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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I will be living in Dumaguete for at least three years.

Will be attending Silliman University on my Post 9/11 GI Bill.

Am an older Veteran (female) and qualify for the Courtesy SRRV.

I have no contacts in Dumaguete and would like to establish reputable alignment with folks who have solid information on things I will need to do.

Things like:

1. Locating a safe, secure and furnished place to rent near the University - Under 28,000 pesos p/month. Two bedroom is ideal - 1 1/2 to 2 baths is ideal

2. Buying a car/truck or Multicab? Don't want to spend big bucks - thinking 400,000 pesos max.

3. Needing Dumaguete info on internet speeds, and international calling. I am here in the States and can purchase electronic items here before I arrive to Manila to begin the SRRV process. Will want my own internet as I will use this a lot in school, so high speed is important. So is the ability to call home to the States to family, friends, and banks.

4. Local Dumaguete Banks. I currently do business with Fidelity and USAA here in the States. What Philippine Banks in Dumaguete can work best with these US Banks? I wish to keep a minimum in Pesos, so I will NOT be auto-depositing any monthly pension incomes. Will do a bank-to-bank transfer once a month.

I am downsizing even as I write this. My arrival time to Manila is scheduled for June, 2016 - one year from now - at the latest. Can arrive sooner if I can get my all my affairs in order and if all the other USA external parts/bureaucracies act quicker.

So, I'm looking for Dumaguete intel on where to rent (under 28,000 pesos), how to purchase reliable transportation that's under 400,000 pesos, Dumaguete, Phiippine Banks, and what types of electronic devices I need to buy in the States for the computer and for communication back to the States before I fly to Manila.

Thank-you for your assistance with this and for pointing me in the right direction!

V/R,
nwlivewire
 

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My Asawa & I live in Iloilo, so don't know about the expat situation in the vicinity you are inquiring about, but understand that it is a popular area for expat's so some will probably chime in.

I also have USAA and just withdraw what I need when I need from a BPI ATM as they allow you to withdraw up to PHP 20,000 at a time.

See the thread about vehicle insurance to see my recommendation about a vehicle. Kei class vehicles from Japan. I don't know about others experience with these remanufactured vehicles, but I have had absolutely no problems with it since I got it in September of 2014. It was originaly registered as a 2002 Mazda Scrum in Japan and is now registered as a Suzuki CarryVan in the Philippines. According to the affixed data plate, it was actually originally manufactured in Japan by Suzuki.

For PHP 28,000, you should be able to rent a very good, high grade & secure living accomodation most anywhere in this Country, but as I mentioned, some local expat's will probably chime in with more and better info than I could furnish.

Good Luck, and hope this helps in some way.

Fred
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Dear fmartin:

Thank-you for responding so quickly!

It's just about time for me to get off the computer, so I will check this posting again in about 12 hours or so.

I hope to find safe, secure housing for rent in Dumaguete within a mile or a couple of kilometers from Silliman as I will not have transportation at my leisure for awhile.

A western kitchen and bath would be GREAT!

Solid, high-speed internet is a must.

I'm hoping the house or apartment will come furnished. I can always buy a new mattress and leave it there when I am done with school in three years. But I'd prefer not to have to buy a lot of furniture.

Thank-you for info about buying a Susuki. Not wanting a scooter - unless I can get a three-wheeler. I like the protection a larger vehicle can provide to my bones and a larger vehicle will keep me out of the weather.

I wouldn't have any trouble being further out from Silliman U providing I can get or be very near reliable public transportation. I need to be at school and be seated every day in a timely manner. So being near a public transit center would work, too (if it's in a decent part of town).

When I quoted a rental price of 28,000 MAX, I meant that - MAX. However, I would be very pleased to rent at a lower price if I can have a safe, modern (Western) and furnished place to rent with excellent internet. I'm not a big drinker or smoker, so no wild, noisy parties here. For sure a dinner party, BBQ, or something like that with friends. But no crazy stuff.

I hope I get some responses from a Vet or two and from others who are established in Dumaguete - folks who can let me know good areas or places to look at to rent.

Or what areas to stay clear of.

And for sure, anyone in Dumaguete that knows what works best for communication back to the States, let me know. I can get whatever I need here in the States and bring it with me.

Or anything hard to find or more expensive over there that is very useful in Dumaguete, let me know.

Again, thank-you for your response. I've much to do between now and the time I board for Manila.

V/R,
nwlivewire
 

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Search youtube....several expats that have youtube channels are based in Dumaguete.
 

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The cheapest way to move money is to write yourself a check for deposit. Get a US Dollar account at BPI or BDO. Most banks require a $500 maintenance balance (usually cash) to open the account. The banks typically require an Alien Certificate Registration I-Card for opening an account. The I-Card takes 3-4 months to acquire. If using the ATM you can get eaten up with banking fees (International Transaction, Conversion and local bank fee of 200p) per withdrawal. Some expats wire themselves money via Wells Fargo. Supposed to be cheap. You might want to look into that and just getting an additional account with them.

One of the most significant costs here is electricity. Electricity over here is the highest in Asia and also subject to unannounced brown outs.

Here is a good tool to give you an idea on day to day costs

Cost of Living Comparison Between Portland, OR, United States And Dumaguete, Philippines
 

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I have lived in the Philippines for eight years. I live in Tagbilaran City, Bohol. It is a two hour boat ride from Dumaguete. I think you could rent for half the amount you mentioned. The same would be true for a vehicle. Depending on your situation, you might not even need a car. Toyota and Mitsubishi are the best for getting parts and repairs. Also, diesel fuel is about 75% the price of gasoline. I only use my USAA account and BPI atms. USAA will reimburse you up to 15.00 monthly for overseas ATM fees (the only bank that I am aware of that does this) and BPI allows you to withdrawl P20,000 daily (other Phil banks will only dispense P10,000 for one withdrawl). So, you can withdrawl up to P60,000 per month and your three P200 ATM fees will be reimbursed on the 9th of the month. Right now, it is about P44.6 for 1.00. You can keep up with the exchange rate at XE - The World's Trusted Currency Authority. Also, you might consider a majicjack phone, it works great and on the five year plan it is $2.00 monthly for unlimited USA and Canada. Richard
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Dear jon1:

Thanks-you for the heads up on the banking situation.

My hope is that I will be able to get a place to rent for well under my MAX price, too. Your information is encouraging!

Majicjack is now on my hit list of things to get. Thank-you for this important piece of information, too. This will help keep my daily living costs down and yet still keep me connected to the States.

Hmmmm..... diesel engines. Never owned a diesel engine car. Always a first time for everything. Toyota and Mitsubishi brands.... will do some looking around the internet to see what the costs are for these type cars and see if they are within my budget. I don't want to spend a lot of money on a car as I will only be in the Philippines for three years. I can't justify the high cost of ownership to the time spent using it. Thanks for this piece of information.

I put a multicab into my list of options as they seem within initial cost and budget. But I do have my concerns about the fact they are all "reconditioned" from use in Japan and not "factory new". I just don't want to get stuck with a small car that nickel and dimes me to death with break-downs and repairs all the time.

For much of each school year (nine months out of 12), my life will be revolving around home, homework, and school. I may only need to rent a car once or twice a month IF I can find a place to rent near the school and can be near reliable public transport.

That's why I was wondering about the area around Silliman - If there are decent neighborhoods nearby the school where I can find an apartment or small home that won't break the bank.

Again, Thanks for your information!

V/R,

nwlivewire
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Dear Richard:

Thanks for all your basic survival info, too!

I don't want to get nickeled and dimed by the banks every month, either.

That can add up to a month's rent in lost money to the bank every year.

MagicJack is definately on my list - surge protectors - and a battery back up, too.

Will check out BPI.

Thank-you!

V/R,
nwlivewire
 

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Dear jon1:

Thanks-you for the heads up on the banking situation.

My hope is that I will be able to get a place to rent for well under my MAX price, too. Your information is encouraging!

Majicjack is now on my hit list of things to get. Thank-you for this important piece of information, too. This will help keep my daily living costs down and yet still keep me connected to the States.

Hmmmm..... diesel engines. Never owned a diesel engine car. Always a first time for everything. Toyota and Mitsubishi brands.... will do some looking around the internet to see what the costs are for these type cars and see if they are within my budget. I don't want to spend a lot of money on a car as I will only be in the Philippines for three years. I can't justify the high cost of ownership to the time spent using it. Thanks for this piece of information.

I put a multicab into my list of options as they seem within initial cost and budget. But I do have my concerns about the fact they are all "reconditioned" from use in Japan and not "factory new". I just don't want to get stuck with a small car that nickel and dimes me to death with break-downs and repairs all the time.

For much of each school year (nine months out of 12), my life will be revolving around home, homework, and school. I may only need to rent a car once or twice a month IF I can find a place to rent near the school and can be near reliable public transport.

That's why I was wondering about the area around Silliman - If there are decent neighborhoods nearby the school where I can find an apartment or small home that won't break the bank.

Again, Thanks for your information!

V/R,

nwlivewire
Hello and welcome! Why would u pick philippines for college?
 

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Magicjack is great! I have two, one for when I travel and one for the house (a Magicjack plus). You can also just get a number and assign to your smart phone without having to buy a device. You can download the app for Iphone and Android. That way you can use just when you need without an additional device. The Magicjack plus plugs into your wifi router via ethernet and doesn't require the use of a computer after setup.

A laptop is a good idea to bring as they are usually universal power (110-240VAC) and you can work on your homework during brown outs via battery. Also a good surge protector powerstrip is a must with the current fluctuations. I would bring two of those with you. Don't bother bringing any electronics that aren't universal power. You can acquire most appliances needed locally; blender, microwave, etc.

I have only travelled thru Dumaguete a few times and found it congested. Dilliman is in the heart of the town. Jeepneys will be the cheapest transportation, not sure how safe they are in Dumaguete.

I agree on a diesel Toyota or Mitsubishi. Parts are prevalent, local mechanics know how to work on them and fuel is cheaper. I have 2 diesel Mitsubishi pickup trucks. You can drive here on your US license for 90 days then you have to get a Philippine license. An international driving permit will not help you out past that time. I would wait on driving here until you have experienced the wild west driving. If you have never driven in a 3rd world country (being a vet you probably have already) it can be quite challenging.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Silliman University has a Tropical Agriculture program.

The US has only two places where I can get that knowledge - U of Hawaii and U of Guam.
Unfortunately, both are high cost-of-living areas, so I am not able to afford to learn this in the USA.

I suppose I could take out student loans, but I do not choose to burden my future down with more "Bankster" debt. Last time I took student loans, it took 10 years to repay them.

And I want financial freedom and be able to make employment decisions that don't have to revolve around, "Gee. Will this occupation be able to pay me enough to make my student loan mortgage every month for the next 10 years?"

Having student loan debt can really hobble one's occupational choices and income.

This is one big reason why Silliman is an attractive option for me. It allows me to get basic knowledge in Tropical Agriculture without being in debt for the next ten years.

The economic freedom will in turn, allow me to immediately apply this knowledge when I relocate to Belize to plant tropical hardwoods on property I will buy there.

I'd go to school in Belize, but the U of Belize is not currently approved for use of the Post 9/11 GI Bill. I will however, attend a class or two once I get situated there and network with their Government Forestry Department.

But this is five years down the line.

Thanks for asking!

V/R,

nwlivewire
 

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I have never been to Dumaguete but from some friends I have talked to... it sounds like the "Why Not" disco is the expat club ha ha...

There are quite a lot of expats there. A couple with fairly popular YouTube channels. I can put you in contact with 2 of them if you would like to ask them more specific questions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks jon1!

I will be bringing over electronic gear and making a list of required items.

Once the Courtesy SRRV is in place, I am allotted 7,000USD of items to be waived from customs taxation.

So I need to figure out how to get a trunk of electronic stuff sent to Dumaguete from the USA without it getting stolen or "mis-placed" during transit. That's pretty much all I'll be "importing" to Dumaguete. The rest of everyday things (kitchen, home stuff) will have to be purchased on the local economy.

That's why I would like a furnished rental so as to cut down the cost of me having to set up for a three year stay. Won't be taking things back with me, so why put a lot of money into this? Kind of a waste.

I realize not everything in Dumaguete will be a bed of roses and I anticipate I will experience a bit of social isolation. So I hope I adapt with how it is over there.

I rec'd an e-mail from VFW - Cebu. There is NO VFW in Dumaguete - Cebu is the closest VFW to Dumaguete. So will be looking on other ways to get myself "plugged into" the local ex-pat population.

It's just that as a female and as a non-National at that, I may face a bit of a hurdle with this. I'm not some guy that hangs in a bar, and I don't run after the local women. I come with a different dynamic and with a slightly different purpose. I simply hope I can create ties that are valued and meaningful with others.

I understand flat screen TVs are more expensive in Dumaguete than here in the States.

I wonder if it's worth the expense and postal risk to include one as part of that 7,000 USD customs tax waiver?

Any thoughts anyone?

V/R,

nwlivewire
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Dear Tukaram:

Yes! I would be pleased to have contact via e-mail with your Dumaguete "eyes and ears" friends.

I have specific question that perhaps they can answer for me.

Thanks for offering and I hope they respond!

V/R,

nwlivewire
 

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I just got back from Dumaguete (April 2015) had a great 6 weeks and learned a lot ! The best way to learn is on the ground and quick. Otherwise you will pay a lot more for that knowledge.

I learned a lot from expats over coffee. You can find them all over the best place was SM mall.

YouTube vlogs have replaced forums as the best and most current source of information if you have the time to watch the videos. I find the vlogs useful but slow.

If an expat club or adhoc get together exists I would be interested. I plan on being back in January for 6 months. Hopefully spend 6 months in the Phils and 6 months in Canada. Good luck to all !
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Dear Adian:

This past week-end I found a Dumaguete Information website that IS active and very helpful for those interested in this specific region of the Philippines.

I am now hooked up to their website for specific information about this area.

There are several US ex-pats on that site who can offer detailed counsel on the many issues of interest for that area as they can relate to US ex-pat issues and soon-to-be US ex-pat arrivals.

I will most likely network with them as my primary website for US ex-pat information about Dumaguete.

V/R,
nwlivewire
 

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Thanks V/R,

Appreciate the information. I meant to say the best place for meeting on the ground expats is Robinson Mall. Very helpful !
 

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Silliman University has a Tropical Agriculture program.

The US has only two places where I can get that knowledge - U of Hawaii and U of Guam.
Unfortunately, both are high cost-of-living areas, so I am not able to afford to learn this in the USA.

I suppose I could take out student loans, but I do not choose to burden my future down with more "Bankster" debt. Last time I took student loans, it took 10 years to repay them.

And I want financial freedom and be able to make employment decisions that don't have to revolve around, "Gee. Will this occupation be able to pay me enough to make my student loan mortgage every month for the next 10 years?"

Having student loan debt can really hobble one's occupational choices and income.

This is one big reason why Silliman is an attractive option for me. It allows me to get basic knowledge in Tropical Agriculture without being in debt for the next ten years.

The economic freedom will in turn, allow me to immediately apply this knowledge when I relocate to Belize to plant tropical hardwoods on property I will buy there.

I'd go to school in Belize, but the U of Belize is not currently approved for use of the Post 9/11 GI Bill. I will however, attend a class or two once I get situated there and network with their Government Forestry Department.

But this is five years down the line.

Thanks for asking!

V/R,

nwlivewire
Did you give VISCA on Letye a consideration. It was the first place that came to my mind when you said you will be studying Tropical Agriculture.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
Dear Gary D:

Unfortunately, VISCA is not on the approved listed of schools around the world who are approved by the US Department of Veteran Affairs (VA). The VA is the final approving authority for certification and approval of the Veterans use of their Post 9/11 GI Bill benefit.

Now a foreign school can make application for approval, but there are many steps of US government agency approvals needed for the school to achieve prior to final VA certification. The last stop in the school's application process is at the VA - and that step alone can take a year - and that's if the foreign school has that certain documentation needed to prove it has those certain types of qualifying standards already in place.

So the short answer to your question is NO. VISCA is not currently approved by the VA for use of the Veterans Post 9/11 GI Bill.

As of the date of this posting, there are currently 62 locations of schools in the Philippines that ARE authorized for use of the Post 9/11 GI Bill.

VISCA isn't one of them.

Perhaps VISCA should apply if they are qualified,and get their application into the pipeline as it can take awhile to get approved.

I might also add that while some schools are listed as qualified, some schools may also be restricted as to which majors or areas of study/certification are authorized for use and receivership of Veteran VA education funding.

There is a big stink going on right now with some schools taking advantage of the "free money" this GI Bill provides to the education system (tuition/fees). The VA is cracking down on "diploma mills" and for-profit schools that have been using the Veteran and his/her GI Bill benefit as a "cash cow" to further line their pockets at the expense of the government, the tax payers, AND to the Veteran.

A certain for-profit school with many, many locations in California just got hit with a "DO NOT FUND" notice. Within 72 hours, this school began closing down when they realized the State and the Feds were turning off their GI Bill money spigot.

I frankly wish our Government would be this good of a watchdog on all the rest of the billions of dollars that get wasted in our national budget.

But that's a whole other thread....

V/R,

nwlivewire
 
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