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.
CurrencyThe official currency is the Philippines peso (PHP) although US dollars (USD) are widely accepted.
CommunicationsA 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.
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.
BaguioThe 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.
TagaytayThis 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.
BoracayHome 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.
The cost of living in the Philippines is significantly cheaper than in Australia. Quite simply, your money goes so much further, providing you with the opportunity to have a quality of life which is typically only available to the wealthy in Australia. This is one of the key motivations for retiring to Asia.
The exact savings will vary on where you decide to retire, and the type of lifestyle you choose to live.
For example, it is generally cheaper to live in Dumaguete than in Manilla. Similarly, you average grocery bill will be less if you buy local products rather than foreign imported foods. However, all things being equal, the ‘cost of living’ savings when compared to Australia are very significant.
In this table, Retire to Asia compares the average percentage saving a retiree can expect on a range of products & services in popular Cebu and Dumaguete locations with the cost of those products & services in Australia:
Whilst it’s exciting to retire to a dream location, either temporarily or permanently, there are a number of tasks that need to completed, and arrangements that need to be made.
Retire to Asia provide a broad range of services to assist you with this exciting move. These services include the following:
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Retire to Asia provides ongoing support and advice over the phone, or through our website and newsletters. We are here to assist you.
If you’d like more information or have any questions, please feel free to call 1800-961-377 or email in**@re**********.au and let the team at Retire to Asia help make your dream lifestyle a reality.
The level of per capita healthcare in the Philippines is one of the lowest of all South East Asia’s major economies. However, the Philippine government is committed to improving this standard and over recent years has made some significant inroads in addressing this inequity.
Healthcare in the Philippines is variable, ranging in quality from excellent to dire. If you live in and around cities, then the level of healthcare is generally of a high standard, while many rural area facilities lack infrastructure, technology, and trained medical staff.
Despite these challenges, expats are generally able to access good, affordable healthcare, so long as they live in or around major regional centres, or are willing to travel to major regional centres.
As with many SE Asian countries, the Philippines offers both a public and private healthcare system. As far as healthcare costs are concerned, expats consider both services to be very affordable.
Communication is not a problem with nearly all medical staff are able to speak and understand English.
Approximately 60 percent of the Philippines hospitals are privately operated, so private healthcare is widely available in major areas. The treatment in private hospitals is excellent and whilst expensive by local standards, the cost of treatment is cheap compared to western standards.
If you do not have international private health insurance, you will be asked to pay a deposit on admission to the private hospital service.
Please contact Retire to Asia for more information on International Private Health Insurance.
Philhealth is the national government operated health insurance scheme. Also open to resident expats, this service provides the cheapest health insurance for expats for services provided by any government hospital.
Philhealth provides both inpatient and outpatient cover and reimburses up to set limits within 60 days of submitting the reimbursement request.
Foreigners can enrol by submitting a member registration form with a photocopy of their Alien Certificate of Registration issues by the Bureau of Immigration. If you are married to a Filipina, you are able to register as a dependent and also get cover.
Currently, the Philippine Retirement Authority (PRA) is not accepting new applications for its SRRV Retirement Visas. A review of existing visa requirements is being conducted. The PRA has stated they are keen to continue with the visa programme but have been made aware of too many people abusing the system and will aim to tweak the programme to counter those abuses.
We will update this page and inform our followers as soon as the changes have been made public.
The following represented the rules that were in place at date of programme suspension in October 2020.
The Philippine Government is actively seeking foreign retirees that wish to retire to the Philippines. It has set up the Philippine Retirement Authority (PRA), which sits within the Department of Tourism and is directly supervised by the Secretary of Tourism.
PRA is mandated to develop and promote the Philippines as a retirement haven as ‘a means of accelerating the social and economic development of the country’. The aim of the PRA is ‘to make the Philippines the preferred retirement destination in SE Asia.
Eligibility for a Philippine retirement visa starts at age 35!
The Philippines has a broad range of retirement options, which are part of program known as the Special Residents Retiree’s Visa (SRRV) program.
The four types of SRRV are: the ‘Classic’, the ‘Smile’, the ‘Courtesy’ and the ‘Human Touch’.
Each type of visa has its own age and financial requirements, but all of them require you to provide a Medical Certificate, secure a Police Clearance and in certain circumstances, a National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Clearance.
What Are The Age And Financial And Age Requirements For Each SRRV option?
Designed for active / healthy retirees. If aged 35 to 49 years a Visa Deposit of US$50,000 is required. For applicants 50 years old + the Visa Deposit is US$10,000 with a Pension and US$20,000 without a Pension.
Minimum pension required for the US$10,000 Visa Deposit is US$800 / month for single applicants, and US$1,000 / month per couple. A certificate of benefit from either the Government or private industry is required.
Why would you choose ‘Classic’ over ‘smile’? Because on the ‘Classic’ visa your Visa Deposit does not have to sit in a bank account. You can use your Visa Deposit to purchase a condo, unit, or a long-term lease on a property (including landed property). So long as the property is ready to be moved into immediately.
Designed for ailing retirees from 35 years +, who are shown to have medical needs and may require medical services. A Visa Deposit of US$10,000 is needed plus a monthly pension of at least US$1,500 and Health Insurance acceptable in Philippine hospitals.
A certificate of benefit from either the Government or private industry is required for proof of pension payments received.
Foreigners can own condos and apartments outright. They can also own villas, houses, industrial and commercial property, but not the land that it sits on. For this reason, foreigners usually purchase condos or apartments as it is relatively straight forward, and they retain 100% control.
Filipinos are required to own at least 60% of all condos/apartments in the block. The remaining 40% can be legally owned by foreigners.
The Philippines is like other SE Asian countries when it comes to land ownership rules. Only Philippine citizens can own land. Malaysia is the only country in SE Asia where foreigners can legally own land outright.
However, if you wish to own (or at least control) land then there are generally two ways should you wish to invest and/or live long term on property with land attached.
This is quite a common option in the Philippines and you will need to seek legal advice in setting up such a structure.
The following basic rules apply if you wish to take this path:
A much simpler way is to lease the property. Foreigners can lease property fully in their own name.
The maximum period a foreigner can lease land is up to 50 years, with a further 25 years extension.
Should you wish you may also structure the lease agreement so that you can make improvements to the property or even sell the lease to a third party. These agreements become far more beneficial the longer the lease term.
You can also structure the agreement so that the lease can pass on to a beneficiary on death.
If you’d like more information or have any questions about renting or buying property in Philippines, please feel free to call 1800-961-377 or email in**@re**********.au and let the team at Retire to Asia help make your dream lifestyle a reality.
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