The Philippines – The Beautiful And Ugly Truth

The Philippines is a great place to live in for expats. It has a number of natural wonders from mountain views to beachside landscapes. Most people are relatively westernized, meaning they speak English and understand common trends from America. There is a diverse cultural profile, with different indigenous groups residing in the island of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. Living conditions vary from spacy and chic cosmopolitan condominiums to quiet countryside homes. The cost of living is relatively cheap, as the mere glint of a dollar can turn store owners’ and small-time vendors’ heads. Provided the right set up, an expatriate retiring in the Philippines can nestle into both a comfortable and exciting post-retirement life here.

There are plenty of options for low cost retirement in the Philippines, which we offer at our website including exposure and informative tours to helping you with your relocation phase. Visit us at There are plenty amenities and points-of-interests that may attract the non-local and foreigner to settle in and find their own niche for their life after retirement. There is no denying the great beauty in these lands, but to be frank, there is ugliness too.

As most societies and nations are plagued with their own unique problems, the Philippines is also host to a variety of different issues. From the top-down, the nation is ripe with its own political, social, and economic plights that penetrate the government to the people. There is corruption and mismanagement from the nation’s supposed leaders. Education is overlooked, taken-for-granted and delivered poorly in some instances. Workforce talent, think-tanks and grassroots leaders are scoffed at or even smart-shamed. There is chaos from the people themselves especially when it comes to cities where the rat chase is god. Pollution is almost everywhere, careless smoking and littering on the streets, as well as huge amounts of impoliteness. Poverty is rampant, with a huge chunk of the population living considerably below the poverty line. The middle-class is fortunate enough to enjoy the comforts typically found in an American home like a microwave, a decent bathroom, or a front yard. These are things that Filipinos encounter on a day-to-day basis. Most of them just overlook these issues, coming to accept it as a part of their lives, while a few frown on the status quo and try their best to change it despite people actually discouraging them from doing so.

The picture may seem painted destitute and discouraging, but was there any good art made without a little heartbreak? Much like how a tree is challenged by encroaching pavement, allowing its roots to break through the asphalt and find room to breathe, communities that are faced with demands and issues have funny habits of rallying to answer the challenge. While a number of grassroots leaders are shot down (figuratively and literally), a few more are inspired enough to take up the mantle. A few genuine hearts extend helping hands to those in need, working hard to find solutions to the problems the country faces. Resilience is found strongest when there is adversity, precisely because it is given a challenge to answer to and to test itself. The same can be said with the Filipino people—despite the hatred, the corruption, the social ills, there is still love, there is still hope, and there is still bayanihan (the Filipino virtue of helping one another) that can be found in families and communities that look out for each other despite the harshness of the real world. There is genius and incredibly moving sentiment in the stories of the people—ordinary human beings that are able to provide for themselves and their families despite the difficult conditions they face. There are no fantasies here, but there is the spirit of goodness that keeps the Filipino going.

If you’re considering retiring in the Philippines, keep this in mind: America isn’t called repulsive and disgusting because of a few bad decisions, or a few bad cities. Sure—sometimes what it does crosses the line, but it still has that original and genuine spirit which its forefathers envisioned, and what it continues to stand for. The Philippines is no different. It is not a clear-cut diamond, rather, it is that impressive old gem that still maintains its first shine, which was the reason why you fell in love with it in the first place.

For more information about retirement options in the Philippines, contact the Expatriate Living and Retirement Alliance of the Philippines (ELRAP) by visiting our website at or e-mailing