What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?
Name three things that you wish you had brought and three you wish you had left at home.
Things I wish I had brought.... an American mattress, my car and a good electrical generator. What might I left at home? Nothing I can think of to be honest, everything I brought, I used.
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What advice would you give someone preparing to move to your area about the actual move, choosing a neighborhood and finding a home?
There have been some tremendous price increases in real estate over the past few years. The old Clark Air Force base is a busy international airport, growing in flights annually. You can still find some real bargains to both rent and purchase. Most of the people I know rent and few pay more than $150 a month for a somewhat worn but still comfortable American type home with 3 bedrooms and a single bath. People who pay much more than this are really overpaying. You can hire labor for about $4 a day so doing a little fix up work is really quite inexpensive. If you can't own it yourself you are better off renting. Do not trust your Filipina girl friend or even wife. I've seen several guys purchase homes in their wifes name and once the paperwork is completed the wife's attitude changes and the fellow is left outside with nothing. If you rent it's amazing how loyal a Filipina remains.
A previous poster stated that the schools there were not too good. I would strongly disagree. For about $800 a year I send my daughter to a very good private school there and after her first year she spoke and could read and write English almost as good as I. I was truly amazed at how well she was educated. Six years old and she could read almost anything. Her writing lags behind her reading somewhat but she certainly can read quickly and her pronunciation is excellent. It's mostly at university level where the schools tend to fall off. Also there was a comment about the girls in the bars wearing numbers? I've been in AC for 15 years and a lot of that time I was in bars, never have I seen a girl wearing a "number" they do wear a government issued ID that shows they are at least 18 years of age and can legally work in the establishment. The numbers thing is in Thailand, not Angeles City, Philippines.
The Philippines is a very poor country to you have to be streetwise and on your guard but it's not unlike living in most older US neighborhoods. Given the oportunity the filipinos will try to take advantage, as they themselves say "It's our culture".
I like it there and where else in the world can you live quite comfortably on $300 a week and get by speaking English?
What type of housing do you live in? Is this typical for most expats in your area?
Mine is typical but larger than most in the neighborhood. 6 bedrooms, 4 baths and truly huge living and dining rooms. It's the standard concrete block/stucco home and I was fortunate enough to also buy the lot behind my home so I now have a huge yard with one of the best possible views in the city.
How did you choose your neighborhood and find your home or apartment?
I reasearced a bit, found a reputable real estate person and found a great home near one of the gates to Clark. It was former US military housing and actually fairly nice.
Are your housing costs higher or lower than they were in your home country? What is the average cost of housing there?
I had a filipina wife so we purchased our home about 10 years ago. Homes were extremely
inexpensive back then due to the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo. I bought everything for under $30,000 US and spent maybe $5000 more on improving the bathrooms and kitchen. Additionally I bought a few window type air conditioners as it does get rather hot there. One thing to be aware of, electricty is not cheap there and running a single air conditiong unit can increase your electric bill by $100.
My wife died a few years later and I now own the property myself. Be aware, that is the only way a "foreigner" can actually own land in the Philippines.