Livecast 8.2.17: Murdered Foreigners, NPA Ambushes and New BB Box Rules, 1 of 2

Well, I finally did another Livecast.  I haven’t done one since visiting the US in April, so it’s been a while.  No to worry, though – jumping back into the live-with-no-safety-net pilot’s seat was pretty much like jumping back on a bicycle after a long layoff.  Considering the quality of the show, however, maybe I should think about installing training wheels….

Now, I know Livecasts are not everyone’s cup of tea, especially when they are chugging along at 300 kbps on my shitty PLDT connection. (Buffering!) Some people do seem to like them, though, and I truly believe there’s a place for everything. Talking head stuff, travel videos, comedy content and everything in between.  And like I said:  Youtube channel content is like eating chicken – just pick of the bits you like and toss out the gristle and bone.

Thank You!
I really wanted to thank everyone who messaged and/or PM’d me during the recent hiatus.  Support and encouragement is always appreciated, and it was doubly so in this case.  These past weeks have been difficult (understatement, that), and it helped immeasurably to see people stepping up to simply be nice.  I wasn’t able to respond to most of the messages, so I will simply proffer a rather general – and very sincere – thank you.  I don’t care what anybody says:  You’re all good people.

Trivia Question
Last week’s trivia question: I made a reference to “horse hockey” in a video the other day and asked what sitcom it was from.   Correct answer was Colonel Potter from MASH and butterflying85, Sam M. and Life Happens were all sent a free copy of my ebook, Chasing Your Philippine Dream:  An Expat’s Guide to the Philippines. 

This week’s trivia question: I love reading and particularly enjoy science fiction and fantasy.  The series of books that got me into fantasy at a very early age featured a protagonist that was a pig keeper and a famous Welsh warrior named Prince Gwydion.  Name the author of this series.  First three correct answers emailed to get a free copy of our book, Chasing Your  Philippine Dream…..

Update:  The correct answers are in.  The name of the author is Lloyd Alexander who penned a five or six book series called the Chronicles of Prydain.  Based on Welsh mythology, it followed the adventures of an assistant pig farmer named Taran and totally turned me into a fantasy geek.

New Balikbayan Box Regulations

Oy, now this is a total fiasco and one that – in my opinion – will be rather short lived.  The new balikbayan box regulations went into effect August 1st (yesterday), effectively limiting the shipment and receipt of BB boxes to only Filipino nationals.  (Or as the Bureau of Customs refers to them Qualified Overseas Filipino Workers.) Only three boxes will be allowed to be sent per year and an itemized list of every item in the box (and receipts) must be included.  Passport and/or national ID copies of both sender and receiver must also accompany the boxes to prove Filipino citizenship and boxes can only be sent to actual family members.  This new BOC regulation is a vicious blow to expatriates or anyone looking to move to the Philippines as balikbayan boxes were the go-to method of getting personal items into the country. Now, with high tax and duty being placed on anything over a total value of $200 USD for foreigners or non-qualified Filipinos, this is no longer seems the case.

The change in the regulations comes right before the incredibly busy holiday season where literally millions of balikbayan boxes are shipped into the Philippines from abroad.  Pushback is already occurring from a number of OFW groups and the Philippines Senate has even ordered an investigation.  Like I said, I don’t see this new regulation surviving all the backlash.  The Philippines can barely deal with the customs system as it is and adding multiple layers of bureaucracy to the process will slow it to a crawl.  The ports will be overflowing with impounded boxes and everyjuan (get it? Every Juan?) will be screaming bloody murder.

For more on this, check out this article

Making Money Overseas
People are always asking me about ways to gain income while living outside of their home nations.  One very simple way is to teach English – either in an actual classroom setting or online via Skype or the like.  You won’t get rich, but at least it’s something, and I know of more than a few expats doing it.  If you already have a college degree, you can sign up with an online company like and do some basic conversational sessions.  More money can be made for those with teaching degrees, actual classroom experience or TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certification.  Accreditation of online TEFL courses is rather sketchy and haphazard as there is no international regulating agency.  I just signed up (and am halfway through) an online TEFL program I got with a $39 Groupon.  It’s accredited by some agency in Australia, and I did a bunch of research before purchasing it to make sure it’s not a scam.  If you are interested in doing something similar, check Groupon for TEFL courses, and do your due diligence in making sure it’s not Scooby Doo TEFL University. 

Here’s an example of a TEFL Groupon that is now available.

Questions from Kevin Suzuki in Honolulu
What are some of the overpriced and difficult-to-find items in the Philippines?.
Howdy Kevin. High end electronics – TVs, stereos, cell phones and laptops – are more expensive if purchased in the Phlippines.  You will also have a much harder time finding a specific model.  Sometimes you might be able to find good deals on Ebay China/Hong Kong or  New and used cars are also more expensive than those you would find in the US.  Filipinos looooove Toyota cars and trucks in particular and they depreciate very slowly.

What are some of the under priced items in the Philippines? 
Anything to do with labor or rent.  Even going to the doctor or dentist is a hell of a lot cheaper than in the West.

It seems like getting a haircut in the Philippines is a great deal. What are other services that are really inexpensive and some that are expensive?
Again, anything to do with labor or rent.  Also, ferry and bus travel is extremely cheap and airline promos with Cebu Pacific and Philippines Airlines is an amazing bargain.  I am not a big fan of being on corporate mailing lists, but I welcome spam from both of those airlines.

Well, that’s enough for today. Tomorrow I will put up the balance of what was covered in today’s Livecast.  (To check out part two, just click HERE.)

Until then, amping (take care)!


  1. You mentioned cheap haircuts, which reminds me of a book called “Ten Times the Price of a Haircut”.

    The author is an economist who worked as a consultant for the UN, World Bank, etc. evaluating the results of various aid projects all over the world. Much of the book is discussion of projects going wrong either because they weren’t a good idea in the first place or because they were mis-managed. His style makes most of this more amusing than horrifying.

    The rest of the book is downright hilarious — a series of anecdotes about expat life as practiced by well-paid consultants. The title is his rule for estimating what whores will cost in an unfamiliar country. He describes the Philippines , circa 1970, as “The last place on Earth where you can live like a white man”.

    1. Yep, I am familiar with that book, although I have never read it. Mebbe it’s time to head over to Amazon and buy the kindle version. Thanks, Sandy. (Wait a minute – is this Sandy from Canada? If so, I was just thinking the other day about how we missed you at Bogarts.) 🙂

  2. Hi Ned

    Thanks for the update on the happenings in Philippines it really help us better prepare our expectations if we are going to live in this country.

    Do take care.

    Best regards


  3. Hey Ned, do you think the NPA have become active in Negros because they think the AFP and the PNP are distracted by whats going on in Marawi at the moment?

  4. Good to have you back. My wife and I send about six BB’s a year, about half are school and medical supplies to remote Palawan. I hope this idiocracy ends soon.

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