Spirit of Community

Iyna Bort Caruso

The people of the Philippines, a southwest Asian culture by way of Spanish and American colonial influences, share a tight-knit communal nature. The Filipino term for it is bayanihan. The spirit of kinship is pervasive in this conservative, multicultural nation.

The Philippines is an archipelago of more than 7,000 islands, most of which are uninhabited. The country is divided into three island groups, Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. Life revolves around the water, and no beach is more than a couple of hours away.

International investors can buy homes in the Philippines but not the land. Land usage is generally managed through a long-term lease agreement. The Philippines ranked strong for expats, 8 out of 61 countries in a 2014 survey by InterNations, an international online community for people who live and work abroad. The country received high marks on ease of acclimating, family life and cost of living. In addition, U.S. News and World Report touted the country as a prime destination for overseas retirees. There are no obstacles to obtaining permanent residency and no duties are levied on the importation of household items.

Luzon is the country’s largest island, home to half the population as well as the capital, Manila. A busy global seaport, Manila offers luxury condominiums well below values of other capital cities. Amenities in top developments are world-class: on-site catering, separate housekeeper kitchens, medical clinics, meditation gardens and helipads. Sixteen cities make up the Metro Manila area including Makati, the country’s financial center. Forbes Park is one of Makati’s elite private subdivisions. Forbes boasts both a golf club and polo club. Dasmarinas Village is an adjacent neighborhood of similar prestige and counts ambassadors, politicians, business executives and celebrities among its residents.

The city of Tagaytay is one of the Philippines’ most popular tourist spots, about an hour’s drive from Manila. The city sits on a ridge overlooking Taal Lake, a beautiful backdrop for golf, horseback riding and other outdoor activities. The cooler climate and spectacular views have made it a desirable second home resort town for Manila’s elite. Beach-seekers flock to Boracay in the Visayas island group. Boracay enjoyed a promotional boost in 2012 when Travel + Leisure Magazine named it the best island in the world. For the ultimate privacy, the Philippines is one of the few countries in which an entire island can be had. Like many parts of Asia and the South Pacific, “ownership” is in the form of a long-term lease.