Hello. I am a lawyer in the Philippines and I have had a lot of clients who are from the US and the UK who have migrated to the Philippines. They are living as permanent residents and have made the Philippines their retirement home. Here are some of the reasons they gave me which I will share here:
- The standard of living is low in the Philippines so their retirement money buys more in the Philippines than it would in their home country. If they get a basic pension of about $2000 a month, that is like P100,000.00 in the Philippines. They can buy a condo or rent one and live in comfort. They can even hire someone to do the household chores.
- They love the weather here. It’s mostly sunny, and when it gets too hot, they can usually afford air conditioning in their homes. When it does rain, it does so for just a few days at a time. Most of them hate the thought of coping with winter at their age, shoveling snow from the driveway or shoveling their car out from being buried under a ton of snow.
- They settle outside Manila, some in the provinces where the beach is a 5-minute walk away, the mountains are in their backyard. The Philippines is a country of great biodiversity and it doesn’t cost too much to experience natural wonders here. Some retirees who have worked hard all their lives want to explore nature, enjoy the beauty of nature, and live near it.
- I know a few expatriates who have established businesses in the Philippines. I know one who has built a bar and restaurant. I know one who started a small sushi place. I know one who runs a bed and breakfast. They find it easy to start a business using their retirement money as capital. Some of them marry Filipinos and run the businesses with their spouses or partners.
- Some retirees actually find love in the Philippines. They marry Filipinos and have children. It is easier to support a family and to raise children in the Philippines. A good education costs cheaper in the Philippines than in their home countries.
- For foreigners who have found partners and spouses in the Philippines, they usually also find an extended family. In the Philippines, we have very few nursing homes. We tend to care for the elderly members of our families in our intergenerational homes. The extended family system is the Filipinos’ social support. Some foreigners without immediate families in their native countries, because they are divorced or widowers, want to grow old surrounded by some kind of family, even if it is an adoptive family or a family by affinity. They do not want to die alone in a nursing home so they establish a family in the Philippines.
- It is easy to get medical treatment in the Philippines. Again, hospitalization in the Philippines is a fraction of what it would cost in other Western countries. Medications here do not cost as much, either.
- It is easy for foreigners to live in the country because Filipinos understand English. One of the official languages of government is English. TV programs are in English. The news is in English. Traffic signs are in English, as well.
- Most Filipinos are hospitable and welcoming to foreigners. We are not generally hostile to foreigners. Foreigners find it easy to be socially mobile in the Philippines.
- The food in the Philippines is cheap and there is a great variety of cuisines they can enjoy. The Philippines has local as well as imported food available in the market.
The Philippines has been marketed as a retirement destination. It is more fun in the Philippines.
by Adelaimar C. Arias-Jose
Registered and licensed attorney in the Philippines