Cost of living

Smartphone Pay As You Go Internet {12}

Smartphone Pay As You Go Internet

Like many people around the world I’m an iPhone user. That’s not surprising for those that know me well, as I’ve used Apple products exclusively (for personal use) since 1984. I know that kind of dates me, but I already understand that I’m tigulang. Of course the iPhone has great appeal beyond those that use other Apple products, but for me the tie-in is the key.

So when I decided to make the move to the Philippines it was with relief that I learned AT&T had recently revised their policies to allow unlocking of iPhones for those who had fulfilled their contracts with them. I fell under that rule, and without a lot of trouble I was able to get my iPhone 4 unlocked legally before leaving the US to my new home.

Getting a 13a Visa in the US {39}

Getting a 13a Visa in the US

As many others have done before, I got a Non-quota Immigrant 13a Permanent Resident Visa. I choose to do this in the United States, before I left, as opposed to applying after I moved to the Philippines. Whether that is necessary is completely a personal decision. There are pluses and minuses to doing it either way.

The procedure to get the visa seems daunting at first. The actual process isn’t nearly as bad as it looks. As with all things with the Philppines, getting clear, precise information is extremely difficult, and that is where most of my anxiety came from.

Gaisano Mall Davao Supermarket {11}

Gaisano Mall Davao Supermarket

I’m sure that I’ve visited the Gaisano Mall or GMall before, though I do not remember doing so before my most recent trip. This is the larger Gaisano Mall in Bajada, not to be confused with Gaisano South City Mall on Ilustre Street. No, I’ve been mainly going to NCCC, SM Mall and of course the new Abreeza Mall. Seemed like everything you could want was available at those fine malls.

Was I ever mistaken.

Massage – My Treat to Myself {4}

Massage – My Treat to Myself

Massage parlors are everywhere in the Philippines. Additionally, everyone knows a masseuse, or two. The cost for a massage is incredibly low, if compared to a similar service in the States, as are all things service related (this is really where the cost of living differs IMO).

The trick is to find a good one, because the training varies from none at all to quite extensive. If she happens to be cute, that doesn’t hurt either, but be sure she is asawa approved, or you may be looking for new one soon (masseuse and/or asawa) and dealing with tampo or worse in the meantime.

Natural Food Stores {6}

Natural Food Stores

In my limited time in the Philippines I’ve only encountered one store that I would consider a health food store or coop, as we would know it here in the US. I am of course excluding the fresh markets, which would be another great source of healthy foods.

Healthy Options is a small store located in the SM mall in Davao (they actually have 17 locations throughout the Philippines, with most around Manila) that carries items that you would see in the health food stores here. The selection is very limited and the cost is expensive, even more so than the ridiculous prices they charge here. That would make sense as I assume most of these products are imported.

How Labor Cost Affects What You Fix {4}

How Labor Cost Affects What You Fix

As I spent the weekend trying to recover from the flu, something that it seems many people in our area are dealing with, I also had the “pleasure” of trying to fix a fairly persistent leak from my shower. Normally I would put that off as long as possible, and with fighting the flu I had even more reason to. This leak would cause some damage if not taken care of, so I proceeded to battle.

And battle it I did.

The Visa Question {18}

The Visa Question

If there is one topic that every person moving to the Philippines will have to eventually research, it has to be “what to do about a visa”? There is so much information on this subject that I have no intention to try to tackle it again in this article. No, I have a good idea already which visa I would prefer to get.

I wish it was as simple as figuring out which one you want and/or qualify for. That is complicated in and of itself. The fun only begins when you begin to look into the options. As much as some will tell you not to be concerned about it, it does take some thought and planning if you don’t want to be scrambling later on.