best place to retire in Philippines - Beach View

What is the Best Place to Retire in Philippines?

Now that you have made the choice to retire in the Philippines, the big question becomes – Where the best place to retire in the Philippines?

There are some people who are considering to live in the Philippines primarily due to a personal relationship with a Filipina. Of course it follows that your initial residence will be where she currently lives. If for instance this is not your reason for going to the Philippines, you would have the opportunity to explore the place further and decipher where is the perfect place for you to live and retire in Philippines.

The 7 most common elements of such a decision are:

  • Cost of living by location
  • International airport accessibility
  • Infrastructure & Security
  • Health care accessibility
  • Nightlife and entertainment – gambling
  • Sports & Activities
  • Urban, rural, or resort location

Retirees have tended to settle in one in the following popular urban, rural, living in metropolis or province, beach resort or mountain retreat locations:

Major Urban Cities

The following locations all rate positively high on the common elements 2 to 6 above:


Metro Manila located in South Luzon comes with the highest cost of living of all the locations; The largest city all over the Philippines. The population here is over 10 million. A lot of Filipinos consider this place as the most urban out of all the other cities there. This is where the latest happenings in the country are. In Manila you can find the largest shopping malls and establishments.

Cebu City

Cebu is a very popular retirement haven, lots of beaches, population over 1 million, capital of the Visayan islands in the middle of the country. Those who are considered “upper class” also are living in Cebu. It is fact that Cebu City is the hub of the Visayan island.

Davao City

Davao offer lowest cost of living of the three major urban cities. With population over 1.2 million people it is the major urban city of Mindanao. This city is also known for its lush vegetation. Fruits are also very abundant here.

Angeles City Pampanga

Angeles City is a place that is well known in other parts of the world. There are even times when it is more popular to foreigners than other cities located in the Philippines. The reason for this is because of the entertainment and the abundance of expat communities that foreigners will find there.

Major Rural Cities

These rural locations find themselves lacking compared to the Urban Cities in elements 2 through 5, but rank high in the other points:

Butuan City

Butuan is located in northern Mindanao with population around 270,000. It is near a famous top surf spot. Most of the time people go here to explore the depths of the ocean. Some people have said that the waves here are perfect for surfing.


It’s capital of Leyte area with population around 180,000.

Cagayan de Oro

This university town in northern Mindanao with population around 425,000. Cagayan de Oro also called “City of Golden Friendship” is popular by many foreigner.

Puerto Princessa

The capital of Palawan is more remote. But it is the cleanest place in the Philippines with rapidly growing tourism area. Some of its main tourist spots have been commended online. It has beautiful areas that you cannot find anywhere else in the Philippines and also in the world. Readers of renowned travel magazine “Travel + Leisure” has deemed Palawan the best island in the world in 2016 and in 2017 again.


The capital of Negros Oriental is university town with lots of young, hip folks and good nightlife. This is usually the place of choice of younger people because of the majority of crowds that party there at night.

Beach Resort Areas:

Boracay Island

Many Expat owned businesses, overdeveloped like Waikiki and Miami Beach, but one of the most beautiful islands in the world. Some have said that Boracay was more beautiful when it was less developed but its overdeveloped quality has not stopped foreigners from flocking the island all parts of the year. For tourist purposes, it is more recommended to go during off peak season because the cost of the amenities there are also lower at that time. Boracay island is known for its pristine waters and white sand.

Mactan Island

Mactan Island is a very popular place for living and retiring in Cebu, just a bridge away from Cebu City offering numerous 5 star resorts. This is where the rich and famous in the Philippines usually go when they would like to get away from the stresses of their daily life.

Panglao Island

Just across a short bridge from the island of Bohol (near Cebu City) famous for its scuba diving. Some have said that the coral reefs in Panglao Island are the best that they have seen so far.

Subic Bay

is a big scuba diving area with population of around 220,000. Subic Bay is usually the spot where Americans used to hang out because of the navy base located there before. Right now aside from the popular beaches, there are other places to see there.

Puerto Galera

This destination has small population of 25,000. But Puerto Galera something of a haven for foreign retirees who like to drink; lots of resorts on the north coast. The crowd in this area are usually younger than usual.

Mountain Retreats:


It is a favorite “get away from the heat” retreat, cool weather with lots of pine trees; population over 200,000; 14,000 foot elevation, throngs of college students. This is also a popular place for people who would like to get away from the stress of Manila. However, Baguio is fairly urban complete with shopping malls and other establishments. Still, the native flare of Baguio city and the tribes living there still prevail.


The spot is located in the Cavite province.  It is a popular hip retreat for residents of Manila. At 6,000 ft elevation it is a cool respite from heat of Manila with a population of around 50,000. Tagaytay is usually a great alternative for people who consider Baguio too far from Manila. However, it is more urbanized than Baguio city. It holds a large throng of restaurants. Most of the time, people who go there would only stay there for a few hours to unwind.

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