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davewe last won the day on September 29 2016

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About davewe

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  • Birthday 01/22/1953

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    Guitar making, travel, technology, writing, blogging.

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  1. Yes - much worse! I think I read that Ho Chi Minh city has like 2 or 3 million bikes and they absolutely do not mind using the sidewalk. Pedestrians have to be very cautious because staying on the sidewalk is no guarantee of safety. But as I said, I adjusted pretty quickly.
  2. Was there 5 years ago and loved it. Found the motorcycles insane but after a couple days, hoped in and out of the street just like I'd been doing it for years. The foo's spectacular; didn't have a bad meal in the week I was there. Often had no idea what I was ordering but it didn't matter. Looking forward to going with the wife sometime.
  3. This is correct - thanks Dave. A Balikbayan is not defined as just a Philippines citizen. When you get your US citizenship you have to give up your Philippines citizenship. The even in that case, she is still a Balikbayan. Now dual citizenship is different. When she arrives back in the Philippines she can re-apply for Philippines citizenship and passport. When that is finalized she is dual.
  4. Among guitar makers and wood suppliers it is a big issue but since the changes are so new the impact is still speculative. If a luthier is shipping a guitar out of the country then he/she is supposed to document where the wood was sourced. For the musician carrying an instrument to another country this "should" be easier but the general recommendation is to check with Customs in that country. So based on that I emailed Philippines Customs. To my surprise/shock they responded in less than a day. Here's what they said: "Good day! Please be advised that guitars are not included in the regulated imports list. As a general rule, importations into the Philippines are subject to payment of customs duties and taxes unless these are exempted on the strength of specific provision/s of law/s, such as Section 800 of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA), Section 109 of the National Internal Revenue Code (NIRC), and other laws. Under the Section 800 subsection (H) of the CMTA, "instruments and similar effects accompanying travelers, or tourists, or arriving within a reasonable time before or after their arrival in the Philippines, which are necessary and appropriate for the wear and use of such persons according to the nature of the journey, their comfort and convenience: Provided , That this exemption shall not apply to goods intended for other persons or for barter, sale or hire: Provided, however, That the Bureau may require either a written commitment or a security in an amount equal to one hundred percent (100%) of the ascertained duties, taxes and other charges thereon, conditioned for the exportation thereof or payment of the corresponding duties, taxes and other charges within three (3) months from the date of acceptance of the goods declaration: Provided, further, That the Bureau may extend the time for exportation or payment of duties, taxes and other charges for a term not exceeding three (3) months from the expiration of the original period." Kindly reply directly to this message. Thank you and have a nice day!" I am interpreting this that I should be exempt.
  5. I am an amateur luthier and sometime guitar player. I either sold or gave away (to my kids) all my guitars, save one, which I will be bringing to the Philippines. It's my latest build and I'm very happy with the sound and playability. Because of my fear of the airlines and baggage handlers, I sprung for a more expensive case to protect my baby; a Hiscox (British made) case. So now I thought I am covered. However, the new changes to the CITES treaty which covers wood exportation includes all rosewoods, ebonies, cocobolo, etc. In fact it's hard to make a quality guitar without using some of these woods. I know that the US, for example, allows an exemption for bringing in "banned" woods that are part of a personal musical instrument. My experience having gone through Philippines customs many times is that they generally don't even look at the bags. But in this instance who knows. I have emailed the Philippines Customs Dept. to see if they can tell me what the rules are and what I can or should do about it. The changes in the treaty have only been in place for a few months but I wondered if anyone has come into the country with banned wood and what your experience was. I would think it's safest to declare what I have and document that it's my own personal guitar, rather than hoping it'll get passed through customs. BTW, here's a few pics:
  6. Agreed and I was being a smartass in my remark. But since the question was about how much it costs to ship stuff back to the home country, there's plenty of evidence that's it's expensive and often not worth doing.
  7. When I look at foreigner-owned houses for sale in the Philippines I see that many are furnished. I assume that's because the hassle and expense of shipping it "back home" is too high. Plus bamboo may no go with the decor in their home country
  8. I'm 64 and just stopped working. Someone just told me today "you seem very young to retire." I can't say that I feel that way. I wish I had the option to do it years ago and strongly considered doing it last year, but realistically this was the best time for me and my family. My father's about to turn 88 and uncle is 92. I'm hoping to get some of that longevity. OTOH my mother died at 40 so I tend to think that I've been blessed with extra years already. Whether too old, too young or just right - Philippines here I come!
  9. Glad you're enjoying! It's coming close for us - we move this summer. Our furniture is almost gone - we had no heirlooms. We will be shipping 8 or 9 balikbayan boxes. Amazing how much can be fit into a box. And yes we'd love to meet and hopefully our paths will cross.
  10. Whenever there is money, there are people hanging around who will want some or all of it. A lifelong friend of mine wrote a horrifying book about the death of her and her husband's parents and the vultures hanging around all of them to control the money and the medical treatment as each approached death. In my own life I watched my ex-wife remain close to her father who she hated so she could inherit. A rich man when he died at 90; between the women and the lawyers the money was consumed and my ex got nothing. She's now waiting for her mother who is 94. The only difference with Filipinas is the amount of money it takes to motivate her. I mean in the US an old guy with 100k in assets would not be worth much attention but in the Philippines he is a rich foreigner and can get as much attention as he can stand! BTW, I really don't say any of this negatively. I assume when there is money there will always be people who want it, whether in the Philippines or in the West. Hell, if any of you have any money - I'll be your friend
  11. For me this is going to be a very interesting adjustment when I move to the Philippines very soon. Like many Americans I grew up in a pretty disconnected family. I live 3000 miles away from most everyone else. My father hasn't spoken to a single family member in over a decade. My brother moved to Florida and disappeared for years until I hired a PI to find him (wasn't hard). The list goes on. The fact is that as much as I dreamed of a more connected family, there were advantages to ours being so distant. Plane tickets were infrequently bought; long distance charges were modest. In the Philippines, many family problems seem to come from the connections of the family. They all know each other's business, who makes what, who paid for what, whose sleeping with who, etc. As a married person with a wife who has 9 siblings, I already know more about most of her siblings than I do about my own brother (he's not a big talker). So while I have some trepidations, and will try my best to hold onto my wallet, I am kinda looking forward to the difference.
  12. I guess I was hoping that if we enrolled before July 1, then we would get a year with the current rules and fees.
  13. OK I looked at the complete circular, and yes it does say that, unfortunately. Since the circular doesn't take effect till July, I am hoping to have my wife enroll before then.
  14. I am not seeing the above reference. However, there are a couple of interesting facts. First they require an ACR card to enroll, which some guys who use the Balikbayan privilege don't have (although I always figured I'd get one anyway). Secondly, PhilHealth Z is excluded completely. A well known expat recently spoke highly of the Z plan, which helped reduce the cost of his heart bypass operation considerably. Doesn't sound like a foreigner will be able to use that in the future.
  15. I just installed the Hangouts App and immediately discovered that both my kids are users. Sounds like it's a popular app among those younger than me (which means most everyone).