Life in the Philippines from a Young Expat

In my short time in the Philippines, I have experienced quite a bit. I have lived here for just 6 months but I have been blessed to see many different parts of the country. I have seen some amazing places both in the city where I live and in my travels. And now I have a better understanding of the phrase “low cost retirement in the Philippines.”

I live in Baguio City which is known as the summer capital of the Philippines. I have traveled up and down the West Coast of this country and have yet to explore the East Coast of the Philippine islands. Although I am making my first trek to Puerto Princesa next month, I will take some time to tell you about my travels along the West Coast.

Baguio City
I am told that those who live in Manila come to Baguio to get away from the heat. I grew up in a region that snows 4 months out of the year so I cannot handle the heat. Baguio is nearly the perfect temperature with its cool evenings and mild days. The absolute best and mind blowing part about the weather here is that the only change is how much it rains. In the summer, it rains more; in the winter, hardly at all. Other than that, Baguio offers some gorgeous mountain views. Some of my favorite places to visit are Mt. Santo Tomas, Camp John Hay, Mines View Park and anywhere that doesn’t include the mall. I am more of a nature lover and I prefer to stay away from the center of the city.

If you are looking to eat in Baguio City, there are a few very delicious restaurants I could suggest. Café in the Sky is one of my favorites because of the amazing view with your meal! The coffee is also delicious there. If you are looking to eat at a place that will please the entire family, there is a food community called “Ketchup Community” near Wright Park that has something for everyone. Some of my personal favorite eateries are Amare pizza (just up the road from Wright Park) and the Baguio Craft Brewery. You absolutely cannot go wrong with any of their craft beer.

San Juan
If you are looking to try your hand at surfing, there are some amazing resorts along the beach in this area. I have stayed at some of the nicest hotels in my life along the coast in San Juan. My favorite place to stay is Awesome Hotel which offers a beautiful beach front property complete with a pool and swim-up bar. There is nothing I crave more than to come in from the beach to lounge around a shady pool and be served drinks with my swim. The surf is also very serious in San Juan. There are surf instructors littering every beach and you can take a lesson for very cheap. For the more serious surfer, there are also several places to stay away from beginners and catch some insane waves.

Anawangin Cove
This was one of the very first places I visited during my stay in the Philippines. I was very surprised, after a 4 hour drive from Baguio, at how amazingly beautiful the beach was at our hotel. The first morning that we stayed at Canoe Beach Resort, we took a hike around the backside of the mountain and came out in the beautiful and non-developed Anawangin Cove. Not only was it one of the most beautiful hikes that I’ve ever taken, but I was so thrilled to come on to a beach not surrounded by giant buildings or resorts. There was no electricity and the only noise came from several boats ready to take us back to our hotel when the sun went down. This part of the trip was so relaxing and lovely, I would surely return!

These are only a few of the places we have visited in our time here. We have seen some amazing sites, and the people of the Philippines are always friendly. If you are looking to take a trip or an extended stay or even retiring in the Philippines, rest assured knowing that you will see some beautiful sites, enjoy some delectable food and be welcomed by the friendly smiles of the locals.