may i just say, this comic is the awesome, not just awesome, THE awesome.
DP was very accurate in his decsirption of the land buying issues in the Philippines. He was a understandably bit diplomatic, but if you can read between the lines, it’s a big NO for a foreigner.First of all, a foreigner can’t own any real estate. He has to spit up the money but a Filipino or Filipina will be the real owner. It’s like writing a blank check and be sure they will cash it sooner or later, preferably after you made improvements and built a house on it if they can control their greed for a while .In case you’re married (as a foreigner) to a Filipina and you buy land in her name, the entire (large) family included remote cousins will assume they won the lottery and will rely on you for barrowing money for their starving kids, the hospital bills of their dying lolas, the college education of a sibbling, jewelry for a wedding, etc Of course, you will never see the money back and you will be considered rude and greedy if you dare to ask.If you want to open a small business on the premises, your neighbors will have to sign a testimony that you are a responsible and god-fearing citizen and expect a bribe from 20,000 to 100,000php (depending on the location) for their honest testimony. The Barangay captain and officials will expect their share too, of course, or you’re in for big trouble like deportation on fake charges. A foreigner can’t rely on the justice system since a Filipino is right by definition.Neighbors don’t get jealous easily (unless they’re drunk) but they expect a foreigner should be sharing always. In that case, you’re a true fwend .A foreigner should also follow rules for employing personnel 200%, as to social security, insurance and minimum wage. Filipinos can employ housemaids as slaves, paying them 2-3,000php per month with no time off, not even Sundays.Land titling gives no guarantee whatsoever, except that you will have to pay all the outstanding taxes first that the previous owner (often a squatter) didn’t pay for years. Then you’ll need a surveyor (expect wages x3 for a foreigner) and a notary.Most of the property is still ancestral land (that belongs to a tribe) or land undivided between heirs. After all is settled and your Filipino partner or Filipina wife got the title, expect some long forgotten cousins to turn up out of the blue asking their extra share. A friendly Barangay captain or notary might help you with it, but he will ask a hefty commission for that.If you’re very bad and cruel to the family of your wife (like refusing them an umpteenth loan for a cellphone or a gadget, or suggest they shouldn’t invite themselves EVERY day around dinner time for their free meal) the marriage can be easily annulled and you will be kicked out of the country in no time, in which case, of course, you’ll have to leave your land behind.Dealing with Filipino authorities and people, you will have to accept the sad fact that they are totally corrupt from top to bottom, that justice can take years and that as a foreigner you have no chance. No wonder tourism and retirement tourism is rampantly low, compared to other Southeast Asian countries. They have no clue why, honestly.In the Philippines, don’t buy land, don’t invest, don’t try to do business. You will lose your money. A much better alternative is for instance Thailand, where the sights and nature are much better too. You’ll be reasonably sure of your property there with less bribing harassments from the authorities.I’m staying in Mindanao for 7 years now, but I only rented. I heard loads of stories of foreigners involving land hassles. Whenever the neighborhood gets ugly, like a squatter family moving in next to your wall burning smokey plastic shredding and playing loud music all day, you can move out.Siargao is a nice place and I was there again last November. It’s obvious that the locals want to monetize the presence of many foreigners there by asking a ridiculous 9Mphp for a house. A Filipino house as is is not suited to Western taste, for many reasons. It’s easy to paint over the ugly fluogreen walls and remove the horrible pink curtains and the Last Supper wall tapestry, but replacing the windows with prison grills by large security glass windows and making the kitchen separate from the living room will cost more.The electricity plant in Siargo was destroyed by lightning a month ago, so you will have to add a powerful non-Chinese diesel generator.My neighbor in Cagayan (a Filipino balikbayan with better taste) is building a great and well designed house next doors and his total budget is 1.3Mphp. The lot (in a walled compound) was around 500,000php but the suburb is close to the city center. When I was hunting for houses, I heard prices of 9M too and when I didn’t contact them any more, they went down to 2M finally. 9Mphp is just too crazy, especially in a remote place like Siargao where life is expensive since they have to fetch all by pumpboats.
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