Retirement in the Philippines
The Republic of the Philippines or just the Philippines as everyone mostly known is a sovereign state located in the lower part of the continent of South-Eastern Asia.
It is a territory that is composed of seven thousand six hundred forty-one (7,641) islands up to the date and is divided into three (3) main or principal island groups which are commonly known as Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.
Choosing a Place to Live
First is Luzon, the Metropolitan Region of the country and the most populous sector out of the three (3) main islands. Metro Manila, the National Capital (NCR) sits at the largest domain of the Philippines.
Followed by the second-largest Region which is called Mindanao, a perfect place for everyone who loves adventures, outdoor activities and just being one with nature.
I must say, there are some security concerns regarding the region of Mindanao, please see the section at the end of the article.
This region encompasses a combination of smaller islands showcasing Philippine Eagle Center, Crocodile Park, and statues featuring the indigenous people’s local wildlife. Visayas, on the other hand, is the central part of the archipelago. It is like the second Metro of the Philippines.
Although, contrary to Luzon which is just singular, or one big island Visayas consists of several islands, Visayan and the Sulu Sea. This region is perfect for people who love a taste or a balance of both city life and a rural or county lifestyle.
That being said, the Philippines is a perfect choice for everyone around the globe who consider preparing for retirement. Not to mention, as globally known Filipinos are one of the nicest and warmest people to get acquainted.
Let’s talk about how to retire in the Philippines
If you’re a westerner, foreigner or an ex-pat and wanting a simple and hassle-free life, stunning beaches, fresh seafood or delicious food and recreational treats at a low cost The Philippines may be one of your best options for retirement.
What’s in it for you?
- Exotic culture
- Spectacular beaches
- Low cost of living
- Tasty and fabulous local services
- Expat retirees, a perk-filled path to permanent residency.
- And, of course, the people itself!
The Filipino people will welcome you with hugs and kisses, nope not literally but you will encounter a lot of Filipinos who’re easy to get along with, open-minded or no discrimination to foreigners and an instant tour guide for free.
Yes, they will welcome you with open arms. The government offers special regulations from the tourism department to help ex-pats get settled as a retiree. It means that The Philippine Retirement Authority assists throughout your stay.
English is commonly spoken as a second language and as a matter of fact, teaching English is a major industry in the Philippines.
Big (BPO) Business Process Outsourcing or call center services are the top source of work in the country. So, communication or a language barrier is not as much when you choose to settle here.
Cost of Living
Compared to other countries, the cost of living is not very expensive in The Philippines.
Here is a sample break down of the main expenses for you to be aware as of July 2020:
Rent for a one-bedroom apartment outside and within the city center is at $180 to $350 per month.
Dining out for two at a mid-range restaurant starts at $20, utilities with air-conditioning could be at around $50 and an internet connection with 100mbps is $45 per month.
So, imagine an estimate of $415 roughly for a basic budget per month, however, you would also need to factor in things like health insurance, travel costs, grocery shopping etc.
Getting a Visa
The first thing you need to do is to apply for a Special Resident Retiree’s Visa (SRRV). There are several varieties of SRRV but the most popular one is the SRRV Classic.
Note that, to apply for the SRRV Classic you must be age 50 or older.
The visa requires you to deposit into a bank in the Philippines a sum of either $10,000 if you have a guaranteed monthly income of $800 or $20,000 if you don’t have a regular stipend and this deposit covers the retiree and two dependents.
On the bright side, the amount of $10,000 could be used to purchase a condo or townhouse, or as cover for a long term lease. Be sure though that for you to use the $10,000, the total value of the property in the Philippines must be at least $50,000.
Social Security income could be considered as a pension for this requirement. The annual letter you get from the Social Security Administration stating your benefit amount is sufficient proof.
There are other types of SRRV visas available for people looking to retire in the Philippines at a younger age and also there is a special retirement visa for former diplomats.
On top of it, you would need to get an ACR I-card. (ACR stands for Alien Certificate of Registration). It has a microchip, contains biometric data, and has a photo, your visa type, and other information like your fingerprints which costs about $ 50.00 and has to be renewed annually. This serves as a re-entry permit.
First and foremost, don’t confuse this as a substitute for a valid passport with a visa stamp. ACR I-card and your passport are two different documents.
Medical services are generally much less expensive than any first-world country. You will be required, however, to pay for medical care.
On that note, if you are American and should you be eligible for a Veterans Health Administration medical care, kindly seeks out a U.S VA clinic in the Philippines.
The Philippines have top-rated hospitals although, some retirees go back to the US when they experience major medical needs.
This country may not be rated as having zero security issue but generally many places in the Philippines are considered safe to settle or live, without the need to fear for your family’s safety.
It is definitely worth noting that some of the southern regions, in particular Mindanao, can be extremely dicey places to visit.
There’s quite a high concentration of Muslims in this area and it seems that many of them are pushing to form their own autonomous region.
I’ve been personally advised by several Filipinos against visiting this region for safety concerns, particularly as a foreigner.
It’s just something for you to bear in mind, especially if you’re looking for a place to retire in.