I have been living in a Philippines hotel for the since May of 2014 which makes it 10 months at this time. In the Basic Expat Training manual, I do suggest that as an option. I always said that if I was single that is what I would do. That is exactly what I did. It has advantages and other than smaller size, I really do not see any disadvantageous over renting an apartment. In this article, I will go into some of these advantages in more detail and I will also talk of the problems I’ve run into.
Accommodation Crises for this Expat in the Philippines?
First, I am not rich, I am not even comfortably financially but I am not poor either. I am on a pension but it is not from Social Security and I am very pleased about that. I am allowed to earn money outside of my pension as well though sometimes I lose a little money while pursuing that. I hope I can build it back up to a point where it always made money every month. At least a little money which will be my fun money. I had it there before. First, I need something in savings which I do not have. Not having anything in savings has put me in a potentially massive bind. I could conceivably once again end up sleeping in the park!
I finally have been able to breathe a little easier when it came to money until today. I’ve been eating some cheaper food and that has saved me a lot. Then today, I went downstairs at CebuView Tourist Inn and found that the entire front desk has been fired.
This is a problem because of how I have been paying my hotel bill. It is a long story but I have wanted to tell it in some way or another. A few months ago, I made a post on Google Plus about my dreaming of helping other people. I basically said I wanted to do so. Someone contacted me and told me they were part of a charity. It was an exclusive charity with well-known public people in support of it. These people did not want anyone to know what they were doing. That seemed possible to me. Also, I had known the person online for several months. Just casual messages on some of my Google Plus post. They wanted my help, as a 0consultant on the Philippines. I was happy to help them.
I never dreamed I would actually get paid but they started talking big numbers. They were going to send me $5000 just to get me some extra money in my pocket. To make a long story short, I never got that money or anything else. One of the things they told me was that I could move onto a yacht in August. They told me these things in July. Since I thought I was moving to a rent free yacht I did not renew my monthly rate at the first of the month. When they told me of the yacht, free DSLR and a new phone too, I thought “This is too good to be true.” Still it seemed true. I could find no reason to lie to me. They did not ask me for anything though. Not even personal information. So, I did not pay my hotel bill in advance. By the middle of the August there were too many indications that this was some kind of scam or prank so I attempted to pay my bill late.
Since I had not renewed they did not give me as much of a discount making my room bill come due on the 21st for the same amount of money. I tried to pay the rest until the second of next month and the staff told me not to pay daily. They would allow me to pay a deposit of P500 for a one month stay and then I would pay the rest on the first or second. That was a big help so I accepted their kind offer. It was a kind offer but it always left me a little worried that something would go wrong and the next month I would not be able to do it.
I was kicking myself for getting in one of my doom and gloom moods last night. You see, I asked one of the new people about it. I think she could barely speak English but my version of English can be hard for anyone to follow outside of the Southern USA. She seemed to understand but told me “I do not know if you will be able to do that this month.” So that set off my doom and gloom mode.
I had planned on going to the doctor today and to pay my Philippines credit card bill but now I was afraid to spend a dime. I would not even eat. I skipped breakfast and lunch. I wanted to buy a cold coke from next door as all I had was an old 2 liter that I removed from the fridge last night. I would not even spend the 30 pesos.
I finally spoke the manager a little while ago and she wanted to talk to her husband first. He actually owns the place. Finally, I heard back from them and they said it would be okay since I have been staying here since May of last year. That was a major relief off of my mind.
I also learned that at least some member of the staff were charging customers the full rate but on the hotel copy of the receipts writing in the discount rate. I will leave it up to you to figure out where they money went. I hated to see them go. They all know me and know already what I want before I ask. Just made things easy.
One of the new sexy front desk staff seems very interested in me. I would be highly interested too if not for Jhen. There was a very pretty one that is no longer working here but she was too often rude so I did not like her any more. UPDATE: She wasn’t really interested she is just a super nice person. 🙂
Pros and Cons of Living in a Philippines Hotel
I would have to say the biggest advantage of living in a hotel is the convenience. Where I stay, if I need something I can give someone on the staff a tip and they will go out and get it for me. This came in very handy when I was too sick to breath and alone. Need the room cleaned? Now that is a real headache because I need to go down stairs and on top of that, get dressed haha. I can order food from the hotel too. Just pick up the phone and that is it.
Pricing in a Philippines Hotel is Usually Rather Inexpensive
The range of hotel I am talking about are called “Pension homes.” I think that is a term out of the UK? They are cheap hotels. Rarely more than $35 a night but many are closer to $20 a night. Now they are not five star or even three star hotels. If you are expecting Western accommodations, you can have that but you will pay close to or more than Western prices. Even those may provide less than what you are use too. Their lobby and restaurant may not have air conditioning (air con) for example. Many do but not all. The most I have paid personally is just over P3000 or around $75 dollars a night at the time I was there. There were near Western standard. The beds were up to par but you will not get that in a $20 a night pension house. Your mattress will be thinner than what you will find back in your home country.
I pay by the month and get a deep discount. The normal price for my room is about P1200 a night. That would be close to $30 but my discounted rate works out to P800 a day. That is close to $20, I think a little under that. When the dollar is doing well, I think of P1000 is $20 but that is not the case right now. The Radisson Blue is over $300 USD per night if you need really nice.
At CebuView Tourist Inn, I get air con, cable TV, a good Internet connection, hot water, private rest room and maid service. I probably forgot something that is included. I could rent an apartment in Lapu Lapu for maybe P10,000 that is furnished. Then I have to add 2000 to 4000 for an Internet connection, cable TV would be 1000 and electricity would likely be 5000 to 10000. From what I gather, it would be closer to the 5000 number but it is hard for me to gage. I am home a lot and run the air con 24/7 so while most people are closer to 5000 I do not think mine would be.
That is not all of the cost but as you can see it is already approaching or above the P24,000 a month I pay for my room. I am far better located in the Downtown Cebu City area than I would be in Lapu Lapu. But in this part of Cebu City, the working girls and the men promoting them will drive you crazy if you let them get to you.
I am free to move quickly. If I do not like it, I can move fast. Since I pay by the month, I will have to wait that long but that is it. No contracts, no deposits for the land lord to cheat me out of. When I left Bogo City, I did not even try to get my deposit back. My land lady was already cheating me out of a month I paid for so I just left without a word. She claims I owe her money but I do not. I guess she does, she held some of the maid’s things. Jessie and I expected that. She told the maid to get her things out of there for that very reason but she did not listen.
I have had two landlords in the Philippines and neither one of them could be trusted. I would not count on ever getting a deposit back here. I do not have any of those kinds of hassles in a hotel. Also, she usually expected us to fix things that broke. It took her three or more months to fix the leaking roof after the typhoon and she never fixed the ceiling that had fallen in.
Bugs in Hotels in the Philippines
Bugs in the pension houses in the Philippines are far too common. I keep a can of bug killer on my desk. Problem is, most of it nearly kills me. The first time I used Advanced Unscented, it ran me out of the room gagging haha. I couldn’t smell it but I was coughing up fluid and it was extremely unpleasant.
If you here and are looking for a good insect killer, I got a new brand a few days ago. It is called Mortein. It is very effective and not so harsh on me. It is supposedly using more natural agents. Poison ivy is natural but very unkind to me. There was one pension house I stayed at that had a problem with red ants and that is not good. Those things bite. They are not as bad as a Fire Ant in the Southern USA but they still bite. It may not hurt as badly as soon but it will still not be a good thing at all.
CebuView does have some problems with roaches. When Jessie was here, a long time ago now, she found a “Baby centipede” in the restroom. That gives me the creeps even now. For a creature that hates water, I have seen more in the restroom than any place else.
The only budget places that I stayed that did not have this issue were the resorts in Bantayan Island. Same for mosquitoes, they are not a problem. I suspect that the salt water plays a strong role in that. In the others, you are likely to see bugs. Not too bad at first but if you stay a couple of days and eat in your room, they will be there. You can almost count on as a certain as death haha.
The Best Choice for a Place to Live in the Philippines?
That depends on you. Each of us has our preferences. I would prefer a condominium but my deep pockets are profoundly empty haha. Was not that long ago, I saw it as possible but that is far out of my reach for now. No, I don’t plan on it to remain out of my reach.
What I hoped to do was get a Special Residential Retirement Visa (SRRV). You must deposit money into a Philippines bank for the type I want. I’m required to deposit $10,000 USD but the amount varies depending on various things. You can however, use that deposit as down payment on a condo. One potential issue with that is the Philippines Retirement Authority http://www.pra.gov.ph/ (PRA) must approve the location you choose. I see some potential for issues coming up there, possibly corruption of some kind. I am not assuming, just something that concerns me a little. Anyway, that is what I would like to do. A condo with a pool would be nice. Filipina in bikini are hard to find but very pleasant site when you do. I still have plans to do that if I live long enough to get rich.
One option you may not be aware of is that you can take a long term lease. I forget exactly how long but it is around 50 years. Then you can build a home there if you like. Leases can be broken and the house you built becomes theirs. So that concerns me with that option. I might would do it but it is not my first option. That might be a better option where children are going to be part of your life. Doing this without an attorney is not recommended.
What have your experiences with hotels in the Philippines? Do you have any real horror stories? I would love to hear those as well as you positive experiences. I have not had any negative horrible experiences myself. There are issues where ever you go so maybe sometimes people expect too much. Please consider sharing this article on social networks, it helps me a great deal when you do that. Leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts too.
Except for the girl in the Bikini, all the pictures come from random scenes near my hotel within the last few days.
Filed under: Expats in The Philippines
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