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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Although living in the Philippines will undoubtedly be the most exciting experience of your life, making it a safe and not too costly one is very important.

You will hear many times from local Filipinos that this is a very dangerous country. When they tell you this, listen to them. They have your best interest at heart. It IS true.
Robbery and theft is a common way to survive by many here. Extreme poverty and a sense of hopelessness brings out the worst in many people.

One of the best ways I know of to protect yourself and money when out and around is to make a “throw-down wallet.”

Simply buy an extra wallet. Photo copy just the very top edge of several credit cards and then glue these top edge strips into each of the slots that are designed to carry credit cards. Add a photo or two to make it look good and for the final touch put maybe $10.00us worth of Philippine pesos in the wallet and its done.

This wallet you carry in your pocket as you would any wallet at home. Carry your real ID, money, and credit cards in your sock or underwear.
If you are held up at knife or gunpoint, simply give the thief your throw-down wallet. He will quickly be gone with a handful of nothing while you escape with your life and your money intact.

This little gadget costs very little to make and can save you a lot when traveling or living in the Philippines or any 3rd world country…
 
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I have learned in going on ferry boats and buses from Manila to Leyte that if you like to flash jewelry, watches, cameras, expensive cellphones and things like that, you will be robbed. Scaled it down, you don't need to prove that you are rich or well off. Most think you are. You only allow those that need things to be tempted to take what you are showing. Most people are the nicest and kindest, especially away from Metro Manila. I don't care where you go, if you flash enough things they will be tempted to take what you have.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Theft

I have learned in going on ferry boats and buses from Manila to Leyte that if you like to flash jewelry, watches, cameras, expensive cellphones and things like that, you will be robbed. Scaled it down, you don't need to prove that you are rich or well off. Most think you are. You only allow those that need things to be tempted to take what you are showing. Most people are the nicest and kindest, especially away from Metro Manila. I don't care where you go, if you flash enough things they will be tempted to take what you have.
Billy,

You're right. Even without flashing cash or jewelery, we as foreigners here are a natural target.
Locals assume that if we can travel to come here or live here WE ARE RICH. No amount of talking will convince them otherwise.

My wife, child, and I live very well on a budget of under $200.00 us dollars per month. (A self imposed budget by my wife.) But even so no one believes we dont have a fortune to play with.
So best to be very careful anywhere you go here...
 

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Yes, that's true. Foreigners are the usual targets of these holdupers. They wouldn't mind if you look rich or poor as long as you look like a foreigner, you will be catching their attention. Take care of your bags and belongings especially if you're in a public place. I saw one who was being robbed through his backpack pocket. Poor guy! You might want to live in provinces where there are less crime rate plus you'll get a nicer and cleaner environment (compared to Manila).
 

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You have to look very carefully in people that you meet or set eyes with. Foreigners catch their attention. Holdupers would go for things that they see you have.
 

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I came across your post today and whilst I believe everything you say, in twenty three years of visiting the Philippines, I have never experienced any problems. In fact, on my first visit in 1989 I was staying at a hotel on Roxas Boulevard and whilst my fiance (Filipina) was visiting members of her family, I decided to go for a stroll at about 7pm. The smell of urine was too strong to walk along the seafront so I went inland and found myself in a squatters village near to Mabini. I am 6' 5" tall so not exactly unoticable and other than a few kids following behind me I returned an hour later to my hotel unmolested.

Since then I have visited Manila and Bicol on many occassions, once I heard gunfire as we were passing a mall, so I have either been very lucky or we foreigners are not all potential targets. I have to be honest and disclose that our house in Bicol was robbed whilst we were attending a wedding but so were four other houses, none of which were owned by foreigners.

I remember overhearing a conversation between four Americans in a hotel restaurant in Dubai some years ago, they were saying how dangerous Los Angeles had become which again surprised me because I had spent six weeks in San Pedro close to the docks and not having a car, I walked everywhere at all hours of the day and night.

I agree, that there are certain precautions one should take and your throw-away wallet is one that I will adopt when I next visit Johannesburg. That really is a dangerous city, so much so that even travelling in a car fitted with underside flame throwers, I still feel unsafe!
 

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Nice trick...... Trying to hide the real on though that seems harder.

Underwear or sock? I think it will just fall out. gotta be a good way to do that part of it.

I think when people talk of the crime here they fail to compare it to "home."

I lived in Memphis, Tn. and I carried a 45 where ever I went and often at home.

I feel much safer in the Philippines but I also live out and away from the big city. i also tend to avoid trouble by not going where I shouldn't go.

If you're Filipino, I think your chance of being the victim of a crime are very small compared to the West. Foreigners, we of course stand out. I'd really love to see stats on crime vs foreigners in the Philippines vs crimes against people in the USA and other Western countries. If the numbers were good, the Philippines would probably make sure they were out there.
 

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I can see the need to do things such as those mentioned above as it can be really hectic down in the philippines but I have been there and lived there so many times in the past and very recently i might add and my best advice would be to use a whole lot of COMMONSENSE and practice it when you are out as you can and might have all your protective idea's but if you are Dumb looking enough to be a target for pickpockets then you will be regardless and this experience is more traumatising that just loosing your ID's and creditcards, in short it is great to have such idea's mentioned above but most importantly be streetsmart and you will be fine.
 

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Gene and........

how do you live on $200/month ??

Not an idle question I assure you*. I'm almost retired and (certainly not rich) have been trying to get a handle on cost of living in Phil. Just to pick a number ....say $2500 USD per month......can I live well ?? I do not want to live in Manila (nothing about Manila just do not like to live in big cities) but maybe within a couple of hours.

I have been told Tagatay is nice ?? (Do not want to buy but would lease a house.)

Any thoughts you have will be appreciated.

*(If too personal my apologies simply do not answer.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Low Cost Of Living

Gene and........

how do you live on $200/month ??

Not an idle question I assure you*. I'm almost retired and (certainly not rich) have been trying to get a handle on cost of living in Phil. Just to pick a number ....say $2500 USD per month......can I live well ?? I do not want to live in Manila (nothing about Manila just do not like to live in big cities) but maybe within a couple of hours.

I have been told Tagatay is nice ?? (Do not want to buy but would lease a house.)

Any thoughts you have will be appreciated.

*(If too personal my apologies simply do not answer.)
Hi Tom,

First, welcome to the site and glad you're here.

Unless you get involved with a bar girl here $2,500 is far more than enough to live and enjoy life. Naturally a lot depends on the lifestyle and living conditions you want or williing to live in.

We are two hours north of Manila. Close to but still outside of Angeles City where the cost is very low. Our budget of under $200 per month is very possible in this area and I'm sure many other locations as well.

First, it helps a great deal to adjust to much of the local foods. That holds cost down without a doubt. Buying most foods and other items at a local public market rather than in larger stores or shopping malls also keeps cost way down.
There are many malls in our area and make a nice place to go on weekends with our daughter. But in reality we spend very little there due to the high cost. Ace Hardware for example are in most malls. I have found that an item in Ace is usually available at a small mom and pop hardware store close to our house. So the item in Ace that costs say $10.00 will cost around $2.00 locally.

When Mt Pinatubo erupted back in the early 90's it made millions homeless in a matter of just hours. Later, the govt here built resettlement towns and gave the housing units to those effected free.

We own our home in the resettlement where we are so there is not monthly rent to pay. So that also keeps our cost of living low. However to rent a housing unit in most resettlements is only about $20.00 (twenty) US dollars per month.
If renting a regular apt in Angeles City I'm told the cost is about $300.00 per month. But that would also include usually furniture an air conditioner.
I must admit though that after seven years or so of living here we finally bought and in installed an air conditioner in our bedroom. Its not operated too many hours per day; so I'm guessing it will raise our expences around $25 to $30 dollars per month.

]I guess the most important thing is to make a trip or two over here and be very sure you want to live in a 3rd world country that can be as wild as Dodge City Kansas in the 1840's before making the move.
[/I][/B]

]Hope that helps a little bit. Feel free to ask any other questions as you think of them and also, others on this and other sites might have good information as well.
[/I][/B]


Gene...
 

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Hi Tom,

First, welcome to the site and glad you're here.

Unless you get involved with a bar girl here $2,500 is far more than enough to live and enjoy life. Naturally a lot depends on the lifestyle and living conditions you want or williing to live in.

We are two hours north of Manila. Close to but still outside of Angeles City where the cost is very low. Our budget of under $200 per month is very possible in this area and I'm sure many other locations as well.

First, it helps a great deal to adjust to much of the local foods. That holds cost down without a doubt. Buying most foods and other items at a local public market rather than in larger stores or shopping malls also keeps cost way down.
There are many malls in our area and make a nice place to go on weekends with our daughter. But in reality we spend very little there due to the high cost. Ace Hardware for example are in most malls. I have found that an item in Ace is usually available at a small mom and pop hardware store close to our house. So the item in Ace that costs say $10.00 will cost around $2.00 locally.

When Mt Pinatubo erupted back in the early 90's it made millions homeless in a matter of just hours. Later, the govt here built resettlement towns and gave the housing units to those effected free.

We own our home in the resettlement where we are so there is not monthly rent to pay. So that also keeps our cost of living low. However to rent a housing unit in most resettlements is only about $20.00 (twenty) US dollars per month.
If renting a regular apt in Angeles City I'm told the cost is about $300.00 per month. But that would also include usually furniture an air conditioner.
I must admit though that after seven years or so of living here we finally bought and in installed an air conditioner in our bedroom. Its not operated too many hours per day; so I'm guessing it will raise our expences around $25 to $30 dollars per month.

I guess the most important thing is to make a trip or two over here and be very sure you want to live in a 3rd world country that can be as wild as Dodge City Kansas in the 1840's before making the move.

Hope that helps a little bit. Feel free to ask any other questions as you think of them and also, others on this and other sites might have good information as well.


Gene...
Thanks much for the reply Gene.

I've been to Phil a couple or three times courtesy of USN....all expenses paid too !! Also lived in Taiwan for a year. Certainly no Asian expert though and that is why I ask.

Just do not want to live in an apartment, condo or townhouse.......single family house is best for me. Found a couple of houses for rent in Tagatay for around $700 USD. (Plenty available LOTS more too !!)

Hoping some of you more experienced guys will suggest some other places to live.
 

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Filipinos are victims often

If you're Filipino, I think your chance of being the victim of a crime are very small compared to the West. Foreigners, we of course stand out. I'd really love to see stats on crime vs foreigners in the Philippines vs crimes against people in the USA and other Western countries. If the numbers were good, the Philippines would probably make sure they were out there.
The first time my wife was in Manila (before we met) she was robbed as soon as she got off the bus. My mother in law was robbed two months ago in Manila. Someone snatched her gold necklace. I know many other Filipinos that have been robbed at nife or gun point. Of course us foreigners are targeted a lot, but no one is safe to a criminal.

I do agree with you and with other posters that the Philippines is no more dangerous than many cities in the US as long as you use some common sense.
 

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Gene,
Excellent advice. I have thought about that before as a concept, but never say details like that which make the throw down appear very legit!!

I like it
 

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Three More Tips to Avoid Theft

1 ) I have been wearing cloth money belts for over 25 years, not the ***** bag type worn outside your clothing but the soft type made of cloth with 2 or more zipper pouches which you need to pull up higher than your belt buckle to access. NO matter how drunk I have gotten and no matter what areas I have walked in the wee hours of the morning I have never been ripped off wearing one. Carrying a bit of cash in one's front pocket is not a bad idea with the same concept as the throw down wallet.

2 ) Walk briskly as a normal habit for all around exercise benefits and the fact that petty thieves and hustlers do NOT like to jog. Carry yourself with self confidence like you were born in the neighborhood you are passing through. Thieves like stray dogs can SMELL such confidence and are looking for easier prey who smell like FEAR.

3 ) Develop a habit of drinking and partying and being away from your home base during the afternoons or weekday nights because the MOST trouble happens after midnight and on Friday and Saturday nights when three times the number of cops are on duty and crimes occur. :cool:

Although living in the Philippines will undoubtedly be the most exciting experience of your life, making it a safe and not too costly one is very important.

You will hear many times from local Filipinos that this is a very dangerous country. When they tell you this, listen to them. They have your best interest at heart. It IS true.
Robbery and theft is a common way to survive by many here. Extreme poverty and a sense of hopelessness brings out the worst in many people.

One of the best ways I know of to protect yourself and money when out and around is to make a “throw-down wallet.”

Simply buy an extra wallet. Photo copy just the very top edge of several credit cards and then glue these top edge strips into each of the slots that are designed to carry credit cards. Add a photo or two to make it look good and for the final touch put maybe $10.00us worth of Philippine pesos in the wallet and its done.

This wallet you carry in your pocket as you would any wallet at home. Carry your real ID, money, and credit cards in your sock or underwear.
If you are held up at knife or gunpoint, simply give the thief your throw-down wallet. He will quickly be gone with a handful of nothing while you escape with your life and your money intact.

This little gadget costs very little to make and can save you a lot when traveling or living in the Philippines or any 3rd world country…
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Crime

1 ) I have been wearing cloth money belts for over 25 years, not the ***** bag type worn outside your clothing but the soft type made of cloth with 2 or more zipper pouches which you need to pull up higher than your belt buckle to access. NO matter how drunk I have gotten and no matter what areas I have walked in the wee hours of the morning I have never been ripped off wearing one. Carrying a bit of cash in one's front pocket is not a bad idea with the same concept as the throw down wallet.

2 ) Walk briskly as a normal habit for all around exercise benefits and the fact that petty thieves and hustlers do NOT like to jog. Carry yourself with self confidence like you were born in the neighborhood you are passing through. Thieves like stray dogs can SMELL such confidence and are looking for easier prey who smell like FEAR.

3 ) Develop a habit of drinking and partying and being away from your home base during the afternoons or weekday nights because the MOST trouble happens after midnight and on Friday and Saturday nights when three times the number of cops are on duty and crimes occur. :cool:
Bill,

That sounds a lot like the Balibago area of Angeles City where the cops are a very sizable cause of the crime and set ups-Hahaha:D.


Gene...
 

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Just don't carry a wallet. Robbers will kill you for a fake wallet just as fast as a real one. Use a money belt or let the wife carry your wallet. No one will pay attention to her. Robbery of expats is rare but when it does happen it goes bad real quick.

73,
Gary
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Safety

Just don't carry a wallet. Robbers will kill you for a fake wallet just as fast as a real one. Use a money belt or let the wife carry your wallet. No one will pay attention to her. Robbery of expats is rare but when it does happen it goes bad real quick.

73,
Gary
That may hold true in your location but most of the country I know, and I've been here for years, a robber is not interested in your life unless you resist or act or seem to have nothing to give him. Thus the throw down wallet is an old police trick and works well. Robber gets a hand full of nothing to speak of and runs away with it and you keep your valuables and your life;).

Gene...
 
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That may hold true in your location but most of the country I know, and I've been here for years, a robber is not interested in your life unless you resist or act or seem to have nothing to give him. Thus the throw down wallet is an old police trick and works well. Robber gets a hand full of nothing to speak of and runs away with it and you keep your valuables and your life;).

Gene...
They just shoot you here. Happens all the time. If they like your motorcycle they just shoot you off of it. Do something they don't like the police will find your headless body floating in the canal.

Yet I can walk anywhere I wish. I get smiles all the time. I wear flip-flops, shorts, and a t-shirt. Don't carry money. Meriam does that. I wouldn't live anywhere close to where you live. It is too nice here. I lived in Michigan before here. I was almost shot and killed in my own home there. The teenager next door was killed in a fight. All in a town of 600 people. I lived 2 miles out of town. Yep...Tagum is the best.

73,
Gary
 

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Go with friends

I came across your post today and whilst I believe everything you say, in twenty three years of visiting the Philippines, I have never experienced any problems. In fact, on my first visit in 1989 I was staying at a hotel on Roxas Boulevard and whilst my fiance (Filipina) was visiting members of her family, I decided to go for a stroll at about 7pm. The smell of urine was too strong to walk along the seafront so I went inland and found myself in a squatters village near to Mabini. I am 6' 5" tall so not exactly unoticable and other than a few kids following behind me I returned an hour later to my hotel unmolested.

Since then I have visited Manila and Bicol on many occassions, once I heard gunfire as we were passing a mall, so I have either been very lucky or we foreigners are not all potential targets. I have to be honest and disclose that our house in Bicol was robbed whilst we were attending a wedding but so were four other houses, none of which were owned by foreigners.

I remember overhearing a conversation between four Americans in a hotel restaurant in Dubai some years ago, they were saying how dangerous Los Angeles had become which again surprised me because I had spent six weeks in San Pedro close to the docks and not having a car, I walked everywhere at all hours of the day and night.

I agree, that there are certain precautions one should take and your throw-away wallet is one that I will adopt when I next visit Johannesburg. That really is a dangerous city, so much so that even travelling in a car fitted with underside flame throwers, I still feel unsafe!
I also have visited the Philippines many times and the reason I have mostly avoided trouble is I rarely go out at night on my own. If a friend or relative cant come with me I stay home and watch TV. With my wife out playing mah-jong believe me I have spent many night at home by myself but its just the way it is.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Safety

I also have visited the Philippines many times and the reason I have mostly avoided trouble is I rarely go out at night on my own. If a friend or relative cant come with me I stay home and watch TV. With my wife out playing mah-jong believe me I have spent many night at home by myself but its just the way it is.
That's wise thinking no matter where in the Philippines one lives. Unless on duty with the police, my wife and I are usually at home by 9pm or so. Makes it difficult to stay late at the malls where we like going but much safer that way.

Gene
 
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