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How and where to meet expats in the Philippines?

How and where to meet expats in the Philippines?

Old Jul 8th 2023, 7:36 am
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Default How and where to meet expats in the Philippines?

I'm planning on coming to the Philippines (from the UK) to check it out as a retirement destination.

I know Dumaguete is very popular with expats, and there are places in the mountains that people flock to because of the cooler weather, but I intend to visit Manila, Cebu and Davao on this trip. Time wise, I could be there for 2 weeks or use the entire 59 days, I'll decide when I get there.

I don't intend eventually living in a city if I move to the Philippines, but would choose to be at least close to a large city. I would need good internet access and preferably somewhere with fewer power cuts (yeah, right!) as I'll still be doing a bit of work on the internet including business calls on Zoom/Skype. Budget is not so much an issue, it's about finding the place that feels right.

But to my question: In the three cities I named, where is the best place to meet up with some expats while I'm there? Where do they tend to hang out mainly?

Thanks in advance.
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Old Jul 8th 2023, 8:33 pm
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Default Re: How and where to meet expats in the Philippines?

I'm doubtful your idea of meeting up with retired expats at hang outs is practicable on a trip here. .Somewhere like Dumaguete, yes but not in or around the largest cities. On the whole I would guess small groups would be found only in some of the numerous,larger subdivisions. They would be difficult for you to connect with.

As your aim is to find things out what you are doing now seems to be the best way. As you can see this forum has only a few active members.Unless it's a personal issue eg pensions, visas most members won't post. But there are other discussion forums and I think you should be able to work out online from them and general research which of the three largest cities you want to be near before you come out. If you decide you want to be near Manila (NCR) you might need most of your tourist visa time to check out all the possible locations. Davao and Cebu would be easier and take less.

I think anyone coming out here with no firm destination in mind really has to decide on the top priorities for the location. For you it seems you most want to be near one of the three largest cities and have a good broadband speed. Internet service standards are highest in the NCR on average, according to speed test data. I saw Caloocan City, the City of Manila and Quezon City listed as the top 3 . They're all part of the NCR, which itself is made up of 16 cities and one small urban area. The first two are well inside the NCR, very crowded places, but QC is on the edge, is by far the largest and spreads over a large area. It could be a possibility, as could adjoining areas in the provinces of Cavite and Bulacan. Transport links to the NCR from these areas are improving.

Whether the internet in these peripheral areas is good enough is a question though. We're much further out from the NCR and what we get in our location is only just acceptable if you're only using it for basic communication and entertainment. Probably too many second home owners around to have a really good service. But it all depends on where you are as to what quality of service you can get Capacity can be a problem, we're borrowing an unused existing connection. Our next door neighbour needed a second service during the Pandemic so she could communicate with the office in Manila from home. I think service levels will generally decline the further you go away from the NCR,

Unlike the NCR Davao City is one very spread out urban area and so if you lived there you wouldn't have the same feeling you would have in most in the NCR. I see Cebu City as being more concentrated. If you like it there I am sure you can find good locations not far away.

But according to the internet speed data I saw Davao and Cebu have well below the average speeds you can get in the NCR.



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Old Jul 9th 2023, 3:46 am
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Default Re: How and where to meet expats in the Philippines?

Raffin is quite correct in his view that there are very few active members here to give you a definitive answer, so my recommendation to you is to join some of the very many FB groups about the Philippines where I am sure you will be inundated with the answers you are looking for. If you don't have FB, it's very easy to open an account just for that purpose.

For me, I have a different perspective on why I live in the Philippines so I cannot be of much help. To enjoy the culture, climate and the people. Certainly not to mix with foreigners.

On your choices:. I would certainly steer clear of Manila, I am more of a country bumpkin. Visited Davao which I enjoyed.... especially with its cleanliness and now living in a province on the Island of CEBU. I stay well clear of the City of CEBU for the same reasons as Manila. I agree with your views of Dumaquette.... but not for me.

As far as the internet is concerned which is poor here, many people are investing a new satellite service from the US. I think it's called Starlink, and although it's expensive to buy I have only seen excellent reviews.

Welcome to the Philippines!
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Old Jul 9th 2023, 4:29 am
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Default Re: How and where to meet expats in the Philippines?

Good posts here by both Raffin and Philosophical 11. I love Cebu City, but I am not keen on big cities to live in. So I live in one of the towns further North, near to the National Highway. My Filipina wife and I moved from England, and built a house here a few kilometres from her main family. Sadly my wife died April past. I shall continue to live here. As this is where I wanted to retire.
I like Cebu and its inhabitants, living just outside of a large town, we are part of the community. When paying for goods and services, it is not elevated, because of being a foreigner.
Cebu is my idea of Paradise, hence I vowed to retire here. Making sure my then wife to be, knew of my plans. I have lived here twenty-one years, and have never regretted my decision. I lost my wife, just before our twenty-eighth wedding anniversary. We had a lovely life here, bringing up three nieces, and putting up other family members, whilst sending.
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Old Jul 9th 2023, 11:48 am
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Default Re: How and where to meet expats in the Philippines?

Thank you all for your considered, and helpful, replies.

Raffin , I've taken your suggestion (and Philosophical 11 's) to explore other locations online. Thanks for your advice, also, on the cities and the broadband. I've also investigated Skylink as an option. Maybe I overestimated my internet needs. I don't need the fastest connection, lowest latency etc. I just need something decent enough to do Zoom calls with clients. NCR terrifies me a bit to be honest. It's huge and busy. But, as you say, one needs to spend some time in each of these places and try to suss out what one can.

Originally Posted by Philosophical 11
For me, I have a different perspective on why I live in the Philippines so I cannot be of much help. To enjoy the culture, climate and the people. Certainly not to mix with foreigners.
LOL, I get that. I don't plan hanging out too much with them but I figured that occasionally meeting with the old hands might fast track my learning about the Philippines and settling in. Davao does seem more modern, as with places like Iloilo, so I'm looking forward to visiting it. As mentioned above, I've been checking out Starlink. I guess it's expensive by Philippine standards (though they do have different plans at different levels of costs).

tropicofcancer , I'm so sorry to hear about your wife. 28 is a long innings, my congratulations!
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Old Jul 9th 2023, 11:07 pm
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Default Re: How and where to meet expats in the Philippines?

JD1:

I'm with P11...not desperate to mix with Expats. Prefer less crowded areas. Though I must say MM has some nice areas and the advantage of most of the services, retail you need being plentiful and easily available. You soon get used to getting around there by public transport or driving. But the one thing I really did not like from time spent in two locations was the heat. So ended up in Tagaytay. Generally much cooler, airy, though has been warmer than usual lately this year. It has its disadvantages, especially very high visitor traffic, but overall it's the area for me.

Anyway I mentioned as preferable areas much nearer to MM.. If you decide lower Cavite might be for you I can give some pointers.

As I mentioned the internet we have in Tagaytay City has its poor times, especially at weekends when there is a visitor influx. The BBC can buffer. Another area further away we lived also had frequent offs. But here it's tolerable for us. Soon we'l be moving a few kms away to a cheaper rural area, though the developer there says the service is good....let's see.

Tagaytay is quite expensive but there are cheaper locations nearby and road connections are improving. You would be 2-3 hours from MM.

Last edited by Raffin; Jul 9th 2023 at 11:19 pm.
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Old Jul 10th 2023, 12:44 am
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Default Re: How and where to meet expats in the Philippines?

NCR is not so much of a problem. I have lived very happily on the Eastern edge of NCR in Marikina City. Very few expats live here, which for me is a blessing. Marikina is probably one of the cleanest urban areas in the whole country. I have never had a problem nor have the small number of my expat friends. I cannot remember the last time we experienced a brownout and we have very good internet speeds.
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Old Jul 10th 2023, 8:41 am
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Default Re: How and where to meet expats in the Philippines?

Originally Posted by Raffin
JD1:

I'm with P11...not desperate to mix with Expats. Prefer less crowded areas. Though I must say MM has some nice areas and the advantage of most of the services....
Pardon my ignorance, but what's MM? Metro Manila?

With respect the power cuts you have in Tagaytay, how common is it to have generators, or an inverter type solution, to tide one over the power cuts and keep the a/c running, or at least the fans? (I appreciate that it isn't cheap). Or do you find Tagaytay temperatures tolerable even during power cuts ...given you went there to escape the heat?

You mentioned Tagaytay as being expensive. I tried looking at some rental prices online. LOL, prices seem to be mostly fiction - including a one bed condo for 1,500 pesos pm! But I get a fair idea from looking at airbnb and other property costs. I don't need more than a comfortable single b/room and there seems to be plenty of choice between £500-1,000 pm, many even below £500.

Bealinehx , thanks for your input about Marikina. I had a look online on Google Maps and did some zooming in. It does look nice. What are rents there like?


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Old Jul 10th 2023, 11:41 am
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Default Re: How and where to meet expats in the Philippines?

Rents in my Condo complex are around 15000php per month furnished 2 bed. If you do require more detailed information let me know.
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Old Jul 10th 2023, 11:56 am
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Default Re: How and where to meet expats in the Philippines?

Wow, that is cheap!
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Old Jul 10th 2023, 10:28 pm
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Default Re: How and where to meet expats in the Philippines?

JD1: When I said Tagaytay was expensive for property I was referring to houses in subdivisions. Looking long term as you said you were thinking of retiring here. But for short term renting, yes, can be cheap, especially as most of the market here is just for weekends or long weekends. It's a bit strung out and if you locate too far away from the shops, with the main road being bumper to bumper at times, that will reduce your mobility. Rents for small clusters of 2 bed apartments central area 12-15k per month. Good electricity supply, we've only had one short power cut in over a year. There are more in areas outside the city, especially in those supplied from Batangas. So no generators around where we live.
As I said it has been unusually hot here lately for a longer time. To be cooler without AC you need to be in a detached two storey dwelling. Where we rent it's not like that so we bought a small evaporative cooler for our bedroom. Brings the temperature down a few degrees.
Many large blocks of condos are going up in the central area near the Malls, But it looks to me like they're over doing it and prices,rents will come down in the future.
Yes MM Metro Manila. You will sometimes hear "South Metro"...Paranaque, Las Pinas, Alabang Muntinlupa etc.
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Old Jul 11th 2023, 7:36 am
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Default Re: How and where to meet expats in the Philippines?

One power cut in over a year?! Wow, ok the power situation seems very different across the Philippines. Some places seem to have at least a couple of hours a day!

12-15K? Wow.

Back to my main question, it's beginning to look like there aren't specific watering holes where expats gather for a daily moan about bureaucracy or the temperature ...so to get local information I'm going to have to tap the locals.

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Old Jul 11th 2023, 8:16 am
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Default Re: How and where to meet expats in the Philippines?

Originally Posted by JohnDoe1
One power cut in over a year?! Wow, ok the power situation seems very different across the Philippines. Some places seem to have at least a couple of hours a day!

12-15K? Wow.

Back to my main question, it's beginning to look like there aren't specific watering holes where expats gather for a daily moan about bureaucracy or the temperature ...so to get local information I'm going to have to tap the locals.
Yes, and anyway many Expats only know the small local area where they reside.There are very few estate agency offices like in the UK. I would go to the gate of one of the bigger subdivisions or walk into a condo.. Say you're interested in property rent or buy. There's always someone there doing agency and they often know about elsewhere. They may not be professional but that's OK for now. You can go around on a trike.No obligation. Find a good English speaking driver and you might be able to do it without an agent.
And there's always the group property ads on Facebook. A lot of owners don't advertise on the big, ​complicated and crowded property sites.
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Old Oct 11th 2023, 6:06 am
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Default Re: How and where to meet expats in the Philippines?

You mentioned Iloilo in one post. I live about 50 km away from there.

Relatively cheap compared to NCR, reasonable shopping facilities and good medical facilities. We can get most things we can't buy in our little town and do a three monthly big shop in S&R (similar to Cost Co) but you do need to be careful in there as some prices are higher than some of the supermarkets.

Broadband here is fairly good, I pay Php 2399 for landline and a 600 Mb service. Don't know about brown outs in Iloilo City as we have a different provider.

Hope this helps.
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Old Oct 16th 2023, 9:10 am
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Default Re: How and where to meet expats in the Philippines?

Hi all. I'm going to be in Gensan for 3 months from late October 2023 until mid January 2024. I have stayed there before, and was able to meet expats. There was a bar in particular (whose name and location I have forgotten) and a breakfast group who met in a little restaurant near the East Asia Royal Hotel. I should love to know if the breakfast group still meets and if there is a bar where expats still meet, and of course, where,. Only requirement is that they are comfortable with the English language - or French, and at a push Spanish or Portuguese. I don't know if there is a method to send private messages here. I would welcome them if there were. Of course, posts here can help everyone. Any help meeting expats would be welcome.
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