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Discuss culture, living, traveling, relocating, dating or anything related to the Asian countries - China, The Philippines, Thailand, etc.
I live all over Asia. I have traveled in many countries and I have lived in several. I have run several internet fora and I have been a member of many.
So while this may be my first post, it is not my first post to a forum like this.
This is not intended to be a trollish post to incite, it is my observations as I see them. They will ruffle feathers here.
I am currently in the RP on my first visit. I have been here one week.
There are two things that men who visit the RP say constantly as positives:
1) The RP is very cheap to live in. Low cost of living.
2) The women are beautiful.
Frankly both of these claims are a lie.
Here is a list of items I have purchased this week.
-Sun tan lotion 340 php
-50ml shampoo 60 php
-Bus/Ferry r/t to Batangas 1400 php
-Hotel rooms in Manila or Sabang 1500, 1750 a night and on up to 2,000, 2,500, 3,000 and beyond
-Baby powder 127 php
-Restaurant meals are all 300 php on up to 800 php and then to the stratosphere and beyond of 1,000, 2,000 php
-Bottled water 38 php
You will need at least 1,500 a day in basic running around costs to just buy sundries, then another 1,500 a day at least for your hotel, then anything extra is going to cost.
Diving? 1,000 to 5,000 a day. Boat tour? Same.
I don't know where the information comes from, but they are 1,000 to fine and then 1,000 to tip. NOT 'a few hundred for taxi fare in the morning'.
So if you get one, figure on 2,000, then breakfast the next day and that will cost you 700php, then add her taxi money. Some guys are routinely paying their "gf's" $100 USD!!!! for a night or two of hanging out. This is 4300 php!!!
I was recently in Hong Kong and I stayed in a cheaper hotel than my place in the RP, and China has a much higher cost of living than the Philippines.
It must be the EU and US tourists.
I suppose that if you have never visited another nation then you would think the RP cheap, but it isn't. Only if you are American, Upper Middle Class, and spending dollars.
If you are spending HKD or CNY then HK and China are MUCH cheaper than the RP.
If you plan to live here budget this:
1,500 a day for various
500 to 1,500 a day for meals
1,500 a day for a room
2,000 a day for friends
and any additional like buses, trips, boats, scuba add 2,000 or more.
So for daily living expenses in the RP, figure on 6,500 to 8,500 per day.
This is $151 to $200 USD per DAY.
The figure of $1,500 a month 'to have a good life' is simply false and makes no sense when compared to reality. Even if one just cuts to the bone, you still need 1,000 a day to eat and 1,000 a day for a room. That's 2,000 day or $1,400 USD for a BARE BONES LIFE, not 'a really good one living well'.
The Philippines is not cheap.
The women? Not beautiful. They look like cubist paintings of pick 8 different races and mash them together.
Really, I find their faces ugly.
I am well aware that this post is counter to what many long time members write such as Ladislav or Winston, but it's what my costs have been this week. I also know it will stir things up here. Not my goal. I merely seek to post reality, and the reality is that the RP is not cheap to live in nor visit, and the women are not beautiful.
Hotel room in Hong Kong.
300 to 600 HKD for low cost room
1700 to 3400 php.
How is it possible that my room in HK was CHEAPER than my room in the RP? The RP has 1/2 the PPP per cap GDP per capita of China, and 1/10th of HK??!!
Yet my RP room is more pricey!
All meals are 300 plus php unless you order the cheapest rice dish at 70 php.
Still in China and HK one can get noodle stall meals for 5 CNY / 10 HKD. That's 34 to 56 php!
There are NO meals at that price here! They don't exist.
One thing above I did not list in my OP:
Booze in friend bars.
Outrageously priced. 60/80/100 per drink.
So add another 1,000 to 2,000 each time you go out friend bar hopping.
The RP is NOT A BARGAIN.
I don't know how I was mislead or ill-informed about this, but there it is.
My budget for my trip here is under by a factor of 8 !!!
This is causing trouble with my plans as I added a wiggle room factor of 50%, not 8X times!!!!
China and Hong Kong are MUCH cheaper to eat in, to stay in, to visit, to tour.
The friends are less, but only just.
2,000 php is 356 HKD, a low going rate there.
Really, what a misleading rip-off and disappointment this trip has been.
Actually, many of us have commented on how Filipinas aren't all that attractive. Men go to the Philippines because it offers an easily and widely available number of mostly cheap p4p providers and relaxed social standards. Then again beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I think most SEA women fall far short of NEA women with the few exceptions like Vietnam where the co-mingling of ethnic Chinese roots is greater. SEA women who are a mix of malay, native, and other australoid roots tend to have that "monkey face."
With cost you have to keep in mind that you don't know all the local hole in the walls and value places yet. You're spending as a tourist at probably the pricey traps. In Thailand you can easily burn through two hundred U.S. a day if you don't know where to go. There are loads of overpriced tourist traps and subpar pricey restaurants here as well. Once you know the lay of the land though things cost about a quarter of what you would spend as a tourist.
Winston certainly hasn't been unrealistic about the Philippines either.
I am looking for the local joints and cannot find them in MNL; certainly Sabang will be pricey but this high? The meal prices are like dining in WDC at a power restaurant. $45 for a steak? 100 php for the cheapest local meal? Sorry - unnacceptable when I know China and HK prices are much lower and those nations have much higher PPP per cap.
...and the women - well, that's not going to improve.
This has been one of the biggest disappointments in my life, really. A huge letdown.
Ugly women, and it's more expensive here than Hong Kong or Mainland China.
It depends on where you go and what you do. If you had talked to scores of expats living cheaply (especially outside Manila area, their account will differ from yours. If you are the causal traveler, I would tend to agree. Hotels and restaurants tend to be overpriced compared to some SEA destinations.
In Mindanao I pay:
Housekeeper full tiime- $75 month plus meals
50 Kilos of rice - $35
Perfect haircut with tip $1.50
gardener full time $130 month
Property taxes on decent
middle class level house $80 year.
Doctors office visit $8
Locally produced coffee
roasted whole bean $1.70 lb
taxi ride 2 miles $1.15
Ready to roast Chicken $2.15
However, if you are doing a first visit and you are around Manila, you are getting hosed at every turn.
And yes, I recently married the ONLY pretty girl in the Philippines- sorry guys!
The Philippines is not for everyone to be sure. A lot of Filipinos call it "Opportunity pricing" ...in other words, screw the foreigner.
If anyone was planing to live in my area of the Philippines and they were spending your figures, they would be an idiot.
A local price for a livable 2 BR apartment might be around P7000, or about $168 monthly- a long shot from your P45,000 monthly for just a room!
I'm not surprised though by your experience around Manila/Luzon. Out in the provinces and when you know the ropes, costs drop dramatically.
As far as women go, it is my observation that Luzon has the least attractive women on average and looks improve as you go south.
The expats are generally ugly wherever you go.
But remember- it will cost you $4500 a month to live in the Philippines and ALL the women are UGLY! Run for your life! (Actually Ladislav paid me to say that..)
I don't believe what your saying, I don't spend $150/day living in the US. In addition, the average filipina weighs 105 lbs, vs. 170 lbs for American women, everyone on this forum knows that.
Yes, P5600. He also gets some of the various fruits that are in surplus, so he gets some fringe beneifts.
If you know what jackfruit is, we have a lot of those sometimes and it is fine if he takes the extras.
We are rural with a lot of space- just around the house, not like we need a full time gardener for a city lot
or something. Its also good when you can to send them to the dentist- most badly need it.
For rural Mindanao I am considered a spendthrift even at those levels
The biggest attraction of PI IMO is not overall value for money living. Depending on how u live and your habits, u can usually do better in many parts of NE Asia as u your examples bear-out. Thailand is going to beat PI in almost all cases. As I've stated before, if a country is too poor, it lacks basic infrastructure and gets expensive for people who must live somewhat reasonably by western standards. Thailand is at that right stage of development and has such an efficient infrastructure for foreign tourists and expats that it offers all kinds of great value for money options to those able to find them.
These days, I can live cheaply in Fort Myers FL and enjoy a fantastic life quality. I would argue that its better value for money than even NE Asia or in many ways Thailand if u can get by without girls while there or else bring you own. However, if u have to buy US health insurance from your own pocket while living there, the cost advantage is significantly diminished. I can still do great there on US$1,500 to 2,000 though. Buying great real estate there is cheaper than almost any other good place to live I know of. U can prolly live real cheap in PI if u don't mind living like a local and giving up all kinds of conveniences and comforts. But it sure ain't value for money.
As for the looks of the girls, yes, I've been arguing along similar lines for a long times. The girls there are not really ugly for the most part. They just tend to be plain, very short, and lacking in sex appeal. Taco's arguments comparing average weight of western vs. Filipinas is ridiculous IMO. I've been traveling around Thai for last couple weeks. I've seen all kinds of cute, attractive, and hot white girls - from various parts of Europe, Russia, and even the odd one from America. And know, its not just my taste. My ex agrees in most instances. Even if u only consider local girls, Thailand still blows PI away in terms of attractiveness and sex appeal. Girls are probably 3-4 inches taller on average here too. I would even go so far as to say Issan girls are much sexier on average than PI girls.
But, PI may still offer a relatively great chance for that old guy who wants a sincere LT partner. There are some cute and attractive girls there. U just have to look for those few needles in the big haystack. Then u gotta filter out the ones who are proud or have unreasonable material expectations. Once u pair-up with someone there, I suspect that u have a higher chance of success than with girls in others places where an older guy can find a prospect. Being able to communicate in a semi common language language, the relatively high level of westernization, and the value placed on family are some of the pluses in PI-Anglo relationships. Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia, and even poor China might be alternatives and perhaps better in some ways. But you would likely have to overcome a formidable language and culture gap in those cases. I haven't researched this issue to offer-up a confident opinion.
My girl is from Mindinao also and quite pretty - so there are at least 2 attractive girls in the Philippines. But I agree with OutWest - it's a terrible, expensive place, and the women are unattractive.
Oh, I am also returning in April!
The problem with the Philippines is that not only is it extremely poor and corrupt but the country is ruled by monopolies who jack up the price on everything. I have talked to Filipinos who said that prices esp commodities are kept artificially high to maximize short term profiteering at the expense of growth and human development. The poorest people are literally left to eat out of trash garbage dumps. Government infrastructure funds are regularly stolen. There was a period when the government there was ripping off foreign ventures until people stopped investing. That's why foreign investment in that country had such a steep decline compared with the 80's and early 90's.
Lack of health insurance is significant though. U.S. healthcare is a joke and a major hidden cost in living in the U.S. You're literally one major illness or health issue away from bankruptcy. Since most people have at least a few health issues when they age it makes less sense to retire in the U.S. especially if you are eligible for dual citizenship elsewhere with better healthcare.
The Filipinas are thin - notice that I did not mention that, though many are fat with the fried diet of everything they eat. I am not talking about thin. I am talking about ugly faces.
Ugly is not the same as fat. I am here, you are not.
I live in Asia. I am in the RP. I was in China and Hong Kong last week. I paid those prices out of my own wallet. Go to a drugstore in Manila, prices are tagged on the items, bring to checkout, scanned, pay the price on the sticker. Too High. Much higher than in China or Hong Kong. 127 php baby powder, that's 3 USD, that item costs $1 in China.
Let's cut to the bone and pay 2,000 php per day. That's still $1,400 USD per month. You pay that in the USA, BUT THE USA HAS 15X THE PER CAPITA GDP. Something's very very wrong if you think that paying USA prices in the Philippines is 'OK'.
That is still expensive for China, and not everyone is paid or thinking in USDollars.
$75 a month is 475 CNY rmb per month! A housekeeper costs 30 rmb X 4 times a month. Not 120 CNY each week! You are overpaying or the RP is MUCH more expensive than China.
Taxi ride 2 miles. $1.15 is 7 rmb. I pay 5 rmb for the same. So the RP, a much poorer country, costs more.
Haircut with tip. $1.50 USD is 9.5 rmb. I pay 10.
a 4 hour trip in China is 45 CNY or 308 php. My two hour bus ride this week cost 700 php!!!
Really, guys. I feel that I have been lied to, mislead, and told a distorted version of 'the truth'. This has been a truly disappointing experience. A tremendous let down in nearly every way except that the country is very beautiful and warm. I cannot over-emphasize how disappointed I am at this moment.
The expats are OBVIOUSLY pathetic loser mongers. You can spot them at the airport in Hong Kong.
Really, if that's what they look like and they are our cohort, what does that say about us, about you, and about me?
Leering, disheveled, unshaven old men with no grooming or dress sense, lurking about the Robinson Mall, staring at each girl that walks by. The ones here in Sabang running shops or bars or in the bars look just as bad or worse.
Really, I want NOTHING to do with this scene. I don't want to be around people like this. Period.
The bars suck, the girls are ugly, and prices are absurd.
This week has been a huge, HUGE letdown.
I cannot believe that what I read and researched was so out of kilter with the reality when boots are on the ground in the RP.
The housekeeper is working 6 days a week. I suppose I could get one for less, but I am not interested. there are some housekeepers near us that are being paid about $40 a month for full time, 6 days a week service.The taxi fare includes a small tip as well...
Prices are translated to USD because most here think in dollars vs Philippines pesos..( 1 USD = about 42 pesos now)
The Philipines is NOT nirvana, but there is a lot better experience to be had than what you have had so far.