The Philippine islands are rich in natural beauty. Lying about 500 miles off the southeast coast of China and to the northeast of Borneo, the Philippines is made up of over 7,000 islands created from volcanic activity. Yet the total land mass is about the size of Arizona. Only about 7% of the islands are larger than one square mile, and only one third of them have names. They form three main groups: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.
Colonized by the Spanish in 1521, their influence can be seen all over the Philippines, from the Spanish churches and religious observation to Hispanic last names and foods. The Spanish language was the official language of the country for over three centuries and was the lingua franca up until the 21st century.
The Philippines is one of the world’s most affordable places to retire, and welcomes foreigners, to boot. Offering one of the best retirement programs and an easy path to permanent residency (the easiest in Southeast Asia), plus top-notch health care (and the only remaining overseas VA hospitals in the world), established retiree communities, and stunningly beautiful beaches… it’s easy to see why so many retirees have decided to make the Philippines their permanent home.