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An Expat Talks about Moving to Isabel, Philippines

Nov 23, 2015
Submitted by randy99

Here's a report that provides some insight into moving to the Philippines and important considerations regarding visas, housing, the health care system and more. The importance of homework is one of the points stressed by the report's author.

What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

Isabel

Name three things that you wish you had brought and three you wish you had left at home.

I wish I had brought more of my personal, carpenter and automotive type tools — and a second iPad.

As far as items that we did not bring, there are really not any.

We only brought our personal clothing, important papers and my wife's China sets. We found for us that it would be wiser to get all new household items when we arrived.

What advice would you give someone preparing to move to your area about the actual move, choosing a neighborhood and finding a home?

I was lucky because my wife is from the Philippines so as far as learning the customs and so on that part was easy. Even so I made several trips of three to four weeks each over a three year period before I made the decision to move and retire here. The exchange rate as of today is $1.00 USD equals P47.06 Philippine Pesos. Your US Dollars go very far here. My advice is to do your home work on any place you may want to move. There is much to learn. Visas for long term stay is most important. I am married to a local cetizen so I only need to leave the country every 12 months for an overnight stay if I wanted and this visa is free. There permanent visas with a fee. There is top notch health care available here at a fraction on USA cost. As I stated before do your home work and you will have much happier results.

What type of housing do you live in? Is this typical for most expats in your area?

Because our area is in the tropics and and typhoons are a possibility along with termites I had the home made with concrete and steel construction. There is very little wood. We were living here when typhoon Yolanda struck in November 2013. It was the highest recorded winds in Philippine history. Our only damage was our rain gutters were damaged and some older trees came down.

How did you choose your neighborhood and find your home or apartment?

My wife's father whom has lived all his life in our area helped to find the property as I wanted to overlook the ocean from our new home.

I had a new home built to my spec's so when we arrived the house was good to go.

Expats living in Philippines interested in expat health insurance should take a minute to get a quote from our trusted expat health insurance partner, CIGNA. Get a Quote

Expats living in Philippines interested in expat health insurance should take a minute to get a quote from our trusted expat health insurance partner, CIGNA.

Are your housing costs higher or lower than they were in your home country? What is the average cost of housing there?

The cost to build or purchase a home here in the Philippines overlooking the South China Sea is a small fraction of what the cost would have been in the San Diego area where we used to live. The lot is one half acre and we paid $1,800 USD. The same size lot on the ocean in San Diego, California would cost over one million USD.

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Expatriate Health Insurance

Get a quote for expat health insurance in Philippines from our partner, Cigna Global Health.
Get a Quote

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Expats moving to the Philippines join others that have moved there for work or a lower cost of living during retirement. It's critical to understand what the realities of living there are, but those that successfully make the adjustment believe it is a good place to live.

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