Why I Won’t Retire In The Philippines Anymore.

Philippines jeepney First thing I want to say is I am not Matt, I read the blog regularly but I live in the U.S. and have done since I was 9 I am now 46 and started looking at information for retirement myself as I want to go set my plans in motion while I am still young enough.The thing is I have brought the subject up with people I know from the Filipino community that are part of military service here in the U.S. who will retire once their 20 years of service is completed. Most are going to retire in the U.S. and not go back to the Philippines and the more I asked why the more it makes sense for me to stay in the U.S. and retire as well.

Although the S.S. has its flaws like many other countries I would rather live here than back in the Philippines and more importantly I will give my reasons why below.

Bangko ng bayan – The borrowing by neighbours,friends and relatives has been mentioned plenty of times in this blog and its true. Always an excuse to come and pester people they think have got money. A sick child, tuition fees or even Fiesta or a birthday party always got someone with their handout knocking at the door of the wealthy retiree with a pension or any OFW for that matter. They will often borrow as they like to call it but they are never going to repay and have no intention of trying to.

Safety In Your Own Community – Doesn’t matter if you were born and raised in an area money always comes into everything that is wrong with the Philippines and once people know I have a pension from the U.S. you become a target of‘akyat-bahay’ gangs or kidnappings from people you may even know.

Lack Of Emergency Services – Here in the U.S. you can dial 911 and you will get an ambulance within a few minutes. In the Philippines might as well call ghost busters as nobody is coming to your aid. Even if there was how reliable would it be in the bad traffic of Cebu or Manila? I would die before they even arrived. That doesn’t even take into account of having to have a good medical insurance for which who can you rely on in the Philippines to cover?

Corruption In Government-I am not talking about the senators and governors of the Philippines as we are all well aware of how their corruption cripples the country. I am talking about basic issues such as renewing passports, getting a driving license or even social security. Everything goes at a snails pace on purpose as they want you to bribe them to “speed things up”. In reality they sit there doing nothing most of the time stalling the system wanting you to bribe because they sure as hell are going to make things slow and difficult on purpose until they get paid.

Traffic And Pollution – Visit anywhere in the Philippines and you will see old vehicles spluttering dust and toxic fumes into the air. Head into the cities and your going to find you need a shower after being outside due to the dust and pollution. If I feel dirty from being outside what is this doing to my lungs? Wandering around you will find rivers full of filth, open sewers that you really don’t even want to guess what is in them but its not hard with the stench coming from them and then there is the litter everywhere. Guys will urinate wherever it pleases them regardless if signs are there telling them not to, these sort of people make me ashamed to be Filipino. Add to that pesticides and other chemicals in the farming that leak into our rivers makes me question what is in our food chain and who is monitoring it? Add to all of this it takes ages to get anywhere due to the congestion of traffic as well as drivers are not only undisciplined they are often unlicensed, drugged or drunk.

My Wife Is Not Filipino – This makes a bigger problem than you realise when you consider how racist and sexist the laws are in the Philippines. From a general perspective the fact a guy can impregnate a woman then run away with no worry about having to pay to support the child no wonder our country has so many children there is no responsibility enforced! In the U.S. as many of the foreigners in the Philippines know the government will force men to pay for their children and can even take it direct from your pay. If his work stops once it restarts there are back payments accumulated so eventually he will have to pay up anything he owes.

Domestic violence is a big problem in Philippines yet who is stopping these offences happening? I don’t think the Philippines takes it seriously nor does it take rape seriously especially when they happen in the famous universities. If anything they pay off families to stop the universities having a bad reputation and the rapists no doubt can go on to carry on their offences if from a rich family. At the same time what message is this for us to give to children?

The Philippines was once home and now somewhere I like to visit to see friends and family. I cannot live there anymore.I visit from time to time and even then I sometimes get annoyed with friends expecting to freeload on me for everything while I am there which in the U.S. you wouldn’t visit twice! I know its how the Philippines is but it makes trips very expensive as I don’t like to be seen as being thrifty but it does seem people don’t mind abusing my friendship. I still have a few years until my retirement, if things don’t change for the better I for one will not be going home and I get the feeling the Philippines has no interest in changing and if anything likely to get worse due to the attitudes of the nation. I am proud to be Filipino at the same time I struggle to be proud of the Philippines many people poked fun at me with the Manila bus disaster and I say disaster because it was! This was a big shame for us abroad because it couldn’t be done any worse yet I know its likely if something was done again it would be just as bad as there are too many people too proud to ask for help from foreign nations that are more than capable of not only the hostage situation but pretty much anything that the country needs.

7 comments for “Why I Won’t Retire In The Philippines Anymore.

  1. scott h
    September 23, 2011 at 10:02 pm

    You know your last reason is really about the only reason not to retire in the philippines. I being the Kano am willing to meld into my wifes family there. I believe it might be harder for a White woman ot meld into the society there

    Bangko ng bayan- Uh learn to say no.

    Safety In Your Own Community- Commen sense, dont move to or live in a “bad” area. If your family lives in that type of area, dont move there (also takes care of problem #1)

    Lack Of Emergency Services-As you get older, locate your self nearer to emergency services. Or frankly do a risk analysis, go visit a retirment center, is that the way you want to go out? Have a good time while you can really enjoy it.

    Corruption In Government-if your not worried abou them being crooked, then is sound you like the inefficiency? and the waiting in lines? Hey, come on, your retired…..whats the hurry, stand in the doggone line and watch the world go by. Might even be fun.

    Traffic And Pollution- Easy, live in Laguna, or Tagayatay and only go to Manila when you want to visit MOA.

    But frankly at 46 you are probably really to young to really start seeing the advantages of living in a place like the philippines. To guys like me most of those objections are what makes are older years challenging, exciting and variable.

  2. Lars
    September 24, 2011 at 1:43 am

    I live among poor people and never had a single person asking me for a loan. If they do, just say no and they wont come back. Better be known than a kuripot(cheap charlie).

    There is no pollution where I live, I wake up every morning to a beautiful sea view, drive my motorbike along the scenic coastal road to the market with fresh fruit, veggies and seafood for a fraction of the price back home.

    I had a serious motorbike accident once, and even here in the province an ambulance arrived pretty quickly. We live 80 minutes from Chong Hua.

    All my services with officials have been carried out pretty effienctly, helpful and without any bribes at all. Of course, I know that’s not the case all the time.

    Strange to see how this site and others have become so negative about living in the Philippines the last weeks. I think it boils down to one thing, money. I agree you will have a tough time surviving on 1000 USD a month or so here, 1500 should be the minimum IMO although people have proven to survive on less.

    I read less forums about the Philippines, and tend to stear away from negative sites. I just can’t relate to the stories, even after three years.

  3. September 24, 2011 at 2:27 am

    Lars – I think the person has based it on his own experiences, provincial life is completely different to Manila. As you say yourself $1,500 is recommended was less than two year ago most people talked about it being $1,000 that’s a huge jump 50% increase and a sign of the inflation issues as well as devaluation of the Dollar. Sterling has been taking a beating just as well recently down to 64 was 96 in 2007.

    The loans are also relative to Filipino’s more than foreigners in the same way OFW’s end up sending more than they can really afford back home due to family blackmail, where we would tell them where to go. Its not negativity its reality in life, people are allowed their own perspectives and realities of life in the Philippines.

  4. September 24, 2011 at 2:35 am

    Scott H – I think a lot of these things are different as a retiree or more importantly foreigner compared to the locals arriving back. Its a part of life we don’t see much of as I only know 2 OFW’s that have moved back here permanently and the one has a German wife working away abroad and the other his wife is working abroad he sold his house and now visits his girlfriends in the city every few days (Still married his wife doesn’t know). I know them both from Mahjong where they gamble regularly which has more to do with the house sale than anything else. At the same time Family matters are generally personal so they wouldn’t tell you of the hassles where we are more open about telling people to go to hell.

    I have had the one issue with relatives which is still ongoing after nearly 3 years at the same time doesn’t really affect me. At the same time pickup a SunStar and look through the murders and see how many are land disputes between family members. As a foreigner we don’t need to get involved as we aren’t part of that side of life. Many others are stuck with it due to family responsibilites thrown onto them to help their siblings kids through school for example because it comes down to one thing I have seen. The relatives have been getting away with it for decades, the retirees or OFW’s when refused create a hell storm and I have an example I can’t share on my blog due to the people involved reading it from both sides (just creates friction). But it involved cutting off cash that a family had received for around 20 years. The kids have grown up so no need to send it but the hand is still extended for money because it wasn’t the kids receiving the money requested.

    So as a retiree from abroad I can understand skipping all these hassles! At the same time as a Filipino its questionable as it depends on the family. Also I think the Philippines is good for retirement for many people. Especially if they have no real family back home (in the sense real being people that visit a few times a week).

  5. Mike
    September 24, 2011 at 4:38 am

    I am a 45 years old pensioner from the US and have moved here and been here for only 4 months. I have been here many times over the last 25 years as my ex-wife was from here and we would visit from time to time. I have been divorced now for 7 yearsI live a very comfortable life with my girlfriend. We have been together 1 year this week. Alot of people saying you need $1000 – $1500 to retire here. I live in a 2 bedroom apartment in Bacolod and my total monthly budget is only $650, and that includes going out 1-2 times per week for a few beers and food. In my opinion the problem here is lack of pride in the Philippines by filipinos. In the US we do not send our smartest and brightest cititens overseas. In South Korea after the Korean War their citizens living overseas returned home to help build their country, they had pride in their country. Successful countries do not send there smartest and brightest minds away. I think the Philipine Pride is all a big lie, its have pride in your country by going abroad and sending us your money. Living here I hear daily about filipino Pride, and I just laugh.

  6. Profile photo of OLDARTICLES
    September 24, 2011 at 5:56 am

    Hi Mike,
    do you have kids here? That’s one of the biggest expenses people under estimate especially when they settle down with someone new (as most women want kids). But back on topic pride is often a sore point and one way that rubs people up the wrong way is to ask them “what are you proud of?”. Its not to cause a dispute but just to ask since people are so quick to tell you they are. Generally people take offence at you asking such a question! yet your right on the money as its developing the nation as a whole and that takes commitment from the people not reliance on a government or someone else to make the changes needed.

  7. Jerry
    April 29, 2012 at 5:09 am

    I agree Philippines has it’s share of problems but if you pick the right area (away from big cities) it can be very nice.
    I’ve never head of pensioners being targeted by kidnappers. Victims are usually rich Chinese or Filipino business people with deep pockets. Do they want your pension check that bad? If you’ve heard it happening it’s because they thought the pensioner was secretly wealthy or have a rich family to blackmail. Filipinos aren’t stupid, they know you have to have some source of income to survive. The best thing to do is let them know you have a pension, just make sure they know it’s modest and you are living pension check to pension check, all money goes to paying bills and the family back home doesn’t have enough money to help out. My wife always says if they think you have any extra cash certain (not all) family members feel entitled to it but since there’s none to spare there’s no point in asking. Trust me, no one’s targeting us for kidnapping. If you like to portray the image of a wealthy foreigner, even if you’re not, you’re asking for trouble. It’s just being sensible.