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Philippines Living: The Radical Move

By Dave DeWall

University of Birmingham Online MBA

Summary: Dave DeWall retired abroad to his wife's homeland of the Philippines. They live in a remote jungle area on an amazingly low monthly budget. Yes, such an adventure comes with cold baths, unwanted lizards on his bedroom ceiling and a few other "perqs", but he definitely doesn't miss the rat race and his old life in the U.S.

Philippines Living - The Radical Move

Making the move from a small town in central Illinois and retiring on the edge of a jungle in a rural province in the Philippines with my Filipino wife was a radical and life-changing experience to say the least. After almost thirty years with telecommunications giant AT&T and at the age of fifty-seven, I decided it was time for a change in my life. I knew I could not live on my retirement investments in the United States without getting another part-time job, and knew my wife would have to continue operating her home day care if we did not make some changes; I so was fed up with the rat race!

Make some changes we did! We have eight people living in a home my wife Melinda had built for her family about ten years ago, so no house payment to worry about. No car payments since we travel by the local jeepneys (World War II converted jeeps) or tricycles (motorcycles with covered sidecars) or take a pontoon boat to the nearby Iloilo City when we want to travel to the big city to shop. We live on a monthly income of 500 U.S. dollars and support eight people on that. This budget includes our broadband internet connection, our maid, our laundry lady's salary, electric, water, and food (which is our biggest expense with eight people, four adults and four children.)

We sleep under mosquito nets to keep off the mosquitoes, of course, and to keep the lizard dropping off our bed, since we have small lizards that like to quickly slither across our walls and ceilings at night. Taking baths with cold buckets of water poured over my head took some getting used to, but our new CR (Comfort Room/Bathroom) will be done soon, and we are getting a small heated water tank for the shower and a flush toliet. Every day is an adventure; the Filipino people are very friendly, helpful, respectful, and always smiling. It's a good life. Are there some major adjustments to be made in this expat life? You bet! Tons of changes! My Sainted Patient Wife has to listen to me grumble from time to time and is trying to get me to eat more local foods (and I grumble about that), but if a fifty-seven year old, set-in-his-ways guy from Illinois can adjust, I guarantee anyone can. Life is not boring anymore, that is for sure. And the rat race? Don't miss it one bit!

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Comments about this Article

guest
Feb 12, 2011 21:19

I LOVE IT ! JUST TRYING TO WAIT MY TIME ! I AM TO TO YOUNG TO RETIRE NOW , BUT , PLEASE LORD PLEASE

guest
Mar 1, 2011 22:20

so in other words he lives like a 3'rd world person

guest
Jan 25, 2012 22:49

He lives like a 3rd world person for 1/3 the price of living in the USA. I was there a month and totally loved it.

guest
Mar 21, 2012 20:03

I will soon be moving to the Pines, with my native Fiance'how difficult is it to stay in the country once I move there, what must I do to move there legally and Permanent.

tlallen59
Dec 8, 2013 00:43

Very nice write up Dave. I have been married to a Filipino girl for 13 years so I started building the retirement house about 7 years ago. We are moving in 16 months and we can't wait. I will be 55with about 1500 a month in pension so life will be good in Gingoog city, Mindanao. For those of you reading this you can live much cheaper in the province than the bigger city's, come join us!

guest
Apr 19, 2014 23:13

Great article and agree 100%. I retired from Verizon Wireless and don't miss a thing about the states. My wife is simple the most wonderful woman I have ever known and her family is kind and accommodating. I also grumbled a bit about a few things but this usually drew only a laugh from my wife and I quickly learned it was for naught and have adapted, even to the lizards who keep our home buy free. The abundant fresh food, the people, the climate (even the heat which cured my joint problems!) are great.

First Published: Oct 05, 2009

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