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Angeles City, Olongapo, and Pampanga

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Posted on April 04,2014

I have heard many times on this forum these are good retirement destinations for americans. What are the advantages and disadvantages of these places over other locations such as Davao, Cebu, or Manila?

You started a very good topic Adam. Never been to these places you mentioned. Probably there are ladies out there from these cities, or some of CF men who have stayed in these cities. Your views are highly welcome.

Or one may want to look into provincial areas as well...

Hey Adam! I am from Angeles City myself. The above subject places you mentioned are former homes to US Military bases. That's probably the reason why Americans prefer them as retirement destinations specially those who were once stationed in Clark or Subic and got accustomed to the life here - they even have an association for retired US military personnel in the city.

Let me share an account from my uncle who is an American. He retired with my aunt in the Visayas region October of last year. According to him there are a lot of things he loves about the Philippines, at the same time there are certain aspects of living here that‘s frustrating. So, he made a pros and cons list. He didn’t give me all the details of the list probably he was just being tactful. Later on the cons list became “things that I have to get used to”.

The point is, there may be some comforts that you are used to in your country which may not be available in a developing country like the Philippines. Like for instance a reliable postal service where you can just send your check to pay bills – not applicable here. Also consider health care service and facilities, mode of transportation, or anything that can become a concern while you reside in the Philippines.

Wherever in the Philippines you chose to retire, due diligence is the key, learn as much as you can about each of these places before finalizing any decision.

Adam, obviously a topic that many spend a lot of time considering and hopefully praying over prior to seeing where it is that God would lead them if the Philippines is to become a good new home.

Joy, you raise a topic here that I just had not even considered.   The mail.  The postal services.  You indicate here that they are just not that reliable.   Would untrustworthy be a proper descriptive word?

Here one can safely and with assurance place a personal check in an envelope and send it by regular mail - with the full confidence that it will reach its intended recipient.  Is the concern there often mail theft?   Would this be done by smalltime criminals, by organized criminals, or even by the Philippines national postal workers themselves?

I would ask for more information here.  More clarification.   The mail needs to be sacrosanct.   It is almost like the essential of having freedom of expression, freedom to gather and assemble with the friends, associated, colleagues of one's own choosing.

As I have tried to think about this, I have thought that I just would not want to (or be able to) live in a country where the daily mail delivery and sending of letters, cards, small packages and parcels is not safe.  Almost always safe.

Perhaps I misunderstand what you write here, Joy.  But a little bit of checking in these last days (after reading your comment here) indicates lack of trust in the Philippines mail services.

Joy, what is safe to send throught the mail?   If certain things are definitely not safe to send by mail in the Philippines, what can one send with the confidence that it will arrive, untampered and complete to the intended recipient?  And what can one from abroad (outside the Philippines) mail to a friend, a pastor, a missionary, a student, etc. inside the Philippines with the full confidence that it will arrive properly?

Thank you for the help with this.


Adam, I recognize that what I type above is getting off topic, taking about postal services.   So below I will steer it a bit back on topic.

For me, another issue to have to consider for this region of the Philippines would be:   Angeles City.   To an extent, Subic too.   They, as most people here probably know, do not have a very good international reputations.  That is wording it nicely.   They actually have horrid international reputations.   If someone reading here does not know about these two places, particularly Angeles City, well, it might be best not to know.  To me, that is a very shameful aspect of that region of the Philippines.   I cannot imagine the families that let their daughters go there to "work."   What kind of father ever allows this for his daughter?   What kind of mother?   How could an older sibling allow it?  Or and aunt or uncle?   Moreover, I cannot imagine the "business people" and "businessmen" who make their lives, livelihoods, money, off all of that filth and vice.

I guess they do not know of the hell that is assured for them based on what the Bible tells us.     The Bible tells us that they will not see Heaven.

That's a huge consequence to pay for the cheap and so short lived "thrills" of hedonism.

My question would be to the Filipinas here:   I do see a large mark in the map that represents the geographical city named Angeles City.    So it is readily apparent that there is a larger part of that city that is not associated with the vice and sinfulness.   I hope so.   Nonetheless, I cannot help but wonder if the better citizens of the "cleaner" more wholesome Angeles City are angered by the repugant part of Angeles?  Are they?  Are they aware of how repulsive their city name is due to the non stop hedonism that is big business there?   I would be ashamed to ever mention that I passed through Angeles City for concern that others might misinterpret such a short stop.   Not that I have ever been in that area, but I think I would make every effort to avoid it. Yes, that is how ugly this name is.   So I ask:  Is there steady work being done to rid Angeles City of all this organized crime vice?  Are people that angered over it all?  Or does in the influx of money there mean that people look away and act like they don't know it exists?

I hope  there is effort to remove it all.  I do.

I mention this because I do believe a  person considering a possible life move to such a region ought to also be mindful of such things.  

@ Andrew,

I am well aware of what goes on there. Unfortunately a google search for Angeles City returns nothing but happenings on Fields Ave. I guess I was hoping there was more to the place than that. That someone would tell me That outside the "red light" district there was a normal city just like any other in the Philippines. I had personally written off the place as a retirement destination simply because of the reason most foreigners go there. I did not want that stigma attached to me. But a young lady from Leyte sent me a PM and said she was working there, and that that would be a good spot because of all the other foreigners living there. I was willing to give it a second look. None of my research since has given me any indication that my initial assessment was wrong. I mean no offense to any of our fine members who live there and conduct themselves in a Christian manner.

The places mentioned are indeed, not so reputable. I never hung out in such places, so have no useful experience of how they are for real, daily life.

 How could a mother or father let their daughter do this? Who says they let them? How do they stop them? Why should the innocent Filipinas here have to defend themselves for everything some foreigner doesnt like? Its not like we dont have bars and prostitutes here!

 Filipinas, as individuals, are not responsible for, or answerable for their culture. They need not defend themselves against these accusations. Its rude to accuse them wholesale and expect them to defend themselves to you, personally.

 My main memory of these areas was when we were driving through, and I kept seeing signs with really low prices. Much lower than we were paying for the home we were renting. I asked about this, and our driver told me, "Thats by the hour"




 Then I understood. Sometimes ignorance is bliss.

 As for the mail.

 I no longer use the mail, but back in the 90's, it was still the most common form of correspondence, and I wrote my lady for a year. I even sent money a few times, with no problem. I only lost one thing I sent, a small package containing a pound of the worlds finest chocolate.

 I eventually found out that the package was not handled by her regular mail man, who had proven to be honest. Special Delivery was someone different, in this case, a woman, who apparently could not resist chocolate.

 My lady REALLY wanted that chocolate, and when I visited, we went to the main postal building in Manila. It was amazing. Huge, dimly lit, full of ancient sorting bins. The employees had no uniforms, and were dressed extremely casually, many guys with no shirts. Everyone was very relaxed and slow moving. There seemed to be very little hustle or organization. It seems to be a miracle that anything at all gets delivered.

 Oh, she never did get that chocolate.

Hi  Adam,

       Yes  they  are, because  of low cost  of living.if  you  are fond of beaches simple night life ,Subic  bay (Olongapo  City) is  the place for you...While  Angeles  City  is  very busy city..lots  expensive and affordable hotels  busy  night life...If  you  know  what  you doing  there is no  disadvantages.

Adam said:

I have heard many times on this forum these are good retirement destinations for americans. What are the advantages and disadvantages of these places over other locations such as Davao, Cebu, or Manila?


@ Andrew:

I never expected such lengthy comment about the city where I was born, raised and currently live. In part I feel a bit slighted by how you described our city which I think was based solely from the information gathered on the internet because you mentioned that you have never set foot here and will be ashamed to ever mention that you even passed through.

The way you put words together, I sense a great contempt from you towards our city and I do hope my assumption is wrong. Nevertheless, I will try to address your queries in an informative manner:

1.       Postal Service – unreliable, untrustworthy, take your pick. I don’t want to bad-mouth our own postal service but it is really unreliable. Unlike in Western Countries, we don’t normally pay bills by sending checks via postal service. I was merely emphasizing that it is one of the conveniences that most Westerners are used to in their respective countries but is not available in the Philippines. Utility companies employ their own delivery personnel for consumer invoices to be delivered on time. If one is sending money – cash, check or any form of currency, it will most likely be lost. As for who steals the money or whether it is a sort of an organized crime, that I don’t have any information as I do not want to speculate or accuse anyone or any institution of theft but it is the responsibility though of the postal service to investigate.  So to solve this problem, if you intend to send someone money, use a remittance service. If you want to send parcels or important documents, use a forwarder.  It’s a bit expensive but you’ll have the assurance that whatever is sent will be received by the intended recipient on time. Here in the Philippines, if you want to pay your utility bills, you have to go to the establishment or designated payment centers or do it online or enroll with your bank if the service is available.

2.       Red Light District – I have intentionally avoided touching this subject on my initial comment because it would mean mentioning why some foreigners choose our city as retirement destination – bars, booze and whores – which may be unfair to other foreigners who come here and does not engage in such activities. Adam mentioned “Fields Avenue”, yes that is the name of red light district here in Angeles City, and it is but a strip - it is not what constitutes our city. During the heyday of the US Military Bases, Angeles City was synonymous with Clark Air Base and Fields Avenue. Sadly, the red light district along with its reputation that marred Angeles City lingered long after the departure of the US Bases.

As a resident of Angeles City, I must say that we are not proud of the ill-reputation associated with Fields Avenue but to pass judgment on our city as a whole without first hand information is UNFAIR. Like what Brian said, bars and prostitution are prevalent in every country of the world but I don’t go on pouncing and highlighting them because not every citizen approved or is in favor of their existence – same here in Angeles City.

Please do not generalize and try to broaden your perspective to the fact that there are more good people in Angeles City who live normal lives beyond the red light district. I do respect your opinion and your curiosity but next time, please try to be cordial so you won’t come across as offensive.

If my response offends you in anyway, please accept my apology in advance. I love this city because I was born and raised here and I will be passionate in its defense to any individual who thinks otherwise. 


@ Brian

Thank you brother for the fair comment.

As far as I'm concern, every place in the entire world had it's own sinful nature, being born there but not actually live there. I'm leaving here in the Metro but it's still the same. You would see bars/clubs everywhere... If you're planning to stay in those places, okay go for it but don't adapt the surroundings. A city would have it's good side and bad side. Also people leaving in it. So don't judge the city, it's not right. And sinful people just like we are also needs God's grace in order to be change. Have a Blessed Lenten season!

I have a good American friend who retired in the former Navy base housing on the Subic special economic zone. I have visited him a half dozen times over the years. He and his Japanese American wife leased a 3 bedroom home for about $300 per month for over 30 years and retired to the Philippines for the inexpensive medical costs which are about 1/3 the cost of US medical care. The economy of Subic has drastically changed since it was a US Naval base, but there is a Korean shipbuilding industry that employs thousands of workers and the infrastructure of Subic is still there. There are many excellent Japanese, Korean, American, Indian, seafood, etc. restaurants and beach bars and a small aquarium with a sea life park, dolphin and sea lion shows next to a nice beach resort. Some good malls outside the Subic zone in Olongopo. I looked at a new condo when I was considering relocating to Subic myself. The former  Cubi Point Naval Air Station dispensary was turned into the Admiral Dewey Hospital, which I also visited. There is a new freeway that goes to Angeles (45 minutes) and Manila (2 1/2 hours). Angeles city is just outside the former Clark AFB, now home of the Philippine Air Force and the Clark Field international air terminal which serves destinations such as Korea, Malaysia, Macao, Hong Kong and domestic locations. Pampanga is not far away (30 minutes) from Angeles city. In all these areas, you will find many expat Americans, including both veterans and retirees who are enjoying life, with or without wives and families. There are long distance air conditioned buses with TV and DVD players (Victory Liner is the most well known traveling from Manila to all three destinations as well as on to Bagguio. No Medicare services available, although there is a VA clinic available for residents. My experiences with the postal service have been mostly bad. Letters arrive a month or so later, even if airmail to the Philippines.  Any cash in them is stolen. Packages arrive months later, even if airmail to Metromanila. One brand name purse I mailed to a girlfriend as a Christmas gift seemed to disappear, but in March, my friend received a customs notice saying that a duty equivalent to the price of the purse would have to be paid. I sent her the money and she was able to retrieve her gift.  I have learned a better way to send items to the Philipines is by freight. There are freight companies that ship boxes (no weight limit) for $25 to $75 anywhere in the Philippines door to door. They track the boxes and every box I have sent to friends, charities, relatives, have arrived safey in one to three months. I recommend you consider living in Subic/Olongopo, but go for a look/see before you actually invest in property or rent a place. Many wonderful tourist sights in the Philippines (Boracay, Puerta Gallera, Bagguio, Davao, Cebu, Bohol, Palawan) to keep you busy. Metro Manila has its own attractions from first class musuems (Araneta historical/archaeological Museum, Ace hydromassage aqu spas in Mandaluyong and Quezon City, Megamall attractions, including IMAX and Director's Cut theatres, aquarium, Zamboanga Restaurant with its free folk dance/music show and great Filipino food.) The best hospitals in Manla are as good as any in metropolitan areas in the USA. Many of the doctors are US trained and working at home to bring their training home for the good of all their patients, local or ex pat.

Well for me i dont even know that place..i have friend from canada i meet him last year when his here alone in my place..and where good friends then he i tell him where is the famous place here in phillipines then i tell him and i guide happy because he trust me so much.and now he came back here the we go the famous place that he want to take alot of picture.he stay here 3month and he go back home in canada last month february.hes my good friend of mine.

Adam said:

I have heard many times on this forum these are good retirement destinations for americans. What are the advantages and disadvantages of these places over other locations such as Davao, Cebu, or Manila?



Adam said:

I have heard many times on this forum these are good retirement destinations for americans. What are the advantages and disadvantages of these places over other locations such as Davao, Cebu, or Manila?

Hello, Adam ...  I don't want to deal on disadvantages and advantages of the above mentioned places but Davao is the best place of them all ... life is still cozy here, smooth and easy, rich in many ways and one, and more. You want to spend the rest of your life as a retiree here in the Philippines? Then opt for Davao. All the blessings... 

on January 20, 2015 0 likes

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