Your experience might not be what you think

On this blog, I have long advocated that you should move here, rent a place for a period of at least a couple of years, and don’t make a major commitment until you have time to adjust and evaluate your preferences.  Heck, you may well decide that this place is not what you expected and you may just decide to go back “home.”  I’ve said it more than once here – I would estimate that more than half the ex-pats who come to live here leave within the first year or to, most of them returning to where they came from.  Because of this it is only prudent to keep your options open, and don’t tie yourself down.

The kind of houses that most of us foreigners would prefer are big and expensive compared to Philippine standards.  Let’s just say that for us, a low end house might be around P4 or P5Million.  Less than that would probably not fit the lifestyle of an ex-pat.  In truth, many of us would be looking for a place in the P10M range.  Now, do you think that you can build a house for P5 to P10m and then easily sell it if you decide this is not the place for you?  Let me clue you in – from what I know, if you have such an expensive house, you might be here for a long, long time before you can sell it.

House for Rent
House for Rent

This is why I am a strong advocate of renting first.  Feyma and I have purchased some land and intend to build sometime in the next few years, but we have already lived here for 7+ years, and it will be at least 3 years before we start building, I’d say.  We have been here long enough to experience the good and the bad.  We’ve come to accept the things that we could not easily adjust to, and we know that we want to stay here for the term (i.e. – permanently).

Whey do I bring this up again?  Pete’s serious of posts over the weekend brought this to mind for me.  Pete built a house here before having lived here full time, and for the first time he got to stay in his house over his recent vacation.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not badmouthing Pete, as a matter of fact, the posts that he wrote himself told of his many surprises on his recent 3 week stay.  Let me tell you this – 3 weeks is nothing.  The things that Pete experienced over 3 weeks will multiply 100 fold when he is here for good.  Pete, don’t be surprised when you move here for good – it won’t be easy!  It takes time.  But, if you are a patient man, you will overcome the adversities and learn to deal with these “problems.”

For those of you who are thinking of moving here – take a look at the things that Pete has to say, and consider what I have said many times about buying property here.  Wait until you have some experience before buying.  If you decide to stay (I hope you will!) you will also be more experienced in how things work here, and you’ll be a more intelligent buyer when the time comes!

Post Author: MindanaoBob (1345 Posts)

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.


  1. Paul says

    Hi Bob – Pete's posts bring back many memories, and reveal possible future issues for me. Adjustment is certainly the name of the game. Finding that vendor who sells the proper "Made in the Philippines rose-colored glasses" can take years.

    Practicing adjustment prior to moving could help. On weekends that aren't devoured by work, I try to live island style–never schedule more than one task to do, if any; don't wear a wristwatch and avoid looking at clocks or trying to find out "What time is it?"; visit Filipino markets, shops and restaurants; visit relatives; and the like. Only items I haven't been able to simulate are the noises that are commonplace in the Phils!

  2. says

    Could not agree more with your advice, Bob. I recently commented here and wrote elsewhere about what seems to be one of the number-one 'sticking points" for a lot of people thinking about moving here. They want to buy a house and pin themselves down before they even experience the Philippines .. and they get all "wrapped around the axle" about the Philippines' strange property ownership laws. Maybe those laws have an unintended benefit … they keep a lot of foreigners from making bad investments.

    This is _not_ California or south Florida or any other place that most Americans know the real estate market. In most parts of the US … or England or Australia, et al, buying and selling houses is a big industry. Real estate is a commodity, you buy a houser almost as easily as you buy a car. It don't work that way here.

    As with you and Feyma, Mita and I will have our own home in the future. We already own land on which we may build. Or we may buy one of any number of homes in a nearby city built by another expat and abandoned. A 10 million peso home, as per your example, is $218,000USd at today's rate. 108,000 GBP, or 160,00 Euros. You can build a pretty nice home for 10 million pesos, but don't kid yourself, it will not be Bill Gate's mansion. And it will be virtually unsaleable. You can make it a nice enough place to suit yourself … but it's nothing like the idea of buying or building a $200,000 house in the US and then selling it a few years down the road to move and/or "trade up" to a bigger house. No matter how smart you thgink (or can prove) you are in your home country, you (and this specifically means me too, Im paying for my education here as we speak) don't know nuttin' here. Caveat emptor.

  3. Louis says

    Another thing I have noticed is that over here the cost of building a house is going up while the cost of buying is going down. If you see a house you like for 6M pesos then maybe you want to wait a month. I have seen houses start out at 12M Pesos and get sold for 4M. The house I am buying is no McMansion but it is still 200SqM (2,100sqft). It would cost me abot 6M to build now but the purchase price is 3M. Just remember, the bigger the house you buy, the bigger the bills that come with it. The market is just that bad over here and your average Filipino just doesn't have that kind of money. So in the long run you're selling to other expats.

  4. says

    Hi Paul – Based on the things that Pete has been writing, I think that his eyes started to open up a bit in the three weeks he was here! Ha ha…. He will get adjusted when he lives here, this kind of eye opening process happens to all of us, I'd say!

    Hi Dave Starr – Yes indeed, we all start out from a knowledge base of "zero" here, don't we? I have been here over 7 years, and I consider myself just at the "elementary school" level when it comes to things like real estate here. It is a big learning process, and I am not sure we can ever fully grasp it.

    Hi Wayne – Thanks for the vote of confidence!

    He Louis – I have noticed the same – houses that are pre-built can often be purchased for less than building – much less. The other thing to keep an eye out for is ex-pats who are bailing out on the place, can't sell the house, and are pretty much willing to take what they can get just to go home. Now, there you can find some real bargains!

  5. AmericanLola says

    Excellent advise, Bob! As missionaries, we had our adjustment period for sure. In our case, we had to realize and affirm that we did not come here because we like the weather, the food or the culture. We didn't come because life is convenient or even because we enjoy the company of the people here (at that point). In fact, the language was hard to learn, the weather exhausting, the culture a mystery, life inconvenient and there were coups and diseases, to name a few. Things are better now for the foreinger, way better. But if your reasons for coming are mostly for your own pleasure, and you tend to be a fairly inflexible or an impatient person, you will become either bitter or better. The Philippines will not change for us, we have to change for the Philippines.

  6. says

    Hi AmericanLola – I like that quote "we will either become bitter or better." If you don't mind, I am going to steal it and use it from time to time. The fact is, I believe that we all go through the process and we all become bitter. After that we either become better, or we leave. Thankfully for me, after become bitter, I overcame it and became better. Being better is healthier for me, it makes me feel better, and it makes people like me more. When you are bitter you will find that you have few (if any) friends, which makes matters even worse.

  7. says

    Hi Bob,

    Given that expats do leave on a regular basis, have you ever thought about or do you see others buying up that real estate cheap? Or is it still a matter of what do you do with it once you have bought it?

  8. says

    Hi Tom – To date I have not done this, but I do feel that it is a nice strategy to follow. I did once rent a house from a British guy who went home. He desperately needed somebody to buy it or rent it from him, and I lived there for 2 years for about 1/3 of what the place should have rented for.

  9. says

    Another little idiosyncrasies you are liable to run into here in the Philippines: there are houses for sale for years … I mean 5 and 6 years or more … that have not sold and the owner will not deal on. In my experience, you'll seldom see this in the US. And 'bank owned" repossessed houses in the US are often a "steal" if a buyer can make a quick offer. But in the Philippines, while "bank owned" properties are plentiful, the dealing environment is completely different.

    There's a home a hundred meters or so from me … it's a nice-sized two story dwelling on an unusually-oversize lot. The homes around it are all in the 1.5 to 2 million range (based on actual sales within the past year or two). This hoiuse is listed at 3 million and certainly worth it, based on comparable size, construction, location, etc.

    It has been on the market for 6 full years. The owner (a Filipino businessman in Manila) reportedly turned down a 2.5 million cash offer where the prospective buyer actually brought the 2.5 mill to a meeting is cash in a briefcase. Pretty obvious that the owner is not anxious to sell.

    Many people in the US have biougt at sold more than one house in that amount of time … and to have your house up for sale for 6 plus years?

    There's a lot to learn.

    • biz doc says

      just found this “old” article but i figured this needed clarification.

      most owners’ refusal to part with less– despite having a property on the block for a number of years– is due to the fact that local zonal & appraisal values on the lot will still increase even if the structure standing on it depreciates both in value and in actual physical condition.

      so in terms of taxes, it doesn’t help to cut a deal if they’re not under any pressure to sell, that’s why most open-ended sellers won’t be bothered to negotiate because they have nothing extra to gain by selling low on a property that’s sure to increase in value.

      in the case of properties repossessed by banks, credit-management bank honchos tend to “list” properties for sale/auction that have little comparable appeal vs. similar properties within the same locale. that’s why it’s a rarity to find good deals from bank listings.

      on the other hand, quality listings of repossessed properties end up being sold internally– to their own officers, usually VP level & up. a seniority perk, in a way, given the hierarchical corporate culture of local banks.

      sometimes it’s not even internal policy that drives this practice, but an “incidental” benefit if the SVP heading Loans happens to be an old-timer with a lot of internal influence, leveraging quality property finds into relationship-building tools with other bank officers he’d like to align with. knowing one is the only way any outsider can get access to such valuable finds.

      what surprises many is that there are also properties that should be repossessed and in the market again, except for the fact that the owners may be long-standing bank clients with huge local-branch deposits.

      in which case, regional/provincial branch managers tend to send FYI notes to their Credit counterparts in Head Office telling them to go easy on said foreclosure-able properties, rather than risk losing major depositors at the provincial branch level to competing banks, whose deposits may be 50-80% of their branch deposit base.

      losing such clients could mean a major drop in branch income, if not outright closure if expenses remain higher than income for very long periods.

      btw, provincial branch banking in PH is not for the faint-hearted ” )

  10. Mahdy says

    Hello Bob, Louis and all, Back in there lots or houses for sale are price higher since it's expected that the buyer will negotiate with the price. thats is why it will go down. If your a good negotiator then the luck is on your side 😉

  11. says

    Hi Dave Starr – Yes, the issue that you bring up about people not being willing to negotiate is very true! I have found this to be particularly true in commercial space. I have found places like office buildings that sat vacant for 5 or even 10 years and the owner would not budge on the price. Very different than back in the States!

    Hi Mahdy – While it seems the inverse of what Dave says, your statement is also true! People jack up the price to give themselves room to bargain.

  12. says

    Hi Bob, and everyone else, its good to hear I am the center of your observations, actually I am not offended by anyones comments, the more the merrier, in fact the reason I wrote my posts was to simply point out much of what Bob is saying, the difference with my posts if you examine them is that they dont just give vague insights, they come with examples, the problem with examples or incidents is that it kind of personalizes the issues.

    Because it personalizes them, emotions run high, the object of my posts has to be Filipinos, and in some respects, and naturally one becomes defensive, my intention has never been to slight any paticular group of people, if Bob is correct in his assertions, then it seems that renting a house before committing to building a house is the best way forward for those who seek to make a life in the Phiilippines, its very good advice Bob.

    I chose not to do that, for my own personal reasons, for one thing, I have studied carefully over the last 2 years, the rising cost of land, I have been in touch with other couples, and noted what a square metre of land cost 2 years ago to what it costs now, did you know price hikes as much as 30 per cent or more have taken place over the last 2 years, and please please please, dont tell me its not true, I have witnesses it for myself.

    Many factors are coming into the realms of real estate buying, for example, Negros Occidental is now awaiting the opening of the new Negros International airport, land prices are going up very quickly, as we are only 15 minutes from the new airport, everytime I have looked into buying a lot, the price per square metre has changed, it may only be a few thousand here and there, my advice to anyone is simply this, if you are considering building a house in the future, try and secure your lot as soon as possible, as Louis says in his post, the cost of building materials is going up.

    And there is no point in saying they will stay stable in the future, because Bob has already said himself in a previous post, the buying power of the U.S. Dollar has deflated by 20 per cent, (do you remember that Bob) the buying power of the Euro and the Sterling is slightly down on the last 3 years, but not much to make a major difference.

    I have recently spent a subsancial amount of my money on building materials, trust me when I tell you, the prices of building materials are going up, inflation is running fairly high at present in the Philippines, the only difference between the Phiippine real estate market and our own back in UK, is that Philippine houses and if you seperate these from the land they sit on, are not appreciating assets, in other words, as Lous and others have said, building the 15 million mansion will not get you a 15 million or more return if you decide to sell it, thats why I was mindful about building a mansion and anyway I couldnt afford to do so.

    When I consulted a well known Filipino trusted accountant in Bacolod City, he advised me that land on its own, i.e. Lots were a good investment, since the price was appreciating, he also advised me that there was little or no maintenance on a lot, and if you had no intention of building on it, it was an excellent investment, just look around many of the sub divisions in the Philippines, many of them have lots of open area's vacant spaces, where someone has bought the land but has no intention of living on it, or in fact building a house, they have been bought for investment purposes.

    Back to Bob's point, if you are planning to live permanently, the try before you buy option is a great way to find out if you are suited to the Philippines, I am also mindful that the reason you would want to try before you buy is because you are married to a FIlipino citizen who has hopes of returning home to live one day, I'm not sure how she would feel if you said " I will give it a whirl to see how I feel" what happens if you don't like it ? as so many do not ? as Bob says, they end up leaving and going back to foreigner land.

    Even the best laid plans don't always work ! I might take some stick here at this blog for going ahead full steam, buying my plots of land, building my house, ok so I went full commitment, in 5 years time I hope to make my life in the Philippines a semi permanent arrangement, the only difference is, I made the decision not to go in 5 years time and start looking to build my home, in 5 years time, the prices will have risen by at least 40 per cent or more, as I have no intention of ever selling my home, the re-sell issue just never came up, with all the money we have spent on our home, and if you see it, you will think its beautiful, I am very proud of our achievements.

    It easy to sit on the fence and look over, taking a plunge of course is an entirely different proposal, and of course having the money to complete the task is also a major consideration, its well known that people who caution others about entering into a paticular venture, either 1. dont have the money to do it, are envious because they themselves would want to do it, but financial constraints dont allow them to.

    Everyones personal circumstances are different, timing is something for each individual to decide if its right for them, in my case, I made a business decision that it was right to do so at that time, whether it be wrong or right, the decision has been made, the money has been spent, the secret of course is as Bob says, not to try and build houses that you would expect to have in the West, P10 Million to P15 Million will simply not sell for years if at all, Filipinos do not have that kind of money, I am happy with my investment and my home – and after all thats whats important right !

  13. says

    Hi Pete – Don't take anything I have written wrong. I am not anti-Pete, believe me. I am just kind of reiterating what I have said before, and using the things that you wrote publicly as an example for others to look at. I believe that you can make it here, but it will take adjustment on your part. When Feyma has read the things that you've said here, she has turned to me and said "Pete is just like you were when we came here." I see you as a mirror of myself, albeit 7 years ago. It takes time to adjust, and if you are willing to give yourself that time, you will make it here! 😀

  14. Louis says

    Exactly Bob! That's what I'm doing with the place I'm buying now. It's in one of the better subdivs here in Davao and the guy that owns it now was desperate to sell because he wants out. They wanted 6M for the place and I just said "Look, I'll give you 3M for it final offer." and they took it. They wanted to sell it with the furniture, car, plants… everything. I'll take the plants but the furniture is from Boulevard and I have my own anyway. As for land I have heard that Samal land is a good investment right now as it just keeps going up however any kind of beachfront property carries extra paperwork so consult with a good realtor before buying. I think part of the reason that houses depreciate here is because of the wear and tear that the weather does on a house. Plus termites are always a threat. I know when Lea calculated the value of the house I am buying the land was worth more than the house… that's certainly a change from the US. I know I have many things I need to adjust to, and I certainly sympathize with Pete, because I also see myself in what he is having problems with. I also know for me there is no going back to the US. I am married now and committed to my wife which means come hell of high water I am here for good.

  15. says

    Good Day All:

    The more that I read the more I realize how good my wife and I have it here and that the grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence. That is one of the good things by observing and learning before acting. Over the past several months it has become obvious that are frustrations and yes some bigotry by both cultures toward the other.

    Last night I had a conversation with a gentleman who is presently in the states who had moved his family to the RP. They are there and he is now back here trying to make a living to support them. His original idea of a business there has not taken off the way that he wanted. When returning here he is finding that he no longer has a career and has been looking to find jobs to make money to send back. He is now working two jobs and it exhausted and still does not seem to make enough to get back there for any length of time. He has many ideas about he can do to earn money part of the year and send it back and then spend part of the year in the RP.From where I stand he miscalculated and it going through exactly what I would not want to happen.

    I listen to the descriptions of, oppressive heat, the need for air conditioning, (which I hate), constant biting insects, surrounded by abject poverty, cultural frustrations, demanding friends and relatives, and it really makes me wounder why I would want to relocate there. Here we own our house, our vehicles, all aspects of my business. We own nothing to the bank and by noting on time payments. My wife has a steady job with benefits and reasonable pay. I work at what I like, when I want, with who I want and how I want. The fall is fast approaching which is my favorite time of the year. The vibrant colors, the cool crisp mountain air, the walk in the woods with my bow. Being one with nature. Why would I want to relocate I find myself asking? My answer is becoming I am not so sure that I do. Life is pretty dam good right here and my wife has no strong desire to return to the RP long term. She kind of likes being here. The schools in this rural area are well disciplined and have excellent quality of education. Why would I consider leaving. Well there is one thing. The winters are getting longer and colder as I grow older. Maybe I just need to throw more wood in the stove and stay worm with my wife on those cold winter nights.

    So why would I want to leave, and relocate to the RP? I'm not so sure I want to anymore after reading all of these posts and talking to some of the people who have moved.

    Oh and these stories of cultural frustrations are a real eye opener, and are growing very old and tiresome.

  16. rick says

    The very interesting things about this blog are the downside as well as the positives that are aparent to all of us with some experience of life in Mindanao.

    I think these things are well balanced in this blog in that positives are stressed but negatives are discussed. I think Pete got overly stressed about some small cultural invonveniences and will deal with them more easilly as Bob does now he has aclimatised and as per advice to Pete above

    The real estate issue is interesting (i myself have purchased and hope i haven't made a mistake….)…i have enjoyed reading all advice given here both from ex-pats and also from commenting people

    Americanlola always comes out with some balanced and astute comments which i do appreciate. There are winners and loosers in the real estate business (Louis could have in theory paid 6m but paid 3) timing and luck are involved as well as knowledge of local conditions but i do appreciate the discussion of topics here and i think most comments are relevant

    Like Pete says, its up to everybodies individual decision and i think if things like ac, insects and humidity worry Wayne, then his decision may be made for him, i do not find the discussions of cultural issues tiresome at all i find them a catalyst for discussion

    rambling on here, good luck to all

  17. Mahdy says

    Hi all,
    Louis did pretty well in that deal of your property (in my perspective, since half the price you can't beat that). It is really a matter of bargaining ability. Thumbs up on that! I think that is one good quality of a good businessman.
    Wayne, your friends’ situation is sad. He hasn’t foreseen everything. That is why everyone here gives an advice that one should rent first to get the jig, one should be careful or one should have a saving/investment/pension/etc. to dip in times of the situation you just mention above. One should be careful with managing their money even if it looks like everything is cheap back there in Pinas. If not manage well, money will run off in a blink of an eyes.

  18. says

    Hi Louis – The property deal sounds like a good one for you! Good luck with that.

    Hi Wayne – What this blog is about is telling people what it is really like to live here. There is good, and there is bad. This blog aims to educate people before they come, and let them make an informed decision on what they do. Some will be drawn here and will move, others will decide to stay home. Neither of those groups are wrong, they just have different needs and desires. For me, after making the adjustment, I have no desire to go back. Others can't make the adjustment (or don't want to), that's OK too. If you decide that you are already where you want to be, no harm in that. If that is what is best for you, I wish you well, and just hope that we have a chance to meet when you visit here. We all have a journey, and each of those journeys can lead us in different directions.

    Hi rick – Thanks for sharing your "rambling" (as you call it). I enjoyed hearing your thoughts.

  19. Jon says

    Interesting info on realestate. Actually, it made me feel better about something I've been considering — buying an attractive plot of land and sitting on it until early retirement and even then I'll rent first to be sure I want to spend the money on a house that I won't be able to sell (even if it's modest by American standards). At least the land seems to be a safe investment and even if I decided to sell it I wouldn't care too much about making money, just not losing money. Land also doesn't require maintenance so it's easier to sit on for years without much attention besides keeping squatters at bay.

  20. Jon says

    Practicing the lifestyle before moving there? Interesting idea. In fact, I just realized I already do it!! For example I had plans to get up at 7 am and start washing our driveway and then sealing it. It's a huge driveway parking area with two islands in it and enough space to park at least 20 cars (the previous owner must have loved asphalt). It's been on my "to do" list all summer. But here I am at 11 am reading the blog and checking email. No worries…I'm a teacher and it's summer (but it will be over soon). Well, it will be lunch time soon so no point starting now, right? It can wait… I'll just change the list title from "Tuesday" to "Wednesday"… 😆 Mady and I are often late to family gatherings or dates with friends. I just blame it on "filipino time" even though I'm the one who almost always makes us late! I should fit right in….no one will ever expect me to be on time! I love it!!!

  21. Lea says

    I'm just trying to second Bob's comment to Wayne re: this blog. Bob said "What this blog is about is telling people what it is really like to live here." I believe the blog's target readers are people who wanted to move, or retire, or even just thinking of moving or retiring in RP. However, I do believe, Bob and other authors welcome others who just wants to take a peek of what it's like living in RP.

    Let's just respect expats who are living there, the ones who will be moving there, and the ones thinking of moving there. It's just like saying to the group of medical interns that "Oh! I'm glad I didn't study medicine, life of interns are hell." For me this attitude is not helpful. These people need a sound analysis for the decision they made, and lots of encouragement for the newbies, like Pete. :)

    Wayne, I know you don't have a bad intent of your comment but the tone just seems different. :) I think you and your wife have a good life, financially speaking, wherever you are. Good for you. But as you can see, like in Bob's case, his move to Davao was the best decision he made. Speaking as a US citizen and a resident, we will be financially alright here (or I hope). However, thinking of retirement age, I think I will enjoy it more spending in RP (or maybe not). But again, this is a couple's decision, it can't be one-sided. Though, I still have at least 30 yrs. to retire, I'm reading this blog to gain insights. My hubby doesn't want to retire there, but hey! he may changed his mind too. Worst case will be, we'll end up retiring here, but go to RP every year!

    And just back to the topic of real estate, it used to be location, location, location. However, NPR mentioned it last week- timing, timing, timing. :)

  22. says

    Good Afternoon Everyone:

    Hi Bob:

    Your site is doing exactly what you intend it to do. The information that I have gained here from you and others is absolutely invaluable. That fact can never be stated strong enough from my point of view. No matter which way we go it will be a better informed decision because of you , this site and the people that post here. Even when I'm grumpy and do not agree with someone I am still learning things.:wink:

    Before finding your site and from the other material I had studied, I had strong positive feelings about relocating there, and all the way up until I found out what kind of pressure Jo would be under if we moved back to her village. That really made me sit up and look again. Since then there have been a number of small things that have really made me reexamine this subject. Only because of the objectivity that you have here would I be able to give a more informed look at all the different aspects of relocating. I have gone from most likely to,,,too, I am not sure and have decided that it must take more time to figure it out. My biggest concern is what I mentioned about that gentleman who is back here in the US. We both know him and I am genuinely concerned for him.. What he is going through is exactly what I do not want to happen to us. So I am being cautious. Thanks again to you and all of the objective posters here for your insites. They allow for an informed and knowledgeable decision rather than just a dream. This is not something to be taken lightly. I/We have to decide what is best for Jo & I, and I in no way want to make her unhappy by forcing something half thought out on her.

    Hi Mahdy:

    Yes I really feel for the guy. I wish there is away I could help but I know that there is not. He does not seem detoured though, and has several ideas of things he could do to make his dream come true. He is a smart and industrious person and has succeeded before from what I can tell. I think he will again. Thanks for you concern.

    Hi Rick:

    You may not know that I am a guide. I spend huge amounts of time outdoors often in remote areas of the north east. Biting insects are a way of life here and one of the reasons I like to have clients along is that the bugs prefer their delicate skin to my old shoe leather tough skin. So they are not worrisome. What is as far as the RP goes it the fact of diseases such as Dengay Fever & Malaria. Friends of my wife who live in some of the different provinces that we might settle in have warned us about both long before I ever read anything by Bob about it.

    As far as the heat, it seems to bother my wife more that it does me. In fact temperature extremes tend to bother her more. That is one of the reasons she is not crazy about going back there. Once again those are things to take into account before making informed decisions. So no decision is clear as you seem to indicate. In fact it is very far from it.

    The topics of cultural differences is not getting so old. What is, is what appears to be the complaining about it. That is getting old. Given some of those posts were most likely not written with that intent, but sometimes that is the way they come off. I for one like to know and study different cultural behaviors. I just believe that when in Rome do as the Romans do, and do not "bitch" about it. I do not think it is right to live or visit some place and find fault with how things are done there. Our way is no better than theirs and theirs no better than out. Just different, and that is the way I feel it should be viewed and discussed in an objective manner. Not from one of emotion. That is all I meant.

    You are correct American Lola is a woman that seems to have one of the most even keeled outlooks of any person I have ever encountered in any way shape or form. She will never know just how much respect that she has gained from me because of her demeanor and thoughtfulness. She is someone that when it comes to objective knowledge of the RP that I look up to.

    Hi Lea:

    No there was no negative intent in my previous writing. It was just musing in the written word about the fact that because Bob's blog is so broad that in the long term you can gain enough information that you can see almost all sides. Which for me makes me want to stop and think and study.

    Yes we are fairly financially secure here in NH and one of my questions is would we be that secure there. I'm not sure and Jo does not think so. In any event a move like this takes a lot of studying, planning and the ability to adapt at the drop of a hat.

    Best to you all.:smile:

  23. zois says

    Ηι Βοβ which things they is these that give permision this persons which them do not only interest the Philippines other to make criticism and to fly poison as soon as they find occasion .This conversation if like the Blog as him they do not also read as not they write I remained the Blog yours me it saved from a lot of situations and I make new drawings for the Philippines.


  24. Jim says

    Hi Bob-I don't think anyone who comes to stay in the Philippines and builds a house does so in order to make a profit on the eventual sale of the house, or do they?
    Well I first owned the land for over 20 years before deciding to build on it. you could say I considered my options very well. Five Presidents later we built our house to our design at our cost and nowhere near the 10 million I might add but comfortable for two and the odd weary traveller now and then. I had no illusions that we would eventually sell for a handsome profit if we decided to pack in and come back to the UK. Instead when we built it I thought our kids would eventually have a house if they ever wished to visit their relatives or at some stage knock the house down and just retain the lot for whatever the future may hold for them.We just want to enjoy our house whilst we have our health and we don't care what happens after that as you cannot take it with you when you go.

  25. says

    Hi Jon – Unless you pay the "Kano price" for real estate, you should be able to flip it and at least get your money back later on. This does not seem too risky to me. By the way, Jon, sounds like you are putting in lots of practice on Filipino time!

    Hi Lea – Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    Hi Wayne – I'm glad that the blog has provoked thought for you to make the decision that is right for your family.

    Hi Zois – Thanks for your thoughts!

    Hi Jim – You are right, I don't think most ex-pats come here looking to make a profit on any house that they build. Just being able to get out what you paid into it can be difficult, though, especially for those who build an expensive place!

  26. Channing says

    I’ll never buy a house here. I never owned one in the United States, preferring to get up and leave when I please. I wonder if some of that disposition is “passed along” genetically, because I have a few family members who do the same thing (including an 80-year old aunt who has yet to “settle down”).

  27. Dave C says

    Hi Bob and yes you are correct Real Estate in the PI can be a big problem. Merlyn and I were very lucky to find a very cheap house and lot in Davao (Matina) not far from main highway. Through word of mouth and family friends we were able to buy it for just back taxes and a little cash. The big expense was getting a clear title. The main reason for buying was prices going up and dollar going down. Also my wife will have something when I am gone for her to live in. All toll for 3 br. 2 bath newly remodeled May 2013 (some small thing to complete) …..$25,000 USD (small lot).

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