Philippines growing as popular retirement destination

One big selling point: The cost of living is much lower.
Published: Dec. 27, 2022 at 5:56 PM HST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Since COVID restrictions were lifted in the Philippines, tourism has been slowly picking up speed.

Hawaii travel agency owner Rose Galanto says despite expensive airfares, Filipinos in Hawaii are booking trips back to their mother land.

“I encourage everyone to travel, spend your money, you know, for two and a half years you did not spend for travel,” said Galanto, owner of Aloha Tours and Travel. “Now is the time to spend it so that we can have our economy for a good recovery.”

The Philippine government hopes to reap the benefits of this pent up demand for international travel.

“Bring your friends, visit the Philippines and promote the Philippines outside your family,” said Eufrocinio Bernabe, assistant secretary of the Philippines’ Department of Finance. “That could greatly help our recovery faster.”

Sometimes a vacation turns into an investment opportunity, with visitors buying real estate, like Hawaii realtor and investor Vanessa Tan.

“It’s a retirement destination. So we lot of our expatriates here, they come and join us in a trade mission so that they can learn more about the development,” Tan said.

A big draw is the lower cost of living. Philippine officials estimate American money has three times the value in the Philippines and one can live comfortably on $2,500 a month – especially attractive to those with fixed income.

“We would invite you to come and retire in the Philippines, come back to your country,” said Noehl Bautista, of the Philippine Retirement Authority, which offers a special resident retirees visa -- a special non-immigrant visa that allows people to travel in and out of the country without restrictions. Special healthcare programs cater to retirees.

An estimated 75,000 retirees from more than 150 countries are part of the program – and their money is a critical part of the economy.

“Basically invest in the estates. So you have very good returns for your money. And right now, it’s a good chance, you know, we are offering good payment terms promo terms also. So, this is a very good opportunity right now,” said Carol Magpantay, regional head of Ayala Land’s international sales.

With recession worries on the horizon, Philippine real estate developers are hoping to attract overseas investors looking for value.

“A lot of people are worried about recession right now. But you have to keep things in perspective. World recession really happens about once every 10 years, it’s a cycle and usually lasts about one year and if you let your fears of recession affect your investment decisions, then you’re not going to be able to make a lot of money,” Magpantay said.

Developers range from lower end SMDC to luxury Ayala. Makati, Taguig and Quezon City are some of the popular locations that offer properties near shopping malls, and in walkable neighborhoods.

“It’s never too late to get in. Because there’s so much happening in the Philippines, a lot of infrastructure projects definitely will drive up the value in the future,” Magpantay said.