Expat Success Story in Guimaras, the Philippines: Paul & Janeth Toplis

a closer look at banana trees in guimaras

Gather around the campfire, boys and girls, as I tell the tale of an Expat Success Story in Guimaras, the Philippines: Paul and Janeth Toplis. It’s the remarkable report of a bloke from a small island in the U.K. who recently celebrated 25 years of wedded bliss with his Filipina sweetheart. That in itself is an impressive achievement.

my lovely asawa in Guimaras

That’s my own lovely asawa in the photo above posing alongside some banana trees on the 13-hectare estate. Paul’s better half, Janeth, was in nearby Iloilo City shopping.  Paul, who did not really care to be in the picture, and I, are both fortunate to have attractive wives that are extremely better looking than either one of us.

Frankly, pictures of Paul or yours truly are not going to drive more visitors to this website.


It was a grey day with a fine drizzle that spat across our faces as we walked the property. Paul, the gracious guide, was not expecting us. We have never visited the couple’s property but both wives communicated before we headed out and Janeth gave the OK.

Paul, like many husbands, was kept out of the loop but thankfully did not let loose his five canines on us, plus one trespassing neighbor dog, when we arrived in our Ford Ranger.

Paul and Janeth purchased their property in the Philippines over 10 years ago. They started with only 15 trees and at one time had over 40,000 timber trees alone!
citrusThe photo above reveals one of the many citrus trees on the premises. An expat friend had even brought over a lime tree which was promptly planted and yields a goodly sum of fresh limes, not the tiny calamansi lime often found throughout the Philippines.

The estate has an abundant amount of pleasingly-plump pineapples, seen below. When  Paul first started planting on their property he was purchasing his pineapple plants from Wonders Farm in Guimaras.  Paul’s pineapple production has so increased that he is now supplying Wonders Farm with pineapple plants.

pineapples in guimaras

The following picture shows a pomelo tree, which produces a fruit similar in size and taste to a grapefruit.


There are massive amounts of banana trees on their real estate with numerous varieties. Paul generously gave us some plantings for our new home in the Philippines. My wife planted them the next day

lots of banana trees

A look at just a few of the banana trees planted on the property.

more banana trees

My wife and I both were impressed with the organization of the coconut trees Paul and Janeth have planted. Everything is plotted out in a straight line as seen in the next two pictures.

coconut trees in guimaras



coconut trees in the Philippines



As noted earlier, there once were 40,000 timber trees planted on the estate. Paul has since thinned the herd to around 10,000. Paul remarked to me that the germilima tree seen below is almost ready to harvest. This tree has a soft wood and is very popular with builders in this area.

germilima ready to harvest

Paul and Janeth produce over 7.8 tons of rice every year which they sell.

another look a rice field in the philippines

The rice fields

My wife and I want to thank Paul for taking time out from his busy schedule and showing us their property. Thanks, also, to Janeth, for grooming such a successful expat in the Philippines.  Paul and I are both about the same age but he has a much better work ethic than I have. Regular readers of Philippines Plus know that I excel in doing nothing. My British friend is the exact opposite.

Author: The Kano

POST AUTHOR: "THE KANO." Dave DeWall, "The Kano", is the Publisher & Editor-in-Chief of "Philippines Plus" in publication since August 2009. He is also the CEO of Lizard Poop Productions and author of the best-selling guide book "The Philippines Expat Advisor." Dave moved to the Philippines in July 2009 from Central Illinois with his lovely wife of over 19 years, "The Sainted Patient Wife." The couple reside in a rural province in Western Visayas, Guimaras. The small island province is said to have the sweetest mangoes in the world. They do not have any children but are the proud owners of eight active canines, including a Belgian Shepherd called "Killer" "Killer" has bitten five people in the last two years along with one goat and a carabao. "Killer" doesn't like strangers. Or goats. Or carabaos.

12 thoughts on “Expat Success Story in Guimaras, the Philippines: Paul & Janeth Toplis

  1. liking these farm post Dave,I’m really interested in doing something similar. Guimaras is a great location being close to the city.Best of both worlds. thanks for bringing us all the great content. – Nick

    1. Well, Nick, the more of these visits we do, the more I’m convinced that I was wrong about an expat making a living in the Philippines without a pension. Though I’m fairly sure Paul is getting a pension from the UK, he’s also making a quid or two with the farming enterprise.

      Guimaras is indeed a great retirement location, in my humble opinion, though I might be biased. 🙂

  2. Hi Dave, good to see a business like that I bet they enjoy what they are doing, looks
    Like a lot of hard work has gone into the place, you know were to get your rice now ,
    He doesn’t brew beer as well that would be a good idea or even rice wine lol ,
    Seriously good luck to them, Derek in pasig.

    1. Paul has quite a waiting list for his rice production, Derek. He normally does two harvests a year but has done up to three. The recent water shortages, however, have not made it feasible to do a third harvest this year.

      Well, Derek, while Paul doesn’t brew any beer to my knowledge, he has been known to quaff a pint or two with friends. 🙂

  3. Hi Dave, I really like these articles! I was wondering what an acre of nice property like this runs for in that area. Do you have any idea?

    Also, while I admit your wife is a heckuva lot better looking a woman than you are as a guy…you are not exactly Shrek. Don’t sell yourself short! Looks to me like you and the wife got a great deal when you met each other.

    1. Thanks, Todd. Hope to have more of these articles in the future.

      We bought our property at a really good price, 86 pesos a square meter. We have the equivalent of three acres. Land prices have gone up extremely in Guimaras, especially if you’re trying to buy beach front property or property in town, up to 3,500 pesos a square meter.

      However, that said, we do do have neighbors and relatives selling property at a decent price. In fact, we have a relative selling land in Santa Teresa, Guimaras, for the bargain price of 30 pesos a square meter. The 13,500 square meter property, the same size as ours, is selling for 400,000 pesos. The relative, who needs money for her kids’college and schools, would probably sell the lot even cheaper. If you’re interested in investing in Guimaras, this is an excellent opportunity. We don’t make any commissions from such sales.

      Well, thanks, Todd. Glad to know I’m just a notch or two above Shrek in the looks department. 🙂

  4. Paul and Janeth are amazingly hard working and dedicated. I have watched their progress over the past ten years and have nothing but admiration for their work. They have jointly overcome many hardships and sheer determination never to be beaten has given them this beautiful farm today. Not for the feint hearted! Well done indeed and I hope it will bring many more years of joy.

    1. There are indeed hardworking folks, Fiona. I get tired just listening to all the work Paul does on a daily basis along with all the future projects he in the works. There indeed a great couple and my wife and I consider them friends.

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