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Sunday, June 26, 2016

Best Places in the Philippines for Foreign Retirees

Wazzup Pilipinas!

Thanks to its many great locations, retiring in the Philippines is a no-brainer, even if you’re a foreigner

With an estimated 7,407 islands featuring gorgeous beaches, upland communities, and busy metropolises, the Philippines offers retirement options for almost any person of any lifestyle. Thousands of islands can be challenging to choose from, especially if you are a nonresident retiree. Fortunately, by taking into combined consideration cost of living, the presence of basic necessities, and the overall retirement atmosphere of an area, it becomes just a little bit easier to narrow the list down.

1. Imus, Cavite

Imus, Cavite. Photo by Ramon FVelasquez via Wikimedia Commons
Imus is an ideal retirement location because it is very close to Metro Manila (approximately 19 km south of the capital), giving foreign retirees a quiet suburb to live in that is not too far from the conveniences of the capital. Earning cityhood in 2012, Imus itself is not one to lack in lifestyle amenities, as it is currently home to 14 commercial centers. While very urbanized, Imus still retains most of its provincial charm. There are also a number of residential developments to choose from, a few of which are upcoming projects by Ayala Land, Vista Land, and Megaworld.

Rent per month: Range from Php4,000 for a two-bedroom townhouse to Php13,000 for a three-bedroom house and lot

Hospitals: 5
Commercial centers: 14

2. Bacoor, Cavite

Bacoor, Cavite. Photo by Lawrence Ruiz via Wikimedia Commons
Widely described as a bedroom community where many of its residents are employees who commute to and from Metro Manila, Bacoor is currently transitioning from being a mainly agricultural economy to one that’s focused on residential and commercial development. Property developers have been keen on developing projects in rural–urban fringes like Bacoor, which will become the future southern terminus of the Manila Light Rail Transit System. Also, part of the city will be traversed by the future Cavite–Laguna Expressway, making travel to nearby Laguna very easy.

Along with several shopping centers, the city has a number of resorts, cultural landmarks, and festivals. And similar to Imus, it is very near Metro Manila but still has a laidback, rural atmosphere, making it an ideal place for retirees.

Rent per month: Range from Php6,500 for a three-bedroom house to Php25,000 for a house in Avida Settings Cavite

Hospitals: 8
Commercial centers: 14

3. Tagaytay City

Taal Lake and Volcano as seen from Tagaytay Ridge. Photo via Shutterstock
While widely known as a tourist destination, Tagaytay City is also an ideal retirement destination thanks to its cool climate. Located in relatively short distance from Metro Manila, it is still far enough to provide the peace and quiet that many come to the area for—not to mention spectacular views of the Taal Lake and Volcano. Although Tagaytay’s popularity as a vacation spot makes it quite costly to live in compared to the other cities on this list, Cavite’s agricultural areas ensure that fresh produce here at least is very cheap. Further, if retirees suddenly feel a need to soak up some sun, the sandy coves of Nasugbu are just a short drive away.

Hospitals: 2
Commercial centers: 4 (including partially opened Twin Lakes’ retail area)

4. Cebu City

Downtown Cebu City. Photo via Shutterstock
Among the Philippines’ top three cities, Cebu may not seem like the best place for a retiree. But on the contrary, it is actually ideal because of the comprehensive urban amenities it offers. And being an island locale, it is very near a good number of tropical resorts and natural attractions, including the white sand beaches of Mactan Island. Properties can sometimes be a little costly in Cebu given that it is a major city, but this also means that there are many options available in various estates developed by some of the country’s biggest real estate companies.

Rent per month: Range from Php18,000 for a two-bedroom townhouse in Lahug to Php140,000 for a five-bedroom house in Banilad

Hospitals: At least 16 major hospitals
Commercial centers: 29

5. Santa Rosa, Laguna

Santa Rosa City poblacion area. Photo by Ramon FVelasquez via Wikimedia Commons
Another area predominantly serving as a suburban residential community of Metro Manila, Santa Rosa is situated a mere 38 kilometers south of the National Capital Region. The premiere city and hub of South Luzon, the city is often called the Makati of the South due to its economic activity sans the density and level of urbanization. The city is popular for being the location of Nuvali, a massive estate developed by Ayala Land. Sta. Rosa is also home to a number of special economic zones, industrial parks, and master-planned communities resulting in the increase of the city’s comprehensive modern amenities.

Rent per month: Range from Php19,000 for a newly built house in Avida Parkway to Php80,000 for a five-bedroom house in Pramana Residential Estates

Hospitals: 9
Commercial centers: 11

6. Calamba, Laguna

View of Mount Makiling from Calamba. Photo via Shutterstock
Calamba is often referred to as the Resort Capital of the Philippines because of its many hot spring resorts located on the slopes of Mount Makiling. However, the city has as of late come to be known as a residential destination as well, thanks to the emergence of developments like Ayala-Greenfield Estates and Ciudad Verde.

To complement the resort-like living retirees can enjoy in Calamba, its local economy is fueled by a number of lifestyle and commercial centers, providing residents’ basic needs. If the city gets too crowded for a retiree’s liking, however, the very laid-back campus of the University of the Philippines Los Baños and the National Arts Center are just a short drive away.

Rent per month: Range from Php8,000 for a one-bedroom house to Php150,000 for a six-bedroom house in Brgy. Canlubang

Hospitals: 10
Commercial centers: 9

7. Subic Freeport Zone, Zambales

Subic Bay. Photo via Shutterstock
Renowned for being a former overseas U.S. military installation, the Subic Freeport Zone is perfect for foreign retirees who want to continue their American suburban lifestyle in the Philippines. Along with its duty-free shopping, there are also a number of great schools, hospitals, and hotels and resorts in the city. While there is plenty to do and see in the Freeport Zone, probably one its biggest draws as a retirement area is the location’s cleanliness and orderliness.

Hospitals: 3
Commercial centers: 5

8. Dumaguete City

Dumaguete City. Photo via Shutterstock
More popularly known as the “City of Gentle People,” Dumaguete City is the capital and primary seaport of Negros Oriental. Typical of a provincial capital of an island province, the city is full of beach resorts and dive sites, and is considered one of the best places for beachfront living on a budget. In fact, the city was listed among some of the most affordable and ideal places to retire to in the 2014 Retire Overseas Index.

Rent per month: Range from Php13,000 to Php18,000

Hospitals: 3 (tertiary)
Commercial centers: 5

9. Bacolod City

Bacolod City. Photo via Shutterstock
Identified by the Department of Science and Technology as a center of excellence for business process outsourcing (BPO) and information technology, the city hosts a number of BPO companies and voice call centers. While this has resulted in rapid urbanization, sugarcane plantations and heritage houses are still typical sights in the city. Like the island locale that it is, Bacolod also has a number of beach and resort properties suitable for retirement.

Hospitals: 10
Number of malls/commercial centers: 20

10. Cagayan de Oro City

Cagayan de Oro Press Freedom Monument. Photo by Amarkgio via Wikimedia
Cagayan de Oro City has long been Mindanao’s melting pot. Situated along the northern shores of the island, its economy is driven by agricultural activity and real estate developments, most notably commercial and leisure projects. However, the city also offers plenty of natural attractions, including white-water rafting in Cagayan de Oro River.

While highly urbanized and currently ranked the 10th most populated city in the Philippines, Cagayan de Oro is ideal for retirement thanks to still being somewhat rural and laid-back but also being a place with plenty of leisure and medical facilities. The city is also very accessible, with regular scheduled flights to Manila, Cebu, and Davao.

Rent per month: Range from Php16,000 for a fully furnished three-bedroom house to Php90,000 for a five-bedroom, 400-sqm house

Hospitals: 11
Commercial centers: 18

11. Davao City

Davao City’s Chinatown. Photo by Shubert Ciencia via Wikimedia
Arguably Mindanao’s commercial and business center, Davao City is a budding business hub and a popular tourist destination that many expat retirees have chosen as their retirement destination. It helps that the United States, Japan, Palau, and Malaysia have consular offices here. For such a fast-growing city, the cost of living in Davao is relatively affordable. The city is served by an international airport with regular scheduled flights to Manila, Cebu, and even Singapore, while it is also a jump-off point to Samal Island for those who would like a weekend R&R.

Rent per month: Range from Php18,000 to Php90,000

Hospitals: 31
Commercial centers: 18

12. Baguio City

Baguio City. Photo via Shutterstock
Although Baguio City has experienced rapid urbanization in the last two decades, the City of Pines has retained most of its old charm. It continues to have the trappings of a highland resort, such as quaint B&Bs, cozy cafés, breezy tourist spots, and fresh produce from neighboring La Trinidad Valley. This, coupled with the cool climate, makes the city popular with vacationers and retirees alike. Although it is significantly smaller than other cities like Manila or Cebu, it is by no means inconvenient. It has a good number of commercial centers, BPO centers, good schools, and hospitals within its boundaries.

Rent per month: Range from Php13,000 to Php110,500 for a forest cabin-style property

Hospitals: 5
Commercial centers: 6

13. Tagum City

Kayaking in Nabintad River, Tagum City. Photo by S5Switch via Wikimedia Commons
Although this city has always been overshadowed by its more popular neighbor Davao City, Tagum (the provincial capital of Davao Del Norte) has been getting a lot of attention in recent years. It is cited as one of the most livable cities in the Philippines, and is home to a number of festivals including one that celebrates music and another that celebrates bananas (one of its main crops is the beloved fruit enjoyed all over the world). The city also has a number of good hospitals, branches of national banks, tertiary schools, and shopping centers, and is conveniently accessible to Davao’s international airport through the Pan-Philippine Highway.

Hospitals: 6
Commercial centers: 4

14. Lipa City

Lipa City’s poblacion area. Photo by Ramon F Velasquez via Wikimedia Commons
A recreational, religious, commercial, industrial, and educational center for the province of Batangas, Lipa City offers an adequate deal of urban amenities set upon a rural backdrop. Its location between Mount Malarayat and Mount Makulot gives it a relatively cooler climate compared to its neighboring towns, making it an ideal location for leisure estates that target vacationers and retirees alike. It is home to a number of health resorts, golf estates, and gated communities.

Rent per month: A typical newly built, three-bedroom house rents for Php25,000

Hospitals: 10
Commercial centers: 2 (major shopping malls)

15. Batangas City

Port of Batangas. Photo via Wikimedia Commons
The largest city and provincial capital of Batangas, it is deemed as one of the fastest growing cities in the Philippines. Dubbed as the industrial port city of the CALABARZON region, Batangas City’s economy is mainly driven by trade, services, and manufacturing. Despite all this, the city is still relatively laid-back. Living in Batangas City gives retirees a central location that is accessible to beach resorts and trek sites. It is also the jump-off point to Puerto Galera in Mindoro Island.

Rent per month: A typical newly built, three-bedroom house rents for Php25,000

Hospitals: 5
Commercial centers: 9

Main image via Shutterstock

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