Living and Retiring in the Philippines - Consider this Haven as a New Home or Retirement Destination
You can live in the Philippines for a fraction of the cost of living in a western country and at the same time feel like you are on a continuous vacation. You can be part of a culture that is warm, loving and filled with people who are willing to go the extra mile; people who support one another. Why remain stuck in a country where your retirement is a struggle or you can barely eke-out a living doing the rat-race dance when you can live like royalty surrounded by water, sand, sun and fun?
In the Philippines you will enjoy a beautiful tropical island nation with seemingly endless new territory to explore and a much more relaxed lifestyle with a cost of living index a fraction of the U.S., Europe, Australia, New Zealand or any other western county. Sure, there are cultural differences and some aspect that take time getting used to, but, after some adjustment, you will eventually wonder what took you so long to make the move.
ENGLISH IS WELL UNDERSTOOD IN THIS ASIAN NATION
The Philippines has the distinction of being the only English speaking country in Asia. Even though some of the people here may not be totally fluent in English, the majority of individuals listens to you and understands most of what you say. They may respond in a heavy accent or sometimes have a hard time responding back to you, but most are able to communicate effectively enough in English to get along and many college graduates are outright fluent in the language. This places the “home of endless beaches” head and heals above many other Asian countries and is the reason so many foreign large corporations choose the Philippines as their outsourcing and manufacturing country of choice.
FAMILY AND RESPECT FOR ELDERS - FOREIGNERS FEEL LIKE FAMILY IN THE
The Philippines, consists of 7107 wonderfully diverse and unique islands. This “nation surrounded by water” is still a place where children show their respect by bowing and placing their hand on their elder’s foreheads in an act called “blessing.” In fact family, is of primary importance in the Philippines with the respect and honor shown to each family member.
Older individuals in the Philippines are given a large degree of honor rather than labeled as someone whose life seems to no longer have significance or usefulness. Retired individuals generally feel more accepted as there is a sense of being needed here rather than feeling like an old wore-out tire or a horse put out to pasture as is the feeling many times when citizens in fully developed countries move past their useful working years.
This is a country where almost everyone has a family member or an extended family member working abroad, and the people here many-times feel that because you are from abroad you may possibly know their relatives, or somehow have a connection with them as a result of this foreign association.
These islands offer an overarching sense that everyone seems somehow connected, where conversation and friendship are more valued and appreciated than zoning-out in front of the television set.
Many times psychologists are unnecessary in this country as there is always a friendly and welcome ear to listen to your problems. The Philippines is home to men and women who know how to live life simply yet have a great time in the process.
There is no place on earth where a total stranger is welcomed more warmly. Foreigners from around the world are welcome and accepted and are embraced in traditional “Filipino Hospitality”.
WHAT AWAITS YOU IN THE PHILIPPINES
Awaiting you in the Philippines are
some of the most beautiful, clear and clean beaches in the world,
wonderfully diverse mountain ranges, incredible rice terraces, white-sand beaches, scuba diving, snorkeling, kite/wind surfing, cave exploration, eco-tourism, adventure-tourism, five star hotels, stunning aqua-blue, white-sand beach resorts, world-class golf courses, spas and masseuses equal to anywhere else in the world, non-stop nightlife, great Asian-style food and a remarkable low cost of living. In the Philippines, you can experience a unique and high quality standard of living all at a very low cost factor.
All the conveniences of modern life exist here such as cable-TV, high speed Internet, fast food establishments, divided highways, skyscrapers, massive malls and more. These proofs of a developing country have proliferated the Philippines over the last couple of decades, but there still remains a special old world charm and culture difficult to find anywhere else on earth.
YOU CAN ACTUALLY AFFORD A HOUSE, MAID, PERSONAL DRIVER OR CAREGIVER
The Philippines is a place where you can afford loyal live-in maids, drivers and helpers, cheap taxis, fine rental homes in quality neighborhoods with rents or monthly payments so low you will think you are making your car payment rather than a house payment. For less than you pay for your utilities in the states, you can afford to have a maid and a cook in the Philippines. These workers are happy to receive wages of $40 a month with food and shelter provided by you. Workers are normally considerate, compassionate and very happy just to have the job, food and a roof over their heads. If the Philippines roads scare you, you can always hire a professional Filipino driver for similar rates who is an expert at negotiating the free-spirited Philippine roadways.
If you have disabilities or physical issues, there are many registered and vocational nurses, physical therapists and other caregivers here who can help you along with your issues and challenges. You can also find these available at similar rates.
MEDICAL CONCERNS AND FACILITIES IN THE PHILIPPIINES
Over the last several years, the Philippines has been growing as a preferred tourist destination for medical tourism due to the world class physicians, modern technology, and uniquely Filipino brand of caring and compassion. Currently, the most common medical procedures performed in the Philippines for medical tourism-based recipients are cosmetic and plastic surgery, dermatology, weight loss surgery, ophthalmology, and dentistry, but as facilities are built and equipment purchased, the country is seeing more standard medical procedures taking root.
Filipino doctors are some of the best on the Pacific Rim studying not only in some of Asia’s best medical schools but also obtaining additional and ongoing training in the U.S. and Japan. The Philippines is home to some of the best hospitals and stand alone specialty clinics in the world, offering world-class expertise, state-of-the-art facilities, and that ever-present distinct warmth of Filipino hospitality.
Founded in 1903, one of the most prestigious hospitals with the longest history in the Philippines is Saint Luke’s Hospital in the Metro Manila area. This highly credible and world renowned facility has 650 beds and is home to nine Institutes, 13 Departments, and 19 centers. With plans to build another high-standard facility in Makati, Philippines, this hospital is poised to be one of the top medical centers in all of Asia. Saint Luke’s credibility helps it gather patients from not only the Philippines, but from all of Asia, Micronesia, the Middle East, Europe and even the United States. Saint Luke’s has a very aggressive equipment acquisition budget, providing it state-of-the-art medical equipment found in few other places in most of Asia. While it may seem difficult to believe, this facility is actually better equipped than 95% of the hospitals in the United States.
To add to your assurance of the skill levels of medical professionals here, the Philippines has long been exporting to other countries, some of the world’s favorite nurses and medical professionals for many decades now. These medical professional have been the favorite choice for the U.S. and Europe for numerous honorable reasons, including the facts that graduates typically speak good English and have superior medical school backgrounds.
Needless to say, sometimes, depending on the location, finding high-quality medical services can be a challenge in a developing country. If you choose to live close to a large metropolitan area such as Cebu or Metro Manila, you have better access to higher standard facilities such as Saint Luke’s described above. Many times, the facilities in the remote provinces are less than up to western standards so you have to be careful in choosing your location.
THE SPECIAL RESIDENT RETIREE VISA (SRRV) – BEST CHOICE VISA
Many foreigners in the Philippines are retired or semi-retired, remaining indefinitely on the Special Resident Retiree Visa (SRRV) offered by the Philippine government to would-be retirees who want to live-out their golden years enjoying sun, sea and the world-renowned Filipino hospitality. This visa, by far, offers the greatest benefits and perks for those willing to retire in this country. Check-out all the advantages listed below:
- Indefinite stay
- Multiple entry
- Exemption from exit/re-entry clearance and permit
- Exemption from travel tax
- Exemption from duties, customs and taxes from the
importation of personal effects
- Guaranteed repatriation of deposits and investments, including profits
- Conversion of foreign Currency into Philippine Pesos
- Conversion of Deposits into investments
- Tax-exempt on purchase of goods for personal consumption in government-owned Duty Free Shops E.O 250
- Eligibility to obtain an Alien Employment Permit
- Covers spouse and dependents below 21
- Entitlement to tax exemption under P.D. 1217
- Exemption from student's visa/special study permit
- Tax-exempt inward remittance of pensions and annuities
- Membership in the exclusive PLRA Executive Club
- May avail of PLRA “24/7-Call Home” and Service Center
- Entitlement to incentives and benefits under the Omnibus Investment Code (E.O. 226),
- May Avail of services of PLRA Travel Agency
- Avail of discounts at PLRA – authorized establishments and shops
- Use PLRA memberships at various golf, sports and country clubs
- Tourism Incentives program (P.D. 535), and investments
Promotion Act (B.P. 44)
Eligibility Requirements for the Special Resident Retirees Visa (SRRV)
- At least 35 years old
- Without criminal record
- Meet medical standards
- Meet the investment requirement
SRRV Retirement Options and Required Time Deposit Amounts
- With Pension:
- 50 years. Old and above – the required time deposit is US$10, 000.00 plus a monthly pension of US$800.00 for a single applicant and US$1,000.00 for couple
- Without Pension:
- 35 to 49 years old – US$50, 000.00 time deposit
- 50 years old and above – US$20, 000.00 time deposit
- Former Filipino Citizens (at least 35 years old, regardless of the number of dependents – US$1,500.00)
- Ambassadors of foreign countries who served and retired in the Philippines, current and former staff members of international organizations including ADB (at least 50 years old) - US$1,500.00
Additional Considerations: A resident retiree can bring with him, without additional deposit, his spouse and a child who is unmarried and below 21 years old or if the spouse is not joining, two (2) children (provided they are unmarried and under 21 years of age.) Additional children with the same qualifications may also be allowed to join the principal retiree provided there is an additional deposit of US$15,000.00 per child. The said time deposit however, is subject the same and conditions with that of the principal deposit. This does not apply to former Filipino Citizens.
For more information on the SRRV go to this website: http://www.pra.gov.ph/
OTHER TYPES OF VISAS OFFERED IN THE PHILIPPINES
- Temporary Visitors - those coming for business, pleasure, medical treatment, training, attendance in conferences, meetings or workshop/ seminars; visitors aboard private yacht/sailboat; persons visiting for the purpose of making a movie or film documentary; journalists, athletes and performing artists;
- Aliens in Transit;
- Alien Seafarer/Seaman;
- Treaty Traders/Investors;
- Accredited Officials of Foreign Governments, their families and attendants/helpers;
- Alien Students;
- Aliens with Pre-Arranged Employment in the Philippines;
- Special non-immigrants granted admission by the Philippine President;
- Refugees granted temporary admission by the Philippine President.
B. OTHER NON-IMMIGRANT VISAS ALLOWED UNDER SPECIAL LAWS
- Offshore Banking System Visa under P.D. 1034;
- Special Investors Residents Visa (SIRV) under E.O. 226;
- Special Resident Retiree’s Visa under E.O. 226 (Philippine Retirement Authority);
- Subic Special Investor’s Resident Visa under R.A. 7227;
- Subic Special Resident Retiree’s Visa under R.A. 7227;
- Subic Special Working Visa under R.A. 7227.
- Quota Immigrants;
- Preferred Quota Immigrants - Parents of Filipino citizens aged 21 years or over, and spouses & unmarried minor children of Permanent Resident aliens;
- Non-Preferred Quota Immigrants.
D. NON-QUOTA IMMIGRANTS
- Spouse or unmarried minor children of Philippine citizens;
- Child of alien parents born during a visit abroad of Permanent Resident mother;
- Child born subsequent to the issuance of Immigrant Visa to accompanying parent, whose visa has not expired;
- Filipino women who lost their citizenship by marriage;
- Returning residents;
- Spouse or unmarried minor child of foreigner admitted to the Philippines for permanent residence;
- Returning natural-born Filipinos who were naturalized as citizens of foreign countries.
WHY RETIRE IN CLARK, SUBIC BAY OR THE SURROUNDING CITIES
While there are many beautiful places to relocate to in the Philippines, we favor the Clark/Subic Corridor as a low adjustment location for foreigners from fully-developed countries. Below you will find many reasons for what we believe to be the ideal areas making your move from the Western world to the world of 7000 islands the easiest possible cultural transition possible anywhere in the Asian nations.
Besides being only an hour and a half from Manila and the superior medical facilities there such as Saint Luke’s Medical Center, Clark and Subic Bay will soon have local medical clinics and hospitals of very high repute. We are seeing commitments to building world-class medical clinics and hospitals in the Clark and Subic Bay area recently.
Newly Accredited Medical Tourism Hospital
As of June 3, 2009 the Philippines Department of tourism announced that Angeles University Foundation Medical Center in Angeles City (AUFMC) is the only hospital north of Manila to be fit for medical and wellness tourism. This puts this hospital up and coming in line with the prestigious Saint Luke’s Medical Center in Manila.
CEO Gabriel Martin Angeles has successfully reengineered the facilities and services of the hospital to be tailored to the medical care needs and acceptable standards of foreign tourists from developed countries; this in light of the growing trend in medical tourism.
New spa cosmetic and beauty treatment centers are also part of the establishment. The lobby of this hospital even has a piano bar for the patience’s visitors.
With the addition of this upgraded facility, the rise of medical tourism sparking new projects now more than ever, these Freeport Zones are quickly becoming the retirement spot of choice in the Philippines.
Superior Highways and Road System
Clark and Subic Bay Freeport Zones are extremely unique as they were a legacy left behind by the United States Military. The road network and infrastructure in general is built to U.S. standards. There are actually traffic signals and stop signs at most intersections in these two zones and a generally greater adherence and enforcement of the rules of the road.
A major consideration in moving to the Clark/Subic corridor is a piece of infrastructure that is the most-recent pride of the Philippine government. This facility is a newly constructed, highly enjoyable, world-class super-highway connecting Clark with Subic Bay. We are talking about a highway that is able to compete head-to-head with any Western country highway. Built with a loan from the Japanese government, this fast-moving marvel of modern engineering converts a once laborious 2 ½ hour drive via congested provincial roads through San Fernando to a very pleasant 50 minute drive at 100 km/h +.
So, once you are inside either Clark or Subic Bay, you have the unique privilege of enjoying superior, first-world roads in each location interconnected by 50 kilometers of high-speed, fully divided mega-highway. You can virtually live and shop within the two zones with very little exposure to the rather hectic and polluted outside roadways.
Clark is only an hour and a half from Manila on fully divided, 100 km/hr + toll roads, and now with the interconnection of NLEX to SCTEX, the drive to Manila from Subic is only an additional 50 minutes. Additionally, you no longer have to leave the Clark Freeport Zone through Angels City and Dau in order to enter NLEX, but can now easily transition directly from the Clark South interchange to the SCTEX and then to NLEX to Manila. This avoids a sometime 30 or 40 minute heavy-traffic delay through the Angeles or Dau NLEX entrance/exits.
NEW HOUSING, RETIREMENT AND EXPAT RESIDENTIAL UNITS BUILT
If you are looking for a new, western-style housing unit, then the Clark/Suibc area is your location in the Philippines. Developers are rushing to meet the needs of the fast-growing expat and retirement segment quickly taking shape in these two vacation spots. You'll find new resort/residential communities and condo type housing units springing up in both Clark and Subic Bay. These are units built to U.S. standards with quality construction, amenities and appliances. You'll think you are in the U.S. high-end resort, vacation club environment in some of these projects. Check out some of the offerings at the link below and come-back soon for an ever-growing list as these projects sign-on with our portal. Clark/Subic Residential Housing, Condos, Apartments
World Class Shopping Centers
Adjacent to the Clark Freeport Zone and sporting a direct entrance/exit for individuals residing or doing business in Clark, is the newly constructed SM Clark Super Mall. Able to compete with any shopping center in the U.S. or Europe this mall has all of the shops, restaurants and movie theaters you’d expect in a major metropolitan area.
In the community of Angeles City, just a short 10 minute drive from the Clark Freeport, is a brand new high-end mall project in the final stages of completion as of this writing, built by the Ayala Land Corporation and called Marquee Place. This is a first-of-its-kind shopping experience for Central Luzon and soon-to-become a complete shopping/residential integrated community that is sure to bring the cosmopolitan lifestyle of Manila to the clean and quiet life of Angeles City/Clark Pampanga.
Cleaner Air, Safer Driving and Beautiful Surroundings
Arrive in these two zones and experience air quality much-superior to the outside environment. The roadways are generally much less congested and monitored quite a bit more closely for pollution-causing, smoke belching vehicles. Motorists are also more accountable in their adherence to the rules of the road as police monitor driving habits much more closely in Clark and Subic Bay.
As an added benefit for Freeport dwellers, the Clark area is surrounded by beautiful mountains and lined with well-maintained public parks sporting century-old canopy trees converting carbon dioxide to oxygen throughout the zone. While Subic Bay is close to the ocean with ocean breezes and marvelous rain forests scrubbing the air and delighting the eyes with outstanding beauty.
Better Utilities Such as Water, Power and Communication Services
Many times, you will find in remote provincial areas and even in some large metropolitan areas, utility services that are not up to the standards of fully-developed countries. Brownouts and blackouts may occur from time to time, phone service may drop in heavy rain and the water quality may be questionable for consumption purposes.
When inside the Clark and Subic area, these issues are mitigated substantially as the Freeport Zones are designed from the ground up to attract large corporations and business people from western countries who have very high expectations and standards.
The Clark Water Corporation for example contracts with a large multinational water company called Vivendi, one of the three largest water supply and wastewater companies in the world. This company provides superior water filtration and wastewater management services to Clark.
The Subic Water Company, the first private water company in the Philippines, was built and is run by an over 100 year old company from England called Biwater. This company has designed and constructed water and wastewater treatment plants, provided consultancy services and run water systems for millions of people in over 90 countries.
The water in both Clark and Subic meets or exceeds the latest worldwide environmental standards in water quality.
As far as the power systems goes, due to the strict power regulation needs of large clean-industry companies located in the Freeport Zones (such as Texas Instruments), the power grid in both Clark and Subic are much more reliable, suffering significantly less interruptions than power companies located outside of the zones.
Broadband internet communications services have also become considerably more reliable recently. The reason for this is that large call centers and disaster recovery IT centers are located within the Clark Freeport Zone demanding maximum up-time and redundancy considerations. The zone is fed by high-capacity, dual redundancy data pipelines enabling much more reliability in service. Internet service in the Clark area is provided by 3 separate providers, also offering you more choices than remote-provincial, one-choice areas.
Phone service is also provided by 2 different phone companies in Clark and the good old standby PLDT in Subic Bay. While service in outlying areas sometimes suffer from dropped calls and line grounding issues when the heavy rains inundate the Philippines in the rainy season months, the lines in the Freeport coverage areas are laid to U.S. standards and new lines are placed with consideration of drawing-in investors. This characteristically empowers a community with far-fewer telecom issues.
An International Airport Close-By
The need to travel all the way to the south side of Manila to the Paranaque area to catch a flight to your favorite destination is no longer necessary. The Clark Airport, otherwise known as Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA), is only a five to ten minute drive from most of the Clark Zone while a quick 50 minute jaunt up the SCTEX super highway from Subic Bay. This new airport is already the main transportation gateway for central Luzon and is in a continuous state of growth to possibly overtake Manila in the long-term future if the current administrations plans mature at making it the “premier gateway to the Philippines.” In sync with these plans, currently a terminal 2 is being built as of this writing, in order to facilitate the anticipated growth of many more passengers in the coming years.
Budget airlines are the mainstay at DMIA with operators such as Cebu Pacific, Air Asia, Asiana, Tiger Airways and Seaair leading the way. There are plans in the not-too-distant future for even larger carriers such as Philippine Airlines and others to become part of the explosion of air travel at the airport.
The Philippines is centrally located to most Southeast Asia destinations. You can hop a quick flight to such destinations as Singapore, Hong Kong, Macau, Incheon Korea, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, Cebu Philippines, Boracay Philippines and more. From destinations like Hong Kong, you can grab a flight to just about anywhere else in the world.
With the combination of this kind of worldwide access convenience and the incredible location Clark and Subic are, why would you want to retire anywhere else?
International, World-Class Schools for Your Childrens Education
If you are an expat or company manager with children you’ll be happy to know that both the Clark and Subic areas have some great international schools.
In the Clark/Angles City area the Noblesse International School has the honor of being the first formal international school in Central Luzon. Some of the attributes of this school include: K to Grade 12 Curriculum, E S L (English as a second language), choice of 5 foreign languages taught by native teachers, Linkage with American school district. Visit their Website
The Brent International School in Subic Bay offers a long-time tradition of high-quality international education in a safe environment. Students are able to avail themselves of a high-grade educational system, international–standard boarding facilities and some of the best outdoor activities available anywhere in Southeast Asia. Curriculum at this world-class educational facility focuses on mathematics, science, social studies, English and foreign language instruction. Additional courses in religious studies, the arts and English as a Second Language (ESL) are available. Realizing the importance of computer learning in today’s society, computer science is integrated into all areas of instruction starting with kindergarten. This school also has a remote facility in Clark Freeport where the students are transported daily to the main campus along SCTEX. Visit their Website
Resorts, Golf, Beaches, Theme Parks Abound in Clark and Subic Bay
Since the U.S. government left-behind their military bases 20 years ago, these areas have grown into very successful and thriving tourism and business-friendly areas. Clark has numerous championship golf course (one Tiger Woods played), a giant water theme park, fantastic hotels, themed-casinos and resorts while Subic Bay has taken the lead as a premier fun-zone destination with a number of fantastic eco-tourism, adventure parks a kiddy theme park, and wild animal safari park and an ocean marine mammal park (much like San Diego’s Sea World) that will keep you thrilled and entertained in your spare time. There are also a number of casinos in Subic Bay and beach resorts in and around the area where you will enjoy ample white-sand sea and sun time.
Expat Communities are Right at Your Doorstep
Immediately outside of Clark is the community of Angeles City, likewise, alongside Subic Bay is the community of Olongapo City. During the days of the U.S. military, many armed service men found the love of their lives in these locations. As a result, you’ll find many ex American service men living with their Filipino wives and family in gated communities and various other condos and complexes in these areas directly outside of the Freeport zones.
Since the advent of the Internet, there is also a growing number of expats who have found the Philippines through online matchmaking services. Many end-up retiring here with their Filipina brides in this Island paradise rather than struggling with an overpriced and limited retirement lifestyle in their home countries.
There is also a large cross-section of European and Australian expats living in these areas. As a result of these expat communities, you need never feel alone. There are typically groups and clubs where you can meet others who have made the choice to retire in a little slice of heaven.
Korean citizens have made the Philippines their second home of late. They have opened manufacturing and tourist industry businesses in the Freeport zones and have established strong communities here. If you are from Korea, you will be happy to know that an entire Korea Town has sprouted-up just directly outside of the Friendship road gate of Clark. Here numerous Korean restaurants, clubs and sole proprietorships having taken root.
You may choose to retire in one of these external communities rather than directly in the Freeport zones as the cost of housing is even more reasonable and with all of the favorable attributes of Clark and Subic right next door.
Typically, these communities are noisier and with a marked-degree additional pollution from smoke belching Jeepneys, and sidecars tricycles, but if you opt for one of the gated communities, you buy yourself some additional peace, security and better air quality. Many business owners and managers who own and run businesses in the Freeport zones choose to live directly outside of the zones in order to own their residences.
New Immigration and Visa Processing Center Now in Clark
Clark now has a brand-new, shinny processing center of the Bureau of Immigration for processing of visas and immigration documents. This greatly eases the stress and struggle of visa extensions and other issue that used to require a trip to Manila.
Eating Out – More Variety in Food Types
In most of the remote province areas it’s difficult to find anything other than Filipino food choices. If you are from America, Australia or Europe, you will quickly miss some of your favorite menu items. Because of some of the It’s common to find some restaurants directly outside of the Freeport zones to feature food from various other regions of the world such as German, Swiss and American.