The statistics for expats who move to the Philippines and actually stay there for many, many years are not an exact science. I mean, with 94.4% of all statistics being pulled out of thin air anyways, who can really trust them? Still – and from what I have seen – there is a definite percentage of expats who move to Philippines (either through retirement, pension or “remote careers”) who don’t actually stay for the long haul. Whether it be the traffic, the noise or really, really bad Tagalog soap operas, at some point, they eventually decide they’ve had enough and move on. Greener pastures and whatnot. That said, I also have to add that there is also a certain percentage of the guys pack it up and leave and then come back! Just goes to show…..
If you are planning a move to the Philippines (or anywhere outside of your home country , for that matter), you are strongly advised to make sure you have a very SOLID exit plan in case things don’t turn out so well. The lure of the unknown is very strong and with people extolling the virtues of living in a sunny, tropical (semi)paradise (like us), some folks get their judgment clouded, beguiled by the idea even before they step onto the plane. It’s funny – when I first started dreaming of the Philippines, I had this vision of renting a seaside condo on a secluded white sand beach for $200 a month, long trips along mountainous green trails on an enduro motocross, and taking long trips to see the seaside sites in my SUV. None of those things actually happened for various reasons: You want a white sand beach condo, you’ll be paying through the nose – motocross enduros are just too uncomfortable (plus I don’t want to break any bones here) – and fuel prices make SUV trips pretty much impossible. Again, I was taken in by an ideal, not the reality, which is a heady (and confusing) mix of both the good and the bad. I will NEVER forget my first time in downtown Duamaguete – 8 PM at night by the market – it was hot as blazes and I couldn’t even figure out how to cross the frikken road due to the lack of traffic lights and overall congestion. Yeah, there have been more than a few instances in which this Dream has slipped into a potential Nightmare.
Anyhoo, please, please, please have a fallback plan if things don’t work out here. Visit first (a few times for a good amount of time each on each trip) before quitting your job (if you are not retired), selling all your stuff and heading off into the unknown. And even though I didn’t possess the advice that I am now offering and never visited before moving here, I was fortunate enough to possess the temperament and disposition necessary to adjust to it long term. So – in other words – don’t do what I did! I also sold 90% of my things, but I sold them to a friend with the understanding that if I returned within two years, I could buy it all back (with a bit of interest, of course). I also keep a good reserve of cash (I am frugal and tend to be a saver) and have earmarked a major chunk of it in case I have to ever pull a Plan B and return to the United States.
I am bringing this up because I hear a lot of guys talking about getting rid of all their stuff, selling their homes and making the move. Some, without having even visited; putting it all on a wing and a prayer. As with anything in life, this is just bad policy, as you might find that all the eggs that you have put in that basket will never hatch.
It’s a good thing to have a dream, particularly – in my opinion – a Philippine Dream. Just make sure you have a contingency plan in place before you do anything drastic that you might live to regret.
Possessed of good intentions, itchy feet and a retirement fund or pension? Thinking about moving to a laid back, sun-kissed land? Join us on Philippine Dreams to hear about all the good and bad making such a drastic undertaking!