My wife and I have chosen the Philippines as our retirement home. Our future in Iloilo was sealed when bought a property and built a house outside of Iloilo City, in the pretty seaside town of Tigbauan, about one-half hour west of the city proper. Iloilo City continues to be our main center for shopping, medical care, dining and other urban amenities and necessities. We’ve posted an extensive account of our house building experiences.
We are pleased with Iloilo. The wonderful people are its treasure. Medical care seems fairly good and educational opportunities are extensive. In fact, Iloilo’s only real industry seems to be education. Thousands of doctors, nurses and seamen are trained every year. There are decent restaurants, and you can find and buy most of what you need at the markets, numerous malls or the downtown commercial area. The city is fairly compact, easy to get around.
Although we find much to like about Iloilo City, we are not enamored of Philippine cities in general. Most are conglomerations of concrete buildings, a tangle of power lines, and choked with traffic. The air is dirty with diesel fumes and you’ll be hopping over open sewers. They are almost totally lacking in the trees, parks, bookstores, cycle paths and other charms of urban life elsewhere. They do have elaborate shopping centers which, along with upscale subdivisions, and chain restaurants, are safe, comforting, cool refuges from the realities of urban life in the Philippines. If you’d like to live outside the city, but still have easy access to it, Iloilo has some exceptionally nice small towns with pretty Spanish churches and plazas. We especially like Santa Barbara, Oton, Tigbauan, Miagao and San Joaquin. We love life in our small town, but provincial life can be a big adjustment and is not for everyone. The culture shock is greater. You have to give up that is familiar and comforting; the shopping mall, the supermarket, the chain restaurants. See more discussion at “Retire in the Philippines: How Far from the City”
While we love living in the Philippines, we try to present a balanced view of the pluses and minuses of living in the Philippines. Be sure to read our short essay: “Reality Check: the Philippines – a tropical paradise for the retiree?” Looking for a “good time”? Is Iloilo the right choice for you? See “A Foreigner’s Life in Iloilo City”.
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ADDITIONAL READING. Here are a few of our favorite links to sites about the Philippines.
There are several Yahoo Groups concerning the Philippines for expats. These two have been around for years and have hundreds of members who will help answer your questions. Just keep in mind that (as with all things online) that some who respond to your questions are genuine experts and some are not. Usually an incorrect or incomplete answer will cause more expert group members to correct misinformation You have to join these groups using a Yahoo membership.
Mag-Anak is one of the oldest and most reliable groups. It has more than 3,000 members, many of whom are very knowledgeable. U.S. Immigration issues are foremost on Mag-Anak. While it can address just about any Philippine-related question, its specialty is helping members seeking to bring a Filipina girlfriend, fiancé, or wife to the . http://firstname.lastname@example.org
Living in the Philippines is a huge Yahoo on-line group with over 18,000 members. The group discusses just about anything having any connection to the Philippines. Early on, the moderation of this group tended to screen out posts which focused on problems with life in the Philippines. While still prim and proper, the moderation seems less restrictive now. It’s a useful group to anyone living in or considering life in the Philippines. http://email@example.com
PhilFAQS This site, run by our friends Dave and Mita Starr are just full of useful information. Go to the home page http://philfaqs.com/ and you will be able to view the list of available articles. You may also sign up for his email newsletter which will bring Dave’s posts to your mailbox.
Live in the Philippines (“The Web Magazine for Expats in the Philippines and Those Who Want to Be”), This site is run by Bob Martin who has been an expat blogger for many years. You do not have to log in to view the site but you will have to register for the very valuable forums. http://liveinthephilippines.com
Dumaguete on Negros Island, is a lovely small city and very popular with expatriates. It is also blessed with this excellent website full of good information, not only about Dumaguete, but also about Philippine life in general. The forum is especially good. http://www.dumagueteinfo.com/
Dining in Iloilo. Iloilo City is fortunate (no surprise, Ilonggos love to eat!) to have a great blog just about Iloilo dining. http://flavoursofiloilo.blogspot.com/ and a Facebook page
Cebu City is one of the most popular vacation and retirement locations in the Philippines. Cebu City has many of the advantages of a big city, but is not quite as intimidating as Manila. Its forum is very active and of interest to anyone considering the Philippines. http://www.livingincebuforums.com/ipb/page/portal.html
“The Society of Honor” by “Joe America” is a blog which consistently contains some of the most principled and insightful commentary on Philippine society and politics you’ll ever find. http://joeam.com/
If you are a history buff, you’ll love this site which documents the Philippine American War, America’s first colonial adventure which snuffed out the emerging Philippine Republic. There are hundreds of fascinating historic photos. http://philippineamericanwar.webs.com/