Where to live in the Philippines

The absolute best way to find out which city in the Philippines you want to spend your retirement and likely the rest of your life in, is to simply come here for a 10 day vacation and visit the various cities yourself and then make your decide. Maybe I would start in Luzon and work my way south towards Cebu and Mindanao. In Mindanao I recommend being very careful because there have been kidnappings for ransom in the Mindanao area especially in the eastern parts, although that has not been a big problem lately.


Cebu City

Cebu City is what I consider the ideal city to live in. it has so much to offer in the way of night life, shopping, and beach resorts. You will never run out of things to do or places to go here. You need to be street smart and stay out of trouble as crime is not the best here, is it in any city in the world except maybe Hong Kong, yet that crime is mainly only in some areas of the city, if you stay out of those areas you are OK. If you like great night life away from all the Smog and traffic I suggest Cebu City due to its abundance of things to do and places to go which are so numerous, it’s just too many to count. The nice thing about Cebu is it’s lack of Typhoons, as most track up north over Luzon and Manila. It also has relatively few earthquakes. Read more about Cebu City here.








Bogo City

If you want an area relatively free of crime try Bogo City in northern Cebu, a great motorcycle ride up the coast of Cebu almost -0- crime but a much smaller city, it does have shopping, movie and clubs and bars and night life and girls… just not as much as in larger cities. And the nice thing about Bogo City is that you are only about 2.5 hours by car or motorcycle from Cebu City. When I lived in Bogo City I went to Cebu City about twice a month. I would still be there if it were not for my wife wanting to be away from all her family and relatives. Thee is little traffic here except during functions or rush hour. More on Bogo City here.


Bogo City




Photo, thanks to Tolz, http://www.istorya.net/forums/members/tolstoi/


Dumaguete City

The City of Dumaguete is another great city to live in, it is located in southern Negros Oriental, you will find a lot of Americans and foreigners living here. And if asked they will tell you it is a great and friendly place to live. More on Dumaguete City here.



Thanks to www.panoramio.com
Thanks to www.panoramio.com


Davao City

Another nice city is Davao City in Mindanao praised by a lot of people I know but I have never been there myself. Davao City has -0- crime yet is a huge city, and there are also plenty of Americans living there as well. Unfortunately for Davao City is that the MPA Rebbles headquarters is located just north of this City, It is very safe inside he City Limits -0- crime here, but but… I am a little nervous abut the areas outside this city. For more info look here.



Davao City2
Thanks to www.davaomusicnation.com


Manila City

You could live in Manila and have everything there you would ever want including, Condos great night life, lots of smog, congestion, traffic jams and plenty of crime. Personally I only visit this city maybe one a year or so. More on Manila here.




Car Car City

Car Car City is located south of Cebu City and is another quiet place to live, one we were considering a move to but decided not to due to drug gangs in this area. Their initiation is to kill someone and get away with it. It is about the same size is Bogo City but crime is present here so I don’t recommend it. I do have a good friend living here since the late 1990s. More on Car Car City here.




Bacolod City

Bacolod City in Negros Occidental located in the northern part of Negros Occidental is another nice are yet does not seem to have the night life Cebu City is famous for. My wife was born in a city near here. Negros has some of the greatest highways in he Philippines, wide and flat roads that completely circle this huge island. I have been to Negros Occidental twice now once in 2004 and again in 2006. Marianne learned to drive by making the trip around nearly two thirds of this island. For a woman she is an excellent driver and can handle her vehicle with great skill. I enjoy watching her turn around on the narrow road inside our compound here in Lapu Lapu City each morning as she begins her drive across the city in heavy rush hour traffic heading to her college. Marianne has no problems maneuvering that car and knows exactly where to turn her wheels to get her car turned around. For a relatively new driver she is very good, definitely not the typical women driver. More on Bacolod City here.





Baguio City

Baguio City Is another great city to live in if you like cool weather there, it also has a relatively low in crime rate. Baguio is a Mountain City, located in Luzon and about a mile high. Average temperature her is only about 72 degrees F and can go down to the 40s F. I have been told Baguio city is often a cool misty place. Baguio is a college town so you will find lots of students here. Problem with Baguio is it’s congested traffic and rough roads. You are pretty much limited to the city are as once you leave the city you are in the mountains, Manila is a whooping 10 hour drive from there. The big problem driving in these mountain roads this high up is that they are often covered in fog. Otherwise a lot of Americans call this home. More information on Baguio here.




Tagbilaran City Bohol Island

Tagbilaran city is located in the southern west coast of Bohol Islsnd. It has lots of positive aspects, it’s a laid back, relaxed kind of place, and there is little to no traffic. Two major problems with Bohol, there is little to do there except go to it’s beautiful sand covered beaches. If all you want to do is go to the beaches then this could be your destination.  There is little infrastructure there, and only a few places to visit, once you see the four of five tourist attractions you are done. You will find driving around the islane to be fun and relaxed because there is little traffic to encounter.

The second problem with Bohol is, there is considerable rebel NPA (New Peoples Army) fighting in the northern part of the island. There have been deaths reported in the news lately from there along with kidnappings. More on Tagbilaran City here.


Thanks to: panglaocoralline.com
Thanks to: panglaocoralline.com


Bantayan Island – Bantayan, Santa Fe, Madridejos

Bantayan Island is an island located in the Visayan Sea and is situated to the west of the northern end of Cebu Island, across the Tañon Strait. As per the 2010 census, Bantayan has a total population of 136,960. The island is administratively divided into three municipalities: Bantayan, Cebu (the largest municipality, covering the central part), Madridejos, Cebu (covering the northern portion) and Santa Fe, Cebu (covering the eastern portion) Go here for more information. Bantayan Island is a coral island and has beautiful white sand beaches, you can buy property here  at a bargain price sit back and relax for the rest of your retirement. Buy a motorbike and tour the island.  There are a number of great beach resorts here and plenty of bars and clubs to keep you busy. Bantayan Island is home to many expats from around the globe and you will find plenty of European and American restaurants here on the island. One of the problems with living her is the lack of shopping malls or stores, most of your shopping will be done in Bogo City a 2 hours ferry ride or in Cebu City 90 kilometers south of Bogo City. You will likely make monthly trips to the big island of Cebu to do your shopping. Otherwise there are only small mom and pop shops and stores on the island.




Click on this map for a larger more detailed view.

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 Hotels rooms here run around Php 700 for an air conditioned room per night.

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He has excellent ice cream dishes and banana splits.

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I have a friend here Larry Haydon who owns a boat like this he can take you on a tour around the island.


One comment

  1. An excellent Report. Very good factual information. Cebu sounds like a very interesting fun place to visit on vacation, but foreigners have driven up the prices there a whole lot and there is a whole lot of crime in Cebu City too. A super scenic beautiful place though. Personally, I like to Avoid high crime cities or areas.

    Davao City sounds like a super great city to visit today, but I don’t want to be confined within any city on any island in the Philippines. I want to be able to freely drive around the entire island once or twice a month in my good used SUV with family and friends without any fear of being kidnapped or robbed by the NPA. Davao is a neat beautiful place to visit by plane, but not a place for me to live full time.
    I like Baguio City, but there are some serious huge Negatives to living in Davao full time. This is a city
    of over 300,000 people today, where there should only be about 35,000 people. Clearly, there were no common sense building or safety codes when most of the hill side homes where built. Today and in the future, these poor people have the threat of their homes and families being swept away in a land slide flood. Apparently safety was never a Human issue in Bagiou City when homes where built. Also there are some serious earth quakes that cause some serious damage to many buildings and roads. Except for the motor cycle and auto pollution in Baguio also, it almost seems like a fantastic mountain location to live. If today or in the future the city government requires that human safety is a serious issue in Baguio City, then I will consider Bagiou city. If the
    city government also builds an electric trolly & cable car system throughout Baguio city and outlaws all trikes and jeepney travel, I may be on the first plane to Baguio City to build a new home and to live full time. The rain or clouds do not bother me that much. I come from a state where I had a 101 inches of rain on my roof top each year. It’s just that I want some sunshine more than 2 – 3 months out of each year. Maybe 8 months of sunshine would be real nice in my future home location.
    At this time Dumaguete City and Bacolod City are my two TOP best choices of all the cities in all the Philippines to live in full time, unless I learn of something better from a friend. Dumaguete is an easy fun ferry ride to Cebu any time. Dumaguete is an easy fun bus or SUV drive to Bacolod and then a fun enjoyable ferry ride to Iloilo City. I can enjoy these three interesting beautiful super scenic safe clean cities by living in Dumaguete City or Bacolod City and enjoy the whole Negros Island. Then just maybe I will take my time and meet a Good Hearted Filipina in Cebu city , Dava, Bacolod city or any city and bring her to my home on Negros Island where we will be at least 250 to 500 miles from her family, relatives and friends. Yes, I may not know much, but I am learning some very important things about how to be happy in the PHilippines. To start with,don’t EVER consider living near your Filippina Wife’s family or relatives! This is NOT an option. Living near your wife’s family or relatives is a VERY BAD IDEA!
    Don’t even consider it!
    My friend and his wife, who live in the Cebu city area have made this perfectly CLEAR. Take the money you save each year by not living near your wife’s relatives, and move at least 250 to 500 miles away from your Philippine relatives, and travel to China, Japan, New Zealand, Hawaii, Alaska, America or even to Europe on vacation with your savings and give the rest to charity or to your wife’s family in the Philippines at Christmas time, by not living any where near your wife’s relatives.

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