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Updated 11 Feb 2010

Elmer W. Cagape is from the Philippines but moved to Hong Kong nine years ago to pursue a career with a large telecoms company. Here he met and married his wife. Elmer loves the vibrant, safe and efficient lifestyle of Hong Kong. 

Read more about expat life in the Hong Kong guide or read more expat experiences in Hong Kong

About Elmer

Q: Where are you originally from?

A: I am from Davao City, Philippines

Q: Where are you living now?

A: Hong Kong

Q: How long you have you lived here?

A: Nine years.

Q: Did you move with a spouse/ children?

A: No, I was single when I moved here, but eventually got married and now living with my wife here.

Q: Why did you move; what do you do?

A: I was a web developer back in Manila when I got the offer to work for a large telecoms company. At the time, I wanted to experience working in another country and get a chance for an overseas adventure.

About Hong Kong

Q: What do you enjoy most about living in Hong Kong, how’s the quality of life?

A: To describe Hong Kong in one word: vibrant. What I enjoy the most is its efficient transportation, although closely followed by low taxation and a great variety of dining options.

Q: Any negatives? What do you miss most about home?

A: Hong Kong’s cost of living can be very prohibitive and that air pollution has always been a major topic of discussion.

Q: Is Hong Kong safe?

A: Hong Kong has a good reputation as a safe city for locals and visitors.

About living in Hong Kong

Q: Which are the best places/suburbs to live in Hong Kong as an expat?

A: Expats who love to be close to the beach may want to stay in Lamma, Cheung Chau, Stanley, Repulse Bay or Sai Kung. To those who wish to witness spectacular views of the city may want to be in Mid-levels or the Peak.

Q: What’s the cost of living in Hong Kong compared to home? What is cheap or expensive in particular?

A: It’s definitely much more expensive to live in Hong Kong than in Davao.

Q: Was it easy meeting people and making friends?

A: It’s relatively easy to find and make friends in Hong Kong as there are many ways to do so. Bars, recreation clubs, and even when you share a table in a crowded restaurant.

About working in Hong Kong

Q: Did you have a problem getting a work visa/permit?

A: Everything was pretty straightforward. As long as one has a company or business willing and qualified to sponsor the work visa, I don’t see any problem or delay in the application.

Q: What’s the economic climate like in Hong Kong, is there plenty of work?

A: Just like any other city, Hong Kong has its ups and downs when it comes to job market. Not too long ago, it’s common to read news about companies cutting down on manpower and it caused a great deal of anxiety among workers.

Q: How does the work culture differ from home?

A: Hong Kong work culture can be described as stressful, in my experience. Back in the Philippines, we don’t need to stay long at the office and finish an outstanding task. But in Hong Kong, I could stay at work at 2am if I needed to. 

Q: Did a relocation company help you with your move?

A: No, I only had a luggage when I first arrived here. Even when I had to move from one flat to another, I didn’t really need a relocation company to help me out.

Q: How would you rate the healthcare in Hong Kong?

A: Hong Kong healthcare is great. It offers adequate health facilities at minimal cost to residents.

And finally…

Q: Is there any other advice you like to offer new expat arrivals?

A: It is best to assimilate with local culture as soon as possible. Eat local dishes, go to where locals go, explore the city’s many features such as hiking trails, beaches, variety of food and more.

~ Interviewed January 2010

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