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Author Topic: Expats Guide To Getting Settled In The Philippines  (Read 1431 times)

PrincessSaDagat

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Expats Guide To Getting Settled In The Philippines
« on: June 30, 2007, 09:47:59 AM »
Expats Guide To Getting Settled In The Philippines
Mars Mosqueda Jr.

Seasoned expatriates in the country have discovered that another advantage the Philippines offers is that it is a merry mixture of Western culture and Oriental traditions, making the tiresome task of finding a house far easier than in other Asian countries.
Most hotels in and around the cities offer substantial discounts for long staying guests. Such establishments not only provide high standards in comfort, security as well as personalized service, but also offer the bonus of proximity to the business and entertainment districts - perfect for busy executives who cannot be bothered with domestic arrangements.

However, for foreign residents planning to stay for, say, more than a year, it is wiser to consider getting a more permanent place than a hotel room or a hostel. This not only proves as the cheaper option in the end, but it also offers the added freedom of doing home chores like cooking or having pets at home. A foreign employee of a Philippine-based company is usually introduced to real estate brokers or agents who have been handling housing requirements for the employer.

All the foreign worker, or "expat," as is the common reference has to do is contact the real estate agents and tell them his home preferences, including the size of the unit, number of rooms needed, location and price. The agents will take him on a tour to various houses and condominium units for lease. If you are the house-hunter, it is advisable that you see as many places as possible before making the final decision. This will enable you to make the right choice by comparing your options.

There are also companies that have made it their business to specifically help expatriates settle in the Philippines.

Choosing where to stay can be a daunting task especially for those settling in busy Metro Manila, where traffic is a source of stress and frustration among commuters. It is not surprising, therefore, to find most expatriates staying near their place of work that ranges from a few minutes' walk to a short taxi ride. Makati City-based foreign employees prefer to reside in the area or peripheral cities. This will guarantee you get to work on time with minimum hassles, especially during the rainy season when downpours automatically mean a longer than usual list of unintentionally tardy employees.

The type of residential unit depends largely on your budget and needs. A condominium unit with one to two bedrooms is ideal for a single person or young couple. A family with children would need a bigger space, hence a one-floor house or a two-floor apartment (townhouses) with several rooms may be the best choice. Makati has the highest lease/rental price for residential units. And with the scramble to maximize space, most new condominium buildings have smaller studio units than older counterparts, and oftentimes, lower ceiling heights.

A small (at least 30 sq.m.) one-bedroom flat with kitchen and a living room is rented out starting from P15,000 a month, while a house with two bedrooms, a kitchen, living room and other facilities starts at P30,000. Outside Makati City, the Ortigas area in Pasig City, Mandaluyong City, and Ermita areas area ideal locations and can be cheaper than the financial district.

Residential buildings usually have round-the-clock security personnel monitoring the coming and going of visitors, accepting mails and deliveries in your behalf. Subdivisions, especially the large ones, also have security checkpoints manned by personnel to screen visitors. In both cases, be prepared to pay the monthly association fees ranging from P500 to as much as P2,000 unless your landlord agrees to shoulder the cost.

Once you've made your choice, insist on a lease contract before making down payment and moving in. A contract is important as it determines the terms and conditions of the lease between you and the owner or landlord. It states the amount of deposit required, usually from two months equivalent to one year. Be sure to check every provision of the contract and among the terms to watch out for are: the return of deposit made in case one moves out; who will shoulder the repair of facilities; who will play for the utilities and monthly dues, etc. If you are unsure of the terms, approach your company lawyer who can check the provisions in your favor.

DOMESTIC SERVICES

Most long-staying foreigners in the Philippines enjoy the luxury of having at least one maid service. And the longer they stay in the country, the more they wonder how they could have gone without one in their Western homes. Having domestic service also improves the rank and image of the working visitors to locals. And the custom is the higher the position, the more maids, gardeners, and security people should be seen in the premises.

A domestic helper, housemaid or simply "maid" can be a welcome relief from the daily household chores. A housemaid can be hired through a recruitment agency. The Yellow Pages have categories such as "employment agencies" or "recruitment agencies" that handle recruitment and screening of domestic helpers (drivers, gardeners, included) for you for a fee. Be prepared to pay more than the minimum P1,500 to P2,000 monthly wage for a full-time housemaid, excluding the recruitment fees.

For those residing in condominium units, housemaids usually approach new resident to offer their services. In this case, be sure to check out the name and contact the previous employers and their papers. Even for those coming from agencies, it is wise to check the references and proper documents (such as NBI clearance, police clearance, and recommendation letter from previous employers) to ensure trustworthiness.

For expats who prefer to live in smaller apartments, it is common to arrange for a thrice to once a week maid service. For those living in posh villages of Forbes Park, BelAir, Magallanes, San Antonio Villages, and in areas like Valle Verde and within the Ortigas district, live-in help is a more practical option. In this case, the salary works on a sliding scale depending on frequency and workload.
For foreign residents who still insist on performing housework, the only big task at hand is the laundry. In the past couple of years, several laundry services have set up business in strategic locations in Makati and Ortigas area. Drycleaners also abound. Most deluxe hotels extend dry cleaning services to non-hotel guests and the price is surprisingly very reasonable for the high quality of the service.

SHOPPING FOR SUPPLIES AND FURNISHINGS

Busy expats may have find it more practical to settle in a furnished house but if you prefer to start from scratch, the best place to go for appliances and furnishings is the large malls and department stores. Appliances come with guarantee cards for repair.

There is also a wide range of furniture and furnishing/decorations available, not only in large department stores but also in smaller shops and stalls.

In need of groceries? Not a problem for a country with people who love to eat. The most convenient source is the supermarkets and grocery areas. Every mall has one. Rustans even has an order by phone service with free delivery within Makati for a required minimum amount. The food prices are reasonable to downright cheap as compared to Western countries'.

Liquor stores are plentiful and there are even gourmet shops for the epicures. There is even an organic open market that set up stalls every Sunday morning in Greenbelt, Makati.

But if you want to have a real Filipino shopping experience, you should try visiting a wet market at least once in your stay. The sound, smell, and sights can be exhilarating or, at the very least, unforgettable.

For a complete guide to the Philippines, or if you have questions about coming to the Philippines, feel free to email the author at marswoo@yahoo.com #

Source:  For expats who prefer to live in smaller apartments, it is common to arrange for a thrice to once a week maid service. For those living in posh villages of Forbes Park, BelAir, Magallanes, San Antonio Villages, and in areas like Valle Verde and within the Ortigas district, live-in help is a more practical option. In this case, the salary works on a sliding scale depending on frequency and workload.
For foreign residents who still insist on performing housework, the only big task at hand is the laundry. In the past couple of years, several laundry services have set up business in strategic locations in Makati and Ortigas area. Drycleaners also abound. Most deluxe hotels extend dry cleaning services to non-hotel guests and the price is surprisingly very reasonable for the high quality of the service.

SHOPPING FOR SUPPLIES AND FURNISHINGS

Busy expats may have find it more practical to settle in a furnished house but if you prefer to start from scratch, the best place to go for appliances and furnishings is the large malls and department stores. Appliances come with guarantee cards for repair.

There is also a wide range of furniture and furnishing/decorations available, not only in large department stores but also in smaller shops and stalls.

In need of groceries? Not a problem for a country with people who love to eat. The most convenient source is the supermarkets and grocery areas. Every mall has one. Rustans even has an order by phone service with free delivery within Makati for a required minimum amount. The food prices are reasonable to downright cheap as compared to Western countries'.

Liquor stores are plentiful and there are even gourmet shops for the epicures. There is even an organic open market that set up stalls every Sunday morning in Greenbelt, Makati.

But if you want to have a real Filipino shopping experience, you should try visiting a wet market at least once in your stay. The sound, smell, and sights can be exhilarating or, at the very least, unforgettable.

For a complete guide to the Philippines, or if you have questions about coming to the Philippines, feel free to email the author at marswoo@yahoo.com #



 

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