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Ayala Triangle in Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines


10 Tips for Living in The Philippines

By Betsy Burlingame

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Summary: 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.

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About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.


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Comments

guest
Dec 10, 2012 16:23

Hello I think your import on the expats opinion is really a big help it helps me a lot since i will be retiring in cavite philippines and where me and my filipino wife will be living so keep up the great work your doing thanks a million again

HGQ2112
Dec 10, 2012 20:57

Nice piece, Betsy. Wholly agree. Hector G. Quintana [email protected] "Those who are unaware they are walking in darkness will never seek the light." -- Bruce Lee

pqmaxon
Jan 11, 2013 05:57

Well done. Concise and clear. Paul Maxon Tucson,AZ (now globe trotting)

barneywesley
May 26, 2013 07:06

Gd FYI i had visited the philippians back march this year stayed in city of laoag at resort had a gd time.will retire in two years.From USA.My question with my pension check with direct deposit should i have deposit in Philippiano bank or USA bank then transfer it over to philippiano bank .Health care question? how much dose it cost for health care for single person? and what health care provided do you reccommend.Housing I am not sure where i want to live yet, to fit my life style.I like scuba diving, water sports, and beach and enjoy working out staying at gym. In terms of transportation i like having my own vehicle,is it advisable to by car their? and what about car insurance?I do not like Manila to fast and busy...I like to live where their internet connection,cable T.V for USA channels safe area..friends recommend Mactan,Cebu,Lapu-lapu .your thoughts..my pension check should be about $ 2,200.00 or more substanial savings....your thoughts ? my e-mail [email protected]

guest
Jul 23, 2013 18:13

Fantastic article! I've gone from trepidation to excitement. Maybe I CAN make this move.

12Point6
Oct 1, 2013 01:24

very accurate assessment, I have been to the Philippines at 3 times last 2 years and I am thinking seriously retiring there but I really don't want to sit and do nothing. I would like to do some small trading business, I wonder if you can help me answer the following question, Can a SRRV holder register a business in Philippine ? thanks 12Point6

guest
Dec 8, 2013 16:24

Hi Betsy, Any reference on how a retired Californian can pay for medical care if retired in the Philippines? Does medical or medicaid support retirees in the Philippines? Thank you.

magicboxph
Jan 8, 2014 12:16

Hi Betsy, you painted a balanced picture of our country. If one choose to live in a rural place like my province Camiguin, just bear the Internet facilities well below par in your country. There's IDD phone though.

guest
Jan 21, 2014 22:55

Hello! A very interesting article, after living here since 2006, I have pretty much seen and heard it all. As to foreigner's owning property. True one can purchase property in a Filipino's name and build a house on it that one "owns" but naturally you (as the foreigner) can be kicked off the land since you don't own it. Your recourse, sell or move the house? Well I talked with a circuit judge at a Mason's meeting, I was told by this individual there is a little know thing "loop hole" called an Unconditional Transfer of Certificate of Title with Special Power of Attorney" This grants the foreigner, not ownership, but stewardship, i.e. the Filipino's name the property is in can't sell, lease, rent, pawn etc, etc, the property a foreigner pays for, even though it is legally the Filipino's, he (the Filipino) has transferred all control over it to the foreigner that has paid for the land in the Filipino's name (except the taxation). Ergo you can do what you will with the land (build on it rent it out lease it sell it etc without the Filipino's owners permission. All this without worry of breakup, (if married) or what ever comes along. Can anyone tell me if this is true?

terrytarbeck
Jul 14, 2014 19:57

Your information is very interesting. I retired recently and I'm moving to Cebu soon. My gf lives there. I like Cebu but I want to check out other areas. Thanks.

843190
Feb 4, 2015 22:26

Hi there, I find this article very useful. Anyway , I was born and raised in the Philippines. I left the PI in 1984. I married a white American man. We are both 57 years old. And we are thinking of possibly retiring in the Philippines in 3 years. My husband and I are both divers. So we are thinking of living close to the water. My questions are: Where is the best place to retire since we both love to dive? Terrorism and crime rate are my concern. How bad is the threat of terrorism in the Philippines? What cities close to the water have the lowest crime rate? Thank you so much in advance for any information you could provide us.

ed60629
Jul 4, 2015 23:40

Retired, arrived here in October of 2014. Married to a Filipino girl and came here to have a baby for about 1/10 the cost back in the U.S. Was planning on staying but have since changed my mind. Living in Davao and renting a closed community townhouse in an ocean area called Beach Club. Rent is 20,000 pesos a month, about $465 a month. The roof leaks bad and the plumbing is bad. Also signs of termites and after we moved in found the townhouse was ant infested. From what I'm finding out these are common problems here and about the only way to get a decent place to live is buy a condo. After figuring out the extra costs of decent living conditions it's actually more expensive to live here than in decent areas of the U.S. Also, there is no opportunity here, even with a college degree it is very difficult for locals to find work here. To stay here would mean our little girl would have little or no future. We are going back to the U.S. in September.

frugalfancyfit
Mar 5, 2016 11:20

Great article. My husband and I will be moving to the Philippines in less than two years and can use all the tips we can get. We plan on visiting a few islands for a year, but plan on settling in Makati (unless one of these other places) blows us away. Great way of describing the Philippines! - Melody Frugalfancyfit.com

frugalfancyfit
Mar 5, 2016 11:20

Great article. My husband and I will be moving to the Philippines in less than two years and can use all the tips we can get. We plan on visiting a few islands for a year, but plan on settling in Makati (unless one of these other places) blows us away. Great way of describing the Philippines! - Melody Frugalfancyfit.com

ed60629
Mar 7, 2016 10:38

I lived in Davao, Philippines for one year, had enough and came back to the US. Things like scarce water with no running water during the day at times, Electricity is cut off at times, and being targeted as a "rich American". There may be other islands nicer than Davao but farther north you are in the typhoon belt. Also, found it difficult managing funds in the US from the Philippines. I am married to a Filipino and she came to the US in 2009. We moved to Davao in 2014 to have a baby and possibly stay but decided it was too stressful living in Davao. When we got back to the US wife said she was happy to be back in the US.

guest
May 20, 2016 09:55

This is an ok article and sounds rather outdated. Tagalog isn't that hard to learn, you just have to put your mind to it and do it. We plan on retiring to the Philippines in a few years and we have visited often so we know the areas where the expat communities are . Those areas IMO if you want to assimilate into your new country should be avoided. Learn the language, culture, and people and it will take you far. It does look like most of what's written are quotes from other people which is ok, but I would rather have heard directly from the author about what she thinks. Visit the Philippines and look at a lot of different places including other islands to find out where you would like to settle down.

guest
Jul 25, 2016 06:26

Lived in Davao two years. Best and worst time. As a widowed father of two raising kids I was constantly approached for money, overcharged and even brought to the kangaroo court of the barangay by a crazy woman, literally saying to the barangay "We can get his money!" for a fictitious crime.If you are white you are a target. On the other hand, we lived a comfortable lifestyle, had a maid/cook and house cleaner. My daughter went to an excellent school at Faith Academy. We dined out, took taxis everywhere and bought a closet full of great clothes. We could not register our vehicles without a bribe at LTO. A woman working there began screaming when I refused. As luck would have it, I was on the same flight as her one day with her family dressed to the nines in the airport bar and resto. I'm pretty sure she couldn't do that on her salary.. I took the opportunity to give her a foul look. Just couldn't hold back. Corruption is everywhere in government. It's like DC on a massive scale. I had a lot of fun and ended up marrying a young, beautiful Philippina half my age. I couldn't do that anywhere else. She speaks English, Tagalog and Bisaya, cleans like a white tornado and is learning to cook. I play a lot of golf, so retiring in PH is heaven. Great courses everywhere at a fraction of the cost. Golf includes a cute caddy ($7), nice locker room with showers and towels and usually a great resto with cold beer. Sweet! My retirement is close to $55,000USD so I'm living well above anything under the Obamanomics disaster. We can eat out every day if we choose at the best restos. Food is great. Clothes are terrific. Most people outside govt are fine. It did take almost 1 year to get our ACR Cards which are good for 1 year. My son never did get his. They are $100USD each. I strongly suggest using an agency to conduct govt business.

HigleyPundit
Jul 27, 2016 22:01

Good article, Betsy, with very relevant material. Everything included seems to agree with our own experiences since arriving. We are both retired American citizens, although my wife was born in Leyte and graduated UP. As a new member of Expat Exchange, I look forward to learning from who have been here longer. As an unrelated aside, I also have German as one of my majors and I certainly hope that you have retained more of the language than I have! :-)

HigleyPundit
Jul 28, 2016 00:07

One comment I would add to those I have read here: My Philippines-born wife and I - both college-educated, retired American citizens with light-colored skin -have experienced absolutely zero problems with any type of government graft or personal discrimination in our couple of years here . The people we encounter on a day-to-day basis are pleasant, friendly, welcoming and - like most other countries we have lived in - treat us pretty much the same way we treat them. So far we have bought property, had a house built, gone through the many and varied tax-related issues, building permits, banking and visa issues, etc. without ever once having had to pay a "bribe" or any other type of "extras", That said, we live just a few kilometers outside San Pedro City (Laguna Province, Luzon, a few miles south of Manila) and experiences in other areas or for other newcomers may differ.

guest
Jan 22, 2018 04:31

thanks I never read anything that was good until now thank you I have been here 9 years I am in Digos in Davao del sul

Ayala Triangle in Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines

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