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Might be time to leave this year

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Steve1960
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Might be time to leave this year

Postby Steve1960 » Tue, 13 Jan 2015 12:10 pm

Looks like I could be out of a job at some point this year and have started thinking about the move to Philippines. It's not easy with the wife and two kids and I am trying to figure out the logistics.

Firstly banking (I know we have a few experts here). What happens, if anything, to my OCBC account when I leave. Can I keep it open for a period of time or does it have to be closed when my EP is retracted? Can I open an account here in Singapore in pesos which can be seamlessly used in Philippines (HSBC or Citibank maybe?). An International bank account is what I think I am saying but not sure.

Second shipping and storage. I think I am faced with having to arrange two shipments of our belongings with so much 'stuff' needed for the baby and the 4 year old. One which we will require immediately on arrival and one to put into storage until we find a place to live. I know we have a few Filipino's here. Is medium term storage possible and / or advisable in Philippines (safe / secure). The company we used to move from Philippines to Singapore were very professional but their storage costs may be higher than I could arrange elsewhere? What would you allow the freight forwarder to ship? We simply don't have enough space in hand luggage for all the high value items and things the baby will need on the flight. Too many phones, iPad's, laptops and critical data storage. Some of this may have to be shipped not hand carried.

Finally buying property, one for my Filipino friends here. I don't want to burn too much money in rental costs. How long would it take to buy a property in Philippines? Assume purchasing a vacant condominium from an established agent in the Makati area as an example. I have no idea if it is a long drawn out bureaucratic affair like many other processes there :wink:

There is probably other stuff I have not thought of yet feel free to bring such things to my attention!

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Re: Might be time to leave this year

Postby nakatago » Tue, 13 Jan 2015 12:27 pm

Steve1960 wrote:Looks like I could be out of a job at some point this year and have started thinking about the move to Philippines. It's not easy with the wife and two kids and I am trying to figure out the logistics.

Firstly banking (I know we have a few experts here). What happens, if anything, to my OCBC account when I leave. Can I keep it open for a period of time or does it have to be closed when my EP is retracted? Can I open an account here in Singapore in pesos which can be seamlessly used in Philippines (HSBC or Citibank maybe?). An International bank account is what I think I am saying but not sure.

Second shipping and storage. I think I am faced with having to arrange two shipments of our belongings with so much 'stuff' needed for the baby and the 4 year old. One which we will require immediately on arrival and one to put into storage until we find a place to live. I know we have a few Filipino's here. Is medium term storage possible and / or advisable in Philippines (safe / secure). The company we used to move from Philippines to Singapore were very professional but their storage costs may be higher than I could arrange elsewhere? What would you allow the freight forwarder to ship? We simply don't have enough space in hand luggage for all the high value items and things the baby will need on the flight. Too many phones, iPad's, laptops and critical data storage. Some of this may have to be shipped not hand carried.

Finally buying property, one for my Filipino friends here. I don't want to burn too much money in rental costs. How long would it take to buy a property in Philippines? Assume purchasing a vacant condominium from an established agent in the Makati area as an example. I have no idea if it is a long drawn out bureaucratic affair like many other processes there :wink:

There is probably other stuff I have not thought of yet feel free to bring such things to my attention!


* Banking: as far as I know, you can keep your account open even if you will no longer have residency status. Just do the prerequisite change of contact details, even if they are overseas. Just check with your bank though if they are an exception. I know Citibank has accounts that you can use across countries; not sure about HSBC.

* Sending stuff: balikbayan boxes can be a good option. Depends on the value and the actual amount of stuff you need to send (i.e. up to a shipping container's worth?, If yes, go with established companies). Be aware that customs is one of the most corrupt government agencies in the Philippines.

* Buying property: you (non-Filipino) are restricted to buying houses only and condominiums. If you want to include land, at least 51% should be by a citizen (your wife, so no problem). That said, buying a condo can be quite taxing if you don't have a physical presence there. It depends on how coordinated your real estate agency is, what will be the source of your financing (banking? PAG-IBIG? cash?). It would be worth it to know if your agency also has electronic transactions as that can make life so much easier. Follow up often and don't expect the bank or the agency to be know the processes like the back of their hands.

That's just the high-level stuff for now.

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Re: Might be time to leave this year

Postby Steve1960 » Tue, 13 Jan 2015 12:39 pm

Thanks Nak.

I will ask at the bank. It also occurs to me that everything is OTP these days and relies on having a phone number. I know in the UK they don't allow overseas numbers, you must have a UK SIM card.

Could be a container, still thinking about the pro's and con's of shipping big items vs buying new on arrival. If not it's still too much for Balikbayan boxes unfortunately. Although this could be good for the stuff we need on arrival. Yes the corruption issues keep me awake at night!

Yep, understand the property laws and we will buy a house and plot in my wife's name but it doesn't need to be the first purchase. The first purchase needs to be the fastest so I can settle the family and possessions, take a breather, then look for a more suitable permanent home. I don't have the luxury (not quite the correct term) of trying to purchase while I am in Singapore so we need to do it quickly after arrival. I assume condo purchase to be the quickest but not with any real rationale behind that statement! It will be a cash purchase via bank transfer. Good tip, I will ask the agencies about their communications and factor it in to the decision making.

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Re: Might be time to leave this year

Postby bgd » Tue, 13 Jan 2015 1:02 pm

Good luck with your move if it happens. Oil and gas?

A friend moved recently. Not as much stuff as you and he had been planning it awhile. His approach was to maximise the weight allowance on flights. Think he was taking 40 to 60kgs a time - 2 travelling. He has accommodation but needs to build at some point. No issues with keeping his bank account here. So far it seems his major problem has been internet access, or the lack of. He is living in the back of beyond though - Pagudpud.

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Re: Might be time to leave this year

Postby Steve1960 » Tue, 13 Jan 2015 1:17 pm

bgd wrote:Good luck with your move if it happens. Oil and gas?

A friend moved recently. Not as much stuff as you and he had been planning it awhile. His approach was to maximise the weight allowance on flights. Think he was taking 40 to 60kgs a time - 2 travelling. He has accommodation but needs to build at some point. No issues with keeping his bank account here. So far it seems his major problem has been internet access, or the lack of. He is living in the back of beyond though - Pagudpud.


No different industry, can't talk about it right now its a merger / acquisition thing with the company I work for being the acquired party. My move will be to semi retirement probably the semi working part being a landlord of rented property.

Ah, I don't have accommodation there so I need to move the family as a whole unit with our stuff and rent initially. I suppose there is the alternative of me heading out first to try and buy said condo in advance, would probably mean multiple trips but less painful than a full family move with no permanent address. I may give that some thought. Cost of rental versus cost of multiple flights and expenses if I do it alone, need to think it through. Wife doesn't want to be in the back of beyond so we will be somewhere along that Luzon corridor from Makati to Alabang.

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Re: Might be time to leave this year

Postby nakatago » Tue, 13 Jan 2015 1:33 pm

Steve1960 wrote:Thanks Nak.

I will ask at the bank. It also occurs to me that everything is OTP these days and relies on having a phone number. I know in the UK they don't allow overseas numbers, you must have a UK SIM card.


Some banks use an OTP key-fob/dongle (e.g. DBS/POSB). What I could suggest is continue to use your current bank; use a prepaid card on international roaming to tide you over until you've transferred all of your funds to a local bank if you won't use the big international banks.

Steve1960 wrote:Could be a container, still thinking about the pro's and con's of shipping big items vs buying new on arrival. If not it's still too much for Balikbayan boxes unfortunately. Although this could be good for the stuff we need on arrival. Yes the corruption issues keep me awake at night!


Make a list in order of priority. Those you have to ship, start sending Balikbayan boxes in waves. I reckon there would be stuff that you'd have to leave behind.

Steve1960 wrote:
Yep, understand the property laws and we will buy a house and plot in my wife's name but it doesn't need to be the first purchase. The first purchase needs to be the fastest so I can settle the family and possessions, take a breather, then look for a more suitable permanent home. I don't have the luxury (not quite the correct term) of trying to purchase while I am in Singapore so we need to do it quickly after arrival. I assume condo purchase to be the quickest but not with any real rationale behind that statement! It will be a cash purchase via bank transfer. Good tip, I will ask the agencies about their communications and factor it in to the decision making.


I'd avoid doing it abroad as that will involve the embassy for consularization which adds another layer of bureaucracy and would also necessitate sending documents by courier, making lots of phone calls to follow up and confirm/verify. For some weird reason, people in the Philippines not in the tech sector cannot properly communicate via e-mail (I'm allowed to say that because I'm Filipino for other readers). Trust me, I know first hand; I just had the most stressful pre-Christmas period of my life to date.

You can still feasibly rent; if it will save you the headache now, at least it will buy you time to buy better property. In the grand scheme of things, it may save you money/headaches if you're thinking of selling the first purchase condo. Although, a cash purchase should be quick since you skip the whole financing red tape (wow, you got 10 million pesos just lying around?).

I'd lease you my Makati condo but I'm afraid it's too small for your family :P

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Re: Might be time to leave this year

Postby Strong Eagle » Tue, 13 Jan 2015 1:38 pm

I'm back in the USA and still have my Stanchart account... they've sent me new ATM cards and tokens... not too much of a hassle...

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Re: Might be time to leave this year

Postby Steve1960 » Tue, 13 Jan 2015 1:46 pm

Good point I do have a key fob for OCBC I forgot about it. I might prefer to use a big International bank as I am not familiar with the financial strength and monetary security of the local banks.

We are ruthless at home with regard to keeping things we don't need and (no surprise to you Nak) 90% of what we don't want goes in boxes to various relatives in Philippines :wink: So we need everything we have except for the big heavy items like sofas, dinning room table, chairs. It is very questionable whether to ship these or buy on arrival.

OK good advice, from your previous posts I caught on that you have some recent battle scars!! Maybe we rent and at least drive a purchase locally.

I guess lying around is about right I have been planning this for quite a while :wink:

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Re: Might be time to leave this year

Postby Steve1960 » Tue, 13 Jan 2015 1:48 pm

Strong Eagle wrote:I'm back in the USA and still have my Stanchart account... they've sent me new ATM cards and tokens... not too much of a hassle...


That's interesting. In the UK I have to use my mothers address and mobile phone number to continue easily suing the account and just last week she received a letter for me from the bank advising they are going to cancel my ATM card due to lack of use. I guess you still use your ATM card here?

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Re: Might be time to leave this year

Postby Steve1960 » Tue, 13 Jan 2015 1:49 pm

Steve1960 wrote:
Strong Eagle wrote:I'm back in the USA and still have my Stanchart account... they've sent me new ATM cards and tokens... not too much of a hassle...


That's interesting. In the UK I have to use my mothers address and mobile phone number to continue easily suing the account and just last week she received a letter for me from the bank advising they are going to cancel my ATM card due to lack of use. I guess you still use your ATM card in the US?

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Re: Might be time to leave this year

Postby Steve1960 » Tue, 13 Jan 2015 1:51 pm

Another thought. Mail forwarding from Singapore to Philippines is possible or a waste of time even trying?

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Re: Might be time to leave this year

Postby JR8 » Tue, 13 Jan 2015 2:47 pm

Steve1960 wrote:Another thought. Mail forwarding from Singapore to Philippines is possible or a waste of time even trying?


It seems to work fine from SG to Europe, but not sure about the PH end of things.
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Re: Might be time to leave this year

Postby zzm9980 » Tue, 13 Jan 2015 2:51 pm

Steve1960 wrote:Thanks Nak.

I will ask at the bank. It also occurs to me that everything is OTP these days and relies on having a phone number. I know in the UK they don't allow overseas numbers, you must have a UK SIM card.


Citibank and DBS both allowed international numbers for me, and SMS worked just fine. OCBC didn't, but I never tried to troubleshoot and see if there was a typo or not. Everyone will keep your account open indefinitely.

If Citibank has a Phillipines branch, it would be an easy option to move money back and forth instantly. Tons of threads on this. They always inspire big fanboy/hater flame wars, but most of the hate involves xfers to/from Citibank US which i personally blame on US banking laws. Exchange rate is good or bad, depending on the size and frequency of the transfers. If they're very large and infrequent, you'll get a slightly better rate paying for a wire from DBS using their Philipines Remittance. Needs to be large enough due to the xfer fee. It's also not instant, but usually same business day before 3pm.

Once your address is overseas, Citibank will require you to do a Giro on your credit cards to pay it in full every month. DBS will cancel theirs. Debit cards are not a problem.

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Re: Might be time to leave this year

Postby Steve1960 » Tue, 13 Jan 2015 2:54 pm

zzm9980 wrote:
Citibank and DBS both allowed international numbers for me, and SMS worked just fine. OCBC didn't, but I never tried to troubleshoot and see if there was a typo or not. Everyone will keep your account open indefinitely.

If Citibank has a Phillipines branch, it would be an easy option to move money back and forth instantly. Tons of threads on this. They always inspire big fanboy/hater flame wars, but most of the hate involves xfers to/from Citibank US which i personally blame on US banking laws. Exchange rate is good or bad, depending on the size and frequency of the transfers. If they're very large and infrequent, you'll get a slightly better rate paying for a wire from DBS using their Philipines Remittance. Needs to be large enough due to the xfer fee. It's also not instant, but usually same business day before 3pm.

Once your address is overseas, Citibank will require you to do a Giro on your credit cards to pay it in full every month. DBS will cancel theirs. Debit cards are not a problem.


Very very useful thank you

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Re: Might be time to leave this year

Postby Primrose Hill » Tue, 13 Jan 2015 2:56 pm

JR8 wrote:
Steve1960 wrote:Another thought. Mail forwarding from Singapore to Philippines is possible or a waste of time even trying?


It seems to work fine from SG to Europe, but not sure about the PH end of things.

There's a time limit to mail forwarding from UK though. It works fine for me too but it has ended.


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