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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