Manila - Moving to

philippines

#41

Interesting read on the kidnapping. Yeah, I think it will be gated community and shopping mall.

If moving over is really going to happen will now depend on the business investment for which wife cooperates with sister and I admire as usual their Taiwanese/Chinese business skill :pray:

What worries me is the slightly rundown state of the gated community, although it seems to be basically fine. Kinda where you have a several year old Nissan or Toyota sedan parking in front, the roof is a bit rusty etc., but not really bad.

EDITED this a bit to keep some stuff private, probably more caution is advised in Manila. There were no replies yet …
RE-EDIT: I mentioned to be concerned about parking the Volvo.


#42

I know I’m nit-picking, but I think it’s more appropriate to address them as Fil-Chi instead of Chin-Fili. I learned from some Fil-Chi friends that this is apparently what they would say when referring to the Filipino-Chinese community. Growing up, I always thought they were Chinese-Filipinos - which is, well, the same thing.

I once asked if the term Tsinoy was popular. There was once a popular forum called Tsinoy.com once upon a time. My Fil-Chi friends said they’d never heard of it, but that was hardly a representative sample size.

Concerning your Volvo, are you concerned that it would be stolen, or that it would be an indicator that there is someone kidnap-worthy inside the house where it’s parked? I would not be so concerned about the former, especially if you are parking it in a gated subdivision. The latter scenario - well, I would subscribe more to what finley wrote: kidnapping a Western foreigner would most likely be a well-planned caper by someone who specifically targets you (i.e., knows you). Kidnapping a Taiwanese person known to have made a business investment in the Philippines? Without meaning to upset you, I would bet that’s a bit more likely.


#43

Passed through Manila on a business trip recently. Traffic was indeed abysmal, with local agent regaling me with stories of abandoning his car outside the airport and walking the rest of the way to make his flight. There are quite a few new road projects going on but I can hardly see how that will significantly improve the situation. Guns at entrances lend an air of intimidation to the place. Since I was there last they have some new up market areas, global city being one I guess. But to shuttle between them you have to take a car and it can take an hour or more to get from one place to the other. They do have good sidewalks in the up market areas but it of course gets dodgy fast outside of them. So yes, my impression would be one would just shuttle between shopping malls, gated communities and work and that’s about it for daily life.

The airport has three terminals but to go from one to the other took 45 mins or something. There is a new international terminal now which is at least an improvement from the old days. Large areas need to be Chinese-style knocked down and rebuilt. A subway or rail system is desperately needed. Jakarta was in a similar predicament from what I could see but Jakarta seemed to be safer than Manila at least.

Poverty was still very obvious on the outskirts, lots of people on home-made vehicles touting passengers and goods around, sad the situation hasn’t improved as much as other countries although supposedly the economy has been going fairly well and there should be more job opportunities.

I personally would drive in a more non-descript car with tinted windows, but there were many expensive cars in the up market areas, so it may not be a huge deal. But I wouldn’t like people to look in at the white dude stuck in traffic in his luxury car…not good!


#44

Yeah, if we go there in a few years time (all depends on the investment now) I guess the Volvo will be sold, simple as that. In case everything should happen very soon… well I guess it will be sold as well (sniff).
There is however the possibility of everything going the same way lots of plans of my local family have gone and I will still be in Taipei in a matter of years. Let’s see. The business will not be on a big scale, merely a small thingy…


#45

An update, the BHexit of Bob Honest from Taiwan is coming close. So far we have a sales booth running in a shopping center in Manila Metro and it makes a black zero. Linked to existing business of local family of wife.
I am a bit uncertain about the plans of wife and local family for a 2nd business, which is to be a restaurant at a local high street in a rather average area. So NOT in the safe zones with with white-clad security. Open main street, everybody can go there.

Okay, I tended to change my appearance when I traveled in Latin America back in the days. Glue in hair to have it combed backwards and becoming black, not shaving that much and wearing beige shirt and pants with a spot or two and getting mistaken for a local maintenance guy, i.e. in Havanna. Italian asshat never gave me a tip after I helped him to open his hotel room door. Arrogant Euros :sunglasses:

However my son looks rather Caucasian and I doubt I will be able to put glue into his hair :blush:
So my question to people knowing Manila or Philippines is: What about kidnapping? If people notice there is a restaurant with maybe some German sausages and a somewhat foreign looking dude sometimes showing up in the restaurant with his little son… Does not sound good to me.

Edit: Local family’s security concept is to only keep 5000 Pesos in the cash register, but that does not really solve the kidnapping danger…
Wife is giggling about my concerns, but then again she is Taiwanese and that makes “don’t think too much” the predominant rule of life.
Any opinions?


#46

[quote=“bob_honest”]An update, the BHexit of Bob Honest from Taiwan is coming close. So far we have a sales booth running in a shopping center in Manila Metro and it makes a black zero. Linked to existing business of local family of wife.
I am a bit uncertain about the plans of wife and local family for a 2nd business, which is to be a restaurant at a local high street in a rather average area. So NOT in the safe zones with with white-clad security. Open main street, everybody can go there.

Okay, I tended to change my appearance when I traveled in Latin America back in the days. Glue in hair to have it combed backwards and becoming black, not shaving that much and wearing beige shirt and pants with a spot or two and getting mistaken for a local maintenance guy, i.e. in Havanna. Italian asshat never gave me a tip after I helped him to open his hotel room door. Arrogant Euros :sunglasses:

However my son looks rather Caucasian and I doubt I will be able to put glue into his hair :blush:
So my question to people knowing Manila or Philippines is: What about kidnapping? If people notice there is a restaurant with maybe some German sausages and a somewhat foreign looking dude sometimes showing up in the restaurant with his little son… Does not sound good to me.

Edit: Local family’s security concept is to only keep 5000 Pesos in the cash register, but that does not really solve the kidnapping danger…
Wife is giggling about my concerns, but then again she is Taiwanese and that makes “don’t think too much” the predominant rule of life.
Any opinions?[/quote]

Threats of kidnapping seem to linger, but I’ve yet to hear of a single verified incident involving the child of a foreigner. My kid is so mestizo-looking that my wife is often mistaken for his yaya. But we aren’t taking any chances. We generally do not let the kid out of our sight unless we’re at home behind the gated walls. Every so often we’ve looked at purchasing free-standing property, but due to general circumstances, I would not feel comfortable in such a situation. From here, we’ll move to an even more protected environment.

We see how people react to our kid and we don’t really feel threatened by the attention he gets, but we are keen to keep an eye on the periphery. There was a particular trike driver who consistently gave us a pedophile vibe, and his efforts to gain access to the kid put him on the blacklist. Otherwise, we feel fairly safe within our usual confines of Makati, BGC, and parts of Pasay and Mandaluyong. I get nervous when we’re as far out as Quezon City.

Having said all that, if I could get my wife to agree on it, I’d move them to Taiwan for a while, just to breathe easy about safety. No matter where I am in the Philippines, I feel the target on my back - real or perceived - and I don’t trust anybody. I mean, a lot of it is just petty bullshit, like, we ordered a pizza and the delivery guy swiped my brand-new pair of Sanuk flip-flops. And I saw the fucker bend down but I thought maybe he’d dropped some change. Never did I imagine he’d be knicking my floppers. After enjoying a slice, I went out to hit the sari-sari for some Royal and my floppers were gone. That kind of shit bugs me way way more than the threat of kidnapping.


#47

Thank you for sharing. The local family lives/works/shops in similar security zones which is why I am surprised at this sudden move to open a restaurant out in the wild and having me and kid hang out there sometimes. Wife and local family are in the dollar-chasing phase and over-enthusiastic at the moment…


#48

Yeah, It depends on where you’re going to be. [You may have edited out those details.] We’re very near Makati City Hall, which is fairly mixed, but our barangay does NOT fuck around in terms of crime and what-have-you. People are out and about at all hours, but the streets are blocked at certain points and the barangay patrol is on point. I frequently take solo late night walks up to Makati Avenue and the A. Venue fiasco, and I’ve only once felt or experienced any kind of threatening behavior, and as soon as I turned on them and said, “Sup, fellas?” they bolted. Now, I’ve also done some late nights up in Malate and Ermita, and that’s a whole different scene. You take a wrong turn up there, you’re gonna get jacked or worse.

Generally speaking, your presence at this establishment will be a source of entertainment for them. Even though I don’t trust anybody, I’m also aware of the fact that most locals over-estimate their own cunning and wile, i.e. they aren’t anywhere near as crafty as they think they are. And some of the most bald-faced liars you ever met. The big question is how sharp are your street smarts? The key to being safe in that snakepit is seeing the danger long before it gets to you. If a stranger approaches me - at any time, in any place - I politely tell them to get lost. Now, if some punk were to pull a gun on me, I’d hand over whatever I had on me, since it’s generally never more than a few thousand pesos. You can have that, buddy. Also, I never carry credit cards or extra cash unless we’re going to make a big purchase; and in that case, it’s straight from the taxi into the shop.

EDIT spelling


#49

Well, I avoid confrontations. Behave non-provoking and even de-escalate. Was in mugging or attack situations only three times as an adult. All back home in Germany. Once a bunch of 4 Arab looking blokes wanted to really convince me at a gas station at night to really really enter their car because it would be “broken”. Did not want to talk to the local gas station clerk. Fat guys in their late 40s, me being 30ish then (that was 20 years ago), standing at my car being surrounded almost grabbed my wine bottle and played the wild dude with eyes rolling getting ready to use my computer nerd body to see what a wine bottle does do a skull. Automatic response as fleeing would not have worked. They backed off, I could enter my car in peace and drive off.

Other times I was younger and walked home from parties, knew of robberies done by blokes with short knives. So I had a Japanese short sword under the jacket and one I could shave with. Had to draw it twice, attackers backed off.

All that would not work in the Philippines with lots of guns and me being a sitting duck in a frigging restaurant. It is the kind of high street where you have scooter shops and small bank branches and small restaurants, but not a Toyota shop if you know what I mean. Rather sleazy looking car repair shops by a fellow with greasy hair.


#50

Generally speaking, if you look white and you are in Manila, you should not feel any kidnap threat because of your appearance. The kidnapping of white people that we hear about are missionaries and tourists who are far away from Manila - resorts in Palawan, or on mission in Mindanao.

On the other hand, if you look Chinese, thats another thing altogether. The kidnapping syndicates in Manila are generally understood to be a product of collusion between Chinese mafia in Southern China and members of the police. So this means you have to be a pretty prominent member of the Fil-Chi community to begin with to be considered a target. They arent gonna target a random person. In the deep south where gangs like the Abu Sayyaf live hand to mouth, its a different story.

Now, could your son, who is a Caucasian-Taiwanese mix have a problem? Such a mix makes him automatically look mestizo, but again, if the local constabulary and criminal communities recognize that your family has a zero revenue shop, they just aren’t going to bother.

All that said, yku should speak to as many locals on the ground as possible. PM and I will connect you to caucasians and Fil-Chi who I grew up with so you can offer to take them out for merienda and get their much more relevant views


#51

Thank you Goose egg. We’ll be moving in August - guess I PM you when it gets a bit closer. Also I never know if wife changes her plans last minute again :wink:


#52

This. The vast bulk of your negative interactions with Filipinos will be petty, transparent, or downright retarded attempts to part you from smallish sums of cash. That’s not to say that violent robberiesd don’t happen - the place just next door to my business was done over last month, but then again I live in a part of the Philippines where the police believe their job involves (a) fobbing off the public with excuses and (b) napping. Manila is a different ballgame - different class of criminals and a different class of policemen, and it can be hard to tell the two apart. Broadly speaking, the hardcore criminals will target lucrative opportunities (as goose egg said) and probably aren’t going to be interested in a sausage shop.

Small word of warning: Filipinos are endlessly coming up with ridiculous business ideas that are guaranteed not to work. Their main purpose, usually, is to get the rich kano to “invest” some money, which will then be spent on cellphones, a new tin roof, cockfighting, etc. In a few instances it may actually be put into the “business”, but for any number of reasons the business will (predictably) fail. Even if you maintain control of operations and finance, you’ll be faced with a predatory bunch of regulators, taxmen, and assorted rubber-stampers who will nickel-and-dime your business to death. Most businesses keep double books because they’d be out of business within a week if they didn’t.


#53

Thank you Finley. Still looks like we are moving…
Investment is via wife’s family so everything should be fine in the sense that a business will be opened. The hard work of keeping a small business alive will be another case and … well… time will tell.


#54

Good sentence, eh?


#55

What part of Manila are you BHexiting to?


#56

Sorry, wasn’t on the new Forumosa for quite a while. I always need long time to get used to new stuff. I am still playing “Severance” from 1999 on the computer, if you know what I mean.

So it was planned to be BGC / Metro Manila or close to it for the business. Yet currently I am tending to not go there. Actually the recent development about Mr. Dutertes war on drug-suspects raised first doubts and then the link below made me decide for not going. Police picking Westerners off the streets. Then either you can pay a huge bribe immediately or you get accused to be an Ecstasy seller. They “caught” two. One has a life sentence now, the other goes free after proving his innocence. Was in a nightmare jail for 3 months.

Little Bob here does not have the nerves for this I guess. Come one, here I only eat Seven-Eleven food for the sake of my stomach. How am I do survive 3 months or 10 years or longer in a jail at the ass of the world?

http://www.skynews.com.au/news/world/asiapacific/2016/09/15/aust-man-acquitted-on-drugs-in-philippines.html

Edit: Google up the case. According to Berg’s version, he was just doing his job with the hotel installations, when the cops burst in and what the combination of the safe and put a gun to his head. Later in parking lot, they demand money from him. Couldn’t pay so photographer from newspaper comes and takes a photo of the “drug dealer”. Later police claimed they caught him on the street selling drugs, but he could prove otherwise with CCTV from hotel.


#57

Well, with wife still being enthusiastic and wanting to bring our son the discussion is ongoing. Once she has her mind set on something it is very difficult to get her off it.


#58

I wouldn’t want to be the one that stands out in a crowd in a police state… especially when the head of state talks as if people who look like you are the enemy.


#59

Yes, just my thoughts. And when the president mentions foreigners as drug dealers and police is encouraged to break the law and find some thrilling cases to present to the top boss and have themselves praised as heroes of the new war on drugs it might really not be a good idea to stand out in this country.


#60

Sounds like the treatment to pitch Miami Vice.

I wouldn’t want to be the one that stands out in a crowd in a police state

OK, hold on - when I think of “police state”, I think of hard helmets and an efficient, highly organized bureaucratic government machinery - like in Enemy of the State

This is not the Philippines.This has never been the Philippines - although I am very open to the idea that there actually has been a fascist government infrastructure embedded in surreptitiously by the Falange (here I am wearing my Dan Brown cap). The system is designed to help the guy at the top maintain power and to keep all (but an entrenched cronies) feeding the machine – this really does sound like a Dan Brown novel if you throw in the pointy hats, doesn’t it?

A more appropriate analogy is a crime family - highly organized, but prone to careless, unnecessary adventures. Innocent bystanders being gunned down in the crossfire is not going to be a surprise.