Buying Land In The Philippines Part 8: Converting Land Use Type

Buying Land In The Philippines Part 8: Converting Land Use Type

Posts in This Series:

Reclassification can be done through the Municipal Assessor. It is important to be thoughtful about how reclassification, because different land use types are assessed at different tax rates. 

It may be cheaper to make only part of your land residential and the remainder some other type, like orchard etc.... 

Our lot was originally classified as coco land. The reclassification that we went with was 30% residential and 70% orchard. If we had classified our lot as 100% residential the taxes would have been much higher, so we only made the part where the house actually sits residential. 

Since most of the coconut trees had been cut down leaving only a few of them with other assorted fruit bearing trees we reclassified the remaining part as orchard, which is taxed at a lower rate than coco land and much lower than residential.

If we pay our taxes by December 31 we get a 20% discount. The discount is reduced each month until March 1. From March 1-31 the tax is just the regular rate. If you pay after March 31, the there is a 2% penalty. That monthly penalty will be added for up to 36 months an this goes on for every year the tax is not paid.

Davao provides a slightly different scheme on taxes. Davao City will give you the 20% discount if you pay the taxes in full by March 31.

Every municipality has its own unique tax scheme so check with your local assessor's office to find out the specific details for your municipality.

Points to keep in mind:
  • If you do not pay your taxes that you may be in danger of losing your land.
  • In some cases there is tax amnesty for delinquent accounts.
  • Be sure that all of the details on the tax declaration are complete and correct.


Falling Dollar Philippines 2020

Falling Dollar 2020

I have been seeing expats talking about why the Peso is strengthening lately against the Dollar.

The Philippines has been taking on a lot of debt recently and the stated reason is Coronavirus response. The proceeds from these foreign loans have been delivered to the Philippines in the form of US Dollars. This is driving the Philippines' Dollar reserves to record levels in June:
The Philippines’ dollar reserves inched up to another historic high in June thanks to inflows from the government’s overseas borrowings to fund its drive against the coronavirus pandemic, which outpaced its loan repayments.

“The month-on-month increase in the [dollar reserve] level reflected inflows mainly from the national government’s foreign currency deposits with the BSP,” it said. “These inflows were offset, however, by the foreign currency withdrawals made by the national government to pay its foreign currency debt obligations.”
And this continues in July:
Gross international reserves (GIR) rose by 15% from a year earlier to $98 billion as of last month, data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) showed. It also rose by 4.8% from May....

...the continued increase in the dollar reserves would continue to support the peso, which had strengthened to the P48 a dollar level.

The rising dollar reserves bode well for the strength of the peso also market watchers said that the central bank is not intervening to set the value of the peso.

More Dollars in the Philippines means that each Dollar is worth less relative to the Peso.

But this is likely only temporary, though the second article states that dollar reserves will continue to increase.

The Philippines cannot take on new loans forever and the loans that it has must be repaid...in Dollars. This will gradually drive the Dollar up against the Peso.

Another reason for the dollar's drop is the Philippines' net positive current account:
The peso may not return to pre-pandemic levels in the near term as the Philippines' current account remains in surplus, explained ING Bank Manila senior economist Nicholas Mapa.
The current account is the balance of trade and income vs. expenditures on the international market. Philippines is not spending internationally, because demand for foreign goods has collapsed due to the pandemic. 

That along with remittances is helping to keep the current account well positive for now. But it will not last. A prime reason for the positive current account is the fact that the Philippines' economy is in recession due to the pandemic. The Philippines is not consuming foreign goods so there are no imports and this allows the Philippines to hold on to its dollars. As the Philippines emerges from the slump the consumption engine will roar to life as pent up demand explodes - driving the current account into the negative.

The near term may show more weakening of the Dollar, but soon (barring economic collapse of the US) the Dollar rebounds with vengeance.

The good news is that the FED has signaled that it will not be using negative interest rates, so with rates already as low as they can go that part of dollar weakness hopefully is stabilized and the rate can only go up, which will strengthen the dollar (but only after 2021?).

The US is debasing its currency, but every nation is in that boat to one degree or another, so maybe that part of the equation matters less. Then again this may be what drives the dollar much lower if the printing accelerates and the US economy takes a bigger hit than is expected.

The Bank of International Settlements seems to indicate that the US could print trillions more dollars and be in no danger of inflation as there is a gigantic dollar shortage right now globally that is expected to almost double by December.

September 10 article referencing weak imports/current account as cause of peso strength. Philippines is not buying stuff so peso goes up.

If you have an opinion or information please share.


Buying Land In The Philippines Part 7: Land With No Title

Buying Land In The Philippines Part 7: Land With No Title

Posts in This Series:

If you have land that is not titled, then you need to contact DENR. DENR may perform a land survey. Understand that the information in this article is generic and some of the items herein may not apply to your specific case.
  • The land in question must be zoned residential. 
  • There can be no dispute or conflict as to who is the rightful owner.
  • Cost may vary for survey and titling process.
  • DENR in some locations may not have adequate personnel to perform the survey right away or at all.
  • The entire process can take anywhere from three months to one year (be proactive).
  • When the process is complete the owner shall receive an Original Certificate of Title (OCT).

Again, this is for land that has no title. If your land has an OCT or TCT already, then this does not apply to you. 

Potential buyers may encounter a seller who says they have no title. Just because a "seller" says they have no title to a plot of land does not necessarily mean that no title exists for that lot. There may be a title, but the "seller" just does not have a copy of it. They may not know a title exists or they may be concealing the truth about it.

If I was looking for land and the "seller" told me "I have no title" I would thank them for their time and be on my way. 

It is absolutely imperative for you to know whether a title exists. You must be certain of the boundaries of the land. You must check with the municipal assessor to see the tax declaration. You must check with LMB to know if there is a map. You must check with LRA to know if there is a title. 

If there is a title when you were told there was not one, then that is bad news. But if you confirm that there really is no title, then that is not good news. You just did a lot of foot work only to find out that you have a lot more footwork and expense ahead of you. Why would anyone want to pursue buying land without a title? I can understand if it is land that you have some personal connection to, but otherwise I would have to say that there are a lot of fish in the sea and plenty of them have a title already. Just my two pesos.


Philippines Expat Guide: Delete Yourself From The Internet

Delete Yourself From The Internet


This article is specific to US expats in the Philippines.

Civil defamation is a real problem with some Internet data brokers. But erasing yourself from the Internet is also a matter of protecting your credit, your identity and your personal security.

In the Credit and Identity Protection Guide we addressed how to request a security freeze on your credit to prevent data brokers from having access to your personal information. 

Whether or not you decide to go with security freezes, you might want to take some steps to clean up what is already out on the web.

Below you will find opt out information for fifteen of the major people data websites. I found that these sites are responsible for greater than 95% of all of the search results that I receive when I search for variations of my name together with other personal details.  

By opting out of these sites I achieved almost total erasure of myself from search results. 

To do the same for yourself, go to the opt out URL and follow the instructions from the site:

Make sure you save the URL of the page before you ask them to delete the page.

Before you do this you might want to create an ad hoc email address just for this i.e. delete.john.doe@gmail.com. You should keep it for future iterations.


  • You will get a response from support@smartbackgroundchecks.zendesk.com.
  • If you have any issues you can respond to that address and they will quickly sort it out. 


  • support@beenverified.com


  • People looker uses the same database as beenverified.
  • support@peoplelooker.com


  • If you click "manage your listing" on the right it also redirects to beenverified opt out.
  • support@peoplesmart.com





  • If you have trouble you can send them an email (privacy@spokeo.com) with details and they will respond and delete the information. 



  • support@checkthem.com


  • Truthfinder seems to be associated with instantcheckmate and fastpeoplesearch, as they all have the same opt out interface.


  • privacy@instantcheckmate.com
  • support@instantcheckmate.com



  • Follow your search engine result to the rehold.com page containing the address showing you as a resident.
  • On the right side you will see a link "information control." Click it. 
  • Click "remove" next to the record you wish to remove. The text over those names will be struck out.
  • Enter your name and email. DO NOT enter your actual current phone or address.You do not owe them that information.
  • Solve the captcha.
  • Click apply.
  • You will be sent a confirmation email with a link you need to follow.
  • After you do that it takes up to 48 hours to take effect.
  • This will be one of the pages where you only delete the snippet with your information from search results, as the page will not be entirely deleted.
It should be relatively easy to get good results from most of the sites above. 
Then there is Mylife.com
  • Mylife.com does not have an opt out page.
  • You will need to email your removal request to privacy@mylife.com and removalrequests@mylife.com
  • DO NOT give them information they do not have.
  • Do not curse.
  • Be professional.
  • Be firm with your request.
  • Include the link to your profile page.
  • You may get different responses from different personnel at Mylife.com. Simply reiterate your demand. 
  • State something along the line that:
    • This page contains false, inaccurate, defaming material about myself: [url of page with your information]
    • Please remove the page immediately. 

Save the urls of every page with your info and once that info is removed go to the google link removal tool
You will need an account with google for this procedure.
The link removal tool will allow you to delete the page from google search.

Do not do this before a site has actually removed the page.
You will be required to give an choice as to why you want the search result removed i.e. the page changed or it is gone completely.

If you attempt to remove a link to a page that you believe is gone and it fails, then you can try to remove the search snippet due to the page only changing. For this you must provide a word that is no longer on the page. You can choose your first or last name or a city you lived in. If it fails, then you might try again.
To remove your search results from Bing you can use the Bing removal tool. Sign into the tool with your google credentials. The procedure is much the same as with the google tool.
Duckduckgo and Yahoo both use the Bing removal tool.
When you search your name on data broker sites you will get a list of people in the search results. These search results pages will also be in returned in search engine results. To change the search snippet in the search engine results to reflect your information no longer being there you must run those links through the link removal tools and select page changed listing a word from the old search result pages that is no longer shown (your first/last name, city etc).
When you complete the tasks above you should find that most search results yield almost nothing about you. You may need to repeat the process to clean up bits and pieces of data.
In 2017 litigation against the credit bureaus resulted in civil judgments and and tax liens to no longer be placed on our credit files. Even so, some of the data brokers will use that sometimes flimsy data to paint us as ax murderers in order to bait people into purchasing our background information. You do not have to tolerate this and you should contact any company doing this to you and demand for them to delete your webpage.
To be sure that you don't pop back up on the web you will need to be proactive and run a search however often as you are comfortable with depending upon how obsessive compulsive you are.