My first year of retirement in the Philippines.
I did a lot of research about retiring in the Philippines before I came here and the most recommended city was called Cebu City. It is the second largest city in the Philippines and has the largest expatriate comunity in the country. The first hotel that I picked was right across the street from the biggest and most modern shopping mall in town called Ayala Mall. The mall was beautiful, much like water tower place in Chicago but much larger. I found familiar stores and restaurants there that helped me ease into my new world. I walked around for an hour looking at the stores and people, then headed to a Jollibee for a bite to eat. Jollibee is the McDonalds of Asia, but much lower quality and cheaper food. I met a 23 year old Canadian kid there that looked like Justin Bevers so I sat down and talked to him. Phil was touring asia with financial help from his Dad and money he made planting trees in his home country of Canada. Phil was short on funding but very experienced at traveling in Asia. I had lots of cash but no experience. I asked him to be my wing man and he said he would give it a try. I would pay for some of our fun and he would share what he learned and be a friend. Win Win.
For the next three weeks I spent walking around Ayala mall, talking to foreigners about their experiences and learning as quickly as possible, mostly about the foriener – Philipina relationships. Protected content ventured out of the mall for long walks and visited the tourist areas and what I saw made me nervous. The traffic congestion was terrible, I saw many pick pockets after me and others. People sleeping on the steps of the buildings, barbed wire and broken shards cemented to the top of high walls everywhere. Heavy pollution and the smell of the poor sewer systems were everywhere and then I would go back to my hotel and mall to calm myself.
Phil and I decided to take a trip to Moalbol to do some snorkeling. Moalbol is a world famous snorkeling and diving spot on the southwest corner of Cebu Island, about a 4 hour bus drive away. Again on the way there I saw terrible poverty and was amazed how little of the land was cultivated. I just could not see how these people are able to support themselves. No monkeys, no small birds, no squirrels, no rabbits, only wild dogs and cats were still alive, the locals ate all of the rest. Phil and I shared a two bed room and enjoyed the snorkeling
Phil and I met a philipine couple in Cebu City that were from a smaller city that I was interested in visiting. Dumaguete City has a population of Protected content to Cebu Citys 1 million so much smaller and more manageable. Protected content is considered one of the best places in the world where to retire on a small budget and is the biggest college town in the Philippines. The couple invited us to go there for a week end so Phil and I took the bus to the south end of Cebu Island and then took the ferry across to Negros Oriental to the south east. Negros Oriental is a large dormant volcanic Island that does have little earthquakes and hot springs which means that the volcano is alive under the surface, but not active in thousands of years. It is in southern Philippines which does not get big hurricanes and even if it did this island is protected by three other islands between it and the open Pacific Ocean where the hurricanes develop. If a hurricane did hit here the energy would be reduced significantly. Flooding can occur here but not often and not severe.
Wow, did it feel better for me in Dumeguete City. Eight thousand foreigners live here and when I spoke to them they were all quite happy with this city. There are 60 thousand college students here and 95% of them are girls. The locals here can become educated professionals here in the good and very cheap colleges here, or they can start businesses to make money off the foreigners and students. Houses and lots are much cleaner and better organized here. Nearly every family in the city has one of their family members that work overseas and sends money home to the rest of the family. The land on this island is cultivated or set up for pasture land. The pay rate for the locals to work here averages $2 dollars a day for those with a grade school degree, $3 a day with a high school degree, and about $8 a day for college degree. Housing, Healthcare, and services are cheap here but food is the same price as in USA so the locals struggle to just eat here. Tooth filling here is $10. Day in hospital here is $ Protected content degreed massage therapist charge $2 and hour here. Restaurants here cost just a little bit more than the cost of the food itself, hoping that you will spend a lot on drinks. I can get dinner of small salad, soup, rice, bread, and jerk chicken here for $3.50. Protected content
My Canadian friend Phil stayed with me for several weeks and I received a call from a lady back in Cebu saying that she found my wallet. I gave her a reward and I received back all my credit cards and Id’s including my passport.
Pedi cabs are the most common type of taxis here. They are motorcycles with a carriage bolted on to them that can carry up to 6 people. Pedi cabs cost 20 cents per ride if you are willing to wait until the cab fills up with passengers or higher prices if you want the cab all to yourself and how far you are traveling. Jeepies are used more by the locals and these are less expensive than the pedi cabs. I am too big for Jeepies so Pedi cabs are better for me. The suspension on a Pedi cab is poor and the roads terrible so I have to bend over in them to keep my head from slamming into the roof when I ride.
New and used cars are about the same price as in the USA so multicabs and motorcycles are much more common. Multicabs are very small multiuse vehicles with 2 cylinder engines and they come from Japan. Japan law says that cars over 10 years old are not allowed on the road so when they get to be 10 they are dismantled and sold as scrap to reassemblers here in the Philippines. They are brought in as used parts to avoid the Protected content cent import tax. They are reassembled here and customized and painted for your needs and cost about $4000. I purchased a new full size motorcycle here designed and labled as a Kawasaki but manufactured in India at a lower cost. The Protected content motor is bigger than 95% of the bikes here and it goes 70 miles on a gallon of gas and the cost of the new motorcycle was $1300.
Foreigners meet together here at the coffee shops, bars, and restaurants to share experiences and advice for successful living here. Everyone I spoke to here was very happy with life in Dumaguete. Some that have been here a long time complain about the rise in traffic and cost of goods, but as a whole are very happy to be here. My goal is to have a long term, win win relationship with my partner here. Protected content have found likeminded friends who are also in long term relationships, and we meet together at least once per week. I live is a separate two bedroom house that is nicely furnished with two air conditioners, oven, stove, refrigerator, TV, couches, chairs, and lots of closets and cabinets. I have use of a beautiful semiprivate swimming pool for hours each day and my rent is $300 per month. This is on the high end of rentals so cheaper places can be found if needed. Protected content
The ocean and the land here is beautiful but you have to get away from the city to see this. A five mile motorcycle ride up the mountain and I am looking at water falls, mounains, valeys, palm trees, and other islands on the horizon. You can swim in hot spring pools in resorts up in the mountains or play a round of mini golf for $1.