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The Best Place To Retire In The Philippines


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G'day people

Just a quick question where in your opinion is the best place in the Philippines to retire in.

And why.

Have read a lot about Cebu but they say it's too expensive find that hard to believe .

Would Davo be a better option ?

Don't want to live in Manilla.

All opinions are welcome as this is all new to me but hey gotta start somewhere .

I would love a place beside the coast but the wife is sh&t scared of tusanmi ( is that spelt right)

So she want somewhere high up a bit.

Thanks in advance I'm guessing you people have done all this so appreciate any input.


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It depend of what you want.

Some go for Davao  (The tough mayor have "clean out" most criminals).

others for FOR INSTANCE:

/Cebu city.  (Yes it's rather much costs there than in most of Philippines.  Worker salaries are almost 1.5 times higher there.)


/Dumaguete (many Germans)

/Bacolod region  (some north of Bacolod the Filipino government think of making a city special adjusted for retired.  Decided yet?)

/It's a Norwegian small "colony" in a smaller city  (=suburb to Toledo at Cebu island)

/Some have settled RURAL in Bukidnon, Mindanao too, but at least one have been scared away by a group of armed men came to visit. Unclear if it was muslim guerila or common criminals.

/Rather many have settled RURAL at Bohol island WITHOUT being scared away. Except one was "scared away" from Panglao by a close neighbour started a karaoke bar...   :)     (That's a reason I don't want neighbours.)

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You need to decide where you can live the lifestyle that you need on what budget you have. Do some research, this site has people all over the Philippines. Here is a good tool http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/comparison.jsp 


I would consider everything from health care to security. Davao is a relatively safe place and a fairly large town. I would not consider Cebu or Manila, both are crowded. 


For me, I chose the Subic Freeport. You can live on a budget of $2000USD per month (including rent) or about $1500 if you have bought a long term lease (going rate is between $80K=$100K USD for 40+ years). The housing in the freeport are all up in the hills about 30+M above sea level. It is as secure as you can get, has reliable power, water and internet. It is very quiet here and usually has a breeze.  There are 2 beaches within the Freeport and many more outside. The Freeport has a mall, lots of restaurants, a golf course, sport area (track, tennis courts), pools in the housing areas and plenty of places to ride a bicycle. Downside, you need a vehicle as public transport is periodical (cheap) or taxi (expensive) and the place is sprawled out (the housing areas are at least 4km from the grocery stores). It is also a 45 minute drive from an international airport (Clark) via expressway (SCTEX).


You can live cheaply elsewhere within the Philippines but you get what you pay for. 


It's best to do some extended stay visits (3+ weeks) to get a taste of what is acceptable or not.

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Bohol is very nice. Panglao Island is nicer. If I wasn't already committed to Panglao I'd explore Palawan more. I was impressed during a short visit to Puerta Princesa.

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Have visited Palawan, Bohol, Negros (Dumaguete) and Cebu, wife's from Mindanao, so of all the places, the one that attracted me most was Palawan. However as already stated by Jon1, you have to try these places for yourself, some prefer to be near family, while other's prefer to be not! Just keep an open mind, dont rush into anything, but the choice is your's....JB

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I like Bohol very much but think with the new airport coming into Panglao and loads of money into developing it as a tourist area might spoil it.  Other than Tagbilaran, which is sickeningly polluted and congested there aren't many places bigger than small towns in US.   Medical care is a real problem too.  Not many specialists in Tagbilaran.  Only two dermatologists and neither would touch a small basal cell skin cancer I have on my nose.  They only do minor cosmetic things and referred me to a local surgeon.  Cebu City is only one hour away by fast cat, though, so there is close excellent medical care.   With real health problems in Bohol medical evacuation would be necessary.  I 'm staying here in Bohol for four months with my fiancé and since arrival have seen one gyn for her (very unimpressed) I 'm a retired Physician Assistant with 35 years experience, and one ENT  also not impressed)...... So maybe Bohol is great if you're healthy and/or you don't mind going to Cebu for medical treatment.  It is a beautiful island and  wonderful people .  Crime is not too bad, but like anywhere in this country there aren't any options for self protection..... You just build a tall fence with barbed wire and make good friends and stay out of other peoples business. 

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Though the overall culture of the Philippines is the same throughout the Philippines, each region has a dramatically different feel. Different benefits and drawbacks exist in each of those regions.


I spent my three years one hour north of Cebu City. I felt safe 100% of the time. The people were all extremely friendly and it was easy for me to make friends. This is, of course, true to a good extent in all of the Philippines. Cost of living was great and I had easy access to various  goods and services (i.e. medical) in Cebu City.


Two drawbacks stood out for me: I was extremely disappointed in the local foods and trash was strewn about everywhere. I just figured every Filipino threw their trash everywhere, but was surprised upon visiting four different adjacent islands that this was not the case. Those islands were clean to very clean. Ilo Ilo (ilo ilo) was practically spotless.


My impressions of the other places I visited:


1. Ilo Ilo - clean but boring. Food was better.

2. Bacolod - Average, plenty of stuff going on. Stayed at Mambukal Resort for a couple nights, the most beautiful place I've ever been.

3. Bohol - The most beautiful area as a whole. Good food, very clean, an outdoors-type could easily occupy themselves. Tagbilaran City had plenty of stuff to do. I stayed at a resort on Dumaluan Beach and it was totally peaceful. My taxi driver recommended it over Panglao, as  it was not as touristy.

4. The other island was a small nearby island with two or three resorts. Pacijan island, though that's not what the locals called it. (Don't remember what they called it). It was clean, the resort food was good, and again totally peaceful.


I haven't been to Davao and have little desire to visit, so I can't comment on that. My perception is that it is overall a dangerous area, even though Davao itself is safe. Plenty of other regions of the Philippines to consider, so I just rule this one out.


I am planning on heading back to the Philippines (permanently) next year. Though the cooler temperatures of Baguio are alluring, I don't like what I hear about so many foreigners living there. It's also becoming quite crowded.


After extensive research, I am planning to give Lipa City a try. It is an hour south of Manila. It sits against a lake containing an active volcano which in turn contains a lake. It's a safe distance, though.


Mountains protect the city from the brunt of Typhoons and the elevation is higher, eliminating flooding problems and causing slightly cooler temperatures.


The city itself is quite large but far enough away from Manila to be laid back and very peaceful. Prices are slightly higher than the Cebu area, but not as high as Manila.


I'm going to give Lipa City a try and occasionally visit other areas of the Philippines to see if there is somewhere else I'd like to live. Lipa City looks like my paradise, though.

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I have two places on my list:

1. Subic Bay Freeport for the reasons given above and besides,  I have friends there already and I can mess about in boats...

2. Canlaon City, Negros Oriental - a sort of as-yet-unspoiled mini-Baguio from the climate point of view, small town, seemingly nice people.

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Gazz, that is such an open ended question Brother. You will get as many answers as we have members. The Philippines is so diverse, yet so alike. It all depends on what you and your wife are looking for. With a bit more info the answers might be narrowed a bit. Such as.


You going to retire? work? medical needs? you have or the wife have relatives here? activities your looking for? special internet or entertainment needs? housing needs? kids? schools?


Not being nosey but each member has their own preferences and can be more objective with the knowledge


good luck and welcome

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