When my wife and I had the opportunity to buy a parcel of land on the beautiful island of Panglao, just off the coast of Bohol Philippines, we had little idea of the roller coaster journey that we were embarking on.
Taking out a five year loan from a well known building society was the easy part. What has followed has set us on a road that only a few might dare to travel.
With the excitement of a pup with an unused roll of toilet paper I bounded around for a while, telling all and sundry about our land and its proximity to some of the most idyllic white sand beaches in the Philippines. I delighted in describing how we were going to build our own home and retire to paradise. In truth, I knew that the God who set the stars in place and puts dreams into the hearts of men might have a slightly different idea. I waited for the bombshell but nothing came … for a while.
When it came, the bombshell was more like a paper aeroplane landing but nevertheless, it landed! A colleague at work suggested that we build a school. I replied with something polite and quickly changed the topic of conversation but the seed had already been sown. For the next part of the story, I’m going to link you to our website. I know it’s a lazy thing to do but I hope you take an extra couple of minutes to read it.
So we got the vision and had it clarified. We are going to build and run a school and support centre for children with cerebral palsy. Awesome. Now bear in mind we paid for the land in September 2011.
‘You should have the title in a year or so’.
That didn’t bother me as I was expecting a bit of a delay. We were buying a parcel of land that was part of a larger piece of land that had been divided up plus the Philippines is a developing country and renowned for red tape. Well, 2012 passed and we heard nothing. Just after Christmas 2012 I decided to phone our solicitor in the Philippines. He was very reassuring and told us it would be another six to eight months.
You guessed it, 2013 came and went and not a whisper was heard about our title. Slightly worrying. Thoughts of being scammed did entered my head but I quickly put them to bed after another phone call to our solicitor, who explained the process and said the title may be ready when we were to visit Bohol in April 2014. I promptly set up a meeting with him.
As you might imagine our visit to the Philippines was exciting, especially getting the opportunity to see our land for the first time.
The meeting with our solicitor was successful. He was a nice fella with a clear handle on the situation. He talked about his connections and brought us a professional drawing of our land but no title. Again, he was very reassuring. Inwardly I was a bit fed up of the emerging pattern but seeing our land sort of made up for it. He confidently said our title would be released in three to six months time. We ate, chatted, shook hands and went our separate ways.
Back in the UK I counted the months down. Surely we would hear by October at the very latest? Sadly and frustratingly this was not the case. I decided to let it all go and that the title would be released at some time in the future when ready.
Well, ‘some time’ has FINALLY arrived. We had a text from the Land Office in Tagbilaran, Bohol, to say that the title was available for collection. I felt like we had reached the top of the long haul start of a roller coaster. The rest of the heart stopping journey is before us … starting a charity, fund raising, building, recruiting staff, finding children to come to the school, seeing lives change … the best is yet to come!