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Popular Content

Showing content with the highest reputation since 11/09/2009 in all areas

  1. 30 points
    These are just a few of my observations from being boots on the ground in the Philippines for 5 months. Let me caveat this by saying I live in Caloocan City. A very busy and populated suburb of Metro Manila. This is an attempt to be humorous on some of the things I have observed. In no way am I meaning to slander my gracious hosts. I like it here. Anyway here goes: - I've never seen so many, with so little, so happy. - If you smile, they will smile back. Just be careful who you smile at when Asawa is around. - A white haired, white skinned Kano, sitting on the porch, is a never ending source of curiosity and amusement for the neighborhood kids. - Filipinos are hard workers. A quote from my nephew (a Filipino) "Filipinos are hard workers because even the simplest job they will find a way to make it hard" I couldn't agree with him more. - Shopping at the mall. Why deal with only one sales person when you can have ten or fifteen? - "No stock sir" is a polite way of saying "I don't have a friggin clue what your talking about" - Traffic in Manila sucks. Big time. - It takes a long time to get anywhere. Even by plane. Mainly because it takes 4hrs to get to the airport. Unless you go at 3 AM in the morning. - You can tell who is in your house by the slippers at your stoop. - It's HOT. But I'm slowly getting used to it. - The water is COLD and I'm not getting used to that. Talk about shrinkage! - Install an aircon and set it at 21C. No more relatives in your house! Trust me it works. - There is a certain humor and irony in telling your sister-in-law that her aso is sick. - No, the dog doesn't speak English either. - 6ft 200lb Filipinos are not that uncommon. Neither are 5ft 95lb Filipinas. - Since when did boiled pork fat and skin become good eating? - It is difficult to tell by looking at it, what part of the chicken that piece of JollyBee Chicken Joy is. - One crumb = one hundred ants. - Only in the Philippines. "Let's go to McDonald's for fried chicken and spaghetti." - A Big Mac, fries and a coke tastes the same as in the U.S. KFC doesn't. Haven't tried Burger King yet. - WHAT? I can't hear you! The music, videoke, jeepney, motorcycle, trike, barking dog are too loud! - A trike can hold 7 to 8 adults or 10 to 12 school kids w/backpacks. Even more if you unstrap the refrigerator from the top. - No matter how full, a jeepney can always hold more. - It is best to hide while your Asawa is negotiating taxi fare. Or anything else for that matter. - I've driven everything from a go-cart to an 18 wheeler. I will not drive here in Manila. I'm afraid. I'm deathly afraid. Anyways, I hope I brought a smile to someone's face. Please add your own lessons learned. I will update as my experiences broaden. Eez more pun in the Pilippines! Ron. ​
  2. 24 points
    In all my time in the philippines I have tried hard & succeed until this Morning, that is to give in to aggressive beggars and wanters However my heart was turned when I walked the Dog after his lunch. a Little Lad (about 7 or 8) was sat outside his house crying his eyes out, Now I have seen this lad growing up since I have been here in this House full time, ( about 4+ years now) so it is not as if I do not know him or the family. I know how some of the Locals get offended at times but on this one I was given to a little shame. I asked what's up Din Din? I can't go to school today, OH! why not, I don't have a notebook he replied. The Mother came out and said oh don't bother sir with our problems, it's Ok I said I don't mind listening she smiled and she said that the money was late from her Husband (he works in Cebu) and that is why he has no Book, I have to feed them all first, so I asked what book is it, OH! number 3 double lined OK, off I go to the sori sori and get him the Note book and 2 kilo of rice for mama. So Din Din, go to school this PM and learn plenty. The Mother was so grateful that she was near to tears, as I said it is not the thing I do as a rule but the Lad wanted to go to school, I am happy to have done it the Lad is over the Moon and the family are fed at least for today, I don't need thanks from them as the smiles on their faces was enough That was me & my Pooch not that long ago
  3. 23 points
    What a wonderful post! It sums up exactly what your life should be! You had a great career, obviously loved what you were doing. You want to keep doing it because you are top man on the totem pole now and it feels good. But you are practical enough to realize life does not last forever and you want to move on to the next phase. Perfectly logical. Perfectly normal. I felt so similar. I loved my job and I knew that once I let go of my seniority there was no going back. (Another friend tried to go back but had to start at the bottom of the pay scale and seniority list so he lasted 2 weeks and wondered what the heck he did that for and quit.) I dreamt of my old job for 2 years after retirement. I woke up with nightmare wondering if them young guys were OK driving through a night blizzard in the 30 below and feeling guilty that I had not stayed "at my post". But that went away because I realized this is how life is supposed to work. I was not sure of my decision. I visited Philippines and pretended to live here for a couple of months before making up my mind. Then I went back to work. After a couple of months more working I was sure of my decision. Since making that decision I have had some really bad days in Philippines, but never regretted not making the move. There are times I think about moving back. Not because I ever regretted the move here but because I sometimes wonder if this place is great for the newly retired folk but not so great for the over 65 crowd (lots of factors to consider there). I was not sure of my decision because I was 53 the day I officially retired and the boss said that was too young to retire. And yet I had started the job 10 years younger than most of the other workers so I had as much time in as the average 63 year old. So I am getting long winded but YES you are making the right decision. NO you will never be absolutely sure of it. YES others feel the same way but did it anyway and are happy. Depression, Drink And Divorce are huge. Many of us came here when we were already somewhat depressed from a divorce or death of spouse. This place is a great change of scene to get that out of your system. Coming here WITH a wife is something I could not speak about. Drink is the killer. Many retirees coming her find themselves drinking too much. Some cope with it and live a couple more decades consuming lots of beer. Others find things to do with their time that keeps them off the booze. Still others try to do everything in moderation. Find your level of tolerance and be very careful. Drink is the first thing I would be concerned about when retiring and having lots of free time. Health is the other. If you can drink moderately, or not at all. If your health is good, or you can handle any small concerns, If you age is spry, as in you don't yet have one foot in the grave. If you are willing to take the risk that you will enjoy this adventure, then it is time to start your transition. Have no doubts! Do it!
  4. 23 points
    Here is the latest news from the newsroom. After a long agonising wait I am finally joining you guys in the Philippines. Cebu to be exact. I will arrive on the 24th of November for a permanent stay. Whats this means For the forum, not much For members, not much For former members who hold a grudge, chance to beat the crap out of me just adding here. see new date of arrival in last post.
  5. 22 points
    This post is not easy for me to write, its hard to express into written form what is in my head, however I am encouraged to write this post by two other posts that have been made on here in the past 24 hours. A post made by JGF about 'members that don't post' and another by Stevewool about 'writing a post and then erasing it because it might sound stupid etc'. With this in mind I shall just put my stuff the best I can. I am in the Phils at the moment, actually in a pricey condo in Cebu City a few minutes walk from Ayala Mall, the reason for this location was because we needed to be close to a hospital and facilities as 'N' my filipina girlfriend was heavily pregnant. I was leaving the UK on Friday 29th Jan ( 2 weeks ago) and with my cases packed of the usual holiday stuff it was also crammed with baby clothes from friends etc and naturally enough with teddy bears and outfits in my football teams colours, claret and blue for my beloved Westham United. Me and 'N' have Skyped everyday, several times a day and I have watched her beautiful stomach slowly swelling and, be in no doubt, I was swollen with pride also at the thought of being a dad, 55 years of age, never happened before and as I don't have any family left the thought of a new beginning with a new partner, new baby and a new life to begin over in the Phils was finally shaking away the dark, dark clouds of the last 3 years in which I lost my last remaining close relative, my mother, to Alzeimers and within 4 months of burying my mum I discovered that my wife was having an affair, and if that wasn't bad enough it was with a 'friend' of mine. Anyway, about 2 days before I was leaving the UK I lost touch with 'N' which was exceptionally unusual, didn't think much of it at first but as the hours ticked away my anxiety was growing, to the point of climbing the walls. Thirty six long hours had passed before I heard anything, I think that as mature adults we have all been through the wringer enough to know when bad news is coming and this was no different, this came in bucket loads. 'N' had been experiencing some pain for a while and had been in constant contact with her Gyno and unknown to me she had been having checks over the past week or so but hadn't wanted to worry me being so far away, bless her, when she went back to the gyno to get the results of the scan from the previous day to the incredulity of the Gyno and herself, the baby that had been kicking the day before was no longer breathing, it had lost the fight for life just 12 days short of the due birthdate. 'N' of course then had to be induced to give birth to a stillborn baby, how my heart aches for her. This passing of information we did via Skype just 14 hours before I was due to leave for my flight, heart wrenching in every aspect I can think of and then to reopen my suitcase and remove all the baby outfits, I can say with no shame that it broke my heart. So we are here today in a condo near to Ayala Mall, been together now for since last Monday (11 days ago) and we are being strong for each other, life is ticking by again but we are both bored here so we will probably leave here before the months rent is up and go to Dumaguete where I am more at home, hopefully to meet up with some of the forum guys that live there and hopefully have a few beers together. I apologise to each and every one of you if this was uncomfortable reading or even inappropriate content, but as 'Stevewool' said in the earlier post, sometimes it is easier just to write something and then delete it but this time I am going to hit the send button. Done It.
  6. 22 points
    Last month I travelled to the Philippines for two weeks for the first time. Before my trip, I tried to do as much research as I could. Here are my experiences and observations. Taxis: Every taxi I used had a meter and used it. However, I never paid the same amount for any of my 20 or so trips. Every interaction they wanted to negotiate extras like toll road fees and traffic. Expect to pay for any tolls out of your pocket during the drive. My Filipina fiancée did the talking so I think this is normal end expected. Airport: I knew what to pay. I saw the signs in the airport regarding fees. However, I did end up getting a private car and paid way too much for that initial trip from the Airport to where I was staying. After 24 hours plus in airports I just wanted to get safely to my destination with my luggage. I had many other concerns on my mind and didn’t want to deal with this. Asia: I thought I was a seasoned traveler because of my experience in Western Europe. I now feel very differently. I feel that Western Europe is very much like the US. There is a whole bunch of other countries and continents out there. Asia is a whole different experience. Language: I had been watching TFC and GMA on TV in the US every day for months prior to leaving. I feel they speak a lot more English on the TV than the everyday person on the street. A number of people that I met had not spoken English since high school. I had no troubles, but a lot less English was spoken and used than what I was expecting. Health: I fully anticipated some sort of stomach type issues. I was pleasantly surprised when I did not have any. I did take airborne on the flight and the first couple days to try and stay healthy for my short visit. I came down with a cold on day 9. Food: One of the best parts of the trip. I loved the food. I lost track of the names of all the different dishes I tried. There were one or two seafood dishes that I wouldn’t order again. I did try balut which was really good, though I did not look at it as I ate. I did not try any dishes made from blood products. I did not gain or lose any weight. My diet was healthier and my body seemed to like it much better than my normal diet. I ate far less sugar, and ate on a more regular schedule than at home. Gifts: I was travelling on a budget. I brought gifts for my fiancée and her daughters, that is pretty much all I brought with me. Her parents do not live in country. The friends and family of my fiancée did a whole bunch of things for us. We stayed at their houses. They drove us hundreds of kilometers. We ate at restaurants with them. We went to restaurants. We stayed at hotels. I knew I would meet some friends and family. I did not expect this type of warm welcome. I feel indebted to them. Had I known how the trip was going to go, I would have spent a lot more of time, money, and effort into gifts for the friends and extended family. Showers: The showers had one water knob. Either on or off. Expect a cold shower! One hotel I stayed at did have a hot shower. I was amazed at how little money I spent. I did propose to my girlfriend while I was there. This was the best trip of my life.
  7. 21 points
    Just a follow up on this foreigner living on the street. He did disappear for awhile but been back for a month I guess. Looking bit worse for wear. Anyway my GF and I put together some lunch and a few things for him and walked over to give it not knowing what his reaction would be. He was asleep on the bench and I was busy today so did not want to come back later. I said hello twice and he woke up and slowly rose up to a sitting position. Obviously sleeping on a hard surface is causing some pain. Anyway I said I would like to offer you some food if thats OK. He said Oh thank you very much mate. Not sure if he is Aussie. We wished him a merry Christmas and he did the same and I shook his hand. He was shaking a bit, not sure if from hunger or nerves. I said I might come and talk to you tomorrow and he thanked again and said god bless and we left. So he seemed a nice enough guy down on his luck for whatever reason. Put in a couple of bananas after picture taken.
  8. 21 points
    This topic might not be in the right place or will be considered relevant, However , I want to say that regarding the often negative comments about Filipino woman that as in every country you will find good and bad ! This is my experience of knowing and falling in love with and eventually marrying a Filipino woman ! I had chatted with several woman online before meeting my now wife. yes there were the ones that wanted to show you what you could have on webcam if you came to the Philippines to meet her ( then Oh please can you send money for ?) Then I found my princess ! we chatted online spoke on yahoo etc etc. sent each other photos etc. we married in 2002, yes she had a large family ! But her mother did her utmost to raise them properly even after their father died at the age of 40yrs ! washing clothes, sewing clothes to make money to buy food. they had no big house there home when they were young was a wooden hut !! until the oldest brother left college and got a job. My wife trained as a teacher fees paid by the eldest brother, other brothers, an accountant in saudi, another worked for the forestry dept, and her younger sister is now a college professor ! my wife worked for 35yrs at the Dept of Agrarian Reform, and she built and paid for what is now the family home and took early retirement when she married me. and later built her own home. we had 9yrs in the UK together and she got a job in the NHS as a receptionist. now then even though she herself was working Mon-Fri 8am-5pm, she would get up at 4am and prepare my clothes and my breakfast,wake me up at 5am, and I would leave home at 6am ! now can you imagine this ? its freezing outside my works van was covered in ice ! she would stand in front of the van throwing water onto the screen so it would defrost quicker !! ( her idea not mine ) and I was inside the van warming the inside up !! and even now before we go out shopping etc she lays my clothes out on the bed ready for me while I am taking a shower !! and she will make sure my hair is ok as well !! ( its the wifes duty to make sure I am looked after !! ( her words ).. we went shopping this morning and as we were walking out of the store we had to slow down ! because there was this elderly couple the husband could hardly walk and his wife was carrying the shopping as well as holding her husband up !! Filipino woman ! mine is a princess ! she will go to charity shops to buy clothes for everyday use ,( her excuse she has never been rich , and now she does not have to worry about money she is stiil the same woman !! ) she will haggle when she buys things even if its just one cake ! when she goes to the fresh market early in the morning ( I am still asleep ) she always buys me 2 doughnuts ! that says it all for me !!
  9. 20 points
    Hello, Gentlemen, I thought I would share a bit of my life with you regarding my experience with Internet dating-bitter sweet to say the least. My story begins when I had been chatting with a very poor gal from Paranaque who was using an internet cafe. Well. long story short, we hit it off. She was the sweetest most honest, precious lady I met and asked nothing from me. She had deep beautiful eyes and spoke with a smoothness, I really can't accurately describe. Rromance and beauty dominated this quiet woman's every being when I went to see her. I brought her a certain type of perfume found only in Victoria Secret which she always dreamed of having. We had the best 2 weeks together I could imagine. The days were full of joy, the nights with passion-we both fell so deeply in love. When I had to go back a taxi drove us to the airport, where we said our sad good byes but she knew I was going to get to work on sponsoring her (K-1), so we could be together -married, happy, the whole bit-life was finally becoming what I only dreamed it would be. Little did I know, it was the last time I would ever see her in person. Fast forward, I got her a laptop so we could communicate on Skype while waiting for the paperwork to go through. She lived in a room spacer above a store, so she was as poor as a church mouse, but I supplied her needs and she hung in there very well. Her happiness and contentment was in our love more than the squaller she had to endure so she said to save my money for our life together. 2 months into the visa process, after complaining of stomach pains, I told her to go to the doctor. She had ovarian cancer (stage 1-so they said anyway). I borrowed from my 401K to get her the chemo, radiation, and medicine needed to fight the cancer. I told her-be strong-for us. She was indeed!! In the course of 5 months it spread to the bone. Once it traveled up her spine to her brain-that was it. All this painful time watching her fight this took about 6 months. I felt completely helpless. I could not travel to see her because every bit of money I could get went to her treatments so we talked on Skype through her ups and downs. I can't even describe what it felt like to see each day her regressing like she did-but she fought and fought. Toward the end-on Skype-while she was in the hospital room, I told her I will never forget our love and will carry it with me for the rest of my days. She smiled and could barely speak and said-"Please don't cry-I will be with God soon". That was our last communication. Her sister told me the next day-as her 83 yr old mother held her in her arms, "Tell Steve I love him.". Then she expired. I saw (on her Skype) her body in state at her family's house. The perfume was next to her with pictures of us together. This is how she was buried. Her dream, and my dream of being together---was over. I never felt such pain in my life. She was a true angel-the joy of my life. I had bought her a fancy coffee cup when I was there-and she gave me her plain yellow one in return which I use her every day. It took me about year of healing before I reasoned out that I needed to move forward in my quest for love-and Adhel encouraged me to do so before she died. I searched again and this time found Annie. She's a cute, bubbly, little filipina gal that I met, love, and married. We are very happy to this day-and I know Adhel is looking down at me smiling that I am happy now. The two are special in their own way-kind of like the best steak compared to the best Ice Cream-nothing alike but both wonderful. In closing, I want to say, I know the tricks of the trade and what to look out for -how to avoid a fake-and all that. I was never a victim of a scam, but, for all those who feel victimized, I share this to inspire you not to give up on these women. There's good and bad everywhere-and in some ways a scam victim feels the pain in the wallet. Money can be replaced. Thank you for reading my story and I hope God grants each of you a long life of love with your Filipina-we never know when the end will come.
  10. 19 points
    Well, I have been formally retired now for 15 days and its feeling good. I have now reached my destination of Dumaguete, I got into Manila at about 1AM Saturday morning, lashing with rain. Got a cab over to Makati and spent Saturday there catching up with friends and trying to avoid more heavy rain showers, even managed to catch some streamed footie in a bar, actually my own team of Westham United, that was a bonus as I cant even get to see it live on TV at home. Took an early morning flight out of Terminal 3 today (Sunday) to Dumaguete, flew with PAL, all good as we left on time and arrived early into Duma, it was definitely a better experience than flying over with Cebu Pacific which I did for the last two years. I had already rented a studio since last month as I knew I was coming out but was just unsure of the date, Hermagina Apartments. I stayed there last year and the year previous but just short term as I was on holiday then but of course it is all so different now, I am here to stay. Tomorrow we will begin shopping for the many items we don't buy when we are on vacation, microwave, toaster, fans, rice cooker for the missus, etc etc lol. Its a nice feeling I am enjoying at the moment, I have read articles on here over the past year about retiring and how people consider what it will be like in taking that big step, i.e. retiring and relocating to the Phils, in particular money worries and will it ever be enough etc. For me personally I did a couple of private messages on here to forum members that I have met and trust and got a breakdown on what I would need per month on a reasonably tight budget and I consider that to be good information. I don't have any family back home in the UK and apart from giving up my dog it was an easy decision for me, I have nobody to miss and apart from a few friends nobody is going to miss me so therefore no emotional ties back home tugging on the heart strings. I am totally committed to my new life as an expat, its what I want to do and the Philippines is where I want to be, sure there will be bad days and maybe even bad weeks at times but not really a major problem, I had plenty of them back in the UK as well! I think Dumaguete is a good starting location as there is a nice little group of forum members already here, a bonus of that is that there is a wealth of information amongst them, many collective boots on the ground so to speak Lol, but I do believe that the Phils is worth travelling and exploring and over time we will begin to do so, initially it will be to explore the whole of Negros and hopefully as we gain confidence and experience we will venture out further and explore much of the Visayas. I would like to maybe get out to some of the more remote islands that have less foreigners and see if it will bring different experiences, I mentioned before in a previous topic that I would like to do some voluntary work in the community, perhaps to try and give back a little where some help is needed. So, tomorrow Noime and myself will start chipping away at an ever increasing shopping list and we will start to slowly build our new life together here, it is a new and exciting chapter in my life, actually to be truthful it is a new chapter in our lives not just mine. Regarding finance, I have what I have and it will have to be enough, life is too short to stay at home any longer worrying about it, the time to live is now, I am newly retired and I am a new expat in the Philippines. What more could a person want?
  11. 19 points
    We moved into our house in the middle of a billing cycle, then we bought this contraption in the middle of a billing cycle... so it took a few months to get actual prices on our bill. A little about our house(s). We built on her uncle's land so instead of getting a sub-meter I told him I would pay his electric bill - after all we use his land for free for our house. His bill averages p800 a month. They have a fridge, 2 fans, a TV, and lights only at night. We have fridge, 3 fans, lights all day, TV, 2 computers (we have more but only 2 on at a time), and an aircon running at night. I would turn it on about 8 or 9 pm and turn it off when we woke up, 7-10 am. It ran way too much - 10 to 12 hours easy. So we bought an aircon timer for p1,300 (I think?). It is pretty good. The regular plug (for the fan) is on a N/C switch. The aircon plug is on a N/O switch. When you set the timer the aircon is energized, fan de-energized. When the timer cycles the aircon is de-energized and the fan is energized. Now, with the timer I turn it on about 9 or 10 pm and set it for 5 or 6 hours. We cut our aircon use in half. If it goes off at 3 or 4 in the morning the fan is more than enough once the house is cold. For one full month of use without the timer our electric bill for both houses was p5,200. We just got our bill for the first full month with the timer, it was p3,600. That one bill more than paid for the switch! We cut p1,600 off the bill. The temp has been about the same... the dead of summer... so these should be our most expensive months. I realize one month on each setup is hardly scientific, but we can't gather more data as I am not disconnecting the timer ha ha In any case I would say this switch is worth the cost. Even if it takes 2 months to pay for itself, it would still be a good savings on the bill. (now we shall see how long the switch lasts) :tiphat:
  12. 19 points
    I bought my car back in 2004, a brand new Honda S2000 - a high revving, highly in demand sports car that Honda no longer makes. But instead of driving it to it's full potential, I babied that car... hoping it would last forever, I never missed a scheduled maintenance and never pushing it past 5000 RPM (where red line is around 9000 RPM). After 12 years of careful conservative driving, the forsaken happened. Just last week, a car coming out of a driveway sideswiped me - and the car was damaged beyond repair, with only 65,000 miles on the odometer. The car died with all that music left inside... Now that got me thinking. Am I living my life that way too? Living conservatively at a 40 hour per week job - dreaming at my desk of how life could be in the Philippines. Am I going to die without living my life to its fullest? And since nobody knows when they are going to kick the bucket, what am I waiting for? The way things are headed, there are going to be many regrets at my death bed. And what if I knew I had only 5 years to live, how would I spend them? Today, I filled out my retirement papers. I am now committed to the Philippines in 2017.
  13. 19 points
    I thought when I moved here that I had visited, spent time and "done my homework" enough to make a smooth transition and landing here. I underestimated how long it would take me to really feel comfortable, happy and content living permanently here. (about a year and a half) At first everything seemed a whirlwind as we finished building and outfitting our house. Being busy gave me less time to really think too much about it things. After settling in though, I was really missing my close-knit family and place in the States a lot, and I felt that I had somehow abandoned them. They seemed cooler and less interested in what we were now doing, which seemed to confirm my thoughts. Adjusting to living out in a rural area after living my whole life in a small city was hard. Choices and freedoms that I had been used to were now more limited and that was kind of depressing. I felt that I wasn't the same person that I used to be confidence-wise, and I spent quite a bit of time "waiting for the shoe to drop" having fears and anxiety about new situations. I worried about not getting enough exercise, the heat, not having much contact with other foreigner friends being different as a woman and not "one of the guys", choices of foods that I'd be able to have, worries over the lack of structure in my days, or lack of "production" that I had had through work and routines that i'd always been used to. I thought that it would be easier to make local "good friends" and close family ties,but sometimes the cultural differences and lack of commonalities make that an on-going process. Dealing with my husband's family and the language, local people, customs was not a problem for me. I was often frustrated and angry though, that my husband was just basking in the feeling of being back in his old home, and with family and that he had made an easy happy transition right away with no real issues. Over time though, most these things have worked themselves out, or are at a manageable level for me. I think that almost a year ago, getting my own car and driving here helped me get my old confidence back. Most of the things that bothered me don't bother me really at all anymore, my family abroad has come around and are just glad that we can still be prettyclose and stay in touch. Lack of structure? Fears? Lack of production? Food choices? Most all have been worked out over time at least up to the present:) I'm comfortable with the person that I'm growing into now, and am quite confident, happy and content. Every day is a learning experience in some way here, we all know, and things can still sometimes be frustrating or maddening, but for the most part it's great now. One thing I can say though, that in the time I have lived here I've never had any second thoughts about making the move. Queenie
  14. 19 points
    A thanks to all readers and posters for advice and support throughout our build. Now enclose a few pics for anyone interested. We started with an engineer highly recommended by the land vendor and an ex pat whom he had built a house for. We since found out one and possibly two received commission. To close our deal he offered P12k per sq meter which is just not possible. Unfortunately having zero experience in construction it took some time to wake up we were being ripped. About halfway through the build due to cost over runs and suspected cheating, sky high stress I stopped all work flat. Went abroad for a couple months to recover. My partner also took a break. Upon return we had lengthy discussions with engineer and away we went. Within a month we terminated him and interestingly the workers stayed on saying they could finish. Fortunately we had an excellent foreman. What shocked me mostly was the high level corruption in multi national companies, mid and senior management wanting cash for large discounts. Even the two brothers whom own the joinery shop were at it. One brother visited privately saying I will do job myself no need go through the shop. imagine cheating his own brother...Sad but seems zero scruples. Our electrician was amazing, excellent work, the plumber not so, most of the guys worked good within their capabilities. Interestingly both plumber and electrician work for city hall, still did out work on city hall time...No sunrises I guess. We have not used any timber other than doors and joinery which is laminated, will get eaten but expect 10 years first. Looked at plastic how ever must be made in China and shipped over. Could be alternatives unknown to us. House around 190 sq, and still adding up costing which expect around 17--18k per sq. went for the 3 meter ceiling heavy duty Excel roof and plastic guttering. Learnt a lot and made heaps of mistakes which happy to share, think I rambled on enough now so try figure out how to upload these pics.
  15. 19 points
    I have mentioned that we were building a house.... don't think I provided a lot of details yet. We just finished building a small (I mean small house - 30 sq meters) We built it extra solid to try and block out noisy neighbors, so far so good. We could have built a little cheaper but it would not have been as solid. My wife insisted on a back door so we lost a wall in the kitchen area. I wanted more counter top. Oh well. I drew a simple picture and pretty much let them do what they wanted. The cost for the house was almost exactly what they gave as an estimate. About p120,000 in materials and half that for labor (contract price). It is on Melane's uncle's land. Since I cannot own, I did not care if it was in her name or his... and free land... is... well free. The "basic" house was about 90% complete. I added a lot more to the price by adding windows, a ceiling, a nice cr, floor tile, paint - you know "optional" items. So the grand total was about p300,000 (around $7,000 USD). We are in the middle of adding a front porch, or sala. I was calling it a patio but was told a patio is the pavilions at the cemetery, so now I just call it a front porch ha ha The house is 15 feet x 26 feet. The front porch is 15 feet x 10 feet. In price comparison - the main house was p300,000 and the porch, which is half the size of the house, was under p10,000 ha ha. Bamboo/nipa is much cheaper than cement. When finished it will have a sliding bamboo door, lattice work bamboo walls, and a gravel floor. Keeping it simple. I want the dart board in there... but she does not - she wants the TV out there... we have not had that fight yet ha ha... Only about p4,000 in materials, the rest is labor. Did you know the sheets of nipa are only p4.5 each? 10 for a dollar?!! Crazy. I posted a dozen videos of the construction if you care to see any.... https://www.youtube.com/user/Tukarama/videos (my channel is not monetized so I hope it ok to share it??) Here are some pics, if you would rather just look at pics :)
  16. 18 points
    A Little self indulgence I am afraid to make a point. For those that know me sorry to say it again but for those that don't and can get unsure of Hospitals and Doctors here's my story to show a little faith. In 2012 I had a stroke (Whilst i was living in Spain) I was married to my SO who is the love of my Life but I was going to see out my working life in Spain But events took over and as the Consultant ( In the UK) said no need for Surgery at this time as you are only 60% Blocked ( the Arteries) to my Brain ( yes I have one) I could hardly walk, talk write or even type at times and forget driving However I made the decision to Come here Full time and got myself booked in with my wifes Doctor and now some 6+ years on I now walk some 5/6 kms a day, Passed to Drive and what I consider as fit as i am ever going to be. Now all this together with a reduction of blockage to now 45% is due to the Constant monitoring of the said doctor together with the Therapy and Diet she and others suggested, just goes to show that with our help and understanding (In my case anyway) The Medical care is not as bad as many would make out. To illustrate I put up a few photos to show the progression that a stable marriage and good Doctor can make, I often say that we are in a lot of cases our own worst enemies and just do not follow medical suggestions, Instructions and planned Diets and medication ( not to mention exercise) Yet we Blame the Hospitals and Doctors here as useless, well not me I will hasten to add. Yes it is expensive but not as expensive as it could be elsewhere ( even the UK as I hear it reported of late) So with a vote of thanks to My Doctor and her colleagues at SUMC (Dumaguete) the Love and caring of my Wife and daughter I will be around I hope to bug you all for some time to come Not well at all Getting there Trying to enjoy never forgetting the Friends that helped me along the Way plus all the others And last but not least The best Friend I ever Had and the Sprog of course Thank you for Reading Jack
  17. 18 points
    I have been here for around 7 years and in this time I have been waiting for the right circumstances to build a house.We bought a lot just before Christmas and we have now started to build.The lot is 500sm and the house will be 117 sm.I am also going to build some rentals so my family has an income when I go. Here are some pictures to give you some idea I will add more as it progresses.Her indoors is a very happy Pinay at the moment.
  18. 18 points
    This week Elizardo, a local carpenter, fashioned us a new bench of his own design out of a heavy duty locally grown bamboo that grows wild nearby. Great craftsmanship and very comfortable too! It's always amazing to me what a talented person here can sometimes make with their hands and simple tools. We;ll get it out into the garden soon.
  19. 18 points
    W hen we first moved in here, I put the word out in the neighborhood that I was looking to buy orchid plants to add to my future dream garden. Many local people came bearing single orchid plants attached to small coconut husks. None had flowers at the time, but I was told that they would surely bloom. I had faith in what they told me, so I bought them all.( Some were just given and not sold too) We wired them to trees all around and hoped for surprises. Some bloomed pretty quickly, but now three years later, some more are finally emerging. I'm not exaggerating when I say that sometimes a bract emerges without notice, and the next day orchids appear! Looking into the mysterious face of an orchid makes you stop to study how unique and exotic they are. I'm so happy to have all these around, and I vow to learn their names over time too. I think that this recent orchid flower is called "Cleisostoma weberi" Maybe there are Visayan names to learn but that will take me longer. I'll add some others that are around the yard also.. I'll let you know if any more show their faces.
  20. 18 points
    Have you lived in the same place all your life, Stevewool? Most of us have moved a time or twenty. When you get tired of the new place you move again. We don't have to put down deep roots, although its starting to sound like you have roots where you are and you don't want to pull them up. By the way, in the twenty or so times I have moved I never went back to the same place twice. Been there, done that, there was a reason I felt like moving away and its probably still valid. PLUS there is a whole world to see. If you get to a place and hate it then try another. Life is simple. Just enjoy it. Burn those bridges. Its much more fun building new bridges than commuting on the old ones every day.
  21. 18 points
    A conversation between my wife (Lani), still in the USA, and her brother (Romeo) in the Philippines: L - Did any of the bb boxes arrive? R - Yes one came a few days ago. L - Which one, what was in it? R - It is the one that contained the small washing machine. L - Washing machine??? We didn't sent a washing machine! R - Yes you did, it is right here now. I am looking at it. L - Describe it. R - It is about 25 cm square, 40 cm high, white metal, and top opens and has a little window in the middle of the lid. It was full of small clothing, socks mostly, and bars of soap. L - Romeo - THAT IS A BREAD MAKER!!! We filled it with stuff to save space!
  22. 18 points
    Down below, I'm re-posting something I wrote on the forum over two years ago. Why? The "Is The Philippines Dangerous" topic had a lot of negativity in it, led by one or two posters. What bothered me the most was the repeated theme I saw wherein if you posted something positive, you were viewing the Philippines through rose colored glasses and misleading newbies. The OP seemed to have a hidden agenda to "protect all newbies from dangerous Philippines"! Or not. It is hard to figure out what his agenda is. The other thing that bothered me is that I let myself get dragged into negativity. The fact is, people can make a choice on how to view life and the world. You can wake up and say I'm going to be happy / positive, or the opposite. Of course it doesn't work quite like that and happiness is not always easy to obtain. Being positive is easier to obtain and can lead to happiness. The rose colored glasses are similar. Do you see the morning through rose colored glasses or dark shades? If you really had a chance to choose, which would it be? I joined the forum a year or two before I moved here. I researched a lot and read the negatives as well as the positives, on this forum and on as many other sources as I could. There are many, many factors that led to the decision to retire here. As Chris indicated, location is huge. If you don't do your homework before you settle, you are not going to be comfortable and you, if you are a negative type, you are going to be really unhappy. I knew I couldn't be happy surrounded by roosters, street vendors, etc., and that is why we chose Subic Bay Freeport and live on the ex-Navy base. Safe and quiet. We are very happy here and have a good life. Do we have bad days? Sure. Do we struggle with life's obstacles? Of course. Do we see everything through rose colored glasses and project that to the newbies reading? You tell me! Like all the respected forum veterans will say to a newbie, don't listen to us, boots on the ground, get over and check things carefully before you commit! Tomorrow is our oldest daughter's 12th birthday and I choose to view the day through rose colored glasses, even though my back is killing me and I was fighting asthma this past week Here is what I wrote 2 years ago: We all are negative at times. Sometimes we go through a temporary spell of it. Some people are drowning in it. There was a time, in my old job, where I was very negative. I was not happy with the company and I wanted to get laid off, so it made it easy to be extra negative. In the latter stages of that job, some of it was deliberate, so after leaving I apologized to some of my close co-workers. I'm sure I was a miserable bear to be around. I consciously decided to try and be more positive. It takes work. I did some reading and found some solid material out there that was very helpful. There are excellent books, religious and non-religious, that can help many people. I sampled both. I believe that negativity attracts more negativity. It is easy to spiral out of control. I hope that I am spiraling the in the other direction now. So why am I bringing this up now? Lately, here on the forum, I have noticed a lot of negativity, led mainly by a small number of posters. I suggest that you might want to step back and take a new look at things. Perhaps some changes are needed in your life. Perhaps you need to come down from your high horse and consider the view from another angle. From a Westerner's point of view, there are many negatives in the Philippines. You can make a choice. Focus on the negatives and be miserable, or find the positives and relish them. I am far from perfect and I am still working on it. That being said, there are many wonderfully positive posters here one the forum, and I look forward to reading your messages. These posters are obviously gifted and even when discussing a serious or negative subject, their positive thoughts come through loud and clear! Thank you! Thanks for listening. I will leave you with this: http://www.marcandangel.com/2012/08/08/10-ways-to-defend-yourself-against-negativity/ There is little difference in people, but that little difference makes a big difference. The little difference is attitude. The big difference is whether it is positive or negative. Have you ever met Debbie Downer, Negative Nancy or Pessimistic Patty? These people can be so entrenched in the bad things that there isn’t any room for good things to grow. They inhabit our families and social circles. It can be emotionally draining just being around them, and you must be careful because their attitudes are contagious. Negativity perpetuates itself, breeds dissatisfaction and clutters the mind. And when the mind is cluttered with negativity, happiness is much harder to come by. Here are 10 ways to defend yourself against negativity: 1. Don’t take other people’s negativity personally. Most negative people behave negatively not just to you, but to everyone they interact with. What they say and do is a projection of their own reality – their own attitude. Even when a situation seems personal – even if someone insults you directly – it oftentimes has nothing to do with you. Remember, what others say and do, and the opinions they have, are based entirely on their own self-reflection. Read Learned Optimism. 2. Spend more time with positive people. You are the average of the people you spend the most time with. In other words, who you spend your time with has a great impact on the person you eventually become. If you are around cynical and negative people all the time, you will become cynical and negative. Does who you are and who you want to be reflect in the company you keep? Start spending time with nice people who are smart, driven and likeminded. Relationships should help you, not hurt you. Surround yourself with people who reflect the person you want to be. Choose friends who you are proud to know, people you admire, who love and respect you, people who make your day a little brighter simply by being in it. 3. Be the positivity you want to see in the world. Lead by example. You can’t always save the world, but you can make the world a better place by practicing what you preach – by becoming self-aware, tapping into your compassion, and protecting your positive space. Doing simple things like talking about positive daily events, common friends, hobbies, happy news, make for light conversations with negative people. Keep the conversations focused on optimistic areas the person can relate to. You can disarm their negativity, even if it’s just for a little while. 4. Change the way you think. The one thing nobody can take away from you is the way you choose to respond to what others say and do. The problem isn’t the events that are negative. The problem is the way you react to those events. The last of your freedoms is to choose your attitude in any given circumstance. Complaining, blaming and criticizing aren’t going to change the situation. It is not always easy to find happiness in ourselves, but it is always impossible to find it elsewhere. Regardless of the situation you face, your attitude is your choice. Remember, you can’t have a positive life with a negative attitude. When negativity controls your thoughts, it limits your behavior, actions, and opportunities. If you realized how powerful your thoughts were, you would never think another negative thought again. 5. Focus on solutions. Negative people have an endless supply of pity party invitations. Don’t RSVP. Oftentimes people use negativity as a barrier to protect themselves from the world, which in turn blocks them from solutions that could improve their life. Instead, identify solutions. Don’t dwell too much on what went wrong. Instead, focus on the next positive step. Spend your energy on moving forward toward a positive resolution. Remember, when you focus on solutions, by thinking and acting positively, sound becomes music, movement becomes dance, a smile becomes laughter, and life becomes a celebration. Read Stumbling on Happiness. 6. Love whoever is around to be loved. Practice acts of kindness. It’s a lot harder to be negative when you’re in the presence of love and kindness. Be that presence whenever possible. Let your guard down. Talk to someone you don’t know straight from your heart. Compliment them. Don’t anticipate awkwardness. Just be you in that beautiful way only you know, and give them the chance to smile and connect with you. Sometimes a kind word and some attention from a friend is all that’s needed to turn a negative attitude around. 7. Provide support when it makes sense. Some people complain as a way of crying for help. They may not be conscious of it though, so their comments come across as negative complaints rather than requests. Show some concern. Just a simple “Are you okay?” or “Is there anything I can do to help you?” can do wonders. Resist the urge to judge or assume. It’s hard to offer compassion when you assume you have them figured out. Let them know they are not alone. People overcome the forces of negative emotions, like anger and hatred, when the counter-forces of love and support are in full effect. 8. Realize that life is a series of ups and downs. Acknowledge the negativity, accept it, and let it pass through your consciousness, thereby teaching you a lesson but not ruining your day. Life is full of highs and lows, but you don’t have to go up and down with them. We develop from the negatives when we accept them and learn from them. This cycle is all part of the human experience. Relax, let go a little, and enjoy the ride. Read Happiness Is a Serious Problem. 9. Concentrate on today. Too often, we carry around things from our past that hurt us – regrets, shame, anger, pain, etc. Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. Don’t let these negative points from the past rob your present happiness. You had to live though these things in the past, and although unfortunate, they can’t be changed. But if the only place they live today is in your mind, then let go, move on, and be happy. You can decide right now that negative experiences from your past will not predict your future. 10. Let go and move on when you must. If all else fails, remove yourself from the wrong situations and relationships. Some people are like dark clouds; when they disappear, it’s a brighter day. Know when it’s time to let go. Letting go of negative people doesn’t mean you hate them, it just means that you care about your own wellbeing. Every time you subtract negative from your life, you make room for more positive. It isn’t easy to remain positive when negativity surrounds you, but remember that you have full control of your attitude. Think of it this way: An entire body of water the size of the Pacific Ocean can’t sink a ship unless it gets inside the ship. Similarly, all the negativity in the world can’t bring you down unless you allow it to get inside your head. People who are able to discern the positive points in negative situations are the ones who prosper in the long run. So defend yourself against the ‘negative way’ and make room for a positive day.
  23. 18 points
    Today marks my one year anniversary of having moved and retired here to the Philippines. Needless to say it has not all been chocolates and roses. But I'm still here, and I have no plans to go elsewhere. So, I would like to celebrate this milestone by thanking all the members of this forum. Even though I have been married to a Filipina for over 29 years and been a frequent visitor to this island paradise, the knowledge, experiences, insight and wisdom of the ladies and gents on this forum was invaluable to me in preparation for my move and transition. Thank you. My hat is off to you for taking the time out of your lives to help me and the many others who seek your sage advice. Also a special call out to JGF for providing this venue in a controlled, sane and educated adult environment. Thank you sir. Very much. For new members of this forum and those contemplating retirement here in the Philippines. I will repeat what has been reiterated ad nauseam on this forum. Nothing, I say again, NOTHING beats "Boots on the Ground". One week, 3 weeks or a month simply does not cut it. You have to take root and settle into the everyday humdrum to truly experience what life will be like for YOU here. Take the time to search this site and research the topics that interest you. 90% of the questions you may have are already answered many times over. Of course if you cannot find your answer, feel free to ask. The members here will be more than happy to tell you what you want to know, or maybe what you don't want to know. Anyways, I'm still here and still loving it. One day at a time. Thanks again everyone, Ron
  24. 18 points
    Here is the Filipina that changed the way i am today, 5 years we have been married and the time is going by so quick, never ever a cross word from her , a few silly ones from me but its all down to learning from one another, Just thought i would share happy times with friends
  25. 17 points
    I would have put this in Jokes then Thought, is it really a Joke ?
  26. 17 points
    I dunno, I tend to ascribe to the dying art of treat others how you want to be treated. I'm not always rewarded in kind, but it mostly works and it tends to be universal.
  27. 17 points
    Yes it is common. I have lived here full time since I retired four plus years ago. I think a lot of the things you hear come from people reading the news. One thing the news organizations know is that "negative" news seems to be what people want to hear. Poverty, crime, corruption, vigilante killings, typhoons, volcanoes, etc, these are big news. Who wants to read about a warm and friendly people, a country where Americans are still welcome unlike much of the world. Who wants to read about a country where health care is affordable? Those of us who live here and make it home know that the Philippines is no paradise, but neither is it a dangerous, disaster ridden country. It is a developing country and has it's share of problems. The United States is a developed country that has it's share of problems. People ask me "what is it like to live there?" I tell them that it is a country that you will either love and want to stay, or you would never consider it as a place to live permanently. To live here and be happy, or at least at content, depends mostly on two character traits: 1 - Do you like people who are "different" from you in values, culture, outlook, etc? 2 - Are you mentally and emotionally flexible, can you get past frustrations and problems or do you allow them to build up?
  28. 17 points
    I am putting this here because it affects us all as Expats trying to get on with Life as normal people in a strange yet fascinating place, either Living here or closely connected by our loved ones or those that would consider moving as a retiree or just fed up with home. PEF (The Forum) used to be a quaint family oriented forum full of Fun and Friends; Just lately we have gone to a face book type thing in my Opinion, with Sex, Drugs, Killings and Political angles on things we would have rather left at home. It is not, I am sure, what anyone else wants either, we see personal issues rising again (We had some a few years back) For me it is not a blog Page ( and JGF will agree I am sure) we do not need to be taught things that mean little here today. It is what it is here on the Fantasy Islands. it is our Home now and most of us love it, Those that don't or just want to put the PI down have no real place here. There are more than enough pages out there in the Land of the Spammer, Troller and Bloggers that anyone can vent their anger, insecurity call it want you want Yes I am having a go at these types and I am sad to say it. I am not a MOD or Admin, just a member of a few years now that would very much like to see this great Forum get back on path. Guided by the Boss and his gang it is we the members that make the forum either Fun and enlightening, educational for our needs here, not sales Pitches, Political Dramas from places we left that are not sorting themselves out either. Sorry JGF & Jamie but I am sure it is not just me. I am only one voice, but fellow members if we are not careful we will become one of the many Spamming, Trolling Argumentative Forums that are plentiful out there that many left to be here. No! not spamming, just pouring out my Heart here to Friends Sorry but that is me this morning @Jollygoodfellow Jack Morning all
  29. 17 points
    I was at a eatery in Valencia this morning and. a man I know told me this story. He said that yesterday afternoon he lost his wallet.In it was just over 8000p and some of his IDs.He went back to the cafe where he had been sitting and asked if they had seen it. He was told a small boy had it and he thought oh well that is the last I will see of that.After about an hour the small boy knocked on his door and handed over his wallet.He checked the contents and everything was still there even the money.He gave the small boy a sizeable reward. So maybe we are seeing a change in the locals and maybe it is for the better. A nice story for a change.
  30. 17 points
    Good morning all, We are into our last week here in Thailand and looking forward to our new life there in Phils. Balakbayan boxes on their way (slowly) but no apparent hassles. Accommodation all in order and meets most of our requirements (except for the stairs) but will have to cope with that. Will be seeking a motorcycle once we get there, they are very expensive compared to Thailand. But it evens itself out if you sell, I suppose. I am not looking forward to the paper battle to transfer ownership, that seems very 'old hat'. After 5 plus years on this forum, I am not going to the Philippines with 'rose coloured glasses' but am certain life will be better for us there. My SO is a native for a start, where as here we are both 'farangs'. She is also fully fluent of course in the language and that will be great. I am tired of hand signals, facial expressions and stares here! I am deeply indebted to the members of this great forum for all the help and advice I have been given over that time. I feel as though I can fit right in when I get there, but feel sure there will be plenty more questions from me in the future. Of course there are always difficulties with living in a foreign country but overall, I am sure it will be a better life there. See you all soon.
  31. 17 points
    I cam with buckets of money and, to be fair, I still have the buckets.
  32. 17 points
    After almost three years living here permanently, and not yet retirement age, I can honestly say that I have no second thoughts about living here. I understand that life is fleeting and in reflection, living where I used to live was very stressful and sometimes a waste of my time. I'm grateful for my new life here warts and all, and I'm glad that we made the move a little earlier, to get that extra enjoyment in. Whatever happens to me in the future, I'll be glad that I had the unique chance to live out the dream that I had always wanted to have. So far the gamble has worked out well for us. It's not for everyone though, and one has to really honestly realize and accept that. For those wanting to take that " leap of faith" though, it might work well for you too.
  33. 17 points
    I long ago learned it's a good idea to keep a relatively low profile while travelling internationally. Many of us are attention magnets enough simply because of our skin color, physical size or Star Buck's habits which make us stand out in the crowd. Add the old anti-Colonial feelings and a Kano helping vs. a Kano meddling can be a fine line to walk. Sometime in the last week I read an article I think in the Cebu SunStar about a lack of chalk being an issue for the local schools. Seen similar things a million times over the years, kinda like "what's new"? I suggested to a niece that lives in Cebu that she network a bit with friends and suggested that the next Balikbayan box might include a box of chalk for the kids. Didn't cost me much of anything in terms of time or effort, but I'll bet real money those kids are gonna get some chalk for school in the near future. To us this is a trivial small thing - to many of them this will be huge. It's easy for us to sit back and take pot shots at the corruption, backward way of getting things done, blah-blah-blah. I openly admit too frequently "me too"... but another way I've learned to think of it is for so many of the simple fix things we see messed up they simply lack our perspective on how the world works, how to get things done, or are not capable of thinking outside the box. They tend to take anything we say as potentially really important and insightful - reference the Colonial mentality... so put it to work! I've provided nudges like this God knows how many times over the years, and I'm saying it's amazing how just saying "wouldn't it be nice if..." prompts real action and results. I guess my point here is that through a quiet advocacy we can so easily give the locals a 'nudge' that can turn into a huge positive. Count it as your one good deed for the day, smile, and move on. I cannot and will not take ownership of the world's problems. What I can and will do is try (at least sometimes) to leave it a better place. Regards
  34. 17 points
    Some of these creatures have been known to eat men alive in the Philippines.
  35. 17 points
    To the contrary, it was good to hear your story... And hopefully, just writing it for you helped to ease your pain some. I'm sure I'm not alone in offering my condolences to you and N... Thank you!
  36. 17 points
    I kind of know how you feel Steve. It has been several years now, but I met a young ED doctor in the course of my job. She was the sweetest and greatest women I have met to this day. We were suppose to get married in June of 1999. Just before Thanksgiving on 1998, she started feeling generally unwell, not eating, etc. etc. She got herself checked out, and found out that she had breast cancer. We were both devasstated as you can imagine. On account of the cancer already been so far along, she had to have one of the breasts removed. Few weeks went by, and she was not getting better. Found that cancer had also spread to one of her ovaries, which was removed as well, by this time we found that the cancer had spread to her stomach, as a result she was finally pronounced as terminal. During this time I was working in Australia, and Heather was working at a hospital at UAB in Alabama. Because of Heather's condition I had applied for long service leave, so I could spend the rest of time she had left with her. She had never been to Australia, and our plan was her to move over here and practice medicine, but this was not to happen. At this time, she was in John Hopkins with chemo etc etc. The plan was to hire a private nurse, bring her to Australia, and do a whole bucket list of things, ie..swim with dolphins, whale sharks, hold khola bears etc etc. During this time I had to go back to Perth for a court case I was giving evidence, it was a serious sexual assault case, so I needed to be there for a couple of days. So I kissed Heather goodbye, and told her I would see her in a couple of days. As a result I went back to Perth for the trial. I had only been back for 2 days, when I got the worse phone call ever. It seems Heather wanted to surprise me, so she left the hospital against medical advice with the private nurse to surprise me in Perth. They got as far as LA airport, where she went into respiratory arrest at the airport, and then soon after full arrest. They were not able to revive her. She was the best and sweetest person I have ever met, so Steve I know exactly how you feel. I must admit I don't think I have ever fully recovered. I have tried to find love from time to time, and even with the lovely pinay women that I met on my many trips to the Philippines.
  37. 17 points
    Just to show you that most Filipinos are indeed honest if you give them a chance ..... I put this here in this topic because most foreigners either don't feel they are honest or always trying to scam them ... The other day the water boys came to get the jug and my asawa was out .... she always buts the p40 in a plastic and tapes it to the bottom of the jug and puts it outside the door .... but she forgot to put it outside the door .... so when the boy rang I took the jug to him and paid him p40 ..... well today when he came to deliver it again he said no charge ma'am you already paid .... so he didn't keep it but turned it into the office .... Today while in an auto-parts store buying rain shields for the SUV I apparently dropped p1000 on the floor and never noticed .... the guard outside the door came in and said sir you dropped something ..... I thanked him and gave him p100 on the way out .... he tried 3 times to refuse it but I insisted .... So the next time someone says Filipinos are all a bunch of thieves you can tell them about these to incidences .... :thumbsup: ... :cheersty:
  38. 17 points
    I met my lovely wife nearly 30 years ago while stationed in the Philippines. When we met, all of my belongings fit into a sea bag. We rented a really small bungalow,, bought a bed a papasan and a little kitchen table. We were just a couple of kids. Now fast forward 30 years and we have raised a beautiful girl and a boy anyone would be proud to call their son. We've worked hard here in the States, bought the house and filled it with more things than we need. We lived within our means and saved enough to soon retire back to where we started together. My wife still looks great but I have at least a few of the attributes on the list. I guess my point for writing is two part. I believe those who wrote they think giving a girl security is what attracts, and more importantly, keeps a woman, are correct. Security needs to be both financial and emotional. All women want financial security but they'll most likely, especially if you bring them to your home country, have other opportunities to find that. To keep a good woman you must provide, not only financial security but the emotional security they need as well.
  39. 16 points
    I think I will leave most of the personal obstacles we faced (illnesses) for another thread and just comment on the trip itself. We left on Monday from Clark and returned on Friday. -- Clark airport park and fly still leaves something to be desired. Last time, I got the last spot. This time, they opened a new lot near the security gate and it was almost full. When I got back, it appeared to be full. It is a long walk from that lot to the building. The sign in front said p30 hour, indicating short term parking. However the guard said it was also long term, p90 a day. -- As described in another post, they killed me on fees. Travel tax p6480. Departure tax p3000. ECC-B 2880. Ridiculous. -- Surprisingly, even though the flight was full, there was no queue at all at Cathay Dragon to check in. Staff was really great with the kids and took them behind the counter and played with them. -- We were very happy to have chosen Cathay Dragon over Cebu Pacific. The crew was great even when the 2 year old was acting up. The leg room was much better for me. We were allowed 150 kg of checking luggage of which I used about 80 + a stroller. I will definitely use them next time. -- Arrival in Hong Kong was without incident and they are efficient in immigration. -- We took a taxi to the hotel. We had to wait a while to get a 5 person taxi. They are strict and a 4 person taxi only takes 4 persons, even if the 5th is a baby. We went in a blue taxi because of that and Disney is not normally their area, and the driver spoke very little English. Even though I repeatedly told him Disney Explorer and the dispatcher told him too, he took us to Disneyland first. I think the fare was about 10 hkd too high because of this. The fare with baggage was 182 hkd, about p1236 or usd 23. Ok by me. On the way back, from Disney to Regal airport hotel, it was 158 hkd, about usd 20. -- We stayed at the Disney Explorer's Lodge. Except for the high prices, we loved the hotel. The only thing that would improve it is a playground for the kids. The kid's participated in some activities at the hotel and on the 31st, joined a trick or treat. It was a bit lame but the kids loved it. They have a really nice big heated pool but because the kids had been / were sick, we did not use it. -- We went to Disneyland on Tuesday and Thursday. Our original plan was for Tue/Wed, but we were so burned out we decided to have an off day Wednesday. Then we checked out of Explorer's Thursday morning and they kept our baggage. When we got back from Disneyland around 6:30 pm, we grabbed the bags and grabbed a taxi to the Regal Airport hotel, for the last night before our flight. -- The shuttle buses between the hotel and Disneyland were great. They run constantly so no waiting. -- One mistake I made was not bringing two strollers. One of ours is not so great I figured I would rent one, which I did. However, the walk from the bus dropoff to the stroller rental was very long, and very hot in the morning, and very tired in the evening. We were missing the second stroller there! -- With an exception mentioned later, Disneyland was great! We took it slow. Our plan was to go back to the hotel mid-day and rest, but that never worked out. We had any lines to speak of. I had 4 priority passes from the hotel and only used one. I talked my 14 year old into joining me on Hyperspace Mountain and she loved it. Her first coaster! We used the priority pass to go to the front of the line. - The weather was actually great for an amusement park. Some clouds and some overcast and a breeze to keep it cool. We had been watching the typhoon and it was still tracking to miss Hong Kong. So it completely sucked on Thursday when they announced that all outdoor rides were closed due to level 3 warning! The weather was perfect except for a stronger than normal breeze. The bay was calm. Outdoor rides included even the covered carousel. This did make the indoor rides more crowded but in the end, the closures did not impact us much. -- So, Thursday night we transferred to the Regal Airport Hotel to make it easier to catch our 1210 flight back on Friday. The Regal was fine as it was my last stay on my visa run. I'm having a billing issue but it will get worked out. -- Overall, we had a good trip despite my wife and I not getting much sleep when the kids were sick in the night. We lived. Here are a few pictures... Sunset the first night at Explorer's. There is a really nice, beautifully landscaped area along the bay. Leila on the Merry-go-round Watching the 5D movie, highly recommended! Leila puffing some bubbles! Trick or treat at the hotel! Katy made a new BFF, the little Chinese girl, Summer. The kids loved meeting Moana!
  40. 16 points
    Hi Guys well I'm back home in not so sunny England ,its quite surreal to leave a hot and humid Manila and return to what must be one of the coldest springs on record. The vacation was very enjoyable and i had the experience of phillipino family life from two different families ,one in compostella mindano and the other at porac pampamanga .the first being very much a farming community that relies heavily on the vast surrounding banana plantations and the latter in porac being a family who have mostly worked overseas to earn money to buy their Jeepneys , we also stayed at Davao , Samal island and subic bay ,my favourite place was Samal island ,it was paradise. Ive experienced the hussle and bussle of the night market ,ate at road side eaterys ,up market restaurants, jollibees and mcdonalds. i will return at some point for a longer visit ,next time i wont set myself up with a woman ,id like to explore other areas , ive never seen people who are so happy in such impoverished living conditions , the lady that i met was a nice girl ,,however her father started questioning me on how much i earned and pensions etc , it was quite blunt that they wanted me to marry their daughter and support a family of around 20 people , during the trip the lady never spent a single peso despite me giving her 8k ,my buddles lady on the other hand bought the odd bottle of water for us etc , it was went i was asked if id pay for her son to come along that i decided to end the relationship after the two weeks . We spent 6 nights at the hof gori resort in samal ,owned by a lady boy ,we founf out that she pays her staff a pittance 250p a day to wait hand and foot on us ,she also pockets the service charge herself and takes back any tips that you give the staff ,so we slipped the staff a quiet tip ,the place itself was paradise the food was excellent we left there and after a stop over at Davao we flew to clark and were picked up in a jeepney and driven to porac ,I'm 6ft 1inch and the jeepney was the most uncomfortable ride that i can remember ,we had a day in porac before heading to Angeles ,i screwed up there ,i had booked us into a knocking shop type hotel , we stayed the night and had breakfast before our van picked us up and off to Subic we went ,i had booked us into the Treasure island resort ,it was a decent enough place and from ther we explored a little , a day trip to poondakit was enjoyed as so was the trips to the mall and the yacht club , i did not do the boat trip around the bay . overall a great experience and adventure
  41. 16 points
    Today in the US it will be Thanksgiving Day. I'm sure that in every other place in the world at some time of the year there is a day that people that although in in a different context, might also give thanks for many reasons. Please allow me at this time to thank each and every forum member here today, may you be a constant or sometimes contributor, or just one who joins in quietly here to share the collective experience that we all share called the Philippines. I'm almost at the four year mark here in my new and old adventure living here permanently. Thanks today to you all for sharing your experiences, and being there to hear and take stock in what I have to say. Even though I've never met any of you in person, I feel that you're friends that have unknowingly helped so much in getting me to where I am so far here. Whether it be honest insights, general information funny life stories shared, frustrations and heartbreaks, high and low points, and love stories of all kinds, and at some points "a voice in the wilderness", when I need one the most. For the folks that we don't hear from--just the collective feeling that you're out there and share some or all of these things along with me too, I thank you. Your experiences are mine now too, and I'm very grateful and will continue to be glad that I have such a wonderful resource as you all. For those who celebrate Thanksgiving Day today, I hope it's a happy one for you. Just know that you're all on my list of people and things to be thankful for today and every day.. Queenie
  42. 16 points
    Well, I finally got there. Saturday 30th September 2017. Retirement Day. 4 months short of 30 years working for British Telecom (BT). No more working outside in all weathers, no more dragging through the London traffic in my BT van. Today I woke with a smile, to be honest since I had my retirement confirmed 2 weeks ago my own little world has been a happy place to be. In the past 4 years since my ex broke our marriage life has been challenging and to be honest, often quite lonely. BUT THAT WAS THEN AND NOW IS NOW!! I am SO looking forward to the next chapter of my life. I truly cannot wait to be in the Philippines, to meet Noime again, its been 1.5 years since we were last together. I know that there will be challenging days ahead, after all it is the Phils, Lol, but in my opinion it's far better to have them challenging days relaxing in the sun on the beach or amongst friends having a beer or two on the boulevard. I was in Dumaguete last year and also the previous year, I have a few friends there already plus I also count our own forum members living there as friends, hopefully the friendships will grow in strength. Steve (Always RT) was living a couple of doors away from me last year at Hermogina Apartments and I also had the pleasure of meeting DaveH, Jack and Kev for a beer down on the boulevard, I am really looking forward to meeting them all again asap, plus I believe Davewe has also joined them. Hopefully the boys monthly meeting will have grown from 3 to 6, Lol. There has only been one big negative in this move for me, I had to give up my dog Smudge, an adorable old Cocker Spaniel I had since he was just a puppy, he will be 13 years old next week. Very sad.... but it is what it is, it had to be done. We all know the old saying "Is a glass half empty or half full?" Well, for me today my glass is overflowing with joy, bring it on. The Philippines and all that it holds, good and bad will be my new home. Can't wait to be there!!!
  43. 16 points
    I could just say a "me too" to Mogo's topic but I'll add a few more details about our own journey to the Philippines. He does have us beat by a week or so. We are due to arrive in Dumaguete August 1st (more or less). Our house is sold and the last checkbox toward the closing process is done; so it closes in a week. Will spend a week at a friends house before we take off. We booked a month to month rental apartment, where we were able to ship our BB boxes. There was a hiccup last night. The apartment people sent me an email detailing what I would need to take care of myself (bed sheets, pots and pans). They also told us the apartment has a LAN cable only. Janet, who has gotten used to fast internet and wifi pouted a minute until I reminded her that I would be bringing my wifi router and having worked in Networking for 15 years knew how to plug the ethernet cord into the wifi router lol. Of course I can't solve the speed issues. Unlike Mogo I don't think a bike is in my future but a car is. Also unlike Mogo, I am bringing my slightly rose colored glasses (Maui Jims of course). I think that both he and I feel pretty optimistic about our moves and that's a good thing. There will be plenty of opportunities to feel pessimistic in the future and probably a few people to encourage me along those lines, so starting out with a brighter tint works for me. I too discovered this forum years ago after being frustrated by the general negativity of a couple of other forums. I too want to thank all of you for your well reasoned thoughts and guidance. Now if only my guitar can survive the journey the trip will be perfect!
  44. 16 points
    Id say go for it mate and meet her in real life. I had a similar story. I was in Australia and bored. Had some flights booked to Cebu and from Manila to Japan a month later. Though to myself that might aswell talk to some Filipinas online and atleast get a "tour guide" for the month. I could figure out alot of the girls right awey. They were : give me money or take me awey to your country. I kept going and started talking to Anne. She had amazing english, was from a good family (all 4 siblings have uni degrees/good jobs), had a high paying job (By Filipino standard) and she was just so easy to talk to. We talked for about 3 months, everyday - hours at a time (she worked night shift and i was bored as ?????? at work). Ended up meeting her in Cebu and stayed with her for that month. Went to Japan and then came back to do a 2 week detour in Cebu, just to spend time with her. Visited her again for two months 7weeks later. She came to see me in Australia for three months and now we are engaged to be married and have a 3 month old boy. Been 2 years since we first met in Cebu Airport and i still love every single day that i spend with her.
  45. 16 points
    I'm not an expat but one time this year I seen a whole sentence that Thomas wrote that made sense. Mind you it was a two word sentence. :lol: :th_need_vac: :D
  46. 16 points
    No real question... just an observation. I was wandering around the city yesterday and ended up at a little street corner cafe. It was hot and a Tanduay Ice sounded like a good idea :) I met a couple expats (not important but 1 American, 1 Norwegian). We had a few drinks and visited - so far so good. They had obviously been drinking a lot before I got there, and showed no signs of slowing down. The problem was when I said I had enough, they said they drink there all day, every day... then shrugged and said what else is there to do over here. Wow. Really? I wish them well, but I hope I never end up like that. I have lots to do here. Even on days with nothing to do, I can relax and be happy. If I did not like it here, I would probably go somewhere else. There is probably no answer but how do so many people end up so miserable - and why stay if you are that miserable? I think some of them would be miserable anywhere. I have tried to teach my kids 'if you are not happy, right here, right now, when will you ever be?' :tiphat:
  47. 16 points
    Your concerns are very valid. I think there is a high percentage of American expats here who have "issues" of one kind or another. There are quite a few that always seem to be arrogant and/or have angry attitudes (think Donald Trump on a bad hair day). There also seem to be a LOT of expats that have a drinking problem. If you are a person who likes to socialize, it could be problem finding expat friends you would like to be around. Like you, I have interacted with a large number of expat sites, blogs, etc. I can tell you without reservation that this site has, by far, the best group of contributors. The malcontents must either finds us all too dull, or JGF runs them off before they can create problems. Meeting up with someone from this site who lives close to where you plan to live could be a great way to begin new friendships when you get here.
  48. 16 points
    While reading this article, I was thinking of those who were still in the hope of finding their special someone. Maybe this could help us make that one crucial decision (again, credit to the Author, Kevin Thompson). There is one vital characteristic you should look for in a spouse but unfortunately, it is often forgotten. "In sickness and in health." On two occasions I have said those words with the full confidence that the couple repeating those words actually knew what they meant. The first occurrence brought a smile to my face. She had endured and marriage was her reward on the other side of illness. Together they have journeyed through the struggles of a serious disease as boyfriend and girlfriend. Now they would be husband and wife. They knew what "in sickness and in health" meant. The second occurrence brought a tear to my eye. She had weeks to live. The vow renewal was his gift to her. I almost cut the words fearing they might be too painful. But with a crowd gathered I included them as a testimony to all who would hear them say, "in sickness and in health." They meant it and everyone knew it. Few people consider sickness and suffering when picking a mate. They consider how the other person might look in the morning or what bad habits they might have. They consider what offspring they could produce or what extended family they might bring to the reunion. Yet few people ever consider what is a vital question — can I suffer with this person? It sounds like the beginning of another marriage joke, but it's not. It's a real question and one which should be explored by every dating couple. Suffering is a part of life. And the older a person gets, the more we realize that suffering is not a rare occurrence, but is a common aspect of our lives. Sorrow comes in many forms, yet it is guaranteed to come. BEWARE: Not everyone suffers well. Some live in denial — unable to confront the deep realities of life. Some live in despair — unable to recognize the convergence of laughter and tears. Few have the grace to suffer well. Those who do suffer well are a well-spring of life and faith. Who do you want holding your hand when the test says "cancer?" On whose shoulder do you want to lean when the doctor says, "We've done all we can?" With whom do you want to lay beside when you don't know where your child is or if they will ever come home? When your world turns upside down, in whose eyes do you want to look? Find someone who suffers well. I know it doesn't seem important when life is perfect. A beautiful smile is far more attractive than a quiet determination. A common interest is far more appealing than internal strength. Yet when life falls apart, you want someone you can run to, not someone you want to run from. You want someone who believes in you. You want someone who instills faith, not causes doubt. You want someone who hopes no matter the circumstances. In the Bible, Job's wife responded to his suffering by saying, "Curse God and die." Had he not suffered enough? Was life not difficult enough? Enduring hardship was enough, yet Job was also forced to rebuke his wife during his time of struggle. Life is hard enough; there is no need to make it harder. Choosing a spouse who does not suffer well makes life harder. It makes every grief stronger. It makes every sorrow more painful. It makes every hurt deeper. Yet, when our spouse knows how to suffer, when they don't live in denial, but confront the sorrows of life, when they don't live in despair but know how to laugh and cry at the same time, when they offer support and hope in all of life's challenges, when they can see the big picture of life, then, every grief is wedded to hope every sorrow is matched with love and every hurt is paired with healing. One of the great guarantees of life is that every person, every couple, will suffer. When choosing a mate, choose someone who suffers well and you will never be sorry.
  49. 16 points
    Only come with what you can bring in 2 suitcases Bring enough meds for 6 months (f you are on any) Maintain a US Residence if at all possible, until you are 100% sure the Philippines is for you (after you have immersed yourself for at least 4-5 months). Buy a changeable round trip ticket (allows you to return should it not work out for you) as you will need an onward ticket to be allowed to board the plane in the US anyway. The first 6 months will be your most expensive (setting up a household and establishing a lease). Plan on a minimum budget of $2000/mo until you can find a semi-permanent place. Bring at least $4000 with you or wire yourself $ via one of the money wire services. You can pick it up once in country. Set up an account so that you send to yourself from the US to the Phil. Bring Credit Card/ATM, but use sparingly. Notify your financial institutions that you will be using them in the Philippines for at least 6 months. Otherwise you run the risk of the cards being cancelled or at minimum declined. Use these sparingly as the country is rife with Credit Card Credential theft. Bring a checkbook. Get a local bank account for US Dollars in your wife’s name. Write a check for deposit for the next month’s budget. A lot of banks require a $500 maintenance balance (Cash). It can take several months for you to obtain an Alien Certificate of Registration (ACR) which is a common requirement for opening an account (not needed for your wife). Bring a notarized copy of your Marriage Certificate. Upon arrival in the Philippines have your wife ask the Immigration officer for a “Balikbayan Stamp” for you. This will give you one year free in country and should you want to leave after 6 months, no need to get an Exit Clearance Certificate (ECC) from Immigration prior to leaving. It also saves you about $560 in annual fees. Get a VOIP phone (Magicjack or Skype) prior to leaving the US activated. You will need this to contact your banks when they decline your charges (I know that you told them already but it will still happen on occasion even though you did). Leave all 110V devices behind and buy only universal devices (110V-240V). Get the most pages you can add to your passport before you leave. It is a hell of a lot easier than doing it abroad. Plan on renting and move about frequently until you find a suitable place for both you and your asawa. Most expats fail or have problems when living close to their in-laws and extended family. Choose a suitable place at least 2 days travel by bus away. Maintain your US Driver’s license. You will need it to maintain your state residency and should you return to the US for vacation. Go paperless on all bills and financials. Bring a laptop for your communications (most are universal power) and it has a battery so it will work during the frequent power outages. Load a VPN client on said laptop so that you can access any websites that are US only (Hulu, etc.). It is also an additional layer of protection when accessing your financial web sites. As a minimum, get your Tetanus and Rabies vaccinations current. Both are endemic in this country. Bring your shot record with you. Bring lots of Patience and try to look at things objectively when you are here as most people are in the “honeymoon” stage for 6 months or longer. Always have a backup plan for everything and an emergency plan should you have to relocate back to the US. Once your wife has US Citizenship, get her dual citizenship.
  50. 16 points
    Hey all, Thought I would share my story from when we first bought our house here in Binangonan, Rizal & the struggles & eventual pleasure we came across on our journey. It might give an insight to some planning on building a place or renovating on what not to do! We bought our place in a sub division in 2002 & everything about the place was appealing to me, quiet, secure, flood free & a nice family sized home to go with it at a good price! It was the first time either of us have purchased a property & to be honest we were both a little naive with everything. We basically purchased 2 houses and their lots which had been made into one home, inside there was only basic work done, all the fixtures and piping, electrical etc were in place but we had plans to build extensions on either side and the back, plus we also had to decide on the number of bedrooms we would like upstairs as there was no divisions in place. We worked on plans for the remainder of our vacation (we were both working abroad at the time) and thought we would look into them over the next 6 months while we were away and look into costing etc. Almost 7 months later we returned to the Philippines & wanted to start the ball rolling & get our plans and ideas into action. My fiancee (at the time) talked me into employing one of her childhood friends who was an architect to run the project, I did have reservations but seeing how close they still were, i thought lets do it! After telling him exactly what we wanted, we asked him to draw up the plans and sort everything out, then he would forward them onto us for final approving as at this stage we were about to return to work again. The plans arrived, everything looked perfect for us so we advised him to get everything underway and after forwarding costs associated we decided that we would send money in instalments, as & when he saw fit to move it along at a steady rate. At this time, my wife spoke to her family, particularly her father as she didnt want him interfering with the builders (he likes to get involved) they took a bit of offence and said they would stay away from there period (not good). So our future paradise was underway and we were so excited to see the end product, the issue now was that we wouldnt be able to return to the Philippines for almost 1 year which we were not happy about as we wanted to move in and get settled in our new home asap but work called and without work, none of this was possible. During the year we received positive news regarding the progress of our property and how things were moving fast, but never photographs which if Im honest we never even thought about asking for. We had requests for the instalments of money, at first at the times agreed but then as the year progressed, the architect friend then asked for the remainder to get everything completed for our arrival mid february, we obliged and again dreamed of our beautiful home finally being finished! We never knew anything different until the day we were flying back to the Philippines, we were in Seattle airport on a layover when my wife rang home to finalise us being picked up and taken home when her mother broke the news, the house is not ready, the workers have all left as they hadnt been paid for weeks of work and that my wifes brothers and friends are actually there now just trying to make the place look somewhat liveable. We were devastated and still had a long, long flight to think about it! We thought it couldnt really be that bad...... We were mistaken! On our arrival my wife called her archtect friend and told him we would pick him up on the way to our place, which he hesitantly obliged to. Once we met, he then told us how he had actually taken on another project and then hired another architect to take on our home renovation..... My wife was furious, I was gutted, even more so when we reached our place, despite her brothers efforts the house was unliveable. I wouldnt ask anyone to live there, it was just a building site! Any materials they had bought for the place were the cheapest, nastiest looking things I had ever seen...... Gutted is not even close to how we both felt, Stupid summed us up perfectly, if only we hadnt asked the family to stay away..... We were told how the 2nd Architect had started the job & after a number of months became slack and then after recieveing the final part of the budget, all of a sudden disappeared, leaving workers sleeping on the property, waiting for someone to come and pay them! The Architect(friend-i use that word loosely) eventually found out but was too scared to inform us so just continued to hide it from us until he finally told my wifes parents. I have to say at this stage, I really wanted to get on the first plane out of Manila and never come back, but then again I saw how upset my wife was and knew we had to be strong and do something as soon as we could, needless to say first things first, we called our employers and asked for extended leave, 4 months granted!......next a good Lawyer (yeah right!)to find this crook who had the best part of $20,000 of our money, done! We had to meet with the Barangay police with this guy who then proceeded to blame the other architect & obviously said he had no money, it was like school boy stuff! I think enough is mentioned on the legal system here for you all to know the outcome of this......still to this day I havent seen a penny of that money come back to me, who knows where this guy is, but one day he will get his Karma, if not already, lawyers are useless especially in our situation where my wife wouldve had to quit her job & stay home to persue a legal case, something we couldnt afford to do, taking into account of pensions etc, it was too much to lose. We then spent the next 4 months rebuilding the entire property, how we wanted it, with the quality materials we wanted......basically we worked harder than we ever have trying to have something resembling a home we could live in, alot of hard work & effort by some really good workers, family & friends saw us do just that.....obviously at a cost but we didnt really care at that point! Our 4 month vacation (if you can call it that) was now done. Our home looked like a home, not complete but a home finally. Over the next few years, we would take one project at a time & fix the remainding areas just the way we wanted, the bathroom (my wifes pride & joy), the bar, the kitchen & breakfast bar, the spare bedroom all coming together in the end. When we have visitors they are always so impressed with our 'beautiful home' we dont tell most about the first 5 years we had the place, rather just enjoy their admiring stares and take satisfaction of the efforts and strength we shown together. I know this has been a long story......very long! But I just hope that anyone thinking about building/ renovating from a distance will take the necessary procautions that we didnt and won't get ripped off altogether, there are bad elements everywhere & unfortuantely we were victims, we learned a harsh, expensive lesson but very early on in our lives together here & hopefully we came out the better for it. Please take care & dont make our mistakes. :)
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