In recent publications, surveys and promotions—everything from International Living magazine to United Nations studies—the Philippines regularly falls within the Top 15 best places to live, often the Top 10, and, yes, even the Top 5. Each of these studies focuses on different criteria—cost of living, ease of integration, medical facilities, retirement infrastructure, et cetera—so it is both telling and flattering that the Philippines consistently ranks.
It is not much of a secret anymore that the Philippines offer retirees one of the highest-quality lifestyles at a very reasonable cost. What is still rather unknown is which of the 7107 islands that makes up the Philippines is best? Best can only be defined on an individual basis as it so strongly depends on personal preferences, but that said, there are certain elements that simply appeal to nearly everyone. And many—if not most—if not all—of those elements are found on Tablas Island.
Tablas is the largest of the islands that comprise the province of Romblon in the Philippines, and it is on Tablas where the modern is now introducing itself to the old—all the while maintaining the island’s charisma, appeal, culture and history. Due to the Philippines’ colonial past which includes four hundred years of Spanish control and the introduction of the Catholic religion—which remains prominent to this day—and the American influence of the early 1900’s, the country’s history has been jokingly summed up as four hundred years of living in a Convent followed by forty years of Hollywood. As a result, both Latin and Western influences are highly noticeable throughout the Philippines. But it is mostly within charming towns like those on Tablas where the people are still easily and noticeably warm, friendly, very family-oriented and sincerely helpful by nature.
The various benefits of retiring on Tablas—and there are many, including arguably the best residency program in the world—are quite clear to see. In all actuality, if one were to create a checklist of those aspects most desirable to a retiree, Tablas—one could argue with solid, supporting evidence—confidently checks every box.
Thanks to the low cost of living and favorable exchange rate, you can stretch your retirement savings without sacrificing—and most likely dramatically enhancing—your quality of life. Your monthly expenses for food, transportation, and utilities can be met for less than $1000 USD each month. You could easily hire live-in, household help without breaking the bank.
Regarding that bank account, it would extend far further—approximately 67% further than Australia, approximately 57% further than Germany, and approximately 65% further than the United States of America—simply by choosing to live in the Philippines.
Simply by glancing at the saving possibilities, it is no surprise that the Philippines consistently ranks at or near the top of any and all cost and quality of living measurements. The simple truth is this: you don’t have to blow your entire pension just to live the good life. It’s readily affordable on Tablas.
Much in the same manner that your financial situation—whatever it may be—won’t be cramped on Tablas, the people—approximately 165,000 locals and a few hundred expats—won’t crowd your existence and will allow for peace and quiet.
Filipinos, for reasons difficult to fully understand, are probably the most warm and welcoming of all the people on the planet. One could argue—and one would be right—in stating that the Filipino’s affection for one another; their laughter, celebration and song; or their strong connection to family are the best traits of a Filipino. The hospitable nature of the Filipino, however, in the eyes of this writer, is the single most common denominator in the Filipino character, and that is the primary foundation that distinguishes the Filipino from all others. They will welcome you, they will laugh with you, they will sing with you, and they will celebrate with you—and they will do all of this with a generous and genuine spirit. And you will understand and appreciate every moment because English is not only widely spoken, but it, along with Filipino (Tagalog), is an official language.
What is perfect is such an individual thing, but it is fair to assume that warm and sunny tropical breezes come rather close—and that is what you will experience daily on Tablas.
Most descriptions of the Philippines state there are only two seasons: the dry season and the rainy season. That is an unjust distinction. In actuality, it is more this: 1) the consistently sunny season, and 2) the sunny-then cloudy-then rainy-then sunny season. Rarely is there ever a day on Tablas where the sun does not shine.
Yes, the dry season—from November to April—rarely sees rain. And, yes, rain is plentiful during the rainy season—from May to October—but never, never does the sun hide for too long.
The Philippine archipelago is rich in biodiversity and natural wonders. If you find yourself thirsty for adventure, you will have plenty to experience and explore. First and foremost on Tablas are the tropical white sand beaches. They are among the very best that the Philippines has to offer—including Boracay and Palawan. Add verdant mountains, picturesque lakes, waterfalls, rainforests and deep caves to those beaches, and Tablas proves itself as a unique piece of island paradise.
Immersing yourself in the natural, tropical surroundings of Tablas will usher in a feeling of nonchalance with the silliness of your previous life, will allow you to re-engage with your vitality and your purity. And this purity—this rejuvenating wholesomeness—offers an existence that can be unsullied, untainted and once again joyful, once again vibrant and healthy.
If you disregard your health for too long—and this is no great secret—you will have much less energy and you will, arguably, potentially, waste the remaining days and years on illness. If it is your health that is of concern, it’s not too late; a choice to relocate and retire on Tablas may be one of the easiest and most positive, life-altering decisions you’ve ever made.
So what does Tablas put easily—and constantly—at your finger tips … just by being there? How can Tablas help you regain an optimum level of health? The following list shares only a precious few of the many, natural health benefits.
- Clean, Mineral-rich, Spring Water
- The Sun
- Coconut and coconut oil
- Fresh-caught seafood
- Sea water and sea air
- Organic Fruits and Vegetables
- Pili Nuts and Pili Oil
- Raw honey
- Guyabano and Malunggay
Not only does Tablas offer such incredible healthy advantages, the entire country has taken a stand in favor of pure, clean food. Case in point: the Philippine Supreme Court, in December of 2015, ruled to permanently stop all government GMO field testing and declared Administrative Order No. 8 null and void. It was under Administrative Order No. 8, authorized in 2002, that the first commercial propagation of GM crops was allowed.
Since then, however, the Philippines Supreme Court stopped the acceptance of applications for field testing and the propagation and import of any and all GMOs. This ruling means that the Philippines is now GMO-free. It’s a major victory for all Filipinos—and for the expatriates who call the islands home.
This dynamic province illustrates the perfect marriage of traditional culture with progressive and receptive living. It is right now that Tablas’ evolution and burgeoning success can be witnessed through the rise of developments—residential, agricultural, et cetera—throughout the island.
A recent report titled Growth Outlook of ASEAN Economies to Diverge in 2016 and 2017 found the Philippines firmly in the #1 position. When considering all ASEAN economies, the Philippines boasts a higher growth rate than any of its neighbors for both this year and next. According to Moody’s, the country’s GDP is expected to grow by 6% at the very least.
Retirees are naturally concerned about spending their twilight years in good health. The healthcare and medical facilities in the Philippines are just as good, or even better, than most retirees’ countries of origin. The myth that health care in the Philippines is substandard is simply that, a myth. Medical services in the Philippines actually exceed the American standards in many important categories. The truth of the matter is this: it is far less expensive and much more simple to receive necessary health care in the Philippines when compared to Western nations.
On Tablas, there are three private hospitals and one, $25M USD provincial hospital—all equipped with comfortable beds and the latest in medical technology and staffed by many medical specialists. Also, the Liberty Haven Wellness Center—specializing in alternative methods of stimulation and immune systems—will soon open on Tablas.
For comparative reference, the Philippines is recognized as the #25 best country in the world when it comes to health care—much, much closer to top-ranking Taiwan and Denmark than to bottom-ranking Venezuela. The United States is ranked as the #35 best country for medical care.
For those Westerners who are more strategic minded, Tablas’ location will certainly satisfy. The island is far from the common typhoon and tornado paths that are often publicized in the mainstream media. Never in its recorded history has Tablas been hit by a typhoon. Due to its central location, it is also nearly immune to tsunamis. There is a statistically zero crime rate and there is zero pollution on the island.
And for those who crave their privacy—electronic or otherwise—that freedom … it’s here for you, too. You only need embrace it. With the combination of a cooperative climate and greatly reduced government meddling, self-sufficiency and privacy can again be yours. Even if you aren’t necessarily pursuing either, it’s nice to know they still exist somewhere out there in the world.
Tablas is easily one of the most easygoing, comfortable and unflappable destinations in the world—much less the Philippines—but if, however, your more animalistic or major consumer and entertainment urges arise, the Manila metropolis and all that it has to offer in restaurants, night life, stage performances, cinema, gambling, shopping, et cetera, is a very short and inexpensive flight away. The option to take a more leisurely ferry ride also exists. Either way, the bright lights and the big city are within—incredibly—easy reach.
Furthermore, Boracay—the world famous holiday and party island, popular not only with Filipinos but tourists around the world—is only a very fast thirty minutes away by speedboat from Tablas.
Tablas definitely offers true comfort and good quality living while also being arguably the most cost-effective retirement location. With the current sustainable progress of the country coupled with its natural beauty and every other obvious advantage, it won’t be long before the country becomes the go-to destination for both tourists and retirees as well.
M. K. Soni once wrote, “Retire from work, but not from life.”
Retirement is your time for enjoying the fruits of your labor, for saying goodbye to behind an overwhelming and possibly distasteful lifestyle, for engaging in your life, making it exactly what you want it to be. Tablas allows for all of that … and far more.