Expat retirees should head for Dumaguete

Published:  27 Jul at 6 PM
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Would-be expat retirees looking for something different have been heading to Southeast Asia for several decades, but the Philippines has remained a well-kept secret, attracting mostly Americans to its beachside towns.

The college city of Dumaguete, nestling on Negros Oriental island between the nearby islands of Siquijor and Cebu, was recently outed by Forbes as the ideal destination for a peaceful retirement. Known as a city of gentle people, it’s a small provincial capital set alongside the ocean and is managing the transition between its culture and the 21st century in a sympathetic manner. The lifestyle is laid-back, as are the local people, and it’s one of the more affordable Asian destinations for those on a fixed retirement budget.

Although living in the Philippines isn’t as inexpensive as it used to be, the cost of living in Dumaguete is far cheaper than in Manila and the more popular beachside tourism hubs. Renting a home can cost as little as £250 a month or even less if you’re lucky, and a delicious meal in a good restaurant can be had for around £7. Eating where the locals do will set you back around £1.75 - £2. British retirees on the state pension should be able to manage, and Americans pensioners in similar situations will be more than covered.

One of the main reasons for giving up on one’s country of origin on retirement is the depressing Northern European weather. Dumaguete’s two seasons can bring a few surprises, but it’s never, ever cold and miserable. June through November is the wet season, with the dry season taking up the rest of the year and filling it with sunshine and hot, sometimes very hot, conditions. Average highs are at 34 degrees Celsius and it’s rarely colder than 24 degrees. Summer storms can be disturbing, but it’s worth it for the year-long warmth!

Further advantages are the city’s cleanliness and lack of pollution and its safety compared with Manila. Even crowded places during the tourist season still feel safe, and the vicious crimes common in this day and age are almost unheard of here. All told, for a peaceful retirement in an affordably charming setting, Dumaguete seems to be the perfect expat destination.
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