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Retiring in the philippines

Discussion in '☋ Expat Section ☋' started by Firefly44, Jun 22, 2011.

  1. Firefly44

    Firefly44 DI Forum Adept

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    I Have taken this from another website as most of it is plain and simple and good for intended retirees to know. Take care all.

    In the Philippines you may find lots of US citizens, thousands of Europeans, Australians and people from all around the world.
    Who and why do people come to the Philippines ??
    Most foreigners, most likely are retired, receive a pension and spend their most beautiful years of their life here. For people in Europe or similar places life may be easy at home while working at full salary. Once retired from a job and living from your pension - all looks very much different. However with the low cost of living and high quality of social life among friends and native neighborhood - all retirees enjoy a life, a dozen times more pleasant than at home. With houses starting around 100 US $ a month, or even beach front - with average rentals about 150 - 200 US $ monthly - here is a place to enjoy the evening decades or years of your post working life.
    If you are a publisher, author, painting artist, freelance writer or photographer you may also find opportunities to do your work here in peace and among a natural ( wild ) environment …
    IT professionals may have all connectivity to do their work from here instead of out of your usual (stinking) city office in New York, Paris or London.
    Many retirees start a new life, new partnership / relationship, new recreational activities like sailing, fishing, boating, surfing, windsurfing, SCUBA diving, snorkeling, bowling, billiard, singing, music, …

    How or what to do when you think “may be …” Philippines sounds good for me ?
    Many foreigners make a common mistake, they arrive here at one place and immediately settle down, renting houses - furnishing houses, creating new attachments before even knowing part of the country.
    Imagine a country with some 7100 islands and islets - almost 1000 nautical miles north - to south … with only some 85 Million population … of almost entirely smiling people welcoming YOU …
    If you love to find YOUR place - take your time, arrive, stay in one of the many resorts, hotels or appartelles. Most offer monthly rates FAR below average daily rates - specially if you arrive during off-season - i.e. during summer months (summer = March-April). Fully furnished apartments, cottages or houses - even inside a well maintained Hotel Resort offering convenience, security and logistic that you may need or wish for an active life may cost as little as 200 - 500 US $ a month.
    Hence the best is to arrive, stay in a secured place with all logistics needed to gather more information, meet other foreigners and Filipinos and go traveling every once in a while - here and there - north or south, beach front or mountains, remote islands or tourist areas, quiet places or 24 hrs happy active life, all is possible - and you may love to see how or where you feel most happy and most comfortable.
    Generally in all remote areas or islands you may encounter many locations without electricity - some hours of generator each day and the rest quietness and nature. But even in major cities such as Angeles city, Metro Manila or Baguio city brown outs and power failure lasting hours, half nights or all nights may occur frequently. In metro Manila less - but all other major cities I seldom spend a few days without one or several many hours lasting power failures !!
    Hotels and all important larger business facilities usually are prepared with a generator that starts within minutes.

    But .. just to keep you open and ready for the upcoming adventure into the Philippines …: If you are married to a (former) Filipino citizen You will automatically receive a 1 year ‘balikbayan’ visa upon arrival at the airport.
    If you are not: Most nationalities require no visa for entry as tourists. Most retirees are here on a tourist visa. You may want to check with the Philippine embassy in your country - but for most ( all ? ) Europeans, and US / Canadian / Australian / New Zealand citizens arrival with a valid passport is enough and you receive a 21 days visa free of charge at the airport.
    Then during this 21 days - usually with the help of your Hotel / Resort - you easily extend to a full 59 days (from actual arrival) and after this first 59 days - tourist visa usually is 60 days at a time. Each such extension is approximately 40 - 60 US $ depending on what extension - 1st or 2nd or later each has a different price ….
    You apply for visa extensions or similar procedures such as exit clearance at any immigration office in the Philippines - where ever you live ! Thousands of travel agencies country wide offer visa assistance - meaning THEY do all the work or waiting for you for a very nominal fee within a very few days - usually 3 or so working days.
    Give yourself another chance in life - give your life another new content - start being happy after years or decades of most heavy work !! Learn to take care of your heart and soul - learn to smile and to love and be happy … many places to do so - here in the Philippines is one of the most beautiful to learn and enjoy the art of life !
    Always remember that:
    Retiring in the Philippines is a huge step and not one you should take lightly. It’s great to have a nice holiday and think: “Hey, I would love to live here”, but it’s another thing to actually live here and enjoy your retirement in the Philippines. Like everything in life, there are advantages and disadvantages on things and decisions you have to make. Retiring (read: living) in the Philippines is exactly the same.

    There are a lot of publications on moving to and retiring in the Philippines and most tend to gloss over the reality of retirement in the Philippines. Don’t be fooled into thinking this is another US state or European country, because it is not. Make sure you have enough money to get you by, because once it runs out you will be hard pressed to get a job locally, especially when the going wages are less than $ 5 per day! So bottom line here is, don’t run out of money.

    Infrastructure issues
    You must not forget that the Philippines is a third world country and the infrastructure is nowhere near as efficient or dependable as you are used to have in your home country.
    Now, talking about infrastructure I’m referring to transportation, public utilities like electricity and water, telephone, internet and mobile phone reception and access, and not to forget the postal service. While all is widely available in the Philippines it does not always function consistently and in a manner you’re used to.
    It is not unusual to have regular brown-outs or black-outs (power interruption), if you find it a problem: you have to get yourself a generator.
    Public transport leaves and arrives when it does, no use trying to understand why, that’s just what happens.
    The highways are not like the motorways back home and fitting two cars into one lane is..… normal. Also bicycles, tricycles and pedestrians are using the so called high-ways. Jeepneys and busses do actually stop everywhere to load or unload passengers, even on the middle of the road.
    In a lot of areas mobile or cell phone coverage is far greater and reliable than land lines.
    Outside of the major cities high speed internet access is just not available.

    Moving to the Philippines requires a lot of things to take care for. One of the very important things is where you are going to live.

    If you are a millionaire like Bill Gates, you don’t have to worry about all this. You just buy a nice place somewhere in Makati where all the other very rich people live. In that case you don’t have to read this blog further.
    But:
    If you are NOT a millionaire, and you have to budget your money like me, then this might be something for you to read and think about it, maybe it’s useful.

    Renting or buying a house when you arrive in the Philippines, that’s a difficult decision. It depends on a lot of things.

    First there is your financial situation
    your family situation (with or without children)
    The number of years you intend to live here
    The type of house you like to live in
    The town or region you intend to live
    How secure you like the place
    And many others
    My advise to you is to rent a place first for the first year. During this year you have the opportunity to look around, get familiar with the place and get to know the neighborhood. Aside from that you will know after a year if you like it in the Philippines and if you are going to stay here for a longer time or even permanently.

    Immediately after arriving it would be best to stay in a (cheap) hotel for a few weeks, so you can look around for a place to rent. That is: if you do not have family or friends where you can stay for a few weeks. There are many hotels and Inn’s all over the country in almost every town and city. As long as this hotel has a good bed, is safe to stay and has easy access to public transport it will do. There’s restaurants all over the country, so the hotel room doesn’t need to have cooking facilities, although it might be handy to be able to cook some water for coffee and a fridge is always welcome on a hotel room.

    Real estate brokers like we have in Europe and America you will not find that easily. And if you find one they are focused on foreigners and their prices as well. Aside from that they like to sell but don’t do renting. So you are on your own in this.
    Try to ask friends or relatives if they know a house for rent and ask even the neighbors of your friends and family. Don’t forget to tell them what kind of house you want. They will soon come up with something they have found or heard. That’s the best way to find a nice and affordable place.

    Still in your home country you can do a lot in finding places. You’ll get an idea of the type of houses which are available, sizes, prices and so on.
    Make small list what you want: how many bedrooms, number of bathrooms and so on. Also if you like to have a garden is important. Better to many points then forgetting that you also need a garage or something like that.
    On Internet you can find many places to rent. Try to put the following search words in Google or any other search machine: ‘house +rent +Philippines +[eventual location where you want to rent]’. Long lists of adds will appear, but you have to remember this:
    In most adds you will only find a telephone number (which is almost always a cell phone). If you inquire by email (if there is any given in the add) you seldom get an answer and/or pictures of the place. The people who are advertising those properties on internet are not removing the adds when rented or sold, or they simply don’t check their email regarding the add. So if you like a place you need to call or send a text message.
    Don’t be surprised if they don’t answer your text messages or answer the phone. Sometimes the number just doesn’t exist anymore. (country code Philippines: +63; cell phone numbers start with 09, but dialing from abroad you have to forget the 0).
    But do not rely too much on the internet. In the Philippines only limited people have access to Internet. So it is not as widely used for this kind of information as we are used to in Europe or America.

    It’s best to know already in what region or city you would like to live and find a hotel near by. It would help if you know somebody who’s living there and whom you trust to help you in this matter. They know the local situation: if it’s going to be flooded in heavy rainfall, if there’s a lot of criminality and so on. Some houses are furnished, but others are not. Some have air conditioners, others don’t.
    Always check and see the house yourself before signing any contract, and ask around if the place is being flooded during heavy rain (and also if the road going there is flooded). Ask also if the water supply is good and if there is garbage collection regularly. Look around you in the streets and on open lots if you see garbage or trash. Check also if there’s a lot of street dogs, and not unimportant: if you see people having one or more roosters in a small cage in their property or you can hear them in the street: You will not have a nice sleep at night. If in a subdivision ask also about the regulations of the home owners association. In some subdivisions there are NO rules at all, in others there is strict rules regarding receiving visitors, entering cars, keeping pets, etc. Eventually you can get a lot of general information at the ‘barangay hall’.

    An average house in a reasonable subdivision in the outskirts of Manila cost between 10,000 and 15,000 pesos. If the place is well furnished prices may be higher. But lower or higher renting prices are no exception. It all depends on the quality of the place, the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, available garage or carport, total number of square meters living area etc. and of course how much are you willing to pay for that place. Remember that you usually get a contract for 12 months, read it well and have it changed if you don’t like it. Remember: There’s always an other house if they don’t want to listen to your objections.

    If you finally find a nice place and it looks good to you, that’s the time to negotiate about the price. You have to know that Filipinos always put a much higher price for everything for foreigners. Sometimes even 50% more than they would count on local people. Therefore: if possible your Filipino wife or girlfriend can have a look at the place first and ask for the bottom price. If the place looks good to her, you can go too for a visit and eventually start the negotiations.

    For all these reasons I’m advising you to stay in a hotel or so for a few weeks, so there’s a chance to look around and compare quality and prices. Like this you will find a nice temporarily place to stay. Don’t rush, take your time and compare places as much as possible.
    Once you are renting, you have all the time to look around if you like to buy a place or keep on renting. I really hope that you find this information useful and that it will help you to find YOUR place in the Philippines.

    This was posted in 2009 so some prices may have risen.
    :smile::D:smile:
     
  2. expatron

    expatron DI Forum Patron

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    Sorry I couldn't read all the post, I for one came to the Philippines in 1997 and I have a great family and many great Filipino friends. What can I ask for more? Not blue eyes.
    Ron
     
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    Firefly44

    Firefly44 DI Forum Adept

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    Hi Ron. If that post was not for you no worries. I think It will be a good read for some who visit this cool website and for some not in the Philippines forum members who may be thinking of doing as you have successfully done. Take care.
     
  4. expatron

    expatron DI Forum Patron

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    Thanks for the nice reply Firefly44, I just wanted to give a positive reply that some people can live/retire here and be happy. There are so many warnings that are true, but there are also so many things that some are looking for.
    Cheers, Ron
     
  5. boricua

    boricua DI Junior Member

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    Great post! I am in the process of moving to the Philippines and although I have already covered much of what I read, it is always good to read this type of post in case there is something I have missed.

     
  6. UncleFatBloke

    UncleFatBloke DI Member

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    Boricua, yes you are right it was a great (and long) post from Firefly44, but by puting it in quotes in your post, it became less great! :rolleyes:
     
  7. boricua

    boricua DI Junior Member

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    Guess your are right. I'll try and be more careful lext time. :smile:

     
  8. mookie1

    mookie1 DI New Member

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    Great post! you have answerd many of my questions..thanks for taking the time to educate us.
     
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    Firefly44

    Firefly44 DI Forum Adept

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    You are most welcome MooKie1, I hope your relocation goes smoothly and you find your piece of paradise. Take care. :smile::D:smile:
     
  10. Relayer

    Relayer Guest Guest User

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    My #1 piece of advice...
    DONT TRUST ANYONE. THERE ARE RIPOFF ARTISTS HERE BOTH FILIPINO AND FORGIENERS. REMEMBER: A FOOL AND HIS MONEY WILL BE SOON PARTED. Dont be a guy who comes into town with a little jingle in his pocket and lets every know it. You will be a target from your "friends".

    This is a great place to RETIRE. Dont think you will create a great business here. Invest only what you can afford to lose. Just like Vegas, bet only what you can afford to lose. But I think Vegas has a better ROI. lol
     
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