I guess I first fell in love with the Philippines on my bus trip from Clark to Subic. I saw the poverty, and soon found out that just a small amount of my money went a long, long way in the Philippines.
Gary, as you have said in many ariticles, it is not only about the low cost, but about the Filipino people. For me, the people are real, not plastic. They seem to be people who look forward to the best, often expecting the worse, and take what life gives.
I did my first military tour in the Philippines as a single man. I went on to college and got an officer commission. My third commissioned duty station was the Hospital at Cubi Point, [Subic Bay], Philippines. I went there as a married man, taking along my Filipina wife and daughter. My wife and I have now been married well over 37 years. My 34 year old daughter reminds us often that we are no longer ‘spring chickens', or a rooster in my case. This year marks, finally, a special bench mark for the wife and I. Even being new parents, [adopting a 2 year old grandson], we will both have more than enough to support the child in the USA. That means far more than we need to support him in the Islands of Paradise.
Retiring in the Philippines
This fall, my wife will soon turn 62 and I will turn 65. I still work some, preaching and doing funerals. I have been granted an increase in my small VA pension. My wife found out that she will get far more in SS than she ever expected. We had not really kept up with her earnings as we had with mine.
Our grandson, if adopted, will get a good share, [%], of my earning every month. Our goal is to bank that money and invest the funds for his future, including college. We also plan to have him learn both English and Filipino, and hopefully Spanish and possibly Chinese. I found that I can be in the USA and do my own work, do the laundry, gardening, upkeep and ECT, and work a modest amount of sweat and still not be much farther ahead each month. Even with a good income, SS, VA and military pension; my activities would be limited. OR, I could/can go to the Philippines, enjoy life there and be with family and friends who really seem to care.
Life In The Philippines
I can take all the family to the beach and enjoy the whole day, men drinking, women cackling among themselves, and children playing. My grandson can be part of a close knit family. I can get him a real dog, a cat or two, a rabbit, a goat, a few chickens and even a pony in the Philippines. In short, my grandson can experience having things around that he could only see here in Texas. He can also experience the tilling of our land and the growing of his food, some of his own food, from ground that he can see each day.
We can get the local boys, really men, who can work hard if given the proper leadership, to assist us with gardening, and landscaping. We can grow a great deal of fine flowers, plants, vegetables and fruits. We do not have to go far to pick our own tomatoes, cucumbers, squash and mangoes.
We can pick fresh bananas and if a few go soft, we can make banana bread.
Sure, we can get bananas from the store, and use the soft bananas for banana bread in the Philippines, but the idea of doing so is almost totally different.
Having the boys around means that I have someone who can take my grandson to school, do the laundry, cook meals, assist with the marketing and do a lot of the other ‘chores' that many older people find a bit too much, as they reach a point in their lives where doing so requires'just too much work'.
We, both the wife and I, as well as baby boy, can enjoy the good life, and not have to do the heavy work in order to do so. My years of working hard are long behind me. I know that more than anyone else.
My wife is also slowing down. She is looking forward to seeing those social security checks start coming in. She is looking forward to traveling and just visiting old friends, going to the beach with some of the family she dearly loves. She is also looking forward to paying for and guiding the college life of many of her grand nieces and nephews. A small bit of tuition money can and prayerfully will, make a big difference in the lives of many of the younger generation. Some of the younger generation will be lazy and not do well in college, but at least we will give those willing to try a chance that otherwise, without us being there, they would not have. We do look forward to attending a few graduation over the next few years.
I have actually retired three times, and still work some. I have more passive income than I need to support the three of us. I also enjoy working and earning active income. My wife will be in a unique position where she can also earn active income, if she were to choose to do so.
I am also a seat of the pants type guy. I do not plan things that far ahead. If you are a person who expects everything to be well done, well organized and of superior workmanship, The Philippines may not be the place for you. I see a fair number of expats who go to the Philippine Islands, [often because it is cheaper], and then complain about the laid back nature of the general population. I know that in going to the Philippines, things are different. Just as NY, California and Texas are different, so are their differences between the RP and the various areas of the USA. I am not going there expecting little Galveston, NY or LA, Oakland or San Francisco. I know that living in our area of the Philippines. I also know that some areas of the islands are much more developed than our area. I know that some areas are also far less developed than our humble area of Marinduque.
I also like it warm weather, not hot, but warm, and definitely not cold. Even in the south, I have far to much winter to satisfy me. Sure in the islands we have storms, but it is warm all the time. The people are there, helping me make repairs after each and every storm. Those same people get me eggs from the coops. They get the mangos at the very top of our mango trees.
They pick our bananas and jack fruit, and bring the wife coconuts for pies, cookies and her almost daily coconut water drinks. My accidents have been few when using a vehicle. I have learned to be defensive and to slow down when I drive. I walk almost every place I need to go and find the exercise is great for my waist line.
I eat better, fresher food, and food that does not have all the hormones in it. I am also able to grow a good deal of what goes on my own table after spending just a few months in the islands.
That is sort of the pro of living in our area of the islands of paradise.
Part of the con is that my wife worked her behind off to leave the island. Now I want to put her back on the island, a kilometer from where she grew up and just inches from the problems she left and never wants to encounter again. She is now called ”the wife of the foreigner”, even though she was born and raised on that humble island. Our island is not as well developed as where Gary McMurrain lives. But for me, I am willing to risk the hardships in order for my grandson to experience the family ties and the close cultural events that take place each day.
I am looking at getting my wife a home in Manila or on the mainland of Luzon. She wants to be able to shop, go out to dinner and see a show. The Island of Marinduque is not able to lend much in this regard.
Still, one and all, fellow readers, I believe that life can be better in and on many areas of the Philippines. I am looking forward to leaving the USA for there soon.
I was able to get tickets and paperwork, [paperwork long overdue], to take our grandson to the Philippines. We are now looking forward to our golden years with pride and pleasure.
Garry Yachechko says
Gary, You write beautiful stories. I have ofton thought about retiring to the Philippines with my Filipina wife and our small child. However, it always comes back to the same thing. I am worried about Denue Fever. Is this a legitimate worry?
Gary McMurrain says
Thank you much. This particular article was written by one of our guest writers, JJ Claire.
I would not say that Dengue Fever is a real worry but it is something to be aware of. I think most of the people who die from Dengue are those who delay going to the hospital for several days. Several in our family had Dengue and with prompt, immediate treatment, it is not normally fatal. The day time mosquitoes are the carriers of Dengue. Keeping one’s living area clean and free from attracting the Dengue carrying mosquitoes is a great prevention. Old tires and used drink bottles that catch rain water are two big attractions for mosquitoes.
Have a great day!
Gary Vee says
Thank you much, Garry. This particular article was written by our guest writer, JJ Claire.
I would not say that Dengue Fever is a real worry but it is something to be aware of. I think most of the people who die from Dengue are those who delay going to the hospital for several days. Several in our family had Dengue and withl prompt, immediate treatment, it is not normally fatal. The day time mosquitoes are the carriers of Dengue. Keeping one's living area clean and free from attracting the Dengue carrying mosquitoes is a great prevention. Old tires and used drink bottles that catch rain water are two big attractions for mosquitoes.
Have a great day!
~ Gary ~.
I am looking forward to living in the Philippines in June of 2016, 1.5 years from now. Many of the same reasons you state I also look forward to. I have been to PI 7 times so far, I plan to return for vacation in April 2015 for my 8th trip there. I realize living there daily will be different from vacationing there. I do look forward to doing things on my own time there in PI. I am not a rich man money wise but I should be OK, in general.
I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and God Bless.
I, too, have been to the Philippines 7 times and married my Filipina bride there. We do not know when we will be able to move there and I will be working for another four years before retirement, but hopefully it will not be too long after that. My asawa is from Cebu province and it seems to be the best place for us to live, though she keeps dropping hints about Baguio–a good place to go to get away from the heat. If you have more than $1,000 a month USD retirement income then you should be able to live a comfortable life in the PI but if you have more than that you will do well. God bless you, too, in your life and travels. Bob.
Dear J.J., you wrote two years and almost four months ago and I am only now reading your story. Thank you for what you wrote. Family life is very important and I am glad for your grandson that you want the wholesome “country” life for him. You said that you want to buy a house for your wife in Manila or some other place in Luzon. Have you considered Cebu City, which is a lot closer to your place than is Manila? Also, Cebu is not in typhoon alley, while Luzon is. Though not as big as Manila, Cebu has a lot to offer by way of shopping malls, entertainment and places to see, and the traffic congestion is considerably less than it is in Manila. I wish the best for you and your family. Bob.
Robin Litchfield says
I am trying to locate a little girl that was born there the summer of 1983. Her Mom’s name is Rhea, Her american father is David Moret. Can you guide me?
Hi robin, can I have a more detailed information about the mother? Rhea is a really common name and a nickname here in the Philippines. Do you have more information like full name of the mother or baby? And their locations?