Laguna Living?

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Laguna Living?


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Old 10th March 2013, 04:33 AM
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Hello,

I have worked in the Philippines throughout the last few years off and on. Most work was done in and around Manila. During that time, I was there on visitation visa (would work for 21 days, leave, return for another 21 days). I have enjoyed my time in Manila, and I have recently been presented with an opportunity to work in the Philippines again. This time I would be working in Laguna, and for an extended period.

I have been to Laguna twice, day-trips only. This opportunity would be a multi-year contract, and I would be living there, and not only on a 21 day visa. I would be provided a work visa by my employer and most likely would be there for 4-6 years. It sounds like a good opportunity, and we are in negotiations now.

The company is located in Technopark. I have some questions though:

1) Can I expect to find an okay place to live near the employer, or would I have to travel daily?
2) Is this a safe place?
3) Rent or Rent-to-own? (I would rather a house than an apartment - 2-4 bedroom in nice area)
4) What should I expect to pay for living? (rent, utilities, etc)
5) Would I need a car?
6) How is the area? Are there a lot of things to do?
7) Anything else you can tell me?


I appreciate any advice. Look forward to getting all of my things in order to make the next step!

Mabuhay!!!
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Old 10th March 2013, 01:46 PM
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I have been living in the lower Laguna area on and off for 20 years and this time around I have been here 5 years.

Housing will be much cheaper than Manila that's for sure, it depends on just how large you want to live but I'm not sure on pricing, I would take my sweet time negotiating a price because when they see a foreigner the price is so much higher, if you find a spot, have somebody local check the price, we live with the family in a squatted area so we just built our house, there are many places like this that also sell plots of land, if you know where to go and it's dirt cheap but you will live with the poor, I don't mind this, everything is cheaper and there are so many people who can help you build your house "Your way" and the wages are between 200-500 peso's per day depending on skill level but the average wage would be more like 300 peso's, I can go much more in to detail on that if you need prices, I have had just about everything done to my house, plumbers, some electricians, not all and welders will be as much as 1,000 a day.

I actually live near Sta Cruz, Laguna and they have internet and cable, something they didn't have 8 years ago or the access was limited to the small cities but now with cell towers just about everywhere you have access.

You want to have transportation, there again it depends on how large you want to live but you can buy a moped brand new and get your money out of it, they run 70,000 peso's new they also have new cars I seen a brand new mini Hyundai that runs 500,000 peso's brand new they also sell refurbished type vans full air-conditioned with a truck bed some have hydraulic lifts for about 200,000-300,000 peso's, you can use these for transportation and business.

You are going to get tired of haggling for the price and getting squashed into a tricycle or jeepeney or it's one less worry just to have your own transportation especially if you want to travel much farther, you have within I think 90 days of living in country to get your Philippine drivers license from what is called the LTO, you have to bring in your passport and papers the works and the license is good for 3 years, that's an all day process with a piss test the works, insurance here is pretty cheap, only 1000 peso's a year, don't mess with helpers or what they call fixers here they try to sell you insurance, want to help you and other crap, the LTO branch has everything you need, including insurance and you don't need any help what so ever, unless again you want it and I wouldn't give them more than 1000 peso's, it's an all day wait though.

Area's next to the water are cheaper but then again many do flood, my house was in 4 feet of water for almost 2 months and what a hassle, luckily I have a 2nd story so it wasn't as bad as most who live right next to the lake.
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Old 10th March 2013, 05:09 PM
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Thanks Mcalleyboy!!!
I will be having some contacts helping me with all negotiations. I know about the "foreigner tax" that would be added on if I was there doing it alone.
I like the idea of living close to work and having a motorcycle or car to get me around. I wasn't aware about the insurance and license requirements.
As far as housing goes, I have been looking around the Santa Rosa area, and there seem to be many housing compounds. Preferably, I would like to have a 3bed/2bath house in a safe neighborhood. I think that building my own place would not work (for now) due to time constraints when I get there. I will be expected to be at work M-F within a couple of weeks of being there.

Keep the suggestions coming!
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Old 11th March 2013, 05:42 AM
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I drove to Santa Rosa once, got lost and had to turn around and it looked just like Manila, in fact I thought I was in Manila till I looked it up on the Google world, I use Google for searches and Google world for finding places, in the area I live in, I had no idea I was only 30 minutes away from a very large KFC and the KFC was tucked away in a cove by a university along with a McDonald's without the car spotters and beggars, I haven't had KFC in almost 4 years because I couldn't find one in my area, I think Sta Rosa also has a Taco Bell in one of the malls there.

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Old 13th March 2013, 09:31 AM
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Hi Kheen,
I am living in in Cabuyao Laguna right now, which is just south of Santa Rosa, but I am moving to Subic Bay at the end of the month.

See below.

The company is located in Technopark. I have some questions though:

1) Can I expect to find an okay place to live near the employer, or would I have to travel daily?
I don't know that area well but when I was looking I think I remember there were low rise condos in that area and in Sta Rosa there are some nice gated sub-divisions with houses. Get as close to work as possible as the traffic can be terrible in Sta Rosa.
2) Is this a safe place?
You have spent time in Manila so I think it would be comparable to that. You need to stay aware of your surroundings. Some areas are very poor and there are not many foreigners in my area. I think there are more in Sta Rosa due to the multi-national companies there.
3) Rent or Rent-to-own? (I would rather a house than an apartment - 2-4 bedroom in nice area)
You can't really buy a house but you are allowed to by a condo under the right circumstances. I would not advise to buy, based on what I have read.
4) What should I expect to pay for living? (rent, utilities, etc)
Look at Sulit.com to get an idea of the higher priced rentals. Lower priced units often are not online. Electricity is expensive and your bills can be high when you use the aircon a lot. However, I am living without aircon so I can't give you a good monthly estimate.
5) Would I need a car?
Driving is very crazy in this area. You probably will want a car eventually or you will be frustrated and bored. I would try to live close enough to work to get by without a car to start.
6) How is the area? Are there a lot of things to do?
Not really, IMHO. There are some golf courses. There is a nice mall in Sta Rosa. If you go to Alabang that is a nice area with the Festival Mall. Manila / Makati is not too far, dependent on traffic.
7) Anything else you can tell me?
Your employer should be supplying you with information about housing, etc. Make sure you negotiate in a lot. You might even be able to negotiate a driver into the package. If you are adventurous and getting paid well, you can have a nice stay here, but 4-6 years might be pushing it. If you are single you will find a Filipina girlfriend, most likely. That is highly recommended for several reasons, but having a local take care of food, etc., will save you a lot of money.

Hope this helps a little bit!
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Old 14th March 2013, 04:42 AM
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Thanks for the info DonandAbby!

This contract will be a lot different than my experiences in the past. Before, I was on company dime and staying in a 5-star hotel and had a driver. The offer that is being presented to me will put me in Laguna, with a local visa, and I will be on my own for everything once there... everything. When first presented, I was ready to jump at it... and I still am. The more I think about all of the items that were not an issue before, the more questions I have. I have been using this forum for as much information as I can soak up, and I also use Sulit to get an idea of what housing is going for. The Bel-Air properties look nice, but they seem pretty expensive. Does anyone have experience living there?
Another thing that worries me is the kano tax. I have been assured that I will have help from the local companies VPs/Managers during my transition, so that is reassuring. I have driven in the PH one time... and it was in Makati during Holy-Week!!! Hahahaha... there wasn't a soul on the roads!
I am really excited about the upcoming trip and can't wait to make some local expat contacts along the way. I am looking to improve my golf game also - as I saw there are a lot of golf courses in the area. Does anyone know the cost for a round? I golfed once when I was there, but it was a private course and one of my vendors treated me.

Keep all of the great info coming guys, it is very much appreciated.

Ingats
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Old 14th March 2013, 05:41 AM
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I will turn on the AC at night for about 3-5 hrs till it cools down we have all the usual appliances including a side by side fridge, you will need a hot and cold water dispenser for sure and depending upon how much we use the air conditioner the electrical bill will be 4000-5000 peso's a month for a family of 5.

The farther you are from all the glitz and glamour the cheaper the rent, neighbors can be a real help in so many things after all they live here and don't pay full price for anything also I have found that with using both Google Earth and exploring on my own the best way to find anything.

Any place close to an access point would be my choice, no matter where you go here there's housing area's tucked everywhere, I would never use any professional service here to find me a home, apartment, cycle, vehicle they all take you for a way over priced ride that enriches only them every single month, I totally ovoid these people, there so friendly, helpful and speak great english,... watch out!
Possibly fellow workers here could offer up spots, it shouldn't cost you anything over $100 even in Sta Rosa.

I would look at the fully furnished vice unfurnished price per month, it could be a real wake up call on how much money is wasted under the title of fully furnished, it could be better just buying what you need yourself and then selling after you leave, if you leave.

Carrier 1hp air conditioner will run you about $400 easy here for some reason fridges and air conditioners are expensive if you're into crock pots bring the biggest one you have, make sure it's of the highest quality because nobody here has a clue what that's used for and good luck in finding one, I have seen tiny ones that barely qualify as a crock pot in 3 of the large SM malls and the price was from 5,000 - 6,500 peso's, you can really miss the taste of chili or favorite crock pot recipe after a couple of years or just making youre meal and setting it on low so when you come home it's all done perfectly.
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Old 14th March 2013, 07:55 AM
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large crockpots available here good prices. I pay 4000 a month rent here outside subic proper and thats cheap. 4000 at laguna? wow

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Old 14th March 2013, 08:14 AM
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Heard Subic had many things but it's to far for my budget.

Rent in the lower area of Laguna where I live would be anywhere from 1,000 peso's up depends on how large you want to live. Electricity runs me 4,000-5,000 a month for a family of 5, I pay no rent we built our house over the years in a land squatted on by the family.

Upper Laguna area such Sta Rosa looks just like Manila and very close to Manila, the few times I drove or passed through there, it seems to have all the spots, malls highways, underpasses, I remember 3 years back passing through Manila and viewed a billboard sign advertising condo for rent at 3,000 peso's a month in Manila, Sta Rosa? Unsure of price but it's a modern city atmosphere.

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Old 14th March 2013, 08:20 AM
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then u probably know,a condo as many times referred to here means a studio room per say. You know. believe half what u see and none of what u hear.
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