Probably one of the most important things you need to consider before you make a move to the Philippines is this – where will you live? There are a number of large cities, there are mid sized cities, and then again, you can live in the provinces where life is simpler. How will you choose?
One thing that is a prime consideration is this – where do you have ties in the country? In my case, I am married to a lady who is from General Santos City. Natrually, our choice was to live in General Santos. I had visited GenSan many times, and I liked it there! I never had a problem there in all of my visits, so we didn’t even think about it, we moved straight to General Santos. After living in General Santos for two years, we finally came to the conclusion that it was not the right place for us. We had a couple reasons that caused us to reach this realization. First, living so close to my wife’s family lead to a lack of privacy. In the USA where I grew up, people tend to enjoy a degree of privacy. Here, if you live close by, you will have cousins, aunts, uncles, not to mention parents and siblings at your house at all hours of the day. There was never a time when it was just my wife, kids and I at the house. It got old. My wife had lived in the States long enough that even she was not comfortable with having people at the house all the time. Second consideration for us was that there was not much to do in a small city like General Santos. I was bored. So, we decided to move to Davao. We have lived in Davao for more than 4 years now, and we love it. Could not imagine moving away from here. Plenty of things to do. Still close enough where in-laws can visit, but far enough away that they are not here all the time. Perfect.
Another consideration – if you are from a western country is the availability of the type of goods that you will want to buy. Western foods and such. When we lived in General Santos, there were times we could not buy butter or cheese and had to drive to Davao (2 1/2 hours) to get such things. In major cities, you will find the things that you want or need (most of them anyway). Now, which are the “major cities”? I would say that would include Manila, Cebu, Davao, Cagayan de Oro. Perhaps a few others, but those would be the major cities. Now, for me, I would not want to live in Manila – it is crowded, polluted and expensive! So, I would limit my choices to Cebu, Davao or CdO.
Of course, for many, living out of the bigger cities is the attraction. Maybe that’s for you, and you can just buy the things you need in bulk when you visit the larger cities.
All in all, it’s your choice! And, the country offers enough variation that anybody can find the place that’s right for them. Good luck to you in your search!