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"P2"

All things considered, Where is the best place to settle in the Philippines?

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As others have noted, without more information or qualifiers, all we can give you is our own opinions.  In taking the temperature here, most expats seem to be older and retired, and with quick access to airports and creature comforts.  Many of us have a wife or GF with ties to a particular area, so thats where we have chosen.  You may want to hang with a lot of other expats, or you may want to avoid them completely.  I personally prefer to live in a more remote setting in the provinces.  A ferry ride AND a flight, just to get to Manila.    

My first thought when I read your post title was "Cebu".  I've not spent much time there.  But it is beautiful, accessible, and affordable.  I find that many things I try to order are shipped from Cebu.  Most of the local 'assembled' vehicles come from Cebu.  There are international flights, plus a variety of terrain.  Since it is a long thin mountain, you have lots of real estate that offers views, and long shore lines.  Like other 'inner' islands it is mostly protected from tsunami surges.  I don't know about its volcanic status.  Most of the bigger earthquakes seem to be down in Mindanao for some reason, although there was a major 6.9 in 2013 in Cebu that scared a lot of people and caused serious damage.  Shook up my wife pretty badly, so she still doesn't want to live there :).  

I've been to some islands where there is dirt and trash everywhere, loud vehicles with noxious exhaust, and general craziness that wears on my nerves.  I've been to other islands that are well organized and neat as a pin.  So it really does pay to travel around if possible.  Bohol is very nice, for example, with quick access to Cebu if one was so inclined.  Another aspect worth mentioning is safety, regarding terrorism and rebels.  In Mindanao obviously are the more serious danger zones, read about them in the news.  Some expats on the forum from Davao are quite happy there.  In Visayas where I live, we have factions of rebels who live in the mountains.  Most of them making the local news cycles are New Peoples Army; anti government types.  They don't seem to pose much of a threat in my opinion.  For example there was a firefight a few days ago in Negros, military recovered a few handfuls of bullets and a cell phone, and some anti-government literature.  The dozen or so rebels withdrew up into the mountain.  Luzon may have its own dangers, but I'm not familiar with Luzon.  My impression is the farther north one goes in PH, the safer it gets.  Others can correct me if I'm wrong.

 

 

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We live on Luzon sort of between Olongapo/Subic and Angelese so although very rural good amenities are on our doorstep. The wife is from Dumeguete and mother in law from Baybay Leyte so we are fairly well travelled, many filipinos have barely been to the next town let alone the next island. Negro is ok but becomes very remote once you get outside the large cities, only two really. In the Philippines they have different levels of city, so of the lower grades we would think of as little more than large towns, but hay it gives them some civic pride I guess. Leyte, the small bits I have travelled is not dissimilar to Negros. We spent a couple of nights on Bohol and it gave a nice feel, a bit sleepy and easy going. I would like to see more of Bohol. I've been to Cebu City 2-3 times and to me it was the sort of place to pass through as quickly as possible, a bit like Manila, a necessary evil on your travels. Bicol on Luzon was nice, we stayed near Lagaspi for a few nights. I think wherever you end up the most important thing is to make yourself comfortable. Just putting aircon in our bedroom so I could sleep nights made such a difference.

Edited by Gary D
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I have lived in cebu city and 50km south of the city for the last year. The amount of trash you see everywhere is staggering. It can take one hour to go 7km. The widest road is only two lanes each way, not counting the lane with the tree in the middle. We are currently up at our place in lipa city and it is night and day compared to cebu. There is 4 lanes going each way downtown and the city is only 300,000 people. I fell in love with cebu the first time i was theren in 1985 but the island has gone down hill. All I'm saying is look long and hard before you pick a place you want to live. Just my 2 cents, and welcome the the Philippines.

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Manila and Cebu are the largest cities in the Philippines, that means they've got the widest choice of facilities (of things westerners are used to) but it also means they're the most heavily polluted, suffer from the worst traffic problems and cost the most to live in.  Then there are more remote small cities and towns, those tend to have less traffic problems but also smaller more basic hospitals and shopping.

Honestly I prefer middle sized cities... enough 'western facilities' that it isn't a problem buying stuff but not so big that the pollution and traffic becomes truly painful.

Now which middle size place... that's the question isn't it :)

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Some more thoughts for you P2.

I suggest you and your spouse make a list of things and put them in priority order. Such as:

Money - how much can you afford monthly for living expenses - the less you have the smaller the city or further from a big city you will need to go.

Health - if you have any serious health conditions or concerns, then you probably don't want to live to remote - requiring long car rides or ferry boat rides to reach quality medical care.

Ex-pats - do you want to live near a bunch for camaraderie and mutual support?

Mountains or ocean - you can't always have or be near both or either.

Personal Security - how safe do you need to feel to relax and be happy.

Etc, etc....

You will soon find you can probably eliminate a number of general locations and then specific locations. List them out and let the forum members here know and they can better offer suggestions that should fit your requirements and desires.

Edited by Tommy T.
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11 hours ago, "P2" said:

I have asked my wife but she hasn't lived there in over 21 years so a lot has changed since she's been there....

 

I'd say a good starting place would be where your wife is from - that may not be the best choice but it's a starting point at least to make a list of pros and cons which you can then use to "rate" other places.  

If you want a better indication from the people here, I'd suggest you note down a simple list of what you're looking for and what you're looking to avoid.  Posters can then advise how their locations measure up - what works for me may not for you.  

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11 hours ago, scott h said:

Batangas

 

WRONG..Cavite.:shades:

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13 hours ago, Ram1957 said:

You may want to do some research before you decide. The Philippines has alot of areas that could become problems in the future. Might want to use this website to steer away from some of the problem areas.  https://hazardhunter.georisk.gov.ph/

That's an excellent link. Thank you. Here's something to go with it, to explain the PEIS earthquake scale used at your link. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PHIVOLCS_Earthquake_Intensity_Scale

Bohol is my choice for best place to live.

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2 hours ago, Arizona Kid said:

WRONG..Cavite.:shades:

Sorry but in research, it has been provided by all the members that come and Visit us the 2nd Thursday of the Month, DUMAGUETE,  still has the torch alight.

 Come on Down and Try The Ambiance of REAL people :hystery: not just Keyboard Warriors :whistling:

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19 hours ago, Ram1957 said:

You may want to do some research before you decide. The Philippines has alot of areas that could become problems in the future. Might want to use this website to steer away from some of the problem areas.  https://hazardhunter.georisk.gov.ph/

You might be interested in looking at this database of Terrorist activity in the Philippines. Pretty comprehensive and eye opening. Kind of gives you an idea of where the threats are mostly. You can sort it by city to see how much reported terrorist activity is in your town....

https://www.start.umd.edu/gtd/search/Results.aspx?country=160 

 

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