Living My Retirement Dreams in the Philippines 

Barry and Elma in Cebu CityBy Barry J. Ruth
As we approach retirement, we all have dreams as to how it will be after our last day of work.  There are some elements of our dreams that everyone has.  First, that we will not have to worry about enough income to support our lifestyle.  Second, that we will live in an environment that gives joy and fulfillment to each of our days.  Lastly, that we will be surrounded by people that care and love us, and give us support when things go wrong.
When I retired and moved to the Philippines, I started to live those dreams.  The cost of living here is significantly lower than where I lived in California, on average about 20% the cost.  Housing, food, and entertainment costs are all very affordable for retirees in the Philippines.  Although my wife and I live by ourselves in an American style condo complex, if I wanted an upscale lifestyle, on only my Social Security, I could easily afford a nice house, with at least one live-in servant.
For entertainment, there are nice restaurants to visit at a fraction of the cost in the U.S.  A ticket for a first run movie runs under the equivalent of $2.  There are numerous historical places to see for free or with a token admission charge.  Many malls have Bingo rooms for those that like typical senior fare.  Within a short airplane ride, there are literally 7,000 islands to visit and explore.  Air fare to the furthest Philippine island from Manila often runs less than $40.  A night in a nice hotel in the Provinces will run $20 to $30 (a little more if it is a foreign chain hotel).  If you enjoy water sports, like surfing, diving, or snorkeling, the Philippines has some of the best in the world.
The best part of the Philippines, are the people.  Filipinos are genuinely warm, caring, and accepting of foreigners.  This country is the third largest English speaking country, so language is not a problem for most people retiring here.  English is spoken universally in the larger cities, and while most Filipinos do not get to practice it in the Provinces, a good portion there understand it.  The language of modern movies, television and radio is Taglish, a combination of Tagalog (Filipino) and English.  There are also numerous channels on TV and radio in English.
Many American, British and Australian men retire to the Philippines because of Filipinas, mostly met online or as long time partners.  Similar to other Asian cultures, there is a component in Filipino culture that teaches Filipinas their obligations to their husband.  There is an obligation to be loving, caring, and faithful.  A man must actually experience this to understand the difference from other cultures, especially Western cultures.
I don't want to give anyone the impression that my retirement is without problems.  Living here, I have to worry about the Philippine Peso-U.S. Dollar exchange rate each month.  Even though I can live very nicely, the Philippines is a developing nation and some of the conveniences of the U.S. just are not found here.  One has to get use to the garbage thrown to the side of the road and in all waterways.  Buildings and roadways are not well maintained.  Traffic in Metro Manila is a nightmare.  While quality medical care is available in the Philippines, it is sometimes many miles away.  Emergency services (police, fire, and medical) are not immediately available to help, so in case of an emergency you may be on your own.  So the pluses of retirement in the Philippines is somewhat balanced by the negatives.  However, I would not give up this great experience for anything in the world.
Why did we publish this website?
Many of our visitors have asked us questions concerning retiring, living and traveling in the Philippines.  We do have our parent site, Mabuhay! Greetings from the Philippines, and our member forum, Mabuhay! Forum, but we needed a place where visitors could go and just browse for answers.  Thus, Mabuhay!, this ezine article archive, was born.  We have gathered dozens of articles from a host of expert authors, answering, we think, all of the questions we have been asked, and then a lot more.  This archive, we hope, will provide hours of enjoyment, entertainment, and answers for everyone who visits.  If you find inaccuracies, or if your questions are not answered, please use our Contact Us page and let us know.  Thank you for visiting us, and Mabuhay!     

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