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Any experience of living in the The Philippines?

(9 Posts)
DialMforMummy Sat 01-Nov-14 07:35:52

We might have an opportunity to move to Manila. If you have spent a significant amount of time there or, even better, lived there, I would love to hear from you. We have 2 DC, 3 and 5.
What is it like? How safe is it? Is it expensive?
Thank you in advance.

fatowl Sat 01-Nov-14 11:39:58

I know the british school is highly regarded and there is a tight knit expat community.
Most families have drivers and personal safety is an issue.
THat said, I friend of mine whose dh works at the British embassy loves it there and has been there three years now

DialMforMummy Sat 01-Nov-14 11:53:50

Thank you Fatowl. This is useful.

stikmatix Sat 01-Nov-14 12:08:27

Yes we lived in Manila for a year 2009-10.

I'm going to drop you a proper long message when I have more time.

In the meantime, what is our husband's sector - is he private sector, embassy, UN, NGO or other? Which neighbourhood would his office be in? Have work already told you what would be covered and what not?

Hopefully I'll be able to give you more helpful info.....

DialMforMummy Sat 01-Nov-14 12:13:03

I am not sure, Stikmatik.
I don't want to out myself by saying where he might work but we would be on expat package. He is dead concerned about safety. I am grateful in advance for any info that could help us make a decision.

stikmatix Sat 01-Nov-14 14:16:23

Don't worry no need to out yourself. Sounds like private sector to me so your package should be more than adequate and better than what we had (not private sector but still more than ample).

I'm going to go against the grain and say that safety is not that bad. I'm guessing you would be looking at living in Makati or Fort right? All the condos have security as do the "villages" (residential areas with houses). We lived in a village, security on all gates, and house had gate and bars on windows. Sounds so drastic but frankly more precautionary or to put anyone foolish enough off. You can easily walk the street of decent neighbourhoods alone. We didn't have a car even and walked, used taxis and used the metro. DH took metro to work and back every day. We rode jeepney sometimes too, even with children.

If you go out without jewellery, dressed normally, not expensively, cheap phone, only the cash you will need on you, no cards, honestly you won't have a problem. Vast majority of Filipinos are decent and honest.

There are stories about people being held up with weapons in taxis or on street, but we never even had anything taken from us and had no threatening situations at all.

PS I'm not very widely travelled compared to many, so am not blasé.

stikmatix Sat 01-Nov-14 14:25:27

Schools - if you want the British school call them ASAP as apparently v oversubscribed. We didn't send our kids there as too expensive (DH's work pays 75% of fees only). Also when I saw the application form online I was shocked. It wanted so many details, including details of your child's birth etc. It looked like a screening for SEN. Of course when I met people in the know they told me that was precisely what it was!

The school gets great results but I was told is not terribly "inclusive" for want of a better word.

There are lots of school options - British school, International school, European school. We sent our kids to Mahamta Gandhi International School which is not typical of the expats. There was a mix of expat kids, Filipino kids and a lot of kids with one Filipino parent and one foreign parent. It made for a nice mix and it wasn't populated by the super rich! As a result I made friends with some really decent people through school, a lot of locals and long-termers which was so nice, and for me worked well because I had found the expat clubs to be rather cliquey, although I did meet one or two lovely individuals in the clubs who I got friendly with.

There is also an expat mother and kids group which organises playgroups etc. I tried that a bit but it wasn't really for me.

mmgirish Sat 01-Nov-14 15:26:30

Hey there,

I lived there for 6 years and I worked at the British School. We loved it and are thinking of going back. My son was born there. I always felt safe there. Much safer than when I lived in the UK. It's cheap to live there. Your experience there will very much be determined by your employment package. Any specific questions, let me know. Go for it! What an adventure to be had!

DialMforMummy Mon 03-Nov-14 13:38:12

Thank you for your input, it has been very helpful.

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