American or other you can't own property here. You can lease, as long as your wife is Filipino or you have a Filipino partner who will account for 60 per cent of the investment. There are limits to your property you can lease, purchase, depending on your spouse, if she or he is a Filipino. An expat or any foreigner can own a condo, but it has to be an approved property where you become a partner with the condo association. There is lots of help here to get you there, but a lot of hoops you have to jump through. The people can be amazingly wonderful, but being surrounded by happy, extremely poor and needy people can be disparaging, but if you have a big heart and want to do some good, then your money will go a long way and you will enjoy sharing your life with grateful people who will work tirelessly to make your dreams come true. Some will try to become a part of your dream and even take a bit more than they deserve, but who can blame a downtrodden poor Filipino for trying. There are some druggies over here who rob and steal and can be troublesome, but if you find the right people you can avoid that element and have a pretty good time. I haven't got near 5000 bucks a month. But if I did, it would make a difference for me as my wife's family is quite wealthy, which doesn't help me at all, as I need to live in their wealthy areas and keep up with the Jones to make my wife comfortable. I can't keep up. I would rather get a simple place near the beach and do some simple traveling and surf and take pictures, write, play music etc.., but I will figure something out. There are good days and bad days. Surrounded by poor people who would really like to trade places with you and who come to depend on your every move is almost perverse, but then again, as I said, if you have a heart and you know how to share without going broke you can really enjoy the people here as they are very catholic and happy with their lives whether they live in a hut or work in the fields. Although when an expat comes around the lucky guy or gal who works for you will become a dedicated and helpful soul who depends on you for everything and will do just about anything to keep it that way. It's a sad situation for such a glorious people. The Japs and other colonial cultures, Chinese, Spanish capitalized off of the good nature and trusting souls who they ultimately destroyed. Oh, did I forget the Americans took as many natural resources before they left after the war, but left a legacy of education which may just bring the Filipino back from the destruction they experienced during WWII. Hate the Japs, sorry. My opinion and I won't change until they change. They still use the uneven balance of trade to give themselves an advantage. Never play fair and would enslave their own, which they have really. The Chinese worry me as well. They are quite close to the PHilippines and woujldn't mind taking it for themselves. Dangerous and powerful. Never know what is going to happen in Korea, then this whole area will become embroiled in another war. The US is here though. Fighting terrorism down in Mindinao.
Before you come here you better check out the realities of retirement visas which can save you thousands in moving costs if you get them squared away before you get here.
Culture shock? Get ready. But, all in all I've met some great people and the incompetence of some of the domestic help is easy to put up with because they do everything with such compassion and sincerity. They will break your microwave or 110 appliance by plugging it into a 220 socket as easy as pie. All of your appliances will be gone before you know it. You need to train your help. Take the time to share you knowledge and experience with power tools etc... but when you come across a well trained or experienced mechanic, stand back and marvel as they can tie a car back together with leather, wire, screws and bend a few other parts and your car will run. Always buy new if you can, or be ready to pay whatever it takes to get that used vehicle back into shape. Hopefully it's not a total loss.