By Alden Copuyoc - Subic Bay Resident
For some, Subic Bay Special Economic Freeport Zone, more popular for tourists as “Subic,” is just a weekend getaway because it is only a 2-hour drive away from the Philippine capital city of Manila, traffic jams excluded. For others, Subic is excellent for duty-free shopping and the perfect place that blends beach life and business opportunities.
For many, Subic is the ideal place to experience the good life—wine with friends on a yacht with the sunset and the azure blue waters as your backdrop, commune with nature and marvel at the place’s flora and fauna, and satisfy your cravings with the variety of restaurants, cafes, and pubs available in the area. For me, I am fortunate to call it my home. For you, retiring in Subic Bay could be just what the doctor ordered.
Pros of Retiring in Subic Bay
Cons of Living in Subic Bay
The Naval Base in Subic Bay was once the largest military installation outside of the United States.
Popular Neighborhoods in Subic Bay for Expats
Subic Bay Freeport Zone (SBFZ):
This former U.S. naval base has been transformed into a commercial and leisure hub, attracting many expats for its modern infrastructure, international schools, shopping centers, and recreational facilities. The area is also known for its well-maintained environment and strong security.
Located near the Subic Bay Freeport Zone, Kalayaan Heights is a quiet residential area that offers a good mix of affordability and comfort. It has gated communities with various housing options, and it is close to amenities and attractions within the Freeport Zone.
Baloy Long Beach:
This neighborhood in Barrio Barretto is a popular destination for expats who enjoy beachfront living. It has several restaurants, bars, and recreational facilities catering to the expat community. Additionally, there is a variety of accommodation options, from condominiums to houses.
Binictican is a well-established residential area within the Subic Bay Freeport Zone, and it is popular among expats for its beautiful views and peaceful atmosphere. The area offers a variety of housing options, including single-family homes, townhouses, and apartments.
Central Business District:
The Central Business District (CBD) in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone is an attractive choice for expats who want to be close to the action. The area has numerous shopping, dining, and entertainment options, as well as convenient access to transportation and other amenities.
You Won't Get Bored in Subic Bay...Especially if You Enjoy Diving
Subic has morphed and evolved with the time. It has managed to attract investors from around the world and that helps in bringing in more surprises to this place that once looked bare and abandoned when the US Naval force left.
Nowadays, you can swim with dolphins, have fun with watersports and be amazed by the shipwrecks and the marine life while diving. And if you have never been to Africa, there is a place for wildlife encounters in Subic, too, which is something for the books whether you love animals or not.
Retiring in Subic Bay, Philippines
Since Subic Bay is a former US Naval Base, many have chosen to stay here to retire—and I don’t blame them because Subic is as balanced and as versatile as versatile gets.
Living in Subic Bay Cost of Living Chart - 2023
1 Bdr Apartment in City Rental
$500 per month
1 Bdr Apartment Outside City Rental
$366 per month
Average Utilities: 1 Bdr Apt
$157 per month
Meal for Two, Mid-Range
Divers rejoice - there are over 25 shipwreck dive sites to explore in Subic Bay from the Spanish-American War to the Vietnam War.
Retiring in Subic Bay Bottom Line
All in all, as some YouTubers point out, Subic can be an ideal place for retirement or for long-term stays. If you’re interested, book a flight to the Philippines and come to Subic Bay. See what the place offers and check if it matches your retirement requirements.
Don’t leave Subic without dining in Filipino restaurants and ordering Sisig, Adobo, and Sinigang. If Subic won’t convince you to stay in the Philippines, these local spots surely will.
It’s a live-able place that constantly adapts to the call of the times. I call Subic my home for a few decades now, and maybe one day you can call it yours, too.
If Subic Bay isn't for you because you're wanting to live in a bigger city, you may want to consider Manila or Bangkok. But if you're looking for a lower cost retirement location and you want to be closer to the U.S, then you should give Mérida, Mexico a look.
Quick Facts about Retiring in Subic Bay, Philippines
There is a wet season which is often overcast. The dry season is windy. It is hot and humid year-round. Average temps are from 73°F and 93°F
Flight time to U.S.
13 hours by plane to Los Angeles; 16 hours to New York
Yes. PHILAHEALTH benefits available. DIscount program available as well. More info in the link below.
Yes - SRRV Retirement Visa