Philippines FAQ

What do I do about having a US address if I no longer live there?

Most banks require a US address, My suggestion is to get a Post Office Box address, then you can use that for your bank account statements. The only problem with this approach is that you have to have someone go check it once in a while. Before you leave for the Philippines make sure you fill out a change of address form from the Post Office to change your address so any important mail can be sent to you. You can get one at any post office, just fill it out and leave it there with the agent.

An even better option would be to get a local post office box. If you are moving to Cebu City you can get a box address there, and mail can come directly to you. Cebu City has a good mail system and a huge post office. Lapu-Lapu city seems to have an equally good system as I get mail from a network marketing business I am in. Before you leave I would cancel as much of the junk mail as you can as most of that will not make it here as third class mail will not be sent overseas.

Do I need Health Insurance? If you are relatively healthy you most likely will not need medical insurance here. Most medical expenses are very cheap here for example: A typical doctors visit is P 40, When we gave birth to our son, we went to a private hospital, the total bill for 3 days of round the clock nursing and the birth was less than $200.00. Dental work is also cheap here a crown will cost you around $100.00 Clean your teeth for $7.00, A cat scan will run you P5,000 or around $100. My wife just had a 4-D color Ultrasound for P3,500 $70.00. There is a VA hospital in the Manila area for military retired. If you become very ill you may have to relocate back to the US to get proper medical treatment. A friend of mine who has lived here many years is in this situation and is in the process of moving back to the US now.

What does a maid cost and what do they do? A maid will cost you around $50 to $60 a month and they do just about everything. Ours does the laundry, cleans the house, cooks meals, babysits the kids, Goes shopping for groceries and medicine, and lives in the house. Which means we live like a king otherwise since I do not have to do anything except take a bath and do my internet work.

Can a foreign national or corporations own property and homes in the Philippines? Foreigners owning a house or building in the Philippines is legal as long as the foreigner doesn’t own the land on which the house is build.

The Condominium Act of the Philippines, R.A. 4726, expressly allows foreigners to acquire condominium units and shares in condominium corporations up to not more than 40% of the total and outstanding capital stock of a Filipino owned or controlled condominium corporation. However, there are a very few single-detached homes or Townhouses in the Philippines with condominium titles. Most condominiums are high rise buildings.

If holding a title a s an individual, a typical situation would be that a foreigner married to a Filipino citizen would hold title in the Filipino spouse’s name. The foreign spouse’s name cannot be on the Title but can be on the contract to buy the property. In the event of death of the Filipino spouse, the foreign spouse is allowed a reasonable amount of time to dispose of the property and collect the proceeds or the property will pass to any Filipino heirs and or relatives.

Former natural-born Filipinos who are now naturalized citizens of another country can buy and register, under their own name, land in the Philippines but limited in land area. However, those who avail of the Dual Citizenship Law in the Philippines can buy as much as any other Filipino citizen. Under Republic Act 9225 (Philippines Dual Citizenship Law of 2003), former Filipinos who became naturalized citizens of foreign countries are deemed not to have lost their Philippine citizenship, thus enabling them to enjoy all the rights and privileges of a Filipino regarding land ownership in the Philippines.

How can I become a Dual Citizen of both the US or other foreign country and the Philippines?

Steps to Gain Dual Citizenship: 1. If you are in the Philippines, file a “Petition for Dual Citizenship and Issuance of Identification Certificate (IC) pursuant to RA 9225” at the Bureau of Immigration (BI) and for the cancellation of your alien certificate of registration. 2. Those who are not BI registered and overseas should file the petition at the nearest embassy or consulate.

Requirements: 1. Birth certificate authenticated my the Philippines National Statistics Office (NSO) 2. Accomplish and submit a “Petition for Dual Citizenship and Issuance of Identification Certificate (IC) pursuant to RA 9225” to a Philippine embassy, consulate or the Bureau of Immigration 3. Pay a $50.00 processing fee, schedule and take an “Oath of Allegiance” before a consular officer 4. The Bureau of Immigration in Manila receives the petition from the embassy or consular office. The BI issues and sends an Identification Certificate of citizenship to the embassy or consular office.

What is so good about Cebu City? Why should I choose this city for my home? What I like about Cebu City and especially the very fine neighborhoods here is that yes there are a lot of Americans and Foreigners living here, several here in my little compound. We are a gated facility that is you can’t get in unless invited.  Peddlers can’t get in unless they have an order to fill. That was the bad thing about the house in Bogo, nice house but it is just out there and we were hounded all day long with peddlers and kids begging for money. If you have blue eyes and white skin you are rich to them. Most of the kids are sniffing glue or on drugs so the drive to get money is pretty high.  Here we are not bothered by that. The island of Cebu is surrounded by other large islands, so we have little cause for worry about tsunamis other than high water. There are few earth quakes here even though the Philippines is part of what is known as the Ring of fire. Most of the Typhoons go north over Luzon, thus all the flooding and land slides there. Here I have only seen one since 2004 and it did little damage. Also too many NPA  (New Peoples Army) and MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front) in southern Philippines for me most of the bad news I see on TV is form that part of the County, I just don’t feel safe there living next to where the Philippine Army is actively fighting the NPA. They are also heavily concentrated in Luzon and Northern Ceby, in Daan Bantayan area of Cebu and down south. So I am here to stay….

Here’s a great view of Cebu City from the top of the Crown Regency Hotel. How would you like to sit on the edge of a Plexiglas floor 39 stories up? Normally they are strapped in to a harness but it looks to me like hers is not connected. Gosh what if she fell?

What about Shopping in the Philippines? The Philippines is famous for it many huge beautiful malls. The malls here are called “SM” as you can see in the photo, and are multi-leveled. The average SM is 3 levels however I have seen malls going up 6 levels especially in Manila. Cebu City has two main malls The SM down near the Waterfront and immigration, and another one in Ayala. The Ayala mall just finished it’s renovation, adding a new wing and dawned a new name it is now called “The Terraces”. They have hundreds of stores and many fine places to eat like “TGI Friday’s”, “Shakey’s Pizza”, “Pizza Hut” to name a few. At Friday’s you can get a huge American styled bacon cheddar cheese burger about 4 inches think with huge tasty ruffled french fries . Besides the malls and SM there are two major retailers similar to Wal-Mart they are “Robinson’s” and “Gaisano” These are also huge department stores and all over the Philippines in nearly every city. There are no Wal-Mart’s here, but who needs them anyway.

Shakeys Pizza

Doesn’t that look good…

The SM in Cebu City has both Pizza Hut and Shakeys Pizza and it is good.

And yes they have McDonalds just about everywhere. The burgers are even better than they are in the US. The Big Mac is truly big here larger burgers and tastes great too. The above photo is shared from it original location and links back to there.

Which airline should I choose for my flight to the Philippines? When I first started traveling to the Philippines I always chose Cathay Pacific a Hong Kong based airline, since I did not have any help I just went to my local travel company and had them find a cheap flight for me. It ended up being a Cathay Pacific Flight so for the next three trips to the Philippines, I used that airline. Don’t get me wrong Cathay Pacific is a fine Airline and has excellent service. However I have found their prices to be higher than the other two but not by much. My wife had a better idea when she started flying with me, she would search the internet for a cheap promo flights on all airlines and came up with a Korean Air Promo for under $900 round trip. But they are not the only carrier out there to choose from. Asiana Air is another excellent carrier Marianne and I used them for our last two trips, one for only $427 and one for $835 round trip from DFW Texas all the way to Cebu Philippines. It depends on where you are flying from and which airlines fly out of there. Some times I have to take an American Airlines flight from DFW Texas to San Francisco or Los Angeles, then get my Cathay Pacific flight from there. I prefer going to San Francisco but so does everyone else often all that are left are flights to Los Angeles. The international terminal area is complicated lots of up stairs and downstairs and walking down the street at this airport. I find my self having to ask a security guard which way to go next. When I took my first Asiana Air flight coming here last February I noticed all the flight attendants about 20 in all lined up at the terminal ready to board their flight. And the service and food was excellent attendants are constantly walking back and forth getting things for the passengers. I would definitely recommend them for your next flight. (See Cathay Pacific Photos below.)

Asiana Air Terminal

Hong Kong International Airport – Been here several times.

Incheon International Airport Korea

Enjoy your flight, see you when you get here.