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An Expat Talks about Moving to Manila, Philippines

What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

Manila

Name three things that you wish you had brought and three you wish you had left at home.

Brought:

1. My Quit Smoking Chewing Gum - you can't buy it locally so I have to have it shipped over.

2. More little Australian themed presents to give away as pasalubong to different people.

3. Large stocks of my favourite deoderant - you get pretty sweaty and I don't like the local flavours

Left:

1. My laptop - they are cheaper there

2. Most clothes except for suits

3. My sense of irony - earnest is the go!

What advice would you give someone preparing to move to your area about the actual move, choosing a neighborhood and finding a home?

Don't be scared to move to Manila. It is not nearly as scary as people would have you believe. I am more scared wandering around deserted Sydney streets at night than in Manila.

Of course be sensible. Dress modestly, don't wear expensive jewellery or watches etc. Look out for pickpockets on the trains - I got a wallet with a chain after my introduction to pickpockets on the LRT!

You can't really live an insulated western life so try to fit in with the locals wherever you can. For example, jeepneys are often convenient, NOT scary and you really get to live the local life. Learning how to get around teaches you a lot which you will find valuable in your time here.

Smile a lot! It really opens doors.

What type of housing do you live in? Is this typical for most expats in your area?

Yes, a large condo is typical expat housing if you have no kids. No need to worry about security, just get to know the guards and staff in your building well and they will look out for you.

How did you choose your neighborhood and find your home or apartment?

I lived in Pasay/Malate first because it was close to my first Uni course. Found the building (Asiawealth Tower) on the net.

Second condo was just outside Valle Verde 1, recommended by someone who I knew. Much quieter and richer area. I didn't enjoy it as much. A car would be helpful if you decide to live more than walking distance from the LRT/MRT.

Expats living in Philippines interested in expat health insurance should take a minute to get a quote from our trusted expat health insurance partner, CIGNA. Get a Quote

Expats living in Philippines interested in expat health insurance should take a minute to get a quote from our trusted expat health insurance partner, CIGNA.

Are your housing costs higher or lower than they were in your home country? What is the average cost of housing there?

Lower than Sydney by miles! Condos can be had for 20k/mo and up, all the way to 70k/mo if you are getting a good allowance or feeling rich.

Furnished adds far more than the cost of buying stuff, so if you are staying more than a year consider going unfurnished.

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Comments about this Report

STEVEWILLIAMSON
Nov 16, 2010 14:57

ITS GREAT IM WANTING TO REALLY MOVE TO THE PHILLIPINES TO LIVE AND I HAVE NEVER DID THIS AND REALLY HEARD THAT THE PEOPLE ARE REALLY NICE THANKS IM LOOKING FOR A REALTOR THERE TO HELP ME TO MOVE THANKS STEVE WILLIAMSON PINCKNEYVILLE ILLINOIS USA

guest
Dec 15, 2010 16:28

Getting to the Phils has been a challenge so far, as I left only a small window of time to get my papers in order. Wondering what some of the laws are for obtaining perminet residency in the Phils still with mt american citizenship.You talked of costs between 20K and 70k a month, hopefully that is the PHP your quoteing. Any help on requirement of Alien Residency certification papers..and any other paperwork I will need I am only looking at a bit over 2 months of time before i plan to hop a plane and travel there. I understand no visas is necessary for the first 21 days as long as I have a roundtrip/further distination ticket in hand. anyone wanting to help me with advice please contact me at "" thanks a million .

demimarkbenedict
Aug 30, 2012 23:32

Hi Steve Im Demi. I saw that you are looking for a realtor. Let me just ask you if you have a particular place where you want to live in the Philippines. Are you familiar with Makati and Bonifacio Global City? There are lots of expats in those places. If you are interested kindly reply at my email at

Cigna Expat Health InsuranceExpatriate Health Insurance

Get a quote for expat health insurance in Philippines from our partner, Cigna Global Health.
Get a Quote

Guide to Living in ManilaGuide to Living in Manila

Expats in Manila have reported many of the same themes since the inception of Expat Exchange. Read some basic facts and tips about this Philippine city (and metro area) on the island of Luzon.

Healthcare in PhilippinesHealthcare in Philippines

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Restaurants in ManilaRestaurants in Manila

Support your favorite restaurants in Manila as they recover from the pandemic. Submit a free listing for them on Expat Exchange to help spread the word about them to the expat community.

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An expat in Valensuela City, Philippines says to do your research and visit various areas before you commit to one location. Look for schools, medical and grocery store locations that are fairly close to where you live.

12 Tips for Living in Manila, Philippines12 Tips for Living in Manila, Philippines in Manila

An expat talks about living in Manila, Philippines. He explains that mainly move to Manila for the low cost of living, friendly people and warm climate.

Culture Shock in Metro Manila

A Dutch woman who moved to the Philippines 9 years ago. Initially, she worked as a housemother with 19 former street children in her care. She learned Tagalog. For her, the most challenging aspects of living in the Philippines are the heat, traffic and lack of privacy.

Pros-and-Cons-of-Living-in-the-PhilippinesPros and Cons of Living in the Philippines

The Philippines attracts the interest of expats from all over the world - truly has a lot to offer for a variety of different people. However, it's also important to understand the pitfalls that can be avoided with appropriate homework and preparation.

7-Things-to-Know-Before-You-Move-to-the-PhilippinesMoving to the Philippines: 7 Things to Know Before You Move to the Philippines

Expats moving to the Philippines join others that have moved there for work or a lower cost of living during retirement. It's critical to understand what the realities of living there are, but those that successfully make the adjustment believe it is a good place to live.

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