1 March 2017

Haidee - Expat in Singapore

Haidee - Expat in Singapore

We’ve had the chance to talk to Haidee, 39, a Filipino expat who has moved to Singapore with her family. Haidee who has been living there for four years, is a stay-at-home mom.

Read more about her experiences in the full interview below.


Q: Where are you from originally?

A: Manila, Philippines.


Q: What made you move out of the Philippines?

A: My husband has been working in Singapore for some years and we wanted to be together as a family. We decided that it would be healthier and happier for the family to be together in one country.


Q: Where are you living now? How did you come to choose this new country of residence?

A: Singapore. The choice was easy as my husband has been working here permanently for quite some years already and we have visited Singapore several times and we love it here.


Q: How long have you been living in Singapore?

A: Four years and counting.


Q: Are you living alone or with your family? If yes, how are they adjusting to the Expat Lifestyle?

A: I am living with my husband and two lovely girls, a 13-year-old miss and 2-year-old toddler.


Q: Do you miss home and family sometimes? How do you cope with homesickness?

A: Oh yes definitely. Most of my friends are back home. It is a good thing that we are living in the internet age and social media has made communication so easy, convenient and free.


Q: What do you think about the locals?

A: Generally, Singaporeans are very nice people, law abiders and they share a common interest with Filipinos… the love for good food.


Q: Was it easy making friends and meeting people? Do you mainly socialise with other expats in Singapore? How did you manage to find a social circle there?

A: I am not a social butterfly but I usually socialise among other Filipinos here in Singapore when in gatherings.


Q: How does the cost of living in Singapore compare to your home?


  • Q: How much is a cup of coffee?

A: A Kopi in Singapore is SG$2, regular coffee in PH is about SG$1.

  • Q: How much is a meal in an inexpensive restaurant?

A: A chicken rice in Singapore SG$4, a fast-food chicken meal in PH is about SG$2.

  • Q: How much is a meal in an expensive restaurant?

A: A dinner for two in a fancy restaurant could go as high as SG$150-200 in Singapore, where in PH it is about SG$100.

  • Q: How much is a bottle of wine? How about a pack of cigarettes?

A: Wine is about SG$40-60 and pack of cigarette is about SG$12-13, the prices for these two are almost half the price in PH.


Q: Do you have any tips for future expats when it comes to opening a bank account in Singapore?

A: Be ready with a valid Passport, Singapore-issued Identification Card (IC/FIN) and your money in Singapore Dollars.


Q: How will you describe your experience with government paperwork such as applications for Visa and work permits? Why is that so?

A: Singapore government offices are very efficient and most of the transactions can be done online, from application to payment. The results of most government transactions are also usually fast.


Q: Would you say that healthcare in Singapore is reliable? Any preferred clinics or advice for expats?

A: Healthcare in Singapore is reliable but is definitely very costly if you are without an insurance paid by your company.


Q: Did you secure a health insurance in the Philippines or Singapore?  What should be the essentials in the coverage for expats, in your opinion?

A:  We have family insurance back home, we have limited insurance here – for my husband covered by his company and my own insurance I pay on my own with limited coverage.


Q: What was the most memorable about the packing and moving process to Singapore? Which was the mover you chose and how was your experience with them?

A: We didn’t move any furniture at all as most home rentals are furnished and we wanted to buy some stuff from here.


Q: What is the biggest challenge that you have faced as a new expat?

A:  Since the cost of living is expensive, we have to manage our finances in a way that we are able to cope up with the yearly price hike in school fees, everyday expenses and still travel and have some family recreations from time to time.


Q: What do you think are the positive and negative sides of living in Singapore?

A: Positive would be the peace and order in Singapore, the efficiency of public transport, quality of education for schooling children. The negative side is less work opportunity for foreign residents and expensive cost of living. 


Q: What are the best things to do in the area? Any particular recommendations for future expats?

A: Singapore managed to have a green city despite its progress. There are a lot of beautiful nature parks and water parks where the family can have fun without causing a hole in the pocket. Go see the UNESCO world heritage site, Singapore Botanic Gardens in Cluny Road or play with your kids at the Children’s Playground at Garden’s by the Bay in Marina Bay. These are free attractions and perfect for the whole family.


Q: Do you have plans to move to a different country or back home in the future?

A: Plans are indefinite, we are enjoying Singapore for now.


Q: What tips will you give to expats living in the country?

A: Have fun, experience the local culture, be open to whatever opportunities this great country has to offer.


Q: Do you have favourite websites or blogs about Singapore?

A: I enjoy reading Straitstimes.com and STOMP.com for the local news and SassyMama.sg and the asianparent.sg for parenting stories.