My Life in the Philippines – Continuing House Hunt

My Life in the Philippines, February 9, 2016

So, it’s 7 PM here in the Philippines, and I am kicking back on the futon in our little office writing this entry up.  Cuz somewhere along the line, someone mentioned that the whole idea of a blog is actually writing up blog entries.

I sometimes forget that.

Michell is visting her family in Mindano until later this week, so life is pretty dull  – later, I will probably shave my head and watch some of the latest UFC fights.  Ah, the bachelor life in the Philippines….

Mystery Science Theater 3000 is on right now.  It’s the season 1, episode 2 full-on lampoon of “The Robot vs. the Aztec Mummy.”  If you haven’t ever seen MST 3K (it was popular in the mid 90’s), you’re missing out.  Basically, it’s three comedians making fun of old black and white movies, mostly science fiction and old monster flicks.  It’s pretty frikken hilarious and is one of those shows that makes you wish you could still smoke weed….

The theme song is pretty catchy as well.

House Hunt
The search for the “perfect” Philippines rental continues.  I just got back from the Robinson’s Mall Globe office, and they are going to send out a team to “survey” the Junob apartment to see if they can install internet available. (Unfortunealey, our 16 MB Sky Broadband is not available in Junob.)  Like all things in the Philippines, to find out if a certain residence has internet availability, you have to actually go down to the ISP office and ask.  They usually won’t know the answer, so they will have to “dispatch” a technician out to check the address.  Actually, “address” is a bit of a misnomer seeing most parts of the Philippines generally don’t have numbered street addresses.  So, in lieu of that, you will typically be asked to make a “sketch” of where you live – basically a map.  And hopefully your artistic skills are up to snuff, because if they can’t find where you live, you’re pretty much sheet out of luck.

Cool Living
I like the 12,500 pesos apartment in Junob for a few reasons.  First off, the apartment is on the first floor of a three story, 9 unit complex.  With two floors of thermal mass above us and no direct sunlight, the apartment won’t suffer from the metal-roof-with-no-ventilation that makes pink house barely habitable at times.  The sun is VICIOUS in the Philippines, and once those metal roofs transfer the heat down into the house’s concrete frame, it never really cools off in the hotter months – it will still be about 85 degrees Fahrenheit at 3 o’clock in the morning.  And seeing as how the “hotter” months in the Philippines run 9 months of the year, having a cool, first floor unit pretty nice. The location of the complex is also good:  The apartment is about halfway up the road to Valencia and is a lot less congested than where we live now.   

Less Dogs and Smogs
The second reason I like this apartment is that it there is very little to no burning of trash, barking dogs or verbally posturing roosters letting every other rooster know where it is 24 hours a day.  The burning trash in Bunao is really bad, and it seems like every time I head out there are so many trash fires going that it appears as if the whole barangay is aflame.  The neighborhood dogs in our present neighborhood are also getting more abrasive with every additional generation that the bitches spit out.  And after being here for about a year and a half, there’s been about three generations added to the local pack.  I love dogs, but when you have a dozen of them barking and howling when you are trying to sleep, one tends to start fantasizing about varmit rifles and poison….

split type aircon

Mongo Need Aircon!
Finally, the apartment has actual tinted sliding windows that make for a lot more efficient and economical air conditioning.  My biggest complaint about living in the Philippines has been the heat and sometimes air conditioning is the only thing that can bring on some relief.  And since we only have aircon in the two small “Filipino-sized” bedrooms, it’s kind of limits how much we can use the living room and dining area.  I know I shouldn’t be complaining about aircon given the fact that most Filipinos can’t afford it, but it was getting a bit claustrophobic in the bedroom this past summer; to the point where I was starting to feel like a cave man.  With the layout of the apartment in Junob, we can easily add a split type aircon to cool off the main living area.  I am even thinking that we can put a single one in the bedroom that can cool both the bedroom and the other main room with the door left open.  Either way – and even if we can’t get this particular apartment – the next place we get is going to have an aircon system that can cool more of the house.

Expat Exclusive
For some reason, the apartment is filled with only foreigners, an eclectic mix of family guys, foreign contract employees and students.  It might sound kind of messed up to admit, but in speaking with two of the guys that are living there now, this is actually a good thing.  All of the residents there are quiet and respectful of the other residents – in short, there’s no loud music or late-night karaoke and no Filipino dog owners that are immune to their own mutt’s incessant howling. 

So, there it is.  Globe said it would take 5-7 business days to see if the apartment can get halfway decent internet, and in that time there is always a chance that the apartment will get rented out.  If that happens, it’s not the end of the world.  I would actually prefer to have one of the second floor units (better views and breezes), so if the first floor unit goes, we can always put in a reserve on the next one that opens.  I am open to either first or second floor units but not ones on the top floor – being right under the roof and with heat from the lower apartments rising, those three units are just too hot.

We are not under a lease right now, so our options (and prospects) are good for eventually finding the “perfect” place.

So, keep yer fingers crossed!!


  1. Hey it seems you hit the jackpot Ned. Ideal little set up for you both. I hope I can find a comparable place in a few months. A nice spot to park the “his and hers” Rousers.
    Peace and contentment to you both.

  2. I am a house guy, not an apartment guy. I want my space and I like having my neighbors a bit of distance away. But, that’s me. In both our cases, what we want is a far secondary to how “the boss” feels about it. Non-germane until she returns and that vote is in.

  3. Hey Ned, Stumbled on your blog the other day on YouTube on a boring day at work. I just returned from my 3rd thirty day visit to PI last week and am considering retiring somewhere over there but still haven’t made up my mind yet and I find your blogs very informative–thanks. My girl who is a overseas worker and comes home every year for 50 days and we hook up. She lives in Cabuyao south of Manila and owns her own house there but after spending a lot of time there she knows I could never live there. Way to crowded and the traffic would put Cebu City to shame–true story. She is open to living somewhere else and we have been kinda searching and looking around during our travels over there–especially like Bohol but the activities I like are kinda limited–I love to golf. We are both house people too and she said she refuses to live in an apartment and I have noooo problem with that. We’ve never been to Dumaguete and after reading your blogs and doing some other research it is now on our radar for a visit on my next trip. I have a budget of around 15,000 or a little more a month for a house but would prefer to live just outside the city —Valencia sounds nice. Just a little worried about transportation–I see you use motorbikes–did you need to get a Philippine drivers license or not? It’s been more years than I can remember since I drove my motorcycle but I believe I could handle it–her I don’t know–lol. And what type of visa did you need to get to stay in the Philippines? A possible blog on visas maybe? Long rant–sorry. Thanks for your blog and maybe one day if I make it there we could hook up and tip a few–continue the good work my friend.

    1. Hey, Bob. Thanks much for that. I really like Dumaguete a lot: It’s not too big, not too small, has excellent electric and decent internet and has nice areas all around it. It is getting more populated all the time, though and traffic can be bad. Thanks, again!

  4. Ned; my wife and I will be looking for a duplex or large home to purchase by the beach. We should be in Dumaguete around Nov. if all goes according to plan….we will be looking for good renters. Just a heads up.

  5. If what I know applies till now. Foreigners who came before to PI and are on their succeeding visit are sometimes stamped with BALIKBAYAN seal on their passports. That means they are allowed to stay up to 1 yr. Within that span of period, your Filipina fiancee or wife can help you process papers to change it to immigrant visas or long term. Your wife has to provide several documents. Better see the immigration office for the list of required docs. Or you may avail of the services of some agencies but that is discretionary. Sometimes the asking price is high. It’s still better to do it on your own. That way you’ll get a feel on how things are done in PI. Or if you want to avoid the hassles and got the financial resources just opt to avail of the services of well meaning agencies. It would take you 1yr earliest or less than 2 yrs the longest.

    1. Thanks for that. And don’t forget, a foreigner can only get a balikbayan privilege “visa” if he is arriving in the country accompanied by his or her Philippine spouse. And yes, they can convert it towards a 13A or whatnot later on. Cheers!

  6. Hey Ned good job as usual…

    Not sure if you remember or not but I’m the British/Canadian guy with the Philippine/Canadian girlfriend who live in Canada and are planning on moving there in 2 years or so. Thinking of coming over in June/July (yeah I know it’ll be hot…) going to be looking in the Dumaguete area, maybe look at houses for sale, just get a feel for things there.

    Can you recommend a reasonable/clean hotel or a link to search sites there – probably be a 2 week stay.



    PS: May have to move there sooner my ‘Crispy Pork Belly’ addiction is kicking in to high gear – the local Philippine store here in Toronto has the best take out but I’m not sure they can keep up with my demands – I’ve heard it’s really healthy (yeah right….)

  7. Hello Ned and Mitchel.
    I think I have watched all your YouTube videos and now I have signed up for your newsletters,haven’t received one yet but I guess in time.
    I have traveled to the PI 3 times now for 4 weeks each time and enjoy it more each time I go.I am blessed with my work I have all winters off,mid Nov-mid Mar.I possibly plan on staying this winter most of the winter.I have been looking at places to rent and I am kinda fussy so I guess I will have to pay a little more.Are you familiar with Hassan apartments in Dumaguete?They look like nice places.I prefer a better place to avoid a drunken,narcissis neighbour.Just wondering if you are familiar with these apartments or something similar.
    Thanks and good luck with the wedding plans

    1. Hi Pat. I haven’t done any blog entries for a while, so that’s why you haven’t received any updates. I have not heard of Hassan apartments, but there are a number of furnished apartments available around town. Hermogina comes to mind – our friends Cory and Dina stayed there and it is quiet and very secure. I think the studios are 10 or 12 a month and the two bedrooms are 16,000. Not sure but they are fully furnished. Cheers, Ned.

  8. Interesting web site, thanks for that. I am living in Quezon City and been here about 6 years. Thinking about moving down to your area.
    What are the medical sites around there?
    1 or 2 bedrooms on or near the beach for 35,000 pesos?
    Web addresses for a place to rent while looking?

    Thanks again

  9. Found your website after I got an email recently from a long lost friend I met in the Philippines about 40 years ago. Long story short, knowing that I’m struggling to survive financially on a small pension, she’s suggesting I move there and has offered to help set me up. I spent two years there back in the 70s under the Marcos dictatorship. I travelled all over Luzon and lived the first year in Manila and Baguio. I spent my second year on Mindinao, six months in Cagayan de Oro and six in the barrio of Portulin near Medina.

    I lived and traveled in Japan, Korea and China back then as well, but my favorite place of all was the Philippines. I’ve long wanted to return, and am now considering it. I’m Canadian on government disability benefits, which will convert to pension benefits in four years when I turn 65. I can receive those benefits while living abroad, and have them directly deposited in a foreign bank if I choose. My benefits will double when I turn 65, but I might have enough now to get by, especially since my friend may already have a place I can rent. I’m waiting for more details from her, and in the meantime have been looking at the cost of living there.

    Your blog has been a great help to give me a general idea of expenses. I will live alone and probably more frugally than you, for example I don’t need or like air conditioning, and won’t buy a vehicle. I have a very simple life-style and intend to spend the rest of my life writing books. Probably my biggest extravegance, if you can call it that, would be the best internet package I could get. So my rent and other monthly expenses would likely be lower than yours. I’m fortunate to know someone there who could help me with the move if I do it. But your website and this article on your house hunting is helpful for me to get an idea of the current rental market place and other costs of living. I’ll sign up for your newsletter for more tips.

    1. Thanks for taking the time to comment, Perry. Yes, you can live here very cheaply, but I am spoiled and need my aircon and internet. I also like going out to eat a lot which adds to the costs. Why don’t you take a recon trip to see what the Philippines is like now – some areas have changed – especially Manila. Some parts of Mindanao are now also quite sketchy.

  10. Hi Ned
    I noticed that there weren’t any comments for 2017 do you still live in the Philippines?
    Love your VLOGS
    Keith in Melbourne Australia

    1. LOL – I am REALLY bad about responding to comments, messages, emails and the like. But yep, I still live and work here. Still loving it (even though the summer heat is starting to kick in). Thanks, Keith.

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