The Freedom Handbook for Living and Retiring in the Philippines by Bruce Silverman

I knew at an early age that I could not spend my life living the so-called American Dream after having been raised in the suburbs of Baltimore, Maryland. I believed that dream was for the new immigrants that migrated to America for opportunity in that great country, but it wasn’t for me. After finishing my university and spending several years on the west coast in the greater Los Angeles area, I knew that the next step was to travel outside of the United States. Los Angeles was a melting pot of foreign cultures, and I knew I had to experience those other cultures, and that is what paved the way toward my future life of living outside of America.

My life in Japan in the early eighties was enjoyable. I went there to start my own business in the jazz music world primarily as a booking agent, but I also got involved with other assorted aspects of business in the music industry there. While in Japan most of the young Americans who were living there were teaching English. Immigration laws required foreigners to leave the country after being there for three months in order to renew their visas. Most of the teachers went for several days to Korea and brought back items they could sell in Japan to cover their traveling expenses. I chose to travel to the Philippines as I had met many Filipinos in L.A. and I was curious to see what the country was like. I was offered accommodation by a guy my age that I had befriended. He had returned home to the Philippines after his college years in L.A. My first visit to Manila was all it took to hook me, and to this day, I guess I can say that this country has been my destiny.

I first moved here in 1982 and became involved in various entrepreneurial ventures. I had to leave in 1993 for business purposes, which took me to Colorado and then after that to Costa Rica, but never did a year pass that I did not return to the Philippines for one reason or another. Mostly the reason was that the Philippines was my true home. No matter where I traveled, from Brazil, to New Zealand, to six years of residing in Costa Rica, what I really wanted was to be in the Philippines. So in 2006 my wife and I, together with our three daughters moved back to the Philippines, to a beautiful mountain city called Baguio, where we added a fourth daughter to our family. What I believe today is that this is my permanent home for the rest of my life.

The Philippines is divided in three major areas, Luzon in the north, Visayas in the center, and Mindanao in the south. Traveling these regions is so exciting as they each have their own very distinctive indigenous cultures. This adds to the fun of visiting different places, as well as making it a difficult choice of where in the Philippines to settle if one chooses this wonderful country as their new home. I suggest visiting all three regions and experiencing the cultural differences, as well as the geographical diversity, before making a final decision on where to put down roots.

Wherever I travel to these days, whether on business or for pleasure, with my family or on my own, I enjoy myself. But coming back home to the Philippines is always something I eagerly look forward to doing; this is where I want to be.

There is no perfect place for everybody. The Philippines is fantastic for me, but it might not be the place for you to live, or make a living, or to build your dream retirement home. But it is a place to consider when you are looking for the perfect place for YOU. Bear in mind how accommodating the people are, and how low the cost of living is in relation to the quality of the lifestyle it buys you. You have the choice of living on a beach, or in a mountain setting, such as where I live in Baguio, or residing in a luxury high rise in cosmopolitan, exciting Metro Manila. You are spoiled for choice in living the type of lifestyle you yearn for, and that is definitely something to think about.

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The best part of living in the Philippines is that it is just plain out and out fun.

Bruce Silverman
Baguio City Philippines