First Steps

My move to the Philippines has been postponed a while as I told in my earlier article, “Paradise Postponed”. Rather than wait until the last minute, I am continuing to downsize and get rid of things that I know will not be needed. I have been listing things on eBay and Craigslist and have scheduled a date to take things to an auction early this fall.

The question has come up many times in my mind, “What are things that I should take, and what things would be best to buy there?” I am very well aware that my visits there are far different than moving there and I am trying to get my mindset changed to one of living rather than just a visit. When I am trying to decide what to take, my mind goes to a friend that always says, “Anything is possible, just bring money.” I realize that most things can be purchased after I move. I am also looking at the cost factor of bringing things that I already own and weighing it against the cost of replacing it with similar quality as they wear out.

Shipping Container
Shipping Container

Answers that might be right for one person are not always right for another but I realized that here on LiP we have a collection of knowledge that is both large and deep and based in experience. I know that needs and wants are different for each person due to personal interests and enjoyments. Let me summarize my needs, wants, and interests and then find out what your thoughts might be about these things.

My plans are to load a shipping container and use boxes for any additional small things. My brother and I have a small business mostly used by a few of our retired military friends where they order items sent to our location and then we pack them into Balikbayan boxes and send to them in the Philippines so anything forgotten can be sent to me once moved.

In the Philippines I have a house that has a couple 110 volt circuits because I use a breathing machine at night, but taking to heart the repeated comments about plugging things into the wrong voltage and letting “the magic smoke out,” as I believe Bob explained it. I have the outlets and cords wired with non-standard plugs so it not possible to plug them in the wrong voltage. This also gives me the option to bring some electrical items that I currently own and replacing them with 220 volt as they wear out.


I have sorted out a few items that are either family heirlooms or have sentimental value. The rest I either already have there in Mindanao or will purchase after moving such as desk and other office type furniture.


I have three main hobbies; cooking as well as butchering and sausage making, woodworking such as building furniture, and reading.


Most of my cooking and butchering items are non-electric except for my heavy duty mixer and a food processor.


Not only is this a hobby but I also have a couple buildings on the farm that are simply a shell and need finished on the inside. Also, the Adirondack furniture that I made and gave as gifts to family members there was a curiosity at first and now has become a strongly hinted suggestion if I was to consider more gifts to others.

Currently I have a well-equipped shop with professional grade tools and all the accessories. Because they are pro grade equipment, almost all of them can be used on 220 volt by changing out the motors. Has anyone had any experience good or bad looking for replacement motors? That is something I have not had to do while visiting there. A couple power tools that do not have replaceable motors are occasional use items, so powering them from the generator until they are worn out is an acceptable alternative just like I did on construction sites.

On a related note, I have a couple large tool chests of Craftsman and Snap-On brand of hand tools in both SAE and metric sizes. My thought is to bring them with me in the shipping container unless someone has a different idea that I am overlooking.


I am currently converting as many books in my library as possible to Kindle. Some of my reference books and some of the ones that I have written are not on Kindle format yet so those will be packed.

Other thoughts

Very little of this is set in stone other than a few family heirlooms and reference books, but it is the point of view that I am using for downsizing and preparing for the move and to give you a basis for your thoughts and suggestions.

Now the questions

Due to injuries received while working in law enforcement, I have found that a memory foam type mattress allows me to sleep with minimal discomfort. Is that something that would be best to bring what I already have or is something comparable relatively easy to purchase?

What furniture items did you find that you wished you would have taken from the US when you moved or that you found was surprisingly expensive or hard to get?

For those that enjoy cooking of all types, what cooking item(s), kitchen accessory/tools, or spices or seasoning did you wish you had taken with you or that maybe you did take and found out it was easier to get locally?

Woodworking and tools – I don’t recall seeing woodworking discussed on LiP as a hobby but if there are those that enjoy it, do you have thoughts or suggestions relating to my comments? I have much of my plans library converted to PDF files that can be printed out as needed both now to save physical storage space as well as after I move.

My question is what items not mentioned do you consider hard to find there that would be worth taking with me?

In closing, you can see the things that I am considering so any comments and/or suggestions along this line are welcome as well as things that you might see that I am overlooking or looking at from a wrong perspective.

This is a completely different mindset for me at least, than a TDY or deployment was when Uncle Sam was my boss.

Looking forward to hearing from all of you.

Post Author: LeRoy (7 Posts)

I am in my early 50’s, living in North Central Indiana. I was medically retired from law enforcement and went back to school earning a MBA and a Masters and a PhD in counseling. My primary occupation is business turn around and consulting for business both large (Fortune 500) and small. In my spare time I donate my time to work with many of our recent immigrants in town.

Live in the Philippines Consulting


  1. says

    Hi LeRoy – Good article. It is good for you to ask about these kind of things for your own benefit, but also the information will be beneficial for others planning to move here.

    Here are my answers to some of your questions (only my opinion, YMMV):

    Memory Foam – There is memory foam here, and it is less expensive than there in the USA. However, I have been told by others that it is not the same and not as good as what you have there. I never had a memory foam mattress before living here, so I don’t know that for sure. But, it does exist here.

    For the most part, furniture here is cheap, low quality stuff. If you have quality pieces that you feel comfortable in, I would bring them along if you can. We brought most of our furniture when we moved here in 2000, and we still have most of what we brought. It has held up well.

    Tools – I know you listened to my podcast yesterday, that should have given you a clue on my thinking there! Bring the tools that you need!

    Good luck, LeRoy!

  2. LeRoy Miller says

    Thank you Bob. Yesterday’s podcast was a surprise and a great companion to today’s questions.

    I’m looking forward to all the feedback.


    • says

      Yes indeed, LeRoy! In fact, I had made that Podcast long ago and already had it scheduled to post yesterday, even before I got your article! Seems like the planets were in alignment on that one! :-)

  3. John Miele says


    A general rule of thumb….

    Inexpensive or cheaply made items are normally available here.

    High quality goods are usually available, though you may need to really search for them and they are normally much more expensive.

    For tools, they can have new motors added, relatively cheaply. The quality of the motor, though? Get my point? Hand tools, link craftsman or snapon are here, but can be very expensive. Remember that local carpenters and contractors use cheap. Cooking stuff is the same. You can find, for instance, good German or Swiss knives…. But they may cost up to twice the price. Remember that 90% if the population gets by with lower quality

    It really comes down to what is important to you. When we moved, we had few heirlooms, and very little stuff we could not live without. In fact, much of what we ended up shipping was never used and sent to the province in the end

    We used the move as a chance to get rid of junk.

    Also remember regarding junk… No matter what you bring, you will still accumulate junk, and end up with a kitchen junk drawer just the same.

    • LeRoy Miller says

      Regarding tools; it seems that my planning on taking parts and consumables, e.g. saw blades, bits, etc along with the accessories is close to your thoughts.

      The Balikbayan box business was a result of USAF friend that wanted to order some items but the company only offered air shipment at the expected high price. He had it delivered to my location where I boxed it up and shipped it for him. I was using a LBC agent since the LBC office is about 3 1/2 hour drive each way. His service slipped from delivering boxes to LBC every Saturday to a longer delay.

      I have located another LBC agent that has a good reputation and have sent a box of my own to my daughter to see how that works. Based on LBC tracking it appears as if he is doing exactly as he promised. Also, I have located a Forex office about an hour from my home so I can take them there myself.

      I have been talking to Bob and once I am satisfied with the reliability of the agents, you should see some advertising on Bob’s websites. Until then I am trying to keep it manageable and know that I am trying agents that I have not used previously.

    • LeRoy Miller says

      I see my reply to Bill S. got under here.

      Cheap tools, in my area we have a brand of tools called Buffalo that fill 99 cent bins typically. I swear they are made out of Chinese butter steel. Light duty and then only a few uses and you are buying again.

  4. says

    First of all i would say: Tools, tools and tools. All you need for your hobby, and a little more. It’s difficult to find quality and special tools here. Beside the tools also bring screws, nails and other kind of “fittings”.

    Since you fill a container i would make space for you mattress as Bob suggests, it’s important to sleep well and the quality here isn’t just the same. It may be possible to find, but then it costs and a lot of trouble finding the right one. Bring it on.

    For you cooking i would recommend that you bring as much as possible, all that kind of things are very personal things, things that we know how react when we use them. Pans, knifes and so no.

    Furnitures: Since it is your hobby to make that, why bring them? Make them here 😉 Maybe if you have a favourite chair or something, you could bring that.

    If you like listen to music, quality speakers is a must, so if you have a good HiFi…bring it. Same with other kind of electronic specialities. Sure we can buy here, but a lot is not good and imported things are expensive. I am still looking for high quality speakers, i brought my HiFi with me, but my speakers were too big for Balikbayan boxes.

    My very early morning thoughts – there may come more after one more cup of coffee.

    Oh yeah,,coffee: I love Espresso and good coffee, so if you have a good espresso machine . bring it.

    • LeRoy Miller says


      Speakers are something I had not thought about. I am converting my bookcase full of LP records to CD or MP3 files but hadn’t thought about the speakers.

      And coffee and espresso, not only is it important but it is almost a religious experience!!! Seriously, When I remodeled the large kitchen in my farmhouse, I separated the large room into a kitchen, laundry/powder room and had a 6’x10′ area left that I made into a coffee shop. I had materials left from various jobs and ended up with a 40’s diner look but with commercial coffee maker and espresso maker and other accessories from a defunct restaurant.

      Will add these to my list.

  5. Bill S. says


    I too am in the early stages, of selling 95% of everything we own, to make the move there. I too am a woodworker, and have been doing it as a business since 1990. Most of my machines are industrial size and many are 3-phase electric, some are 220single phase. I really would like to take many of them with me, but after much thinking, have decided to sell most of the big machines because of a few factors. (3-phase electric or using a phase converter, having a shop to but them into, the size and weight of them, the high humidity, and the high import taxes they would charge on Industrial machines) I will take a Powermatic table saw, a machinist drill press, a small 16″ planer, a small 8″ jointer, a good size 5hp air compressor, and all my portable power tools and hand tools. I have looked there and have had very little luck finding things like routers, biscuit joiners, power hand planes, belt sanders, orbital sanders, miter boxes, battery powered anything larger than 10 volts, and any specialty tools, air tools, staple or nail guns. Drills, grinders and hammer-drills , they do have there though. I do hope I can somehow get 110volt power brought in by a step down transformer, and will also change all the plugs so they cant be pluged into a 220 volt outlet there.
    I did read a post here or somewhere else maybe, that an expat fried a tool by mistake and took it to get it repaired, and was told it could be rewound to use on 220 volt for I think a price of $12 or $15, so that may also be an option it sounds. I plan to check on that on my next visit there next year. Granted I doubt I will need 45 or so routers , but I cant sell them for much here, so will just ship them all there. Oh, router bits and 10″ carbide saw blades seem to be non-existent there, as well as cabinet type hardware (drawer slides, etc.)

    I might have some things you might be interested in for sale, machines and I also have a few brand new, still in the box routers and lots of inventory if your close to the Washington DC area.

    I would like to find out more about your business of sending things via Balikbayan boxes, once we move there I have no family here to send us things I may need, so your business may come in handy once we are there.

  6. papaduck says

    Seems like you are doing a pretty good job in preparing yourself for your move. Some of the main things I brought were laptop which can be used with any voltage, a high watt voltage converter, alot of clothes andshoes as bigger sizes can be difficult to find here. Some other items like walnuts, pecans, dry beans, vitamins/supplements and batteries because the quality is not good, very high price or not available. I had alot of wants so I sent quite a bit. Good luck on preparation, hope all goes smooth.

    • LeRoy Miller says

      I remember Feyma mentioning about having a hard time buying shoes for one of the sons and even though I have lost 80 lbs. recently, I am still quite large so will try to get a feel for what I need when I am there in March.

  7. Lenny says

    Fennel Seed…..Anise…….Good extra Virgin Olive Oil Pompeian?? spelling?? Corn Tortillas…Flour also ….. Bubble wrap good or they break apart…. I am Italian… On Plane with you buy as many big Italian Salami’s as you need.. I buy Molinara at Costco…If you like it can be frozen.. I buy Mortedella also…

    • queeniebee5 says

      Hey Lenny,
      You’re right about bringing unique herbs, as I regret not bringing more. I try to cook as much Italian food for variety, so anything specialty is great. I’ve found some here and there in my travels through local super markets, so some can be had if you search.Found a decent container of dried rosemary the other week.Dona Elena Extra Virgin Olive Oil I’ve purchased in many markets here, and I think it’s really good and it’s imported from Italy. Italian imported pasta is pretty easy to find here too in Cebu at least.
      Herb seeds like different varieties I did bring to plant my own fresh, so seeds in general are good to bring, although not always successful. Trial and error..
      I’m always on the lookout for good pickles, relishes and mustard and decent mayo without a lot of preservatives. Bringing favorites would keep you in stock for a while..

    • John Power says

      Well Lenny, I think that says it all. Don’t bring a lawn mower, just bring Salami……I know which I would rather have!

  8. queeniebee5 says

    Hi LeRoy,

    What we shipped came over all in Balik Bayan boxes only over time, I think you’re on the right track bringing good quality tools. My husband has used so many that he brought with him, and when our houses were being built, workers used some of his tools to make their jobs more efficient. Garden hand tools of good quality are helpful to bring too, if that interests you.
    Cooking pots, specialty knives and utensils as John said can be found, but are expensive, so if you already have some that’s good to bring. Nice cotton curtains in various lengths were great to bring. We brought a lot of curtains from Ikea and they have been great because most curtains here are synthetic and not too great. Hobby items that interest you would be hard to come by here, so that is good to have. Cotton fabric for tailor made clothing is great if you’re interested.
    I’d like to give a “shout out” to Mandaue Foam for mattresses, and furniture in general. There are branches everywhere now, not just in Cebu, and this mattress that we bought there is the best quality we’ve ever had.
    We purchased a lot of our furniture from them, and they are good quality but can be a little pricey. They do have sales a couple of times a year though, and you can get some deals then. They do deliver for a price depending on where you live. I’ll leave a link here.
    Any items related to various hobbies , like sports equipment or camera equipment are great things to have and hard to replace.
    We didn’t really have any furniture that we felt compelled to bring in a tanker container, and we thought a new life deserved new furniture, but if you have things you want to bring that’s fine and they could not be found here.
    Good Luck on your future move.

    • says

      I could not imagine having a lawnmower in the Philippines. It is cheap to hire a young man to cut your grass, they usually use a hedge trimmer type of tool to do that.

      • John Power says

        I don’t hire anybody, to do anything here Bob. I do everything myself. And I’v seen the results of lawns cut with a “hedge trimmer”!

              • LeRoy Miller says

                I am making notes from both of your posts. I send my daughter seeds for sweet corn and other things but had not thought of herbs. I am fortunate to have three bulk food stores close by me that I can buy many things at a very reasonable price. I noticed today when I was buying some supplies that the Milo is about 1/2 or less than what I paid last time I was in the Philippines and went shopping for my daughter.

                Fresh herbs would be much better than the dried.

        • John Power says

          Lenny, if you really want something to laugh at, which I think was a bit, shall we just say”off”. I think Bob’s comment “Everyone has their own way of doing things” much more appropriate. However, like I said, if you really want a laugh, I have NO air-con in my new house!

    • says

      Hey John,

      I hit the holy grail of lawn mowers. It took me 6 months of searching but got a decent push mower with a Briggs and Stratton Engine for 14k in Paranaque. Place had 20 different models.

      Yes the truth is out there, but man you have to dig dig dig to find it. At least i can finally not deal with gas powered weed eater guys tearing up my lawn.

      But a John Deere self propelled would really be classy eh? If only i had a shipping container coming over haha.


      • John Power says

        Hi Rick. Briggs & Stratton, John Deer, now you’r talking!!! But my lawn is very small compared to back home, so I just got a Bosch electric mower. As a matter of interest, where in Paranaque? I’m quiet near there. I found a place here in San Pedro, selling second hand things. They had some leaf blowers and pressure washers.

        • LeRoy Miller says

          Maybe bringing lots of lawn mowers would pay for my move? (:-) Just joking that sounds like a new business opportunity for someone.

        • says

          Check OLX for John Benzen Power Tools. They were listed in Paranaque, but actually had a warehouse and location in Binondo. We went there and picked up units.

          Address there is 314 Dasmirinas Street, Binondo Manila.

          They had smaller lawn mowers with Briggs and Stratton engines starting at 18 inch cut at 11k, and i got a 22 inch cut with bag for like 13k, and got a second blade for 500k in the deal.

          Nice mower, a little heavy. If you want self propelled push type they have too for a little more, but at least they have sales and service.

          You wouldnt believe how long i looked for one before i found a place that wasnt jacking people on prices. Average for cheap mowers was 25k to 35k. Hey at this price i will run it till the body rusts through (although it will take a while but it will eventually happen here because of the climate), but one can sit back and dream of that John Deere or a Snapper while cruising along in the yard pushing this eh?

  9. American Lola says

    You have some great questions! We recent welcomed some new coworkers, and feel that they brought WAY too much stuff… But I agree with many other posters here, bring the things you really love to use, for the things that are important to you. If you only use it once in a while, sell it there and buy one here in you think you still want one.

    Mandaue Foam does have some pretty nice furniture, but it is still pretty flimsy construction. They have a large selection of mattresses. I brought memory foam from the states to put on the foam mattress I bought here, and that works well for us. Mandaue has very nice, sturdy bed frames.

    If you wife wants any curtains that are not polyester drapes with large holes to slide on a pole, she should bring rods and whatever is needed. All sorts of mini-blinds, Romans shades, and so on are available. 100% cotton sheets cost the moon over here, so bring those. Polyester makes for sweaty nights. Nice bathroom rugs sets are hard to find, so bring what you have. I have never seen a good turkey roaster here, but they do have frozen, imported turkeys.

    Transformers are always an option for 110 appliances, but they do add to the electric bill, and electricity is expensive.

    Yes! If you plan on having a very large lawn, bring a mower! We are bringing back another one, as the first one is worn out. What is available is low power and expensive. We actually bought one new on eBay and shipped it over for less than one cost in ACE Hardware! Good leaf rakes are very hard to find, as are long, straw brooms (if you need one), and good fruit pickers (if you have tall fruit trees). Bring Terro ant syrup, it is way cheaper in the States, and you will need it!

    Most seeds for Stateside veggies will not grow well in the Philippines, so just try to use what is already here. Yes, bring spices: dill, ground cloves, allspice.

    That’s all I can think of now!

    • says

      Hey Lola, If you want fresh dill, drop by my house. I have enough growing to pickle about 100 cases of pickles here. Once it starts growing, you cant get it to stop! Beware.

    • John Power says

      Rovineye. Sad is an understatement! I worked in a wood yard for more than 40 yrs before I came here. The best I found here was in Wilcon. “Mattwood”. It’s from Malaysia, and is treated with preservative. It’s expensive, and sooo undersize. 1″x2″ is less than 5/8″x1 5/8″

      • Rovineye says

        As you said John, expensive and frail! The explanation for the price was that the boards have a lifetime guarantee. Against what they couldn’t quite specify.

        I would fill every available inch of that container with wood!

        • Don says

          +1 on wood. they have massive Home Depot warehouse centers here in Manila. Mostly empty space, but has every type of screwdriver you could ever need. No basic stuff like wood, nuts & bolts in both SAE and metric, etc. Really makes it difficult as a DIY person.

          I have seen places that make furniture, they may have sources of wood, but some tend to be very high end teak or something resembling coconut (porous). And they wont be standard lengths (2×4) or kiln dried so expect warping.

          • John Power says

            True Don,DIY is difficult here. I’m trying to find a “filler”. In England we have Polyfilla, but I’v used the last of it now. The “Putty” they have here seems to be just for coating walls very thinly, before painting, because the “plasterers” are crap. If you have a small hole in the wall to fill, it never cures properly, and cracks up.

            • Don says

              On the flip side. I was trying to find a simple plastic 1/2″ T connector, simple piece you use to connect 3 hoses and costs like 30 cents. Cannot find anywhere and my guy had someone weld 3 pieces of stainless steel. Cost was a bit more and took half a day, but things can be made to happen.

              • LeRoy Miller says

                I have not found the selection to be very good either. When I was there last time I built a table from locally available wood and to me the quality was about that of pallet wood, pretty sad. However, we needed a table very quickly and once it was sanded, sanded, and more sanding then painted and grained, it looked quite nice and has worked well since.

                On the farm are some trees that seem to be a mahogany variety but I forget the local Bisayan name for them. I have the key components of a small sawmill, the rest can be fabricated using local materials by the family welder. I have that set aside to bring. I have used it to dimension logs and then used a solar warm air type kiln to air dry lumber that has worked well in the past. Since the sun and wood are similar in all locations, I am hoping I can use the wood on the farm for some of the projects while I locate other sources.

  10. says

    Great article and a lot of the same issue that many here have encountered, including me, over time.

    I think i have spent a couple years here just browsing around for things you were citing, and most of the comments are very straightforward and to the point, even more so the farther you are away from Manila, Cebu and Davao City (the centers of the distribution universe in the country).

    Power tools: You can get fairly decent Makita, lesser quality Bosch and DeWalt products here. All have distribution centers in the country and the major places like MC Home Depot and other big box outfits here can order. There are specialty tools distribution places that high end contractors use I can point you to if you need help on other wares.

    Wood: Getting kiln dried oak, walnut etc for furniture making is possible, but extremely expensive. You are better to ship it over now, than pay through the nose later. Hey, 10,000 miles in a container and port charges, handling, customs fees, thats why its so blamed expensive. Try getting Philippine Mohagany in the US and you will see the same thing. I know, bring a crying towel haha. We always want what we dont have but its the fact of the matter.

    Plumbing: You can find decent fittings here as well as adapters, etc. Again you have to look and major places do have them. I know, because i spent a long time finding the sources and you will sometimes go nuts knowing where to go to find them. They can be right under your nose here and people dont realize they have them on the shelf. Bring photos, Iphones are great for this to hand to an expert in a parts section. They may call something under other names.

    Hardware: While their prices are ridiculous because of shipping costs, Ace Hardware and True Value both have bins of hardware items. Looking for small fittings, washers, clevises, nuts, bolts etc. They have them, not in huge quantities. However in my area there are 3, so i can find the item if i need say, 12 of them at a time. Long length bolts in 1/2, 3/4 etc can be a challenge. I find that if you want 6 or 8 inch length its a pain. However machine shops can create one in pretty good quality very cheaply if you know where to ask. I have had things manufactured and that is one area where there are plenty of places looking for business. Stainless steel wares are easily found and good quality. MIG and TIG welding too. Again, look around, its probably there but the average Joe doesnt know it exists.

    Lumber: They have great Mahogany here, but cutting a straight board is nearly impossible. To get it smooth to cabinet level finish and cut things the way you want it: Bring a good planer and router set, with bits. You can get orbital kits from Makita fairly inexpensively but the bits are nearly impossible to find. Bring your own.

    Speakers: Anything high end, bring it with you.

    Stereos: Buy off EBay and bring it with you. I have a Pioneer SC 07 and it is a gem. Ran it on step down converter / voltage regulator here for almost 10 years. Zero problems. Pioneer service can work on them too. Pioneer, Yamaha, that end of units, no problem. Buy there, its a tad cheaper than here.

    AV Projectors: Buy in US. Prices here are not competitive and they dont have the latest models.

    AV Screens: Buy in US. You cant get sizes here you want. If you do, you will get them from Singapore at Gold Plated prices.

    Furniture: Ethan Allen quality. Buy in US. Ship here. A lot of things here are imported from China, just like in US. I had been looking for AV sofas, cheap junk at inflated prices here.

    Bedding: Great stuff locally manufactured no problem. You can get custom size mattresses made here, including memory foam stuff. Standard dimensions here are for Filipino bodies and your feet will hang off. King is not King as you know it. In fact as many as 6 different sizes of what they call a King Bed haha. Beware.

    Hard Drives: Buy on Ebay and bring with you. You can find same things at cheaper prices.

    Speaker Wire: 10ga or 12ga for home wiring projects. Buy on Ebay and bring with you. Quality here and guage sizes are smaller. You will often see 16 and 18 ga wire for speaker projects. Also connection plates for audio setups. Buy there and install here. They are not existent here. If you want to wire a 7.1 or 9.1 home theater and have wall plates separating things, you have to basically buy from US.

    Herbs: Italian Basil, I have a ton of it in my garden. Seedlings at 10 cents each. Rosemary, I have the same growing, enough to feed and army. Thai basil, same thing, takes over your garden in no time.
    Tarragon, easy to find seedlings. I have it growing.

    Nuts: Expensive. Bring what you want from US now. You can get them here in bulk sizes at S&R but who wants 10 lbs of Walnuts at 40 USD?

    Ice Cream Makers: Find a decent 220v unit and bring it with you. Small ones here are 200 bucks and dont last.

    Knifes: Go look up on the web and have them UPS to you now. Bring good pots and knife sets from them along. You cant go wrong. You can find nice stuff here, but expensive and limited supply. One of my hobbies is cooking and while culinary devices and wares are in supply in metro manila, much wider selection in US.

    Flour, Masa, bring a bunch with you. Gold Medal here but is locally made and doesnt rise as well. Masa is hard to find. Good hot sauce, bring a gob with you. If you like Habanero anything, bring it with you.

    Good luck on your move. Id love to trade culinary adventures when you get over here. Drop by if you are up in Tagaytay.


    • LeRoy Miller says

      Great list. I’ve made a number of notes.

      Tagaytay is quite a distance to have a cookoff but one never knows. I had the family welder help me make a smoker like I use in BBQ competitions. As usual i got the comment, “You been drinking again Joe?” which is the joking way the family has of saying, “What the heck are you doing?”

      A few hours later the pulled pork with my homemade KC Masterpiece sauce had made converts. I think the sweet sauce was what sold them.

      • says

        Hey send me a photo of your cooker. I was going to devise a CAD drawing of what i wanted and have someone build it for me, and since you have one made already i can always copy your good idea. hee hee

        I cook ribs a lot for my friends and family. They just arent used to good ones that have been slow cooked for a while on a grill and go bonkers when they eat them. Of course it leads to being the chef every time they come over the next time.

        Roti chickens are a hit too, especially with all the rosemary and thyme i have in my herb garden. Im sure they will read this and hit me up for a dozen or so of them for the next barkada fest we have over here. Exactly what happens when you eat something you cant do without but dont know how to fix, get Rick to fix it. Lucky me, eh?

  11. August says

    We’re moving to the Philippines in 4 months (January 2015)! The comments are very helpful. Anyone have any recommendation which Shipping company to use? I’m making my list and doing my due diligence and would appreciate if you can let me know what shipping company you used when you move to the Philippines. Thanks!

  12. says


    I didn’t read through every comment, so this thought might have already been shared….and considering the age of your post, this might no longer be an issue.


    Some electric motors are already capable of running on either 110 or 220 by rewiring the connection to power. It might be worth investigating this before replacing or rewinding everything. Of course, hand tools would not fit this category.


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