Originally Posted by alex23
So if I'm going to be there, can I open a bank account w/an international bank over there (ala hsbc/citi/etc)? Would this be a bad/good idea? Also will that make me a resident for tax purposes?
Citibank no. They will require an ACR (Alien Certificate of Registration) - too hard / expensive to get unless you really know the right person I guess (which I didn't).
HSBC yes. You can open accounts in any currency and transact as you wish. You can open a Peso account but you can't deposit peso into your account (if you want to withdraw Peso from that account, you'll need to convert another currency). If it sounds like it makes no sense, that's because it really doesn't. It's something to do with money-laundering concerns, but you'd have to be a pretty stupid money-launderer or criminal to not know someone to convert your Peso to USD in greater Manila.
Although my HSBC Premier acc manager said she would accept Peso cash deposits if I produced a letter from a casino or cardroom saying I won the money. I never got around to getting the paperwork though.
Disclaimer: I've had my HSBC PowerVantage account closed without official reason in 2007 (although a staff member said something about money-laundering concerns over incoming wire transfers). Then late 2008 my HSBC Premier account was closed and all funds had to be emptied instantly - no reasons were given as to the reason for the closure when I asked for them.
So banking in the Philippines involves a level of tilt, but if you have problems with lack of logic in everyday life and/or tilt, this is probably not the country for you.
It's hot in other ways though. Yes, a lot of Filipinos want to leave, but that's for economic reasons as the Philippines is one of the poorest countries on the planet and ravaged by poverty. If you are not destitute, and accept that a lot of day-to-day errands and whatnot are mind-blowingly inefficient, painstakingly slow, doused with incompetence, etc then you'll almost certainly have a good time. Just know what you're getting yourself into before you start committing yourself with purchasing expensive furniture or assets.