Imagine if you were coming from South Africa and you asked people where is the best place and why to live in Scotland? Everyone is going to give you an insight only. Just the same with the Philippines too. The problem with moving anywhere and especially to another country is that the decision is so huge. Pictures on sites of your new dream destination will not show sewage problems, brown out issues and more. Can you find a school or suitable medical coverage or even a reasonable supermarket? Before you decide to live anywhere you need to go and have an extended visit or get someone who thinks like you to visit for you. WE CAN DO THAT
Batanes, often referred to as “The Home of the Winds”, is the smallest province in the Philippines. The capital town of Basco, is about 280 kilometers north of Aparri in Cagayan, or 860 kilometers north of Manila. Its northernmost point is only 100 km away from Taiwan. There are several attractions, ranging from the dormant Iraya volcano, Naidi Hills, Mt. Matarem, Radar Tukom to the Spanish churches and limestone houses reminiscent of Irish country homes. White sand beaches abound surrounding the fishing villages. Visitors can also explore the Racujaide Cave, Sarokan Cave, as well as the burial caves.
These Islands are located right at the top of Luzon. The capital of Batan is Basco which was named after Capitán General José Basco who led the Philippines to victory over New Spain, which is now Mexico. This small capital is a host to around only 8000 people and has a small airport that will take passengers to Manila.
The Japanese invasion of the Philippines began on Batan Island. The 14th Army began its invasion with a landing on Batan off the north coast of Luzon, on 8 December 1941 , making this the first landing on American territory, which was the same day as the attack on Pearl Harbor.
On June 1, 2008 a 6.3-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of the Batanes Islands but there were no casualties or damage reported.
Batanes is the smallest province in the Philippines in terms of population and land area and is composed of ten islands and islets located about 270 kilometers north of mainland Luzon and 161 kilometers from the southernmost point of Taiwan. The largest islands are Itbayat, Batan and Sabtang. The other islands are Dequey, Siayan, Mavudis, North Island, Yami and other unnamed islets.
The Batanes Islands are so far flung out in the China Sea that from Y’ami- some people say that the islands may have belonged to Taiwan at some point.
This information is from an expat living in the area
Below is a breakdown of what I personally found out while living in the Philippines. Figures are my own estimates. this is life far away from major Filipino cities. Amounts are based off the most recently published exchange rate for the Philippine Peso (Php):
- Rent: $110.00 – Studio Apartment (in a Province, definitely not in Manila)(Php4,400)
- Food: $350.00 (About $8-$10/day – may be less if you like to cook your meals yourself)(Php14,000)
- Transportation: $250.00 (Jeepney rides start around $.18c)(Php10,000)
- Utilities: $35.00 – Utilites (Water, liquified nat gas tank – for cooking, Electric)(Php1,400)
- Cable: $25.00 (Silver Sky Cable Package subscription, Wi-Fi extra)(Php1,000)
- Adult Beverages: $150.00 (Beer is frequently costs less the $1.00)(Php6,000)
- Gas: $200.00 (Gas is difficult to approximate since it depends on how far you drive)(Php8,000)
Sub Total: $1,120.00 per month / Php44,800
So that is $1,120 per month in expenses living a modest lifestyle. You may not have the “Adult beverages” expense I have above nor the “Gas” expense resulting in a new monthly total of $770.00 per month, if you cut your travels by $170.00 you are down to $500 monthly budget! So, my question now is, how much are your current expenses?
If you think you can do this, don’t sell the furniture via Craigslist yet. I recommend you do a beta or test trip and choose your country-town-barangay destination then rent a studio or apartment for three months. See if you like it. Make mental notes of what you don’t like. You will occasionally need to go to the hospital to get treatment, hopefully nothing catastrophic, but your costs will be far less in my opinion than what you would pay in the States – even with health insurance. Consider your plan’s deductible or co-pay by itself. There is a possibility that you may qualify for the recently ratified PhilHealth medical insurance plan. It is worth checking into. My guess is your deductible is more than $25.00 per visit. You may also need to hire out laundering services, this may be very inexpensive. I’ve found Php200 – Php300 is reasonable ($4.28).
In my case, I am fortunate to not only speak another language fluently from my upbringing in Southeast Asia, I also had the opportunity to have a modest home built in a province two hours from Manila in 1995 for a paltry amount relative to what it would’ve cost in the US mainland. Are you ready for the amount? $13,636.00 – a single family home with two bedrooms and two baths. Php450,000 (the exchange rate was still Php55 to $1.00 USD back then) for the labor-design-materials the remainder Php300,000 (then it was only P2000/sq. m. for a 150sq m lot). That was Php750k in total. A lot of money back in 1995. So I can take out rent costs from my budget breakdown above. Now you’ll say, “ground control to Major Tom…”, that is not in my budget and an unfair comparison based on real estate prices today. I may agree with you. I’m not recommending you buy or build a house in a foreign country. Although I’ve seen and heard lots of expats that have built or owned homes in SE Asia. There are plenty of alternatives. Rent is relatively cheap in foreign countries. It may be a better way to go.