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Old 07-22-2011, 11:07 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Ozziedreamer View Post
  • eat out every day (never have to cook again) including local street food
  • have someone do my laundry (never have to do my laundry again)
  • have a maid come and clean my house every other day
  • have a shave and one of those warm towel treatments on ones face at the barbers every other day
The eating out gets old- for me at least.

I only have a one room "apartment" so I don't mind cleaning it but I hear what you are saying.

I spend about $2 weekly for laundry.

Shaves are cheap


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Old 07-23-2011, 10:42 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by PeterForden View Post
After a reconnaissance trip, the omnipresent bad food was my second, big reason NOT to retire there in the first place.

...Omnipresent crime was the first reason.

-- Peter
What do you mean by bad food? Is it spoiled/rotten? Or taste is not to your expectation?

Were you victimized by crime? Crime is present in big cities - like here in Chicago, but perhaps not as bad as in Phil.

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Old 07-23-2011, 12:52 PM   #23
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You don't have to eat balut every day to get your protein, but I've been quite happy here on Filipino food... both from neighborhood potlucks and from restaurants.

I've felt the same way about Vietnamese, Thai, Chinese (and all its varieties), Indonesian, Korean, and Japanese cuisine.

Same for Tex-Mex, European, and other world cuisines.

But I won't eat haggis again.

Originally Posted by PeterForden View Post
...Many men, probably most, who relocated here in the past, did so because it was cheap.
It was, but they didn't consider the other factors that affect one's enjoyment of daily life.
Reality can hit hard in this part of the world.
And, if one starts here with very little money, then he has no surplus to try again somewhere better.
He's locked in, with nowhere to go, and no money to go elsewhere.
Happens a lot.
Sad to see.
I heard that summarized by an expat in Bangkok as:
"I'm 58 years old, fat, bald, a smoker, and drunk. Where else could I live like this?!?"

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Old 07-23-2011, 04:55 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by KingB View Post
What do you mean by bad food? Is it spoiled/rotten? Or taste is not to your expectation?
Prior to leaving the US, one of the things I misjudged about criteria for living in another country was underestimated the importance food would have on my quality of life. Living in the Phils has given me a new appreciation of how too much bad food can motivate prisoners to riot.

My opinions about food are based on living in Cebu and Dumaguete. Both towns had large markets aimed at the expat population. Most of the views expressed below are generalizations. There were a handful of Filipino cuisine food items that I loved, but there was too few of them.

Bad Raw Ingredients. Whatever genetic and ranching methods that make meat tough are the norm. Small variety of vegetables available. Veggies of their freshness can be found in California markets, but only in the dumpster. The various prepared flavorings that are not dried spices have way too much salt, sugar and MSG for any but a native Filipino's taste.

The good stuff includes pork (excluding chops), squid, fruit, and what few small fish species they have left. Some hardy veggies survive harvest, transport and storage like their versions of green beans and pumpkin-like squash.

Bad Sanitation. Stomach churning sanitation conditions at local markets, food stands and street vendors. I'll spare you the details but not the consequences. Nearly everything is cut up small and intentionally overcooked because they've learned that kills the things that cause food poisoning.

Bad Taste of Prepared Food. Nobody likes it but the Filipinos. Too much salt and MSG in all the places you'd expect to find some. Too much sugar in almost everything else. Flavorings found in no other nation's cuisine - and for good reason. During my 3 1/2 years in Vegas I walked past the best Filipino restaurant in town twice a week on my way to a dance studio. Only non-Filipino customers I ever saw were men with Filipina wives.

Prepared Food - street vendors. Was never brave enough to taste out of fear of risk to my health. No refrigeration, no provision for hand cleaning, cooking at low temperatures to save fuel and using the same surfaces & tools to handle raw meat and produce. Deep fried foods are immersed in hot oil, but the temperature is so low that the food is poached in rancid oil instead of fried. 'Frying' at low temperatures is pervasive at all levels of the restaurant business.

Prepared Food - Food Stands. More likely to have refrigeration or ice chests, hand and equipment washing facilities. Food is cooked in big batches and is ready to serve at mid morning, then it sits all day. I call the big pots of room temperature food 'bacteria farms'.

The spit roasted chicken stands have wooden chopping blocks made from a wood that is too soft for the task so the deep cuts become breeding grounds. I'm not the only foreigner who stood in line for some golden roast bird, got to the service window and physically recoiled at the stench of the chopping block.

Prepared Food - Restaurants. The best Filipino restaurants in Cebu were filled with people of means and taste. And the food was, in general, still just a refueling stop for me. Much of their food is no better than OK.

The best international cuisine restaurants run by Filipinos serve their culture's interpretation of the food, as passed through the available ingredients. It was almost always disappointing, but sometimes the alternate version was good for what it was - not what it was called.

The best international cuisine restaurants run by expats who know what they are doing, use imported ingredients are few in number, high in price and worth it.

Prepared Food - Home Cooking. Better than restaurants, still too much salt, MSG and sugar, and the odd flavor notes.
ER Oct 2008 at age 54. An expat mostly settled in Thailand.
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Old 07-23-2011, 10:26 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by PeterForden View Post
...From those two questions, I'll assume you've never been to The Philippines, other than, perhaps, to a tourist resort.
Every large city in the US will have at least one Filipino restaurant.
Go there, try the food, anything.
Eat there every meal, every day, for, say, two weeks.
Then please post here again and tell me your opinion of Filipino food.

...Before I traveled to The Philippines, I did go to several Filipino restaurants at home.
I thought the food couldn't be as bad in the country.
It was.
Before I went to The Philippines, I was invited to a Filipino home for a party in the family of my language teacher.
The food wasn't any better there either.

Now, that said, there are a few exceptions.
My favorite breakfast is the pork sausage with rice and fried eggs.
The name is "longanisa".
The pork wouldn't be clean, that's for sure, and every time I ate it, no matter where, the flavor was cloyingly sweet from being loaded with sugar.
The steamed buns, with BBQ pork inside are delicious.
Chinese-style buns, known as, salapao.
Again pork with lots of sugar.
Finally, they make a custard creme puff desert that is very tasty.
Sits out in the heat all day, with no refrigeration, and flies all around, but it's very tasty.

-- Peter
Thanks for the info.

I have been to Filipino restaurants (Chicago and Vegas) and have been invited to some Filipino gatherings and, in general, I did not find the food bad and look forward to eating their dishes. There are some exemptions similar to yours and these are the porks cooked with sugar. However, sometimes, the porks are cooked without the sugar and I like those (must be how different regions cook them). I don't know why pork is cooked with sugar at all. If I want something sweet, I will eat their custard pie (yum yum).

I wish I can eat every meal, every day, for, say, two weeks but I want to be diversified. I sometimes go for Korean food which I also like (except Kimchi).
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Old 07-23-2011, 11:05 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Nords View Post
You don't have to eat balut every day to get your protein, but I've been quite happy here on Filipino food... both from neighborhood potlucks and from restaurants.
I think this relates to this recent thread: Using out-of-date eggs question
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Old 07-23-2011, 11:55 PM   #27
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I never minded the food in the Philippines. My favorites are Pork Adobo and Pancit Canton.

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Old 07-24-2011, 12:23 AM   #28
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I just asked my wife what she thought of the Filipino food she'd had here in Hawaii, and she just wrinkled up her nose -- not good. I don't have any strong impression, myself, one way or the other. Though I've eaten often in homes where the hostess was Filipina, now I think back, the food has only rarely been ethnic Filipino. More typically, Chinese.
Greg (retired in 2010 at age 68, state pension)
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Old 07-24-2011, 06:51 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by Ozziedreamer View Post
I know that some of you on this forum have, or are considering relocating to SE Asia (Thailand, Phillipines, etc) upon retirement.

I have a couple of questions, as I am also considering relocation to a cheaper country in retirement, and SE Asia is relatively close to my home country.

1. Did you sell your house before moving, or have you kept your house and rented it out? Selling one's house seems very final, on the other hand selling means you dont need to maintain it, so I can see pros/cons to both. I imagine selling also means one can retire earlier?

2. How long did it take to plan and make the move, from the initial thought seeded that this is what you want to do, to actually achieving it.

3. Is anyone doing the 6 months living in SE Asia and 6 months living in their home country (or similar ratio of time)? I assume this means keeping a home in your home country. How long did this delay retirement, by doing it this way? Is this better than just living full time in SE Asia, to maintain contact with family/friends?

4. For those that sold up and relocated permanently to SE Asia, how many working years do you estimate you cut from your working life by doing this, ie by how many years did you bring forward retirement.

5. Lastly, for those that have made the move, do you have any regrets or would you have done anything differently if you could have your time again prior to the move? Also, which country did you find to be the best for you in SE Asia?

Thanking you in advance
Filipino food is pretty bad. Make your own the grocery stores have everything. The thing that got me about the Phils was the amount of guns everywhere. Manilla is bad news. The rest of the country just gives me a high level of paranoia.

After visiting the Philippines and Malaysia I settled in Thailand because it was simply the best combination of all the things I was looking for; low cost, social life and the beaches.

1. I sold my home. It's was my nest egg. I live off the interest on investment in bonds. For me that monthly expenses with a great lifestyle is around $2000/mo. More since I bought a car, before I just drove a motorbike. The car sits there and gets used a couple of times a week.

2. It took about 3 months to sell the house and sell everything I had. Arrived with a large suitcase and a guitar. I owned a four bedroom home. I've been very hesitant to buy anything that I would have to move but I recently moved to the other side of town and I can't believe the amount of crap I've accumulated in two years.

3. One word: Skype

4. I retired at 59. Should have done it a year earlier when my house was worth more.

5. Thailand. Cambodia is interesting, cheaper but a step down in the third world. Wouldn't have done anything differently but I had visited Thailand 6-8 times before I made the move. Living a rockstar life. Plenty of friends and fun. I stay on a schedule of swimming and walking. Try not to get loaded every night. Have a beautiful 24 year old girlfriend in a stable relationship for a year.

Time to make the move, buddy.
Author of The Essential Thailand Retirement Guide
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Old 07-27-2011, 05:32 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by Pete44 View Post

Time to make the move, buddy.
Pete, thanks for the info. You are livin' the dream...

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