Island Resort Hotel Diary: Retiring in Boracay

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October 1, 2021
Glenn Jereza

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The word retirement carries with it a perception of freedom and adventure. Indeed, after working for several years or upon reaching the mandatory retirement age, one leaves the workplace, unconstrained, free to enjoy life with one’s reward, a pension. And what else is the ultimate retirement reward than getting to retire in paradise like Boracay.

Enjoying the fruit of one’s superannuation fund, a retiree will receive a regular amount every month, which, when managed well, should be more than enough to support one’s basic needs and then some.

At this stage, retirees generally begin to look at life from a different perspective. With their newly-gained sense of freedom, independence, and adventure, they set their sights on living in a different clime, a different setting, far removed from their previous turf. Enter the Island of Boracay.

A different milieu

With body aches and pains made worse during winter, moving to the tropics like Boracay is a welcome respite for retirees. Away from the maddening pace of the city, one learns to appreciate the laid-back lifestyle of the provincial island that decreases stress, and invariably, an appreciation for the subtle but cogent change in one’s temperament.

Lifestyle modification is never easy. Adapting to a change in pace in a new locale is never a snug thing. With a battery of considerations, it is never easy to uproot oneself from one’s familiar stamping grounds and grow roots in an unfamiliar realm.

When looking for a place where you can optimize the enjoyment of your retirement, Boracay offers a relaxing environment with the comforts and conveniences of modern-day living; safety and security, accessible medical care, and on top of everything, getting optimal value for money.

Why Retire In Boracay

Boracay's horizon as seen from Pinnacle Boracay's 360 View Deck
Boracay’s horizon as seen from Pinnacle Boracay’s 360° View Deck. (Image credit: Pinnacle Boracay)

Spend your waking days in paradise

The island of Boracay in the Philippines is an idyllic place for your retirement. It has everything ideal for the new lifestyle you desire. Not surprisingly, Boracay is a top choice as a hip habitation for retirees, with its tropical charm, beautiful beaches, and an easy-going pace and lifestyle. It is sheer perfection for a retiree’s hedonistic way of life.

Boracay is a preferred destination for retirees

And what’s more, the Philippines has taken strides to make it the preferred retirement destination in Southeast Asia. The Philippine Retirement Authority offers a very competitive retirement program for foreign nationals and former Filipinos.

A government-owned and controlled corporation, the PRA is an attached agency of the Department of Tourism and issues a Special Resident Retiree’s Visa (SRRV), a non-immigrant visa for foreign nationals who would like to make the Philippines their second home or investment destination. The SRRV offers benefits and perks that make a retiree’s life more pleasant.

More bang for your buck

If you are a single retiree, you can live a very comfortable life in Boracay for just USD1500 a month. That is value for money whichever way you look at it.

This budget includes your hotel accommodation inclusive of breakfast. The negotiated rate is cheaper than usual because you are a long-stay guest. For a hotelier, giving a sizeable discount for a long-stay guest translates to a steady factor in the hotel’s crucial daily occupancy statistics. Hoteliers will gravitate towards the lean margin rather than have an empty room. And mind you, the hotel business in Boracay is cut-throat.

Indulge in different culinary offerings

Lunch and dinner, in or out of the hotel, is covered in this budget. There are rooms with a kitchenette so you can cook for yourself and stretch your budget. And if you are not averse to making your bed, you can opt for an apartelle and whip up your favorite dishes. Remember, cooking just one meal a day can enhance your financial strength. The market is just a few minutes away and the spread, always fresh, is always bountiful.

If you would rather eat out, develop a taste and appreciation for local dishes. Be more adventurous. Local dishes are generally more inexpensive, compared to popular international dishes whose ingredients are invariably imported.

A wide array of activities to choose from

For leisure and entertainment activities that you can enjoy in your retirement, be on the lookout for Boracay tour groups that allow joiners, a term used by small and independent tour operators to help fill up empty, therefore unpaid slots in their group to earn more.

Perhaps every once in a while you might want to have a couple of drinks. Do as the adventurous ramblers do – go on a food and pub crawl after dusk.

City perks all around

Being a resident, establishment owners will notice you as a regular customer and offer you discounts and freebies. Your food portions might even be a little heftier as a courtesy. It helps if you are friendly with the locals and strike a conversation. You might even seek their advice on practical matters such as which grocery offers more inexpensive items, or where to go for dental prophylaxis. Your local network will keep expanding.

There are laundry shops on the island, some are self-service establishments while others offer to pick up and deliver your laundry at no extra cost. Scout for one that offers the lowest price with the most add-ons for free.

One aspect of your long stay that is often ignored is the cost of bank charges when you withdraw more than twice a month or getting slapped with exchange rates whenever you make a withdrawal. Consider opening an ATM account with a local bank (there are several on the island, with international banks as partners) so your home bank will only charge you once. Having a local bank account also offers you the convenience of having your ATM card easily replaced should you lose it. Your banker will also be a great reference should you need one.

Perfect for retiring couples

Senior Citizens dancing at the sands of a beach
Senior Citizens enjoying their time at the sandy shoreline. (Image credit: iStock )

If you are a couple, you can even make your Boracay retirement work for another thousand bucks. So for USD2500, you and your partner can live a comfortable life on an island considered paradise by most. You can almost visualize some of your former co-workers’ jaws drop at the kind of retirement you lead.

But why Boracay?

In a country bustling with competing destinations, Boracay stands proud as the centerpiece of the Philippines ’ tourism industry. Hailed as one of the best beaches worldwide, Boracay’s white-sand beaches have consistently won the accolades of tourism-oriented publications and influential travel organizations.

A haven for retirees, Boracay is a beacon for nature beach lovers. If you are both, then it is settled. Not surprisingly, it is invariably included in a bucket list of travel destinations.

In Boracay, there is something for everyone, from the sky is the limit all-inclusive luxury travel packages on one hand, to a backpacker’s inexpensive delights on the other, with a majority of tourists opting for the in-betweens. On the beach, however, there is no apparent distinction, everyone blends in and enjoys, creating memories to last a lifetime. Boracay is a place of parity in that way.

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Glenn Jereza
Glenn Inosanto Jereza was born and raised in LA (Libacao, Aklan, Philippines) and loves food, reading, traveling, and writing about his adventures and misadventures. He has three legs, the third being a walking stick. He may not be fast on his feet but his wit more than makes up for his physical disability.

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