About Us

What is LiP?

Well, it is the Live in the Philippines Web Magazine!

Are you tired of the rat race, the long hours, the constant running that you find in the United States, or in other Western Countries? Well, why don’t you get away from it? Think about moving to the Philippines! We can help you with that!

Live in the Philippines Consulting

The Philippines consists of 7,107 different islands, each with it’s own unique flavor! Imagine the island life, with the trade winds coming in off the ocean to keep things a little cooler. Heck, even if it’s hot, that cold beer and the ocean breeze make it bearable, right?

You can do it… throw away that stressful life and move to the islands! I did it back in 2000, and I’ve never regretted it! Sure, if you are retiring that is the easiest, you have your social security and perhaps a pension from your company, you’ve got it made! But, even if you are younger, you can still make the move. Heck, I was only 38 when I moved here, and I am enjoying a great life, nothing missing!

The key is… read this website daily! Join our forum and discuss your questions with others! Post comments on the blog, and I will reply with an answer for your question!

Lose that rat race, flee the country! Go to a Tropical Paradise!

See you soon? I hope so!

About Bob Martin

Bob Martin, Founder of LiP
Bob Martin, Founder of LiP

About Bob Martin, the Founder, Publisher & Editor in Chief of the Live in the Philippines Web Magazine. Bob is an Internet Entrepreneur, operating this website along with more than 100 others.

Yes, I am an American, but I have been coming to Mindanao regularly since 1990. In addition, I have lived permanently in Mindanao since early 2000, and I love it here. The thing that I hear all the time when I tell people that I live in Mindanao is that I must be scared because it is so dangerous here. Actually, that is really far from the truth. Yes, there are places in Mindanao that are quite dangerous, but the majority of the island is safe. Is it perfectly safe? No, I know of no place on the earth that is perfectly safe, do you? I have lived here for a number of years now, and I have never felt that I was in danger yet. I do try to use common sense in my daily comings and goings, though. I suppose that in these days of uncertainty that would be a sensible thing to do no matter where you live.

Yes, we have a few crocodiles in MindanaoI have been involved in a number of different types of businesses over the years. I guess that at the root I am a retailer. I have managed a number of different retail stores ranging from small specialty shops to huge discount stores in the past. Since the early 1990’s, though, I have been self employed. In that time I have done different things. Initially I was a writer, authoring about a dozen different books that were published. Most books that I wrote were on the subject of Amateur Radio and Shortwave Radio Listening. In recent years I have sort of mixed my passion for retailing with my passion for writing and for the Internet in general. I have a number of different blogs on the Internet, as well as e-commerce stores selling different types of items on each of my websites. It is a good life, and I enjoy it very much. The kind of business that I do allows me to have free time when I want it, and also work at whatever schedule I choose. It allows me time for my wife and kids, which I enjoy a lot as well.

I guess that when you mix up all of my interests and my passions, there is only one thing that you could call me. An Entrepreneur. Yes, I am an Entrepreneur, and I love it!

Come back to the site often!

About Feyma Martin

Feyma Martin, LiP Co-Founder
Feyma Martin, LiP Co-Founder

Feyma Martin is a Columnist here on the Live in the Philippines Web Magazine, she is the wife of site Publisher, Bob Martin.  Feyma is originally from the Philippines, but went to the USA for 10 years after marrying Bob in 1990. Bob & Feyma moved to the Philippines to live permanently in 2000.

Other Writers

LiP features a variety of other writers who share their experiences of living in the Philippines.  We currently have ten regular writers, a couple of dozen past writers, and a regular supply of guest writers.  Regular writers are featured with weekly articles on the site.  You can always read articles from past writers on the site, by checking on the header menu under “LiP Writers” then the “Previous LiP Writers” section.

So, welcome to LiP, and I hope you enjoy the information here and find it useful in your planning to become an expat and live in the Philippines!



      • Tina Marie Lufkin says

        Hi Mr Bob,

        My husband renewed his probationary to permanent acr card. Somebody in immigration assist us last Oct. 18, 2013 just before the expiration date. We we’re told after the interview that it would take 3 to 4 weeks but until now theres no result. my husband have to postpone several of his trips because he does not have a passport returned.. Hope you can give us some idea on how long really does it take. Thankyou so much!

        Sincerely yours,
        Mrs Lufkin

  1. Elydia R. Reyes says

    Greetings Mr. Bob!

    This website is amazing. I’m so blessed that you love our country even though you are not a Filipino. Anyway, thank you for this website. God bless you

  2. says

    Interesting report. But I could never bear the extrem heat at night, I would not sleep well. And I hate aircons and eltric Vans.
    So I prefer to stay in Germany. It is quite good here.
    Not such durty streets like in Davao and crowded places.
    In my opinion Davao is good for a vacation, not to stay there.

    • says

      Hi Ralf – We all get to choose where we would like to live. For me, I love Davao, yet I’d have no desire to live in Germany. That’s what makes the world great, everybody gets to make their own choice.

  3. Johnny says

    RuI would like to speak to you about SSID I would like tou move to phillipines but I donot know how that will effect my disability.
    Bob martin my church has a church located in molave and Ive talked to other guys living in other parts of the phillipines and they say that that area is muslim…..? its a pentacostal church So I dont understand that. they also tell me its very dangerous dont go there. the name of the church is Christ Gospel Church do they have others in other parts of the phillipines. thanks.

    • says

      Hi Johnny – Molave is on the Zamboanga Peninsula. It is a Christian Majority there, but there is a larger population of Muslims. It’s not so dangerous in Molave.

  4. says

    If you apply at the Cebu Consulate for an “Affidavit in lieu of Marriage Certification” – does anyone know if they keep a photocopy on file? What if you never use the certificate? or lose it?
    Thanks for any help.

    • beatriz says

      Hi there Eric! This must be a very late response (I just recently discovered this very interesting and helpful website, thanks to its creator :-))…probably by now, you have consulted a lawyer or have actually married considering the date when you posted your inquiry. But anyway, just in case you still need an answer … did you mean to say “Affidavit in lieu of Certificate of Legal Capacity to Contract Marriage”? You may send me an email to my address as herein posted. I’d be glad to assist you.

      Congratulations by the way just in case you have said “I do”! 😉

  5. Richard S. says

    I lived for one year in Cebu from the summer of 07-08. I got my future wife a fiance visa;she came to the US and we married. She is a Filipino citizen. I would like to move back eventually, buying a condo in Cebu. The following are questions I need answers to and maybe you can provide them for me. I appreciate your help in advance.
    1) When I last went, I applied for a one year visa in the US which required that I renew it every 2 months, up to one year, (6x). If I went back, I wouldnt want to have to do that. Is there a way I can remain there either permanently without having to constantly renewing or needing to leave the country?
    2) I have bank account and investment account in the US. If I sell my home in the US, can I still maintain the accounts in the US without a formal home mailing address? Would a mail forwarding service that uses a street address be sufficient?
    3) When I last went, I had someone who could wire me money to my Philippine National Bank. Now, I need to know how I could get money from my US checking/investment accounts to the Philippines. Prior, I used a debit card from B. of Amer. but, they charged me $5 each time I used it and of course there was a limit on withdrawal. What happens when I need a larger sum of money to buy a condo in Cebu? How do I get a larger sum of money from my US account to a Philippine account. Someone told me that if I open a dollar/peso account, I can just write a check, any amount, and deposit it and it will take about 3-4 weeks for it to be deposited into the Philippine bank.
    4) Since my wife is Filipino, does that provide me with any privilege that allows me to retire in the Philippines (retirement visa?) without having the hassle of continued visa renewal?
    Finally, I am sure there are other subject areas that I am not aware of currently and would appreciate if you could mention them.

    • says

      Hi Richard – The answers to all of your questions are already here on this site. But, I will offer a short answer to each that you ask:

      1. If you are now married to a Philippine citizen of former Philippine citizen you can now avail of a Balikbayan Visa or get a Resident Visa. Balikbayan will offer you 1 year stay with no renewals required. Resident will allow you to live here permanently.

      2. Yes. Use a mail forwarding service address.

      3. You should be able to wire money using the telephone or internet. Alternatively, as you say, just write yourself a check once per month or so.

      4. Having a Philippine Citizen wife does not help with the Retirement Visa. However, it will get you a resident visa (13a) which is better anyway.

      • Coffee Grin says

        I know it’s been over a year since you wrote this, but thank you. I’m still researching and learning about the process of moving to the Philippines. I am married to a Philippine citizen, have been for 8 years. So, maybe my best option is the resident visa route. Thanks again. Oh, my real name is Steve. Hope it’s OK I use my pen name “CoffeeGrin” here. Yah, I love coffee..haha.

  6. says

    I have been living in the Northren Philippines for 18 years. ( La Union one hour from Baguio)I have built four houses and am working on the fifth. I am originaly from America, and I think a site like yours is very useful. Any advice on insight I can provide on living here feel free to ask me. My Philipine wife is a real estate broker here, so we also know most all the in and outs of buying property and what to watch out for.


    • Coffee Grin says

      Stan, can you give me an idea of where to live when I move to the Philippines. I know that’s an open ended question and depends a lot upon what you’re looking for. I’d like to live somewhere the transition between my US life and new life there won’t be so radical. I’ve been to the Philippines several times and am married to a terrific Philippine lady. I’ve heard Clark Subic is very nice and have lots of Expats. By the way, my real name is Steve Olson. I use Coffee Grin as my pen name.

      • says

        Hi Coffee Grin – Clark and Subic are two different places. But, it’s important to remember that moving to the Philippines is a radical move and requires a lot of adjustment, no matter where you choose to settle.

  7. Orlando ( From Iligan City ) says

    Thanks to Mindanao Bob.

    Greetings to all

    i ve been reading some of the forum here, and it turns thats i ve learned some and it give an open mind, well i am an open minded person. this is just to understand that i had also misunderstanding before from foreigners or our Filipina. but here it gives and enlighten my views other ex pats. i would like to be a member and maybe in the future i could interact with some discussions and maybe my personal views could help or i could establish some true friend here. i find it very educational and interesting with it comes to our native land and how they sees us as a Filipino, some views are in general and and biased. i wish i could say i behalf of my countrymen, and to our Filipina ( Mga Ate Ko ) i love my Mother and My Sis very much. i happy for those Foreigner that they find true happiness in their Filipina Wife. that’s give to God but it doesn’t wrap the way you wanted it. it include some packages with. anyhow im currently working here in KSA Yanbu National Petrochemical Co. office assistant. for the meantime i am just a guest here. so im browsing more of this website.

  8. Kevin says

    Bob, a simple one i hope. Zamboamga del Norte (saiy). Is this area safe i never can get a straigt answer. My wife is frome there area and are concidering moving there at the end of there year. Please give some advice.

    • says

      Hi Kevin – It’s important to remember that no place on the earth is perfectly safe, so what I will say is relative.

      Zamboanga del Norte is relatively safe. I know a number of foreigners living there, and have had no problem. I have have traveled the area rather extensively, and I would personally have no problem living there. I think that if you are interested to live there, you should give it a shot.

  9. Millie Macariola says

    Despite some negative comments about the Philippines, it brings comfort to learn that foreigners like you love our country. Thank you so much!

  10. Keith Walton says

    Bob…I stumbled on this site accidently…….but thank God i found it…As an American citizen, traveling to Bulacan and Cebu for 7 years, I found a very informative site here. Actually I’m here crying to see that I do have a chance to be with my wife-to-be soon and live there forever. I love the entire philippine culture, traditions and open friendliness of its citizens. God’s strength to you to be able to comfort so many people here.

    • Steve O says

      Keith, I just found this site also and love it. Hope you got married and are enjoying your new life there. I’m planning to relocate in 2012 and would enjoy staying in contact with you.

  11. fredrich says

    Thank’s so much Bob, You’ve been so helpful to those in need of info. I really appreciate your kindness. Hope that I can help you in promoting my country to the world.

    Have a great day.

  12. diego cantos says

    hi bob, thanks about that blog you did about marieta’s bbq. Marieta is my mom. the bbq has been around since the 1950’s. it has helped a lot in supporting my studies from grade school all the way to med school…thanks for sharing the good things about the philippines (esp. mindanao) to everyone around the world. keep it up bob!

  13. art says

    I have been traveling to the Philippines since 2000. I have been to Manila, Cebu City, Mandaue, Lapu-Lapu, Davao, tagum and several other places with no problem. I have never been treated with a rude attitude anywhere I have been there. I fell in love with the islands the first time there in 2000, so that is why I keep coming back. I keep reading the question about how dangerous it is there. I live in Orlando, Florida and I have places here I wouldn’t go at night by myself. This same thing goes for the Philippines. You must use common sense and not travel down a dark alley at night by yourself in certain areas, whether you are in Orlando, Chicago, Detroit or the Philippines. I feel very safe in the Philippines. I will be in Davao on June 22 until July 5th. Then I hope to move there by the end of the year.


  14. ROBERT D says

    great web site, like so many others on this site we have alot in common, we have filipino wives, we have traveled to the country, either live there, want to live there or cannot wait to go back.
    Personally, my wife has land in southern cebu i.e. Barili and we plan to retire there in 2014, will have pensions + ssn. Wives family is nearby so there will be good times for all, we cannot wait.
    The only real concern is about medical insurance and what to look for. I do know that medicine and doctors are far more affordable than in the US.

  15. says

    I am a Newfoundlander.That’s a big island in Eastern Canada where the Titanic sank.It has many icebergs year round. I have been a university professor in South Korea for the past 16 years but I turned 65 in February and retired.Now I am in Newfoundland tidying things up and considering my future. It is not in Canada. I am Zen and need to live in or near Asia.My mysteries are there. So in September I will come to Manila and then decide where in the Philippines I want to live.Maybe Baguio,Cebu,Manila.I visited Manila twice last year and loved the country and the people.I respect them very much.My only area of doubt is how long I can stay in the Philippines on my Canadian passport before I have to do something to renew it if I want to stay there.My e-mail address is: [email protected] Cheers!

    • says

      Hi Robert – I am not sure what you are waiting for. Your previous comment didn’t include any question for us to answer.

      I guess I will say, good luck to you. I hope your dreams come true. You are right, doctors are cheaper here.

      • ROBERT D says

        Thanks can you point me to the discussions on finding health insurance in the philippines, i.e. phil health, bc/bs

          • ROBERT D says

            Question for you……….my wife purchased land SIX years ago and we have been struggling ever since to get the title………..we have an attorney but it is slow moving, is this the norm? Also, we have a deed of sale and a survey which is wrong and needs to be re-done but the landowner is reluctant because it costs them money my Filipino attorney has been trying to get them to respond but with no success……..I am frustrated!

            • says

              Hello Robert – It is normal that it takes time to get a land title. But.. six years? That is certainly not normal. I think you better take some action and find out what that attorney is up to. I understand your frustration, but the longer you let this go on, the more it will cost you in money and grief in the long run.

  16. Grahame C says

    Hey guys just a question i’m from Australia have a friend from England who’s wife is Phillipino i thought he said a foriegner could only own a percentage of the land, by the way what is required to actually live in the Phillippines on a permanent basis.

    • says

      Hi Grahame C – Foreigners can own no land in the Philippines – 0%. Now.. a foreigner can have up to a 40% interest in a corporation, and a corporation can own land, though.

      To learn about living in the Philippines, on different visas, I recommend you check my other site – Your Philippine Visa.

  17. Nenette says

    Hi Bob,
    I have come across your site many years ago. Back then, retiring was not on my mind. I have recently reconnected with many batch mates from high school in GenSan and now am rethinking about retiring there, 10 years from now. With the present economy in the US, the future of the would be retirees is looking bleak, along with the planned major healthcare changes.
    I am happy to have stumbled upon your website again. I think you know more about living in the Philippines than most Filipinos living abroad like me! Thanks to you and your staff!

  18. Nad says

    Hi Bob, I am a belgian lesbian n have a filipina gf for 3 years..last year i went to the Philippines with a toerist visa.;now i wanna sell my house here n move there permantly n buy a house there so with could live together.Do u know how can i get a permanent visa?I heard bout the visa run,but is there a other way? apriciate a reply,coz its so frustrated n complicated what i read on the net. thx in advance

    • says

      Hello Nad – Based on the fact that you are not a traditional couple who can enter into marriage (the Philippines does not allow for same-sex marriages), there are only two ways that I can think of that you can get a resident visa:

      1. Go for an SRRV (Special Retiree’s Resident Visa), but that can be expensive, requiring an investment of US$10,000 to US$50,000 depending on your age.
      2. I don’t know if this would be considered legal in the Philippines, but perhaps you could enter into a marriage with a Filipino man for the purposes of immigration, yet have your relationship with your female friend.

      Keep in mind, no matter what you do, the only way you will ever be able to own property here is if you become a Philippine Citizen.

      Good luck to you.

  19. Nad says

    thanks Bob,for the quick reply…maybe i go for the SRRV,depends whats leftover ather paying my taxes n all the rest in Belgium.I am 50years old n my gf is 39.Buyin a house there i really want,even when i never have the full ownership,this doesnt scare me,I do trust my gf..we can settle tht with a lawyer with “permit lease” for 50 years..by then i would be 100..Option 2,would realy not be for me to do..lol..
    Or maybe i enter the philipinnes without a toerist visa (less then 21days) or visa for 3 months n extend my stayin there till 2 years. What u think Bob? pwhehhh..I am sweating allready..

    • says

      Hi Nad – The maximum length of a lease you can do in the Philippines is 25 years, and an optional renewal for an extra 25. Should still be long enough for you, given your age.

      If you come on a tourist visa, the maximum allowable would be up to 16 months, then you would require a visa run to start the clock over.

      On the SRRV, if you have a pension of at least $800/month and can have it deposited into a Philippine Bank Account automatically, you can get the SRRV with only a $10k investment required. If you cannot meet that pension requirement, your investment amount would be $20k, given that you are 50 years old.

      Good luck!

    • says

      By the way, Nad…. as part of your investment requirement for the SRRV, you could purchase a Condo unit, which would solve your investment for the visa and also your need for a place to live.

  20. Nad says

    Bob,I ‘ve been thinking maybe i go for the SRRV,if i put $20000 tht would be €15358,my question ..if the money is there,can i withdraw from tht account?? Do I get intrest on tht every year?? I can buy a house in baybay city,Leyte..omg..so beautiful,my gf’s friend friend..sell her house for only 2000000 PESO;;build in 2006;;i really want to buy this house..i wish i could show ur pictures,its realy lovely.Wanna ask also, i know when i travel there i can take only 10000 € with me,I wanna keep my bank in belgium so i can transfer money onlineto my bank in Leyte..which bank is the best..I dont wan to pay much fee..

    • says

      Hi Nad – There is interest, but it is very small. You cannot withdraw your principal, but interest payment could be withdrawn, I believe. I use Union Bank here, I know others who like Banco de Oro too.

  21. Nad says

    ohh btw Bob,been talking to my gf,she will call tom the immigration serve in Manila and if needed for more details she will make apointment for a face to face intervieuw..good night from me :)

  22. Nad says

    Hi Bob,yess more news from the immigration service..yess i will go for the RVVS deposite of 20000 $..much better then tht visa run n I dont need to leave the country…thank u much for the information

  23. Nad says

    Hello Bob,came by to update u..since 2 monthes my house in for sale..but still no buyer yet..i hoped this year to get settled in baybay city..but i think it will take longer or i should be very lucky! keep ur fingers crossed for me :) hoping too tht the laws in the phillipines doesnt change by the time i am done here :) greetz form Belgium

  24. Aleth says

    Hi Bob, this is an interesting site. I have many foreigner clients from my business consultancy work abroad. If anyone (expats) who would wish to understand the difference of doing business here and abroad for example the process and laws. I am willing to assist. It is good to be of assistance.

  25. rich says

    Hi Bob this is Richard, we met yesterday at the immigration office.. I really enjoyed talking with you, it really helped pass the time. It also helps to bounce ideas and thoughts because if two or more people come to the same point in thought it sure helpes to ease your mind that your perceiving the right situation ( does not apply to politicians }). Anyway, just wanted to drop you a quick line and say hello, maybe we can go out for dinner one time.

    • says

      Hi Rich – Yeah, great to meet you yesterday too! I hope you got everything completed at the BI office, it’s kind of a pain to go there! I have to go back today for one quick thing, but shouldn’t be a big deal! I hope so anyway!

      I hope to see you around town, Rich! If you see me, be sure to wave me down and say hi!

      • rich says

        I sure will Bob, you also if you see me .. . It was nice speaking with you also !!!! Good luck at the office ..Only in the Philippines bob :)

        Cheers !

  26. Jerry Manning says

    Hey Bob,
    I am going through a divorce, and am concerned about making a living there, I am not a expat. I’m 51, with alot of different marketable skills. I also want a nice, sweet Filipin for a wife.
    Please, I would like some guidance.

    • says

      Hi Jerry – If you are interested in living in the Philippines, but you need a source of income, getting a job here is generally not the way to go. Firstly, most companies are not looking to hire foreigners. Secondly, you probably won’t want to work for the kind of wages offered here, usually only a few dollars per day.

      To help out people like you, I have written a book called “49 Ways to earn a living in the Philippines” and I cover ideas of all sorts on how you can earn a good living while living in the Philippines. I have been earning my living here since 2000, and I earn more money now than when I lived in the States. So, I know that I can help you do that too!

      To check out the book, go to:

      As a special offer to you, I am going to offer you $10 off the book, but the offer is good for only the next 24 hours. During checkout, just enter the coupon code – 10discountToday – and the book will be $10 off the regular price. But, remember, the discount expires after 24 hours.

      Check it out today, I am sure that this is what you are looking for, if you want to live in the Philippines!

  27. jefferson uy says

    We are a gay married couple living in ca, can my us citizen spouse get a philippine acr so he could work and study in the philippines? Can he also have dual citizenship as well?

    • says

      Hi Jefferson – Firstly, an ACR card is only a form of ID. It does not allow for work or study. It is a Visa that allows for those things. A student visa allows for study in the Philippines. A work visa allows for employment in the Philippines.

      You did not tell me enough about your spouse to answer your other questions. If he is a former Philippine Citizen, then he can become a Dual Citizen. He can become a citizen of the Philippines (but must renounce his US citizenship, unless he is a former Philippine Citizen). To become a citizen, he will need to live here for a minimum of 5 years first (perhaps up to 10 years), he will need to be able to speak and write Tagalog or some other Philippine Language (not including English), and other requirements.

      • jefferson uy says

        I appreciate your prompt indulgence. He is caucasian american, born and raised in california. My main goal is for him to go back to school without the need to pay a fortune. We are lawfully wed as DOMA has been strucked down. My concern is that most schools have a different tuition fee for foreigners, way more expensive. Are you saying that even though we are lawfully wed, he can not enjoy the privileges of being a Filipino despite the fact he is married to one?

        • says

          You said: Are you saying that even though we are lawfully wed, he can not enjoy the privileges of being a Filipino despite the fact he is married to one?

          Yes, Jefferson, that is pretty much exactly what I am saying. Your spouse and I are exactly in the same situation. I have been married to my wife, who is a Philippine Citizen, for 23 years. We lived in the USA for 10 years, and have been living in the Philippines for 13 years now. I am a Caucasian American. Because I am not a citizen of the Philippines, my rights are not the same as my wife’s rights. My rights are quite limited here in fact.

          Actually, your spouse may even have fewer rights than I do. While DOMA was struck down in the United States, that does not mean that same sex couples have the same rights in the Philippines. In fact, for a 13a Resident visa, I do not believe that your spouse would qualify, because at this time the Philippines does not recognize same sex marriage, at least not to my knowledge. So, your spouse’s rights would be limited here, even compared to mine, and mine are already limited.

          Good luck to you.

  28. Denise F says

    Hi Bob,

    Just stumbled upon your blog; I am from the Philippines myself. I recently read an very disheartening blogpost by a supposedly seasoned traveler/foodie who said she was heavily disappointed in the food in the country and would rather starve than eat anything Filipino or even come back to the Philippines. While everyone is entitled to their own opinion, I just wanted to tell you that it is such a nice change to read about a foreigner who loves my home as much as you do. More power to LiP.

  29. Vivek Saxena says

    I am years away from being able to afford to move to Manila, but I hope to one day be able to do it. I tire of being here in the U.S. I can barely get a date here, whereas if I was in Manila, I’d likely be married with two kids to a beautiful woman by now. Sighs…

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