So, I am moving to the Philippines to retire and join the ever-increasing Philippines ex-pat community. So why retire in the Philippines, and what is the attraction?
So, can a foreigner retire in the Philippines?
This is an easy question. Yes, a foreigner can retire to the Philippines, and there are several types of visas based on your circumstances. Are you married to a Philippines citizen, or are you going on your own, or are you a businessman? There are a variety of Philippines Visas and the Philippine Retirement Authority to help you pick the right one.
There is even a visa for military veterans.
Making the decision to retire in the Philippines takes time, and you need to be honest with yourself. As with anywhere, there are good things about the Philippines and bad things about the Philippines.
For me, the decision was easy. My partner is Filipina, so that was most of the decision made already. Below are some of the considerations I spent whilst firming up the plan in my head.
Is it good to retire in the Philippines?
To be honest, just watch YouTube and the excessive amount of ex-pat vloggers living there and loving every day as it comes. I have seen the older ex-pats looking for a quiet retirement and the younger ex-pat looking for adventure.
However, keep in mind that although the cost of living in the Philippines is cheap, poverty in the Philippines is rife. There is no middle ground between the haves and have nots—the poor struggle on a day-to-day basis to get a few pesos to put food on the table. This can upset you if it’s something you have never seen before, especially when you see the children trying to make a little money.
But! One thing that is common between them all is respect. The young respect the old, and they all respect each other. Family is everything, and they all support each other. Filipinos will welcome you into their homes and offer you what they have, even if it’s not a lot.
I can only say that Filipino society and culture is beautiful, and the western world could learn a lot from them. It can go a long way to help with your mental health.
It is amazing that even when faced with adversity, the Filipino will have a smile on their face.
For me, the weather was not a consideration of if I was going to live in the Philippines but something I needed to research so I could understand where the best place to live in the Philippines was for my partner and me.
Every year the Philippines gets slammed with Super Typhoons, earthquakes, volcano eruptions and flooding. To be honest, this gave me a giggle when I considered I would need the window boards for super typhoon protection, a safe room for earthquake protection, a boat for the floods and a fast car or boat for the volcanos.
Never once did I think, “not for me!”
For as long as I can remember, I have been a fan of ancient Greek mythology. Now a Siren is a hybrid creature with the body of a bird and the head of a human. Sirens are dangerous creatures who live on rocky islands and lure sailors to their doom with their sweet songs.
Considering the above, I would suggest there is something of the Siren in the Philippines, as its sweet song has entranced me regardless of the dangers.
To that end, I have bought land in Bataan. It is high enough to be away from flooding, nestled between two extinct volcanoes but far enough away from the active ones in the north and south. The volcanos also protect much of our area from the super typhoons coming in from the east (if we get one in from the west, we are screwed).
So, there are restrictions on real estate, which, to be honest, is a great thing. As an ex-pat, you cannot own land, but you can, however, own a condo.
If you want to buy land and build a house, you either need to marry a local or find a local business partner who you trust, you then provide the funds, but land and title will remain in the Filipinos name (risky).
There are other considerations you need with this.
If you are going to provide the money to buy and build a house, just understand that it will all be in the name of your wife/girlfriend/partner. If your relationship goes to the wall, you end up with nothing.
Not the best of subjects but one that needs thinking about.
Cost of Living
This was a no brainer for me. The cost of living in the Philippines is a great deal cheaper than that of the UK. Unless you are one of those people who when in another country demands the food from home, in this case, if you want UK or USA foods, then expect to pay more than you would at home.
If, however, you adapt to the Filipino culture and their foods, then you can live very cheaply, and I would suggest a lot healthier.
I basically looked at my income when I retired and how much I could expect from my pensions. So currently, when looking at the average costs of living in the Philippines and if you decided to rent a place, you would need about 65,000Peso per month or about $1200USD. As my pensions are above this level, I can confidently say that I can afford to retire in the Philippines.
Next week, I will do another article discussing more considerations when deciding if you want to retire to the Philippines.