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Moving to and Living in the Philippines (Making the Move)

Ok, you met the lady of your dreams, you have chatted on line many hours practically every day, and now is decision time.

Are you ready to pack up and move here? There are many things to consider. What to bring. Over the years you have collected many possessions. You probably own a home, condo or maybe renting. You have furniture, appliances, electronics, clothes, and some personal items you felt you could never do without. Now you need to decide what to bring, sell, give away or just toss in the trash. If you have a lot of stuff and money is not a problem, you can get a shipper that will bring to your home a 20 or even 40 foot shipping container. Just remember most houses here do not have closets and storage can be a problem.

Some shippers will let you use part of a container,they or you will just build a wall separating your shipment from the other shipment. There are shippers that will ship boxes by sea. Depending where you live some will pick them up for a door to door shipment. If you’re on or near a shipping port, you can bring to them or you might need to ship some domestic ground service to the shipper.

International shippers ship by volume, not by weight. You can ship the boxes as individuals or pay a little extra for them to be put on a palate.  One thing I will recommend, if possible find double corrugated boxes. Those are boxes with 2 layers of corrugated paper. Also use enough packing materials that the box is tightly full. Anything damageable, make sure it is protected well.  I had just used boxes from U-Haul. I used towels, pillows and even sleeping bags as packing materials. When the boxes arrived, most looked crushed. Luckily for me, only one ceramic vase was broken.

One thing to remember, this shipment can take 2 to 3 months to arrive. So with this in mind, make sure you bring necessities with you when you travel here. At the last minute I shipped a few boxes with the postal system. They took 2 months to arrive also. In the boxes I had packed some dress shoes. When I arrived Elena told me we were asked to stand up for a friend of hers sons wedding. Here it is called Ninang (female) and Ninong (male). We went out and bought a pair of semi dress slacks and a Barong. A Barong is the Philippine formal shirt. It is a long sleeve shirt worn out of the slacks. It is a thin material so you need to wear a T-shirt under it. Then we realized I needed black dress shoes. I knew I would live mainly in sneakers or flip-flops here and I had a pair of shoes in shipment. I was not about to go spend a lot of money for a pair of shoes I might need once or twice a year.

One day we were downtown and I mentioned to Elena about checking out some of the Ukay-Ukay shops. Ukay-Ukay is stall type shops that sell mainly used clothes. You sometimes can find items that might be out of date sold and shipped here still with tags on.

For the Philippines, I have trouble finding shoes my size. I am a size 12 E. Well the first stall we looked in had a pair of Florsheim black wingtips, my size and looking at the smooth, unscratched soles, were probably never worn. With a little bargaining I got them for 60 pesos ($1.50 USD).

That brings us back to moving here. If you have any special needs, clothes sizes, shoe sizes, maybe it is better to stock up and ship over.

Another item to think about is your money. What and where is your income coming from? Where will it be deposited and how will you get it here? Most credit cards will work here, just make sure you contact them to let them know you will be out of the country for a while so they do not see a lot of charges from the Philippines and put a stop on your card. ATMs work here too. You can use most credit and ATM cards at ATM machines here. For mail, there are mail forwarders available too. They give you a mailing address or box number and once a month, or how ever you set it up, will package your mail and ship it to you here.

I set up a bank account in the US where my investment payments are directly deposited and then I transfer it to my back account here for a small fee. There are also Philippine Banks that have remittance centers or affiliate banks in the US where your deposits will just be transferred to your account here. I do not have any experience with that yet so I cannot tell you who to use.

My mother is still alive and well so I am using her home address as my American address and things go through her. If you do not have a family member you can use, I recommend a trusted accountant or lawyer with your power of Attorney to be able to take care of financial and legal matters.

There are so many things to consider, I know I am forgetting things, or I have not experienced to mention. If there is something you need to ask, just add a comment and I will do my best to find the answers.

22 Responses to “Moving to and Living in the Philippines (Making the Move)”

  1. johnray says:

    Bruce, great detail about your move here in the Philippines. I am sure those details would really help those who are planning to transfer here in the Philippines….

    • Bruce says:

      At times it is difficult to think of things to advise, after I was done I thought about some other items. I guess I need to do a part 2 for part 3. hahaha.
      Also there are so many variables, where they are moving from, what they can afford, what they want to send. I just offer advise and ideas. They need to figure out their needs.

  2. johnray says:

    yeah, I think this post really needs a part 2 and 3 or maybe four…hehehe..include your hassles when you dealt with this move..that would truly be a great read…

    • Bruce says:

      Thanks for the advise, I will see what I can come up with. Keep visiting, commenting and feel free to offer suggestions for articles. I would like to write about things my readers are interested in reading.

  3. Whatever you do and plan there will always be something you wished you had done differently. Don’t ever let this put you off doing something you have your heart set on. I hope you are going to be happy, I’ll know because I will be following your blog now.

    Thanks for the comment on my blog by the way.


    • Bruce says:

      I enjoyed your blog and it brought back memories of the wonderful country you now call home. I cannot remember all the places we visited, I think the ski area was something like Pompovro, and my friends family was in a little village in the north. A city near by had a university and an old castle. Victor____ something like that.
      I will follow your site too.

  4. Dutchie says:

    Hi Bruce,

    I supposed the official language is tagalog and that you have to fill in forms with it ?

    What about one’s safety since a white guy (my Dutchman is one) tends to stand out in the crowd ?

    How do you find the local food there ? Are the TV programs in english – little daily encounters like that ?

    • Bruce says:

      The official language is Pilipino which is practically Tagalog. All government forms are in English and filled in English too.
      Davao is a very safe city, Mayor Dutarte is tough on crime. There are other places that are safe and areas a foreigner should not visit. We do stand out in a crowd, you can tell by all the beggers that flock to you. Actually not everywhere.
      There are foods I enjoy, foods I do not eat but out or at home I can find something I enjoy, both Filipino or a more western type food. There are many restaurants that serve such a variety of foods, you will not go hungry.
      Local tv is mostly Tagalog, but with Cable you get a lot of english tv shows, CNN, BBC, Discovery, National Geographic and a lot of sports channels.

  5. Hi Bruce, thanks for the follow. Sound like you have seen more of Bulagrian than I have. But then am not here as a tourist or to retire. There is certainly some good advice for you knocking around, you are in very good company.

    • Bruce says:

      I guess you’re right. I was there on vacation and had a friend that loved her country and wanted me to experience her country. Here in the Philippines I have only visited Manila and Kidapawan which is only a 2-3 hour drive from Davao.
      It is more difficult here since the Philippines is comprised of more than 7,000 islands and you need a plane or boat to get around.
      Bulgaria is relatively a small country and easily to get around. You should take some time and visit the different areas. Plovdiv has Old City with some roman ruins. Then there is the mountains and ski areas. I also loved visiting Veliko Tarnovo. There is a University there and an old Castle with a Chapel on top.
      The people I met were warm and gracious. But just like here, English can be a problem talking to some of the people.
      I will keep up with your blog and I hope you will take the time to read mine.

  6. Hi! You have nice content here. Care to exchange links? Kindly add my blog then let me know so I can add you aswell.

    Earn Pera Online

    • Bruce says:

      Thank you for enjoying my site. I looked at yours and I feel your content is just commerce site. I try to add only sites of similar content.
      Since your a filipina, maybe you will tell your friends to visit. I am looking for increasing readership, pageviews.

  7. David Funk says:

    Hi Bruce.

    Excellent article and nice layout for your site. Personally, I’ve only lived outside the USA once and that when I was boy in Guam. I’ve several times within the USA, but going out of the country is a completely different matter altogether. Thanks for sharing.

    Also, thanks for visiting my site. I have some Filipina friends that I’ll let know about your site.

    • Bruce says:

      Thank you for enjoying my site. Living in Davao is alot like moving around the US except it is harder to drive the U-Haul.
      Actually it was more of a lifestyle change than I realized, but in a lot of ways, I would not have changed my mind.

  8. Hi Bruce very nice post i can share w/my hubby here thanks for sharing your ideas

  9. Sorry Bruce I didn’t mean to sound abrupt. Hope you get through wahtever bad luck you are having, usually luck balances out in the long run.

    • Bruce says:

      Lately my bad luck is at Metro Card Club. Last Saturday there was a Team Tournament. I had such bad hands. There usually times when you fold before the flop, when they turn up the first 3 community cards, and once they do, you realize you folded a good hand. Well that never happened. Luckily one of our team members won and we all got 2,500 Php share in the prize.

  10. Karl Assali says:

    Hi Bruce,
    Thank you for useful information.I am An American and planing to retire with my sweetheart Flor.We met in Philippine in April.I am planing to go and live in there.
    Any idea for a small business.Not just for the money, it is for some thing to keep us busy.I am planing to build a house,what do you think,Should we rent.
    Thanks for your feed back.

    • Bruce says:

      Thank you for enjoying my site and the information I provide. I try to give an objective opinion.

      I am not sure what to advise for a small business. There are many good and bad opportunities here, I would think something you have some knowledge and what the investment could be. If you give me some ideas I would be willing to help or get you any information I can get. If you prefer, use the contact me tab to email me. Maybe you will find something for me too. hahaha

      About renting or building. I would suggest renting first. Find something comfortable but not large so you hold more funds when your ready to build. I can get someone in touch with you when your move is close to find you a nice rental, and would be willing to help you design and build a home once your ready.

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