saw that we were almost hit by a bus which was travelling in the opposite direction. I told my friend abt our near accident when we were back in Batangas port. (travel was a cutting trip - Caticlan to Bulalacao, B to Calapan, ferry at Calapan to Batangas port, bus from Batangas to Manila - we didn't have direct tickets)


    After that incident, I vowed that never again will I travel by minivan in the middle of the night!
    A few weeks ago I drove at night between Calapan and Victoria. The experience was terrifying, I'll endevour to never drive that road at night ever again.

    Apart from vehicles on the wrong side of the road heading toward me, one of the scariest things is that so many tricycles and jeepneys have no lights or even reflectors.
    On a dark night, traveling even at 60 kph, coming around a bend to find one traveling at 20 kph right in front of me.

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    For Valentines in 2020 we travelled back to Puerto Galera and stayed at the Infinity Resort.
    Its about 2 klm west of White Beach

    It was owned by the Mayor of PG at the time, but I heard recently that it has been sold.

    From memory, I think that inter-island travel restrictions had just been relaxed not long before we visited.


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    I do seem to have wandered off the original plan for this thread, moving from Metro Manila to PG... but I'll get there eventually

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