How easy is it to retire in the Philippines

How to obtain Philippines retirement visa for US citizens?

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After working hard for most of your life, you deserve the relaxing and carefree retirement that you have always dreamed of. One of the best ways to do so is to move to a country where the cost of living is low, and the quality of life is high. Moreover, the incredible tropical climate and picturesque beaches dont hurt either.

Well, if you are searching for such a destination, might I suggest the Philippines. It is one of the most popular retirement destinations, not only in Southeast Asia, but the entire world, and the country is very supportive and welcoming of all kinds of expats.
Therefore, here is a quick guide, which will tell you everything you need to know about retirement in The Philippines.


Pros and Cons of Retirement in the Philippines

First of all, let’s talk about why you should choose the Philippines over any other destination. Like every other country in the region, and the entire world, The Philippines also has some positives and negatives.

So, let’s weigh the pros and cons, so you can decide whether The Philippines is the right retirement destination for you or not.


When you move to another country, especially to relax and enjoy your retirement, you are obviously going to need a nice place to stay. Accommodation is one of the most important factors to consider when choosing your travel destination. So, let’s talk about finding a place to stay in the Philippines:

When it comes to accommodation, there are many options in The Philippines, especially in major cities like Manila. A simple one-bedroom apartment inside the main city will cost you somewhere between $450 to $1,200, depending on location, and size.

If you opt to live outside the main city center, apartments are even cheaper. A single-bedroom apartment outside the main city center goes for somewhere between $200 and $520.

The cost of living, in general, is quite low in the Philippines, especially when compared to places like the US and Europe. Therefore, if you have a small retirement fund, living in the Philippines can be quite easy.

Though accommodation in the Philippines is quite affordable, if you want to own land there, it isn’t possible. Only citizens are legally allowed to purchase land in The Philippines.

You can buy an apartment or a condo, buy the land that it sits on is owned by someone else, and you are at their mercy in this kind of sale.

The Filipino People

When you move to a new country, especially to one with a cultural difference as significant as the Philippines, the kind of response you get from the locals is quite impactful on your experience.  Luckily, like in most countries in Southeast Asia, the people in the Philippines are also quite friendly.

The Filipino people are known to be very welcoming and friendly; they are incredibly supportive of expats; it is very easy to make friends. When you move to the Philippines from the west, the difference in culture can be incredibly significant. However, the locals will try to make you feel at home.

The pace of life is slower than in the west, and families are a lot closer. Even strangers are really helpful and supportive of each other, and it doesn’t take too long to feel like you are at home.

One of the major problems you have to face while traveling, or when you move to another country is the language barrier. Though the official languages of the Philippines are Filipino and English, and many people speak enough English to communicate in the major cities, the language barrier becomes quite prominent when you move away from the main cities.

Moreover, if you don’t know the local language, it is easier to get scammed, which is a common concern in many areas of the country. Therefore, if you are thinking about retiring in the Philippines, you should learn some basic phrases and words in the Filipino language.

Culture in the Philippines

If you come from a different culture and country to the Philippines, adjusting to the culture shock can be quite a chore. However, the unique culture of a new place is an experience on its own, and if you have retired in the Philippines, you were obviously prepared on some level for the difference in culture.

One of the plus sides of the new culture is that you will get to experience a new and delicious cuisine in the Philippines. The food culture is quite lively, and wherever you go in the country, you will find different and delicious recipes to try and enjoy.

There is a massive difference between western culture and Filipino culture, which can come as a shock to some people. However, that is the case with almost any country in the region, and after a couple of months, you will get used to it.


When you are retiring to another country, especially at your older age, it is very important to make sure that you will get the proper health care that you need.

Healthcare is free for citizens in the Philippines, under the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth). Most expats who are working in the Philippines, or have permanent residence there can also enroll with PhilHealth.

However, free health care is only limited to public hospitals, which are good enough in major cities. Though the staff is usually well trained in these hospitals, they can sometimes lack equipment. On the other hand, private hospitals in the Philippines offer very high standard medical treatments, and when you compare it to healthcare in the west, it is not that expensive.

In the Philippines, the healthcare system is a bit inconsistent. It can range from excellent to awful depending on what part of the country you are in. in most of the major cities, and especially the capital, you can get high standard treatment, whereas, in most rural areas, there is a severe lack of infrastructure.

The medical staff in the major city hospitals is well-trained, and most doctors even speak English. The Philippines is in fact one of the biggest exporters of doctors in the entire world.

However, most public hospitals located away from the main cities are seriously understaffed. Therefore, if you need health care, your best bet is to go to the Capital Manila.

How much do I need per month to retire in The Philippines?

Generally, the Philippines is a very affordable country to live in. According to many experts, a budget of around $800 to $1,200 per month is enough for comfortable living.

Lazy to read through? Check out YouTube directly here: How much do I need per month to retire in Philippines.

Your rent will take out a major chunk of your budget. A single-bedroom apartment in the capital can cost about $650 on average, whereas one on the outskirts of the city, away from the central locations is probably going to be cheaper at $330 on average.

As far as utilities are concerned, you can expect to pay somewhere between $85 and $200 for electricity, water, heating, cooling, and garbage disposal. Furthermore, a 60 Mbps, unlimited internet connection will cost you about $50 per month.

Groceries, especially locally produced products are very cheap, and about $50 to $70 are enough to get you basic groceries. A meal at an inexpensive restaurant can cost around $2 to $7, whereas a three-course meal at a high-end restaurant will set you back about $15 to $35.

So, the Philippines is a very affordable destination, both in comparison to the west, and most other Southeast Asian countries.

Best place to retire in The Philippines


Manila is one of the most popular choices for retirees wanting to live in the Philippines. This is because Manila, the capital of the Philippines has the best healthcare facilities in the country and several modern amenities that a retired person may need.

There are multiple lifestyle and leisure options in the city, accommodation is affordable, and it is an excellent location to use as your base to travel to other parts of the Philippines.

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The Greater Iloilo area is another popular place that many retirees want to call home. It is made up of Iloilo City and 10 other municipalities. Iloilo is a very important business city in the Philippines, and therefore the infrastructure is also quite well developed.

Iloilo City has a lot of amenities that any retiree might need, and being an important business center of the country, there are also several choices for investment in the region.


Bacolod is another important city in the country, and it was dubbed as the “best place to live in the Philippines” in 2008, by MoneySense magazine. The city is home to the Masskara festival, and it has several leisure options, along with potential business investments.

Bacolod is like the Silicon Valley of the Philippines, which is why it isn’t that surprising to see so many foreigners and locals trying to live there.


Davao is the largest city on Mindanao Island, if you’re looking for a place that is not as crowded as the other cities mentioned on this list, but still has all the essential amenities you might need, Davao is famous for many things, it has pristine beaches, multiple conservation parks, and an abundance of the tropical fruit, Durian.

Accommodation is quite affordable here as compared to the capital, and the healthcare system is also reliable. So, if you are considering where to retire in the Philippines, Davao is definitely one of the best options.

Davao durian city

Eldercare for retirees in The Philippines

Healthcare is one of the most important concerts for older retirees. Old age comes with its pain and aches, and it is essential that the retirement destination you choose has a decent and reliable healthcare system.

As far as the Philippines is concerned, it is possible to get high-standard health care at affordable prices as well; however, that isn’t the same all over the country. The hospitals and clinics in the main cities and especially the capital are great, but if you move to rural areas, the situation is way worse.

Public hospitals in the major cities have well-trained doctors and other health professionals, but they are a bit lacking when it comes to modern equipment and machinery.

Hospitals in the private sector are usually much better; in fact, some of the best hospitals in the country are privately run. These hospitals can be a little expensive, but they still are affordable. If you have a serious situation, it is best to choose a private hospital, as the standard of care is much higher.

As far as getting your medication are concerned, there are many reliable pharmacies in the Philippines; and they are mostly staffed by well-trained pharmacists.

Drug Control in the Philippines is quite strict, you can find some nonprescription medication in local supermarkets as well, but for most drugs, you need to have a prescription. Pharmacies are open 24/7 in the major cities, and most public and private hospitals also have pharmacies that are always open.

While you are in the Philippines, you need to be aware of mosquitos, since Mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria and dengue fever are endemic in several parts of the country, especially during the wet season.

What are the requirements to retire in the Philippines?

The retirement process in the Philippines isn’t as hard as some of the other countries in the region, you may have to jump through some hoops, but it is a fairly simple process, and this post will guide you through it.

The good news is that the Philippines actually offers a specific retirement visa. Known as the

Special Resident Retiree’s Visa (SRRV), is the best option for retirees from all over the world, and here are the requirements you need to meet to qualify for one.

You need to be at least 50-years of age.

If you have a guaranteed monthly income, you need to deposit a minimum of $10,000 in a Philippines bank, otherwise, the minimum amount is $20,000

If you are retiring with your family, or your partner, you will also have to deposit an additional $15000 for every dependent.

You will also need to show proof that your pension can pay at least $800 per month, and if you are retiring as a couple, the amount is $1,000.

You will have to pay a one-time fee of $1,400 for your visa application, and an additional $300 for every family member moving to the Philippines with you. The yearly fee to renew your visa is $360, which will cover you, your partner, and one child. For each additional child, you will have to pay an extra $100 per year.

Lastly, after your visa, you will also need to get an (ACR-I) card. ACR stands for Alien Certificate of Registration. This card has a microchip, with your biometric information such as your fingerprints, it serves as your re-entry permit as well. This card will cost you $50, and it also has to be renewed every year.

How easy is it to retire in the Philippines?

When compared to other countries in the region, the Philippines is one of the easiest places to retire too. The visa process is simple and straightforward, as you can directly apply for a retirement visa, and you don’t have to worry about getting an extended work visa or investment-based visas to be a resident of the country.

Moreover, the Philippines is also one of the most affordable countries in the region, so you don’t have to worry about having a large budget either. Unlike other affordable countries in Southeast Asia, The Philippines also has most of the modern amenities that a retiree might need, above all, it has a reliable and modern healthcare system that you can trust.

The people are welcoming of foreigners, and there is a growing expat community in the country.

Final Thoughts

Retirement is a significant time in any person’s life. After working so hard, for a long time, both at your job, and in an effort to raise your family, you deserve a vacation. One of the best ways to enjoy your post-retirement years is to move to another country.

Southeast Asia is becoming a popular region for retirees from the west, it is very affordable, and the tropical climate of the region makes a perfect backdrop for your relaxing retirement days. The Philippines is a popular option that you should consider. It is one of the most developed and scenic countries in the region, and retiring there is very easy. Therefore, if you are thinking about relocating to the Philippines for your retirement, I hope that this post helped you out.

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  1. I have never really considered retirement to another country. I live in the UK – but I would never rule out living somewhere like the Phillippines, it looks beautiful.

  2. I am not a US citizen nor I have a plan to retire outside my country but I would love to explore the beautiful Phillippines. I always wanted to witness its stunning beaches.

  3. I had no idea that Southeast Asia is becoming a popular destination for retirees. I don’t see myself retiring in another country, but this is very interesting for those who do see it as an option.

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