Over the past 6 years we have helped people to retire to Chiang Mai, Thailand and now to Cebu, Philippines. In that time we have helped hundreds of clients vacation in and retire to Chiang Mai.
Not one client told us that they want or need the traffic chaos of Bangkok or wants pollution or wants to retire to a place where it is unsafe or crime ridden.
Basically, our clients want safe, clean, affordable and that is true for Thailand and Philippines.
That eliminates cities such as Manila as retirement choices as the traffic is unbearable, too many beggars, high crime rates, and with higher cost of living as compared to smaller cities, or towns.
Cebu has become the most popular retirement destination in the Philippines because of proximity to beaches, much less traffic, and lower cost of living as compared to a large metropolitan city.
Among the thousands of islands in the Philippines Cebu stands out as a unique blend of tropical paradise and business location. Cebu has become the most popular tourist and business destination in the Philippines.
Comprised of three cities and six municipalities Cebu's population has grown to more than a million and hosts a mix of Filipino, Chinese, American and European influences. The dialect is Cebuano and English and Tagalog are widely spoken.
After eliminating Manila as a retirement destination as well as similar large cities we are left with many places where one could retire in comfort and affordably. We have selected Cebu to be the best place to retire for people on a budget of less than $1,500 US a month.
Once the budget one has increases so does the number of destinations within the Philippines.
Cebu areas we consider safe and desirable:
Cebu Areas we would not consider:
Being from North America where one has a few months of warmer weather we are less able to bear hot weather. And for website visitors who dislike hot weather or cannot tolerate hot weather we would recommend Tagaytay for the hot months and Borocay for the cooler months.
Tagaytay is located approximately 36 km. south of Manila, 2,250 ft. above sea level and it can be anything from a 1 - 3 hr.+ drive from Manila. The length of time required to get there depends on the traffic. Leave at 4 am and arrive in Tagaytay in an hour and leave during rush hour and it will take more than 3 hr. to get there.
Filipinos love to go there to escape the hot weather and the affluent own second houses there which they go to on weekends. Many nice golf courses for a small community and also housing compounds with guards at the entrance, a club house and a 9 or 18 hole golf course within the housing compound.
What we liked about Tagaytay was the cool climate and an air conditioner is not required and great area to live for part of the year during the hot season. Of course it will cost you as prices have risen and one would have to try to find rental housing for a part year.
Combine Tagaytay with the pristine beaches in Borocay where if I had the money I would call home for 4 months of the year and that would be the ideal retirement destination(s) for me.
Borocay was a several hour flight from Manila, followed by a 4 hr. bus ride and then an hour via a small boat to the island which is extremely popular with tourists. You can see thru the water at 30 paces, there are coral reefs one can go to for scuba diving, boat rentals be it motorized or non motorized and small hotels along the beach where one can enjoy a San Miguel beer, freshly cut pineapple and seafood meal.
But since we cannot afford Tagaytay or Borocay as retirement destinations for ourselves we recommend Cebu to our clients.
Cebu, by comparison to the other metropolitan centers in the Philippines is, in our opinion your best choice, for numerous reasons. Traffic and overcrowding has not advanced to the stage you would find in Manila, economic growth is healthy and vibrant, there is an international airport, embassies, etc., and, unlike in the south (Davao) you don not need to contend with the concerns for your safety that arise from the presence of rebel groups, etc.
Pristine beaches, lovely Filipina ladies to pick from, and an affordable lifestyle.