Life in the Philippines

I’ve been living in the Philippines for nearly five years now (I arrived in Manila on 9 August 2014 so five years on 9 August 2019). It is an interesting and friendly country with much familiar and much different. Most of the five years has been spent in Manila, famous mostly for its traffic and balut. I have been fortunate in the apartments I have stayed in to be able to see Manila Bay (battlefield of course for Dewey’s Squadron in the Spanish-American War) and generally a nice view into the distance, although a few too many high dwellings.

Many days the sunsets are wonderful and on clear days I can see the Bataan peninsula which forms the northern edge to the entrance to Manila Bay and was the scene of one of the death marches in World War 2. It is also the home to the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant. Construction of that commenced in 1976 and was completed by 1986, just in time to see the Chernobyl meltdown. It was decided not to power up this power plant and it sits on the Bataan peninsula to this day. Who knew?

Interestingly it is not that far from Mt Pinatubo which famously blew its top in 1991.

Sunset over Manila Bay – Bataan in the right background, Corregidor in the left

To the south I can see the Cavite peninsula, forming the southern edge to the entrance to the bay and in the middle, Corregidor, famous as a fortified island, fortified by the Spanish, the Americans and then the Japanese. It was supposed to protect the entrance to the bay. From there you can see the concrete battleship Fort Drum (originally known as El Fraile Island).

I was fortunate to take a day drip across to Corregidor a few years ago, which I promised myself I would write up here. Still, it’s my blog so things happen at my rate.

I will start to cover life in the Philippines more in the future, especially the life of the expat turning local as my plan is to remain here after I finally retire. In the meantime, ingat ikaw.

7 thoughts on “Life in the Philippines

  1. Vivek Upadhayay 29 July 2019 / 3:30 pm

    Good one, nice view, Wasn’t expecting this much history in this post, but was glad to read.


  2. Greg Kelleher 30 July 2019 / 7:25 am

    That’s a big call Ian, to retire in the Philippines. I wish you the very best for the next chapter in your life adventure. Cheers mate.


  3. SCLMRose 10 August 2019 / 12:09 am

    Saw this site and checked it out. I thought of retiring in the Philippines someday but after being in the states for 52 years, I don’t know if it is the right thing to do. Maybe 6 months there and 6 months here is a better option.


    • Thomo the Lost 3 September 2019 / 11:46 am

      There are really two worlds here – one is Metro Manila and surrounds (Cavite, Laguna and Bulacan in particular) where life is crowded and hectic but where everything you are used to in a big city exists. The traffic will drive you to distraction however.

      The other world is that area elsewhere in the Philippines – areas in Luzon such as Baguio, Batangas, Pampanga, Quezon; areas in Visayas such as Bohol, Dumaguete City and such; and then further south around parts of Mindanao. In those areas life is a lot more relaxed, but the Internet is slower (assuming it is available), the mobile phone connection is 3G rather than LTE, and services are a little less developed. Those areas however are generally way less expensive and a lot more relaxed. It really depends on what you are looking for.

      I would suggest that 6 months in and 6 months out is a good way to start. Take 6 months in Manila and tour a little around Luzon and the provinces – a few days here, a week there then back to Manila. After 6 months return to the US and see how you feel. Next trip, spend a few months in one of the provincial areas and see how that feels. If you’ve spent 52 years in the US, no need to rush this step of your life!


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