Bob, why did you move to Davao?

The other day, I got an e-mail from Don.  Don lives in Canada, but it seems that he is considering making a move to Davao with his family.

Don has a wife and two kids.  He asked me why Feyma and I decided to move here, and especially why we decided to raise our kids here in the Philippines.

I have written on this subject matter in the past, but it’s been a long time, so I thought I’d share my e-mail exchange with Don, for the benefit of others who may have such questions on their minds.

Here is what Don wrote:

Hello Bob,

Can you tell me why you and your wife decided to move to the Philippines and raise your children there ?

Why I ask is because we are thinking of moving with our daughter 4 and 10 to Davao.

Thank you,


Hi Don,

Thanks for writing.  You have certainly touched on a big question!  Actually, I have written about this many times on several of my websites, but it may be hard to search out the exact articles you are looking for.

Bob & Feyma, enjoying life in the Philippines
Bob & Feyma, enjoying life in the Philippines

My wife, Feyma, and I were married in 1990.  She arrived in the USA in January of 1991, and we started our life together.  Our first child, Chris, was born in December of 1991.  Aaron, our second, was born in September of 1996, followed by Jared in March of 2000.  We moved to the Philippines in May 2000, Jared was just a few days older than 1 month old when we moved!

Starting sometime around 1996 or so, maybe 1997, I wanted to move to the Philippines.  Feyma, on the other hand, was not so keen on the idea.  Frankly, she was a bit scared to move back to the Philippines.  I think that in her mind, she associated life in the Philippines with being poor, as that was her experience in her 22 years of life in the Philippines.  I, on the other hand, was tired of life in the States.  Though I was only 38 when we moved, I had a few health issues, and a job that was tough on those health issues.  Also, I felt like I was on an endless treadmill in the States, and I longed for a bit of originality and adventure in life.  Thus, my desire to move to the Philippines.

It took a while for Feyma to come around and agree with me in regards of moving here.  I don’t think she was all gung ho like I was to make the move, but more resigned to give it a try since I wanted to do it badly.  We made an agreement with each other that we would commit to living in the Philippines for a minimum of five years, no matter what.  No matter how bad it turned out to be, we had to stick it out for five years, to give ourselves plenty of time to make the adjustment.  As it turned out, that decision/commitment was the most important thing we did.

You specifically asked about our kids, and how they fit into our decision to move.  Actually, our oldest son, Chris, was one of the key factors in our moving.

Bob and the boys
Bob and the boys

Chris was 8 years old when we moved.  Chris is a special kid, and has special medical issues.  His specific problem is that he is mentally retarded, although he is pretty highly functioning for a person with his challenges.  Having a kid like Chris, while a blessing, is also very challenging for parents.  It requires constant work and attention.  Frankly, it is like you need a whole team of parents to give the child the type of attention that he needs.  In the USA, we simply did not have an adequate support network to care for Chris.  My extended family is small.  I have my mother and a brother.  Both lived within 30 minutes from us there in the USA, but they are both busy and have their own things to take care of.  You know how it is in the west… everybody is busy.  My mom would help out a bit with Chris, but it was not enough, to be honest.  I am not criticizing my Mom, but rather just stating the facts.  I don’t blame her for that, she has her own challenges to take care of in life.

Living in the Philippines is different though.  You have a much stronger extended family network to help care for somebody like our son.  My wife’s siblings, cousins, nephews and nieces and such were all willing, and happy to help with Chris.  In fact, in the USA, Chris was sort of an “outsider” because he is different.  Here in the Philippines, Chris is just part of the family.  It is a much different dynamic, and exactly what we needed.

Of course our other children were a consideration as well.  I mean, even if making a move would be good for Chris, you would not want to short change your other children.  However, after some reflection and research, we came to the conclusion that we would not be short changing our kids at all by moving to the Philippines.  In fact, we feel that living here gives our kids additional opportunities.  The kids are exposed to additional cultures, different ways of looking at things, learn additional languages and such, things that they would not have gotten in the States.  They are being raised in a more “family culture” compared to what US culture has evolved to.  They are getting a good education at a world class private school that is still relatively inexpensive (although quite expensive by Philippine standards).  I don’t really see much, if any, downside to them living here, and there are plenty of upsides to them, especially Chris.

Bob & the girls
Bob & the girls

At this point, we have been living in the Philippines for 12 years (today is our 12 year anniversary of living here!).  Chris is 20 years old, Aaron is 15 and Jared is 12.  Over the time that we have lived here we have also adopted and accepted two girls into our family, Jean is 15 and Nicole is 8, they both fit into the family very well, and are nice compliments to the family.  They are also loved and accepted by the boys.

In your e-mail, Don, you said that your kids are 4 and 10.  I think that now is your opportunity to make the move.  I would not advise waiting too much longer, because your 10 year old daughter will have a hard time making the move if you wait more than about 2 more years.  I think, though, that making such a move at 10 years old is no problem.  Yeah, she will have to adjust, and she may complain a bit about it (or she may not), but she can make the adjustment.  If you were to wait until she is a teen, say 13 or 14, I think that making such a move would be a big challenge.

Remember, earlier I said that making that “5 year” commitment turned out to be a very important thing, probably the most important that we did?  You see, when we first moved here, Feyma and I both had times when we were ready to chuck it and move back.  Especially Feyma, she had a very hard time adjusting.  But, we had made the commitment, and were both willing to stand by the commitment we made.  Truth is, it did take 5 years before we were really both very happy living here.  Were we fully adjusted by 5 years?  No way, we’ve been here 12 years and we still make adjustments!  We will probably still be adjusting to life in the Philippines for the rest of our lives, but we do love it, though.

Good luck to you, Don.  I hope that whatever decision you reach turns out as good for you as it did for us.

Post Author: MindanaoBob (1354 Posts)

Bob Martin is the Publisher & Editor in Chief of the Live in the Philippines Web Magazine. Bob is an Internet Entrepreneur who is based in Davao. Bob is an American who has lived permanently in Mindanao since May 2000. Here in Mindanao, Bob has resided in General Santos City, and now in Davao City. Bob is the owner of this website and many others.

49 Ways to Make a Living without a Job


  1. says

    My family and me will be making that same “leap of faith” in a few months. Hopefully things will work out for us too. I’m scared, nervous and excited, but one thing’s for sure, our lives will be different.

  2. Paul says

    Good morning. I would strongly urge Don to make an advance trip to look at some of the more popular living destinations here or just find a short term rental somewhere and NOT buy or build anything. This would include: Davao of course, Cebu, Dumaguete, Bacolod, and Areas north of Manila like where John and Paul live. I have met many foreigners that had come to regret moving to a particular place. Many fall victims to moving near their in-laws which oftentimes is a nightmare ready to happen and usually does. I for one if Don is listening am partial to Dumaguete. It is a wonderful town with many great schools and Hospitals. It has small town charm with a seaside Blvd lined with restaurants and boardwalk. There are many living opportunities such as Valencia up over 1000′ in elevation or the beaches and Dive Sanctuaries South of town. All within 20 minutes of the city proper. It is affordable with many rentals and houses built to expat specs available. There are also over 4,000 expats most of whom who are HAPPY and not complaining or bitching about the Country. We all live in harmony with Dumaguete and each other. Great friendships develop here often not available in bigger cities. There are presently 20,000 plus locals involved in the Call center business. I would say to avoid the bigger cities like Davao or Cebu. They are so crowded, polluted, noisy and big. Bob lives in a nice part of Davao but still in my opinion Davao has no redeeming quality. It is about the farthest thing you can be from all those photos of the Philippines showing paradise. Is is very old looking and even finding the water is a real effort. Yes things are starting to change there for the better but I would still bet money you would not be happy there. I speak from experience as I have lived in all the cities I have mentioned. I have a family of my own and they too love Dumaguete. Good luck to you.

    • says

      Hmm… interesting comment, Paul. As far as I know, Don is not a diver, at least he never mentioned that to me. My understanding is that he wants to live in Davao for family reasons.

      That said… we all have our own preferences, and overall I like Davao. Can’t find the water? I can walk to the beach from my house in under 10 minutes. I feel it’s pretty easy to find my way to the water! 😆

      Good luck to you Paul.. uh, your real name is Paul, right?

      • Riza says

        Yes, we all have our preference… I am from Davao City, though born and raised in General Santos City until I was in 1st year HS, I feel I am a true Davaoeno… yes, there is so much traffic chaos there now, but hey, it will be in some parts of the country soon too!

        So, if someone likes it in his city, leave the others’ cities alone… do not build up your city and bring down others’, we all live in the same country… btw, this goes to Paul, not you Bob!

        And besides, we have a very good Mayor, who keeps the peace and order, no other city in the Philippines does, yes, I prefer my Davao City!

    • Hans says

      I was wondering what to expect to pay in terms of a western style rental? I have a wife and new born daughter. Either a home or apartment in a nice area would be what we are looking for. Also what should I expect the cost of living breakdown to be?

      • says

        It depends, Hans. Depends on where you will be renting the house. We have a very nice western style home in Davao City, and our rent is P35k/month. Your cost of living breakdown depends on your lifestyle. No two people are the same.

        • Tim says

          Great article. Thanks for sharing. I’m curious if you have a good idea on what a similar “nice western style” home might rent for in Cebu or Manila. If Manila, I don’t have to be right down town. I just need to be fairly close to the airport (1 hour max with traffic). Thanks.

          • says

            Thank you Tim. I am sorry, I don’t know the market in Cebu or Manila. My guess would be that Cebu would be similar price as Davao. Manila probably 50% more, perhaps higher.

  3. Paul says

    Of course different strokes for different folks. You have made Davao your home and that is great. I have made Dumaguete mine and they both offer us hopefully what we desire. I only mentioned the beach and dive sanctuaries which reflect on the beauty and health of the water here. Maybe he will take up diving. What I am saying is that this is a clean place. Davao and other cities are not. Not understanding you last question about my name. Is there something I am missing.

    • Charlie Tuna says

      Dumaguete clean ??? Wow, I live here and if this is clean I’d surely not want to see dirty. And pollution, why does one suppose so many wear those surgical looking masks, ?
      I suppose if someone comes from L.A. in the States or downtown Detroit, Chicago and so on this I guess Dumaguete could appear to be “clean”. I started out here in 2006 and have lived here permanently now for 2 years.
      I just cannot sit by and let a picture be painted only seen through one set of eyes, nose. I am staying here for our own reasons for whatever lenght of time. Dumaguete is loaded with college kids, very crowded in my opinion. Myself I work around it but it cannot be ignored.
      Don all I can say is move with caution, look around, look around, look around.
      And yes, do not stay in fancy hotels and or dive resorts while looking. Find a place in the real setting you may end up in.
      Best wishes.

      • Paul says

        Charlie. Like I said different strokes. If you are following behind a motorbike or car with their exhaust spewing then yes it is polluted but given the fact there is no heavy industry and as soon as you leave town which takes about 5 – 7 minutes from its center you are totally out of the vehicle pollution. Anyway opinions are what makes the world go round and yours is important as well. I think it is very clean for a populous town in the Philippines. Certainly light years cleaner than the cities and has many other qualities that blow away those other places to live.. But your suggestion of Don looking around makes perfect sense. I will say that 4,000 plus expats must like it here for some positive reason.

    • says

      Hi Paul – Yes, Davao is my home – for now – but I am not certain that we will continue to live here after the kids finish schooling, that is yet to be seen.

      I feel that Davao is quite clean, and often hear that from visitors who are here for the first time.

  4. Jamie says

    You can take the boy out of the city, but you can’t take the city out of the boy. It may be an easier adjustment for a city feller to live in a city. Living in the countryside can be a beautiful experience, but after awhile it can be tough for someone like me who is used to the hustle and bustle of city life. So, I agree with the good advice found on this website about renting for a while before settling down. It can take time to find one’s proper place, and I’m sure it is time well spent<[;-)

    • says

      Hi Jamie – Thanks! You and I see eye to eye on this. Renting here for at least a year or two, preferably more, is a very wise choice, in my opinion.

  5. peterjoy says

    HO BOB

    i love ur posting mate as always mate andi know how that man feels mate as in the end i will end up liivng in the phili my self as i love it there and for me it is the right place for me to be at my wifes side who i misss more and more ever day mate and by the way i must send u some photos off the little home too mate as i tis looking lovley na i am very happy with it………….peter martin tassie

  6. Matt says

    Bob, nice article. This explains why you moved to Philippines, but not why you moved to Davao. Can you shed some light on how you picked Davao among all the choices? Was it somewhat chance, did you really research Davao, etc?

    • says

      Hi Matt – I’ll write another article about why I specifically chose Davao, watch for it soon. Don was really asking why I chose the Philippines, though he said Davao, and based on our further communications, he was happy with my response.

  7. Lenny says

    I moved from Manila to Dumaquete recently, and I can tell you it’s a great town.. What a difference from a larger city.. My wife is from Davao, it;s a bigger city but very nice also. if you want a slower pace of life, then Dumaquete is first choice..Very different ocean from Davao .. Here in Dumaquete you have the tropical type beachfront…….. Both towns after alot of research, before I moved here, were number 1 and 2 on my list…Duma was # 1…..As far as people go, I find them great wherever I go….A nice comfortable 2 bedroom unit, ..modern, will cost $400.00 a month here.. Food is a little cheaper than U S and Canada. and you can make it on $1500.00 a month, Excellent schools (both cities) as well as Hospitals, doctors and dentists… I enjoy living here…

    • Charlie Tuna says

      In my opinion you are paying a little too much for rent. But you didn’t say if that is for furnished or un-furnished. Definitely too much for unfurnished. We do have hospitals but what about health care coverage ? Of course if you have plenty of cash no problem.
      Make it on $1,500.00 USD ? Yes you can “make” it. But what life style does one want. Don’t forget appliances, electronics, and any ” luxeries” like that can and most likely will cost more than in the U.S..
      Has anyone mentioned to Don that hydro/electricity in the Philippines is some of the most expensive in the world ?
      Just a little devils advocate opinion. I don’t think it is right just to tell someone all the rose colored glasses view.
      Don has a wife and two young children, does anyone think they will be all that happy on $1,500.00 USD a month ? Maybe until the novelty wears off.
      Don, another example is new cars cost more here than in the U.S.. And the fuel prices. Gasoline about $5.50 a gallon right now. The traffic in Dumaguete has doubled since 2006, no exaggeration, and it’s still growing.
      Just food for thought.
      Have a great day.

      • Larry says

        “does anyone think they will be all that happy on $1,500.00 USD a month ? ”

        Who is to say he won’t? Maybe his needs and wants are not the same as yours and therefore doesn’t need or want “luxuries” that you want. For instance, he may not need to worry about gas because he may not want “new cars” (I noticed you used the plural). He may not even want a “new car” (singular) or even a car at all. Anytime that I’ve lived in the PHL, I only used jeepneys or my own two feet to get around. (I hate driving.)

        Different strokes for different folks. One person’s rose colored view is another person’s wishful thinking. One persons perfect life may cost $1500/mo and someone else’s is $2400/month.

        • says

          Exactly my point. Talking about how much it costs to live in the Philippines is really a waste of time. How much it costs is different for every person.

  8. Mark G. says

    Folks here have varied opinions about the best areas to stay in the Philippines and the reasons why. I love reading the opinions and the occasional clashes, lol. I am determined to visit as many places as I can and decide for myself although I’m already leaning to the peace and quiet of the province. I’ve put Davao and Dumaguete on the long list of places to see and experience.

    • says

      Hi Mark – I think that every place has ups and downs. I have not been to Dumaguete, but I know people who have been there and complain a lot about the place. Obviously, people complain about Davao too! I lived in GenSan for 2 years, and really would have no desire to live there again, but others love the place. There are things I hate about Davao (mostly the traffic, which has gotten terrible), and there are things I love. It’s all a very personal choice, and the only way to know for sure is to go there and check it out! 😆

  9. Bill Bernard says

    One of the things I wonder about is the education. I visited schools in Davao and the students are far ahead of Canadian schools. I worried that bringing a 12 year old there he could not be in the same class as his peers of the same age. I think if you move when the kids are young, it works well, but I wonder how a 12 year old would catch up. For those of you with children 8-12 years old who moved, what has your experience been?

    • says

      Hi Bill – Yes, this is always a valid concern for those of us who move to the Philippines with Children, as I did. In my case, I think that the ages of my kids were just right. As the kids get a bit older, there will be more work to do both in research and for the kid to get the right “fit” into the classroom. Your concerns are very much “on target.”

  10. Paul says

    Today I was talking with three friends of mine at a local hangout. I asked them specifically about their monthly cost of living. They are all single. The other two were fairly close to what Michael spends:


    Rent – 8000p (furnished and includes cable, internet, electricity)
    Food – 17,000p (eats out 3x day at places like Moon Café)
    Gas – 1,200p (motorcycle)
    Load – 1,200p
    Entertainment – 5,000 (imagination)
    Misc 5,000 (medical, travel, etc.)

    40,000 or $950.00 give or take

    My expenses as follows for family of four (4) plus three (3) in help. We are probably much higher than your typical expat family here in Dumaguete and we live very well sparing nothing for our comfort. We eat where we want, do what we want and still I find it very affordable in comparison to the States for a family our size. The prices below are very liberal and are probably a little higher than our actual expenses incurred.

    Rent – 20,000 (furnished 5 bedroom house plus helpers area)
    Elec – 11,000
    Cable – 1,000
    Internet – 2,000
    Food – 20,000
    Helper Food – 5,000
    Car Gas – 1,000
    Motorcycle Gas – 600
    Daughter Pre-School – 3,500
    Son College – 3,200
    My Spending – 5,000
    Wife Spending – 5,000
    Helper 1 – 1,500
    Helper 2 – 1,500
    Yaya – 2,000
    Dining Out – 5,000
    Misc – 10,000 +/- (laundry, clothing, medical, travel, etc..)

    Total about 100,000p or $2,300 give or take

    I’d be very interested to hear what others are spending.

    • Charlie Tuna says

      Hi Paul,
      Here are just a few things missing from your budget. They can add up.
      Our water alone is P800 a month and the rates just went up May 1st.
      Dental care
      Car & motorcycle repair and maintenance, tires , batteries, oil & oil filter changes, fuel filter changes , brakes, shock absorbers, and so on.
      Car $ cycle insurance.
      Car & cycle registration
      Car & cycle smoke tests
      Immigration fees and head tax.
      Phil Health
      Social Security if you are maried to a Filipina and she pays into it.
      propane for cooking
      dog/ pet food
      veterinary medicines, shots, heartguard, flea & tick and so on.
      It sound like you have a nice deal on your house rent.
      Just curious, you list laundry as an expense, yet you have 2 helpers and a yaya and you have your laundry done out ? Sounds o.k.bother than your food sounds a tad on the low side, but of course it depends on what you eat.
      I estimate that your estimate is about P10,000 on the low side. But who’s counting. lol Helpers for only approx. P50 each a day. Wow. Do you feed them and take care of their medical expenses and so on ? Send them my way, I can sub-let them out to the cheapest guy here for P150 a day and for 2 of them I can give them a raise and bank the difference.
      Judging by your electric bill you have air cons. Check your filters once a month or so and let me know what you still think about the air pollution here. We are 6 km’s out of town, not on a main road, actually not on any road at all, and I have to clean the a/c filters once a month at least. The inside of the house is swept very well sometimes twice a day, and the all the floors are mopped with bleach every morning. I can only conclude all the crud in the filters is coming out of the air. We change shoes at the door when coming or going also. Our parking area and so on is all paved and we are surrounded by farms and trees. The closest road is about 400 feet away.
      Best wishes, you have a great price on the house rent.
      PS: We left Valencia because of the noise and a small inconvenience of no water at all for 4 months. We did like the town and the elevation/ are though.

  11. Paul says

    Wow that was unexpected 2 to 3x Wow. We are moving to Fort Bonifacio (manila) in January as I feel my daughters education cannot be compromised (Schools here in Dumaguete are very good but still not at high standards like UK) Also they are all religious and we are Atheists) and many things I like are in and around Fort Bonifacio there but my expenses will go to the moon. Her education alone will be $10,000 a year and that is just for Kindergarten ha ha ha OUCH!!! Even so I think I can handle life in the big city again and if it has to be anywhere better in Manila at least for me. I Found a 150sqm Condo for only 30,000sqm. 4.5 million which is about 1/4th of prices there now for a place that size (running well over 120,000p sqm) which is ridiculous. There has to be a bubble coming in a few years I think with real estate here. We have a beach place here in Dumaguete that hopefully we can build on and visit much like your plans for Samal. Life gets more complicated the more simple you try and make it ha ha ha.

  12. Paul says

    Muchos Gracias. Those darn IP addresses and my unique writing style gave me away huh LOL. Thanks Bob. Apologies to you and family for past bad behavior.

      • Corey says

        You removed your reply about your COL expenses and such. Do you have any plans in the near future to possibly do an article on this very subject of Cost of Living in the PI. I think it would make for an interesting read and answer a fundamental question so many people have about moving over here. I was shocked to learn how much you spent even with a family of 10. Thanks

        • says

          Hi Corey – Yes, I actually removed that comment I made even before your reply to me was posted! Ha ha… you just didn’t notice until now. Anyway, the reason I removed it was because my cost of living is quite high, and I don’t think that it is representative of what the vast majority will spend to live in the Philippines. I felt that putting that up would mislead some people to think that it is quite expensive to live here.

          I don’t really have any plans to write an article on cost of living. As I have said here many times, it is a subject that bores me to death, and also I don’t feel that it is all that relevant, because the cost to live here varies so much with every person, and what type of lifestyle they intend to live. To be honest, it’s a topic that I’d just as soon leave to other websites to write about. 😉

          • says

            Further proof to me of the soundness of my decision to quit posting cost of living posts. I even used to post spreadsheets with detailed breakouts of my personal costs.

            As soon as you post something like that there are people who jump in and start telling you you are paying too much … and then others who email and say you are lying and that you can’t possibly spend as little as you say … on and on.

            A good resources for anyone who actually _wants_to know about cost of living (rather than just argue about it) is:
            That site let’s anyone interested add in prices that seem ‘correct’ to them and then intelligently aggregates them intyo what seems a pretty decent data set.

  13. says

    Hello Bob. I have a question. If me and my fiance got married here in the United States, can we still marry again in the Philippines? and live there again?

    • says

      Hi Liz – You could renew your vows in the Philippines, no problem there. And, no matter where you marry, you are free to live in the Philippines.

  14. says

    Thankyou. Last question, coz im a girl, planning to petition my boyfriend, if we are already married, does the U.S. will gonna give me new passport with my boyfriend’s last name? Or are we gonna just leave my passport that way? Thankyou again.

  15. Allan Kelly says

    Hi Bob
    Msg to Don. Listen to Bob and the others. Rent first. Look around. A friend of mine just finished building a house close to his wife’s family. Two years and double what he thought it would cost. He is already talking about selling it and as an regular reader of this site can tell you, good luck with getting your money back. Plus he has to get her family out of the house without hard feeelings.

    • says

      Thanks for your support, Allan. I agree that it is important to rent first, because you just never know if you will end up liking it where you first stay!

  16. Lenny says

    Rent furnished 16,000P…..have balcony with view of ocean.. 2 bedroom with air we use alot…. electricity is 3500P Internet is 500p phone is 500P Cable is 500P…food is 10,000P monthly…spend about 10,000 for playtime & other treats…………….It’s really a nice place here (Dumaquete)……

  17. sugar says

    Hi Bob, maybe Don would like QC perhaps? it’s just near everywhere. Of course that’s where I’ve lived all my life Ha ha. it’s city living though. But there are places like in Cainta up in the mountains of sorts.. near Faith academy school. It’s pretty.

  18. says

    love the article! comments regarding how much one spent per month is really helpful for my stepdad. now, he’s more comfortable that he can make it there as he is receiving $ 4,000.00 per month plus sales from his mattress business in the USA. plus, he’s a vegan…that saves him a lot from food expenses. he’s more in to Cebu or Tagaytay Higlands! great article!

  19. Todd (Gillracing) says

    Bob, Was just wondering being i have stated before my wife to be and I will be coming back there in a few years to i guess renew our vows and after a few more years plan the spend out the rest of our life there in the Philippines (Davao or surrounding area) What kind of job can a American get there? Or do you have to have your own business? and/or live off your retirement? Just was curious. If you don’t mind me asking what you do for a living there? thanks

    • says

      Hi Todd,

      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!

  20. Paul Thompson says

    I guess I’m the odd one; I rented in Olongapo for 5 years until I built my house here on the mountain in Roosevelt Bataan in the year 2000. I picked this area because my wife’s family lived close and the temperature was 10 degrees cooler than in town. I was sailing and gone for months at a time so having family near was good for my wife and girls. Everyone has a valid reason for living where they do, and the reasons are different for each. Oh, my name really is Paul, and has been for 64 years, but I can’t blame anyone for wanting to be a Paul, it’s a good name.

    • says

      Hi Paul – (OK, I’m going to trust that you really are who you say you are!). I don’t find what you did unusual at all. You rented for a while first, before building, and you knew the area. I know some people who build a house (through relatives) before they have even been to the area… in my mind, that’s a crazy thing to do. Being around your wife’s family is not a problem… if it works for you! And, it sure seems that it does! 😆

      Just keep enjoying the good life, Paul!

    • says

      Hi Paul – I chose the area that we live in for much of the same reasons as you did. I have no regrets and I have to remind my mother in law when we are in residence that I’m still alive so she will pay us a visit. She did say the same thing to me only a few weeks ago, living in the same proximity of inlaws does not always mean they live on your door step. Well thats my experiance anyway.

    • Charlie Tuna says

      The “odd” one ? Now why would you ever say that ? Spell check missed that one Paul or whaterver you name is. I think maybe you meant the “old ” one.
      Happy Mothers Day, just in case you are Pauline. lol

  21. PapaDuck says

    You can live anywhere you want as long as your happy. Thats all that matters. Also Bob thanks in advance for the continued great service for gift delivery for Mothers Day. Take care.

  22. says

    Hi Bob – I have seen so many cost of living comparisons over the years and they really serve no purpose as everyone is different and has different needs and wants. As an example there is only two of us, our own property so no rent and live in an area where air/con is not necessary and subsequently electricity bills are 10% of the one mentioned. We have a vehicle, Sat TV and internet and live a full life.
    However what we do may not suit others as we have no children (they have left the nest) so are free to up and go when we please and spend their inheritance, hahaha!

    • says

      Exactly my point, Jim, which is one reason why I rarely write on the subject of “how much it costs to live in the Philippines!” Have a good day, Jim, and Happy Mother’s Day to Marilou!

  23. william says

    Hi Don

    I was working most of 2011 in Davao, and we are now back in Australia. We’ll return to live (prob near other family elsewhere in Mindanao) in a year or 2 I think. My wife likes the greater discipline and values of Philippines schools for our daughter, and fixed income will go further.

    Davao good points: near wife’s family, good climate (if you enjoy warm), excellent shopping malls (we could walk to SM, and NCCC a short drive), cheap cost of living (groceries, internet), international airport (direct flights to Singapore), on the coast (except much of the beaches are privatised), medical availability, Jollibee, and has most facilities of a big city.
    Davao not so good points: Downtown traffic (but not as bad as the Manila madhouse).

    We rented a nice secure furnished 3 br townhouse at 28000 php per month. Cable TV extra (good value, if your kids like Nick, or for news/sport). Elec cost high if you use aircond a lot. We would rent cheaper if we return, to keep our overall budget within say $1000 – $1500 per month.

    Any frustrations were common to most of the Philippines (lack of infrastructure, poor roads, inflexible bureacracy etc) – but this is a developing country remember, so direct comparisons with the West may be unfair. Some things swing two ways eg driver discipline is appalling (lack of enforcement), but we didn’t have to strap our daughter into a safety seat (which she hates here in Oz). I also found Philippines media (press/radio and some TV) poor. But the Web accesses the world thank God. Real estate (rent or buy) is about a third or less of the inflated prices here in Aust.

    Overall, I found Davao a good life experience. I was glad to return to Aust but now, after a few months (it’s Winter here now), look forward to getting back to the Philippines eventually.

    I think most comments would be similar in say Cebu (except family not there). Smaller places (eg Tagum, Digos) less hassle, but fewer facilities. GenSan too hot, and choked to death by tricycles. Luzon bad weather. Ilo OK (and only a few hours by bus to Boracay!)


    • says

      Hi william – I would tend to agree with what you say (except on big exception is that I would not consider Jollibee to be a big plus! ha ha). I have lived in Davao for the past 10 years, and find it a pretty nice place to live. The traffic situation is becoming, IMHO, almost unbearable, though, and is close to making us want to leave the city.

  24. Bruce Michels says

    I guess these couple questions are for the pete and repete show. And I can see where they could be trying at some point.
    Like everyone says rent first and find out what fits your style. If you want the city or the province, family close or not to close. You also see what conveniences you will require to live healthy. It’s all based on what you want in life as far as costs
    everyone has an idea of basic needs. Moving to the Philippines is just like moving to another city in the US cost vary and you will make the adjustments accordingly to fit those needs. I lived there in the Philippines in the 80’s for four years in the Navy. know we are going back without the Navy so their will be adjustments things will be different of course but being willing to make the ajustments is the root of being happy anywhere.
    So if people are going to move to the Philippines move take the advise from LIP and move or don’t move adjustments will come in time.

  25. Bob New York says

    Here in the USA, I prefer to own my home rather than rent. After spending the past 6 or 7 years learning about The Philippines from this website and many others, plus my 5 visits to the same areas in The Philippines, I would have to agree that renting, at least for quite a while looks like the best way to go. From my understanding at this point, construction is not the same, neighborhoods and zoning regulations are not the same ( you never know what might move in up the street or even next door ), Real Estate dealing is not the same. Value appreciation and re-saleability are not the same. For me, those are more than enough indications not to tie up money in just going there and buying something, unless you are in a position that, if necessary, you can afford to just walk away from what you have purchased and chaulk it up to a bad experience if it comes to that.

    As for everyone having a different style of living, ( @ Mindanao Bob ) if there is no nearby Jollibee, I’ll look elsewhere , to me it certainly is a Big Plus ! LOL

  26. says

    Hello Bob. I have a question again. If a baby is born here in the US, when he/she go to the Philippines and live there, can he/she can get a Philippine birth certificate too? I mean is he/she possible to get a Pi birth certificate too? Thank you.

    • says

      Hi Liz – Generally, a birth certificate is issued by the country where a child is born. I don’t believe that the Philippines would issue a birth certificate for a child born in the USA or any other country. I just wonder, why would you want that?

  27. says

    But can he/she live in the Philippines even though he/she is not born there? — Oh, coz I’m just scared that if he/she don’t have a Philippine birth certificate, he/she can’t live there. He he

  28. says

    Hello, Bob. I am the fellow that emailed you on this subject.I would like to thank all for your comments.
    Firstly I have been to Davao 5 or 6 times. We have family there and my wife is very close to her sister and parents.
    We do live in Canada at the moment. The reason we are looking at Davao or the Philippines in general is the culture. I love how the children are so close to family. I am tired of the rat race in North America. Taxes, taxes, taxes, hurry up, to go where ? Everyone I know is so busy working to get ahead only to pay bills and to findout they were no further ahead in the end. The one thing they did miss though were the years they could have spent with their children.
    In Canada who can afford to take there children to the movies and so on. A family of 4 with a coke and popcorn ends up costing 60 or 70 dollars. A haircut 15 dollars, house taxes 3300 Canadian dollars and so on.
    In the Philippines with my pension I can afford to spend time with my wife and children. Here in Canada she works just to keep up with any wants.
    We do own our home and I do have an income of 1.7 million pesos per year.

    My biggest and only worry is my older daughters schooling and how she will adjust. Our 4 year old I’m sure will have no problem.

    I have been asked about why I would bring my children to the Philippines because they would have no oppurtunity for work etc.
    Well, alot of people that I had worked with raised their children here only to see them go to teach or whatever in other countries. My children and wife are duel citizens so the kids can go anywhere in the world to work after they get their education.

    Life is too short and the years are creeping by. I’m tired of the rat race and how the Socialist government in Canada is taking and taking only to fill their own pockets . If one of these guys get fired or caught they just get a big severance package and a big pension to boot. Credit, credit, credit. Well one can only buy the future for so long before you have to actually pay up and you have no more credit.

    So about going off subject there.

    Thanks again Bob for writting me back it was helpfull.
    Don R.

    • says

      Hi Don – It was my pleasure to help you with a little advice, I’m glad that you found it helpful.

      I agree with so many of your reasons for wanting to move. I think your daughter will be fine too, if you don’t wait too long.

      Good luck!

  29. Mark harkins says

    hi bob your a good bloke, for being there for us who dont know a bout a place and seeing through western eyes, i am from western australia, and the love of my life is in davao, we have known each other for 12 months, and we are getting married in jan or feb 2013, im going to live in davao im a little concerned but i have never left my country before, and as you know its always a little uncertain in what you dont know i will be living on $1500.00 australian dollars which is on a par with the u.s. at the moment i think, the other is i have 4 young children that are going to live with there mum, they are daughter kate 12, an three boys at 2,7, 10, now the 10 year old is a bit behind in school is there help for that there as here wants to live with me there which is ok by me, but i need to know if theres help there, and the other question is that my parents are heading up to there 80s, and my dad has given me his ford falcon that is a 1993 model but you know old people how they look after there car its like brand new, bob is there a cheap option for me to bring dads car over here as i intend living there for good, is there a way i can bring it over, thanks mate i hope to meet you over there an have a coffee, very kind regards from Mark H.

    • says

      Hello Mark, your future life in Davao will work out great, I am sure.

      Yes, therecare tutorial centers where your child can get assistance to catch up in school, and very reasonably priced.

      Hope to see you for coffee after you arrive!

  30. Juliet says

    Sounds interesting this blog i was born in davao city but now i lived here in Japan and have plans to go back in my hometown for almost 10 years.exciting,fears worries is also i felt specialy i’ve used the culture here in japan and sorrounded by the japanese society.

  31. gordon wright says

    Bob, I am a single male 68 years old and in very good health. I receive $ 1788 dollars monthly. I want to live in Cebu City, I think. I want to settle down with one young woman. Can I live comfortably and is it realistic to think I can have a young woman be my girl friend? I look like any male my age.

  32. says

    Hi i am living here in the uk and have a Philippine g friend. She lives in Davao and i have yet to go out and meet her in person although we talk most days on skype. Ive known her 5months now. I have been looking on the ner country and culture . I feel we are will be good together and she is sincere and honest. Plus a very cheerful lady.ive read your stories on here today.

  33. says

    Ah . I sent accidentally the 1rst blog. Anyway . I read and heard lots of stuff about alsorts of the Philippines plus asked questions and it seems to be down to the individual what they like and dont of the country. question is whats the best way to go about getting there and being safe. Who to trust authoritatively, and not trust. As some one has said on here as regards where to live , look all round and do not buy but rent for a yr or so. Sounds good advice. So i will stayed tuned to this site i think. Seems quite helpful.

  34. says

    hi bob,

    now i understand perfectly why you have moved to davao. this makes a lot of sense for you and your family.

    i am in a different situation. i am young and i will go back to canada next year. i find the lifestyle in canada better, more things to do and a higher quality of life.
    my condo here is for sale.

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