I Love Living In The Philippines

That is a question I get a lot. Especially from my high school friends.  I keep answering that question over and over so I thought perhaps I should just write an article about it.  Retiring to a foreign country is something you might want to consider.  Retiring in the Philippines is something I would recommend.

The short answer is I ended up here by jet.  LOL  Sorry, I couldn’t resist, I’m a natural smart mouth.   Basically, I turned misfortune into opportunity.  My health has been poor most of my life.  I finally sought disability through my job with the IRS  around 2002.  I would never qualify for SSN disability but I was under the old civil service retirement system and the requirements are much different.  So, the idea of living in the Philippines to make my income go further and to add an adventure to my life became a reasonable one.

Around 1992, I was diagnosed with lupus.  From there I picked up several more related syndromes, most lupies do.  For me, it mostly makes it impossible to live on a schedule, especially someone else’s schedule.  I worked until 2002 and then decided it wasn’t worth it any more.  Everything in my life was about getting to work.  Wasn’t much of a life.

Then my second marriage failed.  I suddenly had a huge drop in income from the loss of 60% of my income and 100% of my wife’s income.  It was going to be hard to live in the US on a couple of thousand dollars a month or so.  The home I was buying was taking half that.  With my huge medical bill each month, there wasn’t going to be a lot of money left.  Buy moving to the Philippines, I lowered my housing cost a great deal and got a much bigger home too.   Also by living in the Philippines, I lowered my medical cost as well.  A trip to the doctor cost me about $10!  In the Philippines, that’s an expensive primary care doctor!   People living in the Philippines often pay around $6 for an office visit.

Two Reasons  I Am Living In The Philippines

A fellow webmaster had told me I should move to Asia.   I thought he was nuts.  Then over the years, the idea began to grow on me.  The Philippines seemed like a great place for me.  Why the Philippines, well that’s pretty easy.  One word answer is: Filipina.  🙂

Besides the “simple Filipina Beauty” that is often found in the women of the Philippines, some things that are a limitation with American women are a positive for Filipina.  The priorities of Filipina are very different than Americans.  I don’t do alone very well, at least based on prior experience, though I think I could probably handle it better now than I did in my past.   I’m never really alone now.

The second major reason for my being here is the cost of living.  My income, though meager in the US, makes me well off in the Philippines.  Most Filipino earn less than $200 a month, far less.  There are some wealthy Filipino, don’t get me wrong, it just is not the norm.

Let me give you an example of the cost of living.  The best example is my home.  I rent it, only citizensExpat Home can own real estate.  It is possible to buy a condo though.  Others use long term leases.  I rent a four bedroom home.  It has three levels.  The ceilings look like they are 20 feet but I think someone said 16.  I’m not certain.  The floors are wood and marble in most areas of the home.  There are two bath rooms.  We are surrounded by banana bush in the rear and a couple of palm trees in front of the marble terrace.  We are within walking distance of the coast.  It is less than one-half mile away.  The monthly cost of this is less than $300 and that’s pretty expensive in the Philippines.

Another example is a doctor office visit is about $12.00.  A private room in a private hospital is about $30.00 a day.   My medications in the US before insurance were over $1000 a month, my medications here are about $300 a month before insurance.

Eating out is really inexpensive.  A trip to the BBQ by the Bay for three is less than $10.00.  I know these numbers are hard to comprehend for most westerners but they are not typos. 🙂

A third reason is I wanted to explore the world.  A few years back I decided I wanted to go to Alaska.  Heck I still do, but have you seen the cost of living in Alaska?  My 20 year old 4-runner would likely have made for an interesting trip.  So I sold my 4-runner and used the money to buy my ticket to the Philippines.

I didn’t know if I’d like it here or not.  Some would not.  You gain a lot but there are trade offs too.  I love it here.  I hope nothing forces me to return to the states long term.  I would love to visit for a month or so, especially now that I have been able to reconnect with so many old friends.  For now, that will have to wait.  I have a good, happy and rich life in the Philippines.  I don’t mean rich in financial terms, I mean in quality of life.  I’m not rich, I can’t afford to partake of many of the things I want to, not yet.  I will be able too.  I just have to be patient.

I will be writing a book about moving to the Philippines.  Everyone should visit this country, especially guys.  Women may miss some luxuries of western life.  I miss them, but not enough to turn around.  The islands of the Philippines are fantastic.

I ended up in Cebu Province.  There are many reasons that I choose to live in Cebu.

Living In the Philippines Manual

Update 3/26/2011.  I released my eBook about moving to and living in the Philippines in late 2010.  If you’d like to check it out, please visit my Basic Expat Training Manual — The Philippines Experience.  If you are thinking about living in the Philippines this eBook will help you decide if it is right for you and then help you get here.

Is it safe to move to the Philippines?  I think it is for the most part. Learn about living in the Philippines and safety.