Tuesday, August 21st, 2018

Where I Chose to Retire and Why


As you all read in my last installment, Location is a very personal choice.  There are so many choices when it comes to where one would like to retire. From my experience it seems to be determined by a persons likes, dislikes, hobbies, and mostly family. Obviously I have no one on my side of the family in the Philippines, although everyone in my immediate family (father, mother, sister) have all been to the PI. I spent a significant amount of my teenage years in Asia. Yes, I am a “military brat”, we spent 4 years in Okinawa, just a hop, skip and flight from the Philippines. It seems as I look back ever since we returned to the states from Asia, I have looked back there very fondly. I distinctly remember being in Okinawa and being mystified with Asia and it’s people.  I went on with my life and started in the telecommunication field.  In the early years of my career, I traveled extensively for work and ended up in China for several trips for extended periods (30-90) days. This re-sparked my interest in Asia. I traveled to western Europe, South America, The Caribbean but none of those destinations seem to call me as Asia did/does. Needless to say I met my wife in Asia on one of these trips again Asia was in the forefront in my life.

Why didn’t I just plan to retire in the US like most everyone else here? Good question 🙂 I see people in my everyday life that are still working into their 60’s just to make enough to retire comfortably. Not because they like or want to work, just for the mere reason of money.  Average lifespan in the USA is 70something that leaves only 10 years to relax and reflect on life, what kind of crap is that!! I’m 37 today and my 2 oldest children are either in college or on their way there in the next year. If people could retire in the USA at 40 or 50something don’t you think that most would? It is just that they can not.  That is where a 3rd would country comes into play. I never had planned before meeting my wife to “retire” in the Philippines.  I honestly never even considered retiring before, it came to me shortly after spending time there not as a tourist.

I actually think that out of all the countries in Asia that a westerner could decide to settle down in the Philippines is probably makes for the easiest transition.  A good majority of the population speaks English and as in most Asian countries the people as a whole are enamored with Americans. That combined with the fact that western convinces, especially American, are well represented in the Philippines. From our fast food chains, to our clothing brands and practically everything in-between. When you get off the plane in Manila, one can definitely see Manila being just another city in the USA. (well except for the trikes and Jeepney 🙂

My wife being Visayan has pushed my decision towards the southern Philippines. I have been to the 3 major islands and I have to say I like Mindanao the best. I thinks its the combination of everyone being down to earth, Davao still being a large metropolis, and the fact that you can drive 1-3 hours and practically being in the middle of the jungle. I am very much looking forward to discovering Mindanao with my family. I thought long and hard about settling in Cebu or Mati (Davao Oriental).  Manila never really entered my mind as a place to retire, just for the fact that it is sooooo crowded and much more expensive to retire modestly.  I decided against Cebu just for the fact of the landscape and how it seems that the city is so crammed together between the mountains and the ocean, also the island itself is not that large. I then was very seriously considering settling in Mati, but in the end I could just not see myself so far, 2 1/2 – 3 hours drive from “civilization” 🙂 . Couple this with the fact that I love to play golf, and imagine that I will play forever, the choice was suddenly narrowed.

Friends here at my age and a little older, that have reached a equal station as me in life, are all driving expensive cars living in big houses (with large mortgages and payments), not us, we are living very humble. I saw a new neighbor of mine yesterday drive home in a new BMW and I thought to myself, I could have one, sure I could make the payments, but what would that do to my time frame for retirement. I think that people here for the most part are expecting, whether consciously or subconsciously, to work into their 60’s. Of course it would be nice to be in a brand new SUV every couple years and a large house on a golf course, but what is the price?  Choices I made earlier in life caused me to miss a great deal of my older children’s child hood. I will not do that with my younger ones. I have learned from my mistakes. But that is life, no?

For me …… I have decided that I can not afford the high price of luxury, both monetarily and family wise.


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10 Responses to “Where I Chose to Retire and Why”
  1. Bruce says:

    It is nice you never fell into the “Look what I have” mentality. I see you have visited and experienced life here. Plus with a Filipina wife that has lived in both “worlds” she will be a good guide leading you into your new life here.
    Just remember, even with a nice home, car and days on the golf course, you will at times have to “rub elbows” with the locals and drive in the chaotic atmosphere on the roads.
    Also unless you can get boxes shipped on a regular basis getting the items you cannot get here, you will get fustrated finding your needs.
    Remember with me and the other friends you have made, we are here to help you.

  2. rich says:


    Those are very nice words 🙂 Thank You.

    I do think that I have a good connection for all my dry good vices here that will send a box a couple times a year. I have “lived local” in both Manila and in Davao for extended periods. Have done my own grocery shopping and everything else. Have drivin in Manila traffic on a daily basis and have had my share of run ins with the Makati goon squads 🙁

    And as a side note, I love the Filipino people and culture. Like i have stated before I have been around the world and I don’t think that there is another group of people that are more sincere and caring than the Filipino people as a whole.

  3. Danny says:

    Hello Rich,

    Well, it looks like you have definitely thought about everything there is, in your decision to move to Philippines, and with an open mind as well. That is most important !
    As far as some of those things we won’t be able to find there, after a while, maybe we won’t rely on them so much, and look for alternative items available there.
    I will be living in the “provinces”, although Maasin City is a decent size town, its not Davao or Cebu. Although Cebu is just a 4 hour boat ride when necessary, and besides our business will take us there quite often, as will trips to Mindanao, just above Davao City, to buy vegetables.
    Your last statement is so true, filipino are just great people, and to be able to learn there culture, will also be so interesting…at least to me.
    Best wishes again on your move…..
    Salamat kaayo,
    Danny 🙂

  4. rich says:

    Thats just it trying to think of everything, I’m a person doesnt really like change, although, i like new things heh, as long as the new things dont have the awkward thing attached, ya know? thats what i figure as well the longer you are somewhere new the more “local living” will go on.

  5. Gabby SIbala says:


    Nice blog! i was glued for an hour, reading your articles..hehe..It’s nice to have an americans point of view about retiring. hey, what happened to that electric bill article? did you find alternatives?


    • rich says:

      Gabby! THE KING OF DAHICAN How have you been? Hope all is well at the beach. My father still wants to buy a piece of the land out there. Talk to your mother again. He was just speaking about a couple days ago. I thought we were going to redo the site? Just let me know when your ready and I’ll help you out. Say hello to the family.

    • rich says:

      Gabby, for you guys out there I would probably suggest a combination of wind and solar. Start with the wind and see what you can get out of it. Then look to solar to supplement, you don’t need much out there.

  6. Randy says:

    Hey Rich,

    We are about the same age you and I. I am 39. Married my filipina wife 2 1/2 years ago. Been living in the Philippines for an accumulated 1 years time. I have always lived a fairly modest life myself prefering to buy used items or less expensive yet still reliable brand names instead of the high end brand names. Dont really care about what my neighbors have as my long term goals are dictated by my current choices.
    My wife and I already own a 2 bedroom condo in Davao city at the Ecoland 4000 residence and since my wife has moved here to Canada just over 1 year ago she has been sending money back to the Philippines and has so far sent enough to have a modest 3 bedrom house almost completed just outside of Digos. We do plan on purchasing another condo and most likely will have another house built within Davao city. We are considering Fuente de Villa Abrille subdivision just off Tulip drive between SM and NCCC mall. We are also considering a subdivision at the end of MA-A road and Diversion Road, I think its called Monteritz. I really love Davao city and I look forward to retiring there hopefully much sooner than I could have ever imagined retiring here in Canada.
    Perhaps we will meet one day there.

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