• Stephen Atcheler

Expats in the Philippines!

Updated: Feb 26


Sunrise San Fernando, Central Luzon, Philippines
Sunrise over San Fernando, Cntral Luzon on the way to Golf!

I have been living in the Philippines now for the first 5 years of my early 30's and I must say I have seen some very interesting things and from quite the opposite perspectives from most ex-pats here. Generally, there are three types of expats in the Philippines.


What types of expats live in the Philippines?

The first are here from back in the day when the Americans had a very large military presence wherein they built a lot of "entertainment" to find love. Well, that's not quite it, but you may get my drift.


These guys are here on military pensions usually and it really makes sense to retire in the Philippines versus back in their hometown simply due to the cost of living. I know I will still be here in my retirement and enjoying some of the same things, the cheap beer, the expat community, golf and 7000+ beautiful islands to visit and relax on. Over the next 10 to 20 years this will more than likely change though and even in 5 years, I have seen the decrease dude to the age of the typical person that fits this profile.

Angelic rooftop bar, Angeles City
A few beers after Golf Tournament at Angelic rooftop bar.

The second type of expat you find in the Philippines generally hangs out in Manila or Makati as it is the international hub of business. I was quite amazed how many expats are here on business however these business types seem to work for big global brands and the traditional types of corporate businesses. I am not sure how people actually survive in Manila personally as it is overcrowded, polluted and dangerous as a whole. But anyways each to their own.


In the next coming years, I hope to see far more expats with a similar profile to myself which has seen the massive opportunity for start-up businesses in the Philippines. I'll give you now a quick intro into how I ended up here as I do not fit the mould of expats currently in the Philippines or if there are some there are not many! I came over here on the back of founding a Real Estate Business at 24 in Australia. I ran that business successfully for 5 years before I sold out.


Expats can take advantage of talented labor for business in the Philippines

Filipino call centre workers
The filipino staff behind the success of my Real Estate Business

The reason it became so successful was I noticed the opportunity big business were taking advantage of that small businesses were not. That in a nutshell is the talented people in the Philippines that are at a far more affordable cost to a business simply due to the lower living expenses. I ended up with a team of 5 Real Estate Virtual Assistants from the Philippines supporting my local Real Estate Business.


This was not a common practice for smaller businesses especially in Real Estate so I set out to introduce it. My startup business now has over 200 staff and is growing every month. We aim to have 1000 people in the next 3-5 years which is just crazy but it will happen. The point I am trying to get at is there is loads of opportunities for a new profile of expat to move to the Philippines and set up.


Why young entrepreneurs should startup their businesses in the Philippines?

Real Estate BPO Philippines
One of the ShoreAgents Real Estate Staffing offices

Well, it all makes perfect sense if you think about it from a start-up business.

  • When you start up a business you are all in and that includes financials. So why not live in a country where you can live on $10 a day if you had to?

  • There are loads of already fit out workspace to scale up or down in a business quickly that has all the infrastructure you need for a low price.

  • You have an army of all sorts of talent to get your project off the ground with 1/5 -1/10th of the labour cost outlay

  • On even an average budget of what you may earn locally, you can live like a rockstar!

These are just a few points worth mentioning however there are so many more and I do not just mean for foreign business. I can not believe the opportunities to start local businesses for an emerging middle-class population with living in a country that is 20 years behind. I look at every idea that exists in 1st world countries and think even if you simply copied it, it would work here. It is crazy!


Currently, I have quite a few secondary projects on the go a few foreign and one major project that will be local just simply due to a problem here that needs to be solved. That is business, so when most people look at the Philippines they think too hard basket and too many problems, I think opportunity! If you read this article and are heading over please feel free to drop me a line.




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