New members of the Philippines forum, introduce yourselves here - 2019

Hi all,

Newbie on the Philippines forum? Don't know how to start?

This thread is for you ;)

We invite you to introduce yourself on this topic, to share with us your expat story if you are already living in the country,
or to tell us more on your expat projects in the Philippines if you are planning to move there.

It will enable us to help you better but above all to wish you a warm welcome.

Welcome on board!

Hello All'
My name is Ken,  I'm currently living in the US... California to be exact.... and plan on  retiring  to the Philippines soon....I'm considering Roxas City to settle down in....I was there for a few days in Dec...I know it's a short time to make a decision.... But it is close to my girlfriends family and seemed to be a nice city...
Curious  to hear what others say.... I'd appreciate  any advice
Thanks All

Welcome Ken, where are you from in Calif? I was raised and spent a lot of time in Nor Cal. on and off over the years. How long have you known your GF and her family? I would strongly suggest more than one visit before making any large financial or other commitments. There are many cultural and environmental differences in a developing country and some unique to Philippines that some folks don't mind and others can't take after awhile. On the other hand, if you have an open mind and can adjust it can be a fun and interesting place.

Hi,  Thought I better say something about myself I from Australia married to a Filipina for over 30 years visit the Phils often, taking the kids with us and now the kids have kids . So its a sizeable family time. Spend most of our time the Visayas Cebu, Leyte  etc.
Love the street food :) Generally stay in Cebu although Cebu is getting a bit like Manila of late far too  busy.

Thanks  pnwcyclist
I appreciate the advice.... I've known her for a few years and have met her family  every time we visit.. ..This is a unique situation since  she works over seas and we both meet up to visit with each other and she gets to visit family.....She's ready to go back home since her kids are grown now. I'm ready to retire and looking for a good life.... I know I'll have a lot culture change to go through, but I'm a rather easy going type so I hope I can handle it. She is also  very understanding and the sweetest woman I could ever hope for......We were there before Christmas last year and I got to play Santa ( I mean dressed up as Santa not an ATM)  for her family. They took me all over and way out in the provinces too, Brought a lot of smiles to a lot of kids.....My main interest was an opinion of Roxas City.... Her family lives in Mambusao.... We're close but not so close as to where they're knocking on the door everyday...I was thinking Roxas because it is a fair sized city with most of the amenities of a big city. without being a big city....I'm from So. Cal,  Ventura County, Simi Valley.... Lived in So Cal. all my life so I know this is a big move.....Where in No. Cal do you hail from??        pnwcyclist..... You input would be greatly appreciated

Welcome Woodenpotter! Yes Cebu is becoming a congested and polluted mess. I can't believe how bad the air quality is getting, especially in the evenings during rush hour and all the burning doesn't help.

Great story Ken, sounds like everything is well in hand. I was raised in the Bay Area and then spent time both there and Sacramento over the years. But also Denver and the Pacifc Northwest.

Hello fellow expats!

My name is Jan-Peter,
I’m looking to meet anyone in the Lapu-Lapu area.  I’m a 53 year old German / American who just moved here permanently after marriage to a Filipina in 2017.  I am expecting my first child in July.  All is bliss.

I’m looking for some expat groups or coffee meet ups for fellowship and good conversation. 

Anything like that ?


I am just across the bridge in Mandaue. Might be able to catch up when l get back from Australia in about 2 weeks.
regards  Bruce

Hi there Bruce,

Thanks for responding.  I would love to meet up in Mandaue.  I can easily get to Parkmall or even SM and Ayala.  Let me know when is good for you once your back.

Cheers, Jan-Peter

Welcome Minimalist.. same here, PM me anytime you're over near Ayala. Cheers..

Hello Ken, I moved to Roxas City 3 weeks ago and am still settling in.  I came alone and had only chatted with a fellow for about a year before coming here.  Not a lot of foreigners here which is a plus for me.  I have met a German, Ausie, 2 Americans and a Brit.  I am invited to the Brit's wedding tomorrow.  Rental properties are fairly scarce and as such more expensive than you would expect.  You have her family and her to introduce and help you learn, a big plus.

Give me a PM for more.


Hi All,

Currently looking to move to the Philippines, and am looking to build a house in Vigan, where my wife has some land. Just wondering if there were many ex pats around Vigan.
If so would love to know your thoughts on Vigan. I have been there a few times but only as a tourist.


Hi, having just joined, I wanted to say hello to all of my new expat friends that I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting... yet. I am a US citizen born in LA, grew up in San Diego and currently living in rhe desert southwest in Albuquerque, New Mexico. And in case you’re wondering, New Mexico ain’t new and it ain’t in Mexico, as the teeshirt says! 😆

I’m 64 (feeling like 34) and retired. I’m also very healthy and active as well as single, or should I say divorced (back in 2009). I love photography and writing. So, as a part time photographer and travel writer with published work, I keep as busy as I want to.

I actually lived in Cebu City for 2 1/2 years from 2011 through 2013. Now I’m coming back to Cebu and I think I just may stay. I sure would like to meet some friendly folks of any nationality. Maybe we can hoist a mug of beer, have a cocktail or three or even lunch.

Ayala Mall in Cebu City was always a favorite hangout as was the Montebello or the Waterfront Hotel for dinner. Tambuli Beach Resort, Blue Water and Plantation Bay were always fun too.

Well, I’m looking forward to meeting some new expats online here and in Cebu as well as lots of Filipinos... male and female! See you in early July.

Salamat! 😎

Greenjacket2588 :

Hi All,

Currently looking to move to the Philippines, and am looking to build a house in Vigan, where my wife has some land. Just wondering if there were many ex pats around Vigan.
If so would love to know your thoughts on Vigan. I have been there a few times but only as a tourist.


Beautiful Spanish city, we live about 25 minutes South in Santa.  Most things required can be purchased in Vigan, it is our destination about once a week.  There is a group of expats locally, some fellow 'Canos, a few ex-military Brits, couple of Aussies, a Canadian and a Dane.  All have Filipina wives.  Let us know when you will be in town, you will be welcomed into the group.

Hi All,
My name is Keith and I'm about to move to Tagaytay City (56 days to go!) with my Filipino gf. Apologies for a bit of a long post but a bit about me.....

I'm from UK (Somerset) and can't wait to leave. I've been with my gf for 2 years (both early-40's, she's been in UK for 12 years) and she has an 8 year old boy from her previous marriage (now a widow). I've never been to Philippines before but seen quite a bit of Asia. I know it's a big move but at my stage of life why do things by half?! Plus I don't have much to lose - I work for myself online which I'll carry on doing and we'll be renting out the house here (her property) so if it doesn't work we can quite simply come back in a year or so. We're planning on setting up a few businesses out there.... coffee shop, laundry business etc and eventually something with animals/wildlife if the move becomes permanent. She'll be the "face" of the businesses. She has one brother nearby in Los Banos which is helpful and the rest of her family are in Surigao and Manila (she's not moving back to be close to her family).

We've got accom sorted for the first 2 weeks and then looking for somewhere for 2 months, then 12m as we gradually narrow down an exact location for us.

****One question I have is about a school in Tagaytay for our 8 year old. We're looking at private (not International). Any recommendations/advice? We're looking at Shim International School which is not a true International school despite its name. Has anyone any knowledge/experience or know of any others to look at? (will also post in the
"children" forum).

Would love to here back/get to know people from Tagaytay area or any Brits in general who are in PH.


Welcome Keith. No info on Tagaytay schools but wish you the best in getting settled. Traffic can get heavy up there at certain hours so I suggest you take time to find your accommodation and school, to facilitate the transport. Summer break is almost here in Philippines (late March) although international schools tend to follow the normal summer break (starting June) of western countries.

Thanks Cyclist

Yes I've heard the traffic can be quite bad mainly at the weekends but if it's only 2 days a week then it's hopefully manageable but something to factor in when evaluating locations. We've timed to leave after Spring term has finished here and before the new term has start there to give us time to sort things out (school and accom).

Many Thanks!


Many thanks, will get in contact when I’m next over, I’m currently looking at June for a month, couple of weeks in Baguio and a couple in Vigan.

Where do you guys usually meet up?  In Santa or Vigan.  Visited Vigan a few times now, and fell in love with the place, my wife’s mother lives in Baguio, although it’s secluded where she is, I find Baguio too busy and too polluted and too wet!!

I find the provinces much more friendly and love the weather.

Will give you a shout nearer the time of my visit.

Greenjacket2588 :

Many thanks, will get in contact when I’m next over, I’m currently looking at June for a month, couple of weeks in Baguio and a couple in Vigan.

Where do you guys usually meet up?  In Santa or Vigan.  Visited Vigan a few times now, and fell in love with the place, my wife’s mother lives in Baguio, although it’s secluded where she is, I find Baguio too busy and too polluted and too wet!!

I find the provinces much more friendly and love the weather.

Will give you a shout nearer the time of my visit.

Our last meeting was at Grandpa's Inn in Vigan, usually meet in Vigan or a neighboring spot right on the national road just south of Vigan in Bantay.  I will be out of town in June, but if you PM me with your email address I will make sure the organizer, who is retired Brit military, will contact you.

Hello Expats,
First trip to the Philippines was in 2006 when I met my future wife. We married in 2008 and I was a commuter 3 or 4 times per year as I was still working as a mining construction electrician.
I retired in 2014 and moved here as a permanent resident and live not far from Cebu.
I recently turned 70 so I’m taking it easy in the slow lane and enjoying every moment. My wife and kids make sure I’m not getting too relaxed.
Take care.

Hello, I'm SirDwight. My wife Foxy, and me are preparing to move to the Philippines to continue our retirement. We've a million questions, since we've not visited yet. Our decision to do this was because over the years so many of our associates have visited or moved there.  Specifically, our first questions are about veterans because we're retired Air Force. Holla  Back!!

Good answer. I have been here a little over a year and still have challenges. The culture is frustrating at times and you have to be willing to go with their flow. Financial? I strongly suggest not displaying wealth if you want to keep it. You will quickly become the family bank if you are not careful or even get robbed.

Hi! Im a vet. I deal with the VA here quite a bit if you need any help!

Hello my fellow veteran. I say YES to your offer for help. I'm a DAV, retired USAF, all the bells and whistles,  SSI, and I'm certain their must be some benefits to assist us with our move. Not knowing where to start or the questions to ask.  I've no complaints the VA has has been right by me, however they work best when you know what to ask. Holla Back.

Message me.  Im gordy robb on facebook

They cover service connected disabilities. No home loans. But on the us side, it is quicker and easier to get ratings i crease decisions since there are a lot fewer vets here.

Will do Gordy. I'm not a Facebook guy, but my wife is so I'll be using her that way. I have an email dwightpimson99[at]  Thanks for the pointers, already got 90% VA disability, vision and PTSD. Hit you on Facebook. SirDwight

There are just certain moves we men should not make anywhere, anyway. Display wealth, flash cash, generally put out unnecessary info., etc. These negative social behaviors are not indigenous to the Philippines. Their are wicked people everywhere, their goal is to get paid, so unaware people are going to get played.

I’m not so new to the Philippines, been here for a little over 2 years. We moved from New Jersey but originally from Peru. We’re a small family living and working in Makati. Our 12 yo daughter, who has been born and raised in the US, is having a blast here... now. Her first year in the coin try was very bad due to the school we placed her into. We wanted to embrace the country fully so, we decided to enrolled her into a local well known and highly recommended school, closer to home, instead of choosing an international school. Big mistake!
Just wanted to see if some other parents with kids/tweens had have problems adjusting or that have experienced cultural shock when moving here.
This can be a difficult place for adults at times but I didn’t realize that could be so hard for kids too.

Whatsup Asian explorer? We might just have a few things in common, specifically, I'm 64 yo April, and physically a beast. I've the cardio endurance of a local motive. Also an retired adventurer, trying something new,  slowing down my single lifetime lifestyle. Me and my bride to be are considering Cebu,   
but are open to any safe, comfortable spot to start. Sandy beach kind of a guy.
I'd appreciate your feed back, because of your experience, and we seem to appreciate the same type environments. Thanks, SirDwight.

Anytime friend!

Good pointers. I would suggest being careful around family here too. Their culture is very different than ours and my own desire to have nicer things caused a lot of friction here at first.

Hi everyone!

I'm a 36 year old single mom to a 13 year old boy. We are from and currently in South Africa.

We have so far lived in the Philippines (for a short while and a visited a few times as a tourist), New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and England.

We are in love with the Philippines and wish to live there. I have looked into it before but it looked impossible.

My plan is to try to find a job there which will enable me to finally pack my bags for the Philippines for the last time and not having to buy a return ticket again. However, I'm not sure if that is even possible.

So I am at square one but am determined. If I can fly tomorrow, I would!

If anyone has any advice or contacts that could help me, I would appreciate you sharing them.



Hi Carlyzel,

I understand your wish very well.  It took me three years to figure out a way to live in the Philippines full time.

I wouldn’t want to dissuade you but just give you realistic information.  I’m sure many members will chime in with valuable inputs.

Firstly finding a job locally is possible,  BUT only through multinationals and only available to those having very specific skill sets not readily available locally.  You need to understand that employment is reserved and protected for all the aspiring workers from here....therefore legal work permits (to my understanding) are very difficult to attain.

But if you are creative and think outside the constraints of the “normal” work descriptions then there are ways.

You can become a digital nomad with sellable skills.   This isn’t easy and is competitive and I would only do it if you have already established yourself and have a reliable income stream.

You could work seasonally in your home country.

You could find an employer in your home country willing to pay you for working remotely.

The living in the Philippines in terms of visas is can extend your tourist visa up to 36 months.

The cost of living is affordable as you probably know.  US$ 1500-2000 is realistic depending on your lifestyle and possible other needs.

Hope this is useful,  Good Luck!

PS you may want to look into Vietnam too.

Your info sure was useful, thank you.

Could you tell me, would I legally be allowed to work for myself as a photographer and get paid by clients on a visitors visa? Or would I register a business and apply for a work permit then?

Also, can you possibly give me a clue what the total costs add up to to extend your visitors visa to 36 months? I had to extend every few weeks when I was there which cost quite a lot for me (South Africans get 21 days visa free, I'm not sure if that has changed in the meantime). And I left just after getting my "alien/tourist" card.

Thanks in advance.

Hi Carly,

I am inclined to believe that a legal work permit for any occupation is very restricted....if there are Filipinos who can fill that job.  That being said such a freelance skill might be practiced for a private exchange of services....especially to foreigners.  But I’d could see if you are successful that you could easily be snitched on.  So all in all I would be very wary and not rely on that.  You sound like an artist so perhaps building up graphic design skills and doing remote freelance work might be a long term solution.

You are correct extension of the visa involves fees.  I estimate it at about US $750 a year.


Thank you for the info. You have been very helpful.


Hey Everyone,

I am looking to move to the Philippines maybe later this year. I absolutely love the culture.

I help run a tech company that operates in mos of the big telecoms, and utilities in the Philippines.

My locations will likely be either Cebu or Manila.

I have a heart for some of the issues that are present in the country namely the single mothers and the struggles they face. I want to help any way I can. This is really my secret purpose for going there.

If you know of any groups out there trying to make a difference let me know. I want to talk to them.

hi to everybody
i`m mia,
spanish woman...first of all sorry for my write english..i try to do my best :)
i`m thinking about the idea to move to palawan...trired from europe..
i will like to buy a piece of land and built my own home
i don't know if is possible for foreigns to buy, and what about lands and papers, i will like to live outside from city.
if somebody can help me with some information can be PRETTY
thanks to aLL
hope u enjoy

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