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If you were me, where would you go? - Page 2


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  #11 (permalink)  
Old 6th January 2013, 10:25 AM
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Awesome stuff! Thanks Jon that really helps clear things up!

My only concern now is that the internet will cut it while travelling. I'm recalling how my 6mb connection in Chiang Mai felt slow compared to what I've enjoyed here in Canada the last few months I'll know soon enough!

Well noted on the supplements/medication! Getting that all sorted out over the next couple days. I guess it isn't like Thailand with a Pharmacy every 10 feet it seems.

I actually learned the hard way in Thailand with an order about $550 USD that was stopped at customs and after at least 20+ hours of wasted effort on it trying to get it, I had to let it go and it was "destroyed". Basically the bribe they wanted to let it pass was practically the cost of re-ordering. It was either that or get evidence of at least 5 people who were splitting the order, as of course it's impossible for one person to want 12 different items from an online health store without intent to re-sell... Ugh lol! Explaining I was buying in bulk in one shipment to last the next 3 months wasn't good enough apparently.

I don't expect it to be the same over in the Philippines but in any case I've learned if I buy ANYTHING overseas I buy in small amounts air parcels and not to use a courier ever unless I want trouble.

So ironic, Jelly Fish were my one and only real concern about swimming there, guess it's like anywhere else, just keep aware of your surroundings and you'll be ok. Sounds like there's a lot to do in any case.

Oh and do people rent cars over there? Or is it basically bikes or taking those Jeepneys around. Just curious how the transportation works? I LOVED driving the scooters around in Thailand.

Great to hear about the 110v! I struggled for months in Thailand to find a converter for 220v to 120v/110v before I gave up. I destroyed a couple electronics in the process, came to the conclusion, if I want an electric shaver that works I'll need to buy one over there.
You can get higher than 3MB in Manila but that depends on the accommodations/building that you are staying in.

There are Pharmacies everywhere, just not the quality/full spectrum of products that you grow accustomed to. If you have to get some meds, stick with the big name Pharmacies like Watson or Mercury.

If you order anything and have it sent in, you can expect to pay betweeen 50-75% on tariffs. This is excluding the scenario about quantities that you dealt with. I bought a $100 motorcycle part in Singapore, paid for it to be shipped here and had to pay $50 to get it released/delivered. The couriers dont ever precoordinate deliveries (even though they can track the shipment every step of the way, you provide numbers for contact/text, etc. etc.) and will take a couple of days to get your package once it is at the LOCAL delivery stop.

It's hard to get cars rented. Most likely only in Manila is your option. Also, if you are going to rent one, might as well go with a driver too. That way you don't deal with the driving headaches and if there is an accident, the local should be able to resolve any issues. Manila sucks for driving and it can take 2 hours to cross the city (6-7km) in the worst of traffic periods. I don't know about renting a scooter (one can be purchased for between $1-2000USD/40-80,000php). I know of a place in Angeles that rents out bikes. Also, the best way to get to Subic is via the expressways (no scooters, trikes, bikes below 400cc are allowed). Once you get to the NLEX it's 2 hours to Subic via the expressways. In Subic a scooter is a good option for travel if you are able to locate one for rent. Not much traffic, slower speeds. Also, to ride a scooter/motorcycle here you need a helmet that is locally certified (has an "ICC" sticker on the back) and wear shoes not sandals. You can use an International Driving Permit + your valid home country Driver's license for 90 days. After that to drive here legally after 90 days you will need to get a local driver's license. You also need to be carrying a copy of the Registration (CR) and Receipt for Registration (OR) when driving the scooter. If you are renting, I would carry a copy of the rental contract too (or a Letter of Authorization for you to drive a motorcycle not in your name). If you purchase used, keep a copy of the Deed of Sale.

In the Freeport, traffic laws are strictly enforced on the road coming from the SCTEX thru the Central Business District. Use your signals and observe solid lines/STOP signs and you should be OK.

Be wary on the Jeepneys. There are lots of pickpockets that will even slice your pockets to get your stuff. I would not use those in Manila. In the Subic Freeport, use the Winstar or Shuttles. Taxies are costly in comparison.

If you can afford to, bring devices that can use either current that way you won't risk frying them. Step down converters can be purchased (I think they go for around $30-40USD) locally at most hardware stores.

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  #12 (permalink)  
Old 6th January 2013, 12:12 PM
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I would also recommend Tagaytay - Batangas for your stay. Close to the beaches and easily around good accommodations (eg. Canyon Cove and Anvaya).

Nuvali is one of the upscale green-developments up there if you want to stay for a few months or more.

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Old 7th January 2013, 02:15 AM
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Yikes @ the tariffs! So regardless of what you order into the country you're looking at paying that much eh? wow.

Didn't think of renting a car and getting a driver, I suppose it's affordable.
Definitely an interesting option.

Thanks for the tips on the scooters AND the jeepneys, I probably wasn't going to hesitate about riding those until now. Slicing pockets open, jeez! I like to carry a small over the shoulder bag I keep in front of me, I'll just have to be extra watchful.
Happy to know I'm not going to be in Manila for long, yikes!

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Originally Posted by jon1 View Post
You can get higher than 3MB in Manila but that depends on the accommodations/building that you are staying in.

There are Pharmacies everywhere, just not the quality/full spectrum of products that you grow accustomed to. If you have to get some meds, stick with the big name Pharmacies like Watson or Mercury.

If you order anything and have it sent in, you can expect to pay betweeen 50-75% on tariffs. This is excluding the scenario about quantities that you dealt with. I bought a $100 motorcycle part in Singapore, paid for it to be shipped here and had to pay $50 to get it released/delivered. The couriers dont ever precoordinate deliveries (even though they can track the shipment every step of the way, you provide numbers for contact/text, etc. etc.) and will take a couple of days to get your package once it is at the LOCAL delivery stop.

It's hard to get cars rented. Most likely only in Manila is your option. Also, if you are going to rent one, might as well go with a driver too. That way you don't deal with the driving headaches and if there is an accident, the local should be able to resolve any issues. Manila sucks for driving and it can take 2 hours to cross the city (6-7km) in the worst of traffic periods. I don't know about renting a scooter (one can be purchased for between $1-2000USD/40-80,000php). I know of a place in Angeles that rents out bikes. Also, the best way to get to Subic is via the expressways (no scooters, trikes, bikes below 400cc are allowed). Once you get to the NLEX it's 2 hours to Subic via the expressways. In Subic a scooter is a good option for travel if you are able to locate one for rent. Not much traffic, slower speeds. Also, to ride a scooter/motorcycle here you need a helmet that is locally certified (has an "ICC" sticker on the back) and wear shoes not sandals. You can use an International Driving Permit + your valid home country Driver's license for 90 days. After that to drive here legally after 90 days you will need to get a local driver's license. You also need to be carrying a copy of the Registration (CR) and Receipt for Registration (OR) when driving the scooter. If you are renting, I would carry a copy of the rental contract too (or a Letter of Authorization for you to drive a motorcycle not in your name). If you purchase used, keep a copy of the Deed of Sale.

In the Freeport, traffic laws are strictly enforced on the road coming from the SCTEX thru the Central Business District. Use your signals and observe solid lines/STOP signs and you should be OK.

Be wary on the Jeepneys. There are lots of pickpockets that will even slice your pockets to get your stuff. I would not use those in Manila. In the Subic Freeport, use the Winstar or Shuttles. Taxies are costly in comparison.

If you can afford to, bring devices that can use either current that way you won't risk frying them. Step down converters can be purchased (I think they go for around $30-40USD) locally at most hardware stores.

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  #14 (permalink)  
Old 7th January 2013, 02:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beachy Futures View Post
Yikes @ the tariffs! So regardless of what you order into the country you're looking at paying that much eh? wow.

Didn't think of renting a car and getting a driver, I suppose it's affordable.
Definitely an interesting option.

Thanks for the tips on the scooters AND the jeepneys, I probably wasn't going to hesitate about riding those until now. Slicing pockets open, jeez! I like to carry a small over the shoulder bag I keep in front of me, I'll just have to be extra watchful.
Happy to know I'm not going to be in Manila for long, yikes!
Don't know how much time if any you have spent here in the past, but suggest you not commit yourself to moving or staying here unless you until you stay for an extended amount of time. Guaranteed you will be in shock by just the things you see within 5 minutes of leaving the airport in a taxi etc.
The slashing of pockets and other forms of theft and corruption are in every corner of this country top to bottom.
This is not to discourage your coming here in any way. Just want you to understand living here is not a walk in the park and more like a walk through a minefield with a blindfold on.
Would hate to see you wind up one of the statistics that we read about in the local news paper or blog site like this one...

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  #15 (permalink)  
Old 7th January 2013, 10:28 AM
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More than anything is it the safety that Subic offers over other parts of the Philippines that makes it so alluring to you guys?

Ryan
Hi Ryan,

I have been in Phils since October and just spent 3 weeks in Subic, Cebu City and Davao City. Now I have decided to move to Subic as it seems to be the best fit for us. We will be back there for house hunting in a few weeks.

Cebu City has many expats but it is a bit too much city for me, with lots of traffic. I didn't care for Mactan which is where the beaches are. The decent beaches seem to be all at the resorts. Davao City is fairly nice and clean and organized but the main thing I don't like is that you are very limited in local travel opportunities. Davao city is very safe but you can't go very far outside the city without getting into higher risks. It is a shame because it is a beautiful area of the Philippines.

Subic is safe and I like the fact that you can drive in the freeport almost like you are in the US. I like to ride bikes and that is also safe in the freeport. I didn't make it to any beaches so I can't comment on that. I am a SCUBA diver so I hope to dive as much as possible, but I am not expecting the absolute best diving or visibility in the bay. They have a beautiful new Ayala mall in the freeport but you will pay US like prices most of the time there. Good place to hang out though and you will see many expats including expat families. The people in the freeport were very friendly and helpful. Of course it helps that Abby likes to chat with everyone and makes new friends easily! The proximity to Clark airport is great for discount flights to domestic and int'l destinations.

The only thing we didn't like about Subic was the taxis! No meters and high prices, even with Abby's bargain hunting! I was surprised that they did not have meters as I would think SBMA would require them.

Good luck!

Don

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Old 8th January 2013, 12:18 AM
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I regularly have meds shipped to Philippines (buying from online pharmacy). The only charge I have to pay is 40 pesos at the post office for VAT.

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Old 8th January 2013, 06:47 PM
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Hi All,

Thanks for a great thread so far.

I think I should add my questions here rather than start a new thread since, like Ryan, I'm also interested in comparing and contrasting Subic with some of the more recommended parts of the Visayas. Plus I'd like to keep up with any observations Ryan posts during his travels.

1) Do any of the beaches around Subic Bay have surfable waves? Or are they sheltered by the bay? Plus I guess I'd like to ask the same general question for the rest of the country's beaches - are the waves generally surfable or more of the small/lapping variety?

2) What are the best and worst months to visit? (the Philippines in general and Subic in particular)

3) Are there any high-rise residential options in the freeport or surrounding areas? (I've found in other countries that mosquitoes are less of a hassle the higher you live )

4) What about gated communities in the freeport? (Or is the whole of the freeport like one big gated community, as I read somewhere?)

Thanks again!
CC

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Old 9th January 2013, 12:29 AM
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Hi All,

Thanks for a great thread so far.

I think I should add my questions here rather than start a new thread since, like Ryan, I'm also interested in comparing and contrasting Subic with some of the more recommended parts of the Visayas. Plus I'd like to keep up with any observations Ryan posts during his travels.

1) Do any of the beaches around Subic Bay have surfable waves? Or are they sheltered by the bay? Plus I guess I'd like to ask the same general question for the rest of the country's beaches - are the waves generally surfable or more of the small/lapping variety?

2) What are the best and worst months to visit? (the Philippines in general and Subic in particular)

3) Are there any high-rise residential options in the freeport or surrounding areas? (I've found in other countries that mosquitoes are less of a hassle the higher you live )

4) What about gated communities in the freeport? (Or is the whole of the freeport like one big gated community, as I read somewhere?)

Thanks again!
CC
CC,

The beaches in the bay are too sheltered for surfing. Most surfers go to La Union (China Sea, 6 hours north of Subic, Baler (Pacific, ? hours from Subic), Leyte (Pacific, very remote hard to get too), and Surigao (Pacific).

Best months in Subic are November - May (Dry Season). Worst is July - September (heaviest of Monsoon season).

There are only a few high rises (and even then they are about 5-6 stories max). Crown Peak has a few (I believe 3-4 stories) and there is one in the Central Business District (maybe 5 stories, can't remember the name).

Basically the whole Freeport is a gated community. There are guard posts at every gate, plus at the entrances/exits of each majore housing area (Kalayaan and Binictican).

If you are in the Visayas you will be dealing with more and stronger Typhoon winds when they roll thru. They usually roll thru there first.

Jon
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Old 9th January 2013, 04:23 PM
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CC,

The beaches in the bay are too sheltered for surfing. Most surfers go to La Union (China Sea, 6 hours north of Subic, Baler (Pacific, ? hours from Subic), Leyte (Pacific, very remote hard to get too), and Surigao (Pacific).

Best months in Subic are November - May (Dry Season). Worst is July - September (heaviest of Monsoon season).

There are only a few high rises (and even then they are about 5-6 stories max). Crown Peak has a few (I believe 3-4 stories) and there is one in the Central Business District (maybe 5 stories, can't remember the name).

Basically the whole Freeport is a gated community. There are guard posts at every gate, plus at the entrances/exits of each majore housing area (Kalayaan and Binictican).

If you are in the Visayas you will be dealing with more and stronger Typhoon winds when they roll thru. They usually roll thru there first.

Jon
Hi Jon,

Thanks very much for your reply.

I don't recognize the other beach spots, but La Union is actually on my list of places to investigate further because of allegedly decent security. Does anybody have anything good or bad to say about La Union?

In terms of security generally, would it be fair to say that SBMA is on a whole higher level than the rest of the country?

Another security question - would you recommend owning dog(s) in SBMA to be as essential as I've seen it recommended in the rest of the country?

And one more animal question - given the lack of high rises, are mosquitoes a problem?

Thanks again!
CC


Last edited by Jet Lag; 9th January 2013 at 05:29 PM.
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Old 10th January 2013, 12:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by casualcaveman View Post
Hi Jon,

Thanks very much for your reply.

I don't recognize the other beach spots, but La Union is actually on my list of places to investigate further because of allegedly decent security. Does anybody have anything good or bad to say about La Union?

In terms of security generally, would it be fair to say that SBMA is on a whole higher level than the rest of the country?

Another security question - would you recommend owning dog(s) in SBMA to be as essential as I've seen it recommended in the rest of the country?

And one more animal question - given the lack of high rises, are mosquitoes a problem?

Thanks again!
CC
I think La Union is relatively safe. I haven't stayed there. I do know that they get lots of foreign tourists for the surfing.

I think that the Subic Freeport is about as safe as you can get (without being encumbered with walled property, guard dogs, etc.). You can own dogs in the Freeport but you have to keep them under control. Lots of people here have dogs (mostly toy from what I have seen but a fair number of larger breeds). If the dog(s) are excessive yappers you will probably get complaints from your neighbors via SBMA and then will have to get rid of the dog(s). Also, if you want your yard fenced you will have to get a special permit from SBMA for that. Check out the SBMA web site (Official Website of SUBIC BAY METROPOLITAN AUTHORITY (SBMA)) and download the Resident's Handbook. It has lots of good info about do's, don'ts and how to's.

Mosquitoes can be problematic depending on where you are renting. Using some common sense can help mitigate them. Keep the grass trimmed down, clutter free yard (leaves and other materials that can collect water) and your storm drain system unclogged pay huge dividends. I know of one case of Dengue in the last year where I live.

I highly recommend getting any immunizations that you can prior to coming here. Yellow fever, Tetanus and Rabies come to mind.
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