I have read many posts on this site about living in Mindanao, some positive and some negative but what I really want to know is what is it like to live there as an expat with a local Filippino and is it completely safe. I have visited Cagayan De Oro on two occasions to see two different women.

The first time I stayed at the GC Suites with my girlfriend but she had to work most days so I used to go to the SM Mall or wonder around. I must be honest and say that we did have a great time eating out and in general and visited some nice restaurants such as the High Ridge. I remember on the last night I was there walking out of the hotel and she suggested we eat opposite and I said let us turn left and see what is up there. That is when she mentioned the K word (Kidnap). This obviously worried me and to be honest I never felt truly safe/comfortable throughout my time there.

That relationship did not work out but I have since found a lovely woman who lives between CDO and Illigan City, in Manticao and I went to see her in May this year. We stayed in the Apple Tree Resort and apart from the ants there were no problems and I did feel safe this time.

Most expats in and around CDO seem to live in Condos with security. My question is would it be safe to live in a house in a Filippino community near Manticao or surrounding area. My girlfriend's father started to build a house for her and her two sons but it is only half finished. If he were to finish this in the next two or three years, I was thinking I could pay him monthly rent and we could live there and her father besides his salary from his job would have extra income each month.

Also can anybody tell me the monthly costs per month for garbage, internet, food, schooling, air con, etc.

One more thing, I have also spent some time in Davao and I felt completely safe there.

Many Thanks

In northern samar garbage i dig a 6 foot hole burn what we can electric just over a 1k iwe just killed a pig so ive turned the upright freezer on that puts another 700 piso ..we cook with gas thats easy 500 a month we only use fans heard air con like extra 2k a month ..internet i just pay 50 piso with smart for 3 days ....been cdo and davao felt safe in both ...shopping probley 4k but we go local markets for chicken pork fish but people ride pass the house selling evry motning ... my girl grows heaps ..

Some of the things you should consider before deciding where to live, firstly safety, I live in Uptown CDO in a guarded subdivision and I feel very safe here, remember all foreigners are thought to be very rich here in Philippines and can can be targets for burglars and robbers. Rents here vary from around 15k to 25K per month although there are subdivisions in this area where rents are much cheaper, garbage is collected very regularly and the cost is included in the subdivision fees which are around 500 pesos per month. We use quite a lot of water in a month but the cost is never more than 500 pesos.

Another thing thing to consider is flood risk, the area where I live never has floods because its quite high up from the city, although it's only around 5km from the city proper. Something else you might also want to consider is the availability of a decent WiFi connection.

I know some people who have moved here from Illigan because they feel a lot safer here as Illigan is a predominately Muslim area so I personally would not want to live anywhere near there. Also it not generally a good idea to live to close to your gf's family as they are likely to come to visit and end up moving in permanently.

Many thanks for your advice, I will certainly give thought to what you say. With regards to my girlfriends family, her dad has a house that they all currently live in but is in the process of building a small house for my girlfriend and her two sons.

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