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BrettGC last won the day on November 10

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About BrettGC

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    Cairns, Australia/Destination Unknown
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    Aikido, diving, surfing, reading, rugby, cricket and people.

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  1. I had a similar experience in Tagbiliran around the same time, BPI let me open an account without an ACR-I card of any stripe. That may have changed though, my guess is it has.
  2. We loved the Blue Palawan Beach Club in Puerto Princessa, it's a resort on the beach but still relatively close to town. Spacious duplex bungalows all with a sea view, staff are awesome and free airport transfers (only 15 minutes away). Our 4 day stay there was an absolute pleasure from the moment they picked us up at the airport. Reasonably priced for its high standard too. I'd recommend booking through Agoda though, it's about 25% cheaper than direct as we discovered when we paid locally for an extra night. You can also book all your tours through them. So much to see in Palawan. https://bluepalawan.com/
  3. No plan survives contact with the enemy.
  4. Get Off Your Butts... Learn Tagalog!!!

    Unless you want to watch the local news. Everyone speaks Tagalog so if the English is lacking you can still communicate anywhere in PI but for those gatherings etc in the OP learning the local language would be a priority for me.
  5. Bo we're in the minority here in liking the local food. I've never eaten a lot of dead cow so that suits. I love it normally after I've added some sort of spicy sauce, the variety is incredible too. Unfortunately most of it being very high GI, unless you cook it completely from scratch and have brown instead of white rice, my borderline type 2 diabetes doesn't love it so much.
  6. Get Off Your Butts... Learn Tagalog!!!

    I have a smattering of Bisayan and passing understanding of Tagolog and both are improving. Thankfully there's enough English in both languages that you can get to a context and go from there. My other half has excellent English but with her family it depends on the age; the younger they are the better it is. I put this down to the prevalence of Western early childhood TV shows (Bananas in Pajamas, Spongebob, Thomas etc). As to expats with partners with barely adequate English I've found the opposite to be true; good to excellent English is the experience amongst my friends, perhaps due to being with an expat?
  7. That's why I said "ball park" and they're only as accurate as the data we input.
  8. Around the 9th of the month perhaps...
  9. Yep, outside of the big 3: Manila, Cebu and to a lesser extent Davao. The further away you get from these places the more costs tend to go down but on the flipside so do services. Simple rule of thumb I follow in PI: The higher the population, the higher the upper end income and therefore higher costs. Just a general rule of thumb, not hard and fast.
  10. It's not 100% but it will give you good "ball park" figures. It's accuracy is entirely up to us so feel free to input some data yourself too Just add the city you're in and then add a city you're considering. https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/compare_cities.jsp?country1=United+States&country2=Philippines&city1=San+Francisco%2C+CA&city2=Dumaguete
  11. Hotel Essencia, Dumaguete: A Review

    Was going to use AirBnB for the first time ever in Baguio on my most recent trip , had to cancel that leg due to some family issues but they refunded in full so that's a good recommendation in itself. Minus the service fee of course.
  12. Hi Mate and welcome. I've never been asked for my return ticket by a Philippine immigration official. I have however been asked for a return ticket by airline officials in the past before boarding my flight that lands in The Philippines, but not for some years now but I'd still err on the side of caution and buy a "throwaway". I think it has something to do with the airline having to wear the cost of deportation if they allow you to board without an exit ticket, but I could be wrong. The requirement was never a return ticket in any case, it was a ticket proving I was leaving The Philippines so you can purchase a ticket to somewhere cheaper than back to the US (the previously mentioned "throwaway").
  13. Gotta Get Outta Manila

    Good to know about the medical facilities in Palawan, I'm not getting any younger. And the strange thing is it goes from two to four lanes once you're out of the traffic...
  14. Hotel Essencia, Dumaguete: A Review

    I noticed that in the pictures on Agoda, the glass that is. The room we stayed in and the room the family was in had frosted glass though. We were on the 3rd floor so it was an inconvenience more than anything else. Momma can navigate down no problems but up is out of the question. As for the confusion with the number of people that should be for Agoda and the hotel to sort out. I've worked in service industries for a number of years in the past and in cases like this I would've let it go and taken it up with Agoda rather than have the customer write reviews like this.
  15. Hotel Essencia, Dumaguete: A Review

    Ok I should qualify my statement by saying not recommended for the price, there's far nicer places in Dumaguete for the same cost and cheaper. 1. As you said the beds. 2. The room was dirty even after we asked them to clean it. 3. Exposed wiring along the ceiling that would arc out occasionally. 4. The food was mediocre even by Pinoy standards, not a real issue given that there's so many damn good restaurants in town. 5. Booked a room for SAO's mother, brother and daughter to stay for the weekend. Booked it as 3 adults on Agoda and on the site it said the room was good for 3 people. They slugged us 500PHP a night for an extra bed regardless even though mother and daughter were happy to sleep in the same king sized bed and they charged us for an extra "free" breakfast each morning even though the room had been booked for 3. This after me showing them the booking receipt. 6. Only one person on the front desk during peak check-out times meaning it took us 90 mins to check out on a Sunday morning; unusual for The Philippines where you normally have a surplus of staff on hand in service industries. 7. Only a minor point but only one lift working with waits of up to 10 mins which usually resulted in Bro and I having to carry Momma up the stairs to her room. Like so many hotels in PH it's a place in decline and in drastic need of a good do-over, I can cope with that because it's normally more than made up for by the staff but unfortunately even they were lacking in this case. Perhaps we struck them on a bad week?