I rarely win any type of grand prize or even a consolation prize. Regardless of how many entries I put in or the even if the odds are high, I will pretty much be the last entry picked. I have resigned myself to this fate for my life. But all that changed when I entered a contest that was being run by one of the channels on YouTube. The YouTube channel is called the Gadget Addict. It is run by this dude from the United Kingdom who is living in Manila. He truly is a gadget addict, I thought I had an addiction to gadgets but he is way ahead of me.
During this contest I was hoping to win the grand prize as there was five of them but my usual luck held up. But I did win the consolation prize !!
Let me explain how the rules for contest worked. The requirements were that you had to have a YouTube channel with a couple of videos uploaded on it as the contest was centered on prizes that were things that a vlogger would like to have. The five grand prizes were Chinese-made go pro type cameras, along with selfie sticks, camera lights and memory cards, really a great prize. I really wanted to win one of those grand prizes but with so many people entering my chances decreased by the day.
Now some people really were not into vlogging and just setup a channel and threw a few videos up just so they could qualify for the contest but that is just how some people are. Even the channel mentioned how some did this yet they were still able to enter. Check out the channel that was hosting the contest on YouTube, its called the Gadget Addict. Since I run a small YouTube channel, I thought it would be an interesting video if I filmed me opening the box. Now let me start off by saying I had no idea what I had won, only clue that was given was he stated he thought I would really like it. My goal was to try to capture my surprise by filming me opening up the box. I figured that I could just find an empty table at the food court and open the package but it turned out a lot harder to do than I expected.
I had no idea how hard of a task this would be. It was Sunday and the Robinson Mall was packed with a full crowd. Even the food court was filled and it was way past lunch time. So I got this idea to head so I outside the mall but the wind was blowing too hard, which as you know always makes for bad for the audio. Having failed in that I head back into the mall to look for a quiet corner where I could open the box. I finally found a corner of the mall where a store is closed. Naturally there was no chairs nearby so I has to basically sit my butt down on the floor and begin opening my consolation prize. As I am struggling and I mean struggling to open this very well taped up box, a crowd begins to gather as the Philippine vlogger struggles to open a well taped, styrofoam box.
Check out the video, you can see me acknowledging the crowd as it gets bigger.
I finally got a Casio g shock watch ! If you have watched any of the videos from the Philippine vlogger channel on Youtube < here > then you will know of the struggle I went through trying to obtain a casio g shock watch. I tried going the counterfeit way and buy a cheap Chinese imitation which looked okay enough. But a lot of the functionality did not work, of course it wasn’t shock resistant nor was it waterproof, what it was was basically junk. I did get suckered twice into buying them, the first one died within two days and the second lived longer but was off by ten minutes a day.
I started saving up my money with the goal of buying an official casio g shock watch.
Its funny because I was surfing the internet and looking at all the different models. It seems sites were spelling the g shock watch many different ways. Some examples of how it was spelled on websites was g shock, g schock, g chock, g shock, or even the word shockwatch was used. I guess a lot of these websites were setup in different countries where english is not the primary language but I was amazed that google recognized these words as words for a casio g shock watch.
Which One to Get ?
Now if I really wanted a basic g shock watch I could have gone to the local mall, either the Robinson or the SM Bacolod and picked one up. My issue with that was they lacked the variety of colors and models that a site such as Amazon has. Most of the models in the mall were ones with black bands and black face plates. There was a few with a color like red or white but that was about all the choices you had. Me, I was looking for a particular one with a certain color in it which was green.
Now you may ask, Philippine vlogger why green? Well for several reasons, one its my favorite color, two it my lucky color according to Chinese zodiac sigs ( I was born in the year of the dog) and three the color is unique enough that not to many people have a green G shock watch. I choose this one:
Pretty cool right? They did have an all green watch but I liked the shinny white band and with the with highlights on the faceplate I think it made it stand out a little more. I was lucky that one of the viewers on my channel send in a small donation. Which literally covered half the cost so combining that with my savings and I was able to order the watch. Here is the video of my unboxing.
Its a great watch and I am pretty proud to wear it around.
Real is Better !
Believe me it is far better to get the real thing than to walk around with some cheap counterfeit that can be spotted a mile away. Plus with the counerfeit g shock you can even get it wet for fear it will stop working. The Casio Men’s G Shock watch is water resistant up to 200 meters – now that a water resistant watch and don’t forget the g shock watch comes with a one year warranty.
Casio does make a shock watch for women and they call it the baby g. It has the same great features as the men’s g shock but the band and the watch face is a little smaller. Color wise they had a more variety of baby g than the regular g shock. I am very pleased with my selection.
Our kitchen remodel is now in progress. As many of you know, we run a small home restaurant and what originally started out as a functional kitchen design has now become a log jam. When things get busy, as workers we struggle to get our tasks done because we are in each other’s way. Almost from the beginning we began to see how important it is to have a proper and functional kitchen design. A good kitchen design will allow us to serve food to our customers in the fastest way possible. One of the hurdles with our kitchen remodel is that we are in the middle of the rainy season. Our construction progress is based on dry and rainy days. Dry day we build and rain days we stop until the rain stops. Once the roof is complete the weather will no longer be a factor.
Another issue we have is that we have outgrown our current kitchen and need a bigger more efficient one. There are many advantages to having a bigger more efficient kitchen. With a bigger kitchen we will not only improve our service but it will allow us to expand the menu to offer more variety of foods. In this video, the Philippine vlogger walks you through the progress of preparing the roofing structure. We go over the reason why it is important to have a high ceilings in the Philippines as a way to keep the place cool Another important tool to keeping the place cool is the need to install form insulation which will reflect the heat coming off the galvanized roofing.
Check out the video:
We need restaurant expansion !! As many of you know, we have a problem with our kitchen but it is a good problem. Our restaurant business has picked up so much that the current kitchen is no longer allowing us to serve the customers efficiently.
When we first designed the layout we never imagined that we would get the flow to traffic that we now sometimes get. The problem is not the lack of staff but rather the problem of allowing the staff to moving around and get the orders out in a timely fashion.
The current layout is like a one way street and if somebody stop to do something that causes a log jam for everybody else.
In a prior video I went over the idea of expanding the kitchen, making it bigger and what advantages that will bring us. A larger kitchen will allow us to serve our customers faster and more efficiently. The new design will free up more floor space for tables, as there has been times when customers want to sit and eat but all our tables were filled.
A Bigger Kitchen !
A bigger kitchen will allow us to expand the menu and offer a more variety menu. Our true goal was to offer foods that can be eaten by a family, not just small snack foods but a more fuller menu. I really want to get into the barbecue aspect and offer items such as hamburgers and pork ribs cooked over an open flame, and topped with our homemade barbecue sauce. Items such as these will bring a lot more money into the restaurant. Plus we would not have to rely on the schools being open, and the student traffic which currently is making up the majority of our total sales.
Here is the video with the restaurant expansion plans. https://youtu.be/3HZFGvr3_Hg
The other day I found a Superwoman of the Philippines. I was walking up my street in my Philippine subdivision when I saw this elderly looking woman. She was using a hand made tool to dig what appeared to be fence post holes for a bamboo fence. I asked her age only to find out that she is 77 years old. What was really unique was this superwoman of the Philippines started working around 7 am and did not stop unit about 5 pm. I was amazed at her energy level wondering if there was some way I could bottle it.
This is just one of many things I have notice about the superwoman of the Philippines. That a lot of them possess a strong drive and a willingness to do just about anything in order to get a job done.
Lots of Superwoman in the Philippines
If anybody has stayed in the Philippines for any length of time, one can easily find a superwoman of the Philippines. Just go to any town or village to find them. All over the islands there are women doing men’s tasks and at times doing just at good if not better.
Check out the video to get a better idea of just what I mean. https://youtu.be/SKB4e341i5o
Every since I have been a Philippine vlogger, I have witnessed both men and women in the roles of superman or superwoman, doing whatever it takes to get the job done to either earn money for the family or put food on the table. I am not sure of the statistics but I believe that the employment rate is a little higher than that of the men. Many of the government jobs around my home are filled by more women than men.
With the opening of phase three of our subdivision, I decided to check it. Phase three of the Pueblo San Antonio subdivision is only a short bike ride away so I hopped on the bike and pedaled over to it. Unfortunately it was a windy day so it really made filming with audio nearly impossible. Check out the video I made. I felt a sense of deja vu being reminded of the time Remy and I started building our first house in phase 2. I believe we were the third family to start building and the first family to complete our home and live in it.
What’s It Take to Build
While there are some subdivisions in the Philippines that sell house and lot together, our subdivision worked like this. You found the lots that were available, you put down a down payment ( about five thousand pesos). You either paid off the note or made mostly payments for up to five years. Once you have paid off about 70 percent, the developer would issue you a certificate for a right to build. You take that certificate and head over the engineering department of you town to apply for a building permit. A lot of people try to get around the law but if you are caught building without a building permit, the engineering department will shut you down.
In the video, you can see that there is no security in the subdivision and no street lights. For those being the first ones to build, they quickly get a sense they are on their own.
If they in the process of building, they need to hire somebody to watch over their building supplies at night. Otherwise looters will take the extra building supplies. All of these subdivisions are build on old sugar cane fields so the outside boundary surrounding the subdivision is filled with squatters and individuals who wouldn’t think twice about taking what is not theirs. When we were building we had somebody onsite 24 hours a day to watch the property and supplies.
My tourist visa was about expired time to head down to bureau of Immigration Philippines to renew my visa. My closes bureau of Immigration office is located in Bacolod City which is a short jeepney ride from my home. It was just last year that the Bureau of Immigration Philippines decided to offer extension ranging from one month up to six months. This would be my second six month extension as I really liked the convenience of not having to worry about my visa expiring each month.
Heading to Bacolod to the Philippine Bureau of Immigration
Check out the video link here as it shows the location of the bureau of immigration field office that is located in Bacolod City. I even give the total cost of a six month extension for a tourist visa.
If you allow your visa to expire then you can will get it renewed but you will have to pay additional pesos for fine. If a foreigner decided not to renew his visa then he or she will not be allowed to leave the country until all fines and fees are paid up but even worst one can be blacklisted and not allowed to come back to the Philippines.
The other thing one has to remember is that regardless of your status, a foreigner has to leave the Philippines for at least 24 hours every three years. A lot of the expats call this a visa run which is a short trip to a neighboring country for a day or two then returning back to the Philippines. Once you have been out of the country for 24 hours, then you start all over again. One really needs to keep this mind as I know of one expat – married to a Filipina who did not leave after three years ( called overstay) and he left for the United States for several months, he then flew with his wife back to the Philippines. Upon disembarking from the plane and going through immigration, his wife was allowed into the country but he was denied entry. He had apparently overstayed and thereby was blacklisted until he came up with about 150K pesos of fines. Him being an elderly gentleman was mad at the immigration Philippines bureau but in reality it was him who he should have been mad at because it was his fault. Somehow he was allowed to leave the Philippines and he claimed to have checked with the Philippine embassy in the United States to verify he could return. They reported to him that the do not see anything on record regarding that, so he thought he was good to go, he was until the Bureau of Immigration stopped him.
Here is the video of my visa renewal:
The Philippine vlogger took a one day trip to Campuestohan which is located up on the mountains just outside Talisay City in the Negros Occidental province. Campuestohan is a one of the top Bacolod tourist spots which is recommend if one is going to visit the Bacolod City region. The drive up to Campuestohan which is located in the mountain region is a fun drive as it is all up hill. There are few places you can stop to get a drink or eat but they are sari sari stores, not major food chains or malls or anything of that nature. What draws people to Campuestohan Highland resort is the fresh and cooler mountain air. Many tourist and Filipinos alike flock to the resort to seek relief from the summer temperatures of Bacolod City.
I was at Campuestohan about five years ago and was not that impressed with the resort, yes the air was cooler but back then it only had a main lodge, one pool and these cutout cartoon characters that you could pose with. So besides swimming, eating and posing there really wasn’t that much to do up there but I am glad to say that has all changed. Campuestohan Highland resort is a full pledge resort with plenty to activities. They had made major upgrades to the grounds which now boost of three swimming pools, one of which is a wave pool, there are climbing walls, zip lines, and rolling cages along with several kiddie parks for young children to play in. I counted three kiddie pools, including the wave pool which slopes down at angle of a beach so everybody can enjoy the waves regardless of whether you can swim or not.
They have improved the sleeping arrangements so now not only can you stay at the main lodge but now you can sleep in an air conditioned teepee or go big time and sleep in the huge king kong. Check out my video as I go over the sleeping arrangements at Campuestohan along with what are some of the Campuestohan Highland resort rates for each of the rooms.
In this post we go over the cost of living in Philippines for a family of five for the month of March 2016. In the prior post I mentioned that while these are our actual figures of money we spent that month, one should look at this as a guide rather than the law. Each person’s cost of living in the Philippines will be unique to them and nobody has the exact same budget which is why the amount spent varies with each Philippine expat.
If you are still trying to figure out your own amount for the cost of living in Philippines and you haven’t seen our explanation video, then check out the posting here
Now that we got that out of the way let’s go over our numbers for March.
Item one is water, we paid out 688 pesos for city water which is used for cooking, bathing and washing clothes. We do not normally drink the water unless the process involves boiling such as coffee or soup. We get our drinking water from our water business that we have going, in a true sense we basically drink the profits. The next item is my personal pain in the butt expense and that is electric. My problem with this utility is not only is it hard to estimate but it is not very reliable either. Brownouts can occur at any moment and without explanation plus the utility is free to set the cost per watt to whatever they feel like without any explanation. We had some visitors here for a month in March and along with them came a toddler, so naturally the aircon in the apartment ran 24/7. With this increase in electricity we say a jump in our March bill to 8500 pesos.
Our internet bill is somewhat consistent each month, although not as reliable as it should be, but without complaining I will say our bill was 1500 pesos. Following that is our estimated food bill for March, while I can’t say it exact, it is pretty close to what we are budgeting for so for a family of five we spent 15000 pesos on food. Keep in mind we do not eat out very often and this diet is a Filipino diet of fish, chicken, pork, rice and a little beef. If you want to eat more of an American style diet, then you should add additional money to purchase the imported foods. As part of our food budget but listed separately is the cost of 50 keg of rice which last us about a month and half and that cost 1700 pesos. I really don’t think we save that much on getting the larger size sack but it saves on having to go out and purchase more. The family members really eat the rice, three times a day, even if we have spaghetti, they will still have rice on the side. A
As far as cell phones are concerned we pay about 600 pesos a month for both Remy and my cell phone. Honestly nobody really calls me but I need the data and Remy gets the calls but rarely uses internet data. Another consistent cost each month is the cost of tuition for the youngest, 4000 pesos along with his bayad, 2000 pesos which allows for transportation and snack cost.
So how do we pay for all of this? Check out the video and not only do I go over our cost of living in Philippines for the month of March but I also go over our income for that month. I know not many expats explain where their money is coming from but I do because I want to show that it is possible to create a living in Philippines.
What is the cost of living in Philippines is one of the most popular questions all expats who live here get asked. It is also one of the hardest questions to answer because truthfully it is based on one own personal life style not the lifestyle of somebody else. What may be good for me may not be good for you and what is not good for me may be good for you. If one were to look at YouTube and do a search for the cost of living in Philippines or even the cost of living in the Philippines tons of videos would appear. Some would boast that they are living on less than 500 usd while others will say you can not do it for less than one thousand usd and still others will push the minimum far above the one thousand mark. Just to be clear there is a difference between living in the Philippines and retiring in the Philippines. If I am retiring in the Philippines then I get a pension or social security, a monthly allotment of money but if I am living in Philippines then I am dependent on what I earn for that month which may affect my budget depending on having extra money or having below my monthly average.
Here is my suggestion for figuring out just what your cost of living in Philippines. Watch a few of the budget videos on YouTube then get out a piece of paper and make a line in the middle of it. On one side write can not live without and on the other side can live without, from this you can list the things you can live with out and things you can not live without. To help you get started, on the side of the paper listing things you can not live without you must list food, rent, water, electric. You have to eat now whether you like to cook your meals at home or you are someone who likes to go out and eat prepared foods will dictate who much money you need to set aside for food. You must purchase water as most expats purchased filtered water and do not drink out of the tap because it will upset your stomach. Shelter is another must have, you need a place to sleep and a place to put your stuff. How much you will pay for rent is based on personal preferences such as living space, where you are located and your level of comfort. Some expats don’t use air con and just sleep with a fan, while others, like me need air con at night, now naturally those who just need a fan have a lower electric bill than those who run aircon. For me having lived in Chicago, the first year was hard adjusting to the tropical heat and humidity but after a year I soon adapted but even then I still long for air conditioning or air con as they call it here. Electricity here is unreliable and is the high price in all of Asia so be prepared for paying more for less, if you know what I mean. Since you watched a few Philippine cost of living videos, you know that it cost more to live in Manila than it does in the province so adjust your budget accordingly and be sure to over estimate the costs, better to be safe than sorry.
Now we get to the thing you can possibility live without, such as a car, do you need a car in the Philippines? This luxury has it’s plus and minuses. You can go without a car and take jeepneys and taxis but you will need to budget for that, plus there is the disadvantage of relying on them to get you around. We bought a small pickup what is called a multi cab here and the cost was around 140K pesos, now this was rebuilt not brand new. Here is a shot of our mulitcab.
Some expats want to try to copy the life style they had in their home country and in a sense this can be done, but it will be done at a far larger expense than they think. A new car in the Philippines cost are higher than buying a car in your home country and don’t even think about shipping your car over here, many have tried and failed and lost money in the process.
Now some expats plan on retiring in the Philippines and begin to look for a home and lot to purchase. Bear in mind, foreigners can not own land here, so the title will have to be put in your Filipino wife, husband, girlfriend or boyfriend and with that comes the lost of ability to control that asset. Some expat have done fine with this concept ( so far me included) while others have lost everything they owned so bear in mind it is definitely a gamble. Check out my video as I discuss some of the things you will need to think about as your prepare your cost of living in Philippines budget.