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Old 25th December 2013, 04:18 AM
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Merry Christmas everyone

Strange day to introduce my self but I'm at work so needed somethying to do!!

I'm Stu, 38yrs old and from the UK. Married to a filipina since 2004. I work in oil and gas offshore doing 28 days rotation and have been to and fro from the Philippines for about 13yrs. I managed to get my wife to the UK in late 2004 but recently we've emigrated back to the Philippines this last October to Olongapo City, which is our old stomping ground. Its been a while since we where there last but we've found a house to rent and just getting used to things again.

At the moment we don't intended to stay in the Philippines permanently, maybe for 2-3 yrs but never say never.

Anyway as I'm on watch I'd better get back to it, so merry chrimbo everyone.


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Old 25th December 2013, 05:16 AM
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Welcome to the forum and Merry Christmas!

There a quite a few expats such as yourself, working the offshore 28 day rotation in the Subic Freeport/Olangapo/San Antonio area.

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Old 25th December 2013, 06:28 AM
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Hi Jon, thanks for the welcome.

I used to work on the Cable and Wireless ships in the freeport from 1998 ish but met my wife in 2003. Its been a while since we where in olongapo and we're not getting out too much at the moment because we're trying to get used to the heat and humidity again! It really knocks you out towards the end of the day! So truth be told we've not met any expats yet as we're trying to figure out the haunts. Back in the day the Scuba Shack was our local but this has now been torn down for yet another building for something or other. I suppose in time we'll start meeting folks, just hard to tell good from the bad (sexpests etc).

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Old 25th December 2013, 07:18 AM
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Check out Vasco's in the Freeport. The proprietor Greg Homan (an aussie) is a good guy.

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Old 25th December 2013, 03:31 PM
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Welcome Stu and Merry Christmas!

We live in the Freeport. After you get out a bit I'm sure you will find so many changes. IMO the sexpats are not over in the freeport much and you will find many married guys with their filipina wives and children in the freeport.

We have some Filipino friends who worked overseas for 13 years and just returned last year. She grew up in Olongapo and her impression is that it is much worse now as far as cleanliness and upkeep. What do you think? She thinks the politicians back then were doing more for the city.

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Old 26th December 2013, 12:21 AM
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Been to Vasco's a long time ago, not recently though. We'll have to give it a go but I always thought it was a bit out of the way. Used to go to his place on Magsaysay Drive as well alot. Capt Greggs wasn't it? Had some fun nights in there!! Our other main haunt back in the day was Club 36 on Magsaysay run by 2 Oz blokes, for the life of me i can't remember their names. Nice guys, one got into a bit of bother though as I seem to remember.

Hi Don, I think you're right about the sexpats but I think your friend is right about the general state of Olongapo now. It has been developed a lot since we where here last and generally for the better in that respect. Though alot does seem to be gear towards Koreians on the base. There does seem to be a lot of girlie bars in town now under this new mayor. I haven't heard alot of good things about this new guy to be honest and I think the town was better under the Gordon family.

When the recent floods happened I'm told the mayor ******ed off on holiday for the week!! The clean up does seem to take an age but nothing moves very quickly out there does it?!

I think you're both right though, we just need to get out a bit and we'll bump into folk. So if you happen to see a 6' 3" white english bloke with a goatee and a bit of a permanent scowl (so I'm told) come and say hello.

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Old 26th December 2013, 12:27 AM
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Also, a bit cheeky this, but we're renting in Gordon Heights and costs seem quite high these days. From what I've seen on the net the base rent seems to be $1000/month unfurnished and $1200/month furnished for not particularly good houses judging by the pictures!!!! I'm paying 25000peso/month for what is a 2 bed house with maids room and no real land to it. Built by an ammerician and his filipina wife who are both back in the states. We had to take the first reasonable place we found because of our situation but to be honest i don't think we'll say after the 12 month contract is up. Prices do seem very high.

We don't have a car but know a tame taxi driver. So what do you guys think are good areas to look at and expected rents?

Thanks
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Old 26th December 2013, 01:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by subseastu View Post
Also, a bit cheeky this, but we're renting in Gordon Heights and costs seem quite high these days. From what I've seen on the net the base rent seems to be $1000/month unfurnished and $1200/month furnished for not particularly good houses judging by the pictures!!!! I'm paying 25000peso/month for what is a 2 bed house with maids room and no real land to it. Built by an ammerician and his filipina wife who are both back in the states. We had to take the first reasonable place we found because of our situation but to be honest i don't think we'll say after the 12 month contract is up. Prices do seem very high.

We don't have a car but know a tame taxi driver. So what do you guys think are good areas to look at and expected rents?

Thanks
The prices on the internet are very high and can always be negotiated. The best way is to drive around the neighborhoods and find signs.

We live in Kalayaan and pay less than $1000, but I think our rent is too high. Like you, we did not have a car when we were looking and had limited time, so I took the best place I found then. We will look again when our lease expires next April. Some friends have a nice 2 story house they rent here for only p30k. Jon lives in Binictican and we will look there too.

Last spring, the lowest prices we found at the time were 27k for a 2 br townhouse in the Green???? area of Kalayaan, and 20k for a 3 br townhouse in the Forestview area of Binictican. They both were quite nice but we decided against them for various reasons.

I know an agent you can contact if you like. She is quite nice, no pressure and lives in our neighborhood. Filipina who used to live in the US. She showed us some places but we rented from a sign we saw. She only showed us places in the price range we stated, unlike an agent we used in Cebu, who took us to places 2x what we said.

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Old 26th December 2013, 01:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by subseastu View Post
Also, a bit cheeky this, but we're renting in Gordon Heights and costs seem quite high these days. From what I've seen on the net the base rent seems to be $1000/month unfurnished and $1200/month furnished for not particularly good houses judging by the pictures!!!! I'm paying 25000peso/month for what is a 2 bed house with maids room and no real land to it. Built by an ammerician and his filipina wife who are both back in the states. We had to take the first reasonable place we found because of our situation but to be honest i don't think we'll say after the 12 month contract is up. Prices do seem very high.

We don't have a car but know a tame taxi driver. So what do you guys think are good areas to look at and expected rents?

Thanks
Hi subseastu good to have that "Scowl or Warrior Face" it's needed the happier you look the more they bug and taunt you.

Rent in larger cities or 1st class neighbor hoods will alway's be very high, 25,000 peso's I would consider completely insane as a rental price for a unit that has no land. Is there anyway to up and move to more rural area it could save you thousands of peso's a month. Transportation charges add up to, my used car has paid for itself from the over charges of family and neighbors and just about anyone that has taken us somewhere they alway's expect more no matter what.

I live in an around Sta Cruz Laguna, prices in this area for a nice spot shouldn't run more than 5,000 peso's I've been told it gets hot here... dang I think it gets hot just about everywhere except mountainous/higher level cities. Malls and major grocery stores are minutes away the money you save could buy you a vehicle/condo payments.

Other area's around me are Calamba Laguna- It's a larger city, Los Banos - smaller city with a college but some class in some area's, Pila Laguna- much smaller (cheaper) but not much there, Sta Cruz Laguna - large and crowded but many of the banks are there, Pagsanjan Laguna - (some tourism, Aussie/UK expats live here) it has some banks, malls and is next to Sta Cruz Laguna, I sort of like this area, they also have the "Pagsanjan Falls". This entire area is sort of tourist spot and many from the big cities come here for vacation it's not expensive, there are many Pools with slides and activities in this entire region.

The air-conditioning is something to wean your self off of until evening's or when it really is hot and not much air flow... if not you wouldn't want to go out much, the body will acclimate to the climate but it takes a while (turn down the coolness little by little) the weather has been cooler than previous years.

One of the reasons I moved here was to get away from contracts and paying way to much for a spot to live in.... Unless I own it, many of these condo's require a 50% downpayment and something close to $300 a month for 4-5 years and it's yours.

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I am not a regulated immigration adviser. I am offering an opinion and not advice. Check here for professional help with the Philippine Bureau of Immigration PBI https://www.facebook.com/officialbureauofimmigration or Philippine Retirement Authority PRA for an SRRV Visa https://pra.gov.ph/contact/ Always stay alert and don't let your guard down.

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Old 26th December 2013, 02:00 AM
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Originally Posted by DonAndAbby View Post
The prices on the internet are very high and can always be negotiated. The best way is to drive around the neighborhoods and find signs.

We live in Kalayaan and pay less than $1000, but I think our rent is too high. Like you, we did not have a car when we were looking and had limited time, so I took the best place I found then. We will look again when our lease expires next April. Some friends have a nice 2 story house they rent here for only p30k. Jon lives in Binictican and we will look there too.

Last spring, the lowest prices we found at the time were 27k for a 2 br townhouse in the Green???? area of Kalayaan, and 20k for a 3 br townhouse in the Forestview area of Binictican. They both were quite nice but we decided against them for various reasons.

I know an agent you can contact if you like. She is quite nice, no pressure and lives in our neighborhood. Filipina who used to live in the US. She showed us some places but we rented from a sign we saw. She only showed us places in the price range we stated, unlike an agent we used in Cebu, who took us to places 2x what we said.
The problem we have is I don't want to buy a car if possible while we're here. The wife doesn't drive and we should in theory only be here for 3 years or so. I believe 2nd hand cars are quite expensive so i'm likely to save cash by not buying a car and using out tame taxi driver. Because of this I think living on the base may prove to be a little troublesome. Atleast at the moment we can if needs be hang around out the front of the house and wait for a tricycle. To be honest I don't mind using them though they can be a bit of a squeeze!

So in all honesty it looks like we are paying the average rate then even though we are off base. I can remember us renting 2 bed houses in town in the East Bajac-bajac area for £100/month 11 or so years ago when the exchange rate was excellant.

My other problem is we've still got our house in the UK so I'm still paying mortgage etc there so $1000/month is way too expensive for us. It looks like we may not get alot of joy then because my top end is aboyt $500/month. If we'd sold up in the UK and moved across permenant then no problem but I can't justify it at the moment.

The wife is talking about going for a HOC property next. If I can come up with a lump sum it might be the way to go. Apparently there are a few in Gordon Heights available. This area at the moment seems to suit us for living and transportation needs. I just think base living is way too expensive and a bit cut off for us with no car.
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