Retire To The Philippines: The Real Pros And Cons

Have you considered retiring to a different nation where it is safe, the people are kind, and the cost of living is lower? Have you considered the Philippines? In this article we’ll go through some of the Pros and Cons of retiring to the Philippines.

Here are the Pros and Cons of retiring to The Philippines:


  • Friendly & Happy People
  • Vibrant Lifestyle
  • Very Affordable
  • Delicious Food
  • Easy Retirement Visa
  • Inexpensive Maid Service
  • Great Private Healthcare


  • Foreigners Can’t Buy Property
  • Tax For Foreigners
  • Weather Can Be Extreme
  • Inadequate Public Healthcare

To learn more about these pros and cons scroll down for more information about them.

Introduction To The Philippines

The Philippines has grown in popularity as a retirement spot for expats from the USA and other nations in recent years. The Philippines is an archipelagic country made  up of approximately 7,000 islands. 

From south to north, these islands cover a total distance of 1840 kilometers. It is located in Southeast Asia and is bordered to the north by Taiwan, to the south by Indonesia and Malaysian Borneo, to the west by the South China Sea, and to the east by the Pacific Ocean.

The cheaper cost of living in the Philippines is the major attraction for retirees. The cost of housing, food, and labor is significantly lower than in other countries. When sending money to the Philippines, there are also favorable currency exchange rates, so retirees’ money goes further. The Philippines offers a variety of benefits to expats, including discounts for seniors over the age of 60 and duty-free importation of items shipped from home.

In general, the Philippines has a tropical climate all year. The months of March through May are hot and dry. It is wet from June to October, and it is colder from November to February. The average temperature ranges from 78°F (25°C) to 90°F(32°C). The humidity level is 77% on average. The majority of Filipinos (83%) are Catholic, with around 5% being Muslim. The others are Buddhists or Christians of various faiths.

What are the Pros of Living in the Philippines?

Friendly & Happy People

Filipinos are without a doubt among the world’s most hospitable and pleasant people. They live a joyful and enjoyable lifestyle in which friends and family take precedence over all other considerations. In the morning, almost everyone who passes will say hello outside the big cities like Manila. 

Shopkeepers will greet you with a courteous “Hi, Sir” and most will always respect seniors and give preferential treatment to expats due to the stronger currency. Even today many gas stations have a service worker who will fill up your automobile. 

The locals will invite you to supper in their house even if you never met them before. This is quite prevalent in the Philippines and many Filipinos would go out of their way to make foreign visitors feel welcome.

Vibrant Lifestyle

Filipino culture is highly family-oriented, which has resulted in individuals having a laid-back attitude. Though they may not have the same level of monetary riches as many Western nations but they are richer in many ways because of their close-knit social and family groups.

The Philippines has some beautiful coastline given it’s geographical position. From the party beaches of Boracay to the limestone cliffs of Coron, offers a level of diversity that is rarely found anywhere. As a nation made up of over 7000 islands, the tourist focus is frequently on aquatic ecosystems and the country’s coastline, which is home to some of the world’s most beautiful beaches. 

Scuba divers will love the Philippines due to its hundreds of dive sites ranging from sunken ships to for the brave shark-infested caves.

Little resort villages dot the coasts of nearly every major island, and many of them offer the option of hiring a boat captain for a day and hopping between islands to swim in beautiful coves or sunbathe on undiscovered beaches.

Here are a few places you can visit on your day off in The Philippines:

Very Affordable

The Philippines is known for its affordability. It is roughly 50% cheaper for groceries and in store purchases than the USA and 75% cheaper for accomodation. You can live comfortably for 555 USD a month and outside the bigger cities even cheaper. And in addition, the exchange rate bounces around 50 peso to the USD which will help you along the way to make sure your savings last longer.

Here’s a step by step breakdown of the living cost for The Philippines:

Rent for a 3 Bedroom House$356 USD / ₱18,043
Rent for a 1 Bedroom Flat$171 USD / ₱8,667 
Utilities (Electricity, Gas, Rates)$79 USD / ₱4,004 
Internet$44 USD / ₱2,230 
Groceries$15 USD / ₱760 
Dining Out (2 people) For 4 times$24 USD / ₱1,216 
Fitness or Social Club Membership$37 USD / ₱1,875
TOTAL MONTHLY EXPENSES (1 bed)$370 USD / ₱18,752
TOTAL MONTHLY EXPENSES (3 bed)$555 USD / ₱28,128 

Note: ₱ indicates Philippines’ Peso, The local currency of The Philippines.

Delicious Food

The cuisine of the Philippines is quite delicious. The dishes from their colonial era brought together a combination of foods from the East and West, from the Spanish occupation to US naval stations. They have all of your favorite cuisines from around the world and you can also enjoy excellent native dishes like Pancit and Adobo. 

You will save a lot of money if you eat the local cuisine as well as in any country. Nothing beats going to the beach after the fishermen have returned with their catch and purchasing freshly caught fish to cook for dinner.

Here are a few restaurant you should try in Manila:

Easy Retirement Visa

A Special Resident Retiree’s Visa (SRRV) is necessary to retire and migrate to the Philippines. These are provided to foreigners and expatriate Filipinos by the Philippines’ Bureau of Immigration (BI) under the Philippine Retirement Authority’s (PRA) Retirement Program. It grants the possessor various entry privileges as well as the ability to stay in the Philippines permanently or forever. 

There are two types of persons who can apply for this: those who have a pension and those who do not. Pension recipients must be at least 50 years old. They must deposit $10,000 in a Philippine bank and receive a monthly pension of US $800 for single applicants and US $1000 for couples. 

People without a pension can move to the Philippines under the second category. If the applicants are between the ages of 35 and 49, they must deposit $50,000 in a Filipino bank. If the applicants are over the age of 50, they must deposit US $20,000 in a Filipino bank.

Inexpensive Maid Service

If you are not feeling like cleaning your own place during your retirement then you don’t have to worry about that if you decide to retire to the Philippines. The rate for a cleaning lady in the Philippines is very affordable. All domestic servants are entitled to a monthly minimum wage of ₱3,500 ar around 69 USD so you don’t have to worry about getting a hand around the house with your cooking and cleaning. 

Great Private Health Care

When going to retire or even visit other countries it is nice to know there is a decent health care system.  Below we will talk about the public health care system but here we will talk about the private system.  If you have private health insurance you can take advantage of this system and it is world class.  

There are many people that go to the Philippines on medical holidays for cheap dental work or plastic surgery.  There are plenty of global health care plans or if you become a resident you can join the PhilHealth public system we will talk about below.  Another great thing about the private system is that they mostly all speak fluent English so there will be no communication problems.

Here is a list of global providers of health care that cover the Philippines:

What are the Cons of Living in The Philippines?

Foreigners Can’t Buy Property

Due to property ownership regulations, purchasing a home in the Philippines is more difficult than in other areas of the world. Foreigners are only allowed to buy condominiums and townhouses. Citizens of the Philippines are the only ones who can own land.

Budget to luxury rentals are available, however even luxurious rentals are a good deal. Rental services are available in every city with a large expat population. However, word of mouth, going around the areas where you want to settle, and looking for “for rent” signs are the greatest ways of finding a rental property. 

Interacting directly with the landlord rather than through an agency will give you a better chance of negotiating the lease conditions.  Be mindful though of have a formal lease to protect yourself.

Tax For Foreigners

In the Philippines you will be taxed between 20% to 25% of your income you generate in the country itself but not on the income generated in your home country.  So your pension payments or super draw down won’t be taxed when you deposit it in a Philippines bank account.  Also if you have businesses based in other countries they won’t get local tax when you deposit money into your local account. 

But if you go in on a business visa to run a small business in your retirement then the money you make globally for the business based in the Philippines even if you sell 100% abroad will be taxed at local rates.

For more information on taxation in the Philippines check out their tax department website:

LINK: Philippines Tax Department

Weather Can Be Extreme

Flooding is a problem that will often cause your journey to be delayed because of the heavy downpours that tropical storms bring, as well as weak infrastructure.  While this is not as big a problem in cities it will slow you down in rural areas.

When the Pacific Ocean is warm, typhoons frequently sweep over the islands, wreaking havoc. Keep this in consideration when picking where you live, as height above sea level stops minor flooding in properties..

Inadequate Public Health Care

While the private health care system in the Philippines is world class with their huge medical tourism industry the public system is not as good.  They have been improving the system with a universal health care system introduced in 1995 called PhilHealth.  In 2019 they made some significant changes with doctors visits and lab tests being made free for citizens and legal residents.  

To join as a foreigner costs about 100 USD and then you can use the system as well. Like with most public health care systems there will be a longer waiting time for appointments.  When you go there as a retiree they will want a health check for your visa application to check you won’t be a burden on the health system.  If you marry a local then you get free access to the public system as a dependent of that person.

So overall the services provided by the public system are not as good as the private system. It is getting better and each year they add more services.

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