Retirement on a Budget in Scenic Tagaytay

The spectacular surroundings and affordable prices make this Philippine city an increasingly popular retirement option.

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The city of Tagaytay is one of the Philippine’s most popular tourist destinations, and it’s beginning to attract the attention of foreign retirees, as well. Although it is only about an hour’s drive from the sprawling metropolis of Manila, there is nothing urban about Tagaytay. This is a small mountain resort town surrounded by breathtaking scenery.

Tagaytay sits atop a ridge that runs along the north side of beautiful Taal Lake and the Taal Volcano. Thanks to its elevation of 2,100 feet, the air in Tagaytay is clean and the climate is mild. This is one of the few places at this latitude where you could live comfortably with neither heat nor air conditioning.

The mild climate makes Tagaytay a perfect choice for a retiree who enjoys the outdoors. There are many fresh-air activities available, including riding horses, the summit of Taal Volcano, picnicking, golfing, swimming, gardening and al fresco dining.

The standard of living is higher in Tagaytay than in most Philippine towns and cities. Many wealthy Manila businessmen and politicians maintain holiday villas here. The government has worked hard to promote tourism in the area, and, as a result, the local economy is comparatively prosperous. Housing options include many attractively landscaped gated communities and subdivisions with big clubhouses and views that extend beyond Taal Lake all the way to the distant Laguna de Bay.

Perhaps the greatest appeal to the idea of retirement in Tagaytay is the cost of living. A couple could live comfortably here on a budget of about $1,100 per month. However, it’s also possible to live better than comfortably in Tagaytay, even on a modest budget. You could rent a large villa with a killer view for less than $600 per month.

The Philippines offers one of the best retirement programs for foreigners in the world. Permanent residency is easy to obtain and comes with a host of incentives, including duty-free importation of household belongings and the ability to work or own a business. Older retirees (anyone age 60 and older who has permanent residency in the country) enjoy even more benefits. The senior card offers sizeable discounts on virtually everything, from groceries and restaurant bills to utility and medical expenses. People with chronic medical conditions are welcomed.

Tagaytay stretches along a ridge that extends for more than 30 kilometers. This gives the town a comfortably low population density, but means that you’ll likely want to have your own transportation. Living in one of the gated subdivisions, you’d definitely want to own a car or motorbike.

Several hundred foreigners have settled in Tagaytay already. They are a social and welcoming group. Twice weekly, many meet for evenings of food, drink and spirited storytelling.

English speakers will have no difficulty here, as English is an official language of the Philippines and most people are fluent. Good medical care is available in town, and several spas and fitness centers promote a healthy lifestyle. Organically grown produce is available at several venues throughout the city.

All things considered, with its spectacular scenery, temperate climate, proximity to Manila and welcoming foreign community, Tagaytay makes an excellent choice for overseas living.