Birding? What the heck is that Dave? You mean those folks who go out with boots an binoculars trying to see how many different bids they can see in a day?
Well yes, sure, that’s birding … and a very popular hobby it is with some folks.
There’s plenty of “real” birding to be done in the Philippines … and like many hobbies, it’s one heck of a lot cheaper than the costs normally are in the USA. Check these folks out, for example: Wild Bird Club of the Philippines. Very low membership dues, tours to all sorts of viewing spots, around Manila and elsewhere in the Philippines. As they say on their site, a much better way to spend a day than cooped up in front of your TV.
But actually I had a couple different sorts of “birding” involved. How about:
Now many US and Canadian readers are going to be very familiar with this term. Typically it will mean someone who lives in Toronto or Boston or some other northern city and spends the winter months in Florida or some other southern state.
Many times a “snowbird” will even have a second home or apartment, condo or even a time share unit in the warmer state. It’s a great way of living, especially for those who really have had enough of that cold north wind and would enjoy living someplace where a windshield scraper is just an object of curiosity.
But why, one might wonder, would anyone without the slightest interest in living in Asia, and particularly the Philippines, not consider the Philippines, instead of just another US state, like Florida?
By the way, I’m not “anti-Florida” per se, it’s a lovely place with many lovely people but for me it is:
- Boring. Too many “oldies” like me whose on topic of conversation is AARP and Medicare
- Often too damn cold in the winter.
- Flat and featureless. Beaches and theme parks, neither one much appeals to me. YMMV.
If I were still living in the USA, say in Colorado where I lived for 22 years before I moved to the Philippines full time, I’d much prefer “snowbirding’ to the Philippines. Why?
- The seasons match up. From about March when it gets really hot here in Luzon is the best time to go back to Colorado where spring is “sort of” getting underway.
- From about September or October when the best part of autumn weather is done in colder states it when the rainy season and the worst of the typhoon season has passed in the Philippines.
- It’s not boring, like an “Old Folks” home. I meet, talk to and do business every day with both Filipino and foreigner friends literally from their teens to their high 90’s.
- It’s never that cold, my house doesn’t even have provisions for a furnace or heaters and never will.
- It’s not that hot, I don’t run my air conditioning much at all from September until the “heat begins to hit” in March or April.
- I can save a lot of money over what I would spend during those 6 or 7 months back in Colorado.
- I will never, ever have to shovel snow or chip ice off my sidewalk!
I’ve written about this subject before, here’s a link to one of my articles, Snowbirding in the Philippines. If you want to talk more about this, leave a comment and let’s get a conversation going.
Ah, this expression, perhaps is not so familiar. But I hinted at it in the paragraph above when I stated I could save money by living six months (give or take) of the year in the Philippines. I could literally write pages and pages of cost comparisons and “what if’s” about the subject, but I think I’ll let one graphic tell the story. Extract from the Big Mac Index, The Economist. Click for full view)
Plain and simple, It’s cheaper in the Philippines. Not only in the actual prices of many items, but in the fact there are so many expenses those of you still mired in the idea that having a conventional J*O*B, two or three cars to commuted to the job, huge child care cost that eat up all the extra income from a second job, US insurance plans, US health care plans, US cell phone plans, cable TV subscriptions, property taxes (mine were 947 Pesos this year, about $27 USD), etc., etc., etc.
Even though or price per kilowatt hour of electricity here in the Philippine is typically quite a bit higher than the US average, it still costs a LOT less to “keep the lights turned on”, that is, keep a roof over your head.
Are you sunk in debt? Out of a job? Faced with student loans you feel can never be repaid? Well think about coming to the Philippines for even a year or two, living cheap and paying things off.
In many cases the “standard” idea of moving to the Philippines when you’re old and have all your debts settled is, as we say in Tagalog, “Baliktad”. Literally “backward”. I’m a living example.
My wife and I were living in Colorado, both working, and I had a substantial pension as well. We were making no headway at all. I sold one house in 2005 for a modest (very modest) profit and we were living in a dump which I had made money off for rears as a rental property but was now nearly destroyed by years of abuse. We had more than $20k in credit card debt (all run up by me, by the way), and taxes, insurance and the continual demands of daily living were just keeping us Just Above Broke.
There was no hope in selling that rental property for even as much as I owed. We packed our stuff, hired a U-Haul to deliver it to the shipper in California (and also carry us to the airport), quit our jobs, mailed the key to the useless property to the mortgage company (“Jingle Mail”), sold our last car to pay the moving costs and came to the Philippines in 2006.
Today all the debt is paid (I owe literally, no one ANYTHING), we bought a new car and paid it off completely, bought a hose and paid it off completely, sent a niece through 4 years of college, all cash. no loans … and lest you think I could never come back to the US, my credit rating is 795 … 835 is the highest you can have.
All that was accomplished with my pension (which wasn’t even enough for us to live on in Colorado), and some low key, limited on-line entrepreneurial work which you certainly could learn to do too.
I’m not going back to the USA any time soon, but if my wife and I were to choose to do so, think how far we are now ahead of the game after 7 years of Economy Birding here in the Philippines? Money in the bank, zero debt, and a free and clear house here which we could sell, or just keep and use for vacations and “Snowbirding” in the future. See more here: Economy-Birding in the Philippines
Economy Birding in the Philippines may not be for everyone, but it sure changed my life around for the better. What about you? Comments welcome.