Are foreigners victimised in the Philippines?

Its not as difficult as it seems to say “yes” but the difficult part is how victimised? I was discussing on a forum this morning regarding 2 men in their 60s that were arrested for having sex in a hotel room with a 17 year old as well as videoing the event. Is this victimisation? Personally I have no sympathy for the guys as they were obviously exploiting the situation. But there are many “grey areas” that foreigners get caught out with regularly and often end up with jail or buying off Police. But to be honest its those areas that don’t really affect me as a bit of research you find most of the people were caught out very easily the biggest threat to Foreigners seems to be stupidity and a high belief they are better than the local population.

Now I take the opposite stance which is I “expect” people to try and rip me off purely because I am a foreigner. Sound a bit harsh? If your expecting it your not caught off guard. Benefit of the doubt is for fools so don’t use it. For example I have experienced over pricing of property prices purely because I’m a foreigner. Not a small bit either the price was doubled and the realtor was keen to close the deal ASAP. Firstly I never buy anything straight away as often the guarantees are none existent in the Philippines and secondly there is always ways round to get things cheaper. Property for example ideally you want to get people you can trust just asking generally as often there are properties available that aren’t advertised on the market and often a lot cheaper perfect example is our hill lot. Realtor price = P2,500sqm purchased price direct = P750sqm. Which is obviously a huge saving.

But I have also noticed i am more likely to be overcharged by people who are well educated locals rather than the working locals. Perfect example is I have never been overcharged by a tricycle, jeepney or peddle cab driver. But Taxis who are in regular contact with foreigners will try to overcharge, not use the meter etc. regularly. I think a lot of this problem is down to foreigners being easy pickings as new arrivals generally have no idea of pricing. But also locals are aware of the fact they can rip you off because of that fact. I think its important that Foreign nationals work closer together to fill in the gaps with local contacts. E.g. good lawyers, vehicle hire companies, sensible priced realtors to get the best out of life in the Philippines. As well as cross sharing business  contacts such as good wholesalers.

Sadly though I have found very few expats that are prepared to work as a co-op network which I believe is down to a mixture of reasons. Some are retired and have no interest in business, others think they have the golden business yet in a population of over 90million unless they are going multiple franchise which would make sense to ACTUALLY use the expat network with people with cash waiting they keep the ideas to themselves. I’m hoping it can develop though as its an important way for people to survive in the Philippines.

What annoys me about victimisation? main thing is that the protective attitude in the Philippines stopping foreigners operating businesses and buying properties aren’t implemented in the UK. I’m a strong believer in REAL equality and ideally would if in power in the UK for example would look to level the playing field either the Philippines would have to grant similar rights to British nationals or Filipinos would fall under the same rules as British nationals do in the Philippines but in the UK stopping them operating/owning businesses or properties.

2 comments for “Are foreigners victimised in the Philippines?

  1. Cebusandman
    April 14, 2011 at 1:42 am

    I am a foreigner in the Philippines (foreigners – and i hate that word too because in itself it feels kind of classist) .. theres ways around trying to buy property and maybe that could be a blessing in disguise for the ones here who dont have a spare USDmillion or two lying around.

    When i say the property ownership rules are a blessing in disguise – from my view current laws suppress price growth simply because of money supply. The banking and lending rules also suppress prices compared with say Australia when booms started happening when the credit markets were opened up and people started diving into the market on Government funded deposits, 90%/100% bank loans etc. the demand from the weight of money coming into the property market in the Philippines is largely driven also by OFWs for their retirement.

    You are entitled to buy a condo? but condo living is not for all of us and i wouldnt be surprised if like it got in Australia the prices became distorted some some types of property where the price of a small block was 70% of the price of a block 10 times the size in an area simply because interstate investors were buying the blocks and the locals the bigger blocks. Blind freddy could have seen to buy the bigger block which werent much more expensive, subdivide it and feed it to these out of towners.

    Look at places like Phuket. A friends brother bought a place there and he paid USD$1.2M, now that is crazy. I prefer having a lid on prices. There are other cities that were once cheap and now are expensive when the proeprty market was opened up to foreign investment.

    I agree with you in respect of “fixers” trying to buy low and flick to you a property at inflated prices. 2,3,5 times more.

    Being a qualified property surveyor of 20 years one has to watch the logic of charging land on a rate per m2 which is commonly quoted here. Its technically wrong to do that. You charge a rate per m2 on commercial properties as yield is critical (return on investment), you charge a rate per m2 on industrial land and building of houses of course and condos to a minor respect – mainly improvements. With land you have to compare apples with apples. In evaluation of land, one cannot apply say a flat rate of 500m2 on a beachfront block with 40m of frontage vs a 500m2 block say next to it with 10m of frontage and a much deeper depth and expect both blocks to have the same value. I know which one I would buy if that be the case of having the same price, one would be a bargain (for subdivision) and the other just a standard block to build on. there are many things that have to be weighed up – buildability, view, aspect, access etc etc.

    Remember to investigate sales. real sales, actual sales …to establish pricing consistancy.

    Reliable, trustworthy contacts at the end of the day are the #1 thing ..

    • Tropicalpenpals
      April 14, 2011 at 2:45 am

      Foreigner as a definition of people is the oddest class I have come across except in the UK where an expression of “eastern european” was used regularly when people looked at immigration issues yet it didn’t define who should and shouldn’t be in the UK so didn’t really help any figures except make it look worse than it was.

      The problem with properties though which is why I think the sqm aspect comes into it is they are selling it on the basis of it being expected as most developments are being bought as investments and not liveable properties. You take a ride into many of these sub-divisions and condos and take a look at how many are empty. There are no government job generation projects going on or true infrastructure to actually stimulate the market properly its like you said being done by OFWs who are buying something that is likely to be worthless when the market eventually collapses as has happened everywhere else in the world. If you take a look at a sub division near my house for example where the land value inside is P5,000+ and outside its P1,500 there is very little within the sub-division that justifys the increase in price as its neighbours are still the P1,500 and less just that they are outside a wall that you would overlook when living there. The design matrix of city development pretty much doesn’t exist otherwise I could understand complete suburbs being expensive in comparison to the current trend. The problem you have at the moment is an expensive sub-division sitting amongst poor fishing villages, markets that are in the road making it difficult to access as well as 101 other things that does put off investment in them. Someone was telling me how they were “guaranteed” rental value if they bought a property and I just simply asked guaranteed by who and for what? Which came back it came via the agent.. no doubt the same agent that when the development finished you wouldn’t see again nearly everything here is based on hype rather than ability or productive goals. Sell today agents gone tomorrow, guaranteed sale price of X yet there are more developments going up than buyers pretty much guaranteeing everything already sold is stagnant on the market for years.