-Where were you born?
-In which country and city are you living now?
-Are you living alone or with your family?
-How long have you been living in the Philippines?
11 months (since May 2010)
-What is your age?
-When did you come up with the idea of living in the Philippines?
My wife is from the Philippines with lots of helpful family members. Unemployed in the US for over a year and a half with only 1 job interview in that whole time. Being over 50, it's not easy to find a job in the US. My military retirement should do us well after we finish with all the initial cost payments.
-Was it hard to get a visa or a work permit?
Nope! The visa was stamped in my passport when I arrived at the airport in Manila. It couldn't have been simpler.
-Was it difficult for you to get medical insurance before you went there or when you first arrived?
No. I just use the same insurance I had...TRICARE, but depending on where you live, you can use just about any insurance that you have in the US.
-How do you make your living in the Philippines? Do you have any type of income generated?
My military retirement is the bulk of my income, but we have a sari-sari store and a small BBQ on the side that takes in a few pesos everyday. Not hard to do when you get the relatives to help. We just had the store built. Paid the carpenter about P300 ($7) per DAY, bought the contents of the store, got the local permits, very low cost, and starting selling.
-Do you speak the local language and do you think it's important to speak the local language?
I know some of the national language, but very little of the 'local' language. It's nice to know so you won't be so lost during conversations and it's easier to communicate, but it's not vital. There are plenty of people here who speak English and many of them want to practice their English skills. Of course there are those who do not speak English and still more that know a little, but are too embarrassed to speak to you.
-Do you miss home and family sometimes? Describe your favorite recreational activities there or those that are available.
Of course I miss my family sometimes, but I know that they are happy as long as I am happy. I don't do much in activities. I have my computer and I will start going to the gym soon, that's about it. I spend most of my time working on my blog.
-Do you have other plans for the future?
Starting next year, we plan to travel to several places throughout the world. Manila is a good hub for travel throughout the world. As far as business plans go, well we do want to open a restaurant. We are in a very good location and it may be getting better soon. Of course we came here to retire, not work, so maybe a big restaurant is not for us. We'll see, but we have options.
-What about housing, have you bought, or are you renting a home? How much do you pay for it?
We had our house built on land that we purchased. The house itself is mostly concrete, so it cost more than normal. We had a very small nipa hut-style house for my father-in-law a few years back that only cost about $350. I think that if you built a whole nipa-style house with about 5 rooms and plumbing, it would cost less than $10,000 though.
-What is the cost of living in the Philippines?
Most things are very cheap, but some things cost as much as in the US. Gas prices are high for such a poor country, about P60 per liter of gas.
-What do you think about the locals?
I've met nothing but wonderful people since I've been here. In fact, every Filipino I have met has been wonderful. I'm sure they all are not, but I haven't met any of them.
-What are the positive and negative aspects of living in the Philippines?
Positive is the low cost of living, the people and the laid back environment. Negatives, at least in my area of the Philippines, is the limited food items available. There are plenty of fruits and vegetables, but at least for fruit there is not a wide variety. The beef is sub-standard, but the pork is great. Chickens here are small, but still taste okay.
-Do you have any tips for our readers about living in the Philippines?
Yes I do. Before you move to the Philippines or any country actually, be sure to visit that country several times before making the move. Visiting at different times of the year to check out the weather is important too. Different parts of the Philippines have different aspects. If you are close to a big city, you can get many things you are used to from the US or another 1st world country, but it costs more to live there. In the cities and towns not close to big cities, it is less expensive to live, but the trade off is not having the goodies that make you so happy.
-Do you have any favorite Web sites or blogs about the Philippines?
http://texaninthephilippines.com - my site.