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.
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.