Is it legit to say I'm visiting my girlfriend here to immigration?

I will go in the Philippiness for meeting my gf for my 1st time, my ticket is already booked, having also the returning e-ticket to my living country, but i have a big concern and i whould like to ask.. First of all im short in money (less than 1000$), im coming from Europe, and beside my requirement is just having a onward ticket,  im concerning about what should i say to the immigration when im questioned, 'where i will live on ph,' or they will ask me directly 'where is ur hotel accomodation? '.. the truth is i will stay to my gf family house in a squatter area, so i dont have a hotel  accomodation, and maybe they will think im a 'public charge' so they can deny my entry??

They are not usually interested in where your going to reside and in my opinion it's much better to say your visiting your fiancee than gf, $1000 will go a long way here in Philippines depending on how long your going to visit for and they don't usually ask how much money you have anyway. Having said all that, have you visited your gf here before because staying at your gf's family's house in a squatter area sounds a bit risky and also very uncomfortable for a foreigner I think.

Do not go in squatter area, you will be robbed. And you will get sick, because conditions there is terrible. It is not Europe. You cannot even imagine how bad is it. If you lose your money, you will not be able to go home, nobody will help you. 95% of Filipinas looking at white foreigners as walking dollar. Just book 1 or 2 nights in hotel and than go to visit your gf in squatter area and you will see what is it. And leave your money in hotel. Thank me later :D

What city are you going to?

I can only agree with what others have said - the “informal settler“ areas vary a lot, but none are good -   Certainly not by the standards of a developed nation - the slums in Romania are a paradise in comparison.

When I was in my early 20s, I stayed in plenty of areas that were also not good - the difference is, in the Philippines, with white skin (from your profile pic), you’re obviously rich & easy pickings (anyone who can afford to spend 4 months salary on a flight is rich) - at the best, you’re playing Russian roulette with serious food poisoning that could land you in hospital on a drip - different strains of bacteria from Europe.


Depending on the city you’re in, (Further away from Manila, the better - navotas/tondo would not be a good plan) they will be a bit safer, but further away from Manila,  a transient house room will also only be $5-10 a night, if you want to rough it - or plenty of budget hotels for $15-20 a night.

Generally speaking people are warm in slums. Poor people will offer you their food etc even though they dont have enough . But you should be extremely careful now as the war on drugs is targeting essentially the slums.

Of course Jahn is living in Romania. The conditions there are tough also. Western people are not used to tough conditions anymore, that is their weaknesses I think.

The emigration people do not care if you visit your girlfriend, if you have your passport, visa etc no problem

True - 95% of people will be fine, more than fine...
It’s always the 5%, anywhere in the world.  That same 5% in Romania are just as bad as Manila, maybe worse - the squatter areas are just poorer & much worse hygiene.

When you see where the gypsies of Romania are living, I would say the squat of the Philippines are luxury :-) I am exaggerating a little bit ok :-) I am living once in a while in a squat on Negros island. You have one problematic family there, rookies and bullying and often drunk. But the other normal families are bonding together against the rookies :-) so there is some kind of stability.

I’ve been in and out of the country 8 times over the past 4 years and have never been asked where I am staying or how much money I have. They do ask for the address you will be staying on the immigration form that they give you on the flight. Maybe that’s why they’ve never asked me personally as it was already on the form.

That being said, I would be VERY cautious about staying in a squatter area. This could be a downright dangerous move for you. Not necessarily from her family but, others around the area. You will be seen as having lots of money simply because your are a foreigner and I would imagine the approx. $1,000 US that you’ll be carrying is a half a year or more of wages to a lot of people here.
Ask yourself this question, would I chill in the slums in my own country carrying $1K?
If the answer is no and I’m betting that it is, I wouldn’t do it here either. Or anywhere for that matter.

You didn’t say where you GF lives, city or out in a province somewhere. The costs of things will vary based on where you are but, I would try to find a cheap room/hotel if at all possible. Check FB for rooms in whatever area.

You also didn’t say how long you were staying here. That will make a big difference in how far that $1K goes. That being said, blowing $1k is pretty easy to do here unless you are prepared to live like the locals and be very, very frugal.

Good luck, I hope that it all works out for you.

geolefrench :

When you see where the gypsies of Romania are living, I would say the squat of the Philippines are luxury :-) I am exaggerating a little bit ok :-) I am living once in a while in a squat on Negros island. You have one problematic family there, rookies and bullying and often drunk. But the other normal families are bonding together against the rookies :-) so there is some kind of stability.

I have seen the gypsy areas in Romania & Hungary  & they are nowhere near as bad as Manila...

I don’t know Negros, but if the areas are like those in Mindanao, they’re not so bad - but as I said, how much is the cheapeat room in Negros?

Oursus :
geolefrench :

When you see where the gypsies of Romania are living, I would say the squat of the Philippines are luxury :-) I am exaggerating a little bit ok :-) I am living once in a while in a squat on Negros island. You have one problematic family there, rookies and bullying and often drunk. But the other normal families are bonding together against the rookies :-) so there is some kind of stability.

I have seen the gypsy areas in Romania & Hungary  & they are nowhere near as bad as Manila...

I don’t know Negros, but if the areas are like those in Mindanao, they’re not so bad - but as I said, how much is the cheapeat room in Negros?

That's why I said I exaggerated a little bit  :D  In the provinces of the Philippines the slums are smaller than in Manila and a lot of NGOs are working there (some NGOs workers are westerners but they generally don't live in the slums  :D )

Your gf's family will probably have very high expectations as well which may mean your $1000 won't go so far, you probably won't be able to go out with your GF and eat because her whole family will tag along, including cousins, aunts and uncles. It's just the way here, foriegners are usually expected to treat the whole family so however many tag along wherever you go, you will be expected to pay for everyone.

She is from Carmen West Rosales, Pangasinan and barely i know her family,  i will stay the maximum period of 30 days (or 28-29 days if i MINUS the time of flying, of course).  I really dont know the daily life and routine there, but i dont expect a luxury life,  beside im not seeking that. My goal is to meet her in person, because afterall we will meet on a second time, for marry, na our budget are limited and after 1 year of videocalling on facebook, i think is a right moment to meet up.

I know it can be dangerous, but im taking my common sense caution, living and beeing in Romania, i was see plenty of gipsys, and we all nationals avoid them with all cost, 
Im living in a faimous city, with plenty of tourist, i was also a guide for them, and  here is safe to walk around even at 3am.

Do you have a Romania Embassy in the Philippines ? If yes, it would be good to tell them that you are staying there for one month. Just for your security especially you don't know her family and you know her only through video...

Are you flying into Manila and then taking a bus to Pangasinan?  It would probably be best to have someone meet you at the airport to guide you to her barangay.  Would cost an extra $15 each way.

I wouldn't stay in the slums it's too dangerous. When you get there hire a tricycle and ride around the area looking for a place to rent for the 28 days your there. Should be able to rent something in your price range I checked Airbnb but the cheaper ones in the  300.0 range were to far away. Make sure one of her trusted family members makes the deal or you will pay extra, aka skin tax that outsiders pay since were all rich in their eyes.

Jhane2193 :

I know it can be dangerous, but im taking my common sense caution, living and beeing in Romania, i was see plenty of gipsys, and we all nationals avoid them with all cost, 
Im living in a faimous city, with plenty of tourist, i was also a guide for them, and  here is safe to walk around even at 3am.

Tbh the area you’re looking at probably isn’t that bad - it’s a small place, going to be some seriously Poor folk living there, but it will be a whole lot cleaner than Manila, you’ve got an SM mall reasonably close by, for some aircon every so often - ATMs there will charge you 250pesos to withdraw,

Get ready for a few neighbours/relatives visiting, (sharing is the Filipino way), it certainly won’t do any harm to let folks see you run out of money at the end of each week, or folks will (understandably) think you have an atm in your pocket - folks run into problems when they don’t set boundaries & stick to them.  I think you may be in for a surprise around food costs - from what I know, Romania is cheaper.

You can get a standard 29 day extension, giving 59 days.  You can either do this at the airport, or go the Bureau of immigration at least a week before your visa runs out (good excuse for a trip to the city, if that’s within budget - there may not be a whole lot going on) 

Make sure you say hi to the Barangay captain, when you get a chance, they’re the local government.

If you don’t have a dual sim phone, it might be worth buying a cheap second hand one - coverage can be patchy (SM will also have limited free Wi-fi)

I’d really strongly suggest you have travel insurance & a credit card with you, emergencies happen. (Earthquakes, Hurricanes, volcanoes, landslides etc).

I’ve been here 8 times in the last 6 years. Never had more than a grand maybe 2. I am on a US passport and don’t know if that makes a difference but they never asked me anything. Always just stamped me and through I went. They don’t care really as long as you never overstay your visa and have a round trip ticket your good.

I already replied once and after reading the other replies I thought I would chime in again. If you have been chatting with your girl for awhile and you really know her. Don’t be scared. Just be aware of your surroundings at all times and have your passport and money on you secured at all times. My wife comes from a big family they live in a small village in the mountains and I’ve been there several dozen times. All with no problems. Yes the conditions are not good. Take or buy some antibiotics and eat them daily. Don’t drink any water unless it’s bottled. Even brush your teeth with bottled water not from a sink, if there even is a sink. I go there so often now I bought a toilet ,sink and shower and had it installed for my convenience at my wife’s dads house. They just had a big bucket and got water from the stream when they wanted to shower. It’s a different world, be prepared. Just have fun and dont get drunk. They will offer tuba just say thanks take it and pour it out when no one is looking!  The Philippine people and culture is amazing. Open your mind and you will fall in love with her and the people. Be prepared to spend that 1000 on the family as well.

They might also offer you balut hahaha, it's your choice but it makes me feel like vomiting just watching them eat it hahaha.

Kent&Liza :

Take or buy some antibiotics and eat them daily. .

Agree with everything you said - except for the antibiotics, which I can’t disagree with strongly enough.

What region’s your other half’s lot from?

  The barangay doesn’t google really remote anyway, but even then,  Antibiotics aren’t a prophylactic, taking them like that has resulted in all the really nasty bugs we have around now.  Also, they won’t protect against protozoa.  i keep rifaximin  & metronidazole , for severe diarrhoea that goes on , if and only if, I can’t reasonably get tests done.

OP - Don’t eat anything raw, unless it’s fruit, with the skins intact -  make sure you follow basic food hygiene, buy a Couple of 500ml isopropyl alcohol bottles, one for you, one for the kitchen.  if you can’t get bottled water, make sure it’s boiled for 5 minutes, just don’t risk anything else.  A water treatment pack is a good backup.  Never have ice from a sarisari in your drinks, it’s not safe.  The only time I usually get caught out is eating something I shouldn’t, after a beer too many.

We’re not throwing shade at your girlfriend’s family, it’s just a fact of life,  in Asia H pylorii is endemic, (and that’s not even acute) - a morning yakult is a good idea, it needs to be refrigerated tho, or it’s useless - as others have hinted, a safe routine can be hard to arrange, depending on the area.

Agree with the above posts, lot's of good advice.  I have to reiterate that staying in a squatter area carries several risks Besides the chance of being robbed, there are significant risks from food poisoning, germs in water, and mosquitoes.. there is dengue all over the place, spread by the Aedes Aegypti mosquito. Also Hepatitis A and B are endemic.. 20% of Filipinos have chronic Hep B and most don't even know it.

I would strongly suggest a hotel, they can be very low cost. You will also have privacy with your girl. And by all means get the Hep A/B vaccine before coming here - it's 3 shots so get started now. You can get the third one here if you have to. When you're here carry a little bottle of antibacterial hand wash as there often is no soap, no toilet paper, etc.  Be careful drinking with the locals, avoid the water, and use DEET repellent when in wet humid areas, especially squatter areas, in late afternoon and morning.

I second the opinion that it's a really bad idea to take antibiotics prophylactically, and indiscriminately. That's what has created all the drug resistant bacteria. And it's bad for your gut also. You can have some with you for emergency use though.

Wow and Wow again, a very interesting topic with great and varied input.
Firstly welcome Jhane and I do hope you meet your lady and I also hope you listen to some good advice offered within this thread that you created.
When you meet your special person, (especially online) love can be blind, been there as others have but there is the special moment, the gut feelings, love. Don't be a blind man, research.
Many here have been there several times and while for some a triumph  and success a hell of a lot more end up hurt and burnt. Myself included a couple of times before, I went back to my gut feelings and did away with insecurities found within dumped lust a serious contender that I am still with and hope to see my dying days with. The first guy I met 8 years ago.

Firstly sort out your finances, a thousand Euro's or US bucks is slim given your situation, seriously. Visit Numbeo.

https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/in/Manila

I considered many countries for retirement and PH. nor anywhere in Asia was never in the my thoughts 10 years ago, the south of France, plenty of places I have visited in Italy (BTW my favourite country), your home country as well is cheaper to live than PH. as are plenty of other countries. Fortunately I eventually met my better half after trials and tribulations and have not looked back.

My outlaws are squatters and live a comfortable respected life in SFC La Union for the 30 plus years, lived in their hand built nippa hut and progressed to a very comfortable home. They have squatted and are ranked high within their community, poor by western standards but, rich in love and culture, still learning and very comfortable.
Tondo (Manila) was mentioned and yes a culture learned but not for a westerner such as myself but a poorer man may assimilate and prosper.

A suggestion if I may and others have also suggested, I recommend independent accomodation at least for a week until you get the lay of the land/feel your surroundings and lady, her family and situation and the proverbial boots on the ground and see where you land, If funds are too tight to secure the above then work harder/save more. Never get caught out and have an escape plan.
I do hope you meet the love of your life and I'm sure you will but the Philippines while beautiful and rich in culture is definitely an acquired taste, one that I do enjoy but at times choke on.

Good luck, warm wishes and please follow up and advise what you found and how you found it.


Cheers, Steve.

"in Asia H. pylori is endemic."

2/3 of the world´s population has it but the majority is asymptomatic. Some people do get ulcers in the stomach and the upper part of the small intestine (duodenum). It´s a gram negative bacillus but easy to treat. It´s sensitive to Metronidazole, Amoxicillin and also to Tetracycline. Some people has their ulcers turn into a malignancy...

robal

robal :

"in Asia H. pylori is endemic."

2/3 of the world´s population has it but the majority is asymptomatic. Some people do get ulcers in the stomach and the upper part of the small intestine (duodenum). It´s a gram negative bacillus but easy to treat. It´s sensitive to Metronidazole, Amoxicillin and also to Tetracycline. Some people has their ulcers turn into a malignancy...

robal

Really?   Please tell me more - what do you regard as easy to treat?

"Really?   Please tell me more - what do you regard as easy to treat?"

Easy to treat: Literally means the available antibiotics is numerous and has not yet evolved into a very resistant organism like the CRE (Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae) e.g: Klebsiella pneumoniae and Escherichia coli. Other concerns are Clostridioides difficile which causes colitis and watery diarrhea. It usually occurs after an antibiotic treatment. So its a warning to those people who uses antibiotics as a routine prophylactic regimen. Aside from that there is the mutation to "superbugs" which has no treatment at all which leads to the inevitable end. Sorry for the medical terms. I just cannot avoid them as the knowledge falls into my domain of experience in the medical field.

There are many more like the Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Erythromycin-resistant Group A Streptococcus, Acinetobacter, Candida auris, Mycoplasma genitalium, Neisseria gonorrheae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa etc...

Back to H. pylori. The treatment is usually done with a combination 2 antibiotics  (is a selection usually from clarithromycin, metronidazole, amoxicillin, and tetracycline), combined with acid suppressants and bismuth compounds. Some doctors use 3 antibiotics to insure a more efficient kill since strains
of the bacteria itself comes into play; the condition of the environment; habits of the host etc.

robal

robal :

Back to H. pylori. The treatment is usually done with a combination 2 antibiotics  (is a selection usually from clarithromycin, metronidazole, amoxicillin, and tetracycline), combined with acid suppressants and bismuth compounds. Some doctors use 3 antibiotics to insure a more efficient kill since strains
of the bacteria itself comes into play; the condition of the environment; habits of the host etc.

robal

So 3-5 medications, taken for a month or so... plus the common secondary complications arising from decolonisation.

Thanks for the inside track 😊

Oursus :
robal :

Back to H. pylori. The treatment is usually done with a combination 2 antibiotics  (is a selection usually from clarithromycin, metronidazole, amoxicillin, and tetracycline), combined with acid suppressants and bismuth compounds. Some doctors use 3 antibiotics to insure a more efficient kill since strains
of the bacteria itself comes into play; the condition of the environment; habits of the host etc.

robal

So 3-5 medications, taken for a month or so... plus the common secondary complications arising from decolonisation.

Thanks for the inside track 😊

About 14 medications per day for a few weeks. But at the first 1-2 weeks, the patient usually feels better, in which case your clinician follows up for more tests to ensure progress and the diminishment of pathogenesis.

Here´s a link if you like scientific studies on the subject:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4177463/

robal

Ohh woow thank u all folks for the advices.. Is more than i wanted to know, i will be there next month hopefully i will be fine there, and see also the truth face of this part of world.. Im ok with the slums, in Romania we have plenty and i was see the life there,, btw i dont go there for vacantion purpose only, only to see my girl after 1 year of just chatting and nothing more..

Jhane2193 :

Ohh woow thank u all folks for the advices.. Is more than i wanted to know, i will be there next month hopefully i will be fine there, and see also the truth face of this part of world.. Im ok with the slums, in Romania we have plenty and i was see the life there,, btw i dont go there for vacantion purpose only, only to see my girl after 1 year of just chatting and nothing more..

The country is hot and humid, so bring comfortable clothes. Enjoy the Philippines! Avoid drinking "tuba" or "lambanog" coming from palm trees. There has been incidents lately on Filipinos who imbibed that stuff and got sick due to the high concentration of methyl alcohol.

robal

Good luck and be aware. The Philippines is a wonderful place with mostly nice welcoming people. Enjoy yourself and be polite.

Just tell them the truth.

Probably before you finish talking they will stamp your passport.

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