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Philippines Bound
Old 06-18-2009, 01:26 AM   #1
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Philippines Bound

China was my first pick for retirement living. But after going through 8 CD's and not learning much more than ni hao, I had a change of heart.

Heading out for the Philippines in about a month. Will spend some time in Manila then head south to settle in Cebu or Davao. Cost of living is quite nice there. And it's a nice location for visiting southeast asia and china pretty conveniently.

Anyone with any experience in the Philippines? I've made regular preretirement visits and like the country.

Third choice if it doesn't pan out ... probably Malaysia.
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Old 06-19-2009, 12:35 AM   #2
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Bon chance, mon ami.

I have a very good friend who was born in the P.I. We talked about this once. He is not in good straights here, but he says he would never go back to retire in the Philippines.

I am not quite so negative, but my future is somewhere in this hemisphere.
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Old 06-23-2009, 12:26 PM   #3
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Hehe ... well after Southeast Asia, then Mexico, Costa Rica or Panama would have been my picks. Little pricier, but still a lot less expensive than stateside.
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Old 06-23-2009, 02:30 PM   #4
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China was my first pick for retirement living.
just curious, which city/province did you have in mind?

Although I'm a long way from retirement, China is a possible retirement place for me, but then I was born there.
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Old 06-23-2009, 05:46 PM   #5
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just curious, which city/province did you have in mind?

Although I'm a long way from retirement, China is a possible retirement place for me, but then I was born there.
Well, with China I had 2 options. One was joining up with the Peace Corps and being assigned somewhere in the interior of China. It is actually pretty nice duty, teaching English at some university. Not the typical Peace Corps assignment you might think of.

Aside from that I enjoyed Nanning quite a bit. It was southern enough to be not to different from the climate that I am used to. It didn't seem as polluted as some of the other cities that I just passed through, but I just may have been lucky to be there on a good couple of weeks. Foods were excellent. Found a street filled with vendors with aquariums filled with live fish and shellfish. I just pointed and they always cooked up a really fine meal for me on the spot that would rival a first class restaurant.

I know the east coast is where all the economic activity is, but I enjoyed Nanning and then Kunming very much. But alas, after months of listening to Mandarin CD's going to and from work ... I never got much beyond "wo yao yi bei cafe" (I want a cup of coffee). Hah I think that's how you spell it.
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Old 06-23-2009, 05:57 PM   #6
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I spent 5 days in Cebu last year on a business trip. I thought it was an interesting place. One thing I enjoyed was the shopping centers which were very modern and offer a chance to get away from the Jeepnies.
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Old 06-24-2009, 01:50 PM   #7
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I spent 5 days in Cebu last year on a business trip. I thought it was an interesting place. One thing I enjoyed was the shopping centers which were very modern and offer a chance to get away from the Jeepnies.
Yeap, I'm mostly likely to end up in Cebu or just outside the city. Manila, Cebu, and Davao are all pretty modern by my standards. Haha ... if you ride around in the jeepneys hang on to your wallet!
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Old 06-24-2009, 02:30 PM   #8
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Have you looked at Baguio City? The climate is so much better than Manila (about 5000 feet I believe). I've only visited but it is very pretty.

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Old 06-24-2009, 03:02 PM   #9
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My daughter in law is from Philippines and her family still lives there. She loves living the American dream here in Texas and her parents would like to retire here but have problems getting health benefits here. Seems like the grass is greener on the other side of ......

Check it out for about 6 months then let us know how green the grass is over there.
Good Luck!
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Old 06-24-2009, 04:57 PM   #10
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Hehe ... well after Southeast Asia, then Mexico, Costa Rica or Panama would have been my picks. Little pricier, but still a lot less expensive than stateside.
Not so according Arif who recently returned from Panama to the States. The difference between living outside the US and living in a cheaper part of the US is the ease with which you can pick up part time work. You probably can pick up part time jobs outside of the US, but those jobs will most likely be under the table jobs.

By all means I'm not looking to discourage anyone. Living in a 3rd world country may be the only way I can achieve ER.
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Old 06-24-2009, 05:04 PM   #11
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My daughter in law is from Philippines and her family still lives there. She loves living the American dream here in Texas and her parents would like to retire here but have problems getting health benefits here. Seems like the grass is greener on the other side of ......
I have a retired neighbor married to a gal from the Philippines. He wants to move there, she refuses to go back to living in a less developed country. Different strokes...
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Old 06-24-2009, 07:53 PM   #12
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Teeruh, yes if you want cooler weather Baguio and Tagaytay are nice alternatives in the mountains.

Buns, you are correct. It all depends on how you live. When you move abroad some commodities don't change in price and in fact may get more expensive. On the other hand if you learn to adapt and study the economy, it's a lot easier to live cheaply in those countries. Americans living in the Philippines who live in huge mansions, run a/c all day, drive gas guzzling suv's, and have servants are likely to find living expenses high.

Charls and Rewahoo, haha ... the grass is always greener elsewhere. If I were young and needed a job, the Philippines would not be where I want to be. On the other hand, retired on a pension, all of southeast asia and latin america is the life of riley for me. If you need to work to supplement your pension, you either should stay in the US or figure out how to work online and live off the US economy. If I recall correctly, about 20% of the Philippines economy is driven by money sent home by workers overseas. Developing countries are great for retirement but pretty lousy for employment.

I would also nix living abroad if your health is not so great and you need a lot of complex health care and if you have medical insurance stateside. If you live in most developing countries health care is usually on a cash basis. It's a lot cheaper of course, but you will need some cash reserves to purchase it.
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Old 06-24-2009, 07:56 PM   #13
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I like the idea of living overseas for a time and it would be great if it was inexpensive too. But I'd be really nervous if my retirement plan depended on residing in a low cost developing country. Two large potential problems come to mind. 1) you find that the conveniences of developed countries are actually worth the price but you can now no longer afford them; 2) your developing country of choice becomes progressively less cheap over the coming years because they are rapidly raising their standard of living; 3) a combination of 1 and 2.

Before I quit my day job I think I'd have to have a retirement plan that works in the U.S. just to make sure I have a viable fall back position.

But then again, if things didn't work out I guess I could always use the "David Carradine" escape hatch.
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Old 06-25-2009, 12:01 AM   #14
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I've spend a fair amount of time in the Philippines and I'm actively considering retiring there. Main advantage to me is that my wife has many relatives and friends there that we both really like. With respect to cost of living, it all depends. Services (haircuts, taxis, maids, etc.) are incredibly cheap. Goods are a different story. Local goods are relatively inexpensive by American standards, but quality can be a real problem. Imported goods are often more expensive than in the U.S. Curiously, real estate can be very expensive. Tiny lots, priced by the square meter, are often more expensive, all things considered, than a typical residental lot in the States. We'll probably simply look for a rental house. If you want to live an "American livestyle" (eating American foods and living in a house build to American standards, you'll probably find it as expensive, if not more expensive than living in the U.S. If you adopt more of the local lifestyle in terms of diet, and accept Filipino standards in housing and elsewhere, the Philippines can really stretch your dollar -- and, you can enjoy luxuries such as a live-in maid that may be beyond your reach in the States. Bottom Line: The Philippines can be a very attractive place to live, but I don't think it is for everyone.
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Old 06-26-2009, 12:33 PM   #15
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If you adopt more of the local lifestyle in terms of diet, and accept Filipino standards in housing and elsewhere, the Philippines can really stretch your dollar -- and, you can enjoy luxuries such as a live-in maid that may be beyond your reach in the States. Bottom Line: The Philippines can be a very attractive place to live, but I don't think it is for everyone.
I agree completely. To get the housing cost down, you might want to look at properties in the smaller cities or on the outskirts of Metro Manila. If you're in Manila, you're competing with a lot of working expats from Asia and the West for the nice properties.

I've found a nice 4 bedroom townhouse in a nice subdivision fully furnished outside of Cebu city thats running for about $400 a month. But it's a little too big for me. I'm guessing that when I get there on a permanent basis I'll be able to get a decent place for $2-300 a month.

One should do a lot of research and visit before making the move there.
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Old 06-26-2009, 12:37 PM   #16
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I like the idea of living overseas for a time and it would be great if it was inexpensive too. But I'd be really nervous if my retirement plan depended on residing in a low cost developing country. Two large potential problems come to mind. 1) you find that the conveniences of developed countries are actually worth the price but you can now no longer afford them; 2) your developing country of choice becomes progressively less cheap over the coming years because they are rapidly raising their standard of living; 3) a combination of 1 and 2.

Before I quit my day job I think I'd have to have a retirement plan that works in the U.S. just to make sure I have a viable fall back position.

But then again, if things didn't work out I guess I could always use the "David Carradine" escape hatch.
LOL ... I'm not sure things could ever get that bad for me to want to do a David Carradine.

But its a good point about the cost of living changing over time. Most of the nice destinations are nice because they are slowly developing the infrastructure to make them appealing. But if they continue to develop along this path, prices will tend to increase. So one should still have a savings/investment plan even when living on the cheap for the present.
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Old 06-28-2009, 09:58 PM   #17
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Traffic pretty much terrible most places in PI and filth even in the best of neighborhoods. Crime is almost everywhere for a foreigner in the PI.
Thought about it but after 30 of 35 years in foreign countries will just use foreign
countries for vacations. I didn't see anything of value in PI for quality living and would be more like living in poorer sections of large U.S, cities... Crime is the biggest turn off of Phillipines along with filth.
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Old 06-28-2009, 11:50 PM   #18
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wcv56,

Traffic, filth, crime . . . yes, you'll find that in the Philippines. But, there is also stunning natural beauty, a slower pace of life, a warm and friendly culture, and much, much more to compensate. To appreciate the Philippines, one must learn to mitigate the negatives and embrace the positives. For those who can to make the adjustment, the Philippines can be a rewarding place to live. But, I'll be the first to admit that it is not for everyone, especially those who bring all of their home-country expectations with them to the Philippines.
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Old 06-29-2009, 07:41 AM   #19
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Traffic pretty much terrible most places in PI and filth even in the best of neighborhoods. Crime is almost everywhere for a foreigner in the PI.
Thought about it but after 30 of 35 years in foreign countries will just use foreign
countries for vacations. I didn't see anything of value in PI for quality living and would be more like living in poorer sections of large U.S, cities... Crime is the biggest turn off of Phillipines along with filth.

Traffic filth we already have it here. Filth just a matter of time when it will reach our gated community.

You can't pay enough money for rich filipinos to live here because of quality of life.
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Old 06-29-2009, 07:37 PM   #20
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Buns, you are correct. It all depends on how you live. When you move abroad some commodities don't change in price and in fact may get more expensive. On the other hand if you learn to adapt and study the economy, it's a lot easier to live cheaply in those countries. Americans living in the Philippines who live in huge mansions, run a/c all day, drive gas guzzling suv's, and have servants are likely to find living expenses high.

I would also nix living abroad if your health is not so great and you need a lot of complex health care and if you have medical insurance stateside. If you live in most developing countries health care is usually on a cash basis. It's a lot cheaper of course, but you will need some cash reserves to purchase it.
Yep, outside the US, people & labor are cheap but goods are expensive usually due to some insane import taxation imposed by the government for infant industry protection.

I have looked at several web sites that indicate I could be living a nice life now in Mexico, but I'm not yet convinced. I think I'll actually pull the trigger when I have a much bigger cushion.
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