Planning to Retire Soon!

If you are planning to retire in the Philippines soon, I suggest you visit several excellent websites on pro's and cons of retiring in the Philippines. However if you want to retire in the provinces, where life is simple, standard of living cheaper, less traffic congestion and pollution, availability of fresh seafood and vegetables compared to the big cities, my island province is the place for you! If this is your first time in my site, welcome. Please do not forget to read the latest national and international news in the right side bar of this blog. Some of the photos and videos on this site, I do not own. However, I have no intention on the infringement of your copyrights. The photo above is the front yard of Chateau Du Mer-Our Retirement Home in Boac, Marinduque, Philippines

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Marinduque or Guimaras Islands/Contra Costa or Sacramento Counties- Places For Retirement in the Philippines and Northern California,United States

Marinduque-My Island Paradise and Heaven on Earth

Five years prior to my retirement from FDA, my wife ( Macrine) and I had to make a decision where in the Philippines, we will build our retirement home, since we have decided to live the snow bird lifestyle in our retirement years. If you have been following my blogs, you know what a snow bird lifestyle is. However, if this is your first time, allow me to explain what the term “snow bird” meant. It is a lifestyle involving the best of the EAST and WEST, both culturally and weather-wise. That is, when it gets cold here in Northern California ( after Thanksgiving), Macrine and I flies to the Philippines where the weather is perfect, cool, and dry with very low humidity. When it start to get hot and humid in the Philippines ( Easter Season), around mid-April, we fly back to Northern California when it is the start of spring and perfect weather.

There are hundreds of places in the Philippines, where one could build a retirement home on the beach. Macrine and I had narrowed it down to two islands, Marinduque or Guimaras Island in Iloilo.

Marinduque is Macrine, province of birth. She finished high school at the local catholic school for girls in Boac, the capital town of Marinduque. Iloilo on the other hand is my province of birth. I finished at the local high school in the town of Barotac Viejo, about 60 Km north of Iloilo City. Macrine's parents had several beach front lots along the western coast of Marinduque at Barrios Laylay and Amoingon.
Sunset in Guimaras Island -photo from skyscraper.com

My father has a beach front lot in the island of Guimaras in the town of Buenavista. After several months of discussing the pros and cons between Marinduque or Guimaras, Macrine convinced me that Marinduque is our Island Paradise instead of Guimaras Island for the following reasons.

1.The proximity of Marinduque to Manila-only 30 minutes versus 50 minutes airplane ride

2.The location, area and physical set-up of the beach front lots. In Marinduque, the beach front lot is about 5 acres, and also along the national road. There is a creek running in the property that flows to the ocean inhabited by fish and crabs. The lot has several full grown shade and fruit trees and more than 100 banana and coconut trees.

On the other hand my father's lot in Guimaras is small and I had never seen it. In addition, the title of the lot was still not in my name. The lot is also isolated and far from the national road. Another factor against Guimaras is that the island was still under developed( poor roads), although there was a plan to build a bridge between Guimaras and the mainland in Iloilo City at that time.

3.Social Support System: Macrine has lots of closed relatives in Boac. I have relatives in Guimaras but I have never meet them. Most of my closed relatives are in the mainland in Jaro..

4.Last, but not least, I feel in love with Marinduque, its hospitable residents, its culture ( putong, Kalutang and Moriones Festival) and its delicious food ( ginat-an na manok, Kare-kare and ulang-ulang). For details read my posting "Why I Love Marinduque at http://marinduquemyislandparadise.blogspot.com

Now let us talk about the choice between Contra Costa and Sacramento County, here in Northern California. When I retired from FDA, we had a choice to buy a house either in Contra Costa County, so we could be closed to our two oldest children and grand children ranging in ages from 5 to 13. Or we could settled down in Sacramento County so we could be closed to our two youngest children. Our youngest daughter was pregnant at that time, thus could use our help in baby sitting for our future grandchild. It was a not a hard decision, why we chosed Sacramento County versus Contra Costa County. First the homes in Sacramento area is much, much cheaper than the Walnut Creek area where our oldest son and daughter resides with their respective families. Moreover, our future grandchild needed us and we were looking forward to do our “APO”stolic mission as baby sitters. "APO" is the tagalog word for a grandchild. In addition, the Sacramento area has less traffic and pollution and standard of living is a little bit cheaper than the Walnut Creek area. Sacramento is much closer to Lake Tahoe, the location of our time share property, although we are much farther to San Francisco and its famous China Town, Fisherman's Wharf and other attractions. There is less hassle to depart at the Sacramento airport compared to San Francisco Airport when we fly to the Philippines every year or to Las Vegas and other cities. I love the Sacramento Airport because it is so compact and only a short walk from the check-in ticket counters to the departing terminals. At present, a huge International Terminal Addition is under construction. I do hope they design the new addition with the convenience of passengers in mind.

I hope that after reading this posting, you understand why most of our friends and contemporaries are envious of our snow bird lifestyle. I also advise you that five years before the big date, start planning what you want to do in your retirement years. It is never too early to plan for your retirement years.

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