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Moving to and Living in the Philippines

As I stated on an earlier post, I want to write about my thoughts on the Moving to and Living in the Philippines.

There are many reasons why someone wants to move to the Philippines and there are many I probably have not thought of. One of the main reasons is the cost of living here. Yes, in most areas, the cost of living here is cheaper such as foods, housing, public transportation and the other items needed to live.

Even though most items are less expensive here in the Philippines, not everything is cheaper. One rule of thumb I have noticed is if it is imported, it costs more. Also to create a lifestyle and have the comforts you are accustomed to having can cost more since it might not be easily available here.

Just like in other countries, cost of living varies by the location you decide to live. Manila is more expensive than Davao and the provinces are cheaper than the cities. With this choice of location you need to decide what you need and the accessibility’s you require.

Some areas have better hospitals than others. Travel to a doctor or hospital might be difficult, especially in the provinces. Do you need accessibility to an airport? Do you like upper scale restaurants, nightlife, culture? Housing, do you need a home, apartment, townhouse with special amenities?

There is also safety. Remember, you’re a foreigner and most Filipinos Look at you as rich. There is the criminal element, just like all over the world, which prey on others for an easy way to get things they want. Here a white or even Dark skinned person is obvious. I do not know if Filipinos can tell is someone a Korean from a Japanese person, or even from a Filipino but Europeans and Americans stand out. From my short experience here, most Filipinos like to talk and get to know foreigners, but some will not. Some can be jealous, here you are with nice clothes, car, home and just spending your money.

These are things to consider before making the plunge. There are many foreigners who have come here and are happy with the life here, and many who have given up and moved back, of continued their quest by trying other countries.

Back to some of the cost comparisons. I never lived in Europe so most of my thoughts are based on being an American. One item I can think of that is more expensive than the U.S. is electricity. I lived in S.E. Florida before moving here. I had a 2 story, 2 bedroom townhouse with all electric appliances approximately 1300 sq. Ft.(120.77 sq M) I would set a digital thermostat for the central air conditioning to daytime at 75F (24C) degrees and night at 73F (22C) degrees. Even in the heat that we had most of the year, I never paid more than $75 USD (3,543.51 Php). Here in the Philippines I have a 3 bedroom 120 sq M (1292 sq Ft) house and I only use a wall air conditioner in the master bedroom from bedtime to when I wake. The rest of the time we use electric fans and only when in that room. Here we pay about $100 USD (4,725 Php).

My friend Tom Martin put his thoughts in an earlier post very well in “Retiring and Moving Abroad”

I know some people will agree, and some will not. I hope you will comment with your thoughts. I welcome all thoughts, advice or additions. This site is my thoughts and opinions and I welcome others feelings.

21 Responses to “Moving to and Living in the Philippines”

  1. Stefan says:

    I’ve got a 2nd cousin living in the Philippines. He and his wife were in Sydney over the holiday break and I had a chance to sit down with him and ask how his experiences living abroad were different than mine. The stark contrast in poverty levels was simply staggering. While much of what you and I would be used to say, if we travelled to the worst parts of the cities we grew up around in America was bad, it hardly would hold a torch to what he experiences there. I suppose it really makes you appreciate where you’re at in your life, and how it really isn’t all that bad.

    Thanks for stopping by,

    Stefan from

    • Bruce says:

      Yes, the poverty conditions here are worse than what we are used to in our home country, but the over population, lack of jobs are much worse too. Also there is no public assistance like welfare or unemployment insurance like at home too. There are charities that help some. Look at my articles about Field of Dreams. There are also many other charities here, but never enough.

  2. Hans says:

    Thanks for leaving a comment on our site Internations.
    I am a Dutch in Istanbul, for 6 years now. My life as an expat:
    Brussels, LA – USA, Amsterdam, Paris, NYC, London, Germany, Amsterdam, Prague, Italy, Prague, Miami – USA, Istanbul/Athens…
    Travelled a lot but now married to a Turkish wife and Istanbul is the most crazy city i’ve been….
    ps. will drop once and a while…

    • Bruce says:

      Thank you for visiting. I enjoyed the articles I read in your site and glad you came to check out mine. I hope you will drop by and continue to enjoy and comment.

  3. Hans says:

    You’re welcom Bruce.

  4. Hi Bruce

    I love your blog,i am now your constant visitor here. Thanks for your insights,opinions,ideas about living in Davao.

    • Bruce says:

      AllensWife, ( I do not know what to call you)

      Thanks for the “love”. Words of praise makes it worth while.
      I hope I keep up the high standards 🙂
      Since I am growing, please tell your friends.
      Look foward to meeting you someday.

  5. Your welcome bruce I Sure i will i made topic about your blog. Hope you don’t mind.I am just a trying hard wannabe blogger here in virtual world. I love to write but it seems writing do not love me he he he but go go go still!

  6. Bruce says:


    Thank you for writing a topic about my blog. I just read it. I hope it will bring some honest traffic to my site and I will try to write something to help your site too.

  7. anne says:

    I am from davao too and I am proud that I grow up and live here, Davao is known as the livable city in the Philippines. The foods are great and not that expensive too.

  8. anne says:

    I mean most livable city in the Philippines.

  9. bill says:

    im thinking bout eather moveing out that way to the philapines but im on ssi would i still be able to receve that out there or would i lose it thanks bill please email me i dont know if i could find this sight again thanks again bill

    • Bruce says:

      I am sure you can receive your SSI if you move here. You just need to set up a remittance account for your deposits. Then they will be avaliable at a bank here in the Philippines. Will email you too.

    • Bruce says:

      There are many here receiving their disability and social security payments. You just need to set up a remittance account with a bank there to have your automatic deposits made to that bank and they will be available here.

    • David Brandt says:

      I apologize for the questions, but you seem knowledgeable and I am determined to relocate–your answers are greatly appreciated. I am 55 and my son is 30. He is autistic and I am his guardian. He receives SSI, and you wrote that he can continue to receive it while living there? I am adaptable and have a variety of skills, so can probably earn some income working online. Where are the best places for someone like me to settle into? My son is half Mexican, and I pick up language/adapt to cultural changes exceptionally well. Would a hundred thousand plus my son’s SSI money allow us to relocate fairly well? Our needs are very minimal, both in excellent physical health and live simply. I am about to be divorced, and want to move to the Philippines. I will probably have about $100,000 after my home is sold. Everything I’ve read has been positive, and the pictures are beautiful. My son is easy to get along with, however he needs someone with him at all times. I have heard that the women there are different from here. I am attractive, look about 40, muscular. I am also a man who has integrity and a strong moral foundation, though not religious. I raised two children as a single dad, and hope to meet a decent woman there. The reason I’m giving some background is to help me find the ideal place there.

      • Bruce says:

        No apology needed. I enjoy helping my readers. I have a lot of thoughts about you questions and plans. I will try to cover them all.

        First I need to say, as long as the peso/dollar conversion stays good, I think you could live ok with $1000.00 a month. The other thought is with immigration. If your on a visitors visa you need to renew every 2 months. Then after 16 months, you need to leave the country and return showing an exit and entrance visa stamp. Now, you can become a resident with a retirement visa or by getting married to a Filipina. What I do not know about is your son. If you get your residency, can you sponsor your son as in the States, especially since he is an adult. I will try to visit Immigration and ask about your situation and let you know what I find out.

        Another thing, making money on the internet is not as easy as you think, and when living here, it is illegal for a dating or porn site if that was your thought.

        Places to live? I have only lived in Davao and am not that knowledgeable of other cities. I do know there are many here that had first lived in many other areas and islands. Davao has a safe record for foreigners and low crime.

        Life here is not the same as the US and I am wondering if you have ever visited here. If not, I would advise to visit for at least a month and see how everyday life is like here.

        If you do plan to pack up and move here, do not burn your bridges so if needed, you can return to the US.
        Feel free to ask of me any other information you need to assist you.

        If you have more questions, feel free to email me through the “Contact Me” tab.

        • Emelina says:

          Dear Bruce. I just came across your website. I’ve been originally from Davao, but have become a naturalized US citizen & have been a US resident for many years now. I still visit Davao once in a while & my last visit was 2 years ago. I was struck by your statement that one can receive SSI in the Philippines. Since I’ve been thinking of retiring soon, I inquired about SSI versus my social security benefits. I got a definite answer that I won’t be able to get SSI if I don’t live in the US, but I can receive my social security benefits anywhere I decide to reside. You are right about money deposited to one’s account can be withdrawn in the Philippines, but SSI direct deposit from the US government has to be to a US bank unlike a social social security benefits. Once the government finds out you are not residing in the US, there is a possibility that the SSI could be stopped. Please verify this info. I will research this SSI benefit vis a vis the place of residence again & will let you know. In the meantime, please check it out too so others will not be misled. BTW, I hope to meet you when I go to Davao before the Kadayawan festival this year. Best wishes – Emelina

          • Bruce says:

            I am not sure and have never researched anything about SSI benefits. I think your research will be as good as mine. Unfortunately you can only meet me in Las Vegas. I moved back to the US in May and awaiting Elena’s Visa for her to join me here.

  10. barry says:

    I am 35. I been to the Philippines two time.And working on my next trip. I have been to Mindoro and Manila.My next trip is Cebu. I have been thinking about moving there to stay. But I need to know about work.Is it go to look for a job? or is it best to start a small store of your own? I would like to know. Can you help me?

    • Bruce says:

      Legally, you cannot work unless you have a residency visa or you can provide a service that cannot be done by a filipino. Opening a businiss can also be difficult since being a foreigner they will add extra fees and have hands out before you get anything done.

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