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Setting Up In Cebu City?

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Manchester
posts: 2
Setting Up In Cebu City?

Hi,

I would appreciate it if anyone could help. I am thinking of moving to Cebu City with a friend. We are moving in order to live a better lifestyle and to be able to spend more time monitoring our financial portfolios.

We are considering several places in the world, in particular Goa India, but are concerned that the communications ( broadband internet / wireless internet connection / mobile phone signal) will not be up to the task. That is why we are considering Cebu City as it sounds like a large city which will be more reliable.

Is there any other place in the Philippines which would meet our criteria below? (Manila? Subic Bay? Angeles City? or is Cebu our best bet? If so which part of Cebu City? Would Lapu Lapu be a good/cheaper option?

The criteria that the place where we move to must meet are the following 3 points.

1)Extremely cheap cost of living ��� we will have around 30,000 pesos each to spend (this will include rent) a month. We don���t expect an extravagant lifestyle but we must be able to live comfortably (eat out several times a week, nightlife on a weekend).

Can we reasonably expect to achieve this in Cebu City?

2) Excellent communications: It is essential that we have a broadband internet connection and have an excellent mobile phone signal to make international calls. I cannot emphasise how important this is. Is Cebu City up to the job?

3 It needs to be a nice place. I have heard mixed reviews about Cebu (polluted, dirty, crime). Will it be safe for 2 British tourists to live in Cebu or are we going to be massive targets (particularly from Islamic extremists).

We have heard a lot of good things too. We are not easily put off by the above and will not be negative when we arrive ��� if there is easy access to beaches, nice bars and restaurants and friendly people then I think we will enjoy Cebu and not be too pessimistic.

We are looking to rent a 2/3 bedroom apartment/condo (2 bedrooms would do). Maximum price 20,000 pesos per month. The lease term I am thinking of is around 3 - 6 months, although a longer/shorter lease would be considered.

A balcony / terrace is needed. Access to a swimming pool would be nice although I realise we may be pushing it a bit now on our budget.

It is essential that we have a broadband internet connection in the apartment. A standard dial up connection or internet cafes nearby is not good enough for our needs.

Also I need to be in an area which has an excellent mobile phone signal. I need to be able to make international calls. I am thinking it would be best to buy the mobile phone when I am in Cebu as I do not know what the best network would be. Would I be able to buy a mobile phone on a contract as a tourist?

Also would it be best for me to bring a laptop over to Cebu from the UK or would it be better and cheaper to buy one in Cebu?

Finally, how welcome would we be in the Philippines considering we are entering on a tourist visa? Are we going to be rushed out of the country or do travellers find it easy to get extensions for these tourist visas? We are looking to stay here as long as we can. I have heard that many tourists keep getting these extensions and end up staying for years. Is this realistic or are we going to be forced out of the country after a few months?

I would appreciate any help anyone could give us to any of the questions as we really cannot afford to get the location wrong when we make the move.

Thanks

Cebu, Philippines
posts: 2
1. Re: Setting Up In Cebu City?

Hello. I'm a Cebuano, born and bred, so my views may be a bit bias. =) If you haven't visited cebuliving.com or livinginthephilippines.com - please visit them. I think those sites are run by foreigners living over here.

>>>> 1)Extremely cheap cost of living ��� we will have around 30,000 pesos each to spend (this will include rent) a month. We don���t expect an extravagant lifestyle but we must be able to live comfortably (eat out several times a week, nightlife on a weekend).

>>>> Can we reasonably expect to achieve this in Cebu City?

Yes, definitely. There are houses, apartments and condos that you can rent at a comfortable budget. Utilities (electricity, water, phone) and maid service may you set back about 8000 pesos a month on top of the rent. Note, dsl connection for the home is about 1500 to 2000+ pesos a month.

>>>>2) Excellent communications: It is essential that we have a broadband internet connection and have an excellent mobile phone signal to make international calls. I cannot emphasise how important this is. Is Cebu City up to the job?

A lot of international call centers have set up in Cebu so our dsl providers can provide the good connection required. You can get a T1 connection for the home, but it is expensive and usually only big companies get T1.

Mobile Phone Signals - I am not sure. We're more known for SMS (text messages). The networks over here are very competitive and they keep advertising their "cheap" calls, international and otherwise. Have a look at their websites:

http://www.globe.com.ph/

http://www.smart.com.ph/

http://www.suncellular.com.ph/index2.html

>>>> 3 It needs to be a nice place. I have heard mixed reviews about Cebu (polluted, dirty, crime). Will it be safe for 2 British tourists to live in Cebu or are we going to be massive targets (particularly from Islamic extremists).

This is difficult to answer. I'm worried that assuring you Cebu City is quite safe may just tempt the fates!

You have the right to be concerned about terrorism in the Philippines, because of Abu Sayaff. We are also concerned, but just a little bit less worried because Cebu City in the Visayas is kind of less of an appealing target than Manila in Luzon.

Small geography lesson - Philippines is divided in three regions: Luzon (where the capital Manila is), Mindanao (where the Abu Sayaff is) and Visayas (where Cebu City is).

I have a habit of watching international news and so far... I cannot recall Cebu City ever being on the limelight (which is a good thing). I've seen Philippines a few times on the news but cannot recall news specifically about Cebu City.

>>>> We are looking to rent a 2/3 bedroom apartment/condo (2 bedrooms would do). Maximum price 20,000 pesos per month. The lease term I am thinking of is around 3 - 6 months, although a longer/shorter lease would be considered.

A balcony / terrace is needed. Access to a swimming pool would be nice although I realise we may be pushing it a bit now on our budget.

>>>> It is essential that we have a broadband internet connection in the apartment. A standard dial up connection or internet cafes nearby is not good enough for our needs.

>>>> Also I need to be in an area which has an excellent mobile phone signal. I need to be able to make international calls. I am thinking it would be best to buy the mobile phone when I am in Cebu as I do not know what the best network would be. Would I be able to buy a mobile phone on a contract as a tourist?

>>>> Also would it be best for me to bring a laptop over to Cebu from the UK or would it be better and cheaper to buy one in Cebu?

Somewhere in Banilad is Pete's Condoville (w/ pool & clubhouse). Very nice place. A lot of foreigners stay there. It is very cheap. I think of it as a mini-Maria Luisa (top subdivision in Cebu). It is a guarded compound, has a clubhouse and swimming pool. I was told it was modeled after an ?Italian? housing system. Very nice place.

Another option is to go for serviced condos or apartment. An example would be the condos at Metro Park Hotel (w/ pool) which come with a housekeeping service and whose monthly rates already include water and electricity (but not yet including telephone calls). They also don't have dsl so you'll have to apply for a dsl line first.

You can see reviews of this hotel here at tripadvisor. The reviews are divided so you can only be certain that people are staying there otherwise there won't be any reviews. I also decided to point out MPH because one of the reviewers posted candid shots of hotel's neighbours.

One of the things you have to expect from Cebu City is that even the top locales like Waterfront Casino & Hotel, Cebu Business Park, Asia IT Town, Maria Luisa, etc. have less than presentable neighbours. If you live here, you'll have to take that kind of scenery in stride because you'll come across it a lot.

Unfortunately, I am not an expert on mobile services though I have been told that phones in the Philippines are a lot cheaper than outside. I've heard stories of foreigners purchasing phones over here and having them sent overseas. Also, even if you can't get a postpaid account, you can just get a prepaid account (very easy). All you need to do is buy a simpack and just load it with credits from prepaid cards or electronic loads where you can buy just about anywhere around here.

As for laptops and computers, not sure about computer prices in the UK, but computer prices in the Philippines is higher than computer prices in the US and Singapore, about 20-25% up more expensive.

>>>> Finally, how welcome would we be in the Philippines considering we are entering on a tourist visa? Are we going to be rushed out of the country or do travellers find it easy to get extensions for these tourist visas? We are looking to stay here as long as we can. I have heard that many tourists keep getting these extensions and end up staying for years. Is this realistic or are we going to be forced out of the country after a few months?

Oh. The Philippine government will want you to stay. =) They've spent a lot of time and money on those WoWPhilippines tourism advertisements. It would be kind of stupid to suddenly make it difficult for tourists who want to extend their stay in the Philippines.

Cebu, Philippines
posts: 2
2. Re: Setting Up In Cebu City?

Need to add something and I can't edit that post of mine.

Wanted to add that I think you, being Caucassian, may be in more danger from conartists than terrorists. This is sort of a good thing...

I really can't offer any pertinent advice on how to avoid terrorists, but outsmarting conartists is doable.

1. Read up on prices of commodities in Cebu City. Sites like cebuliving.com and livinginthephilippines.com should have such information. For example, a taxi from the airport to the city center should only cost about 300-350 pesos. Maybe 400 pesos with rising oil prices these days, but definitely not 1000 pesos.

2. Stay at a guarded community. If you stay at a hotel, even better because the front desk people can screen unwanted phone calls. Just staying in a secured environment may be enough to deter conartists.

3. You'll attract attention wherever you go so just be prepared. Example is that street children may ask you for alms. Cruel as it is, I would recommend you don't give in otherwise you'll have a hard time getting away from them. An exception would be if there's just one asking for coin, but if you see others lurking about - DO NOT - you'll be definitely swarmed if you do.

manchester
posts: 4
3. Re: Setting Up In Cebu City?

Are you still looking for advice? I am British and I live in Manchester with my wife who is from Cebu. My wife's family live in Lapu Lapu and we visit regularly so I would be able to give you plenty of advice if you are still looking for it. Please let me know and I will provide my contact details.

Cebu
posts: 12
reviews: 2
4. Re: Setting Up In Cebu City?

Hi there shleprockempire, from Manchester,

My name is David, from Bournemouth originally. I am now married to a Filipina and have been living in Cebu four and a half years now.

As someone has already said, there are perhaps better Websites to deal with all of your questions rather than this ‘Travel/Tourist’ forum.

In addition to the ones mentioned, check out http://www.cebuliving.com/forums/

Also the yahoo Groups http://groups.yahoo.com/group/livingincebu/

…yahoo.com/group/…

For a British perspective on living in the Philippines, particularly Cebu,

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/cebu_britclub.

You have a lot of questions here – let us see if we cant help you with them.

I think you will find it will be difficult, but not impossible, to achieve all you are looking for on a budget of just Php30K in Cebu. Having read your message post again, I see you are with a ‘friend’ and you BOTH have a budget of Php30K a month to spend. Assuming you will share the accommodation, this is much more realistic, but still pushing it a bit to give you everything you are looking for. If your friend is a Filipina and you let her negotiate and make the initial contact, you have an even better chance.

With regard to Mobile phone connections, you should find good signal in many parts of Cebu. There are 2 main contenders - Smart or Globe. In some areas one is better than another and another area it could be reversed. This is not a static situation as the carriers install new cell sites and reception for that carrier can improve.

I hope you realise that true Telecom Deregulation, like in Hong Kong for example, has NOT yet happened here in the Philippines. Sure there is now more than one carrier, but they are not allowed to post lower tariffs than the existing carrier – what kind of competition is that, other than perhaps who has the best Customer Service? They cant even sort out how to handle VoIP to bring in cheap International phone calls. All VoIP traffic TO the Philippines is via PLDT – hence the Philippines at US$0.15/min is one of the most expensive places in the world to call. Making International calls on your phone may well cost you US$0.4/min.

In and around Cebu City you should not normally have any signal strength or connection problems. It is also possible to buy a Cell phone with Dual SIM facility so you could have both Smart and Globe – this is good if you really need reception wherever you go on Cebu Island.

Generally cell phones in the Philippines are more expensive than the UK. So much so that when I was visiting UK in April this year, I bought a phone package from Virgin that included SIM card and £10 of calls. If you spend more than £30 on calls - they told me they would ‘unlock’ it (open to other carriers SIM/service) for free. I just brought it back here to Cebu and they did it here. Advise stick with Nokia if possible as this is most popular brand here. Mine was Sony Ericsson model, but was unlocked fine – just took a bit longer (software download required first), and cost a bit more.

Whilst on the subject of technology prices – I think you will find you can obtain a higher spec Laptop in the UK for a lower price (especially now dropped to about Php93 to the £1). Buy one with an International Warranty and well known brand like Toshiba, Compac, IBM, Sony. Having said that ACER and AIWA makes laptops in the Philippines.

www.pcx.com.ph/catalog/default.asp…

I would advise you to sign up to CebuLiving Forum and post that particular question in the

Computers, Software & Electronics section, as you will probably get some better informed opinions?

Broadband is available in many parts of Cebu City and nearby towns from PLDT and increasingly Globe. This will typically get you an ADSL connection with PLDT’s myDSL Plan 1995 giving up to 512Kbps downstream / 384Kbps upstream for Php1995 a month. Want higher speeds –the price goes up with the speed - 768Kbps downstream / 384Kbps upstream myDSL Personal Php2,500 a month.

I could not get aDSL from PLDT where I live in Talisay City since my subdivision is served via 1st Generation DSL equipment that does not support DSL (perhaps if I found 29 others wanting Broadband they might upgrade it?). However I do have Broadband – a Wireless connection via SMART WiFi that gives me >128kbps download for Php788 a month.

See that the PLDT now says they have a Wireless offering - PLDT myDSL-W.

I also notice that PLDT lanched ID-DSL International Dialing for DSL Subscribers offering International rates as low as 10 cents a minute -started September 15!

Sorry PLDT but I can call my Mum & Dad up in Bournemouth for 4 cents a minute using my PC, Smart WiFi and SKYPE!

The biggest problem you are going to have is finding an apartment to rent for just 3-6 months, in a walled Subdivision, with Security Guard and Swimming Pool for Php20,000 a month. Make it a minimum of 12 months, and it is more realistic, especially if you get a local, that you can trust to make the initial contact, and price negotiating. Also you might find it difficult getting an aDSL connection if not renting for 12 months, as this is the minimum DSL line rental contract! You would thus need to try and find a place with existing DSL and this be included in the Rent perhaps as the only practical way to rent for less than 12 months. Check out CebuTours.com run by Paul & Jan Petrea who also run the CebuLiving Forum. Paul is an American married to a Filipina who live entirely off providing different services to Foreigners, including help finding suitable accommodation to rent etc. This is not a commercial plug for a friend of mine – just sign up to his Forum and read the praises from members who have used Paul & Jan’s services, often before they arrived, to make things easier. You wont get ripped off by Paul & Jan – just a very reasonable rate for an excellent service.

Moving out of Cebu City, to say Talisay City, will get you aDSL connection and lower rents, but possibly no Terrace and no swimming pool? However there is ‘Aqua Cainta Resort’ and ‘Villa Teresita’ nearby with swimming pools – that’s what I do since they are lot better than the pool up at our subdivision clubhouse.

Sorry I don’t know so much about Banilad, Talamban – where many foreigners live. Generally though rents are much higher than South of the City (or further North) but there are always exceptions – again the Forums/Yahoo Groups are best for finding this out.

I just wonder why you are considering doing living here and operating a business, when, if you forgive me for saying it, seem a bit ignorant as to what life in Cebu is really like. You should sign up to these other Forums and Yahoo Groups to educate yourself – read through the wealth of information in response to literally hundreds of questions like yours. This Forum is really for Tourists to Cebu, which you don’t really fall into from what I can tell, apart from your ignorance – sorry!

The foreigners living here in Cebu are very friendly, even those who are not British? Check out the following Yahoo Group:-

groups.yahoo.com/group/CebuSocialEvents

It depends on what type of social activity you want to get involved in?

Darts – every Thursday @ Badgers. Touch Rugby – at the SandTrap on Tuesday and Thursday I think. Tennis at the SandTrap also. 10 Pin Bowling at SM and Country Mall. Cebu Hash House Harriers every Saturday – usually from the SandTrap. Pool – Kiwi Lodge and ‘Hole-in-the-Wall for friendly competitions. An ‘Off road’ Biking Club and a ‘Touring’ motorbike club for foreigners is trying to get started also – or join an existing one with the locals?

I don’t rent accommodation (my wife bought a 2 bed bungalow house on a 120sq m lot for Php630K with 30% deposit – I paid the balance interest free over 24 months at about Php18K/month), so not same situation. But I do have Wireless Broadband connection, 3 Terraces, 5 bedrooms, 2 CR’s, dirty kitchen sausage kitchen (now we have extended the original house with 3 storey extension).

My wife’s 21 year old daughter lives with us, and we employ a live in Domestic Helper, and our Budget with Telephone, Mobile Phones, Electricity (aircon in bedrooms and lounge, and electric heat shower), water, gas, and grocery bills, together with eating out several times a week, and cinema, plus swimming, comes to less than Php40k a month – probably nearer Php30K most months!

So if you can find that rental for Php20K a month(for 6 months with DSL, Terrace and Swimming pool?), you should manage nicely on a combined budget of Php60K, easily?

Just my humble opinion mind you

David & Sha-Sha