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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.

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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.

Furniture

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.

Hobbies

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

Cooking

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

Woodworking

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.

Reading

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.

LeRoy

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.

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MindanaoBob
6 years ago

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… Read more »

LeRoy Miller
LeRoy Miller
6 years ago

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.

LeRoy

MindanaoBob
6 years ago
Reply to  LeRoy Miller

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! 🙂

John Miele
John Miele
6 years ago

Leroy: 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… Read more »

LeRoy Miller
LeRoy Miller
6 years ago
Reply to  John Miele

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… Read more »

LeRoy Miller
LeRoy Miller
6 years ago
Reply to  John Miele

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.

Axel
6 years ago

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… Read more »

LeRoy Miller
LeRoy Miller
6 years ago
Reply to  Axel

Axel: 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… Read more »

greg
greg
4 years ago
Reply to  Axel

yes fasteners !…nuts bolts nails screws are also made with pot metal or chinese butter steel !

Bill S.
Bill S.
6 years ago

LeRoy, 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,… Read more »

papaduck
papaduck
6 years ago

Leroy,
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
LeRoy Miller
6 years ago
Reply to  papaduck

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.

Lenny
Lenny
6 years ago

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
queeniebee5
6 years ago
Reply to  Lenny

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… Read more »

Lenny
Lenny
6 years ago
Reply to  queeniebee5

Yes I use Donna here….

John Power
John Power
6 years ago
Reply to  Lenny

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

queeniebee5
queeniebee5
6 years ago

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… Read more »

John Power
John Power
6 years ago

Bring a lawn mower! Prices are unbelievable here.

MindanaoBob
6 years ago
Reply to  John Power

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
John Power
6 years ago
Reply to  MindanaoBob

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”!

MindanaoBob
6 years ago
Reply to  John Power

Of course we all have our own way of doing things. Our grass always looks great, and it is cut with trimmers.

John Power
John Power
6 years ago
Reply to  MindanaoBob

That’s what makes the world so interesting!

MindanaoBob
6 years ago
Reply to  John Power

Absolutely, John. It would be pretty boring, and no innovation, if we did everything the same way!

LeRoy Miller
LeRoy Miller
6 years ago
Reply to  MindanaoBob

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.

Lenny
Lenny
6 years ago
Reply to  MindanaoBob

Yeah hahahahaha I could not believe it either funny !!!

John Power
John Power
6 years ago
Reply to  Lenny

Lenny,you’r obviously not English! The English, and their lawns!!!

John Power
John Power
6 years ago
Reply to  Lenny

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!

Rick Lowe
6 years ago
Reply to  John Power

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.

Rick

John Power
John Power
6 years ago
Reply to  Rick Lowe

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
LeRoy Miller
6 years ago
Reply to  John Power

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

Rick Lowe
6 years ago
Reply to  John Power

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… Read more »

American Lola
American Lola
6 years ago

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… Read more »

Rick Lowe
6 years ago
Reply to  American Lola

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.

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