The Philippines are a large collection of islands in the southwest Pacific ocean. It is composed of over 7,000 islands. The climate is tropical, being the islands are near the equator.
The Philippines have had a long and turbulent history with domination from foreign powers. In the 16th century, Spain colonized the Philippines. That is why many cities and places in the Philippines have Spanish names. There is a heavy Spanish influence there. The United States occupied the Philippines in the early 20th century and then the Japanese occupied the islands during the Second World War. After the liberation of the Philippines by American troops, the Philippines finally gained its independence as a sovereign nation on July 4, 1946.
I have been to the Philippines three times. I really enjoyed my stays there each time. I found the Filipino people to be warm and friendly to foreigners everywhere. I have been to Manila twice and to Angeles once. I came at the invitation of my friends there.
Manila, the capital, is a large urban area approximately the size of New York. It has everything one needs there- a large labor force, a stable economy, many schools and wonderful entertainment and nightlife. While I was there I went to the Mall of Asia, one of the largest shopping malls in Asia, It was very impressive to say the least.
The city of Angeles is about one hour north of Manila by bus. It is a fairly small city, but it has a wonderful charm and attraction. It is the only city I was in that did not have any taxicabs in the street, you have to use a motorbike to get around. I loved it!
The Philippines is a great place for foreigners to retire to if you are on a pension. When I was there, I saw many American and British ex-pats living there. If you are not retired and want to work in the Philippines, there are jobs to be found but you have to be knowledgeable about the procedures to apply to work there and exactly what jobs are available for foreigners. Also you have to know about the visa requirements there and have some experience with Filipino culture and customs.
As with everything, there is a downside to living in the Philippines. The islands lie in the path of many typhoons every year and floods and earthquakes are not uncommon. One has to consider that when deciding to move to the Philippines. In addition, wages are low in the Philippines when compared to industrialized nations and poverty is widespread in many areas. This is countered by the fact that the cost of living is low there.
I would myself consider very seriously retiring in the Philippines. I love it there and I would be very happy there with my dear friends. As General Douglas MacArthur once said- “I shall return”.
Written by: Robert W Stewart