Renting a cottage on the beach with all the amenities for a small fee is a dream of every traveler who decided to stay in a place for a month or two. Panagsama Beach is full of hotels and cottages. The price range is large enough. From 600 ($14) to 3000 ($67) pesos per night for the room, from 15,000 to 36,000 pesos ($334-800) per month for a cottage. For my opinion the quality of rooms and houses is not as different as prices are. :)
How We Rented a House
We knew that we need a house close to the beach with kitchen, hot water, and preferably good wi-fi. Steve and his girlfriend Nita found us a cottage for 13,000 ($290) per month. They made an advance payment of 3000 pesos themselves, while we were in Moscow. When we arrived, almost any promised facilities were absent. No stove, no hot water, no refrigerator, no furniture on the terrace. Fortunately we knew in advance that there is no internet connection in the house. :) But it’s really close to the beach! In fact, it took us two weeks to get all useful stuff. And we get refrigerator only after we had paid for the second month.
We do not know if 13,000 pesos for such cottage is a good or a bad price. But we met a couple, who recently came here. They could not find anything like this. Only cottages with shared kitchen and not so comfortable are available. People say that you can find a house for 8000 pesos per month, but we have not seen such prices.
Our Cottage in Philippines
Our cottage is less than a living room in our Shanghai apartment. But we have a terrace, which an amazing place for breakfast. In general, we have one bedroom, one bathroom and a terrace. And it’s a semi-detached house in fact. :)
We have a kitchen, a dining room and a water for washing on the terrace. We had to buy our own pots, pans and basins. We are very lucky that the kitchen is under the broad canopy. The rains begin suddenly, even if the sky is clean and the sun is shining. After the rainy season in September, when the downpour continues for more than a day, short and warm rains in November don’t look so dramatic. However, cooking and eating when it rains is not what we like.
Also we have our office here. Just because it’s possible to catch some Wi-fi on this spot. But the speed is not good at all, just to check mailbox.
We have two beds, a desk, a chair and an air conditioning in the room. There are no any wardrobe or at least some shelfs. Therefore, we store our clothes on the second bed and on suitcases. You can’t find a mirror in the house, even in the bathroom. I’m not very sure how I look. :) But it’s not a big deal. I don’t use makeup for obvious reason. And I can use hair comb without mirrors.
We have a shower, a toilet (with a drain which is excellent) and a sink in the bathroom. Also there is a huge tank of water inside the bathroom. After two weeks of our stay we’ve got a water heater for the shower. As for all other taps, only cold water is available.
Some Words About Challenges We Faced
- The tap in the bathroom were blew off during the first night. There was no options to turn the water off inside or outside the house. So we had to use shoe laces to attach the tap to the wall, and to minimize the water flow. In the morning we went to the owner to complain. Fortunately they fixed it the same day.
- At the same night we met our small enemies – black worms and beetles. It put me in a little horror. It was like an attack of insects while people were sleeping. A lot of creepy creatures around.
- Also there are many spiders, geckos, ants and mosquitoes. We love geckos, because they do not disturb us and eat insects. But all the other uninvited guests … I’m all covered with red spots because of mosquito bites, and sweep hundreds of ants from kitchen drawers on a daily basis.
- Sometimes (two-four times a week) there is no water. It could be for the whole day. For such cases, we have a huge tank of water in the shower. We have not quite figured out how the system of water supply works. I can only say that when it rains the pressure in the shower is better. :)
- Other small issues like only two socket slots in the room or burned out light bulbs we fix ourselves.
Honestly, after the first couple of days, we would like to escape from the house. But then we unpacked all our stuff and settled down. Now we think that we have a nice and cozy place for living.
Some Philippine Mentality Features
You may encounter these Philippine mentality features when renting an accommodation.
First of all, it’s better to establish friendly relationships with the house owner, but remind him about everything that was promised. In a very friendly manner of course. Philippines always say “tomorrow”. Their “tomorrow” may come after a couple weeks. But some negative words will not accelerate this process. It’s better to emphasize the fact that he made a promise and as an honest man should fulfill it.
Secondly, everything is done in a very simple way. Hole in the floor for drain, a hole in the wall to reach the cable, nobody heard about shower curtain and more. But keep in mind that most of locals lives in a much more uncomfortable houses than offered for lease. Many of them cook food on the fire for the whole life and never have an air conditioner in the room.
Third, in order to get something it’s better to give a deposit. Cheating is not accepted here and received cash are very favorably for the house owner. The longer period of time you pay in advance the more amenities you can expect.
Fourth, it’s very hot in the middle of the day. Therefore, all works are carried out either in the morning or in the evening before dark. They refuse to do something in 1-2 PM.
In general, our life here reminds me of student times: wash basins, cleaning of aluminum pans with metal brushes, insects galloping rush in the kitchen, water supply issues. Of course, I miss my ideal washing machine, which is good even for silk, my dishwasher, blender and vacuum cleaner. But I suffer not as much as I could.