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Philippines 2019 for new expats

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On 4/12/2019 at 1:11 AM, Destiny1990 said:

2.Shop owners probably think that guards are cheaper then alarm systems and CCTV like we have in our countries.

CCTV is required by law at all business premises, and they mean it, there are frequent checks and you get shut down if it doesn't work.

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Over the next weeks I will write about Philippines, how it is to live here as a former Thai expat.   With the never ending visa changes in Thailand, I hope this will be helpful now for some

I don't think he started this thread to attract hecklers. There is a bigger world than only Thailand, or indeed Asean.

Visa: After the first 29 days on arrival, go to immigration and apply for 1 months extension. You can apply next day after arrival if you want. 3.120 peso 60$   After first 59 days in c

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On 4/4/2019 at 6:04 PM, ExpatPH said:


Hi dddave.

Personal safety is a issue here, but I dare to say, with ahead planning and common sense, 99% of the danger can be avoided.


I dont show a 1000$ mobile phone in public.

Only use it inside a mall.

I use a cheap 15$ phone if I expect a long night out, with drinking.

I wear reversible shorts (Jag brand) with inner pockets where I can hide money.

I have inner pockets made on my jeans too.


Yes, pick pocketing and hold ups with knife and gun, do happen. Some was killed because they didnt give up their belongings.

Foreigners mostly get pick pocketed for wallets and phones, when they don't pay attention, are drunk, have female company.

The small young beggars are the worst, they distract you, and one of them manage their small hands in your side or rear pockets, and snatch your wallet, then run like hell. Don't allow them near you, just shout out loud.


Im of average height and weight, in my 50s, often walk alone. Not difficult to attempt to rob me, but I hide any sign of wealth.


Been to 'dangerous area' of town named 'Colon' day and evenings.

Take jeepneys in daylight.

Been to former nightlife area until 4am.

Never been in a situation in almost 10 years here.


Yes, I'm not trying to sell this place as a dream. I try to be balanced, and tell it how it really is.

Will share more of my cons and frustrations soon. Hospitals griefs already mentioned.




Really great posts and information on the Philippines in general. My biggest concern would be the food and very expensive private hospitals.


    I've seen plenty of photos of Filipino food and to be honest, I couldn't live on that.


    Do you cook your own food from time to time? Is, meat, veggies, etc expensive? 



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On 4/16/2019 at 12:58 AM, rhodie said:

It just adds a dimension to the mix. Thailand used to be a great place and still is for many. But things are not getting easier. 2 years ago my OA long stay visa was AUD$225. It is now AUD$550 for my application next month. It is not 1 thing that causes someone to look around, but the small hills are growing. Good luck to those that are still riding the crest. Some of us are just looking at other places. Nothing wrong with that. 🙂 

Just a correction to my post. My OA visa was $275. $550 is for the new 5/10 year visa announced in 2016. But everything is still very confusing on the web site. 

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On 4/7/2019 at 11:31 AM, Destiny1990 said:

Try buy a condo in Phillipines i dare u.

I bought my condo in 2011.  No problems with purchase (Ayala Land), got the title before the building was ready for handover, no hassle at all.  The title for my car parking space had a spelling error in my name, they rectified this.

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18 hours ago, cerox said:

I have a few questions.


1. What happens with the ACR card when you leave? Do you have to start all over again like with your visa every time you leave? Or do you keep the card until a defined expiry date?


2. I read before that an English driving license is ok, the Thai license is in English too and it is part of the ASEAN agreement, where the countries agreed to accept each others licenses. I already suspected the police will not care. Would you suggest using taxis until we have an ACR card and convert to a Filipino driving license? I have no motorbike license from my home country (only car) so IDP is not an option.


3. A few months ago I found out what you wrote in this topic too. Motorbikes are cheaper than in Thailand. But I am more interested in renting first - websites like book2wheel.com quote a 30day rental price of 9500 PHP which is almost 5800 THB and twice as expensive as Thailand. Can you shed some light on this? I just do not understand why motorbikes (buying) are so much cheaper but renting at the same time is super-expensive. Maybe I use the wrong websites; I am happy for advice.


4. Carry passport when driving was mentioned here. Photocopy ok? (Scan on smartphone etc.)


It seems to me driving is complicated - I mean renting is expensive and I need a local license first, so it might be better to just use Taxis/Grab. Also keeps me more flexible.




1.  You keep your ACR-I card to expire date, valid 1 year. When you return to PH, Immigration ask for it.  If its expired already, they tell you to apply for a new one, something thats done automatically when one apply for extension at office (not at airport).


2. If IDL is not a option, use taxi, or motorcycle taxi called habal habal. 

Can't and shouldn't attempt to bribe a police officer.  I would not drive without IDL + DL from country of origin.


3. Renting motorbike is indeed expensive here, 9000 peso or more is normal for a 125cc bike here.  All places I visited quoted 9k up for a month. Why it's so expensive here? Good question. Not many motorbike for rent here, not same as in Thailand. Less availability = higher demand mostly from richer tourists, higher prices.

Buying a 300-600cc here is often 1000US$ cheaper than in Thailand. 


4. Carry real passport when driving with IDL + DL from home country. No photo copy.


As always in Asia, depends of the officer who stop you. To be safe, carry real Passport as required, when driving. They love to impound motorbikes here.


While traffic culture here is slower than in Thailand, without IDL one should await ACR-I card, before driving.


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Thank you for answering my questions.


Really sad that driving yourself is such a hassle in the Philippines; the high rental prices for motorbikes and the need to carry my passport just put me off. Very risky to carry a passport - so expensive to get a new one. It is good to know. I will just use taxis, habal habal / grab etc. and not rent myself. Buying a motorbike seems the only sensible option, but if I need to carry my passport everywhere - this is a really big deal.


I can cook at home like I do in my home country.


How is the Cebu air pollution compared to Chiang Mai? Is it CM burning all year because of the different pollution from the jeepneys etc. or better?

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4 hours ago, ExpatPH said:

Hi Isaanbiker.

I don't eat local food either, so eat out often, and also cook at home.

Vegetables are of less quality than in Thailand.

Posted photos of food and prices before.

No doubt that food in Thailand is much much better.


Overall, Philippines is 7-8% cheaper than Thailand, according to survey posted earlier, and that is my personal experience as well.

About the vegetables somehow i more confident that in Phillipines vegetables are getting sprayed with only approved international chemicals in comparison with what they use in Thailand.

Veggies fine for me there and supermarkets have local and international food choices just as the restaurants.

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In terms of fruit how do you guys buy your fruit in the Philippines?

In Thailand I have some street vendors / small markets I buy my fruit from, which they say they do not spray and the fact you have to eat it quickly confirms that this might be true. Supermarket fruit in Thailand I find it too expensive - because I eat a lot, really a lot of fruit 😀

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Is Dumaguete still safe to go with what happened in this small city Marawi?

I like smaller cities like Chiang Mai in terms of size. Cebu might be too big and polluted. How is the Internet in Bohol? I need to be able to do some work online. The small islands unfortunately are too slow with Internet - maybe the new Borocay is nice - you mentioned there is good Internet.


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