Dave Christopherson was feeling fed up with the everyday drudgery of work. He dreamed of spending his days golfing amid beautiful surroundings and diving in crystal-clear waters teeming with tropical fish. And he found a place where the low cost of living meant he could enjoy an early retirement with his family on only $1,900 a month—Dumaguete in the Philippines.
Sailing into the sunset to start a new life in a tropical paradise is the stuff of many retirees’ dreams. However, sometimes the fear that they’ll also be leaving behind First World amenities holds them back. But there’s a place where you can forget those worries…Cebu City, on the island of Cebu in the Philippines, is that place.
Michael and his wife Barbara moved to the city of Cebu on the Philippine island of the same name eight years ago and have never looked back. “We actually feel younger. My kids are amazed at the transformation in me,” says Michael. “We came here thinking we would quietly and warmly head “into the sunset”. We very quickly found that we were actually heading “into the sunshine”.
In the Philippines, your dollar stretches (and stretches and stretches). Around $1,400 a month will fund a lot of luxuries such as maids, gardeners, massages… And that figure includes rent too… To find the best-value rentals though, you need to go see for yourself. The rental market in the Philippines is a “boots on the ground” project. There is no online presence for most rentals so once you arrive start talking to everyone, expats and locals, to find the best opportunities. On my recent visit that’s what I did, and here’s a taste of what I found in my favourite parts of the country…
“Sundays begin with family. They arrive early and, before long, we’re on our way to the beach. We swim, eat, swim…and eat again. It’s a pleasure watching people enjoy the simple things,” says expat Paul Whiteway. “The perfect Sunday ends with music. Like a lot of local households, ours wouldn’t be complete without karaoke. The more we drink, the louder we sing.”