Barry and Elma on their wedding day
Hello there, or as we say in the Philippines, Mabuhay! My name is Barry, an American, and have been living in the Philippines for the past four years. I am retired and plan to permanently reside in this beautiful country. I am able to stay here on a Special Resident Retiree Visa (SRRV). My life has changed considerably, having planned for my retirement, I did not anticipate that I would be remarrying after many, many years of divorce. But as luck would have it, I met a beautiful Filipina and fell in love.
My wife and I live in Metro Manila. We purchased a condo in a very large condo community in Cainta, Rizal. --View  Video Clip--  Here there are most of the conveniences of the U.S., but at a much lower cost. The goal of this website is to give our friends and family back in the U.S. a taste of our life here, and also give those who might be thinking of retiring to a foreign land some insights as to the benefits, and, yes, the problems too.
The Philippines is a very interesting country to visit because of its history, natural beauty and diversity. Metro Manila Cebu City Davao City
For lovers of world history, the Philippines offers a wealth of events. From Spanish, Japanese, and American rule to eventual independence, its history spans over 400 years.  --More--     --Detailed Maps--
Here is a page of useful facts for anyone planning to visit the Philippines. Today's Peso to U.S. Dollar exchange rate.   --More--
Often thought of as a Catholic country, Philippine Jews have played an interesting role in its history. --More--
Barry in Boracay
Considering retirement? For many Americans, retirement time is just around the corner. The prospect of trying to live on a pension, in old age is a daunting one. --More--
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Israel erects monument to WWII Filipinos
The Philippines has most of the things we are used to in the U.S., but at a much lower cost.  This chart will give you an idea of the price of items we might normally purchase.  --More--
We have embedded several videos to give you an idea of the diversity and beauty of this country. Manila/Baguio  Cebu Palawan   Boracay   Davao   
Knowing you might want to know more, we have partnered with to offer a diverse library of books on Philippine history, travel, culture, cooking, living and a lot more.     
Whether you are looking for information to aid in a retirement relocation decision, or are looking for great Philippine vacation ideas, there are  plenty of resources on the internet.  Some of our favorite blogs and websites are recognized as the best.   --Links Page--
A good way to learn about a country's culture is to read their newspapers.  What is making news today?  It is often much different than seen in the West.  We have a daily news feed from the Philippine Daily Inquirer--More--
Mayfield Park in Cainta, Rizal
The question we get asked most frequently is what does it cost to live in the Philippines?  This really has many answers.    It will depend on the lifestyle you want to have and the part of the country in which you would like to reside.  Living in Metro Manila is more expensive than living in the provinces.  Living in a small town is cheaper than living in a larger city.  Many expats choose to live in very remote areas of the country, and blend in with the locals.
I chose to live in a more suburban setting, with most of the conveniences I am used to close by.  Our cost of living chart details  what you can expect to pay for the items you would normally buy.  Yes, most expats are able to live comfortably on much less than US$1,000 a month!
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Palawan is located southwest of Manila in the Visayas region of the Philippines. It is one of the last mostly unexplored islands in the Pacific, and is considered one of the most beautiful natural places in the world. For a nature lover, this is the place to go. It is the hub of eco-tourism in the Philippines.

Our hotel was the Puerto Pension Bed & Breakfast  in the Capitol, Puerto Princesa, which was clean, but small, and very inexpensive. It has a magnificent bay view from the fourth floor restaurant. Most of the Palawan seascapes posted on Mabuhay! Gallery  were taken from this location. Also the restaurant food was well prepared and reasonably priced.

We had only a week to take in all of the sights, and it was certainly not enough time. There are a number of professional tours available, with the tour guides having to pass license requirements. For the "city tour," Elma and I decided to explore on our own using the standard tour itinerary as our guide. Virtually everything on the list is available by tricycle, which are readily available. If you look at the pictures we have posted in Mabuhay! Gallery, you will see we visited the "crocodile farm," the "butterfly garden," Baker's Hill, Rancho Sta. Monica lookout, the Palawan Museum, the Palawan Capitol, Baywalk, among other places. Each was interesting and unique.

The two places which did require a professional tour was the "underground river" and island hopping from Honda Bay, because both are a bit out of the way and really do require someone with experience to go through the hassle of permits and water transportation.

The "underground river," or officially Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, is a nominee for one of the 7 New Natural Wonders of the World. Words hardly describe the experience. Check our photos. We had a lot of fun!

Island hopping from Honda Bay was also an indescribable experience. For someone older, I did not think it would be so much fun, but I was wrong. The tour does require you get on and off small boats which could be a problem for a Senior or someone with any disability, but the boatmen are very helpful and make sure each passenger is helped on and off. But be prepared to get wet!

We visited Pandan Island which is a great site for snorkeling and diving, Snake Island which is really a long sand bar which appears to slither in the water, and Starfish Island which is named for the large variety of Starfish you can see there. Again, each stop was unique and interesting.

As a change of pace, we did make it a point to experience fine Asian dining at the Lotus Garden Restaurant in Puerto Princesa. Elma loves sea food, and this restaurant prepares some of the best. We can certainly recommend this restaurant for anyone going to Palawan. Fine food, large portions (you can share), and all at a very reasonable cost.

To sum up our trip, all I can say is that I would recommend it to anyone seeking adventure and beautiful places. There are no really large cities, no malls, very, very few taxis ... Call it small town life, Philippine style. The week was inexpensive, a little over $100 airfare for two from Manila, and less than $25 a night for the bed and breakfast, including a set breakfast. The professional tours run between $12 and $45 per person, but, at least, the city tour you can do on your own if you are a bit adventurous.
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In appreciation of your visit to our website, we are offering a FREE copy of the ebook "Getting Around the Philippines Safely." This 24-page ebook in .PDF format, gives you detailed information on the modes of transportation in the Philippines, and how to use them safely as a foreigner. To download your copy, just click here.

According to the U.S. State Department's 2007 figures
the number of permanent U.S. residents in the
Philippines is approximately 105,000 (250,000 total
including visitors and temporary residents). This number
hasn't substantially increased for several years. Why?
Could it be people are either moving to other countries,
returning home or just dying? Since I haven't seen
many deaths reported, I assume the former. If the
Philippines were the ideal retirement location, the U.S.
expat population should be growing in proportion to the
total number of U.S. retirees. It doesn't appear to be
happening. I don't have any explanations other than a
word of caution. Clearly making the adjustment to living
in the Philippines must not be as easy as we might
imagine. Exactly! Adjusting is difficult for many, and
adapting to life here can be a MAJOR challenge.

The reasons for expats departing after moving to
"paradise" are varied, but the most common I've
experienced are:  Inability to adapt to Philippine culture,
to include inability to accept corruption as society's
"norm," pervasive dishonesty, constantly being
overcharged for goods and services, constant attempted
scams, and expats often being viewed as a "walking
ATM machine;" heat / humidity / typhoons; massive
poverty; infrastructure deficiencies of a developing
nation; failures in relationships; developing a chronic
health problem (often alcohol abuse-related), and the
best treatment option is returning to Western medicine;
victim of crime; financial problems (resulting from
declining value of dollar, failing to manage money on a
budget, business failure); unable to cope with being
fully retired (i.e., need to continue working to feel
relevant and making a contribution to mankind)

THE BOTTOM LINE: Before committing 100% to the
Philippines, try it for a year or two, and have an
alternate plan that will allow you to return to your home
country if you are unable to adapt. DO NOT take this
decision lightly! Nobody really knows what they're
getting in to until they are here and experiencing the
trials, tribulations, and virtues of Philippine life on a
DAILY basis!

Adapted from the "Living in Cebu" Forums

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Boat to the underground river
Entrance to the underground river
At the Lotus Garden Restaurant
An exhibit in the Palawan Museum
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