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Foreigners find paradise in Bobon, Northern Samar [Philippines]
The Philippine Inquirer ^ | 08/27/2006 | Vicente Labro

Posted on 04/25/2007 7:03:31 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet

Foreigners are slowly making a small coastal village in this town their second home.

These days, it will not be a surprise to find nationals from Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, England, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, Hungary, Holland, Korea, China, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Singapore, Canada and the United States living or vacationing in Dancalan, according to 50-year-old Chris Bech, a Norwegian married to a Filipina.

A former exporter of Philippine furniture, Chris and his young wife Maria Teresa “Tess” Fajilan Bech bought and developed a beachfront property in Dancalan and built residential buildings that they sell or lease to foreigners.

Tess, who is in her 20s, also owns and manages a classy beach resort in the area that caters mainly to foreigners.

“We started with one native house and people liked the style. So far, we’ve constructed 10 different houses (in our residential resort). Eight of them made of native materials while two others were made of concrete materials,” Chris says.

Facing the Pacific Ocean, the resort boasts of unpolluted air, a clean environment, a kilometer long crescent-shaped golden sand beach, and tropical palms and other vegetation.

Chris also noted that the resort is just 2 km from the town proper of Bobon, a fifth class municipality, and 10 km from Catarman, the capital town of Northern Samar. This meant that his clients could easily get their food and other supplies from these places.

Catarman, which has an airport, is just a 10-minute land travel away, while most places in the province could be reached through a concrete highway.

Chris says their place is near some island towns with natural wonders waiting to be explored, such as the rock formations in Biri; the beautiful white sand beaches of San Antonio and the sea caves of Capul.

If these were not enough for sun lovers and adventure seekers, they can also explore the entire Samar island, the country’s third largest, which has a 300,000-ha Samar Island Natural Park in the mainland, he adds.

Australian Harry Vanleent, 54, has started living in Chris’s place just last March but he already has many tales to tell about the fantastic places he’d been to in Northern Samar.

“In Northern Samar we have beautiful islands, we have the reefs, we have the waterfalls and the scenery is spectacular,” Vanleent says in an interview.

He discloses that since he arrived here he had learned scuba diving and had met friends who took him to the reefs just a kilometer away from Barangay Dancalan.

The reefs, he says, are comparable to the Great Barrier Reef in his native Australia.

Harry recalls that the first time he came to Samar was when he accompanied a friend who was to get married in southern Samar. It was during that wedding that he met his future wife, who hails from San Jose town in Northern Samar. Months later she brought him to San Jose, which is some 10 kilometers from Bobon town.

“I fell in love with this place. I already retired in Australia so I came here because I want to live here,” he said, adding that he has been to the island towns nearby and even to the ancient town of Catubig, which is 70 kilometers away.

Vanleent says he prefers the simple country life, which is more down to earth. “I’m not a city boy. I’m a country boy. I don’t like commercialism.”

Vanleet’s place in the area is easy to spot: It has a flagpole in front of the house. The hoisted tiny Australian flag seems to remind him that despite his love and praises for his newfound place, he is still from Down Under.

Equally amazing is the muscular Hawaiian who decided that instead of staying in Hawaii and enjoying the the sun, sea and suft there, he would permanently relocate to Northern Samar after his retirement in a couple of years.

Henry Adam “Hunk” Curtis, 48, who hails from Kauai, Hawaii, says he met Chris on the Internet and when he came to Northern Samar and Chris showed him the property, he immediately fell in love with the place.

“Eventually I will live here. I have a fiancée in Ormoc City and we have a baby who’s 14 days old. We’re gonna make a family here,” Hunk tells the Inquirer in an interview.

What he liked most of the place, he says, was its natural beauty and the beautiful people as well as the “lack of overpopulation.”

Hunk says he was used to seeing Filipinos because of the large Filipino population in Kauai.

“I even eat bagoong (anchovies); but balut (fermented duck egg) I can’t handle,” he says, adding that his fiancée had told him in jest he is not Filipino if he doesn’t eat balut. “So, I’m gonna do it (eat balut),” he laughs, “maybe with Tanduay (rum).”

Palitha Harischandra, a trader originally from Sri Lanka but who spent most of his life in the United Kingdom, has only been in Northern Samar for four days when interviewed by the Inquirer.

Invited by Chris, Palitha visited Northern Samar to see the possibility of having his own place in the province.

“But I like what I’ve heard about it, the good weather, the good possibility of the future for development and for future prospects,” says the soft-spoken Palitha, who is in his 40s.

Even foreigners who were here just for a vacation also expressed their fascination of Northern Samar, like David William Alexander Forsyth, a 24-year-old native of Scotland, and Chris Campkin, 22, who hails from southwest England. Both were staying in a beach house owned by a woman from the United Kingdom.

“It’s really a nice, quiet relaxing place … and it’s not crowded here,” the young Chris says, referring to the province.

David, on the other hand, says the people here were “very, very hospitable” and that he had been to many “nice” places in Capul, San Antonio, Biri and Laoang towns as well as the tiny Naranjo Islands.

Norwegian Pierre Gustav “PG” Alexander, 68, has been coming here since last year. “This is my fourth trip to the Philippines,” he says, adding that he has been staying in a hotel during his brief visits here in Northern Samar.

Pierre couldn’t seem to forget his island hopping trips to Capul and other nearby places like San Antonio. “Capul is a beautiful place inhabited by nice people,” he avers.

Chris Bech says he was amazed that Northern Samar attracts not only those in midlife but even those in their 20s. He admits that he, too, is still fascinated by the different places in the province.

Chris first arrived here in 2002, when his former partner in a furniture export firm in Manila, who was from this town, invited him to spend the Holy Week in Bobon. A few months later, he and his wife bought a beachfront property here.

“A few years later we decided to invite other foreigners—environment-friendly, nice foreigners—to share this place with us,” he says.

So far, Chris says, they have already built 10 houses in the area and have hired some 40 people in the neighborhood for the cleaning, carpentry and maintenance works. “We have 20 more houses to construct in the next 18 months,” he adds.

Chris believed that more foreigners would be coming here in the years to come. “We will try to promote this (place) as a retirement haven in a fresh, clean environment,” he vows.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Extended News; Foreign Affairs
KEYWORDS: asia; expatriates; philippines; retirement
Posting this for anyone planning on retiring soon who want to live well without spending a fortune.
1 posted on 04/25/2007 7:03:36 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

If Hitlery gets the White House, this might be a place to check out for those who might leave the USA.


2 posted on 04/25/2007 7:09:12 PM PDT by unkus
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

“Aging European Men Like Young Asian Beauties and Economic Opportunity”

This is news? (But I don’t blame them ... beats the heck out of where they came from!)


3 posted on 04/25/2007 7:15:01 PM PDT by Tax-chick ("And he had turned the Prime Minister's teacup into a gerbil.")
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Wait until all the Muslim “extremists” in PI hear about this.


4 posted on 04/25/2007 7:15:22 PM PDT by FixitGuy (By their fruits shall ye know them!)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

I was in PI in Feb. The reason is on my profile page. ;-)


5 posted on 04/25/2007 7:16:03 PM PDT by ASA Vet (http://www.rinorepublic.com)
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To: ASA Vet

Congratulations.


6 posted on 04/25/2007 7:21:51 PM PDT by wideminded
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Art Bell gave it a shot and came back to Nevada.


7 posted on 04/25/2007 7:22:28 PM PDT by Parley Baer
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Think I’ll stay in Montana.


8 posted on 04/25/2007 7:41:27 PM PDT by claudiustg (I curse you, Rudy of the Giuliani!)
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To: ASA Vet
I was in PI in Feb. The reason is on my profile page. ;-)

Congratulations ASA Vet. Good luck to you both. She will likely want a family. You won't have time to relax.
9 posted on 04/25/2007 7:56:27 PM PDT by Draco
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To: ASA Vet

You lucky b@stard! :-)


10 posted on 04/25/2007 7:57:44 PM PDT by Extremely Extreme Extremist (Ben Franklin, we tried but we couldn't keep it.)
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To: Draco
She's already aware I'm fixed. I joke with her that adoption is an option.

(I mean adopting her.)

11 posted on 04/25/2007 8:00:21 PM PDT by ASA Vet (http://www.rinorepublic.com)
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To: Draco

Oh, and I don’t plan on relaxing. We’re going to spend my remaining years running around having fun, except when she’s in school getting that RN.


12 posted on 04/25/2007 8:03:55 PM PDT by ASA Vet (http://www.rinorepublic.com)
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To: Parley Baer

Art Bell ran into some strange problems. Apparently a business enemy of his circulated a false rumor that he hated Filipino people, and this made it difficult for him to hang around in the Philippines. He also lived in the Manila region for some reason, which isn’t exactly the most charming part of that country.


13 posted on 04/25/2007 8:04:33 PM PDT by seacapn
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To: Extremely Extreme Extremist; Draco; wideminded

Thank you,...... Thank you,...... Thank you very much.....


14 posted on 04/25/2007 8:06:13 PM PDT by ASA Vet (In my best Elvis voice.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Thanks, we are planning to retire in PI in a couple of years. Will surly have to check out Northern Samar.
15 posted on 04/25/2007 8:13:59 PM PDT by WesternPacific
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To: ASA Vet

I was lucky enough to find one of those too.


16 posted on 04/25/2007 8:17:00 PM PDT by WesternPacific
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To: ASA Vet

I’m also corresponding with a nice Filipina. Very pretty and very smart too.


17 posted on 04/25/2007 8:23:52 PM PDT by stbdside
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To: ASA Vet

Congrats and best of everything to you both.

Mabuhay.


18 posted on 04/25/2007 8:36:43 PM PDT by Tainan (Talk is cheap. Silence is golden. All I got is brass...lotsa brass.)
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To: Tax-chick

I heard of a case in that town where the foreigner bought a property, met a girl (underage)introduced by a public official. When the foreigner and the girl moved in to their new property the public official advised the family of the girl to sue the american. He was harassed until he left his property same thing happened to the canadian friend of the american. They both left their property almost a year ago and never returned.


19 posted on 02/10/2009 6:43:10 AM PST by carloslevan
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To: 2ndDivisionVet; Larry Lucido; Squantos; Eaker; wardaddy
Back in the day, I found paradise in the philippines as well!!


20 posted on 02/10/2009 6:46:31 AM PST by sit-rep
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To: sit-rep

Hi, my friend was also taken away from her foreigner husband. The man Chris Bech was to blame. A very bad and crooked man. I know the story about the canadian and the american good man both of them. And this man Chris Bech made it bad for the man and the girl.


21 posted on 09/29/2009 8:27:39 PM PDT by canada girl pilipina
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To: carloslevan

yes I remember this. Very bad area for them. And the officials were very bad to the girl after. I think the main problem for the people there is the man Chris Bech. He sell the land for cheap and it is not his. Very bad business there. Why does this happen to my country, only from the foreigner like that. The american and canadian i hear were good man to, and the one have baby now. This Chris man is not good.


22 posted on 09/29/2009 8:34:33 PM PDT by canada girl pilipina
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