Live In The Philippines As A Retiree

Lars mentioned that there is a lot of negativity popping up about the Philippines lately, but I would like to say you can read back to 2008 on here and you will find many of things I say today there tied with family disputes and corruption as none of it has changed in that period of time.

At the same time there will be more negativity creeping in on forums etc because we are in the middle of a world changing recession and people are looking to blame everyone but themselves. My pension for example has been lost pretty much on the first recession in the UK never mind this second one yet it was yet another government scheme of the UK that encouraged it. At the same time as we seen at the start of the year the UK government has realised most people in the UK are saying to hell with it on the pension front as its frittered away by bad financiers and pretty much worthless so no point doing it. This was the great leap in house ownership as the “guaranteed pension” and we also know how that has gone down like a lead balloon in recent years. So in reality the negativity is leaking in mainly from the issues abroad and not the Philippines.

Philippines is more expensive today compared to what it was in 2007 at the same time nothing else has really changed. Corruption is the same, poor infrastructure etc. etc. its all the same. In reality the Philippines is fairly stagnant and not declining its just not improving at a fast pace. This is a good reason for retiring here as simply you can buy a house out of the city and not have to worry about the 5 hectares around you becoming a call centre hot spot with buildings going up everywhere. In reality come here, retire, meet a nice woman and enjoy life. My issues are different to a retiree as I want to do business here and it gives me nose bleeds trying to drag things forward. But its also why the opportunities exist so much in the Philippines because of the lack of business development. If you look at the electric car I posted that is still not being utilized in Manila it started in 2005 I believe and its still in prototype stage. Its viable, it could have solar charging stations, it could work really well in densely populated areas yet it lacks investment. This is a typical example of business stagnation as obviously nobody is giving them the green light to develop this venture. These are not RETIREMENT related issues.

What is retirement related is the visa schemes aren’t great here ideally they should introduce a 13a style visa for those over 60 where they should be allowed to lease/own land up until their death and afterwards land/home should be sold off. Letting people live in peace without the worry of the wife trying to edge them out of the home (not all guys are like this by the way just know of a few that have been burned and even more that are paranoid about land ownership).

Food prices I find aren’t comparable to the markets, most people here are earning from abroad even the locals living off OFW’s so why is it imported goods don’t change in price? My cheese for example is the same price it was in 2007 yet the decline in sterling sees the supermarket make an extra 30% profit it doesn’t pass on even though its already double what I would pay in the UK. Solution is to find locally produced goods and I am going to start a new “shopping page” to advertise where to buy organic and locally produced good quality foods. May take a bit of shipping around at the same time lot easier than shipping in from Europe.

Rentals haven’t gone up much and simply moving out of the city you will find plenty of accommodation without all the agent fees and at local market levels. You can get some good bargains the further away you are from development and a nice beach house can be yours for the same price as a condo in Cebu or Makati.

Medical care, I can’t say this enough get good insurance! I’m in my 30s so will bite the bullet on this at the moment with keeping money in the bank for emergencies but many of the older guys have a risk of a lot more complications. Want a good life here get the insurance because it could not only save your life but your wallet in the long run. Researching reliable and trustworthy insurance companies that will deal with the bills (no upfront payments from you) are worth doing for peace of mind. Seen enough people having to sell everything for medical care that eventually doesn’t save them anyway but what normally what happens is they end up dying and their partner is left broke. Who wants to do this to family?

Ok that’s the negatives!

On the positive side as a retiree you can find a wife, girlfriend or partner very easily in the Philippines and someone who is very beautiful and happy to be a housewife in many cases. Food wise fruit is easy to come by but recommend sourcing it locally away from the markets as its cheaper and fresher. Stuff at the back of my house for example gives cheap coconuts and pineapples. If you go Permaculture you can be growing a lot of your own stuff due to the climate here which plants love. At the same time bugs for plants are often a hazard that needs constant attention to sort them out, but the gardening side is a lot of fun which is why I would say try and get a house with a fairly large lot or even better a bit of farm land to it. If it has a river attachment check what is upstream though as I found in Negros although the waters were a lot cleaner than many parts of Cebu there was chemicals getting into the system from Mango plantations that were killing the fish pools of other farmers down stream. A lot of the pollution in the Philippines you literally can’t physically see and you will come across things that have been outlawed in other parts of the world. But all in all most of the time it won’t affect you.

Beer is still cheap compared to the UK and dining out is “OK” its not as cheap with the exchange rates these days and I know people will say but you should think in pesos if that is the case the average salary in the area would mean I am spending half a months salary on dining out for one meal! The fact is dining out is still reasonable but I can do just as well in the UK if not better due to food quality. Seafood though you can get some good deals on food at restaurants if you shop around.

What the Philippines does have though is scenery and lots of it. It still amazes me how cluttered the cities are when you just head 5 minutes up a hill and its pretty empty as everyone pushes to be in the city for work. As you can see from the photo if its flat its developed if its hills its empty! Pretty much most of Cebu is like this. But also the hills are cheap to buy as its expensive to develop properly. Partly why I can see the value in owning a hill and developing terrace styled gardens.

View of Cebu from hills

Transportation is still cheap and I will fill my little scooter up with a tank of fuel and be riding around for hours visiting different places. Security issues when wandering around Cebu are pretty much zero as most people just leave you alone or shout “hey joe!” all in all no real hassles about moving around and more importantly the road access is pretty passable for anything anyone needs. Not all roads are great but the important thing is there is still a road to use.

All in all the only issue I can see for a retiree living in the P
hilippines
is the value of the pension on the exchange rates. At the same time people are hurting just as much back home wherever that may be as prices for fuel are going up and quality of living is going down. But you also have to look at it from the other end where you can setup a small venture in the Philippines make a top up income and its not taxed on your pension as your in another country.

0 comments for “Live In The Philippines As A Retiree

  1. Lars
    September 25, 2011 at 1:46 am

    There are two solutions regarding property, buy a condo or lease the property from your wife for 50 years or so. Regarding setting up a business, it’s not that hard but a few obstacles of course. I have two ideas I will try out in the near future, the concept is quite easy and the prototypes have already succeeded. More later :-).

    Infrastructure is getting much better in Toledo. Talking to guys living here before me, only transportation to Cebu was Manipis road to Talisay, a scary ride. Now you have the Naga road which is pretty good condition. The road from Toledo to Matab-Ang was recently fixed and is in mint condition. The road from Aluguinsan to Barili is improving. No internet before, now I stream football matches and cross country. Only sari-sari stores before, now there are two nice malls and more is coming. A new hotel is about to open, and expats have a foreigner owned restaurant.

    Yesterday I drove my motorbike 10 km along the nice coastal road south of Toledo to Park Place, a resort with a nice swimming pool. I had the pool all by myself and did laps for an hour. 60 peso. After that, had an hour swedish massage in Toledo. 200 peso plus 50 peso tip. Went to Metro and bought some fresh fruit and dinner. 400 peso. Metro actually have better quality and lower prices than the markets here. Had a cheese omelette at Caesar’s(140 peso), went to a friend’s birthday party for his 3 year old(160 peso gift), later back home and cook, enjoy Liverpool beating Wolves 2-1 and enjoying some good wine(400 peso), they finally stocked some better wines at Gaisano(I asked for that a month ago).

    That was my excellent 1400 peso day, which could be reduced if you chose a cheaper wine or a 70 peso brandy instead. Today I might spend almost nothing or just a fraction if I stay home, just watching the herbs grow on my terrace.

    Lars