Retire on $965 Month Panglao Island Philippines

Panglao Island Cost of Living  
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Best White Sand Beaches Panglao Island Philippines 
Best Island Hopping Tour Panglao Philippines
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This is my Retire on $965 Month Panglao Island Philippines.

This is Dan of Vagabond Awake, the Youtube Channel for Vagabond Buddha.

I left the United States in 2007 to travel the world, 65 countries so far. As I travel the world I document the best retire cheap in paradise locations all over the world.

However, the truth is, we are not all the same. My heaven could be your hell. Your idea of paradise could be bird watching in the jungle. Another person’s idea of paradise could be walking on a white sand beach. Someone else may want to explore the museums of the world or learn how to cook local feeds as they travel the world.

I like to talk about how places are different from one another so it is easier for you to shortlist places that are worth visiting. The only thing the places I report on have in common is they are interesting and cheap. You just need to follow me as I travel the world and decide which places are worth a visit before making a final decision.

Or, you could just use my reports as a way to enjoy the whole world the way that I do.

We are presently in the Philippines investigating our favorite spots to retire. Visit Vagabond Buddha to see our best retire cheap destinations.

Now I will ask a very specific question. Would you be able to Retire on $965 Month Panglao Island Philippines? It is time to consider that question watching my reporting and multiple videos.

Panglao Island Philippines Cost of Living

If you are cheap like me, one of the mistakes you can make living internationally is to move to an expensive tourist area and try to live like a tourist. That is a mistake you could easily make in Panglao Island.

Most everything in Panglao has an expensive tourist version, such as places to stay, restaurants, and tours. So you could easily fall into this trap on Panglao.

There are two ways I see that you could avoid that trap. First, you could live a short distance away on Bohol Island. For example, Tagbilaran City, on Bohol Island is about 20 KM away. Many of the locals that serve the tourists on Panglao Island commute from Tagbilaran to Panglao daily for work.

Second, you could live in one of the less touristy areas of Panglao and eat and live in and around locals instead of tourists. Living like a tourist is almost never a good idea if you are trying to survive on a tight budget.

For more ideas on how to save money, watch my video, the Top 10 Mistakes International Retirees Make.

A nice dish in a local restaurant in Bohol Island is around 100 Pesos ($2.00 USD) per person. That same dish in a tourist restaurant in Panglao could easily cost four times as much. You can also save money cooking many of your own meals. This may even be healthier since you can better control the quality of the ingredients.

Locals can easily find a middle-class apartment for around $200 USD per month plus utilities of around $80 USD including the Internet. Yet, there was also a 3 bedroom house on the property where we stayed on Panglao Island (below) that rented for $400 USD per month.

The numbers in the below table are for a temporary visitor on Panglao Island. So the rents are a little higher than discussed in the previous paragraph. As such, some people may be able to save a little in rent and a little more by cooking at home. There were no hostels in Island Panglao so we are giving the price of the cheapest hotel per night on the day we searched as the hostel price in the table.

Panglao Island Cost of Living
















Hostel/per day (No Hostels)





High-End Restaurant





Neighborhood Restaurant





Food Cart










Bus (Jeepney)











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Per Day




Here is a free report explaining, “How The Cost of Living Table Works

This estimated cost of living for one month, for one person, as a temporary visitor. It only includes rent, 2 meals per day, and local transportation. For a full understanding of what it would cost you to live here, visit Numbeo for Panglao Island and add any items you spend money on.

Never move anywhere until you have visited first personally to verify the living costs for your lifestyle and needs. I am not guaranteeing these prices. These are just my notes and estimates from the time of my visit and this post. Your costs will likely be drastically different depending on lifestyle and the time since this post.

Here are the livability factors I would use to determine whether or not you could Retire on $965 Month Panglao Island Philippines.

Panglao Island Livability Factors

High means a factor is very livable, low is not. Medium means that factor is in the middle of the spectrum.

Walkability: Low. I like to walk around my neighborhood. I enjoy walking to the grocery store, restaurants, parks, and even a town square. If walkability is your thing, Panglao will be a disappointment. You are going to need a scooter or a small car. You could also ride tricycle taxis to get to and from the grocery store, but the prices are too high on Panglao. They charge what tourists are willing to pay instead of what locals can afford. That means you will need to take the 20 KM drive to Tagbilaran City on Bohol Island. Thus, Walkability is low on Panglao. That is another reason I keep mentioning Tagbilaran City on Bohol Island. Tagbilaran is a walkable place.

Internet: Medium. We were on a shared Wifi router where we stayed. If you moved here, you would need to get your own Wifi and router.

Food: Medium. The food choices of Panglao are limited and expensive. You will need to learn to cook at home. There are many local food choices that are much cheaper in nearby Tagbilaran City.

Weather: High. Average highs (days) range seasonally from a low of 87F/31C in January to an average high of 91F/C 33in May. Average lows (nights) range seasonally from a low of 73F/23C in January to 76F/24C in May. The rain season runs June through December when around 4 inches (10mm) of rainfall. I am generalizing here. In a Typhoon, you would want to retreat to the center of Bohol Island where rain and wind would be an issue but not (ocean water) storm surge.

Things to Do: High if you are an ocean lover. Medium or even low if you are a culture explorer. Scuba, snorkeling, beach walking, island hopping, fishing, cooking, socializing, gaming, day trips, scooter rides, waterfalls, photography, and relaxing. It is very simple life on the islands in the Philippines.

Expats: Medium. The world is on Panglao Island. It is one of the favorite international tourist spots for the Philippines. There weren’t many permanent retiree ex-pats like we saw in other parts of the Philippines. But the owner of the property where we stayed is an American that has lived here for 8 years. Additionally, there are at least three Facebook pages that specialize in Panglao and Bohol Expats. That would be a great place to get all your specialized questions answered. Facebook 1, Facebook 2, and Facebook 3.

Medical: Medium. Medical care quality and availability vary widely depending on where you are in the Philippines. Places like Cebu and Manila are even known to be international medical tourism destinations so quality and pricing for most any ailment should widely be available there. But smaller places like Bohol Province and Panglao Island will be more challenging especially for life-threatening emergency situations. So they may just stabilize you and send you to the appropriate place in the case of an emergency. I have not spent any time in the hospital or even visited a doctor while in this province. So, I Googled hospitals in the area and very few had the number of reviews or details of services rendered that gave me any confidence if I were to become ill today. So instead, I recommend asking the ex-pats on the Facebook pages I listed above before an emergency happens.

Exploratory Visa: High. For your exploratory visit to the Philippines, Americans (and Malaysians) can obtain a 30-day free visa stamp upon arrival at the international airport (in Davao, Cebu, or Manila). We were able to get a 29-day extension for a total of 59 days in less than an hour when we were in Davao last month. Here is the immigration office on Bohol Island. It cost us $60 USD to extend 29 days in Davao. We needed only our passport and money. I am told, you can get additional extensions of up to 6 months. As stated in my “Top 10 Mistakes International Retirees Make,” I recommend you spend several months here (at least 3 to 6 months), before considering obtaining a retirement visa.

Retirement Visas: High. There is a Visa program for people 35 to 49 years of age if you are healthy, active, and able to deposit $20,000 in an approved Filipino retirement account. This Visa allows you to live in but not invest in the Philippines and you can pay extra for dependents. You just need the money, a medical clearance, and a police clearance. The most popular visa allows investment in the Philippines and requires a larger deposit. For those 35 to 49 years, with a $50,000 deposit, or those over 50 years with a $10,000 deposit, either, that can also show $800 monthly income for individuals or $1,000 for couples, you will have the right to invest in the Philippines. Or, if you are over 50 years, you can avoid proving income with a $50,000 deposit. Income requirement can be shown with the Social Security Administration stating your benefit amount.

Real Estate: High. Rents are cheap. This is not professional advice. But I would not buy real estate in the Philippines. But many Expats do buy real estate in the Philippines.

Banking: Medium. This is not professional advice. Leave your money in your home country bank and take money out as needed at ATMs. When you are in a foreign country, it is much easier to get into a mess than to get out of one.

Pollution: High. Both Panglao and Bohol are the ocean so the air seemed fairly good to us. So, I was surprised to learn the air quality here was good on the day we searched. Like most of SE Asia, it is not unusual to see single-use bags strewn about the city or piles of garbage in open fields.

Panglao Island Overall Desirability Score: High for nature lovers and medium for cultural explorers. The one thing that you get in Panglao that we didn’t see anywhere else in the Philippines so far is access to white-sand beaches without driving far and without getting on a boat or ferry. Having easy access to white-sand beaches with just a scooter, Jeepney, or tricycle meant we could visit a beautiful beach for 20 pesos instead of 200 pesos.

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Panglao and Bohol Facts and History

Here are some interesting facts and history about Panglao and Bohol.

The capital of Bohol is Tagbilaran City. From Tagbilaran, you just cross a bridge to get to Panglao Island.

But once you cross the bridge, you have to drive another 20 kilometers to get to the tourist area of Panglao. In that sense, it might be smarter to stay closer to Bohol where prices are cheaper and life feels more authentically Filipino.

Bohol Island is 162 miles long and has 75 minor islands surrounding it. There are only nine islands larger than Bohol in the Philippines. In the last census of 2015, about 1.3 million people lived in Bohol province.

Bohol is a popular tourist destination with Panglao Island, Chocolate Hills, and the Philippines Tarsier, one of the world’s smallest primates. Panglao Island is often listed as one of the top 10 dive sites in the world.

There was a 7.2 magnitude earthquake in Bohol in 2012 and 156 people died.

The people of Bohol are said to be descendants of the “tattooed ones.” They were a distinct culture as determined by artifacts unearthed in Mansasa, Tagbilaran, Dauis, and Panglao.

The people of Panglao Island invaded and exercised cultural dominance over the people of Bohol. The Bohol sect was forced into slavery as a consequence of this dominance.

The remote Sultanate of Ternate attacked Bohol (aided by Portuguese muskets) when he learned two of his men were killed for mistreating a Bohol concubine. As a result, the Bohol people retreated to the northern part of Mindanao, Philippines.

Later, after the people of Bohol had returned to this area, the Spanish showed up.

After the Spanish were able to convince the Bohol people that they were not Portuguese, they were able to enter into a treaty that ushered-in the Spanish colonial period in 1565. A blood compact (treaty) was formed with Spain.

There were two major revolutions engaged by the people of Bohol during the Spanish colonial period, the first in 1621, and the second in 1744. The second lasted about 85 years. The Filipino culture was influenced by both Spain and Mexico during the Spanish colonization period.

The USA defeated Spain and bought the Philippines during the Spanish-American War. The Philippine people did not recognize the sale to the USA, resulting in the Philippine-American War. The Americans eventually recognized Philippine self-rule, but the Japanese showed up in 1942.

The Americans eventually helped Filipinos get rid of the Japanese in 1945 towards the end of World War II.

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This is Dan of Vagabond Buddha. Thank you for your interest in our Retire on $965 Month Panglao Island Philippines information. The world is your home. What time will you be home for dinner?

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