Philippine Island Times Adventures of an American expat in the Philippines

May 10, 2007

Retiring to the Philippines

Filed under: — lapulapu @ 12:07 pm

Quite a few foreigners are retiring to the Philippines these days. Some of the attractions are the low cost of living, the kind people, the widespread use of English, and the warm weather.

The expense naturally varies widely depending on lifestyle and location. Most retirees say that a couple can live a simple but comfortable life on about $1200 a month. Some say it can be done on as little as $600. Others say $2000 is not enough.

I’ve traveled a little in Mexico, Costa Rica, Japan, and China. All were enjoyable and I have great fondness for Latin Americans in particular, but Filipinos are the warmest, friendliest, most welcoming people I have ever met.

English is taught in the schools from the earliest ages and most Filipinos can converse in it. As you might expect, English competence is highest in the cities and among the more educated. It’s really a pleasure to be able to talk with the local folks not just to other expats, especially when the local folks are so much fun.

The weather on the coast is usually hot and humid. A typical day will have a high of around 86F and a low of around 77F. In most of the country the dry season runs from about December through May, the rainy season June through November. April and May are the hottest months; sweltering, in my book. November through February the temperatures and humidity are pleasant. During the rainy season in the central Visayas it typically rains for a few hours at night and maybe a couple of hours during the day.

The downside to the country goes beyond excessive humdity. It is not economically well-developed. The infrastructure is bad. I am not happy when the electricity goes off at 6:00 p.m. in the heat of May, and when the electricity is running (which is the vast majority of the time, of course) it is expensive. Like poor people everywhere, a minority of Filipinos resort to desperate ways of making a living. In some areas petty property crime is common and the sex industry is prolific. There is a long history of corrupt government, though some localities are better than others. Business is often treacherous.

For me the pros outweigh the cons by a mile, but no one will tell you that I am normal.


  1. hey,how’s it going? We miss you already. Sorry u did’nt get ti make it to Toledo. Hope to hear from u soon

    Comment by Donna — August 19, 2008 @ 10:52 am

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