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About Maxheadspace

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    Washington, DC
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    Travel, scuba diving, videography...

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  1. So Ash, what did you decide? Did you take the plunge and relocate to the Philippines? If I was participating in this thread two years ago I would have suggested you look at other options in the Philippines other than Cebu. Only because Cebu is a little bit more costly than other parts of the islands. My wife and I opted for Batangas and bought a small farm there. Personally, I think you would enjoy the Philippines.
  2. From my experience, people who really have money don't describe themselves as having big money. And doing so in the Philippines paints a target on your back. I take great pains to project that I have no money.
  3. Owww... (Crossing my legs...)
  4. That is on my mind. I guess the true questions is, "what's the going rate for an architect in the Philippines?" My wife is usually a cut-throat gangster when it comes to negotiating these things, but she gets soft when it's a relative or close friend. Have to maintain peace in the family. I've been pressing her to avoid the inner circle altogether, which has paid off so far.
  5. I guess that's true anywhere. They say 90% of all burglaries are perpetrated by people the homeowners know. Friends, acquaintances stop by and see stuff in your house they like... Decide to visit later on the sly to make off with your treasures.
  6. My wife and I are planning the build of our home in Batangas. We've been searching for an architect and all of my wife's friends and relatives are pushing their "favorite" architect, all of whom are asking seriously jacked up prices because they know I'm American. Anyone have a line on a decent, reasonably priced architect in Batangas? Although I'm not sure the architect actually needs to be in Batangas, so I'm open to suggestions. Many thanks! Max
  7. Jack, I totally subscribe to your approach to getting along. I've always lived a low-profile kind of life. I plan on getting a simple used utility truck to get around, cargo shorts and a T-shirt for dress, and I own no bling. Now, my wife will need some convincing. What's the use of living the good life if you can't show off to your friends?!? And I totally agree with becoming a positive contributor to the community. Thanks for the feedback.
  8. Thanks for the comforting comments, Graham. I consider the perimeter wall a minimum requirement. Still mulling over what other security measures I will need. I think, as in your and my cases, being away from high density populations reduces somewhat the risk of crime spilling on to your property. Not blind to the fact that crime can happen anywhere.
  9. Yeah, the word gaol absolutely confounds most Americans.
  10. Thanks for the reply. Yours is kind of the safety measures I'm thinking, but our farm is out of town. Not totally secluded, as there are neighbors maybe several hundred meters away, but still a bit isolated. We figure dogs will be an absolute must for out in the yard. On a side note, Max is my nickname, Jeff is my actual first name. Everywhere I go when I have to present my personal information, everyone asks if I spell my first name with a G or a J. My reply has always been that I have never in my life met a Geoff with a G. Well, here you are! Thanks again, Geoff! Max, aka Jeff with a J
  11. I'm just in the process of retiring and moving to the Philippines. My Filipina wife and I just purchased some farm land in Batangas. She wants to build a house on the farm property and live there. Although I would love to live in a house on our farm property, I'm concerned about our safety living outside the confines of gated communities. How many expats here live in a non-expat, non-gated community? And those that do, how safe do you feel and to what lengths do you go to secure your home? As we would build the house from scratch and more-or-less to Western standards, it will definitely stand out among the neighbors. Not too concerned about our neighbors per se, as they're lovely, friendly people, but I have no reference as to what safe means for an expat in the provinces. The other option on my mind is to live in the nearby town and just drive out to the farm as needed. That would require a lot of convincing for my wife. Would like to get some perspectives from those that have been around a while. Any thoughts? Many thanks! Max
  12. HSBC sounds like the wisest way for me to move the large sums of money, since I will also be wanting a bank that has branches in both countries for future day-to-day transactions. I looked at the HSBC site and the Premium account has too high of requirements for my interests, but their Advance account seems about perfect. And the Advance account will allow international transfers as well. If I recall, Citibank has branches in both the US and Philippines, so maybe I'll check that as well. Thanks for the tip!
  13. Shopping for my wife's house in the Philippines. Any recommended ways to transfer money into the Philippines from the US that won't carry a hefty transfer fee? Like around $100K. Or am I just stuck with the regular bank-to-bank transfer?
  14. Any special allowances for those vaccinated? Got my second shot two weeks ago so I should be 95% immune, per CDC.
  15. OMG I will never touch Fi again! I bought a Fi approved phone and got a fi account. Traveled around Asia and half the places where it was supposed to work, it didn't. Then somehow my bills started climbing. I had my phone off for like a month and the bill was outrageous. I called to ask about it and they couldn't explain, but did tell me if the phone is off I still get charged for incoming calls that I don't answer. I cancelled on the spot. What a freakin' nightmare.
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