Top 10 Reasons to Move to the Philippines

It’s a topic covered in my book, The Philippines Expat Advisor: 2016 Edition, now available in paperback. (The revised 2016 digital copy will be out this March and available on this website and other affiliates.) I listed the primary five factors for my retirement in this Southeast Asian archipelago in my book, but after living here for over six years, I’ve decided to publish a ” Top 10 Reasons to Move to the Philippines” post.

Raymen beach in Guimaras

1. Cheaper Cost of Living.

Back in 2009 when my lovely Filipina wife and I pulled up our stakes in Central Illinois, the cheaper cost of living in the Philippines played a significant role in our decision to retire in “paradise.”

Though back in 2013 the Philippines received a top score of 100 in the cost of living category from International Living, it still commands a ranking of 85 in this category, but ranks 17th overall in IL’s 2016 Annual Global Retirement Index as one of the world’s best places to retire.

With a better exchange rate for Americans, currently hovering above 1 USD to 47 PHP, it’s certainly more inexpensive for this American expat and his extended family to live a comfortable lifestyle.

But while exchange rates do fluctuate, it’s probably wise to consider building in a 10% buffer in your own budget for the currency you plan to base your retirement on. Better to make your move prepared for all foreseeable contingencies. Raymen Beach in Guimaras

2. “It Was Time for a Change!”

While it might be popular for some politicians to call for change, especially during a presidential election year, some folks resist the notion. I was diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, OCD, many years ago and always followed a rigid schedule. I detested any variation in my conventional Midwestern lifestyle.

But one day I had an epiphany,  a realization that I was not content to life out my retirement years in a small town in Central Illinois, mowing my lawn in the summer and shoveling snow in the winter;  watching the same mindless reality shows every evening while munching on a Tombstone pizza (though I do miss those Tombstones.)

So when I had the opportunity to retire at the age of 57 after almost 30 years at Ma Bell, AT&T, I seized it. And if I wanted to really retire and not work full-time or part-time anywhere else, I knew a move to the Philippines was the best way to accomplish that goal.

My loving Filipina bride, who had been with me in the States for nine years already, agreed to the move, stating to me “that wherever I go, she will go,” we retired to the Philippines. (Well, my wife has been taking care of our household as well as the construction of our new home here but I manage to do very little of anything and have been quite proficient at that.)

I was finally willing to change and go on an adventure of a lifetime in the Philippines.Raymen Beach in Guimaras

3. MY FILIPINA WIFE’S RELATIVES WERE ALL IN THE PHILIPPINES

The third reason why we decided to move to the Philippines was that I wanted to have the peace of mind that someone would take care of my wife after I had left this world. I am 13 years older than my loving asawa and, odds are,  will probably be the first to go.

My spouse has no relatives in the United States as is the case with some Filipinos living there. Without me around she would have had no one to take care of her, not that she couldn’t take care of herself. My wife is amazingly self-reliant and runs our household smoother than a baby’s butt. She also handles the payroll for the crew working on our new swimming pool in the Philippines and orders all the necessary construction supplies that are needed for that project.

But I did not want her to end up in a nursing home in the States where she might only get visits from close friends on Christmas.

You don’t know what life will bring. I wanted her back in her home country. I know she will be watched over and cared for when I’m gone by the countless nieces and nephews we have in the Philippines.The family at Raymen Beach, October 2000

4. I WANTED TO RETIRE NOW!

Why make the move to the Philippines? Well, my Filipina wife and I had been discussing the possibility of a move to the Philippines about a year or so before we actually moved.

I knew we could live cheaper in the Philippines than we could in our small town in Central Illinois, although compared to other parts of the United States our cost of living was not as high.

My job at AT&T had changed, and I was extremely displeased, bored, and frustrated with the new work we had which was in the billing department.

I was thinking more and more of collecting a lump sum retirement payment from the company and taking an early retirement ASAP.

I had enough years of service (ended up with almost 30) and was old enough so I could retire with full benefits which included health care for my wife and myself.

Fortunately after I turned 55 the money in my company retirement account more than doubled and the talk of selling our home and moving to the Philippines increased. We were able to invest our money in an IRA which provided the monthly income we needed before my Social Security kicked in.relaxing at Raymen Beach Resort in Guimaras

5. MY WIFE ALREADY OWNED HER OWN HOUSE AND PROPERTY IN THE PHILIPPINES

The last major reason that I listed for moving to the Philippines in my book was the fact that my wife already owned a house and lot in a small town in Guimaras. My wife had spent years working overseas to pay for the construction of the home. The house and lot were entirely paid for.

Since I was not able to collect Social Security yet, and we had a fixed monthly income, I did not want the added expense of renting a house. Why do that when we had one already sitting in the Philippines?

However, we eventually moved out and headed over to Iloilo City due to problems with my mother-in-law who lived with us.

Now I know some of my readers that still live in the States have already built their dream home in the Philippines. If you have the funds to do that now and have a trusted crew on site to construct your new domicile by all means, consider that option. But keep in mind that I did state that you need a trusted crew and supervisor that can build you home even if you are not on site.

And no Pilgrim, a close relative is not always necessarily someone you can trust though we have been fortunate to have our brother-in-law Joery to lean on and is someone we can depend on 100%.

That covers the five major personal reasons why we made our move to the Philippines. Here are five other possibilities to round out my Top 10 Reasons to Move to the Philippines.star fish found off raymen beach

6. FIND THE LOVE OF YOUR LIFE IN THE PHILIPPINES

I recently did an article, Philippines ranks as 5th best country for expats to find love, in which a survey from InterNations polled 14,000 expats living in 195 countries

The survey revealed that single expats looking for love are mostly likely to hit the target in countries like Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines.

These countries posted the highest percentage of expats who reported meeting their partner in their new host country.

I was extremely blessed to find the love of my life in the Philippines. We’ve been married over 16 years now. The smartest thing I’ve even done in my life was to marry my Filipina wife, Melinda. The second smartest thing I’ve ever done was retire to the Philippines.

If you can’t find a loving, loyal wife or girlfriend in the Philippines, my friend, I sincerely suspect there might be something wrong with you. island hopping off Raymen Beach

7. THERE IS MORE FREEDOM IN THE PHILIPPINES

I don’t have to be politically correct in the Philippines. I don’t have to worry about “diversity” in the Oscars.

I can blow my nose, take a piss, burp and fart wherever and whenever I want to. I can, if I so desire, live like a “caveman” and pay no attention to the myriad of laws that are passed in the Philippines but never or rarely enforced.

Though I am not an anarchist, I do believe in personal freedom. Respect me and I will respect you.

I don’t need a government which tells me what size soda I can drink in public, and I don’t need a government which tells me when or where or even if I can burn my trash.Raymen Beach in Guimaras

8. YOU ARE A CELEBRITY IN THE PHILIPPINES

While the “Red Carpet Treatment” might not be a primary motivation for moving to the Philippines, rest assured you will be treated like a celebrity or even rock star in this archipelago. If you don’t mind being mistaken for an American movie star at the tender age of 63, the Philippines might just be for you.

People who have never visited the Philippines think you’re joking or drunk on Red Horse beer, when you try to explain this phenomenon. But it’s true, and if you’ve ever spent any time here you know exactly what I mean.Birthday Bash at Raymen Beach in Guimaras

9. ENJOY A LESS STRESSFUL LIFESTYLE IN THE PHILIPPINES

You can hang out at the beach just about 365 days a year if you like and enjoy a frosty bottle of San Miguel Pale Pilsen and watch the world go by in the Philippines. You can excel at doing absolutely nothing, as I do, live comfortably and worry about absolutely nothing.

Or, you can continue to have a stressful commute to work everyday and listen to your boss drone on and on about absolutely nothing while I sit back and take another sip of Pilsen.San Miguel Pale Pilsen, Raymen Beach

10. THE WEATHER

OK, now if you enjoy cold weather and shoveling snow, then the weather conditions in the Philippines might not be for you. But if you don’t mind walking around in a tank top, cargo shorts and vinyl slippers all day, then you should consider living in the Philippines.

Sure, it’s hot in April and May, with temperatures approaching 100 degrees Fahrenheit, but once that rainy season kicks in, from late May to November, you’ll find life a lot more livable even with the constant high humidity. You get acclimated to it, however, and appreciate the fact you never have to scrape frost off your windshield ever again.

So there you have it, my “Top 10 Reasons to Move to the Philippines.”

Want to share your personal reasons for moving here? Just drop a comment.

More cute filipinas in street dance group

16 comments

  1. Hi Dave, great post my reasons for living here don’t like the English winter prefer
    Hot weather, easier way of life not expensive do what I want when I want beers cheap lol, just had to escape that working life in England boring, were everything you do and say is monitored, i don’t have to look at those glum faces driving to work
    And listen to people discuss their mortgage on their house, the people here are very
    Friendly everyone calls me sir I say to them just call me Derek, and the beaches are
    Good here, and last but not least the girls are beautiful like my wife says look but
    Don’t touch lol, the only other thing is you have to have a stable income to live
    A decent lifestyle, and your right Dave you can have a face like a monkeys bottom
    And still click with the chicks, to all those people out there make the move now
    I’ve been here nearly 8 years and love it, Derek in pasig.

    1. Thanks, Derek, for giving us your insight. I can relate to escaping a boring work life, one of the major factors for my early retirement.

      I ask people to call me “Dave,” but oftentimes they respond with “Sir Dave.” I used to ask them to drop the “sir” but have relented on that issue. Most people are just too polite but to call me anything but “sir.”

      I love “the face like a monkeys bottom” reference, Derek. You’re certainly right about that.

      1. LOL! It has taken me awhile to get used to the “Sir Todd” greetings but I sorta like it now. Just the filipinos way of being respectful.

        I honestly have trouble sometimes with the “special” treatment I get until I realize EVERYONE gets that treatment. I don’t want to be treated special or differently because I am an American. I just want to be treated like everyone else…but filipinos have a way of making EVERYONE feel special.

        1. Yep, I just go with the flow, Todd. The usual term I’ve experienced here in Guimaras is “kano,” short for Amerikano, which is used by locals that pass me by. I don’t mind that term, along with “Hey, Joe!” You get used to it.

  2. I am with you on all of the ten reasons. Some of them I have experienced. The rest I am looking forward to for the same reasons you have listed. I have a count down of summer 2020 going on to make the move. First I need to finish raising our two girls. They already know everything so the only thing left to do is give them an opportunity to take the plunge and “just do it”. No need to explain it to friends and family in the US because they don’t get the concept. But what the hell they thought getting married to a Filipina was a huge risk too. Sure glad I have not acquired the listening gene!

    1. Mike, those four years will pass before you know it. I commend you for wanting to raise your two girls first. If you’re only four years from making your move here, it doesn’t make good sense to throw your daughters into a completely different world at this point. And as you well know, the Philippines is chock full of cultural challenges that we Westerners have never faced before.

      Ahhh, the naysayers and doubters that undoubtedly thought that marrying a Filipina was a huge gamble. “Are you crazy” and “She’s only trying to get a green card” were some of those classic pieces of advice I used to hear. 16 years later, my loving wife is still with me and we’re enjoying a comfortable retirement in the Philippines. What more could a person ask for?

      1. Mike and Dave…Ya, the naysayers. Used to get me really p’d off and still irritates the hell out of me at times. And most of the time these naysayers have no real experience with filipinos or being in the Philippines.

        The best thing I have EVER done in my life is to ignore the naysayers. This has led to the greatest adventure in my life. Meeting an amazing woman. And having a life, when I am here, much happier and more satisfying than almost any friend I know of in America.

        1. Yeah, you know, Todd, those same naysayers are probably never happy no matter where they live. I would recommend the Philippines to anyone looking for a great place to retire. I’ve been living a very comfortable life here for over six years and I’m enjoying my “golden years” immensely. Glad you’ve met your own special Filipina and that you’re enjoying life to the fullest.

  3. Fantastic post Dave! I totally agree with all of your reasons. But the one that really got me was number 3. Your concern about your wife being left alone if you pass on first. This just shows the type of guy you are. I have the same concerns for Ruby.

    In America, we put people in homes and many times almost just completely forget about them. My stepdad owns an elder care home in America and many of the people in his home never get visitors. It is really sad and something RARELY seen in the Philippines.

    The other one is number 8. It is hard to explain to people that have not been here how just stepping foot in this country makes you a celebrity of at least some stature, especially in the smaller cities.

    And of course meeting the love of your life. I get very perplexed and actually irritated as hell when I hear men saying they cannot find a good woman in the Philippines. How the hell is that possible? Good filipinas are EVERYWHERE in the Philippines! As you said, if a guy can’t find a good filipina, they have some serious issues.

    For me, the Philippines has saved my life. I am approaching 53 years of age. I have been coming to the Philippines for eight years and living each year here part time. I am now again in the Philippines hoping I can stay here as long as I choose.

    For me, all of the reasons you stated are great reasons to be in the Philippines. I can wake up almost every morning to sun, and even if it is not sunny it is warm. What a difference that makes for your mental state.

    In the Philippines I am alive…in America I could be one of the Walking Dead like I see so often there.

    Take care, I will be contacting you soon. Ruby and I are making plans to come and see you.

    1. Glad you liked the post, Todd, I always appreciate your support. Such positive feedback always makes “working” on this blog worthwhile.

      I could not bear the thought of having my beloved wife stay in a nursing home, Todd, never having visitors and living out the rest of her life virtually alone. That will, of course, as you know, will not be a problem in the Philippines. Some people might question why we built such a big house. Well, I wanted to make sure there would always be room for visiting relatives. We have eight relatives coming in later this month from Manila for Holy Week. When I’m long gone from this earth, I know my asawa will always have someone to take care of her.

      I’m perplexed, too, when I hear about guys that can’t find a good woman here. They’re all over. Sure, there’s gold diggers (and I know we’ve had this discussion) but like you’ve pointed out before, there are gold diggers everywhere.

      Glad to hear you’re back in the Philippines and we’re looking forward to your visit and meeting Ruby and the original “Devil Dog.” 🙂

  4. Sorry I haven’t commented on your post lately but I have been reading them. We have been back here at are house in sorsogon since the 10th of February. Had to get away from the cold of Illinois hahaha.. We will be going back there on the 17th of March. And I believe we are putting are house up for sell when we get back. And hopfully will be back here in the Philippines in December.

    1. Good to hear from you, Roger. Well, I can barely remember those cold Illinois winters now. Don’t miss them at all. Good luck on the sale of your house and your upcoming move. I’m sure all will go well and you’ll be in the Philippines for good in December.

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