The majority of SPEX expatriates live in Ayala Alabang Village (AAV), 10 minutes drive from the SPEX office and around 20 km from the central business district of Makati which can take 1 hour plus traveling time depending on traffic. AAV is one of numerous residential sub-divisions in Metro Manila. The village association takes care of garbage collection, upkeep of parks, and maintenance of roads, security and additional water supply.
AAV is a gated village of around 4000 detached houses. It has its own swimming pool, tennis courts, other sports facilities, children's playgrounds and a general grocery shop. There is also a large Catholic Church and a community centre. The air in AAV is considerably less polluted than in the centre of Manila. The area surrounding AAV is referred to as Alabang, within the ‘City’ of Muntinlupa.
Facilities within the village
SPEX supports a maximum of one month accommodation at a Serviced Apartment near the SPEX office – “Vivere Suites”, while house hunting.
In general, houses are very spacious and most have swimming pools and are unfurnished/partly furnished. A typical house has three/four bedrooms, all en-suite, together with kitchen, utility room, receptions rooms and living quarters for maids and driver. In addition many houses have covered lanais, which are perfect for BBQs and outdoor eating and entertaining. Air conditioning is essential to survive the summer heat but does not automatically come with every house; it may however be something that can be negotiated into the price.
Generally speaking houses are usually rented out unfurnished. Unfurnished houses have no furnishings or appliances. However, some landlords may be willing to negotiate items on like blinds and/or basic appliances and air conditioning units.
HR Service Desk will advise you of your monthly rental budget on arrival. Rental budgets are established by HRRX with the assistance of an external provider. You will also be given the SPEX local agent’s name, to contact for list of houses to view.
When you are house hunting, make notes about each house before you view the next one. Also note down the address, as you will want to revisit the house once you have your own shortlist of suitable or possible homes. If the market is soft you may be able to negotiate for extras like blinds, air-conditioning etc to be included in the lease. However, if the house is particularly sought after then you need to make a decision quickly.
When an expatriate has chosen a house, he should inform the SPEX HR Focal Point. The HR Focal Point will coordinate with the broker and complete necessary documents to finalise the housing contract. The broker will submit to the house owner, for his agreement, a Letter of Intent to Lease stating all requirements of SPEX as well as a draft standard contract of lease for review. The letter will include among others, rental rate and security deposit. Once finalised, the contract is signed by SPEX representative (Human Resources Manager) as Lessee (Tenant) and the house owner, the Lessor (Landlord).
It is advisable to talk to expatriates already living in Alabang for insights on housing.
When selecting a house, take into consideration the following:
Check that there is a water heater and availability of a water storage tank.
School Buses take the children to their respective schools each day and there are various pick-up points around the Ayala Alabang village.
The list below are most of the popular preschools in Alabang that have been used by expatriate families
There are four international schools for expatriate children. These are:
These are all private schools. Each of these schools has a quota of Filipino students. Please note, it is your own responsibility to enroll your children prior to arrival in Manila.
The Japanese School of Manila only admits Japanese nationals
Both Brent International School and the International School of Manila have an English as a Second Language Program for non-speakers of English. If your children have learning disabilities it would be best to check with the school as to the precise nature of learning support they can offer.
The British School Manila
Address: 36th Street University Park, Fort Bonifacio Global City, Taguig Metro Manila.
Tel (632) 840 1570 Fax No : (632) 840 1520
Head Teacher email firstname.lastname@example.org
Admissions Office email email@example.com
There is a bus service to the school from Alabang village. You pay extra for this service and you agree the contract yourself with the bus company. For more information on this service contact AB & W Bus Service, Walter Encomienda Tel 681 11 25, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The International School Manila
Address: University Parkway, Fort Bonifacio, 1634 Taguig, Metro Manila, Philippines.
Admissions Office: Tel: (632) 840.8488 Fax: (632) 840.8489
Email: Admissions inquiries: email@example.com
Brent International School Manila
Brentville Subdivision, Barangay Mamplasan, Binan, Laguna, 4024 Philippines
Grade : K to 12
Tel: +63(49) 511 4330-39
Trunk line : +63 (02) 600 10 300-09 Fax : +63(49) 511 43 43
Cell phone : 0918 940 7778Web site: http//www.brentmanila.edu.ph
To schedule an appointment, call admission office, Mon – Fri 7.30am – 4.30pm
Address:75 Swaziland Street Better Living Subdivision, 1711 Paranaque City
French School: Tel: (632) 776 1000 Fax : 0063-2-824-6927
Under the collective name of Eurocampus, the school has two separate teaching streams.. The French provides education from Kindergarten to Grade 12 and the German School is from Kindergarten to Grade 10.
There is no shortage of healthcare in Manila. All the practitioners speak English so communication is not a problem. Many physicians have been trained in the United States.
SPEX employs the services of a general practitioner for the primary healthcare needs of employees and their dependents. They are located at 19th Floor, Asian Star Building, Filinvest Corporate City, Muntinlupa. (attn : Dr Cherry Bawalan)
For specialized care, Alabang is serviced by Asian Hospital & Medical Center, a luxury hospital and medical centre, opened in 2002. Most of the best doctors in the Philippines hold clinics there and it houses the best available medical equipment. It also has a maternity unit.
It is important to talk to friends about doctors and hospital recommendations. As a visit to a consultant costs between 400 and 600 Pesos (less than 10 USD) it is possible to visit a few doctors until you are satisfied that you have the right one for you without breaking the bank.
Know how to get to your chosen hospital in an emergency. You cannot always count on ambulances, traffic is very heavy at certain times of the day.
Lists of Hospitals and Clinics
AAV-Lifeline Arrows Clinic – Located inside the village
Tel: 772-3897 to 98
Neighborhood Ctr., Narra St., AAV (Emergency
Asian Hospital & Medical Center – Located near Festival Mall
Tel: 771-9000, Filinvest Corp. City, Alabang, Muntinlupa
286 Blumentritt, Manila 711-3967
Healthway Medical Clinics – Located inside Alabang Town Centre
Tel: 850-6721, 850-6723 to 30
Alabang Town Center
There is the general perception that the Philippines is not a safe place; is this true or false? Manila is a large city and, like any city, it has its fair share of crime. So what security risks face expatriates who live in Manila?
The security risks that an expatriate face come from these areas:
Petty crime: 44% of the urban poor live in Manila. As a result of poverty, petty crime is inevitable. This simply requires one to be more cautious - keep purses in front of you, do not hang your handbag on the back of a chair in a busy restaurant, put your wallet in your front pocket. Common precautionary measures, which are not peculiar only to Manila.
Another potential source of petty crime can be your domestic staff. Your Outpost Team is here to assist you with choosing your domestic staff.
Banking Fraud: Just as one would be cautious about bank transactions anywhere in the world, before coming to the Philippines, establish security codes with your bankers at home and/or offshore. Check your bank statements carefully each month. Messengers will deliver local credit cards to you or you can collect from the Bank. When throwing away credit card receipts and any banking related paperwork make sure that the paper is shredded or torn into small pieces, as you would dispose of documents with personal/confidential data.
Confidence tricksters: Telephone calls from confidence tricksters are quite common and newly-arrived people in the Philippines are easy targets. They are very convincing and their main aim is to get money from you. Such calls are usually made on the pretext that there has been an accident or medical emergency and needless to say financial assistance is the only panacea!!! At the risk of being rude, do not entertain such calls.
Nuisance calls: These are fairly common and, in a word, irritating. If you get any calls and you do not know the caller, do not give out any information about yourself. The easiest way to deals with these calls is to just put the phone down.
Lack of knowledge of culture and context: As in any new situation, don't base your attitude to security solely on past experience. Be aware, ask questions and understand that cultural differences result in different attitudes towards your safety and security. For example do not argue in a loud voice with a policeman in public. In the local context it is a question of saving face not rights. A cultural course can be arranged for you when you have settled into your new house.
Last but not least, do not accept drinks from strangers, nor offers of sightseeing. Also do not divulge personal information unless it is absolutely necessary.
In the vicinity of Ayala Alabang where most SPEX expatriates live, expatriate wives feel very safe going about the activities of daily living. Most children travel to and from school by bus. The British School bus is chaperoned by two paid chaperons.. The bus is equipped with a radio, which is connected to the central bus depot, and a cellular phone. The International School bus has a paid chaperones. This is the case also with the Brent school.
Be safety conscious, and adopt safety precautions as you would in any big city, but do not become paranoid as life is safe for expatriates; we live in walled villages with good security at the entry and exit points of the village, most houses are totally fenced in and have grilled windows and doors. Robberies and break-ins are unusual. Furthermore, most expatriates do not use public transport (hotel taxis are safe). Your personal security is a matter of awareness and precautionary action - not of paranoia and compulsion. Common sense and attention will make you less vulnerable to risk. This is the same for many large cities throughout the world.
In fact most expatriate assignments pass WITHOUT any security problems. While this may be so, awareness of potential problems is important. Being alert and forewarned is being forearmed.
It is wise to register with your Embassy so that in times of emergency you can be notified and advised as to what you should do.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) are improving their ability to suppress crime and they will almost always come to your assistance in the event of an emergency. You should not hesitate to call them. The telephones numbers of stations in areas frequented by foreigners are :
Makati Tel 899 9005 - 20
Manila Tel 523 3378
Alabang Tel 862 2611 or 862 2721
Philippine National Police assistance Dial 166
Makati Police 24 hour emergency Dial 168
For the warden scheme, the village is split up into three areas. Alabang 1. 2 and 3. Each area covers certain addresses inside the village. Covering each area you have one warden, one deputy and each person covered in the area.
Prior to accepting a house, have it checked to ensure it has satisfactory security features already fitted. Spex will assist you with this
Security Tips for Parents
Tips for Personal Security on the Road
Should there be a need for you to travel in areas outside Manila, a security briefing should be arranged with the HSSE Department before undertaking such travel.
When traveling outside Metro Manila, these guidelines should be followed:
Keep the doors locked whilst traveling and windows up.