Are you thinking of retiring to the Philippines? I moved to this group of 7,107 islands with my beautiful Filipina wife over nine years ago. Aside from getting used to men peeing in public in broad daylight, there are other issues to deal with in this Southeast Asian “paradise.” Here’s my list of 10 Things You Need to Know before Moving to the Philippines.
I had concerns. Having not left the Philippines since my arrival over five years ago, I was worried that even though I was in possession of a 13a Permanent Visa, I would not be able to get my Emmigration Exit Clearance, ECC, at the airport. Though I had been assured by my local Bureau of Immigration Office in Iloilo that I could obtain my ECC at NAIA, I still had my worries. I felt better after contacting Randy Landis who reaffirmed what my local BI Office told me, but you never know about Immigration officials at the Manila Airport. There are too many online horror stories about foreigners being “shaken down” and having to pay extra fees to leave the country. To my knowledge, if you have a Tourist Visa and have not left the Philippines in over six months, you will need to process your ECC at a local Bureau of Immigration Office that can handle that process. It cannot be done at the airport anymore per a directive from Bureau of Immigration Director Mison.
The ECC, Emigration Exit Clearance, will soon be processed at the Iloilo Immigration Office. Since I will be returning to the United States in late September for a two week visit to see my Dad in Las Vegas, I need to secure my ECC because I haven’t been out of the Philippines for almost five years now.
I’ve lived in the Philippines for nearly five years. I’ve dutifully made my annual report to my local Bureau of Immigration Office in Iloilo City as required by law.
The Philippine Bureau of Immigration website, in a March 13, 2012 article, states that more than 65,000 foreigners reported in person to the BI last January and February in compliance with a law requiring them to make their annual report to the agency.
Headed to Manila today to obtain my 13(a) Permanent Visa to live in the Philippines. With this visa I will not be required to make annual trips out of the Philippines which is necessary if one uses the Balikbayan Privilege, and I will not have to renew my visa once the 13(a) is obtained. Just have to renew my Alien Certificate of Registration every five years (which I can do in Cebu) and make my annual report to the local Immigration Office in Iloilo which only costs P310. I just like to simplify things as much as possible for myself, and since we live in the rural province of Guimaras, and quite a distance from Manila, it is easier for me just to obtain this permanent visa. I'm all for making things easier for myself as I spend my twilight years in the Philippines.
The 2011 Manggahan Festival in Guimaras has recently ended, but I still have a few photos and stories to catch up on. Seated next to me is a German by the name of "Manfred" (I apologize if I did get his name correct, his English was good, but I had some trouble with his accent. Now I know how Filipinos that try to understand my "English slang" must feel. Manfred is married to a Filipina lady, and they live in Iloilo. They were visiting the festival on the opening day, April 10. Don't let the picture fool you, the German is at least four to five inches taller than my height of six feet. He's a big man. Check out my goofy grin! I'm just a bonehead sometimes!