As an author and consultant on retirement in the Philippines and living in the Philippines, I assist people with an array of family and business matters - from marriage and annulments, to real estate purchases, home construction, and starting a business. Yet some of the most basic questions are sometimes the most important. Below are answers to some of the most basic questions related to a foreigner thinking about living in the Philippines.
#1 If I retire to the Philippines on a full time basis, do I lose my original citizenship?
No, you do not lose your citizens ship by residing in another country, either part time or full time. The only way you lose your original citizenship is by renouncing it. The
Philippines government does not require you to give up your original citizen to become a resident of their country.
#2 Do I need vaccinations to live in the Philippines?
At this time, there are not specific requirements by the Philippines government to enter the country.
#3 Is it safe to live in the Philippines?
If you are alert to where you reside and how you carry yourself, there is no more danger in the Philippines than where you currently reside. The key is to avoid the remote areas of the south known to be involved in military hostilities, and wherever you go, not to present an appearance of wealth and arrogance. I have lived and travelled in the Philippines for over 25 years, both in the north, far west, central and south, and have never encountered security issues, but I am always respectful of the fact that I am in a foreign country with its own set of values and cultural norms.
#4 Can I still get my U.S. social security check?
Yes, you social security check can be sent to a bank in the Philippines. However, I generally recommend you have it sent to your US bank, and then monthly transfer what you need to you Philippines bank account.
#5 Can I get U.S. Medicare coverage in the Philippines?
No, at this time the US government does not provide services outside the U.S for qualified recipients. Rather, one should either obtain membership in a Philippines government health care program, an international health care plan, or self insure
(pay to a provider on an as needed basis - medical care is cheap in the Philippines).
#6 Will I need to learn Tagolog, Ilocano, or Visayan (Philippine languages)?
No, one of the great advantages to living in the Philippines is the English literacy of the population. English is a basic language taught in schools in the Philippines, and everywhere you go, except in the most remote areas of the Philippines, you will have no problem conversing in English. However, learning some basic key words of one of these languages will open many more doors for you, as a stranger.
#7 Can I get a job in the Philippines?
This is very difficult, unless you have a permanent residency visa, or you are employed by the US government. You would probably not want a job with a local Philippines company anyway, as you would be subject to the pay rates of the local citizenry. Minimum wage in the Philippines approximates per day. If you wish to supplement your retirement pension or annuity, I suggest one start a small business.
#8 Will my ATM card work in the Philippines?
Yes, it is readily accepted at most Philippine banks.
#9 Can I use my credit cards in the Philippines?
Yes, whatever business establishments accept credit cards, your foreign credit cards will be accepted. Based on the amount of your purchase, some merchants may pass on their credit card merchant fees to you. This is always negotiable of course. However, recognize that in the more remote areas of the country, credit cards are not acceptable.
#10 Is the cost of living really cheap?
Compared to the western world, living in the Philippines is very inexpensive. One can live a comfortable life on USD ,000 monthly, provided on resides in a more rural city.With such an income, it would cover housing, food, entertainment, all utilities, and even a house maid. For an upscale living, especially in the larger cities of Davao and Cebu, the cost would approximate ,500 monthly. Manila is the most expensive and the most crowded. Foreigners tend to live or retire in cities outside Manila such in Subic Bay area to the north, or Palawan in the west, or Cebu and Davao in the south.Basic Questions About Living in the Philippines