Philippines is a land of tropical islands--7,107 to be exact. As well as being beautiful, the Philippines is cheap, cheap, cheap. You could enjoy a great life for very little outlay.
In some expat areas, 2-bedroom apartments rent for 14,000 pesos ($300) per month. Renting may be the way to go if you dream of beach life instead of big city buzz. (But beaches are never far from anywhere.) Although there are ways around the law, foreigners can only own condos--and these are mostly found in big cities.
Population: 105,720,644 (July 2013 est.)
Capital City: Manila
Climate: Tropical marine; northeast monsoon (November to April); southwest monsoon (May to October)
Time Zone: UTC+8 (13 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
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“Follies are the only things that one never regrets,” said Oscar Wilde. Agreed. But travel writers needn’t look far to find excuses for their follies. After all, writers have a reputation for eccentricity. Whatever bizarre situation you find yourself in—and if any awkward questions arise—you can always blame it on the job. Why were you buying contraband from gypsies in the Czech woods? (“It’s my job.”) How come you spent half the night in a Berlin anarchist squat? (“It’s my job.”)
The devil masks worn for the Diablada de Pillaro (The Dance of the Devils) in Pillaro, Ecuador, have spawned a whole school of art. It’s well worth joining the thousands of onlookers to see the elaborate processions that take place each night from New Year’s Day to January 6. The feast of Edina Bronya, which essentially represents Christmas for the people of Ghana, in west Africa, falls this year on January 2.
According to Fidelity Investments in 2012, those aged 55 and older had an average balance of $143,300 in their 401k account. But is this enough to retire on? Maybe not in the U.S., but retiring overseas can be much more affordable than retiring in the U.S.
Begin November with a little panache at the 119th Argentine Open Polo Championships in the neighborhood of Palermo, Buenos Aires. Not so much a sports event as a key occasion in the local social diary, it runs from November 5 to the end of the year. For something more exotic, check out camel racing. India’s Rajasthan desert in Pushkar hosts the Pushkar Fair from November 6 to 17.
- The Top Three Best Places to Retire Overseas For a Low Cost of Living
Posted on October 7, 2013 by International Living
Your quality of life could vastly improve if you retire overseas…and you could spend much less than you ever thought possible. In IL’s Annual Retirement Index 2013, 23 countries are covered ranking the best destinations to retire overseas today. Cost of living is one of eight categories in this Index and is an important factor for many who are considering overseas retirement.
- “We Earned up to $7,000 a Month from Our Food Blog”
Posted on August 1, 2013 by Bjork Ostrom
In March 2012, my wife Lindsay and I decided to quit our jobs, sell our cars, and move to the Philippines for a year. Lindsay would teach at a school for orphans called the Children of Hope School, and I would help the orphanage with their website. I knew that it would be a life-changing experience and a chance to see a beautiful part of the world. I also knew that it would be a time when we’d see a decrease in our income. But we had a solution.
I’ve heard about the sunsets here. At first, rays of gold and fuchsia shoot down from the sky. White deck chairs, cabanas, and boardwalk bars are thrust into a rose-tinted world. At the last minute, the setting sun changes from tangerine to blood orange…then a lurid flicker of red disappears out on the horizon. A 50-minute flight from the capital, Manila, the Philippine island of Boracay is a place of in-your-face beauty.
On April 1 only a fool would miss the feast on offer at Le Pince d’Or Crab Festival in Martinique, an island in the eastern Caribbean. In the capital of Fort-de-France, riverfront restaurants each set up a stall to sell matoutou (a spicy crab stew), as chefs compete to make the best bowl.
- How to Try Out Life in Asia—Three Havens Where Renting is Easy
Posted on February 25, 2013 by Keith Hockton
Buying property anywhere as a foreigner always means jumping through a few hoops. But in Asia, there’s an added complication: Legal restrictions on how (and if) foreigners can buy property are common. It’s a big reason why so many expats in Asia rent instead of buy.
- Cebu: Fun, Friendly and Affordable Island Life in the Philippines
Posted on October 31, 2012 by Jessica Ramesch
The expats who have discovered Cebu find that it offers the nation’s best overall value. In a country where your dollar stretches (and stretches and stretches), that is saying something. Locate Cebu on a map and it looks tiny. But don’t let that fool you—this place has hundreds of beaches, in addition to rocky mountains, limestone plateaus, and coastal plains.
- Enjoying a Better Life on the Island of Boracay in the Philippines
Posted on October 28, 2012 by Jessica Ramesch
Welcome to Boracay, the Philippines. This place has stretches of coastline that could put some of the world’s most popular beaches to shame. The tiny bone-shaped Island, south of Manila, is considered by many a local to be the crown jewel of the Philippines. And in a nation of over 7,000 islands, that is saying something.
- How One Expat Found a New Lease of Life in the Philippines
Posted on October 15, 2012 by Jessica Ramesch
Weekdays, Paul squeezes in a little work. A perpetual smile on his face, the 64-year-old moved to the Philippines five years ago. There he found a new love and a new lease on life. Coming of age in the 1960s was fun. For Paul, the idea that you should “live for today” (and not worry about tomorrow) resonated deeply.
Sundays begin with family. They arrive early and, before long, we’re on our way to the beach. We swim, eat, swim…and eat again. It’s a pleasure watching people enjoy the simple things,” says expat Paul Whiteway. “The perfect Sunday ends with music. Like a lot of local households, ours wouldn’t be complete without karaoke. The more we drink, the louder we sing.”
Wala’y problima! “No problem” is the answer to everything here. Filipinos are known for their unnerving optimism and ready smiles. I’m finding that they simply refuse to get upset. And they have a hard time understanding why anyone would lose their cool over anything that’s not life or death. In the Philippines, any day you’re alive is a good day. And the days are especially good in Cebu.
If you’ve ever dreamed of living in Asia, now may be the time to start considering the Philippines. IL Editor, Jessica Ramesch, is just back from a scouting trip there and she loved it—listen now as she gives you the scoop.
- Live Large for Less on the Exotic Islands of South East Asia 2012
Posted on July 31, 2012 by International Living
White sands, the scent of spices, the call of the east. Thailand, Malaysia, and the Philippines are so much more than exotic vacation spots. Enticing expats and retirees from around the globe, these fabled lands of South East Asia still beckon with the promise and rewards of an exciting life overseas.
Live Large for Less on The Exotic Islands of South-East Asia is the best resource available to help you get to know this paradise that is South-East Asia.
- Boracay, Philippines: Life on a Picture-Perfect Beach
Posted on June 1, 2012 by Jessica Ramesch
It all started when she and her daughter, Nadine, were sitting in a café in San Francisco. They were talking about the tiny island of Boracay, which they had loved during multiple visits to the Philippines. Known for its bright white sands that never get hot even in 100 degree weather, Boracay is the very picture of perfection.
Investors who bought into the Chinese growth story early have done spectacularly well. Over the past five years the iShares FTSE/Xinhua China 25 Index (NYSE:FXI), an index that tracks China’s 25 largest companies available to international investors, is up almost 110%. Today, a “little China” has emerged. And it promises to make investors equally dazzling returns.
- Island Extravaganza: Retire to the Philippines on $800 a Month
Posted on July 29, 2010 by Steenie Harvey
It’s a sight to swoon over. As the plane dips down, there they are—strewn across the South China Sea like glittering emerald necklets. Glimpsing even a fraction of the Philippine’s 7,107 islands gives most visitors a visual knock-out
- Start a New Life in the Philippines on $800 a Month
Posted on July 13, 2010 by Steenie Harvey
I’m exploring Zambales province on the west coast of Luzon, the Philippines largest island. I’m staying in the Subic Bay area…but there’s more to it than the 262-square-mile Freeport Zone (SBFZ)—a U.S. Naval base until 1992.
- From the Caribbean to the Greek Isles: Your dream beach hideaway awaits
Posted on September 25, 2008 by International Living
Discover your dream beach hideaway with International Living…
- Spear fishing, pristine white beaches, exploration, and storms—a life at sea
Posted on May 22, 2007 by David Rich
Every few months I log onto www.7knots.com to sample who, in the wide wonderful world of warm waters, needs yacht crew. This year my ad of choice read: “Crew Wanted: 47-foot sloop Karni in the Philippines.” Seeing as I was flying to the Philippines in a month, I e-mailed the contact, fishing for the exotic in a distinctly different flavor of international travel.
- The primeval island of Coron—inhabited by the indigenous Tagbanua peoples and haunted by powerful spirits
Posted on May 22, 2007 by Victor Paul Borg
“I think the engine is shy of the foreigner,” Renejal muttered as he fiddled with the engine of the outrigger. We were in the middle of the gulf, halfway between Coron Town and Coron Island, in a flimsy wooden boat being tossed by the waves. It was the second time the engine had died, and the waves were pushing us toward the open sea. It was also the second time, in less than 20 minutes, in the company of the Tagbanua, that my presence had caused shyness and breakdown. The first time—at the pier—Rogelio Aguilar, the chief of Cabugao village and Renejal’s father, had acted in a tetchy and furtive manner when he met us. Averting his gaze, he sheepishly explained to Rose, my girlfriend, in Tagalog: “I am shy of this foreigner, and I have prepared the best bed for you.”
When the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago wanted a model for its $40 million “Wild Reef” exhibit, they used Apo Island in the central Philippines as a model.
But the ersatz exhibition can’t match the variety of the real Apo, which hosts more than 1,000 species of fish and wildlife and more than 400 types of coral. Multiple world conservation groups have deemed Apo Island one of the finest coral-reef sanctuaries in existence.
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