Retiring and Living in the Philippines for expats, non-expats and returning Filipinos
By Pinay Mentor
Some simple practical preparations if you intend to move in the Philippines, an overview of government retirement package for potential foreign retirees and more.
The Philippines has enjoyed the privilege of being considered as a preferred retirement destination of retirees from all over the world. Our world-renowned Filipino hospitality, our diverse culture, and reasonable standard of living are only a few of the reasons cited by the retirees in choosing the Philippines as their new home.
Full Government Support of the Retirement Program
Under the Presidential Executive Order No. 1037 (also known as PRA Charter), the Philippine Retirement Authority is mandated to make available a comprehensive and attractive retirement package for potential foreign retirees who seek an easy and comfortable lifestyle. With this in mind, the PRA is committed to provide its retirees a wholistic retirement environment.
Some simple practical preparations if you intend to move in the Philippines.
- Get a police clearance and medical clearance and have them stamped by the local Philippine Embassy in your area. You can either go to their office or have those documents notarized and mail it to them, and they will send it back to you with their stamp on it.
- Get your passport updated, making sure that it will not expire in six months.
- Get your medical records on a digital form if possible. It is easier to bring your file that way rather than bringing a bunch of papers.
- Make sure that you have some savings so that you can live on your own without a job, or without relying on someone for at least a year. A budget of $1000 a month will be a good start, depending on your lifestyle and area where you want to live.
- If you are married to a Filipina, you still have to pay a visa fee to be able to stay as long as you want.
- If you are moving to the Philippines by yourself, there are conditions that needs to be met in order for you to qualify.
- Rent first, before you buy any real estate. Get a copy of the title deed, and have it verified from the Department of Housing Authorities.
- If you are moving in with a family and you are married to a returning filipina, agree on the area you want to live. Again, rent first, before you buy anything.
- If you are bringing household goods, contact a reliable shipping company that will ship out a 20-40 ft container. Compare, compare, and compare the prices and credibility of the shipping companies. Label your boxes properly with numbers and description and have a master list. You can get free boxes from the stores like Ralphs, Albertsons, etc. The fruit boxes are the best because they also give you the fruit cardboards that can be used to cushion your breakables.
- PRA (Philippine Retirement Authority) will meet and assist you and your family from the airport to your destination if you apply for the visa and let them know your flight details.
- If you have a some type of 401 (k) or IRa investment here, that is losing or earning less than 3%. Consider using a self-directed IRA and consult your own financial advisor. You might consider checking stable Philippine Banks that offers at least 6% on their time deposits which is equivalent to our CDs here. You can open a BPI account here in the US or I guess almost anywhere in the world, check their website for instructions and you can bring those to a local BPI remittance center. I don't get any commissions for doing this, but I am simply sharing this information just because I am doing it, and I am benefiting from their good return on their investments.
- There are a lot of wonderful places to retire in the Philippines. It will all depend on your preferences. I personally prefer cooler places like Tagaytay, Laguna, Batangas and Cavite. Although Baguio is the coldest place, it is way too far up to the mountains. Luzon is quite a big place from North to South. I prefer the Southern area because it is cooler and less hit by typhoons with higher elevations.
Visayas is really hot, but surrounded by beaches and less expensive than Metro Manila areas. Cebu, Bacolod, Iloilo, Leyte are some of the favorites.
Mindanao is quite a wonderful place as well. There are a lot of what I can call virgin islands here. Never been commercialized. There are 10% muslims in the Philippines and most of them live out here in Mindanao.
Davao, Malaybalay, Iligan, Misamis are some of the great ones that I personally been to. They are all wonderful places to visit specially if you love snorkling. DId I forget Palawan? one great place to visit too!
The people and the places, are simply marvelous.
NOTE for those who are looking into marrying a Filipina. Here are some areas you need to discuss:
- Financial issues- if you get married, will you be supporting any member of the family? will any of the family member staying with you?
Please try to understand Filipino culture: our parents work hard all their life so that they can bring their children to school up to college and sometimes up to advance degrees. Once the children are done studying and start working, they are expected to pay back their parents by letting them retire from work and the children support them financially.
- Communication- Filipinos like saying yes even if they mean no. Learn how to bring out what she want to express and be patient. One of the things that I admire the most with my husband is his patience in asking me whether I am upset or not and what is making me upset. I've learned to say, I "FEEL" hurt, or frustrated
- Does she really want to live in the Philippines or she would prefer to live here in the US or anywhere else you might be?
Take note: if your fiancee will prefer to get married in the US or Europe or anywhere in the US, find out if part of her reasons will be to sponsor her parents and her siblings. If you are okay with that, then, your plans of living in the Philippines will mean 5 years later.
- If you intend to stay here in the US, if she has a tourist US Visa already, I suggest that you get married here and plan on getting married in the Philippines later. It is easier for visa purposes.
- Religion- Philippines is predominantly Roman Catholic. At least 50% are born-again, spirit filled Catholics. Discuss now your preferences of which church to go to if you don't go to the Catholic church.
10 Tips for Living in The Philippines
Expats seem to unanimously agree that the best thing about living in the Philippines is the Filipino people. The cost of living is another thing to love. Expats share their tips and experiences living in The Philippines.
5 Great Places to Retire in Asia
We asked expats and searched our forums for recommendations about where to retire in Asia. We pinpointed countries with affordable costs of living and have five great retirement locations. Please add your recommendations in the comments section!
5 Tips For Living In Manila
Expats in Manila have reported many of the same themes since the inception of Expat Exchange. Read some basic facts and tips about this Philippine city (and metro area) on the island of Luzon.
About the Author
A Christian woman of God, loving wife and mom, lifementor, Financial Fitness Coach, Senior Real Estate Specialist, has been in the financial industry for more than 20 years, a real estate investor for more than 9 years, holds multiple licenses on real estate, insurance, Ambassador of South Orange County Chamber of Commerce, Board of Director of Mission Viejo Chamber of Commerce and member of Filipino American Chamber of Commerce, RBN (Relationship Business Network). Co-founder of Comprehensive Life Care Network and Worldlinks4u and Veterans Villages. Co-founder of Zoe Life Institute, whose mission is to educate, empower and equip people on how to be happy, healthy, wealthy and wise. Passionate about helping in any way she can. We are currently assisting expats, non-expats and returning filipinos settle down in the Philippines comfortably with less headaches. Click here for information.
Write a Comment about this Article
First Published: Jan 17, 2010