The Philippines is a sovereign island nation, situated in the west Pacific Ocean. It consists of about 7,641 islands, that are categorised broadly under three main geographical divisions from north to south: Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

The country has a land area of 298,170 square kilometres, on which around 104 million people live. The official language is Filipino (Tagalog), although English is widely spoken. The Philippines proudly boast they are the only Christian nation in Asia, with over 86% of the population Roman Catholic.


Tropical, with three distinct seasons. The hot dry season (Summer) from March to May, the rainy season, from June to November and the cool dry season from December to February.

The official currency is the Philippines peso (PHP) although US dollars (USD) are widely accepted.

A good quality system, especially in urban areas. The international code is +63 and the internet code is .ph


The Philippines offers an exceptionally high standard of healthcare particularly in its major cities and key tourist areas. Services are equal, if not better, than those available in Australia, and often for a fraction of the cost. More information is covered in our healthcare section.

Capital of the Philippines is Manilla

Manila is the commercial, judicial and transport heart of the country. Home to 12 million people, it is one of the most congested cities in the World. Whilst its pollution may put off some visitors, it has a vast amount of architectural and cultural landmarks, glittering shopping malls, diverse markets and a pulsating nightlife. For those retirees that do call Manila home, Makati is the district most chose to reside.

The city is served by one major airport, Ninoy Aquino International Airport (MNL). The airport is 7kms from the South of the city and the gateway for Australians into the country.

Qantas, Philippines Airlines and Cebu Pacific fly daily direct flights between Sydney and Manila. Philippines Airlines fly 3 times a week from Melbourne, and 4 times a week from both Cairns and Darwin. All other Australian cities access Jakrta indirectly. 

Key Retirement Locations

The city sits about 5,300 feet above sea level in the Luzon tropical pine forests. It has a population of around 340,000 people, and is known as an educational centre, with up to 8 colleges and universities, plus a plethora of trade and technical schools. There are several bus services linking Baguio to Manila (travel time about 4 hours). In addition to the many festivals and art shows, retirees here enjoy the outdoor activities, such as golf, horseback riding, and biking.

Cebu City (CEB)
Cebu combines the convenience of a major city with a close proximity to beaches and mountains. It is the region’s centre for commerce, education, industry and trade, and has many hospitals and universities. Cebu is the second largest city in the Philippines, with a population approaching 1 million people. It has an international airport, with access not only to many Asian cities, but also direct links to Los Angeles, Dubai and Russia. Regular flights to Manila provide easy access for Australians to the city.

Dumaguete (DGT)
Dumaguete is the capital, principal seaport and largest city in the province of Negros Oriental. It has a population of around 122,000 people and was named as one of the most ideal places in the world to retire in the 2014 Retire Overseas Index (released by the ‘Overseas Retirement Letter’). Known as a centre of learning in the South, it is another highly popular University town. Dumaguete is served by a domestic airport (Sibulan) which has regular daily flights to Manila and Cebu City.

This beautiful town sits in the mountainous region of the Philippines’ main island. Known for its scenery and cooler climate, Tagaytay rests on the shores of Lake Taal. It has world class golf courses, and an abundance of outdoor activities. The view of Taal Volcano Island from the town is one of the Philippines most iconic attractions.

Tagaytay has a resident population of 62,000, giving it a cosy small town feel, but only 55 kms away is Manila, and all the conveniences that a big city can offer.

Some other people's favourites

Home to a beach which is regularly voted as one of the most beautiful in the world, this small magical island has great shopping, restaurants and nightlife, in addition to plenty of water sport activities.

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