Poor experience searching for a Philippines home from USA

So, I cannot help but notice my poor experience searching for a home in Philippines.  Almost without exception real estates and residence development ignore my inquiry.  They won't return my emails or request to connect for more information.  I'm wondering if anyone has experienced the same?
Also noticing most residence developers are advertising fancy painting of model houses but when we look it up on google map there's not even single house built yet.  In the most recent case, we sent a relative to view the site.  His pictures showed the empty lots were over grown with weeds.  Stuff like that won't even get off the ground in USA.

You might want to do your search in country, most everything online is unbelievable or nonexistent.  Do you know where you want to live?  That would be a start.  Wasted a few days checking out Tagaytay, was difficult to find what we wanted, agents kept trying to change our minds.

Exactly, this is the same conclusion we are coming to.  We are searching south of Tagaytay in the Lipa City, Batangas area.  Tagaytay would have been nice if not so expensive.  The agents, at least, the ones I tried to contact are very elusive.

Hello,
The house where I live in subdivision in Philippines was built 5 years ago, though Google map show only Jungle. Don't compare USA and Philippines. Its a different worlds.

Thanks for the input.  Yes, I'm aware there are big differences between the Google map images and the actual physical development.  But my wife's brother took several pictures in person which confirmed that the lot was on a dirt road overgrown with weeds.  Interestingly, a few days later the Google image was updated which showed several construction trucks and bunch of construction materials unloaded.  So yes, we decided to give this place a chance and buy it.  Thanks.

I bought a Condo in Robinson Mall for future rent and income.
I will pay monthly fee (Installment - 20 percent of the Condo price) for the 5 years until they finish construction. They they gonna construct it in 5 Years! Then I need to pay remaining 80% (or take credit in a bank) and only then I can live in this Condo.
When you buy property in Philippines - you should confirm if its built or will be build in a future.
:)

That's very interesting, congratulations and thanks for sharing.  Yes, indeed, we sort of figured out at this point what to buy.  Ours, similar arrangement like you.  We have 14 months to complete down payment.  Then they'll immediately begin building the house which will take only 8 months.   I found Google's map very helpful keeping track of construction on site.  Although the maps are not updated frequently it is good enough to see periodical changes.  So the first time I checked the map there was nothing. A week later several construction trucks with building materials showed up.  These are probably for people who already completed down payment. Best regards.
Peter

Many garages are bigger in the states than the doll houses available here in developments.

True, development houses tend to be smaller but the prices are also smaller and in many cases much more appealing designs.

Easier to keep clean, no money spent on extra furniture.

Peter,

You sound like a real estate agent. You say "tend" to be smaller, we've looked at houses in the 4/5 million range and they are small and cute. These houses don't have room for a 55" flat screen TV in the living room or a full size refrigerator in the kitchen. They have no closet space or enough counter & cabinet space in the kitchen. You have to get in the 9 million range to get anything decent. With financing  5 million down the development wants 17 % interest.

I'll just keep looking

Hahahaha,

No need for extra furniture, I would have to sell most of my furniture because there would be no room for all of it.

Well, a long, long time ago I was a real estate agent :-)
However, with that said, there are no perfect solutions.  Yes, the houses in the developments are smaller and it tends to get pricey as we move up to more comfortable space arrangement.  My current bedroom here in the states is (smaller) only 50% of the size of my previous residence but the cost of living is 50% higher than previous.  Things are getting ridiculously expensive in the states and continue to go up and up.  So in our new Philippines house my bedroom should be about 80% of the space of what I have now.  Which is no problem because I only use it for sleeping.  Otherwise, we are gaining  with bigger family and living room space.  We'll have 2 car space in the carport but no garage which is inconvenient but the cost of the new house and lot is 1/3 of anything suitable we can find in the states.
All in all I'm happy with this arrangement.

Builders in the Philippines put little consideration in Kitchens & Bathrooms. People adjust to what's offered to them. For example the thousands that live in the North Cemetery in Manila, or the thousands of squatters that live along the Pasig river.

You look at the new home construction in the developments they don't even have mirrors, medicine cabinets or towel racks in the bathrooms. There is no storage area, at least with a garage you can use it for storage. New home construction can be just as expensive in the Philippines than some area's in the states. When they ask 9 million pesos here can buy a $170,000 home in the states, with front & back yards.

I agree.  We'll have to revise the silly kitchen layout.  Remove the narrow, space robbing
bar stool divider and relocate the fridge against the door to make space for a normal sized fridge instead of the tiny one illustrated.  Actually, we're doing pretty good in the bathroom dept.  We'll have two bathrooms, one with shower stall and the other with a tub.  And two more 1/2 bathrooms (toilet & sink) with total of 4.  Right now we are struggling with one bathroom here in the state.  I can't tell you how many times I had to step out in the yard to take a piss lol.  Yes, storage space is a big problem here as well.  I will sorely miss the two car garage for storage.  Yard space will be less but personally I'm ok with that.  We'll have enough outdoor space for a nice garden and perhaps a small koi pond.  But all in all, we are very well under 150k.  This same house arrangement in the state, in spite of it's deficiency would easily cost 350k.

Not fond of Manila at all.  But it has occasional attractions I'll probably visit on a monthly basis; like the Oceanarium and the pet aquarium shopping district.  My focus will mostly be towards the provinces and the beaches for simple enjoyment of life.  I rather mingle with the simple people.

One thing that I forgot in some of the Las Vegas area the housing areas that are restricted to those over 55, most of these houses are one floor ranches, something that should be considered.

Check out Sun City Summerlin or Anthem (Nevada)

Yes, same deal in Oregon.  Lots and lots of over 55+ ranch house developments and they are dirt cheap.  But the age restriction doesn't work for my family.   We're fully invested to relocating to Philippines in several years.  I'm very much looking forward to the permanent over sea move with much lower cost of living.

Don't be sure about the cost of living, yes if you send your wife to the markets (I don't mean supermarkets) you can get cheap meats, fish and veggies. I'm sure you don't want to buy unrefrigerated meats & fish that's a landing strip for flies at these markets. I'm also sure you don't want the cuts that locals love.

Cabs are cheap (Grab is like Uber, Uber is not allowed to work here), it seems you can ride all over for about $4 US. If you try to drive in Metro Manila, it's worse than LA rush hour, it's nuts with  very few stop lights or signs, people drive like there is an invasion.  Anything with labor is cheap. My wife gets a pedicure where the lady comes to the house for $3. My first haircut and beard trim was quoted as $5 with the barber coming to the house, when he saw I was an American he wanted $10.

That's were cheap ends, my electric bill was $220 US last month because of the air conditioning. I shop at Landers or S&R both membership  clubs similar to Costco or Sam's club. They have many American products but they are not cheap. Another thing is your prescription drugs, they are priced out of sight. (no US Medicare here.) Some things you will have to buy, I bought a 50" Sharp TV (Aquos) cost close to $800 US and about same for Samsung refrigerator, $150 for a GE microwave. Before I left the states I ordered a Samsung 65" curved screen TV at Sam's Club for $960 but the box company could not handle tv's over 55". That same TV sells for over $3,000 US here. Before we left we sent 15 Jumbo boxes through Forex about $85 a box, all arrive timely and intact. You can pack appliances in the boxes, we also have 120 Volt outlets for them in our house.  (We stocked up on all our favorite products from Sam's Club, then found most of them at Landers & S&R.) Your American diet won't be cheap. You have most of the same fast food places here and McDonalds even has Chicken & Spaghetti.

The malls are super, out of sight.....some 7 or 8 floors, make American malls that have not closed look puny. Just wait someday when Sam's Club & Amazon gets here, bye bye malls. Only 25% of Philippino's have bank accounts, so it's going to be a long time before Amazon gets here.

Internet is very very slow, so with your Smart HD TV be prepared for a lot of buffering (Netflix or Youtube). HiDef (cost extra) for some local channels and it is 1080i 60 cycle. Forget about watching CNN or FOX USA news.

Some things to do, get a re-mailer service for your mail, I use US Global Mail. (USGLOBALMAIL.COM) They will notify you when you have mail and email you a scan of the envelope, you can save it or trash it. If it seems important they will scan each page for a fee. I wait till I have a lot of mail, they Fedex all of it for about $38. Don't have anything mailed through the postal system.

Open a separate email account for all your financial stuff notify your credit cards and banks for online statements so you get them and see them timely. Tell your credit cards company you will be using them overseas so they don't get refused. There is a 3% transaction fee for overseas use. When you charge things like the supermarkets there is also a fee by the bank they use.

Whatever bank you use download their banking app. while in the US, I learned the hard way, I could not download the US Citibank app here in the Philippines to work in the US.

Buy a OOMA Telo  (VOIP) not MagicJack. Port your landline to Telo and you can have a separate line to port  your cell phone too. Tell your friends there is a time difference otherwise your phone will be ringing 2 or 3 am. (damn those spam telemarketers)   This way you can maintain and receive and call out just like you are in the States.

Your visa is only good for 30 days and then you have to renew it. Your airplane ticket will have to have an exit trip on it, which you will never use. I had to buy a round trip ticket but my wife is a Filipina so she didn't need an exit ticket. You have to call the airline before the exit trip, otherwise they will charge your credit card a cancellation fee if you are a no show. When you fly here, you are allowed two bags each with a 50 lb limit on each bag. You can also have one carry on and  a computer bag.

Thank you so much for sharing you hard earned experience.  You info will most certainly help me in many ways.  I notice from your online status description you're based around  Pasig City, Manila.   We will be in the greater Lipa City, Batangas area in a more rural area but inside the brand new Suntrust Sienna Hill development about 1.5 hours from Manila.

My wife will petition me for permanent alien resident visa.  So as you already know this means after the first extension which should last a year another petition is required but it will be good for 10years.  After this she will remain in the states for a while to generate more USD income while I will reside and maintain the new home with my son. I'm wondering what kind of arrangement can I look forward to as a US expat filing income tax?  Are we eligible for the same kind of deductions like in the states?

We are mostly vegetarian so meat will be consumed sparingly if at all.  Food safety will be our main concern so we will carefully screen for decent grocery shopping sources within reasonable distance from home base.  Most if not all of our recreation is from internet access.  I heard, especially from our real estate seller that internet access can be sketchy.  At times her delayed responses were due to internet outages.  This will take some getting used to compared to our fantastic 7/24 , reliable fiber optics connection from Frontier service.

I find USGlobal mail fascinating.  Since my wife will be staying in the states mail will be routed to her address.  However, I need to stock up with various vitamin supplements (these are my medication) usually ordered from, Amazon, Vitacost, IHerb and LuckyVitamin.  So it had me wondering what would be the most economical way to get them shipped over.  With USglobalmail or the wife shipping them over in a $85 Forex box?  BTW:  Thanks again for these shipping tips.  There's a bit of learning curve sorting these strategies out  but it's a good start being aware of options.

The electricity bill is scary.  Seems much more expensive than Oregon but on par with New York's rate.  So electricity area is a big negative.  I've heard a lot and watched youtube videos on the giant malls in Philippines.  I'm especially captivated by Oceanarium.  Suffice to say there will be more than enough places to explore.  But as you described the vehicle traffic I'll keep away from driving into Manila.  I can't figure out how they can live with it.  I should be mostly OK driving around less congested Batangas areas.  We'll hire some sort of taxi service for trips into metro Manila.

We've been using Ooma for well over ten years now.  The original Ooma box still operational but none of the lights are lit.  I'll get a new one before the move and register a Philippines number to it so it's ready to operate when we get there.

Have any suggestion for which international shipping box to use to transport our household stuff over there?  How long have you been living in Philippines?

Thanks, Peter

Hi Peter,

My wife and myself were out at Suntrust last Sunday looking at Siena Hills (La Buona Vita in Lipa City). We were looking at the model called Micaela (4 bedrooms) almost 178 SQ meters on two floors. House price: 5,850,000,    Lot price: 1,936,000,    Misc fee: 7.5%-- 583,950,   VAT 12%-- 934,200,  For a total price: 9,304,270. This house has a bedroom on the first floor which will be ours if we buy, but we are still looking. If we financed the balance with them it would have been 17%, what a joke.

Currently we own our present house in Pasig City free & clear. The house was originally her parents house and it was divided up among her siblings who sold their shares to outsiders over the years. Ten years ago we had her share torn down and rebuilt. After her siblings sold their share most of the house was gone, even the front door. At the time I had three step sons & a maid living in the house. We rebuilt the first two floors from the ground up. First floor: a living room, kitchen, maids kitchen and nice bathroom. The second floor has three bedrooms & a bathroom. When we decided to move from Vegas to Pasig we had the third floor built, one large bedroom (ours) large kitchen and bathroom. Each floor is 67 meters. We are planning to sell the house and use the proceeds for a down payment.

I have been living here since August 1st., We sold our big household stuff, Bedroom Set, 55" Samsung curve screen TV, Dinning set & my Lexus 330 SUV (2004). The rest I tried to sell but had no luck, I tried to donate it to charities (I called them all) they couldn't schedule for weeks. So I had to pay to have it hauled away. You can ship all your small household stuff with Forex or some other company, there are many in Vegas as the Filipino community is large: 110,000 people. No trouble shipping small appliances in the boxes mixed with your clothes. IE: toaster, coffee maker, George Foreman Grills, Ronco Rotisserie oven, three kitchen aid mixers (2) n.i.b.  We bought two sets of Corelle oven safe dishware (I'm glad we did the Corelle goes for a $100 US here and the Kitchen Aids up to $1,000 US). Several new sets of silverware and all the other small stuff.  We shipped about 15 boxes. My electronic stuff came in one of my suitcases (printer, ooma, external monitor & keyboard, cables, router & associated stuff. I use a laptop the with external monitor &  lighted keyboard). No problem & no questions asked, in the Philippines they never opened or inspected our luggage. I rented a car in Las Vegas and dropped it off at LAX (cheap about $80) Flew nonstop from Lax to Philippines, takeoff at 1 am. Philippines Airlines at LAX never weighed our baggage (50 lbs allowance each suitcase). When I arrived they just stamped my Passport for one year without me presenting any paperwork or answering questions, I just handed it to them they stamped it and handed it back, didn't even look at me.

Before I left I tried to schedule an eye appointment with my HMO, I needed cataract surgery but six  weeks wait for an appointment, then weeks to schedule surgery on the first eye, then later on the second eye and they said one month before flying. It just fit our time table. I made an appointment with an eye Doctor at St. Lukes in Philippines (Mayo Clinic Associated) three days after calling l had the appointment  (Tuesday) had the surgery on Saturday, had the other eye the following Saturday. $2200 total, 20/15 vision without glassess, off the shelf reading glasses for computer. Stateside three pairs at Walmart can be bought for $5.95, here one pair off the shelf $10 US.

On your Ooma no need to transfer your number, don't tell them you are going to use it in the Philippines. If you get their better plan you can port your cell phone number to a second handset, available through them. (You can not transport a prepaid cell phone, but any plan that is not prepaid).

I would just file your taxes like you normally would as if living in the states, no sense in making it complicated. I have my refunds direct deposited, but I ran into a glitch. The IRS sent me a second refund check for 2015 just recently because of an error I made. They didn't direct deposit it, they mailed to my remailer (I provided them with a change of address, Houston remailer) in advance of moving. Now I bank at BDO, a peso savings account in my wifes name & a dollar account in my stepsons name. I can't have an account without an acr card, jumping through many hoops.  So BDO won't accept the check for either account. I bank at Citibank US, same thing for Citibank Philippines, they won't touch the check and further if I jumped through all their hoops, they won't allow me to link the two accounts.

You might want to check out Luciana 176sqm at this Suntrust location http://www.suntrustsienahills.com/sienn … -pricelist .  On this list there's no break down for interest.  But we got it for around 7,500,000 on 230sqm lot.  They said prices will be going up very soon so we had to move with fast paperworks.  There's still nice selections left for phase one development anywhere from 175sqm(in case you want lower price) lot to 450sqm.

Wow, that's really fantastic for you they welcomed you with one year visa.  Did you ask for it or they just made it so?  As most of us do, we have several dozen items boxed moving from New York to Oregon.  I'll have to sort through them which is worth taking along to Philippines.  The rejects will be given away or donated.  I have a 23 years old Toyota 4Runner I hate to part with because I had it since new.  But there's no choice Philippines regulations requires that no cars brought over 4 years of age.  So that will tack up another 20k usd of expense to buy another car in the Philippines.  I'm looking at getting Honda Mobilio CVT.

Something to keep in mind because my eye sight has deteriorated.  In my case I know that the mercury poisoning I've been struggling to recover from contributed heavily to the eye sight loss.  If you have grey mercury dental amalgam fillings I'd strongly suggest replacing them with composite fillings as I did although rather late after the damage done but it could be worse.

Roger on the Ooma strategy.  I'm aware I can use the existing ported number just by reconnecting the Ooma box back to the internet from Philippines.  For the time being, due to sensitivity to radiation, I use the cell phone only for emergencies.  So all of my communication goes through landline or email.

The ACR-1 card is something new to me, this is the first time I heard of it.  Have to read up on this more.  I'm wondering if this is something I have to also get?  So yes, the banking strategy is another interesting challenge for me to decode.  For sure there's enough paper works to be done between various stages of visa and this among others.  Which reminds me I have to get a Philippines driver license.
Thanks, Peter

Hi Peter,

Interesting. . . . I have the sales brochure in my hand looking at the Luciana. I prefer the Micaela (not in the brochure) because it has four bedrooms & one on the main floor. I went to the website and engaged  them in chat. I asked them if the price on the web site included land, fees & VAT. They get avoiding answering so finally gave up.

I can email you the brochure and price breakdown if you wish. May I suggest you get back to them to make sure all those extra things I mentioned are included in the price they quoted you.

On the Visa, we handed both my wifes & mine over together, I'm thinking since she is a citizen, her visa has the same name as mine, they just gave me one year because I'm her spouse, I just don't know. Since I was expecting 30 days & it was stamped for a year, I kept my mouth shut.

If you're moving to Oregon first maybe you want to rent a uhaul & a trailer for your Toyota, or pull a trailer with the Toyota so you don't have to make new purchases in Oregon. Before I owned the RX 330 I had a 1997 Toyota Camry XLE, I had it for 312,000 before I gave it away to my Filipino mechanic. He fixed it up and gave it to his sister who had a gambling problem. She ended up getting a payday loan on the car & gambled the money away and the car was repo'd.

The doctor who did our eye surgery was the department head, It didn't hurt that my oldest stepson was a nurse at St. Lukes, who had just left St. Lukes the week before to take a nursing job in England. The doctor also enrolled my wife in some medical study so her surgery was free. I went to my other Sons family Doctor to get my scripts refilled, she refilled them but made an appointment with an urologist for me to update tests for my prostrate. She did not charge me for the visit and the urologist only charged me $20.

Ok on the cell & landline . . . . My cell was through AT&T, 10 cents a minute for $25 good for three months and I could roll over the minutes. Like you, my cell was for emergencies. My wife has a Samsung Note 4 that she plays with all day.

You will need an ACR-1 card to get a bank account and you have to be in the country for 60 days to get one and then go through all the paper work that will last forever (like everything else).  I've yet to apply. I don't know about the drivers license. I don't plan on driving till after we move. I think you can drive on your current license for 30 or 60 days, I read up on it but forgot the details.

Spence

Hi Spence,

Thanks for the insight on the cost break down.  Yes, I checked.  At first they gave us the total price without details.  After we placed down payment they gave us the break down item by item which still added up to the same total cost.  There was no surprises.  So there is a 12% VAT, 7.5% misc fees.  We start by paying the 20% down payment for the next 18 months.  There's no indication from anything I can see here they added interest on this part .  After the 18 months we have to pay the 80% with interest.   So then there's two ways the interest will be added.  If the customer has good standing credit with the banking industry the interest can be as low as 5.25 depending on our credit rating and/or the going industry rate.  If we fail to qualify for bank financing then it will roll into in-house financing at 17%.  Maybe I'm wrong, at least this is how I understand it.  However, one thing which is very clear that prices have gone up dramatically for a given model, from most developments , between now and 4-5 years usually with less lot sqm then originally advertised.

Ok, I get it.  My wife will be with me to spend at least one month in Philippines to help us settle down and get some (or a lot) paper works done.  We'll be heading into Manila to start the permanent alien visa.  I'll take it one day at a time.

We are already in Oregon for nearly 5 years now.  Like it much, much better than New York.  We packed our personal stuff in my 8x10 trailer and hauled it all the way from NY to Or with my trusty 200k+ 4Runner.  Unfortunately the trailer was stolen from our rented driveway here in Or.  We like it here so much we've decided to let our son finish high school and two years of community college before we come home to Philippines.  But the cost of living in Or is high especially food, safe organic foods.  Cost of vehicle renewal registration is ridiculous at $150 every two years.    Housing is very tight and expensive. For example a cheap modular with cheapest texture 111 siding could cost 70k in 1973 now goes for around 250k and it looks like crap.  In comparison current housing cost in Philippines is a bargain with much more appeal and home owner satisfaction. 

Seems that Philippines medical institution are more competent and much more accessible than in the states.  From personal experience, I make every effort to avoid doctors here especially hospitals.  I practice holistic, self administered supplement healing with natural herbs combined with exercise.  So far it works better than any prescription I've tried.

Yes, my wife loves her ipad cell phone lol.  I had to place anti-radiation button on her phone to minimize the consequence of spending so much time with it.  Mine, tucked away in a special anti-radiation pouch also reinforced with special attached anti-radiation button.  Ironically I discovered the battery on the turned-offed phone would last almost forever inside the pouch as opposed to when I used to keep it uncovered also turned-offed. 

Ok, then I'll have to plan for the ACR-1 card.  Otherwise, I should have access to a USD account (without ACR-1) by opening an account with Bank of Philippines in California.  It has me wondering why would I need a peso account if I can simply withdraw funds in peso from the USD account from the ATM or even the teller?  Also, Charles Schwabb account offers international access to any ATM in Philippines.
Thanks, Peter

Hello Peter,

Originally we had our stepson open a dollar account at BDO. My wife & I have been supporting our kids (Western Union every month) since they younger.  So reserve money was deposited in BDO for any emergency that may arise. One part of the decision using BDO they had low minimums to maintain an account.

So when we arrive here we opened a paso account in my wifes name since they would not allow me to have a joint account. Yes we can withdraw pesos from the dollar account. (ATM)

Be prepared for the paper work to be frustrating, what you can do under 30 minutes in the states takes half a day here.

Me too, I avoid Doctors at all cost . . . . My Medicare Advantage provider would repeatedly call for me to have a routine exam. Some scripts would have refills for 12 times, one time I made an appointment with a Doctors Assistant, then I find out he can't renew scripts. The front desk wanted me to make another appointment four weeks later. Sometimes when the Pharmacy would fax to the plan for refills the faxs were never answered. I found out the best way to handle the little medical care I needed was to go to the urgent care associated with my plan, I would see a Doctor, no appointment and pay a $10 co-pay and they would write the script. Every time I had a planned visit, it was only a new Doctor, the old one left. Hospitals & Doctors offices make healthy persons sick. The urgent care actually cared, compared to my regular Doctors at the plan.

I have lived through an intense rf radiation field for many years. I'm a ham radio operator and often was in a radiation field of 1500 watts rf (Ham call W9XR). You're being bombarded from radiation all the time. Radiation from a billion cell phones & towers (its radio waves that make your cell phone ring), radiation from commercial radio & tv stations, thats why you hear them. Radiation from everything appliance running. Radiation from power lines coming into your house. Radiation from light balbs and dimmer switches in your house. Radiation from the Sun. If you want to get away from radiation have a house in a lead mine. Billions & billions of radiating electrons pass through your body every second and radon is present everywhere you can't get away from it.

Now for the home search, my wifes niece's husband is the son of a very large contractor (Big Projects). They suggest buying our own land, get an architect & let them build the house for us (more western style). My wife has located a property (land) where a Filipina in the states bought years ago for her future home and now she plans on staying in the states. She wants 1.4 million but is willing to negotiate. We plan on going house hunting again tomorrow. This niece also owns a "Grab" business with  hired drivers for their cars.

Yes we were offered the low interest rate but I think we would be declined because my income is drastically lower since I retired on June 1st. My 800 Fico score doesn't mean beans in the Philippines.
Also I really don't trust these developments. One we visited,  then checking  online had complaints about flooding. Checking online about Suntrust, home owners complaining about poor garbage service and unresponsive people in the office.

You mentioned New York. . . . I was born & raised in Buffalo NY. Getting back to developers & contractors. In my younger years while living in Chicago I wanted a house in the woods, after searching I found the property & bought it (Warrenville Illinois, now part of Naperville). I was having a custom cedar home built, rough sawn cedar on the exterior & smooth sawn interior, cathedral ceilings, all electric baseboard heat. One day I got a call from one of the suppliers saying he never got paid. I had a construction loan so he should have been paid. The contractor was in debt and was running a ponzi scheme, my house was the last house he finished, the people behind me got swindled and lost everything except a small pile of lumber on their land.

Spence

Hi Spence,

Here's my cloaked email 9m9hyh4szgkg4jd[at]jetable.org , when you contact me, at your convenience, through this addy I will respond with my real, primary email which will list my full name.  Hopefully this service works as they claim.  We'll find out when you are ready.  Then, we can continue to update each other from there.

Yes, apparently BDO is very popular because it's listed with Suntrust and my wife has an account with them.  I heard paperwork in general is much slower in Philippines in banking as well as other areas.  An expat from Youtube mentioned it took him one year to receive a laminated driver ID.  Other expats mentioned months of waiting.  So at least i won't be taken by surprise when it happens for me.

Yep, I shared with you almost the same exact experience with the medical industrial complex (MIC).  Now-days for them it's all about turning a fast buck.  We are little more than numbers to them.  But the biggest issue with me they would consistently misdiagnose my illness.  And worse they would prescribe toxic prescriptions which landed me in the emergency room where they told me to stop taking the prescription because it was killing me.  In this particular case it was statin prescription.  After too many of these episodes which almost did killed me I decided anything was better than the MIC.  So I started practicing holistic healing which finally started my healing process.

You are 100% correct we are surrounded by various radiating apparatus. And it's bound to get worse when they start rolling out the 5G network in the states. However, I 'm making every effort to minimize the toxic radiation with various shielding devices.  As mentioned I use special anti-radiation buttons and pouch for the cell phone.  For the house wiring I use stetzerizer and a few other configurations with crystals to tone down the noisy electrical emissions.  Most of all we don't use micro wave oven to irradiate our food.  The best protectectin we have is our conscious awareness of the things we need to shield from.

You have the perfect setup for your next home with the right connections especially physically present in Philippines so you can supervise every level of material acquisition and home construction.  I'd choose that option too if it was available for us.  Now, that's not to say we don't but we need to be present on Philippines to put the pieces together and make sure it stays that way.  You'll most certainly come up with something better than anything offered by developments.  Yes, I found that communications with various developments is difficult, the reason why I opened this thread in the first place.  They seem to work from a different ethical perspective than the one I'm used to.  But, things did sort of iron out when finally I was connected to a senior staff inside Suntrust who was very responsive, with one exception because it was holidays and she forgot to notify me.  However, I am still waiting for an answer to my question about the location of the fuse panel which she relayed to the engineering dept now two weeks in waiting.  I'll just have someone go down to the model house and poke around for the location of the fuse panel.  This will be the quicker answer.

So it seems the bottom line for credit in Philippines is all about the income number.  They probably don't don't use credit ratings.  What a surprise, we're both former New Yorkers!

Wow, that's some experience you had with the Illinois contractor.  I lost major fortune with contractors at least on two separate incident.  Most notable was on a building project out in the country side north of Albany, NY.  The contractor built 40x60ft two story garage for me on slab foundation.  However, he neglected to bolt it down at the base.  So on the next storm the entire building was blown down flat as a pan cake resulting in a total loss.  Then it was like falling dominos my health crashed preventing me from taking any action to recoup my loss.  From these experience I developed a very strong aversion for taking on construction project ever again.  Hence the reason I'm going the development route.

Hi Spence,

It occurred to me I should have first tested that email.  Because now I realized it doesn't work.  So if you sent me a response via that temp password I didn't receive anything.  Sorry for the confusion.
Thanks, Peter

NO WAIT - IT DOES WORK!  It ended up in my spam folder.  I'll respond in 12 hours, thanks :-)

W9XR :

Don't be sure about the cost of living, yes if you send your wife to the markets (I don't mean supermarkets) you can get cheap meats, fish and veggies. I'm sure you don't want to buy unrefrigerated meats & fish that's a landing strip for flies at these markets. I'm also sure you don't want the cuts that locals love.

Cabs are cheap (Grab is like Uber, Uber is not allowed to work here), it seems you can ride all over for about $4 US. If you try to drive in Metro Manila, it's worse than LA rush hour, it's nuts with  very few stop lights or signs, people drive like there is an invasion.  Anything with labor is cheap. My wife gets a pedicure where the lady comes to the house for $3. My first haircut and beard trim was quoted as $5 with the barber coming to the house, when he saw I was an American he wanted $10.

That's were cheap ends, my electric bill was $220 US last month because of the air conditioning. I shop at Landers or S&R both membership  clubs similar to Costco or Sam's club. They have many American products but they are not cheap. Another thing is your prescription drugs, they are priced out of sight. (no US Medicare here.) Some things you will have to buy, I bought a 50" Sharp TV (Aquos) cost close to $800 US and about same for Samsung refrigerator, $150 for a GE microwave. Before I left the states I ordered a Samsung 65" curved screen TV at Sam's Club for $960 but the box company could not handle tv's over 55". That same TV sells for over $3,000 US here. Before we left we sent 15 Jumbo boxes through Forex about $85 a box, all arrive timely and intact. You can pack appliances in the boxes, we also have 120 Volt outlets for them in our house.  (We stocked up on all our favorite products from Sam's Club, then found most of them at Landers & S&R.) Your American diet won't be cheap. You have most of the same fast food places here and McDonalds even has Chicken & Spaghetti.

The malls are super, out of sight.....some 7 or 8 floors, make American malls that have not closed look puny. Just wait someday when Sam's Club & Amazon gets here, bye bye malls. Only 25% of Philippino's have bank accounts, so it's going to be a long time before Amazon gets here.

Internet is very very slow, so with your Smart HD TV be prepared for a lot of buffering (Netflix or Youtube). HiDef (cost extra) for some local channels and it is 1080i 60 cycle. Forget about watching CNN or FOX USA news.

Some things to do, get a re-mailer service for your mail, I use US Global Mail. (USGLOBALMAIL.COM) They will notify you when you have mail and email you a scan of the envelope, you can save it or trash it. If it seems important they will scan each page for a fee. I wait till I have a lot of mail, they Fedex all of it for about $38. Don't have anything mailed through the postal system.

Open a separate email account for all your financial stuff notify your credit cards and banks for online statements so you get them and see them timely. Tell your credit cards company you will be using them overseas so they don't get refused. There is a 3% transaction fee for overseas use. When you charge things like the supermarkets there is also a fee by the bank they use.

Whatever bank you use download their banking app. while in the US, I learned the hard way, I could not download the US Citibank app here in the Philippines to work in the US.

Buy a OOMA Telo  (VOIP) not MagicJack. Port your landline to Telo and you can have a separate line to port  your cell phone too. Tell your friends there is a time difference otherwise your phone will be ringing 2 or 3 am. (damn those spam telemarketers)   This way you can maintain and receive and call out just like you are in the States.

Your visa is only good for 30 days and then you have to renew it. Your airplane ticket will have to have an exit trip on it, which you will never use. I had to buy a round trip ticket but my wife is a Filipina so she didn't need an exit ticket. You have to call the airline before the exit trip, otherwise they will charge your credit card a cancellation fee if you are a no show. When you fly here, you are allowed two bags each with a 50 lb limit on each bag. You can also have one carry on and  a computer bag.

Welcome to PH. Mate. Enjoy.

Cheers, Steve.

Hi Spence,

NO WAIT - IT DOES WORK!  It ended up in my spam folder.  I'll respond in 12 hours, thanks, Peter :-)

W9XR :

Don't be sure about the cost of living, yes if you send your wife to the markets (I don't mean supermarkets) you can get cheap meats, fish and veggies. I'm sure you don't want to buy unrefrigerated meats & fish that's a landing strip for flies at these markets. I'm also sure you don't want the cuts that locals love.

Cabs are cheap (Grab is like Uber, Uber is not allowed to work here), it seems you can ride all over for about $4 US. If you try to drive in Metro Manila, it's worse than LA rush hour, it's nuts with  very few stop lights or signs, people drive like there is an invasion.  Anything with labor is cheap. My wife gets a pedicure where the lady comes to the house for $3. My first haircut and beard trim was quoted as $5 with the barber coming to the house, when he saw I was an American he wanted $10.

That's were cheap ends, my electric bill was $220 US last month because of the air conditioning. I shop at Landers or S&R both membership  clubs similar to Costco or Sam's club. They have many American products but they are not cheap. Another thing is your prescription drugs, they are priced out of sight. (no US Medicare here.) Some things you will have to buy, I bought a 50" Sharp TV (Aquos) cost close to $800 US and about same for Samsung refrigerator, $150 for a GE microwave. Before I left the states I ordered a Samsung 65" curved screen TV at Sam's Club for $960 but the box company could not handle tv's over 55". That same TV sells for over $3,000 US here. Before we left we sent 15 Jumbo boxes through Forex about $85 a box, all arrive timely and intact. You can pack appliances in the boxes, we also have 120 Volt outlets for them in our house.  (We stocked up on all our favorite products from Sam's Club, then found most of them at Landers & S&R.) Your American diet won't be cheap. You have most of the same fast food places here and McDonalds even has Chicken & Spaghetti.

The malls are super, out of sight.....some 7 or 8 floors, make American malls that have not closed look puny. Just wait someday when Sam's Club & Amazon gets here, bye bye malls. Only 25% of Philippino's have bank accounts, so it's going to be a long time before Amazon gets here.

Internet is very very slow, so with your Smart HD TV be prepared for a lot of buffering (Netflix or Youtube). HiDef (cost extra) for some local channels and it is 1080i 60 cycle. Forget about watching CNN or FOX USA news.

Some things to do, get a re-mailer service for your mail, I use US Global Mail. (USGLOBALMAIL.COM) They will notify you when you have mail and email you a scan of the envelope, you can save it or trash it. If it seems important they will scan each page for a fee. I wait till I have a lot of mail, they Fedex all of it for about $38. Don't have anything mailed through the postal system.

Open a separate email account for all your financial stuff notify your credit cards and banks for online statements so you get them and see them timely. Tell your credit cards company you will be using them overseas so they don't get refused. There is a 3% transaction fee for overseas use. When you charge things like the supermarkets there is also a fee by the bank they use.

Whatever bank you use download their banking app. while in the US, I learned the hard way, I could not download the US Citibank app here in the Philippines to work in the US.

Buy a OOMA Telo  (VOIP) not MagicJack. Port your landline to Telo and you can have a separate line to port  your cell phone too. Tell your friends there is a time difference otherwise your phone will be ringing 2 or 3 am. (damn those spam telemarketers)   This way you can maintain and receive and call out just like you are in the States.

Your visa is only good for 30 days and then you have to renew it. Your airplane ticket will have to have an exit trip on it, which you will never use. I had to buy a round trip ticket but my wife is a Filipina so she didn't need an exit ticket. You have to call the airline before the exit trip, otherwise they will charge your credit card a cancellation fee if you are a no show. When you fly here, you are allowed two bags each with a 50 lb limit on each bag. You can also have one carry on and  a computer bag.

FYI the internet here in Ilocos, 1,000 pesos a month is very slow, but the cable available here for 1,000 pesos a month gets both CNN and Fox News.  I also get to see Thursday night, Sunday night and Monday night NFL football live at 9:15 AM Friday, Monday and Tuesday.  There are 2 basketball channels, one gives me 2 live NBA games everyday plus delayed telecasts of other games.  Today I saw Texas/Texas Tech football on a channel called Fox Sports 2.

Good Peter,

I had to send three times, first two time different typo by me in the address.

Hello. . . . . .When you call me mate you must be an Aussie    :-)

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