There comes a time in a person’s life when one can finally retire and literally stop to smell the flowers. And while retiring in one’s own country is ideal, retirees are now considering moving abroad. Many are now seeing the benefits of retiring to the Philippines where life is more laid-back and affordable.
Southeast Asian countries, particularly the Philippines and Thailand are becoming very popular retirement destinations for Western retirees. Aside from the breathtaking scenery, the pull lies in the low cost of living and improving healthcare systems.
Special Resident Retirement Visa
Retiring to the Philippines is relatively easy for foreigners via the Special Resident Retirement Visa (SRRV). Using this permit, retirees here can enjoy gainful employment, business ownership, and even university education. The SRRV also allows retirees and dependents to travel in and out of the Philippines without having to re-apply for a visa.
Depending on one’s age and needs, the Philippine Retirement Authority offers four SRRV options. Through the SRRV Smile and Classic programs, foreign citizens can enjoy early retirement in the Philippines. The country also extends the invitation to former Filipino citizens called “balikbayan” under the SRRV Courtesy/Expanded Courtesy programs. The same is available for former diplomats. Retirees who have medical conditions can retire to the Philippines via the SRRV Human Touch Program. Visa deposits range from US$1,500 to US$50,000 depending on the program.
Benefits of Retiring to the Philippines
Cost of Living
First and foremost is the cost of living in the Philippines, which is among the lowest in the world. A retiree with a family can live comfortably with a monthly budget of US$1000. To break this down into rough estimates: $250 goes to rent and $150 to food. Another $150 goes to utilities (basic Internet, electricity, water, and cable TV), and $100 for public transportation. You may spend the remaining $350 on other essentials and savings for travel.
Quality of Life
Despite the low cost of living, the quality of life in the Philippines is high for those who can afford it. Modern amenities are available in most cities and towns. Housing options range from low-to-mid-cost rentals to luxurious condominiums in the country’s metropolitan areas. There are large shopping centers, international hotel chains, and health spas in major cities. Access to these is easily available even in provincial areas through short land trips. Online shopping is also widely popular.
Quality Health Care
The Philippines is slowly becoming a popular medical tourism destination. Foreigners come to the country for cosmetic procedures. They also opt to have major operations performed in some of the country’s premier hospitals. Quality comes first despite the lower costs. Most doctors in the Philippines study and/or train in Europe, Australia, or North America. The world also considers Filipino nurses some of the most compassionate professionals. Major hospitals in the Philippines accept most Health Insurance Policies in the west.
Filipinos are famous for their hospitality. And foreigners retiring to the Philippines will soon find friends among the locals. It is not uncommon for a Filipino family to invite a new neighbor into their home for dinner to welcome them. You can also knock on a neighbor’s door anytime to borrow their car in case of emergency. Foreigners are often given special treatment, a genuine smile, and a helping hand everywhere in the country.
English is an official language in the Philippines. It is widely spoken everywhere. It is a basic subject in schools and is used as the language of instruction in universities and colleges. As a result, Filipinos are some of the best (if not the best) English speakers in Asia. Even the street hawker offering barbecued chicken entrails (delicious, btw) will speak to you in English. It may be rudimentary, though, and with the famous Filipino accent.
Opportunity to Travel
Domestic travel is affordable in the Philippines so there is plenty of opportunities to explore the 7000 or so islands. Major local airlines regularly hold seat sales to popular destinations in the country. ‘Piso Fare’ Sales are especially popular where base fare costs only a peso; adding other charges, a round-trip ticket can set you back only $15 per person. Inter-island sea travel is also easily available via passenger liners, fast crafts, and even simple outrigger boats. There are also buses that ply the National Nautical Highway which makes travel by land from north to south possible. Accommodations in most popular destinations range from simple backpacker dorms to five-star hotels.
Retiring to the Philippines is often synonymous with being on an endless vacation. Wherever you decide to settle in, you will enjoy the benefits of retiring to the Philippines. You will soon find very worthwhile pursuits that will allow you to spend your golden years in comfort, happiness, and most of all, in the tropics.