Live in the Philippines…And All The True Advice!

Bad Advice – Can Be Worse Than No Advice At All!

I seem to have this penchant for confronting people online – especially when I  suspect know they are providing erroneous advice to folks whom are looking  for  information. Rarely do I provide advice on issues I know little about, and  when I  do, at a minimum I will do a little research beforehand. If nothing else, I  may  provide a link to a reliable source and suggest to those individuals that they  research the information that applies to their unique situation. What I do talk about mostly in my Blog, is my own experiences with the all the legalities (we faced) in moving here….and with life in general here in the Philippines itself. If you want to Live in the Philippines, you got to do good homework.

Look in the right places!
Look in the right places!

Recently I found myself challenging another’s advice on one of the many “Philippine Expat” Facebook pages I follow. In this case, an individual planning on moving to the Philippines was looking for information on taxation as it related to importing his household goods (HHG) to the Philippines. The answer that was provided to him, in essence was in the form of a blanket statement which basically said, “you can’t ship without paying big fees and taxes on your shipment.”  Well, right away I felt I needed to set the record straight so, I told him (the one giving the bad advice) flat-out that he was wrong and that he shouldn’t be providing advice on topics he knew nothing about (I may not be very tactful sometimes). Because we shipped our entire HHG to the Philippines, fully tax exempt, I felt that the individual looking for the information could benefit from some of the many articles I have written surrounding our own experiences shipping to the Philippines. So I provided a link to this site and suggested to him to visit and read. Because I did not know any of the particulars pertaining to his situation, I felt it better that he read it all for himself. 

Just Shoot Me Already!
Just Shoot Me Already!

It wasn’t long before I was counterattacked by the bad informant, defending himself and his information source, which was unofficially bogus by the way. He also slammed me for “advertising” the link to my site. But rather than fill up half a fb thread with multiple links and information that may not apply to his situation, I also advised him to visit the many forums and other blogs in search of the information he needed, and then posted my site’s link. Nothing nefarious about that!

SOooo…if YOU, the one reading this, are seeking information about retiring, living in, or moving to the Philippines….I can only suggest that you stay away from fb chat pages as your primary information source. Although there is some good information bantered about, all too often these pages are simply the bastion of bad, inaccurate (or outdated) information. You should rely more on the “moderated” forums and blogs that provide the specific information unique to your own situation. And you should never take one piece of advice as a given. Always verify, verify, and then Verify!  

Of course there is no substitute for official information such as that found on government websites. But, I will provide one word of caution here…Verify! (some agencies in the Philippines are rather slow at updating their sites with recent changes in policy). After finding information on a government site, it might be a good idea to go back to the forums to help you determine the validity of that information. For example, this week I happened accidently stumbled upon information about changes to Philippine Immigration policy again…and it wasn’t exactly published by authority (it’s a small change in policy and doesn’t necessarily affect all immigrants and visitors, but nonetheless, it will affect somebody). 

So, in summary…if you are contemplating visiting or living in the Philippines remember this: one size does not fit all and online advice is like opinions which are like coconuts…there are more than you could count and they fall all over the place! Everybody’s situation can be different from that which might be conveyed by someone’s fb comments and such, so any information obtained should always be verified. Have I mentioned Validate?

It must be true, I found it on the internet!
It must be true, I found it on the internet!

Below are a few “official links” that can help one get started in the right direction.

Some good forums to poke around in:

Happy Researching!

Come Again swinging sign post


16 thoughts on “Live in the Philippines…And All The True Advice!

  1. Excellent advice! I’m only shipping two or three balikbayan boxes and have ran into problems getting them shipped from Cincinnnati, OH. Looks like I will have to make a drive to Indianapolis, IN to get them shipped. It will be worth it in the end.

  2. Very good article! I`ve also find mistakes in one “YouTube channel Prophets” videos! So clear that I`ve checked the mistake many times myself IN REALITY how it works! After that did emailed him and did asked him to correct the wrong info in his video..but no! He just claims he is right in that and EVERY case and we all find ALL what is need to know from his life in the Philippines already for years! (Actually not so many…)
    It is very frustrating to find that some people are so narcissist and naive in their opinions that they cannot correct the wrong info which among all the other here in internet can cause problems to people who don`t
    VERIFY. and 2 times more! Thanks for sharing this important article!

  3. I am forever indebted to your insights on this subject. I remember sending messages to this 1 particular expat who I thought was exceptional and would be best on giving infos relating to moving back, until he started talking more and more on topics on HOW TO FIND WOMEN in the Philippines 80% of his blog, youtube and FB (which I think is disgusting and demeaning). Thank you very much for sharing your experiences. That is what my husband and I call “OF SERVICE TO THOSE (like us) WHO TRULY ARE IN NEED OF THESE VALUABLE TOPICS.”

  4. I appreciate your comments on FB. It pointed me towards your blog and to some useful information. I am retiring to Ilocos Norte in April on a 13A visa. Your posts on your recent move helped to answer some questions that I had about how much time I needed to allot for Quarantine and Immigration. I will also try to link up with the shipper of our HHG and see if they can secure the Duty Exemption. There is still a lot of unknowns but hey it is more fun in the Philippines.

  5. Thanks Gary. Try to find out who the consignee is (in the Philippines). Ours was GOETZ Moving and Storage (Parañaque) and they completely took the bull by the horns and did all paperwork(s). I had to provide them with the documentation once I arrived in Manila – copy of my passport (13A Visa), copy of my ACR-I Card application, ID Card, etc. They processed it all through the Dept. of Finance and Customs to get my exemption. Of course they charged me an additional amount. In all, I remember it being about P19,000 (half of that was port storage fees), Demurrage, all the paperworks/legwork to get the goods to our doorstep. If you ever have any questions Gary, feel free!

  6. Thank you so much Maria. It pleases me when I know that the information I provide can help to make things just a little easier when planning and moving to the Philippines. I don’t discuss the HOW TO FIND WOMEN topic, mainly because that is not my target market, and in reality, if a guy needs help finding a woman here in the Philippines, he probably needs help period! lol In all honesty though, many of those sites are niche markets designed to generate an income for the authors. Although I do make a little money when someone views the ads on my pages, it’s just enough some days to buy me a chocolate sundae at Jolibbee’s! he he Thanks again.

  7. Hi Leo and thank you for your kind comment. I would hope that if I provided bad info that someone would let me know so I could correct it. I would be appreciative of that. Maybe if you have time, you could send me the link to that video in a PM on facebook. Thanks.

  8. Frank, just about any Filipino food or grocery store can tell you who and where to ship with. The place that sold you the B-Boxes…don’t they ship also? There are many shippers between you and Florida, that’s for sure! (is my jumbo bag of M&M’s included in one of them? jk.) Ha

  9. Thanks again! I won’t know who will be handling my HHG shipment until later on. I am having Uncle Sam move it for my final move in March for my retirement in April. I am hoping that who ever does our move will take care of the exemption. Did you have an Affidavit of Ownership duly authenticated by the Philippine Embassy of Consulate with jurisdiction over your state of residence. If so what all did it say? I am asking because of this . Thanks

  10. Gary, I believe our shipper (Allied) made us sign something which probably sufficed as our affidavit (for Customs in the Philippines), but we were not required to send it to the consulate. Talk to your local consulate to clarify as each one operates differently (rule interpretation). Our consignee took care of everything after we provided them all the paperwork and documents that were required per that link you attached. We actually visited the consignee (in Panaraque) after arriving here and we left all the required paperwork and documents with them (including my passport). They returned everything by courier once they cleared our shipment.

  11. I read your article about bringing your household goods here when moving here. I was wondering i have a motorcycle 2009 kawasaki 900 that i would like to bring here, but people sre telling me that the freight charges and duty taxes would be more than its worth. Can you give me some advise on this matter or direct me to who can. Thanks , mike

  12. Hi Mike, Yes the advice you are getting is correct. You can ship HHG (personal property) under a tax exempt status under qualifying circumstances (such as having a 13A Visa) but motorized vehicles (cars, motorcycles) will be taxed at or near 100% of value. Not really worth it unless you really LOVE that bike! Besides, aftermarket parts here would be difficult to obtain for that bike. I wish I could have afforded to bring a large bike, but the cost of importing it is too great. You can find larger bikes already here but they are not cheap.

  13. you have a lot of great info here out of all the post about moving to the philippines you not only supply your experiences you give links to get people going in the right direction heep up the great work you do for past and future expats.
    buy the way when we send our boxes for our visit in oct. i’m going to throw in a jombo bag of m&m’s just incase we get to meet.

  14. Thanks Roger. And that Jumbo sized bag of M&M’s can get you a lot of kilometers (favors) here in the PI.

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