Where in the Philippines Do You Want To Live?

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Author: V. Reekay

About Me.. In 2011 I made the decision to move to the Philippines within a year. Since 2012 I’ve been traveling through various islands of the Philippines as a full-time Expat. (Mactan, Bohol, Panglao, Moalboal, Dumaguete, Bacong, Boracay, Cebu) I recently spent the year living in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

Share with me here my ongoing adventures of life in the Philippines. Dating, vlogging, cooking, traveling and sharing the information with you needed to make your own plans for living as a full-time expat in Southeast Asia.
— Reekay


  1. LINKS:
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  2. Reekay, I am considering the province closest to Manilla but high in elevation for the cooler weather. Where would that be? thanks in advance for your help

  3. I think bear in mind that as a retiree your needs become different as you age in terms of capability and needs. What works for you at 60 will not work at 80. What happens with healthcare and will you be able to drive forever? I am a natural city boy and my partner wants to be near her family in Cebu City. She worries about her father being old now; although she sort of knows he is just a year older than me. Finally be aware of “grass is always greener” syndrome, is it good enough for 5 to 10 years should be your focus. There will always be a better place out there somewhere but you might spend the rest of your life living out of a suitcase finding it.

  4. Never live in the province!
    You will not find this out until you get into a life-threatening emergency and you suddenly need a high-quality hospital.
    The best option is to live just outside the big city – like Reekey just said. But the problem still is how do you get quickly into the big city for an emergency?
    And, how do you do the weekly grocery shopping or other shopping, without driving or riding public transportation for an hour?
    Most big cities do not have clean borders, where people can live 10 mins away and jump back into the big city on short notice. Sorry… it does not work like this in real cities.

    I find the best option is to find a well-developed “village within the big city”. Take Legaspi Village in Makati. You might call it a “bubble” or whatever you like. But, basically, it is a clean area that is expensive enough to keep the poor people away and rich enough to attract great restaurants, movie theaters, best hospitals, parks, etc. It has all the benefits of big city living, but little traffic and good safety.


  5. I would like to know the following please:
    What if you are taken to the local hospital badly injured, and in a coma state with enough cash in your pocket to pay for the treatment on you but unable to talk … does this mean you won’t be treated for your injuries in the Philippines?
    Thank you.

  6. I have lived on Camiguin island for four years. Why?? Safest place in the world !!! Cooler and clean air. I rent a big property Two minute walk from the beach. Three bedrooms and two baths. Super nice with a garage and covered patio. Sixteen K a month. Expensive to travel to cagayan de oro. Only shopping is the problem.

  7. For me i live about 3klm out side a provincial town in central Luzon. For me we went for a house and lot already established 303 sq mitre lot 2 bedroom home , after our extension the home floor area in over 100sq mitre. The area where we live is a porok and mostly descendants of one family. The barangay counciler told us when we move here that he was happy that we choose this location because it a family area and we will be looked after. We are very happy with out choice of living area, Karaoke haha wife lives to sing we are normally participating. I think it is best to join into the community don’t be a outsider and if asked to give some support to the community give it. Hey life is what you make it. PS building materials for new house no so cheap any more. We looked for 3 years for house and lot , some of the asking prices we’re not realistic , the mentality here is sell a dump to buy a mansion.

  8. Hi Reekay, yes indeed pros and cons to everything,My island of choice is Negros being on the far western side doesn’t get Many of the Typhoons ,that most are on the easter side of PH trecking up through Luzon.

  9. Going against most of the YouTube ex-pats, I prefer Nueva Ecija, principally Cabanatuan City. Healthcare is #1 and Cabanatuan has the best in Nueva Ecija. The #2 is cost of living, much cheaper here amongst the farmlands of NE than in Cebu.

  10. Baguio is the place for me! Love Baguio even though it’s far from Manila.

  11. Hey Reekay,,my dream is to live in pang pang ,just outside san carlos city pangasinan,my wife has 10 acres offamily land there.very rural and san carlos is not too commercial.We have recently been there may 1st -25 th to see land and look at options to build etc.
    In 3 weeks i never saw another foreigner in san carlos city.that os my kind of place,great vlog as always man x

  12. Condo in the city. Doorman, pool, and gym. Walking distance to mall. Love your videos Reeka.

  13. Building fresh is soo expensive and who has the lifespan to take that on. It becomes a project dependent upon so many moving parts.

  14. I will live near my wife’s family as I believe any other choice would be selfish and eventually lead to problems and in turn reduce my happiness.

  15. Okay for myself my wife and six and a half years wanted to live close to her family which lives on Cebu Island her sister was running out of money since her husband is not working on a freight ship anymore so we agreed to buy it probably 10 minutes walking from Naga City Cebu So it’s just outside the city 300 M2 lot with a a jointing lot Nextdoor 350 m and one of the best things is no interest on the payments I’m making another house

  16. Goodmorning
    Is the bag you bought worth the $200.00
    The one with the pad lock and it is slash resistance

  17. 3 years to go, bought a hobby farm 3 hectares in central Bicol 10 minutes from a city and 15 minutes from the beach (finally getting title was a major ordeal is an understatement) house design done, preparations under way.

  18. I’m on the verge of selling my home here in America traveling to the Philippines and marrying my sweetheart. I have been giving a lot of thought about the very things you are discussing. It is my desire to live a little ways out like you’re talkin about but I want to have a large enough piece of property where the neighbor’s barking dogs and crowing roosters and burning trash will not disturb me, at the same time I want to be close enough to town where I can go in for a little shopping or restaurant or maybe to the theater. I hope I can find a property like I’m describing that already has a house on it so that I can avoid all of the obstacles of utilities, then I can just modify the house or just add on to it and I hope to be a little higher in elevation so that it’s cool all the time and I’m not all hot and sweaty. My plan also is to have my own solar panels and be off grid because the electrical system in the Philippines is completely unreliable. I have not quite figured out what to do about cell phone service that far out and also for internet connection

  19. Personally I love Bonaficio Global City in Manila – it has a first world vibe, masses of apartments to choose from and loads of places to eat for all budgets. Yes BGC is going to be more expensive than elsewhere in PH but I dig its amenities and Manila is such a great base from which to explore the rest of PH. Of course, my preference won’t suit everyone.

    btw I would NEVER buy in PH or anywhere else in SE Asia. Renting is so much cheaper, it doesn’t tie up capital and gives total flexibility re. changes in circumstances (itchy feet, new neighbours, building faults etc)

  20. I like your idea of just outside a city. We still have 10 years before retirement and haven’t chosen a location (she is from Luzon and has lived here in US for 30 years), but we are leaning on renting a house to get some land for plants and few animals but not be tied to that location by buying property.

  21. Hey! I agree with you: Living JUST outside of a city is the best. I have also “decided” that for me Iloilo would be perfect. Close to everything in (western) Visayas, and it just feels right.

  22. I think for me the ideal will be a condo. I love country side but one of the things that I would dislike it’s when they do karaoke at unreasonable hours.

  23. Hahaha…supervising Filipinos. I’ve seen several build videos in PH and they all have one thing in common…Filipinos build what they want, not what the boss wants. I think mostly it’s a language issue. Most builders know some English but not enough to fully convey details. Bah bah bah porch bah bah bah. Understand? Yes sir. He gets to building a porch.

  24. For the longest time I struggled trying to decide between living in the city or out in the province. After much deliberation I decided that I want a condo in Manila, right next to a large SM or Robinson’s mall. I want modern conviencies, a nice pool to swim in daily, good restaurants at the mall. So I’ll live in the city and take vacations out to the province for some fresh air, nice oceans, or beautiful mountains. Either way, I will be financially able to move if life in the city isn’t everything I dreamed it will be.

  25. My fiancee and family are in Bukidnon, Malaybalay City. It doesn’t get the typhoons, it’s much cooler than the coast, there’s all the good facilities, ie hospitals, resorts, restaurants, shopping malls between Malaybalay and Valencia so it’s good for me. as I’m from a semi-rural area in Australia.

  26. We currently own a small house in Bel Air Santa Rosa City that we plan to renovate. Our longer-term goal is to buy a 1000sqm plot and build a single-storey property to give Jenny land as she likes pets and like V she loves to garden. I think this will be about a 30-40 minute drive from where we are now but higher up so much cooler. Jenny is a successful Real Estate Brokers agent and I thought this was like a 3-5 yr goal but she wants to get it done in 1-2yrs and she works hard for what she wants 🙂 Me, I am easy, and as long as my little woman is happy I have no complaints.

  27. A very important think to me is quiet/silence at night. Fricking roosters etc at night would really piss me off What if any options are there?

  28. Reekay ,. I was renting a condo in Cebu City for over 2 years and now i want to live a little bit outside the City. I want to try to rent a house with a yard, but having a car or truck is a must for me so i don’t need to rely on public transportation. Looking for a good neighborhood is my priority.

  29. First thing, the Philippines needs to fix its restrictions. And then what are the chances they just follow whatever the WHO guidelines tell them in the next Plandemic in the future? They have lost the trust of many Filipinos, including Expats.

  30. To tell you the truth Henry’….I’ve been in cebu city for just over 2 months now, just submitted by 6 month extension, and I couldn’t be happier to remain here,over say manila or davao city….and I’ve been to all 3 places over the years. Not as crowded as traffic ridden as manila…and atleast to me, easier to navigate around…I live around the corner from IT park…in la Guardia flats 2…and pretty comfortable here….malls,Starbucks, any fast food I’d want, dentist, metro grocery store,hospital all within waking distance

  31. OK Reekay I’ve been given this a lot of thought because I will be collecting Social Security in a few short months and when my first check gets deposited in my credit union I will be moving over there as I have a girlfriend of four years I was there a pre-pandemic and it’s been very hard on our relationship but we survived. So I’ve been giving a lot of thought about this topic and yes I would like to have a place of our own mostly for her because when I die I want to leave her something she is 28 years old very mature very beautiful and I am 67. But when your date younger woman after several months the age difference does that matter it’s just like being in a relationship with anyone don’t get me wrong I appreciate her beauty but you know what I’m talking about because you have age difference as well. Let me digress back to the subject so I am up in the air as to whether to build from the ground up and like you I don’t think I want to be in the city maybe 10 minutes outside but we will travel to different islands to see which fits us the best. When you mentioned hospitals I had to go to the hospital when I was in Manila because I had food poisoning very bad case of it and I was really impressed with how clean the hospital was and modern and the doctor that I saw she was married to an American so she had a home in America as well not that that should matter but I was really impressed with the care I got so you are right about how important the hospitals are not to be too far from a major hospital. And yes the rainy season is a good time to look at property to see if there’s flooding or not at the property we potentially want to purchase also it’s important to be close to a paved road for obvious reasons. My girlfriends family lives in the province and Negros oriental and the roads are horrible as you may expect the dirt roads I’m talking about that of the main highway that lead to her papa’s house.

  32. i live live in Cabuyao Laguna hospital just two blocks away not sure how good it is but its brand new and big i have a big ebike to get around town its perfect no province life for me its nice here

  33. 5:45 New builds. Some of the already built homes aren’t engineered with the best quality. Wide gaps in doorways, windows that don’t open and close properly, uneven floors. A lot of these homes were built in the same fashion you mentioned, piece by piece. Most likely they start out as a one bedroom then additonal rooms are added over time and the house ends up looking piecemeal. Plus the concrete construction leaves little room for modification. If i were to build here, I’d do it as a new build so that i could take advantage of some of the newer tech such as liteblock.

    With that being said though, I own property in Colombia, the Philippines is too far behind the curve as far as foreigners owning land. I wouldn’t consider buying land in the Philippines until I had the same rights as a citizen without having to be married or having to be part of a corporation.

  34. I went from metro manila, to mansalay, oriental mindoro. I wouldn’t recommend anyone with health conditions to live in the province. Besides bad infrastructure and questionable healthcare, the constant blackouts are going to affect you for even something simple like having to sleep with a cpap machine. Imagine going to sleep with your mask on then you lose power in the middle of the night for hours. It happens. I heard Negros occidental has issues to a smaller degree, I’m not sure. I live in Muntinlupa now which is a nice middle ground, In the NCR but not metro manila. I can live in a similar house and neighborhood as I did n the province, but still have access to the amenities of the bigger city. I actually choose to live in a condo again, because just like the province, the area i wanted to rent a house in all but shuts down at around 6-7 pm with no way to get out and about unless you own a vehicle. it’s a 20 minute walk to even get to the tricycle stand, not going through that again lol.

  35. I’m thinking of renting a studio, apartment or house in Panglao, Panglao seems less populated than Tagbilaran but yet close to it.

  36. Thinking definitely the Visayas and the similar thought as you when we retire to find a place just outside of the city proper… Really liked Cebu for its size and all the amenities, plus now has the international airport in Mactan. Wife is from Mindanao and I’m a little too puti to live there, however never had any problems when we visited her family. Thinking of something like 8 months in the Philippines and then 4-6 months in the U.S.. Just have to see how well I like trike, rooster, dog and videoki noise. Its just me and the wife so maybe a condo, but the wife is from the province and loves the farmer lifestyle. Not much backyard here in Tacoma WA so 1 hectare would be perfect for us in the Philippines. Lots of fruit trees and garden. Livestock would be hard if flying back and forth, but retirement is at least another 10 yrs out as I turn 50 next month just trying to stack money up with no mortgage or debt.
    Hope you are doing well and take care.

  37. For me at this point it’s not even worth talking about until all restrictions for travel and their vaccine mandates and masks end, who the hell would want to go there to begin with?

  38. I like Luzon it has it all , and the best hospitals are in Manila. I prefer central Luzon in the province but not too far everything. Love visiting Manila but I wouldn’t want to live there. Traffic and pollution just too much.

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