Expat Exodus From The Philippines Due To Recession?

missed the last boatA lot of chatter recently about the numbers of people leaving the Philippines but in reality is it the fact so many are leaving or in reality a lack of newcomers?

Thailand tourism for example expected a 14% downturn in tourism, retirees on the other hand may actually be more likely to wait and see how the economies go before making a decision to move half way round the world to another country. The Philippines isn’t as cheap as it once was but also its value for money that can be the issue. I find supermarket prices inflated compared to costs from source, which makes me wonder who is charging all this excess money onto goods? While avocadoes are P56 kilo in Cebu the next island of Negros where they grow its P9 a kg? The big problem like many things in the Philippines is a severe lack of legislation to keep things under control. Food is one thing that is often inflated well above what it should be.

The clarity and ease of visas is also an issue for expats and one of the things people are least appreciative of when the pricing can change without notice and even if you call they won’t give you a true figure over the phone. Add to this an ID card they charge you for that they don’t warn you of which you have to get on a second renewal I know of a lot of disgruntled expats complaining about it. This doesn’t include the exit fee you also have to pay to leave the country and generally visa processing just seems they are using you as a personal ATM.

In reality I think some people are realising its cheaper back in the home countries to live in many cases as well as the fact they know how much things cost. On the other hand there are cheaper alternatives out there and its difficult to do a comparison to see if one country has increased while the other declines but Americans I talk to who left or are leaving here talk about Panama and Costa Rica as more affordable. At the same time I think there are some better healthcare options and land ownership in those countries which would also make a huge difference to many retirees.

Land ownership is one of my gripes with the Philippines personally as I see land everywhere that is empty yet owners are abroad or nobody is farming it for one reason or another but we can’t buy it either. Many people would be interested in small holding for personal consumption for example as its as stable as you can get financially in this current climate learning to eat from the land and go as self sufficient as possible.

Exodus may not be happening here in the Philippines at the same time some people I know weren’t doing too well on their pensions before the U.S. economy collapsed so don’t know how they are bearing up these days. The “live in the Philippines for $500” may soon be a myth lost in time as although do able its not exactly comfortable. Also doesn’t leave much for emergencies.

0 comments for “Expat Exodus From The Philippines Due To Recession?

  1. Mike
    September 19, 2011 at 3:58 am

    I moved here about 4 months ago and have settled in Bacolod City. In my short experience we are living on about $600 per month. We are renting a small 2br apartment but very comfortable and have more then most. Food in the supermarket is a little expensive but we spend about 6500($150)per month. I am very conscience of my water and electric consumption, and we do not have aircon. Soon we will be starting a small backyard garden, composting and recycling as much as possible. The Philippines is still 1/3 the cost of living in the US for me. I guess what I am saying is if you are smart, and don’t party everynight living here is less expensive and very very enjoyable.

  2. September 19, 2011 at 4:42 am

    I agree it can be cheaper to live here in relevance to location. At the same time I know of people out in Oregon and other regions that are living cheaper than I could do here in Cebu. At the same time many people can’t cut back on expenses they aren’t used to the cost of living. We have lived here before on P15,000 a month comfortably back in 2007 but that was 2 of us. We are now 2 kids, 4 adults and a yaya with 2 apartments and a house. Our electric bill is now P6,200 up from P1,800 in 2007 a huge jump. Although I find the electric here goes up the more you use!