aaron2

Most important considerations?

NEW articles daily! Subscribe below to receive daily updates with our new articles!

Please enter your name.
Please enter a valid email address.
Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.

When you think about becoming an expat – moving to a different country – what are your most important considerations?

Of course it varies from one person to the next.  Truth is, the vast majority of people never even consider making a move abroad.  It simply is not something that many people even think about.  But, for those of us who do think about it – or even do it – there are many things that might influence our decision on where to move or even if we will make the jump.

Get Relocation Consulting and Coaching from Live in the Philippines

I have been living in the Philippines for 15 years already.  There are many thousands of expats living here.  But, even with many thousands of expats, we are still a tiny minority here in the Philippines.  Sometimes you can go out around town, in Davao where I live, and not even see another foreigner, although that is not as common as it used to be.

When I do talk to other foreigners, I often ask them what considerations they thought of when they first decided to move to the Philippines, or any other country.  Here are some of the responses that I commonly hear.

Which Way Will You Go

Which Way Will You Go

Weather

For many of us who are from colder, or wetter climates, many people say that they really wanted to escape the cold, wet weather.  They found the weather where they lived to be dreary, boring, or just downright unpleasant.  Choosing to live in a tropical climate was a change that they found important, and enjoyable.

Of course, making a move to the Philippines, you have to carefully choose where in the country you will settle.  For example, if you choose the wrong place you might be coming to an area where the rain comes in as a deluge.  If you hit an area that is prone to typhoons, you might want to go back to the cold weather again!

Thankfully, in the area where I live, we are not usually subjected to bad weather.  No place on the earth has perfect weather, but it can’t get much closer than what we experience here in Davao City.  Here in Davao we get nearly daily thunderstorms, and they are VERY heavy.  However, they usually happen in the evening, around dusk, and usually only last for 30 minutes or an hour.  That’s not bad!  It keeps the area lush and green, but leaves most of the day dry and sunny.  Perfect!

City or Rural?

Another big consideration is whether you want to live the City life or a more rural lifestyle.  When we lived in the States, we lived in a rural area, with 5 acres of land.  Out in the countryside, as we would say back in the US.  When we came to the Philippines, we opted for the City life instead.

Why?

Because of availability.  In a developing country like the Philippines, if you go rural you can expect that only very basic products and services will be available.  In a big City, like Davao, the number of products and services available are almost limitless.  We are able to get just about anything we want or need here.  It has changed a lot over the years, but only for the better.  When we first moved here, even in the City, selection could be limited, but as I said, it has gotten great.  And, I only expect it to improve more!  No complaints.

Family

For those moving to the Philippines, probably one of the main considerations is connected to women.  There are many people who have Filipina spouses, and the majority of people that move to the Philippines, in my experience, either are married to a Filipina, or are coming here looking to have a relationship with a Filipina.  When choosing where to live, it often is connected with where their wife is from.  Most expats who move here choose to live in the city where their spouse is from, or at least nearby.

When we first moved to the Philippines, we lived in General Santos City, which is where my wife is from.  After a couple of years we decided to relocate to Davao City, about 3 hours north by car.  So, we are still relatively close to family, but are in a larger city where we can easily get the amenities that we want or need.

Other important considerations for us

I mentioned earlier about availability.  That concept ties right in with this section, things that are important for us.  I would say that in this category there are two things that really attracted us to living in a large city.

  1. Internet.  Having good internet is very important to me.  I earn my living using the Internet, so it is probably the most important consideration for us.  Without good, fast and reliable Internet, I really would not be able to live in the Philippines like I want to.  Living here in Davao, I have been able to get very good Internet.  Currently, I have two different Internet services that I use.  I have a DSL line, and also LTE/4G wireless service.  I feel that redundancy is a very important thing for me.  I want that if one service goes out, for whatever reason, that I have a backup that works.  From time to time both services will be down, but that is very rare.  If we lived out in the Province, far from the City, this type of Internet reliability would simply not be possible.
  2. Schools.  Because we were a relatively young family when we moved to the Philippines, with young children, quality education for our kids was an important consideration.  Of course, we wanted to have good schooling available for our children.  When we moved to the Philippines our kids were 8 years old, 3 years old and 1 month old, so you can imagine, this was a major consideration for us.

What about you?

What about you?  What are major considerations for you when deciding where you might resettle?  Whether it be moving to a country that you have already chosen, or searching for the right country that matches your needs.  What items are in the top of your priority list, and why?  I’d love to hear from you and know what you are thinking!

Bob Martin

Bob Martin is the Publisher & Editor in Chief of the Live in the Philippines Web Magazine. Bob is an Internet Entrepreneur. Bob is an American who lived in Mindanao from 2000 until 2019. Bob has now relocated back to the USA.

Most Shared Posts

75 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Rease Wold
7 years ago

I tried the provincial life at first, while I like it, over time I became bored. I found that long term, provincially available health care wasn’t sufficient. The biggest reason I made the move to a larger city turned out to be boredom. Yes, I found I get bored easily and need access to things to do and robust public transportation wether by air, sea or land.

Richard Bowen
Richard Bowen
7 years ago

Another informative and thought-provoking article, Bob. Thanks. —For me, a 72 year old Type 2 diabetic, I would have to list “A close proximity to quality medical facilities” as probably my number one priority. For some of you young Testosterone driven males, this probably does not even cross your mind but you should stop and think: where would you like to be when your first heart attack or stroke or other major medical issue strikes? Way out in the province, kilometers and multiple hours away from a good medical facility or in a city relatively close to life-saving help. When… Read more »

BobM
7 years ago
Reply to  Richard Bowen

Hi Richard – Oh, it does cross my mind. Since moving to the Philippines, I have had 3 major medical issues. Two of those were life threatening. Those were a stroke in 2001, and a very serious infection last year. I also had dengue in 2009. So, medical care is an important consideration. I admit that it was not much of a consideration when I first moved here, especially because I was still relatively young, just 38. I am thankful that excellent health care is available right here in Davao, and I have no concerns about that. If I was… Read more »

Dave Starr
7 years ago

Excellent thoughts there Bob. The scariest thing I hear from fellow expats is their thoughts on health care … and how to pay for it. People write to me often asking about cheap, comprehensive health care insurance. Well I hate to be the guy who clued them in on the fact that there’s no Santa Claus, but “cheap” and “good” very seldom go together. Certianly not here in the Philippines were you and I live. When I bring this up I often get the answer, “Oh I’m in good health, I’m not worried about that”. Well here’s a clue. Everyone… Read more »

BobM
7 years ago
Reply to  Dave Starr

Hi Dave – Paying for health care is indeed a major concern to me. With PhilHealth, that helps a lot, and my savings. However, if a major medical problem would arise, I would have trouble and would have to make some serious decisions. I guess that is the case for most expats around the world.

I do feel that the medical facilities here where I live are good, even excellent in many ways. Cost is relatively inexpensive especially when compared with the USA.

papaduck
papaduck
7 years ago
Reply to  Dave Starr

I have a health insurance policy through Blue Cross that covers 100% inpatient, doctors fees and emergency room up to 20 million pesos per year for $1250 per year which is a good price compared to other countries and it supplements the Philhealth I have.

MindanaoBob
7 years ago
Reply to  papaduck

Hi PapaDuck – Nice to hear from you, my friend. It sounds like you have a winner with that policy! Better keep it! 🙂

Ron
Ron
7 years ago
Reply to  papaduck

Sir

Can you tell me where did you buy that policy? I would like access to something like that.

Salamat Ron

papaduck
papaduck
7 years ago
Reply to  Ron

Ron,
I got the policy at Blue Cross in Makati City. The premium is based on age. Since I am now 56 and in the next age range my premium will be going up when I renew in Nov. The policy is good at most any hospital.

Heinz Schirmaier
Heinz Schirmaier
7 years ago

Hi Bob. Actually you hit the nail on the head on all accounts. For ME it would be living out in the province, but close to a larger city for the kid’s school and other amenities like shopping, restaurants, etc. But since I also like to fish I would like to have a place close enough to fishable waters. Also, I want to open a small Cantina, so it would have to be accessible to the general public. So, actually I’m thinking Valencia, Negros Oriental, not very far from Dumaquete where there is a great college for my kids, also… Read more »

BobM
7 years ago

Hi Heinz – Nice to hear from you, my friend! I would caution you to don’t make too firm of plans until you have been here for a couple of years, your thoughts, opinions and desires will change after you have been here. Fishing might be tough. There is little (zero) sport fishing here, really. Most of the fish left in the Philippine waters are quite small, and the commercial fishermen who fish for a livelihood have to go far off shore, even to different countries. But, you might find just the right spot, who knows! Make sure you bring… Read more »

Godfree
7 years ago

When I made my move (to Thailand) my biggies were
1. A non-predatory society, in which everyone was included, there was no begging, and people were polite and helpful to each other.
2. Top-to-bottom happiness: not just some happy people and others resentful; I wanted everyone to be happy.
3. A rich, intact culture.

Thailand delivered all three, so I jumped on the plane!

BobM
7 years ago
Reply to  Godfree

Wow, sounds wonderful, Godfree! So, seriously, there are no beggars in your area? That is shocking to me. We have plenty where I live.

Bob Martin
7 years ago

Hi Rease – thanks for sharing. What you are saying pretty much lines up with my experiences and the things I have heard as well.

Jeff Knick
7 years ago

How adaptable and adjustable can I be? Change is easy for some not so much for others, I like to believe I am of the former. The primary consideration comes down to health, Aging with serious disabling and deteriorating conditions, physically forcing me from the ‘Work Force’. The combined conditions and complexities in my personal circumstances often force me to choose between Medicine and food. Etc… Limited fixed Disability Income seemingly will go a bit farther there. First excursion has been in planning and will happen real soon. Following your posts I have found many valuable answers. Still not understanding… Read more »

Bob Martin
7 years ago

Given the aging, Jeff Knick, that would also indicate that it would be important to live in an area where good health care is available as well. I am glad that I have been able to be even a small help to you in finding the answers that will help you. Thank you for that! Don’t worry, extending your stay is easy and you will not have a problem with it. The airlines won’t really be of help on that, but you just do it through the bureau of immigration. You will likely want to not have a round trip… Read more »

Heinz Schirmaier
7 years ago

May I ask Jeff what country you call home? If the USA and you have serious disabling and deteriating conditions as you state I would suggest you stay there as you will not find treatment in the Philippines as cheap as in the USA, that is if you have Medicare & Plan B in which case your out of pocket cost is practically nil along with the best health care in the world. Been in the hospital 3 times in the past 4 years, non invasive surgery (cancer) Gout and these 3 stays would have cost close to $100 thousand… Read more »

Casey Bahr
7 years ago

Heinz, did you take into account your premiums and the 1.6% income tax for Medicare you’ve paid all your working life with no income cap? You have to add that to the $450 plus ongoing premiums. Still far less than your estimate for the bills, although in CR, say, your bills would have been about 20% of what you would have paid and I’m confident the result would have been the same or better.

BobM
7 years ago
Reply to  Casey Bahr

I got a little chuckle when you mentioned CR, Casey. 🙂 The reason being, here in the Philippines the abbreviation “CR” means “Comfort Room” or bathroom. That was the first thing that came to mind when I saw it in your comment, then I realized that you live in “Costa Rica”. 🙂

Mel Hill
7 years ago

Jeff I would suggest getting a round trip ticket with an open return date. A one way would only save you a hunred or so. If you decide it’s not going to be what you thought you will have the return ticket for one year. It’s a lot more expensive to buy a ticket from over seas to the United States. Even Business people will buy a ticket to the USA and then get a round trip ticket to the USA if they know they will be returning.

SIGN UP TO JOIN OUR GIVEAWAYS & INFO NEWSLETTER

Make sure you've signed up to our newsletter to get exclusive newsletter only content! Also be updated about all our important events and other important info that our readers rely on.

SIGNUP FORM


Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.