Discover the Philippines


If you’ve always dreamed of moving to the Philippines, here is an overview of its geography, demography, economy, climate, and political situation.

According to the >2017 HSBC Expat Explorer report, the Philippines ranked 24 worldwide in terms of expats’ overall view of each expat destination. Some of its key aspects include the low cost of living both in urban and rural areas, its pleasant climate, the availability of healthcare and other services, etc. Other than the abundant career prospects, it also ranks high in terms of the quality of social and family life. This provides a good work-life balance, which have been attracting foreigners worldwide.

Geography and demography

The Republic of the Philippines, consisting of 7,641 islands, stretches over some 300,000 km². The country is divided into three main geographic areas, namely Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, with Manila being the capital city and located in Luzon. A 2015 census showed a population of 100.98 million. The Filipinos are considered to be of Malay stock with a mix of Chinese, American, Spanish, and Arab blood. English is, in fact, one of the two official languages of the country. The national language is called Filipino and is based on Tagalog.

The Filipino history has been marked by three colonial eras. The first started in 1565 under Philip II of Spain and ended in 1896. The second period began in 1898 during the Spanish-American War, which truly ended in 1992 with the closure of the last American bases present in the archipelago. During the same period, from 1942 to 1946, the Philippines was also occupied by the Japanese during the Second World War. Independence was then granted in 1946.

Economy

The Philippine economy is mainly driven by manufacturing, agriculture and services with Japan and the United States as its two main trade partners. Since a few years, the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) sector has also successfully managed to set up many call centres across the country. Hence, the Philippines provide many jobs and business opportunities for locals, as well as foreigners. However, local authorities deem that the country does not yet attract enough foreign investment.

They have therefore set up a series of government policies in order to support and promote industrial development by improving infrastructure, introducing efficient tax incentives, deregulation, privatization, etc. In fact, they have put in place a 2022 Prosperity Plan to increase the country’s competitiveness and ease of doing business.

Politics

The Philippines is a unitary presidential Republic, governed by a President who is also the Head of the State, government and armed forces. The President also appoints Cabinet Secretaries and presides over the Cabinet.

On the legislative side, the bicameral Congress consists of the Senate and the House of Representatives. 24 senators have been appointed for a six-year mandate as well. The House of Representatives, for its part, consists of 250 members, each with a three-year mandate.

The Supreme Court supports the judiciary. It is chaired by the Chief Justice and includes 14 associate judges.

Climate

The Philippines enjoys a tropical, hot and humid, maritime climate which is divided into three seasons:

  • Tag-init or Tag-araw which is the dry season, lasting from March to May
  • Tag-ulan which is the rainy season, lasting from June to November
  • Tag-lamig which is the cool and dry season, lasting from December to February.

In the South-west of the country, you will experience the Hagabat or monsoon season, which lasts from May to October. In the North, the Amihan, or monsoon, is accompanied by dry winds.

 Good to know:

You will be glad to enjoy an average of 300 sunny days a year in the Philippines. However, humidity can rise to up to 80%.

Advantages

When moving to the Philippines, you will be entitled to several advantages. First of all, the cost of living is low, both in rural and urban areas, as you will be more likely to buy local products. Health insurance, visa fees, return tickets, etc., are also more affordable. In fact, the local health care system is near to international standards. Moreover, you will be eligible to the PhilHealth system if you are married to a Filipino national. Otherwise, you will have to subscribe to a local health insurance unless the health insurance to which you subscribed in your home country provides coverage in the Philippines.

Finally, the Philippines has signed a double-taxation with several countries, including UK, US, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, etc. Therefore, you are not required to pay tax on revenue received from abroad once you become a resident in the country.

 Useful links:

Expat.com - Philippines Forum 
Ministry of Tourism in the Philippines
Philippine Department of Tourism
Philippine Statistics Authority