The other day, I got an e-mail from a friend. He is thinking of making the big move to the Philippines, and he had some questions to ask me. His questions primarily were about the age old decision of whether you should move all your stuff with you when you come, or if you should just replace it when you get here. And, of course, how much does it cost to move the stuff!
Well, when Feyma and I moved here back in 2000, we moved almost everything we owned. Today, after having lived here for 12 or so, I would do it a little differently if I had to do it all again. I would move less stuff, I would sell much of it, or give it to family and friends. One thing that I would certainly not move with me, which I did bring with me 10 years ago, is small appliances which require 110V power supply. Let me say, there are a lot more appliances of this kind available in the States. You can purchase transformers here to step the voltage down from 240V to the 110V that is required by US electrical items. As long as you use that transformer, you have no problem. However, it is inevitable that somebody is going to plug the thing directly into the wall, and the “magic smoke” will come out from the appliance. It will either have to be fixed, or thrown away. You can get it fixed, but after a few times of fixing it, it really doesn’t work like it used to. For me, the solution on that is to just purchase such appliances with the correct voltage here, and be satisfied with what you can get here. It’s not like you can’t live without that super duper electric slicer/dicer that is the rage in the States right now!
Anyway, here is the message that my friend sent to me a few days ago:
I have a lot of personal belongings that I would like to bring with me to the Philippines but I’m finding it incredibly expensive to send even a small package. You had mentioned in your video tour of your house that you moved your furniture from the U.S. to the Philippines and I was wondering how you did that. I live in south western Pennsylvania.
Also, will a laptop made in the U.S. work on the higher voltage electric current in the Philippines? The ac adapter says input 100-240v-1500ma 90 watt, output 20v-4500ma
I appreciate your help.
And, here is the answer that I sent to my friend:
So, you are planning to make the move? That’s great!
First, let’s start off with your laptop (or anything else with a similar type transformer). If it says “100-240v” then indeed it will work fine for you here in the Philippines. That is a universal voltage item, and should work just about anywhere in the world without a hitch.
Back in 2000 when we moved here, we brought basically everything we owned. It filled two containers – one 40 foot container and one 20 footer. It was a lot of stuff! In retrospect, there was some of that stuff that I would not bring with me if I were doing it all over again. Basically, decide what you really, really need, and cannot replace when you are here in the Philippines. Family heirlooms that you want to keep in your life. Things that you want or need, and use regularly, and are not available here. That kind of stuff, you should bring with you. Other stuff that can be replaced here, or is not used anyway… well, sell it (eBay, Craigslist, Garage Sale, etc), give it away, or whatever works best for you. Just don’t pay to move it here.
By the way, moving those two containers of stuff that we moved cost us $10,000 in 2000. I can’t say what it would cost today, but it would likely cost more now than it did a decade ago.
There is, though, another solution that you might consider. If you can narrow your items down to smaller stuff (not like furniture and such), you could ship the stuff in a bunch of Balikbayan Boxes. A Balikbayan Box can be shipped here for $75 to $100 or so, and the weight of the box doesn’t matter. For the price of $10,000 that it might cost to ship your stuff in a sea container, you could ship 100 Balikbayan Boxes, and I just don’t see any way that you would ship that much! If you don’t know what a balikbayan box is, check here.
I hope this helps, my friend. If you have other questions about making the move, please let me know, and I will gladly answer if I can.
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Bob Martin is the Publisher & Editor in Chief of the Live in the Philippines Web Magazine. Bob is an Internet Entrepreneur who is based in Davao. Bob is an American who has lived permanently in Mindanao since May 2000. Here in Mindanao, Bob has resided in General Santos City, and now in Davao City. Bob is the owner of this website and many others.