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Palawan Island, Philippines

By Betsy Burlingame

Last updated on Sep 16, 2023

Summary: Expats, digital nomads and retirees talk about what it is really like living in Palawan Island, Philippines. They offer advice about meeting people, cost of living, finding a home and more.

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What do I need to know about living in Palawan Island?

When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Palawan Island, they said:

"Expats considering retirement in Palawan Island, should be aware of several key factors. Firstly, the cost of living is relatively low compared to Western countries, but it's important to have a reliable source of income to cover expenses. Healthcare facilities in Palawan are not as advanced as in the major cities of the Philippines, so it's crucial to have a comprehensive health insurance plan. The official language is Filipino, but English is widely spoken, especially in tourist areas. However, learning some basic Filipino phrases can be beneficial. The climate is tropical, with high temperatures and humidity throughout the year, and a rainy season from June to November. The island is known for its natural beauty, with stunning beaches, clear waters, and diverse wildlife, but it's also prone to natural disasters like typhoons and earthquakes. The Philippines has a residency program for retirees, known as the Special Resident Retiree’s Visa (SRRV), which offers several benefits, but it requires a deposit in a Philippine bank and other conditions. The crime rate in Palawan is relatively low, but petty crime like pickpocketing can occur, especially in tourist areas. Public transportation is limited, so it's advisable to have a private vehicle for convenience. The island has a slower pace of life compared to major cities, which can be a big adjustment for some people. Finally, it's important to respect local customs and traditions, as the Philippines is a predominantly Catholic country with a unique blend of Eastern and Western cultures," remarked one expat living in Palawan Island, Philippines.

"I have lived on Palawan for over 20 years and that information is not up to date. We have fine hospitals unless you are looking replacements then go to Cebu. Shopping in 3 large centers plus the usual. I have never had any trouble except minor stuff. The police were good. Great place; for me at least," wrote one member in Palawan Island.

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What do I need to know before moving to Palawan Island?

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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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