Retired in the Philippines! Calbayog City, Samar, Philippines
Has the notion of just packing up everything and moving to a palm treed paradise ever crossed your mind? Of course it has!
At some point in most people’s lives (usually later in life), one’s priorities shift and desires for a more simple and better quality of life begin to emerge. And when these ideas begin to dominate the thought process, the focus shifts to retirement. In our minds at least, we all eventually picture living out our retirement in our very own perfect shangri la. While it may only be a vision of some fictitious lush tropical island somewhere, the simple fact is: You want to get there but just don’t know how you can do it. It’s hard to imagine living in paradise with much less money.
The good life has always been associated with the Golden Years, or that time of life after retirement from a working career. The two most important elements pertaining to living the good life are becoming harder to find, at least in the Western World – affordable housing in a warm climate and where the cost of living is low, well okay, that’s three (barely).
For many, the idea of retiring to that dream paradise they have always envisioned will become nothing more than a collection of passive thoughts. Just another dream filed away in the dream closet. Helen Keller once said “The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.”
Are You the Immigrant Type?
For generations, the world over has always witnessed the immigrant retiree as an adventurer – an occasional settler looking for something new, something better, or just an easier way of life. Recently this trend has gained tremendous momentum (and continues strong through 2018!), and for a wider variety of reasons. Whether it be escaping because of one’s home country in decline (actual or perceived), a developing country’s expanded opportunities or a medical destination, there are more draws to living abroad today as ever.
All statistics aside, one of the biggest reasons more people are looking at moving abroad to live is because the world has become much smaller. Expanded and modern transportation systems and new technologies have made moving half way around the world feel almost like moving to a neighborhood across town. Through technology, being able to bring part of one’s culture with them and having the ability to communicate freely with loved ones back home are important aspects in making a decision to move such great distances. For example, these days you can enjoy your Starbucks coffee (or McDonald’s) while Skyp’ing with loved ones from almost any corner of the world. Western influences in all areas of the world have made the world a more familiar place, regardless of where you travel.
Living abroad today can be rewarding and a very fulfilling experience. For those who do a little advance planning, it can make all the difference. And, it will be totally achievable. These days in Western societies, many people are working much later and well into what should be their Golden Years when they should be relaxing and enjoying life to its fullest. Retire and “live like a king” is how some people have always envisioned (or dreamt it). Can you picture your life filled with friendly caring people, palm trees, azure-blue lagoons, beautiful beaches and warm tropical weather – all without paying an arm and a leg for it? How about 30-40% less! Well, it’s very attainable to anyone who has the determination to look in the right places and make a few adaptations. And, it’s not so third world anymore!
Have you ever thought about the Philippines?
While there are probably hundreds of dream retirement locations worldwide, Calbayog City on Samar Island in the Philippines is the location where my wife and I have chosen to settle in our early retirement. While there are many other places where you can achieve the same low-cost objective, our advantage is that the Philippines is my wife’s home country. Here in the Philippines, English is widely spoken in many places, and the “Dollar” or “Euro” goes much farther while still offering many familiar western conveniences like McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Starbucks, Pizza Hut, Shakey’s, Ace Hardware, Western Union, 7-11, Taco Bell, Anytime Fitness, Home Depot, Dairy Queen, Midas, Domino’s Pizza, as well as many other chain store operators. Oh yeah, and let’s not forget Dunkin Donuts! A caring culture with friendly, caring people and modern conveniences… all at a discount!
Within these pages, I explain the why’s, how’s, and when’s that all relate to My Enchantment and the decision to relocate to and live on Samar Island in the Philippines. Throughout this site I also chronicle the planning, execution, and our eventual arrival to Samar province (“Before Paradise”). The third largest island in the Philippine archipelago, Samar offers an abundance of unspoiled natural beauty, beaches, waterfalls and caves, diving, snorkeling, and many other outdoor activities. There are as many choices of places to live today as there are different reasons for choosing a certain location. Desired locations will be different for everyone. But if you are looking for something a little more exotic and serene and less congested, then you should consider putting Samar Island on your list of places to visit.
Others, seeking international destinations outside the Philippines should search the country that might suit them better. I will suggest InterNations Community For Expatriates as the best place (blog site) to begin researching alternative destinations, and there are many.
Or, if you already live in the Philippines, plan a trek on over to the Eastern Visayas. It’s easier to get here than you think – by air direct from Clark, or Manila-Cebu-Calbayog, or by luxury bus or ferry (12 hr. overnight) from Cebu, or by ferry from Matnog, Bicol (S. Luzon) to Allen, N. Samar. Calbayog City now offers “Fast-Cat” service to Cebu daily (about a 4.5 hour trip). You can alway approach Calbayog also via Van service from Tacloban, Leyte or from Catarman in Northern Samar.
If you are serious about a retirement in the Philippines as your destination, there is much you should know. The first thing you should do is research your idea. There is a lot to know…from getting there to dating and marriage (if single) …customs, cultures, traveling throughout the islands, and buying real estate. Whether you are looking to simply survive or to retire comfortably, know that you could accomplish either one…with a little knowledge and planning. Mabuhay!