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Subic Bay - Asian Retirement Hotspot!


OnMyWay

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My neighbor's and I are chuckling at the inaccuracies in this article and wondering who the quoted people are!

https://internationalliving.com/an-old-u-s-base-becomes-an-asian-retirement-hot-spot-in-the-philippines/

An Old U.S. Base Becomes an Asian Retirement Hot Spot

An idyllic setting in an exotic destination, with Western-style comforts and services. A place where communities exist within a pristine, conserved habitat, but which also offers golf courses, water sports, and amusement parks. All that, at Southeast Asian prices. Oh yes, it exists!

And the clincher? Over 90% of the population speaks English.

The islands of the Philippines are renowned among travelers for their spectacular diving spots, white sand beaches, and lush mountain getaways. The beauty and, to be practical, the incredible affordability, of settling in the Philippines attracts retirees from around the world who have decided that tropical beach living suits them better than pinching pennies back home.

Many of them converge on Subic Bay, a destination that’s evolved from its early days as a military compound into one of the world’s premier expat hubs.

The Subic Bay Freeport, or just Subic Bay to those who live there, is located in central Luzon. To explain: the Philippines is a country made up of over 7,000 islands. Some are inhabited, others are little more than sand-fringed atolls. Luzon, the largest island, is the site of the Philippine capital, Manila. Some 80 miles west, Subic Bay serves as a port to the South China Sea, but also as the country’s most developed resort and recreation area.

That setup offers a privileged retirement destination in an idyllic setting. Formerly one of the largest U.S. military bases in Asia (along with nearby Clark Airbase), it was reformed in 1992 as a dedicated location for global business and international standards of living.

Although the Philippines is a developing nation, Subic stands out as the exception. Something like a gated community on a huge scale, the zone includes multiple communities with international-standard shopping, restaurants, healthcare and schools for residents, as well as a variety of breathtaking attractions for visitors. All are contained within its almost 170,000 acres, in a region that edges one of the most naturally beautiful bodies of water in the country.

“I was nervous to come back to the Philippines after 15 years of living with my American husband in Tucson,” says Gabraille Robes about her return to her country of birth, “but we decided his pension would go much further, and I could live near my family. The thing is, I know the difference between the general standard of living in the Philippines and what we had in Tucson, so this is why we looked at Subic Bay. It’s U.S.-standard here.”

Gabraille left the Philippines in the 1990s to follow her career as a nurse in the U.S. She met her contractor husband, Robert, when he showed up in her ER for some stitches. Robert was always in agreement about retiring to the Philipines, and he and Gabraille used vacations there to explore different locations where they might settle down. They chose Subic for its ease of living and close proximity to Gabraille’s extended family.

“At first we wanted a fully furnished condo on the bay,” Robert says. “We easily found a two bedroom for $1,000 a month with all the amenities: gym, pool, tennis court. We lived there for a year but then decided we could save money by buying a house. We sold up in the U.S. and bought here four years ago.”

Their three-bedroom house in a gated community cost about $50,000, before some modest refurbishment. On the whole, they figure they have reduced their cost of living by about 70% in comparison to their costs in the U.S., which is how they’ve been able to retire early with peace of mind.

We’ve reduced our cost of living by about 70%.

The Subic Bay area is a great place to retire, but it’s also a popular vacation destination for Filipinos and visitors from around the world. Within the zone is a yacht club and a motorracing speedway that hosts events throughout the year. Various amusement and adventure parks are situated within the zone, too, capitalizing on the combination of pristine coast, untouched forests, and easy transport links to the capital, (the E1/E4 expressway brings drive time to Manila below three hours, making Subic Bay a tempting weekend getaway for city-dwellers). One interesting feature is that less than five miles from Subic Bay’s international airport, the Pamulaklakin Nature Park—perhaps one of the most pristine natural preserves in the area—is home to the indigenous Aetas who once trained the U.S. Navy in jungle survival tactics.

“In my service days, Clark Base was like a private club for service men only, now it’s open to everyone and that’s good to see,” says Bob Quinn. “I was stationed at Clark from 1981 until 1985, so for me, coming back here to retire was kind of a coming home, even though so much has changed.”

After his military career, Bob worked as a software engineer in Seattle, Washington, but was laid off at 59. He ran the numbers and figured he’d have to work another 10 years, if he could even find a job at almost 60, to get by in Seattle. Alternatively, he figured, he could retire early to the Philippines and live without financial worries.

Bob’s moving experience was basically pain-free. “I was single, so no complications. I sold everything back in Seattle, packed my bags, and flew to the Philippines. I soon found a nice two-bedroom, one-bathroom condo with kitchen and living area.”

A beer costs a dollar and a meal is $2.

Living carefree in Subic, according to Bob’s calculation, costs about one-third of living modestly in Seattle. His monthly budget is $2,000 for rent, utilities, car payment, and insurance. “A beer costs a dollar and a meal is $2 if you go to the beach outside of the Subic Bay zone. Even inside, it’s very affordable. It’s $20 to $30 for a nice meal for two,” he says.

“I was single for the first year I lived here, so I hung out with friends in bars, and played baseball on the weekends. Now I have a girlfriend and we’re planning to marry and buy a house. We look forward to exploring more of the Philippines and other parts of Southeast Asia. Living here, there’s plenty of money left over to travel in comfort.”

Philipines Map

Since the Freeport was established in 1992, it has been home to international companies as well as those looking for a comfortable place to retire. It was Fed Ex’s Asian base for a while, and still hosts international shipping companies as it works toward becoming the primary hub for new technology in the Philippines. Almost all foreign workers live in the Zone, their kids go to schools there, and health and medical care is provided by the hospital at the port.

Like other countries in Southeast Asia, buying everyday household or personal products is much more affordable. That’s unless you insist on imported brands, which can cost as much or more than in the U.S. This goes for vehicles as well, though insurance and registration fees are dirt-cheap.

While shopping and dining in adjacent Olongapo City and nearby Balon Beach may not be as polished as in the Freeport, they make up for that with local character. Olongapo is home to two large fresh markets offering everything from seafood to seasonal fruits, while the restaurants and beach bars in Balon provide spectacular views with bargain street food and drinks just a few minutes’ drive from the Freeport.

Ron Mauldin, at 73, has lived in the Philippines three different times over the past 15 years. Married to Jenny, his Filipino wife, he counts her as his number one reason for coming back to live in the country time and again.

“We tried living in a couple of other places: Mexico, Thailand, and the Azores Islands of Portugal. In those places we were both foreigners, which didn’t make the settling process any easier. This time I think we’re back for good. I’ve invested a bit more this time, buying both a house in the zone and a small farm outside.”

Ron hopes to build a tropical plant export business with the help of his wife’s family. At 73, he’s fighting fit and energized to get hands-on.

Ron has had multiple experiences getting medical attention in Subic’s local hospitals. “If Jenny or I faced major surgery, we’d probably go either to Thailand or back to the U.S.” But for routine procedures, he says that the service and care he experienced was above average.

And it’s super-affordable: “I had a couple of minor surgeries, for which I would get a suite room at the hospital for about $20 a day. My entire cataract surgery cost 1,200 pesos ($140),” Ron explains.

Practical, affordable, and luxurious; put Subic Bay on your shortlist now.

PRACTICAL DETAILS

The greater Subic Bay area lies within a former U.S. military base, which is fenced and patrolled by private security. According to statistics provided by Henry Empano of The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, driving within the Freeport zone is the safest in the country. Likewise, the zone provides award-winning fire, 911 service, and hospital care.

Though there are a number of residential areas within Subic Bay, the majority of the 6,000 residents live in the Kalayaan or Binictican areas.

Subic Bay is best served by the international airports in either Manila or in Angeles City, both of which are a couple of hours from Subic by bus, or a bit less via private taxi. (The zone does have an international airport at Olangapo, but it currently serves only the Philippine Airlines route to Dubai.) For anyone staying in the Freeport zone, it’s cheapest to rent a car in the city of arrival. However, if you don’t want your introduction to Filipino driving practices to be in a big city (that’s understandable), you can rent in the Subic area, for a little more.

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Posted (edited)

Sponsored article?

Admittedly I haven't been anywhere near the area for about 5 years and never lived there, but all of the above does sound a little bit too good to be true and makes entertaining reading :SugarwareZ-005:

Edited by BrettGC
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1 hour ago, BrettGC said:

Sponsored article?

Admittedly I haven't been anywhere near the area for about 5 years and never lived there, but all of the above does sound a little bit too good to be true and makes entertaining reading :SugarwareZ-005:

We have a new chairman and probably some new PR people.  This also just came out.  Claims there will be a bridge across the bay that nobody has heard of.

 

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I would think that  anyone with any critical thinking skills, takes promotional travel and retirement articles like this with more than a few grains of salt. Most professional writers can knock off a  puff piece with a bit of easy research, and a few cherry picked or fabricated personal stories to make it appear that they and the article have some insightful assessments.

Who hasn't dreamed of escaping from modern life to a place that seems to tick all the boxes ? Its just leisure reading for most and perhaps a starting point for the few. Retirement dream marketing is a big business nowadays.

Perhaps you might take a few minutes to point out a few of the inaccuracies you found of note or interest, since you are a very good writer who is willing to often post and share thoughts on PI living.

I wouldn't put much stock in the value of what the interviewees said.  Its almost a list of the more common expat traps.....start a business for the wife's family, buy or build a house for a girlfriend or newly acquired wife, pay $1000/mo. and think its a great deal without checking out other locations to see what the norms are elsewhere, bounce from country to country looking for the Utopian retirement destination.

I hope the writer got at least some of the facts straight. I have no idea since I am only familiar with Panay, Mindoro and Negros.... and only spent small time in La Union, Baguio, Batangas and Palawan.

Anyway,   

 

 

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3 minutes ago, manofthecoldland said:

Perhaps you might take a few minutes to point out a few of the inaccuracies you found of note or interest, since you are a very good writer who is willing to often post and share thoughts on PI living.

Maybe later.  It is a terribly written article.

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Mostly BS for sure.  It really smacks of the "Live like a King for less than $1000 per month" that used to be posted all over the internet.  I live in the province and the last beer (SM Pilson) I bought was 75 peso.  And there is no WIH that you could buy a livable house for 50K (1 million peso) in Subic.

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On 5/14/2022 at 4:29 PM, manofthecoldland said:

Perhaps you might take a few minutes to point out a few of the inaccuracies you found of note or interest,

See below

An Old U.S. Base Becomes an Asian Retirement Hot Spot

An idyllic setting in an exotic destination, with Western-style comforts and services. A place where communities exist within a pristine, conserved habitat, but which also offers golf courses, water sports, and amusement parks. All that, at Southeast Asian prices. Oh yes, it exists!

The main focus here is on industry.  They are trying to build a railroad depot on a large section of the "pristine" mangroves.  Residents are a second thought.  The golf course is really nice now, but unaffordable last time I checked.  Mostly only Koreans golf there.

And the clincher? Over 90% of the population speaks English.

Maybe?  Is that about Subic or the Philippines?

The islands of the Philippines are renowned among travelers for their spectacular diving spots, white sand beaches, and lush mountain getaways. The beauty and, to be practical, the incredible affordability, of settling in the Philippines attracts retirees from around the world who have decided that tropical beach living suits them better than pinching pennies back home.

The spectacular diving might be outside the bay.  In the bay there are wreck dives, but visibility is usually bad.

Many of them converge on Subic Bay, a destination that’s evolved from its early days as a military compound into one of the world’s premier expats hubs.

The Subic Bay Freeport, or just Subic Bay to those who live there, is located in central Luzon. To explain: the Philippines is a country made up of over 7,000 islands. Some are inhabited, others are little more than sand-fringed atolls. Luzon, the largest island, is the site of the Philippine capital, Manila. Some 80 miles west, Subic Bay serves as a port to the South China Sea, but also as the country’s most developed resort and recreation area.

B.S.

That setup offers a privileged retirement destination in an idyllic setting. Formerly one of the largest U.S. military bases in Asia (along with nearby Clark Airbase), it was reformed in 1992 as a dedicated location for global business and international standards of living.

Although the Philippines is a developing nation, Subic stands out as the exception.

Subic is not developing?

Something like a gated community on a huge scale, the zone includes multiple communities with international-standard shopping, restaurants, healthcare and schools for residents,

There was a really nice private school near us, Casa Kalayaan.  Expensive.  In 2019 the refurbished the pool and installed a new artificial turf sports field.  In late 2020 they went out of business.  Everything was ripped out and sold.  Artificial turf, pool pumps, etc.  SBMA made no attempt to buy or save any of it.  It is now in a sad state of disrepair.  When we moved here we could use the pool for a small fee.  That ended a few years ago.

as well as a variety of breathtaking attractions for visitors. All are contained within its almost 170,000 acres, in a region that edges one of the most naturally beautiful and polluted bodies of water in the country.

The Subic Bay beach is polluted and no swimming allowed.  You have to go to the beaches towards the mouth of the bay to find clean water.  ~600 pesos to swim at those resorts.  The Olongapo beaches are also polluted.  I always get itchy when swimming there.

“I was nervous to come back to the Philippines after 15 years of living with my American husband in Tucson,” says Gabraille Robes about her return to her country of birth, “but we decided his pension would go much further, and I could live near my family. The thing is, I know the difference between the general standard of living in the Philippines and what we had in Tucson, so this is why we looked at Subic Bay. It’s U.S.-standard here.

Somewhat.  SBMA does nothing for the old Navy neighborhoods.  Broken sidewalks.  Many playgrounds but almost all rusted away and unsafe.

Gabraille left the Philippines in the 1990s to follow her career as a nurse in the U.S. She met her contractor husband, Robert, when he showed up in her ER for some stitches. Robert was always in agreement about retiring to the Philipines, and he and Gabraille used vacations there to explore different locations where they might settle down. They chose Subic for its ease of living and close proximity to Gabraille’s extended family.

At first we wanted a fully furnished condo on the bay,” Robert says. “We easily found a two bedroom for $1,000 a month with all the amenities: gym, pool, tennis court. We lived there for a year but then decided we could save money by buying a house. We sold up in the U.S. and bought here four years ago.”

The only place here that has pool and tennis courts is Subic Holiday Villas.  It is not even close to the bay.  I never heard of anybody playing tennis there and I think the courts are in disrepair.  The price might be about right but the place is not kept up well.  I have 2 friends who live there.  I have never heard of this lady.

Their three-bedroom house in a gated community cost about $50,000, before some modest refurbishment. On the whole, they figure they have reduced their cost of living by about 70% in comparison to their costs in the U.S., which is how they’ve been able to retire early with peace of mind.

If you found a place for 2.5 mil pesos it would be a complete teardown.  And this is a lease, not a purchase.

We’ve reduced our cost of living by about 70%.

The Subic Bay area is a great place to retire, but it’s also a popular vacation destination for Filipinos and visitors from around the world. Within the zone is a yacht club and a motorracing speedway that hosts events throughout the year.   It used to be a small oval next to the airport runway.  Shut down several years ago. Various amusement and adventure parks are situated within the zone, too, capitalizing on the combination of pristine coast, untouched forests, Ha ha and easy transport links to the capital, (the E1/E4 expressway brings drive time to Manila below three hours, making Subic Bay a tempting weekend getaway for city-dwellers). One interesting feature is that less than five miles from Subic Bay’s international airport, the Pamulaklakin Nature Park—perhaps one of the most pristine natural preserves in the area—is home to the indigenous Aetas who once trained the U.S. Navy in jungle survival tactics.

“In my service days, Clark Base was like a private club for service men only, now it’s open to everyone and that’s good to see,” says Bob Quinn. “I was stationed at Clark from 1981 until 1985, so for me, coming back here to retire was kind of a coming home, even though so much has changed.”

Clark gets a lot more money than Subic and is not really comparable.

After his military career, Bob worked as a software engineer in Seattle, Washington, but was laid off at 59. He ran the numbers and figured he’d have to work another 10 years, if he could even find a job at almost 60, to get by in Seattle. Alternatively, he figured, he could retire early to the Philippines and live without financial worries.

Bob’s moving experience was basically pain-free. “I was single, so no complications. I sold everything back in Seattle, packed my bags, and flew to the Philippines. I soon found a nice two-bedroom, one-bathroom condo with kitchen and living area.”

There are very few condos in the freeport.  I found a Bob Quinn on FB and it appears he is living in Subic Town, not Subic Bay Freeport.

A beer costs a dollar and a meal is $2Maybe a a local place for local food.

Living carefree in Subic, according to Bob’s calculation, costs about one-third of living modestly in Seattle. His monthly budget is $2,000 for rent, utilities, car payment, and insurance. “A beer costs a dollar and a meal is $2 if you go to the beach outside of the Subic Bay zone. Even inside, it’s very affordable. It’s $20 to $30 for a nice meal for two,” he says.

“I was single for the first year I lived here, so I hung out with friends in bars, and played baseball No baseball fields here.  Some in Clark. on the weekends. Now I have a girlfriend and we’re planning to marry and buy a house. We look forward to exploring more of the Philippines and other parts of Southeast Asia. Living here, there’s plenty of money left over to travel in comfort.”

Philipines Map

Since the Freeport was established in 1992, it has been home to international companies as well as those looking for a comfortable place to retire. It was Fed Ex’s Asian base for a while, and still hosts international shipping companies as it works toward becoming the primary hub for new technology in the Philippines. Almost all foreign workers live in the Zone, their kids go to schools there, and health and medical care is provided by the hospital at the port.

Baypointe is the only hospital in the freeport.  They were restricted by the government from doing any actual surgeries, etc., for a few years.  Improving now.  Best to go to Medical City Clark for anything important.

Like other countries in Southeast Asia, buying everyday household or personal products is much more affordable. That’s unless you insist on imported brands, which can cost as much or more than in the U.S. This goes for vehicles as well, though insurance and registration fees are dirt-cheap.

While shopping and dining in adjacent Olongapo City and nearby Balon Baloy Beach There is no shopping at Baloy Beach. may not be as polished as in the Freeport, they make up for that with local character. Olongapo is home to two large fresh markets offering everything from seafood to seasonal fruits, while the restaurants and beach bars in Balon provide spectacular views with bargain street food and drinks just a few minutes’ drive from the Freeport.  I think he is actually referring to Bario Barretto.

Ron Mauldin, at 73, has lived in the Philippines three different times over the past 15 years. Married to Jenny, his Filipino wife, he counts her as his number one reason for coming back to live in the country time and again.

“We tried living in a couple of other places: Mexico, Thailand, and the Azores Islands of Portugal. In those places we were both foreigners, which didn’t make the settling process any easier. This time I think we’re back for good. I’ve invested a bit more this time, buying both a house in the zone and a small farm outside.”

Ron hopes to build a tropical plant export business with the help of his wife’s family. At 73, he’s fighting fit and energized to get hands-on.

Never heard if him.  Good luck!

Ron has had multiple experiences getting medical attention in Subic’s local hospitals. “If Jenny or I faced major surgery, we’d probably go either to Thailand or back to the U.S.” But for routine procedures, he says that the service and care he experienced was above average.

And it’s super-affordable: “I had a couple of minor surgeries, for which I would get a suite room at the hospital for about $20 a day. My entire cataract surgery cost 1,200 pesos ($140),” Ron explains.  Complete BS.

Practical, affordable, and luxurious; put Subic Bay on your shortlist now.

PRACTICAL DETAILS

The greater Subic Bay area lies within a former U.S. military base, which is fenced and patrolled by private security. According to statistics provided by Henry Empano Never heard of him of The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, driving within the Freeport zone is the safest in the country. Likewise, the zone provides award-winning fire, 911 service, and hospital care.  BS

Though there are a number of residential areas within Subic Bay, the majority of the 6,000 residents live in the Kalayaan or Binictican areas.  There are 500-600 households, I believe.  6000 residents would mean 10 people per household.  No way.

Subic Bay is best served by the international airports in either Manila or in Angeles City, both of which are a couple of hours from Subic by bus, or a bit less via private taxi. (The zone does have an international airport at Olangapo, The old Navy airport is in the Freeport, not Olangapo or Olongapo, and has no scheduled flights.  The Dubai flights were just to bring OFWs home during Covid. There is no outbound. but it currently serves only the Philippine Airlines route to Dubai.) For anyone staying in the Freeport zone, it’s cheapest to rent a car in the city of arrival. However, if you don’t want your introduction to Filipino driving practices to be in a big city (that’s understandable), you can rent in the Subic area, for a little more.

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1 hour ago, OnMyWay said:

See below

An Old U.S. Base Becomes an Asian Retirement Hot Spot

An idyllic setting in an exotic destination, with Western-style comforts and services. A place where communities exist within a pristine, conserved habitat, but which also offers golf courses, water sports, and amusement parks. All that, at Southeast Asian prices. Oh yes, it exists!

The main focus here is on industry.  They are trying to build a railroad depot on a large section of the "pristine" mangroves.  Residents are a second thought.  The golf course is really nice now, but unaffordable last time I checked.  Mostly only Koreans golf there.

And the clincher? Over 90% of the population speaks English.

Maybe?  Is that about Subic or the Philippines?

The islands of the Philippines are renowned among travelers for their spectacular diving spots, white sand beaches, and lush mountain getaways. The beauty and, to be practical, the incredible affordability, of settling in the Philippines attracts retirees from around the world who have decided that tropical beach living suits them better than pinching pennies back home.

The spectacular diving might be outside the bay.  In the bay there are wreck dives, but visibility is usually bad.

Many of them converge on Subic Bay, a destination that’s evolved from its early days as a military compound into one of the world’s premier expat hubs.

The Subic Bay Freeport, or just Subic Bay to those who live there, is located in central Luzon. To explain: the Philippines is a country made up of over 7,000 islands. Some are inhabited, others are little more than sand-fringed atolls. Luzon, the largest island, is the site of the Philippine capital, Manila. Some 80 miles west, Subic Bay serves as a port to the South China Sea, but also as the country’s most developed resort and recreation area.

B.S.

That setup offers a privileged retirement destination in an idyllic setting. Formerly one of the largest U.S. military bases in Asia (along with nearby Clark Airbase), it was reformed in 1992 as a dedicated location for global business and international standards of living.

Although the Philippines is a developing nation, Subic stands out as the exception.

Subic is not developing?

Something like a gated community on a huge scale, the zone includes multiple communities with international-standard shopping, restaurants, healthcare and schools for residents,

There was a really nice private school near us, Casa Kalayaan.  Expensive.  In 2019 the refurbished the pool and installed a new artificial turf sports field.  In late 2020 they went out of business.  Everything was ripped out and sold.  Artificial turf, pool pumps, etc.  SBMA made no attempt to buy or save any of it.  It is now in a sad state of disrepair.  When we moved here we could use the pool for a small fee.  That ended a few years ago.

as well as a variety of breathtaking attractions for visitors. All are contained within its almost 170,000 acres, in a region that edges one of the most naturally beautiful and polluted bodies of water in the country.

The Subic Bay beach is polluted and no swimming allowed.  You have to go to the beaches towards the mouth of the bay to find clean water.  ~600 pesos to swim at those resorts.  The Olongapo beaches are also polluted.  I always get itchy when swimming there.

“I was nervous to come back to the Philippines after 15 years of living with my American husband in Tucson,” says Gabraille Robes about her return to her country of birth, “but we decided his pension would go much further, and I could live near my family. The thing is, I know the difference between the general standard of living in the Philippines and what we had in Tucson, so this is why we looked at Subic Bay. It’s U.S.-standard here.

Somewhat.  SBMA does nothing for the old Navy neighborhoods.  Broken sidewalks.  Many playgrounds but almost all rusted away and unsafe.

Gabraille left the Philippines in the 1990s to follow her career as a nurse in the U.S. She met her contractor husband, Robert, when he showed up in her ER for some stitches. Robert was always in agreement about retiring to the Philipines, and he and Gabraille used vacations there to explore different locations where they might settle down. They chose Subic for its ease of living and close proximity to Gabraille’s extended family.

At first we wanted a fully furnished condo on the bay,” Robert says. “We easily found a two bedroom for $1,000 a month with all the amenities: gym, pool, tennis court. We lived there for a year but then decided we could save money by buying a house. We sold up in the U.S. and bought here four years ago.”

The only place here that has pool and tennis courts is Subic Holiday Villas.  It is not even close to the bay.  I never heard of anybody playing tennis there and I think the courts are in disrepair.  The price might be about right but the place is not kept up well.  I have 2 friends who live there.  I have never heard of this lady.

Their three-bedroom house in a gated community cost about $50,000, before some modest refurbishment. On the whole, they figure they have reduced their cost of living by about 70% in comparison to their costs in the U.S., which is how they’ve been able to retire early with peace of mind.

If you found a place for 2.5 mil pesos it would be a complete teardown.  And this is a lease, not a purchase.

We’ve reduced our cost of living by about 70%.

The Subic Bay area is a great place to retire, but it’s also a popular vacation destination for Filipinos and visitors from around the world. Within the zone is a yacht club and a motorracing speedway that hosts events throughout the year.   It used to be a small oval next to the airport runway.  Shut down several years ago. Various amusement and adventure parks are situated within the zone, too, capitalizing on the combination of pristine coast, untouched forests, Ha ha and easy transport links to the capital, (the E1/E4 expressway brings drive time to Manila below three hours, making Subic Bay a tempting weekend getaway for city-dwellers). One interesting feature is that less than five miles from Subic Bay’s international airport, the Pamulaklakin Nature Park—perhaps one of the most pristine natural preserves in the area—is home to the indigenous Aetas who once trained the U.S. Navy in jungle survival tactics.

“In my service days, Clark Base was like a private club for service men only, now it’s open to everyone and that’s good to see,” says Bob Quinn. “I was stationed at Clark from 1981 until 1985, so for me, coming back here to retire was kind of a coming home, even though so much has changed.”

Clark gets a lot more money than Subic and is not really comparable.

After his military career, Bob worked as a software engineer in Seattle, Washington, but was laid off at 59. He ran the numbers and figured he’d have to work another 10 years, if he could even find a job at almost 60, to get by in Seattle. Alternatively, he figured, he could retire early to the Philippines and live without financial worries.

Bob’s moving experience was basically pain-free. “I was single, so no complications. I sold everything back in Seattle, packed my bags, and flew to the Philippines. I soon found a nice two-bedroom, one-bathroom condo with kitchen and living area.”

There are very few condos in the freeport.  I found a Bob Quinn on FB and it appears he is living in Subic Town, not Subic Bay Freeport.

A beer costs a dollar and a meal is $2Maybe a a local place for local food.

Living carefree in Subic, according to Bob’s calculation, costs about one-third of living modestly in Seattle. His monthly budget is $2,000 for rent, utilities, car payment, and insurance. “A beer costs a dollar and a meal is $2 if you go to the beach outside of the Subic Bay zone. Even inside, it’s very affordable. It’s $20 to $30 for a nice meal for two,” he says.

“I was single for the first year I lived here, so I hung out with friends in bars, and played baseball No baseball fields here.  Some in Clark. on the weekends. Now I have a girlfriend and we’re planning to marry and buy a house. We look forward to exploring more of the Philippines and other parts of Southeast Asia. Living here, there’s plenty of money left over to travel in comfort.”

Philipines Map

Since the Freeport was established in 1992, it has been home to international companies as well as those looking for a comfortable place to retire. It was Fed Ex’s Asian base for a while, and still hosts international shipping companies as it works toward becoming the primary hub for new technology in the Philippines. Almost all foreign workers live in the Zone, their kids go to schools there, and health and medical care is provided by the hospital at the port.

Baypointe is the only hospital in the freeport.  They were restricted by the government from doing any actual surgeries, etc., for a few years.  Improving now.  Best to go to Medical City Clark for anything important.

Like other countries in Southeast Asia, buying everyday household or personal products is much more affordable. That’s unless you insist on imported brands, which can cost as much or more than in the U.S. This goes for vehicles as well, though insurance and registration fees are dirt-cheap.

While shopping and dining in adjacent Olongapo City and nearby Balon Baloy Beach There is no shopping at Baloy Beach. may not be as polished as in the Freeport, they make up for that with local character. Olongapo is home to two large fresh markets offering everything from seafood to seasonal fruits, while the restaurants and beach bars in Balon provide spectacular views with bargain street food and drinks just a few minutes’ drive from the Freeport.  I think he is actually referring to Bario Barretto.

Ron Mauldin, at 73, has lived in the Philippines three different times over the past 15 years. Married to Jenny, his Filipino wife, he counts her as his number one reason for coming back to live in the country time and again.

“We tried living in a couple of other places: Mexico, Thailand, and the Azores Islands of Portugal. In those places we were both foreigners, which didn’t make the settling process any easier. This time I think we’re back for good. I’ve invested a bit more this time, buying both a house in the zone and a small farm outside.”

Ron hopes to build a tropical plant export business with the help of his wife’s family. At 73, he’s fighting fit and energized to get hands-on.

Never heard if him.  Good luck!

Ron has had multiple experiences getting medical attention in Subic’s local hospitals. “If Jenny or I faced major surgery, we’d probably go either to Thailand or back to the U.S.” But for routine procedures, he says that the service and care he experienced was above average.

And it’s super-affordable: “I had a couple of minor surgeries, for which I would get a suite room at the hospital for about $20 a day. My entire cataract surgery cost 1,200 pesos ($140),” Ron explains.  Complete BS.

Practical, affordable, and luxurious; put Subic Bay on your shortlist now.

PRACTICAL DETAILS

The greater Subic Bay area lies within a former U.S. military base, which is fenced and patrolled by private security. According to statistics provided by Henry Empano Never heard of him of The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, driving within the Freeport zone is the safest in the country. Likewise, the zone provides award-winning fire, 911 service, and hospital care.  BS

Though there are a number of residential areas within Subic Bay, the majority of the 6,000 residents live in the Kalayaan or Binictican areas.  There are 500-600 households, I believe.  6000 residents would mean 10 people per household.  No way.

Subic Bay is best served by the international airports in either Manila or in Angeles City, both of which are a couple of hours from Subic by bus, or a bit less via private taxi. (The zone does have an international airport at Olangapo, The old Navy airport is in the Freeport, not Olangapo or Olongapo, and has no scheduled flights.  The Dubai flights were just to bring OFWs home during Covid. There is no outbound. but it currently serves only the Philippine Airlines route to Dubai.) For anyone staying in the Freeport zone, it’s cheapest to rent a car in the city of arrival. However, if you don’t want your introduction to Filipino driving practices to be in a big city (that’s understandable), you can rent in the Subic area, for a little more.

Pretty much as most of us today thought with regards to the article then.  Thanks for confirming Don.

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