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ManilaBae

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Everything posted by ManilaBae

  1. Great, it seems like you're sorted then. Good luck and I hope it all works for your :)
  2. I wouldn't take a loan in the Philippines as the lending interest rates are high. Agree with you that much of the effort should be directed to due diligence, and instantly killing opportunities that might present negative risk(s). Renting in various parts of the Philippines makes sense to me, as its easy to uproot if the place isnt doing anything for you. However, if you decide to build roots in a particular place, and your rigorous due diligence passes your standards then Id commit to a land purchase and building a proper home. I prefer building a proper home over a native home because building materials and labour increase in value over time. Id rather lock in the present cost now, and hopefully, enjoy some capital appreciation when the house construction is complete. As for lump sum withdrawals from his superannuation account, he can access some super funds if he hasnt met the condition of release so long as he has unpreserved/non-restricted tax-free components available in his balance. Otherwise, best to wait til his retirement to access as this is tax-free. An alternative is to apply for an equity loan against the OP's primary home or investment property, so long as he has enough equity in place.
  3. Have you checked you superannuation components in your superannuation account? You can access your superannuation if you have unrestricted/non-preserved components, and its best that these components are tax-free. Otherwise, you need to meet a condition of release (retirement declaration, turning 65 (non-gainfully employed), financial hardship, having a terminal illness or death) to enjoy a tax-free pension or lump sum payments.
  4. Hey Steve I believe that there are other drivers that could provoke foreign men to move half-way around the world apart from love. One such factor is economic. In countries, such as Australia, there are retirees whose meagre superannuation (401k or pension) balance is insufficient to live a decent life in Australia due to higher costs of living and lowering government subsidies in place. So, they then look for countries where their dollar will afford them beyond just the basics, and the perk of attracting much younger partners with the possibility of finding a life partner who'd care for them. Another driver could be climatic. There are more mature people who live in countries with very harsh winters who now prefer a more tropical lifestyle. The promise of living by the beach, in a rural setting has a strong allure. While it's easy to suggest that love is what posters in this forum must be feeling to endure the "struggles" of living in a third world country like the Philippines, there are many other factors worth considering. Importantly, we need to investigate cases where expats left the country, divorced their Filipino partners etc..., so you have a complete set of information for analysis. Interestingly, some mathematicians came up with an equation for finding the "one". The belief is that you don't just have the one but rather you have multiple "ones". A simple mathematical guideline they posit is to reject approx. 37-39.87% of your partners then the succeeding ones are likely to be to your cuppa. Interestingly, a meta-analysis spanning 33 years, 137 research studies and with 38 thousand participants found that what kept couples (married or platonic) together was "positive illusion"-- essentially, how awesome you think of each other. This is crucial for the longevity of a relationship particularly at times of conflict. ( https://www.brainpickings.org/2015/02/18/hannah-fry-the-mathematics-of-love/ ) Cheers
  5. Have you used this concoction yourself? Im really curious if it works for all body types since we all have differing body chemistries.
  6. When you say "expat type condo", are you referring to modern western interiors & surrounds eg. Rockwell or just modern interiors and typical Manila surrounds? If you're after the former, then I dont think there is anything comparable to what Rockwell, BGC or Resorts World offer in the Manila district. However, it is likely to find well appointed condos that are spacious. The only downside is the surrounding environment can be chaotic. Whilst Makati is nice, the commute to Manila can be debilitating. You could consider Resort's World (in front of the NAIA Intl terminal). Some of the apartments are brand new and all residential buildings are constantly surveilled by security guards. The Skyway is literally at its door, so it is an easy and a quick taxi/car trip to Manila, bypassing some of the heavy traffic congestions along SLEX. In addition, it straddles nicely midway between BGC, Makati, Mall of Asia and within super easy reach to the Manila airports.
  7. Hence, the need to cook (or overcook) beef really well. Its only in expensive restaurants where prime grade beef, usually sourced in the US or Australia, can you enjoy a rare steak.
  8. You're right. I should have explained myself to the poster why I believe Japan is worth the expense, especially when I've been there more than 10x. The reason why I frequent Japan is because I am a sucker for skiing, and Hokkaido has some of the world's best snow. So whenever I can, I head to Niseko and environs as its only a 12 hr journey (end-to-end) from Sydney, which beats my 6 hr driving to our nearest ski field all for an expensive and rather disappointing snow trip. Beyond the skiing, Japan offers incredible and unique cultural experiences ranging from interesting train rides in Tokyo (heated seats in winter, musical chimes and timeliness) to the wonderful walks in Kiyomizu-dera and the Gion district in Kyoto, which takes you back to the Imperial times. There' are plenty of activities and places to cover in Japan, and 1 trip is not enough to experience most of what it offers. The ubiquity of quality food is fantastic and much is owed to the attention and care that Japanese people seem to have (head to a dept store foodcourt to see what I mean). Lastly, shopping in Tokyo is unlike anywhere else in Asia. The range of products and brands at your disposal, to me, is almost unfathomable. There's even a multi-storey dept store in Tokyo dedicated to men's stuff. As for your point about the per diem expense, I tend to budget on the high side (approx US$600 per day) as I usually stay either in 5 star hotels or in ryokans (approx $300+ per night). However, it is possible to do it on the cheap by opting to stay in love or business hotels (approx $70-$150) and dining in many fine ramen shops ($5-$15) or even 7-11 sandwiches ($3-$5, and theyre really good). So, irrespective of your budget, my belief is that the experiences you gain from having to see Japan is well worth any amount of money you spend.
  9. I flew with Jetstar from Manila to Osaka 2 years ago, and it was a great experience. The plane was modern, the flight was smooth and the route gave me a beautiful view of the Sierra Madre Mountains and the Batanes islands up north. If you do choose to fly with them, make sure you bring snacks and drinks that'd last you 3 and a bit hours, as inflight food was quite pricey. Furthermore, Jetstar has just released new direct flights from/to Tokyo and Nagoya ( http://newsroom.jetstar.com/jetstar-japan-offers-new-low-fares-services-from-tokyo-osaka-and-nagoya-to-manila/ ). Time your ticket purchase during one of their specials to avail cheaper ticket prices. Japan is well worth the expense.
  10. ahh yeah, those steamy and BBQ-d corn brushed with Star margarine :lol: :lol:
  11. heh. At the Ayala Center in Makati, there is/was (not sure if its still there) a restaurant called 'The Australian Outback'. It wasnt the real deal, and in fact the interiors ambience and choice of music were more American than Australian. So I was kind enough to write down a note in their suggestion box suggesting to infuse some 'Australiana' to make ithe experience more authentic. I even wrote down 'Land Downunder' as needing a permanent fixture in their music list. So in my subsequent visit 2 years later, the indoor space hadnt changed much but the music had a lot more Australian flavour. No 'Men at Work' nor 'Cold Chisel', but plenty of Kylie Minogue,Tina Arena and Savage Garden soundtracks. They're just lovesick to the core. :lol:
  12. Im like you and err in caution. My thinking is that even if the economists' forecast are only half right, in a span of 10 years your property purchase, in a premium Manila district, is likely to appreciate in capital value by around 50%. Bottomline, buying a property makes more financial sense, so long as you can include your protectionist clauses so you're not dudded out of your own property. Another realisation that I had is it is likely that OFWs based in OECD countries, would borrow from their base country's lending institution rather than in the Philippines because the interest rates are far more competitive. In my case, a portion of my Manila condo was paid for by my Australian bank secured by my property portfolio in Australia. The lending risk is therefore within Australia and not likely to be in the Philippines. Furthermore, Ive encountered a few property investors who paid fully in cash using their savings or some funds from their pension fund. Considering that many of the 10 million Filipino OFWs are nearing retiring age, the search and inevitable purchase of a home base in the Philippines is starting to become a key financial decision by them.
  13. When I need some healthy food on the go and Im near a big supermarket, I head to the fruits and vegetables section and request for my fresh fruits to be sliced and placed in a styrofoam container. For P50, one could get a small, whole papaya and a few pieces of bananas. Another "streetfood" that I like is fresh young coconut juice and meat for around P20 and paired with either freshly fired turon or banana-q for P8 and P12 respectively. Taho is another healthy alternative for P25 for a full mug.
  14. Very well done and thank you for sticking with this case right through the end. These cases provide so much lessons learned to expats who desire to create a life in a place unfamiliar to them. Im really saddened by the story of this hopeful young Swiss man who wanted to pursue his entrepreneurial dream, which was then cut short by the ill-motives of malicious individuals. I hope that similar incidents are curbed through the strengthening of the expat communities in the Philippines, irrespective of which country we had come from.
  15. Im not sure if anyone else notices the change in accent when a Filipino sings. Its as if the heavy Filipino/visayan etc... accent magically goes away and every word sung becomes mellifluently clear. When the singing ends theyre back to their natural accent. :hystery:
  16. :lol: That's pretty hilarious Old55. Do you remember what songs she sang to you?
  17. We know how lovesick Filipinos are and this is evidenced from their penchant to following "love-teams" of actors on TV, always looking at opportunities to connect singles for a possible union, and engaging in so many relationship related "chismis" of others' lives. Adding to this is their love for sweet, soppy love songs; especially those from the yesteryears. Think Spandau Ballet's 'True', David Pomeranz' 'Born For You' or Chaka Khan's 'Through the Fire'- they're permanent song fixtures on their favourite radio stations or in their play list on their iMusic. Furthermore, these artists seem to perenially perform in live concerts in the Philippines, making a bucketload of cash in the process. Whilst these artists' have faded in popularity in the western world, they are on the other hand considered as demi-gods in the Philippines. My question to you is, have you grown a much stronger appreciation for soppy, love songs as a result of your living in the Philippines? :mocking:
  18. A few days before departing for the Philippines, I transfer my AUD through a Filipino money transfer agent in Sydney eg. bmexpress.com, and electronically wire into my BDO/Robinsons bank accounts in Phils. I only pay a nominal transfer fee of $8 and enjoy a rate much higher than a local bank and a bureau de change in Manila. Recently, Ive come across https://transferwise.com, so Id be very keen to try them out in my next transaction as their fees are very competitive with a pay out rate based on the real exchange rate.
  19. I understand your concerns completely and its good to see that you are considering all angles and seeking to fully understand everything there is about condo ownership in the Philippines. Sooner or later, you will have to draw the line somewhere and decide if committing to a purchase or abandoning the idea completely is the right way forward. Many posters have put forth their perspectives- some urge you not to buy while others think that you should. You know your partner more than any of us here, and the fact that you'd even consider buying a condo for her and your child means that there is some trust and a lot of care for them. If you didnt, you'd be unlikely to even consider a property purchase. So this is a good starting point. From my perspective, you should draw the worst possible case scenario that is acceptable to you (eg. you lose your stake on your property and your child gets a guaranteed minimum 50% of the asset and your partner the other 50%). Perhaps you may want to clearly define where you lowest threshold is because if the likely future outcome (through your forecasts, gut feel and deep reflection) of holding your property purchase falls between your lowest and the highest (family's cohesive and will be together long term), then I suggest you go ahead and purchase a condo (must consult lawyer and have a fair contract between you and your partner). If your lowest threshold is breached for the worse then kill the idea and seek alternatives in having your family live with you to save costs. If I were in your shoes I'd seek a solid legal advice first. When Im happy with the legal advice, determine specifically what property to buy- Location(stick with premium areas), budget (know your min-max), must haves, nice to haves, deal breakers and deal makers. Construct a matrix and tick each one that satisfies your requirements. Limit your search to established developments because buying pre-selling doubles your expenses as youd still be maintaining your family's monthly stipend + payment scheme towards your unbuilt property (approx 5 years). Thats an extra P1.5million in cost (25kx12mosx5yrs)! Furthermore, there are condo sellers that fire sale their properties because of liquidity issues or shortfall in funding. Take advantage of this situation because you'll get instant equity in your purchase which means that you're already ahead at day 1 of owning the condo. Lastly, spend time physically scouring through properties, talking to agents face to face and asking your Manila contacts (and theirs') for property leads because agents that you find online are likely to rip you off. Make sure you have your BS radar fully active and if things are not making sense just walk away. Just to address some people's concerns about the bust in apartment prices in Manila. Yes, the pace of development has been astronomical and it was so because of key economic drivers that supported the capital growth of the Philippine property market - cheap access to credit, sound economic growth, inflows of foreign capital etc... The Philippines is projected to keep an approx growth rate of 5% p.a. for another 20 yrs (DW 2016), and some economists believe that the Philippines will be among the top 10 biggest economies in the world by 2050 (PWC 2050). If the growth rate of 5% yoy is maintained, then the doubling of the Philippine economy is approx every 10 years (Yueh 2015). What is likely to happen to property prices in the Philippines by then? Yep, its likely to go up. I've met so many Filipinos in Aus and the US who are multiple apartment holders in Manila. Surprisingly, most of us aren't renting out our apartments because we'd rather use them and have them kept in pristine condition for when we and our friends are due for a holiday back. In one of the buildings where I have an apartment at , most of the owners are OFW, and our apartments arent being tenanted out. And whats clear to me is for you to stick to the premium locations and premium developers. Prime locations and high quality developments are likely to go upwards in price rather than stagnate or fall (so long as theres no black swan event). So buying is the way to go especially with your time horizon. Just work out some of the key steps I outlined and satisfy if the risk for you is worth the investment. Regards Mark References: DW 2016 http://www.dw.com/en/the-philippines-has-transitioned-to-a-tiger-economy/a-18225955 PWC 2015 http://www.pwc.com/ng/en/press-room/the-world-by-2050.html Yueh 2015
  20. Hi afathertobe, Glad to be of help. Ill answer your questions in turn: What would you do differently with your MW properties? I would have purchased a bigger 3 bd apartment as my primary Manila base because a lot of the space in my apartment is eaten by the structural, reinforcing coloumns. So when buying a pre-selling property, make sure you check where these columns are likely to be placed. Second, I wouldve reached out to RW condo purchasers to understand what their lessons learned were. I wouldve trawled the internet for real client feedback and understand what pain points clients experienced/experiencing. That way I have all important information to consider and pull out of an investment if the developer's credibility is not stacking right for me. Third, I would have sat down with someone in operations, preferably in the highest seat possible, so I understand what the procedural steps are when turning over a condo. Furthermore, developing a relationship with someone in command could help at crisis situation especially if you need your case escalated to a key decision maker. Giving small tokens like imported chocolates or shouting them lunch or dinner would help cement the "friendship" Did you anticipate costs and your own efforts correctly? No I did not anticipate the costs and efforts correctly because I planned some key trips around the time of the turn over of my condo. Much to my dismay with their delays, it cost me money to accommodate myself in Manila in the times that I flew there. Also theres the rental loss of 1 year that I took into account. Luckily, though, the capital gains of the properties more than compensated for the cost overruns, but the annoyance and inconvenienced left a sour taste in my palette. Did you get billed for costs at short notice, unable to send money on time? No, the payment plan was structured well enough that there was no reason for me to miss a payment. The issue came at the turn over of the condo because of the challenges sending funds abroad from Australia (lots of AML procedures by banks etc... which is monitored by the govt). How was the communication with them when overseas? Terrible. They were non-responsive or quite difficult to reach. I suspect that they get pounded by a lot of problem emails daily, which explains their non-communicative ways. More disappointingly, their phone lines are seldom answered.
  21. Good strategy. The flipside of a Filipino's seeming "good naturedness" is their view of you as an enemy for life if you displease them.
  22. What I find odd and hilarious is when ex-classmates from yesteryear's would call each other 'Classmate' on facebook. Ive seen posts along the lines of 'Happy Birthday Classmate!' or ' Hey Classmate, you're looking good and healthy' etc... This demonstrates, at least to me, the clannish ways of the Filipinos, and how protective they are be of their circles.
  23. :thumbsup: Great life............JGF should start a sister forum "tourist in the Philippines" :mocking: :cheersty: Im sure, sooner or later, the constant movement will tire me out. Hopefully, by then, I've found my piece of paradise and stick put for a loooong time. Im, also thinking of constructing a health farm, specifically targeted to retirees who like a semi/full retirement living under the care of healthcare professionals. Its been at the back of my mind for the longest time, however, theres a lot of work involved maintaining this kind of business. I had a realisation on the operational challenges of running such place when I stayed at 'The Farm' in San Benito Batangas for 1 week. We have another member who is thinking of starting some type of care center in Philippines. If I understand correctly you are thinking of hosting retirees with care as needed in a hobby farm to tinker about? Yes something to that effect. Its like 'The Farm' at San Benito + a commune + a very "green hospital" where the focus is on blending Chinese med/ayurveda in the healing process. Importantly, I want it to feel "complete" because in the Philippines,a lot of the structures there look and feel "unfinished".
  24. I really see this as a growing trend , at least in Australia, as baby boomers begin to wind down with work and begin to spend their savings and "live life". Those, who, cannot afford to support the lifestyle costs of Sydney, Melbourne or Perth are very likely to be attracted to living in a cheaper destination such as the Philippines as their savings will get them at least 5x more of what theyd otherwise afford in a major Australian city. Australia is still yet to hear and experience more of what the Philippines is about because the bias at the moment is towards Bali and Thailand. However, in the coming years, they might see the Philippines as a more favourable retirement option because they could afford to hire fulltime nurses/physios etc... to care for them.
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