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  1. #26
    Thailand Expat misskit's Avatar
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    My husband and I worked in Mindanao for a few months. We stayed around the Philippine Eagle Center in the mountains northeast of Davao City. There was never a hint of danger there. He would venture out to Zamboanga because he looked like a local. I stand out like a sore thumb so gave Zamboanga a pass.

  2. #27
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    @joe - there are areas which are generally safe & unsafe in PH for tourists. If you intend to come for a visit, I suggest to stick to the touristy parts. They'll have infrastructure for tourists like accoms, food, transport, coast guard or police presence, people speak some English, etc. Maybe make a thread abt it and ask for suggestions from the forum.

    @stumpy - I agree. Many areas in the western part of Mindanao which are unsafe for tourists/ foreigners, esp if white (because they think white ppl = rich = can be kidnapped for ransom).

    @simon - it's not just the Muslim rebels that you have to be leery of. There are also the members of the NPA (New People's Army) which is the armed grp of the CPP (Communist Party of the Phils). Sometimes the military has fights vs the NPA. I remember last year, one mountain was closed off to tourists/ hikers because there was fighting between the govt soldiers & the NPA.

    This was just in Rizal province, which is adjacent to Metro Manila. There's a reason why foreigners in PH stick to the cities and suburbs, esp if one is alone (no wife/ GF or family). I suggest to stick to a city, suburb or town center first. Then if you dislike it & you're more familiar with the area, then you can look for more rural places. (I can tell you of more stories of hikers who've had encounters with the NPA.)

    @misskit - your husband was Japanese, so he could pass for Chinese-Filipino or other Filipinos who are mixed race. Zamboanga peninsula is hit or miss. I've heard that most expat vloggers in PH give it a pass, esp if they're out on motorbikes to make vids/ vlogs.

  3. #28
    CCBW Stumpy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by katie23 View Post
    @stumpy - I agree. Many areas in the western part of Mindanao which are unsafe for tourists/ foreigners, esp if white (because they think white ppl = rich = can be kidnapped for ransom).
    Yep that was what the family told us years back. Easy mark. There are far better and many more locations to see in PH versus putting yourself at risk. My daughters get occasional pics from their cousins and it still looks the same as it was when I visited years ago.

  4. #29
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    Simon43's Avatar
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    Dang! Just when you think you've find a nice location, some terrorists come along and spoil everything...

  5. #30
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    ^yup. You have to be careful of the armed Muslim groups and the CPP-NPA, who hide in the mountains/ rural areas. I suggest that for your 1st year, stick to the suburbs or a known/ developed beach town. I've PM'd you a list of possibles.

    This is a tour of a 2-storey townhouse. Rent is 185 usd or 10k pesos. A similar one near my parents' house (in my hometown) - rent is 11k (~200 usd). I've seen in another expat vid, similar size, rent is 19k (~340 usd). So it depends on location & if the building is new, finishes made (tiles, fixtures, etc).

    Most apartments are rented out without furniture & appliances, so you'd have to buy your own. There's an IKEA in Metro Manila and you can buy from their site online, if you want to go on that route. There's also Lazada & Shoppee. Terms for renting is usually 2 months deposit + 1 month advance (or 1 month dep + 1 month advance).


    ^just view at 1.5x or 2x speed

    I've seen several expat vloggers who live in this kind of attached townhouse/ apartments, as these are commonly available. Detached houses are there but you'll have to look harder.

    This vlogger couple was a bit different in that it's the husband who's Filipino and the wife is white. Usually it's foreign guy, local wife (same as in TH). They met while the guy was living & working in the US.
    Last edited by katie23; 14-05-2024 at 11:53 AM.

  6. #31
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    Another apartment tour. This one rents out at 7,000 pesos or ~125 usd (2022 price - it may be higher now). Pros: it's cheap, apt looks OK, building is new, it's near the road & stores. Cons: no balcony/ terrace and it's a large apt block - you'll have many neighbours, many of whom will be nosy. Lol. Neighbours may have babies/toddlers, noisy kids and/ or dogs, karaoke singing. Apt doesn't have its own entrance/ gate. If you're a white foreigner (you'll stick out) and/or an introvert, I think this isn't for you.


    View it at 1.5x or 2x speed

    Just showing what the usual options are for long-term accomodations in PH (aside from condos in big cities.) Detached houses with garden may be available but they're usually pricier & you'd have to look harder. (As I've said earlier, it's more cost effective for a landowner/ landlord to build a block of apartments than single detached houses.)

    Edit: I think the vlogger couple eventually chose the 1st apartment that I showed. Pros: separate entrance/ gate, has its own small front yard, with balcony, fewer immediate neighbours (I think only one of four apartments in that block).
    Last edited by katie23; 14-05-2024 at 03:15 PM.

  7. #32
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    i worked for 1 year in luzon and never felt my security was at risk.But we did have one project in the cagayan valley where a Canadian was shot and killed while in the helicoptor and the new peoples army were blamed but it turned out to be a kid with a gun. ater i was posted to mindanao for a year which felt a bit wilder but we were on the Catholic side of mindanao around butuan city , cagayan, surigao, on one of our camps we had datus as security guards but not in the field once we got a visit from a group claiming to be the NPA they aske a bunch of questions then left, sometimes you have to pay these guys not to cause any shit .progressive tax they call it but we didnt get asked for any . i quite enjoyed mindanao interesting part of the philippines
    Last edited by BLD; 14-05-2024 at 03:37 PM. Reason: Forgot some stuff
    Ultra low net worth individual ULNWI .no hab hasip.hasip Thai Chinese partner. No bragging rights. So sad.

  8. #33
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    ^yeah the eastern part of Mindanao is the Christian/ Catholic side and it's generally safer. Dipolog city (which Simon is interested in) is in the western, Muslim part of Mindanao. I think Kumander Daot (a young Welsh guy married to a Filipina, he's a vlogger - for those who don't know) lives on the eastern part of Mindanao.

    Re: "progressive tax" of the NPA, sometimes some members go down from the mountains and into the towns. I've heard that they sometimes get stuff (for free) from sari-sari stores (mom & pop stores) like tinned sardines, instant noodles, washing powder, shampoo, etc. If you're a small business owner, having those taken without payment is equivalent to several days or weeks of profit.

    A friend of mine, she said that during the town fiesta in her grandma's place (a small town in Antique province, Panay island) - some NPA members just arrived at her grandma's house and ate some of the fiesta food, then left.

    So yeah, these things can happen in very rural communities.
    Last edited by katie23; 14-05-2024 at 04:49 PM.

  9. #34
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    Another apartment tour, this time from Dumaguete city. It's a 1-BR flat, 21 sqm. Rent is 13,000 pesos (~235 usd).

    I think it's expensive for the price & size. But then, it's in Dumaguete, which is expat central. Pros: has 24-hour security guard, apt complex has its own gate, parking space available for car or motorbike, semi furnished. Cons: it's small, a bit pricey, a bit far from the beach. Roosters owned by some neighbours (you'll hear them in the vid). Accdg to Tizme, traffic in Dumaguete is almost as bad as in Metro Manila. Dumaguete has an airport (local flights) and a sea port.



    OK, I'll stop with the apt vids. I just showed what's usually available for long-term rent in PH.

    Edit: oops, seems like access has been restricted by the vid owner. If you want, you can watch it on YT. Channel is "TooMuchTimeonmyHands65".
    Last edited by katie23; 14-05-2024 at 04:53 PM.

  10. #35
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    Katie, thanks for the videos. To be honest, I have zero interest in living in an apartment, although I might well be 'forced' to do so initially on arrival.

    I will have to consider my options

  11. #36
    Thailand Expat misskit's Avatar
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    If finding a free standing house is anything like it is here in Thailand, getting out there and cruising around an area you like, looking for rental signs, is the way to go. People renting out inexpensive little houses rarely have to advertise.

  12. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Topper View Post
    I'd seriously recommend Bantayan Island. Beautiful beaches, nice clean water and with starlink and a 4g connection, you're golden.
    But, the real question, Topper, is: Does it have enough lunatic women to keep Simon43 satisfied?

    I worry in this regard because even though I've only visited the country once, I have met the people here and there (around the world), and the ladies have seemed quite level headed, nowhere near the level of insanity as the Thai ladies that Simon43 is attracted to. Katie might tell me I'm wrong...
    Cycling should be banned!!!

  13. #38
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    Don't worry...Flippers can lose their shit too.

  14. #39
    Thailand Expat misskit's Avatar
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    Ha! I’ve met just one Filipina who was a complete nutter. She lives in California so Simon doesn’t have to worry about meeting up with her.

  15. #40
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    ^as with every nationality, there are sweet and sour ones.

    Our member Takeovers has been married to his Filipina wife for 30+ years (they live in Germany). Davis Knowlton has been married to his wife 20+ years; Topper 10+ years, so all have long marriages. Stumpy was married to a Filipina but they divorced, so he balances the equation.

    @simon - Misskit is correct that the best way to look for your ideal rental place is "boots on the ground". Look for rental signs around the vicinity & via word of mouth.

    I think after you've done your exploration trips & have chosen a town/ city, it's best for you to rent an Airbnb or a place/ resort which offers monthly rates while you look for more permanent lodgings.

    If in Puerto Galera, I know of Badladz apartments (near Muelle port) & Jack Daniels apartments (near Sabang beach).

    I stayed at Badladz Dive Resort and visited their sister resort, the Badladz Beach resort. Their apartments are nearby. Residents of the apartments can use the pool & beach area of the resort. Owners are a Canadian guy & Filipina wife.

    Puerto Galera Resorts | BADLADZ Beach Resort Puerto Galera

    For Jack Daniels apartments, I saw them only from the road but based on the vid, the apartments are OK. The entrance of the apt complex is ~500m to Sabang Beach (public). The complex has its own swimming pool & diesel generator. Vid was taken in 2022 so prices may have increased.


    ^Just watch at increased speed

    Disclaimer: I'm not affiliated with either resort/apt

    If you go to the towns/ cities that I've shortlisted, they're a bit touristy so they should have Airbnbs or resorts which agree to monthly rates.

    Landlords in PH (for apartments) usually don't require a 6-month or 1-year lease. You can rent month to month. If you'll get an unfurnished place, I suggest to buy your appliances from a local store because of the warranties & repairs. For your furniture, you can buy from local stores or online (Lazada, Shoppee, IKEA). The good thing abt IKEA furniture is that they can be assembled/ disassembled in case you need to move (example: bedframe).

  16. #41
    CCBW Stumpy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by katie23 View Post
    Stumpy was married to a Filipina but they divorced, so he balances the equation.
    Hey now Katie, we were married 21 years. So I think I am on the better side of that equation. We just grew apart and wanted different things so we went our separate ways but are still great friends to this day.

  17. #42
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    I first went to the Philippines when I was 19 as a tourist loved it. Mostly because of the girls being so damn cute and lovely I was a repeat returner because my lifestyle was exploration in Australian deserts so I would work 6 months and fook of to the Philippines for 6 months returning to Oz to rinse/ repeat and give my liver a rest. Later on I had the opportunity to work there for a couple of years which was the best of both worlds. I met women from the farm to.the factory to the office. All were delightful and the young BLD was tempted to get his ass nailed to the cross but fortunately the big head told the little head. Hey dude. There's still more travelling and adventure to be had. So that's what I did. If you ask me do Filipino girls make great wives I would say they probably do. If you asked a Filipina do aussie males make good hubby's they might say probably not. Anyway I remained a Bi'nata ( katie is correct?) for
    economical reasons .and I was having way to much fun to get married. If the Philippine department of ztourism would like to get in touch I can confirm its more fun in the Philippines.

  18. #43
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    @stumpy - wow, 21 years! That's good innings for a marriage, I think (and yeah, some ppl just grow apart). Great to know that you're still good friends w/ your ex-wife.

    @simon - another thing to consider in choosing a town will be its proximity to an Immigration office. When you arrive in PH, you'll be given 30 days (free) visa on arrival as a UK citizen. For your 1st extension, you can do it online (for a fee, of course) and you'll be given 29 days. AFAIK only the 1st extension can be done online.

    Subsequent extensions must be done in person, during office hours & Mondays to Fridays only. (don't know if that will affect your teaching time). I've heard that most offices only give 6-month extensions to those who are married to PH citizens. For single persons, you'll only be given 2-month extensions. Disclaimer: govt policies may have changed.

    Btw, if you stay more than 60 days in PH, you'll be required to get (and pay for) an ACR I-card. (Alien Certificate of Registration Identification card) It's an ID card, same size as a credit card. Another one of the fees that you'll have to pay as a foreigner. Some ppl call the country Fee-lippines.

    The towns/ cities that I've shortlisted - I've checked and there are nearby immigration offices (maybe 30 min to 1 hour drive).

  19. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by BLD View Post
    Anyway I remained a Bi'nata ( katie is correct?) for
    economical reasons .and I was having way to much fun to get married. If the Philippine department of tourism would like to get in touch I can confirm its more fun in the Philippines.
    Yes, you're correct.
    single male = binata
    single female = dalaga

    Good onya for remembering many Tagalog words from your time here in PH.

  20. #45
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    It all comes back to me after a few red horses I tried not to be manyakees

  21. #46
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    ^Lol. Red Horse and speaking a foreign language do seem to go well together.

    (FYI for the others, "manyakis" = maniac, in the pervy/ sexual sense)

    ++++++

    @simon - BTW, I hope you have the funds to self-insure when you make the move to PH. Here, if in private hospitals, no money = no treatment. If you have an accident/ medical emergency and you're brought to a private hospital (because it's the nearest), the hospital will first ask you (or your companion) for a security deposit. If no money, they may turn you away & tell you to go to a govt one (meanwhile, you might be bleeding or having a heart attack/ stroke). If it's a govt hospital, they'll treat you for free but you (or your companion) may have to go out & buy needed stuff like medicines. Usually, there's a pharmacy near a hospital.

    If you're hospitalized and need assistance for bodily functions, it's expected that your family/ companion will do that for you. Nurses can't/ won't do it for you because they already have a lot of patient's to take care of. They're overworked & underpaid. They don't have time to change your bedpan. I've heard that for some hospitals, nurse: patient ratio is 1:25 or 1:30. In western countries, it's 1:7 (for general care) and 1:3 or 1:2 (for ICU). That's why most Filipino/-a nurses go abroad for work after they've gained some local work experience. Lots of Filipino nurses in the UK, Aus & US health systems.

  22. #47
    Thailand Expat misskit's Avatar
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    ^ Will Simon be able to buy health insurance for himself in the Phils?

  23. #48
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    If he's on the SRRV (retirement visa) or marriage visa, he has the option to pay for Philhealth (govt health insurance). It doesn't cover all, it's more of a discount. Philhealth pays 20 to 25% of the hospital bill and it depends on the illness. For the rest, the patient will have to pay out of pocket or by a private insurance (if he has it).

    There are many private health insurance companies available, like AXA, Sun life (of Canada), AIG (of USA), Prulife UK, Manulife, etc. As with other health/ life insurance, the premiums will depend on one's age & type of coverage. A foreigner guy that I know uses AXA but bought the minimum coverage. He's on tourist visa & went to Aus last year to do a visa run & have surgery. If one is on tourist visa, one is not required to have travel or health insurance.

    Life isn't all sunshine & rainbows in PH. We have typhoons, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, power cuts in some areas, sh*tty food (accdg to others, Lol) and a bad healthcare system. The pros are: cost of living is relatively lower than Thailand's (depends on lifestyle), one can stay for long on a tourist visa (though govt may change that), most ppl speak English and Simon's pension will be indexed.

    +++++
    Btw, there's a bill/proposal in the works for a digital nomad visa in PH, similar to other countries' DN visas. I think the financial requirements will be less for that, versus the retirement visa (10k or 20k usd deposited in a PH bank). For DN visa, one has to prove that he has regular monthly income from out of the country. It will be a yearly visa, so can save time & effort on visa renewals. Maybe Simon can avail of that if he so desires (and maybe by then, the bill would've been approved into a law).
    Last edited by katie23; 16-05-2024 at 09:01 AM. Reason: Info on digital nomad visa

  24. #49
    Thailand Expat misskit's Avatar
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    ^ There are some mighty fine doctors and hospitals in the Manila region. How about on other islands?

  25. #50
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    ^it depends on which island/ province/ town he chooses.

    There are good hospitals & doctors in Metro Manila, Cebu, Davao. Maybe Angeles city, Iloilo and Bacolod cities too. For the rest, I can't really say - I don't have enough info.

    Davis got treated for stroke at Asian Hospital, which is in the southern part of Metro Manila. (He lives south of Manila, and that hospital accepted his US-based insurance). Some foreigners go to St Lukes, Makati Medical or Medical City (big private hospitals) which also accept foreign insurers.

    From what he's said, Simon isn't interested in big city living and I can understand that. However, I'd advise him to stay relatively near a city (30 min to 1 hour) so that he's near hospitals (and an Immigration office).

    I've heard of a foreigner who had a motorbike accident. I think he was well enough to drive himself to the hospital. The hospital staff didn't cater to him until he called his friend and his friend paid the security deposit. This was in/ near Dumaguete city (expat central).

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