A summary of retirement life in Palawan, Philippines, including lifestyle, costs, immigration laws and financial considerations.
Palawan is a large, relatively remote tropical island in the southern Philippines. A former penal colony, it is over 270 miles long and 24 miles across at its widest. Palawan has a population of over 800,000, and according to many U.S. and European expatriates living there, it is truly a tropical paradise.
Living as an expat in Palawan is possible for U.S. and E.U. citizens (over 1500 U.S./Euro expats moved to Palawan in 2008 alone), but there are a number of legal and financial considerations, especially as property must be purchased through a corporate entity (only Filipinos can own property as private citizens in the Philippines).
Living in Palawan
The capital city of Puerto Princesa has most modern conveniences, including a reasonably good hospital and internet access. However, there are several other smaller cities, including Port Baton and El Nido, and a couple of dozen smaller communities scattered across the island for those looking to get away from the city life.
Moving To Palawan
Moving to Palawan takes a good bit of planning. It is possible for an individual to make all the necessary preliminary administrative arrangements (visas, taxes, place to live, financial arrangements, etc.) through the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines, or it is also possible to contract with a real estate company that specializes in working with expats moving to the Philippines. A couple of well-known alternatives can be found in the Resources section, but there are more than a dozen companies based in both the US and Europe that can take care of all the necessary paperwork and provide business connections with reputable local attorneys and other professionals.
Puerto Princesa does have an international airport, but the flights are just once or twice a day except in high season. Like in most remote places, shipping to Palawan is expensive, and shipping by sea freight is a much less expensive option. In most places in Palawan (except in the resort areas) there are nice two-bedroom houses available to rent for less than $500 a month. Food is very inexpensive in Palawan and fresh fruit and fish are abundant.
Palawan is truly a tropical paradise. Palawan offers something for just about every type of outdoor enthusiast. From snorkeling and scuba diving in the crystal-clear ocean waters to hiking on jungle trails to climbing the almost 7000 foot tall Mount