For those of you planning a move to the Philippines, it is sure to be a massive change. Today we look at how to make that transition a great one by giving you advice on 10 areas you need to know about.
If you’re moving here as part of a work relocation, then you may just be lucky enough to have your company doing all the hard work for you. If not, you have to consider which visa is best for you. You can get more advice on the best visa for you, right here.
2. Cultural Adaptation
Like any country that is not your own, it is best to familiarise yourself with the local cultures and customs. Much is made of the scams, danger and things to look out for, which in a way is good, but there is far more positives than negatives to living in this wonderful country. You can read about some of the great things the Philippines has to offer here.
3. You Can’t Own Land as a Foreigner
Most of you will get away to places like Palawan or Boracay or many of the other beautiful places the Philippines has to offer, and no doubt you will think, I want to buy a slice of paradise for myself. Well you can, just not land, unless you plan to marry a local. You can buy condominiums but the land remains the property of a local. Just be careful to do your research and remember to always look into taxation for when you decide to sell.
4. Medical Care
Make sure you have it and good cover too. Lifes way too short to end up in a public hospital in the Philippines and it could get even shorter. Make sure you pay a bit extra for insurance to avoid any issues if the need arises.
The school system in general isnt catered for foreigners. So to go to a foreign school can be expensive. Again, if you’re moving with a company, check to see if you are covered. I have heard that private schools start from $500 USD a year, but have been unable to find them myself. I do know they can range up to 20k USD a year and average around 8k USD a year.
There are PLENTY of ways to get around in the Philippines and most ways are very cheap. They range from a few pesos for a jeepney ride, which can be fun and life threatening at the same time, right up to purchasing your own car, this is however not cheap. The one thing you definitely need in abundance if you are to live in Manila, is patience. Manila has two main roads which are the C5 and EDSA and traffic can be a nightmare. Don’t be surprised if at times it takes 3 hours to travel no more than 6km in peak hour. Bring a good book and check for traffic updates here.
7. Rainy Season
Most people don’t mention this, which I find quite strange. The rainy season can last for months and generally runs from about June to November. During this time there will be periods of non stop rain which can last for days, thunder and lightening and the more than scattered cyclone. The first rainy season can take a bit of getting used to. However, for me, I have learned to love sitting on a balcony and drinking a cup of coffee while watching the rain plummet down. It’s really quite invigorating. You can always keep an eye on the weather here.
The Philippine cuisine isn’t world famous for a reason. The quality of food can be questionable and much of the diet is either fried or processed. There is a good reason for this and that is 40% of the population live on $2 or less a day. Food has to be cheap. However, if you go to a Philippine restaurant that specialises in fine dining, local cuisine, you may just be pleasantly surprised. Western and foreign food is available in abundance, but to eat fresh, healthy and organic foods can be close to the prices you would pay at home.
Genuinely one of the friendliest races of people on planet Earth. Caring, wonderful people who are very proud of their country and to tell you all the great things about it. Don’t fall into the trap of isolating yourself and living full time in a bubble. It’s important to mingle and learn the culture.
English is widely spoken in Manila. Outside of Manila it drops off sharply and can be a challenge in far provincial areas. However, in all the tourist areas, hotels and common places to visit, you’ll rarely have a problem. The main language is Tagalog, however each section of the Philippines also has its own dialect. It is seen as being polite and also respectful to learn a few basic Tagalog words.
We are passionate about living here in the Philippines and would love you to share your stories with us.