Sun, smiles, and sisig!
When we think of our retirement, we see ourselves lying on a beach somewhere, sipping piña colada and complaining about the antics of the newest -ennials generation. We imagine ourselves traveling the world, investing in stocks or a business, doing volunteer work, or taking up a new hobby or sport. In short, after years of toiling in the office, we want to live it up. We want to redefine what it means to have a “senior moment.”
And we’ve zeroed in on the perfect place to enjoy the fruits of our labor—the Philippines. Tropical islands? The Philippines has 1,707. The feeling of being home? Filipinos are known to be one of the warmest people in the world. Where else would you find people who would greet a stranger with an invitation to share their food? (Go ahead. Think. We’ll wait. Nothing? Told you so.) Speaking of food, the culinary scene in the country is absolutely insane! Even Anthony Bourdain thinks Filipino food is going to be the next big thing. Still not convinced? Here are the top reasons why it’s more fun to retire in the Philippines.
- Home Sweet Home
There’s no shortage of world-class real estate developments in the Philippines.
There are many options to choose from – from condominiums, townhouses, and single detached houses. But the idea of a retirement home calls for a little something extra. While a swimming pool and gym are standard-issue facilities for most developments, there are a select few properties which offer world-class vacation amenities, such as a man-made beach, a hammam, and even a world-class art museum complex! Some of the best developments also allocate a significant portion of the estate to green and blue spaces with the residents’ well-being in mind.
- Money Matters
The Philippines ranks high among retirees because of the low cost of living. According to International Living, $200,000 (a little over 1M pesos) is good for 21 years, if a retiree lives off $800 (40,000 pesos) a month. Food, entertainment, domestic help are more affordable here compared to other countries. So your money will really go a looooong way here. Pensioners can also avail of the Special Resident Retiree’s Visa (SRRV), which grants hassle-free multiple entries in the country, and working and studying visas for those who want to do more during their stay.
- Good Eats
People planning to retire in this tropical paradise should bring their appetite (and then some). Philippine cuisine is a fusion of tastes from different cultures, so there’s something for even the most discerning palates. Take it from world-renowned chef and food connoisseur Anthony Bourdain. He loves local dishes like, adobo, sinigang, and sisig, which he boldly claims will “win the hearts and minds of the [people of the] world.” There’s no shortage of global fare either. Food parks and restaurants that offer a comprehensive menu have popped up all over the metro.
- Health is Wealth
Quality health services are available in the Philippines at a relatively low cost. There are several state-of-the-art hospitals in major cities that offer high-standard medical care, from surgery to executive checkups to consultations. The local doctors, nurses, and medical staff are also known for being hardworking and highly skilled with excellent bedside manners to boot—Compassion and service with a smile just comes naturally to Pinoys.
- Senior Perks
Free movies, tax exemptions, priority lanes, 20% discount on selected medical services and food establishments – senior citizens living in the Philippines are treated like VIPs. They have special privileges millennials can only dream of. Like being part of an exclusive membership club, a senior citizen with the government-issued senior ID card can just whip it out and get instant perks.
- Speak Easy
Foreigners in the Philippines find it easy to travel around the country because there’s no language barrier. About 75% of Filipinos all over the country can speak or understand English. Koreans even stay here to study English. Unlike in other countries where learning how to read and understand complex characters is a challenge, learning the local language, Filipino, is relatively easy because it’s phonetic and the grammar structure is simple. Once you know the colloquial terms, you can Taglish—a language mix of Tagalog and English—your way to fun conversations with locals. Pro tip: Nobody says “Mabuhay!” in the Philippines. That kind of greeting is reserved for Miss Universe contestants.
*Portrait by Paolo Buendia
- Welcome to the Family
Aside from the beaches, the Philippines’ main selling point is the people. Most Filipinos are warm, welcoming, and will go out of their way to make foreigners and strangers feel at home. That’s one of the reasons why immigrants come back even after they’ve built a secure life abroad. Leticia Calope, a doctor who migrated to America, chose to retire in the Philippines because of family. “My family is here,” she said. “My sons wanted to live here so we decided to follow as well. The United States is a lonely country when you have no relatives there,” she added.
- Rain Or Shine
If you’re looking to escape cold, dreary winters then the Philippines is the place for you. Pinoys complain about the almost yearlong summer heat but 40-year-old Francis Cancio returned to his homeland because he prefers the tropics to the chill. “It’s cold in Virginia!” he said, adding, “[I miss] the laid-back lifestyle in Manila and my family [is] here.”
Warm weather, warm seas, warm people, warm smiles—it’s not hard to fall head over heels for the Philippines. That’s why it ranks high among retirees. If you want to enjoy picturesque seascapes, happy people, and the charmed tropical life, retiring in the Philippines is a no-brainer.