CITY OF CHOICE FOR EXPATS IN THE PHILIPPINES
This will be the first installment in a series of articles showcasing why Dumaguete City appears to have become the location of choice for a huge number of Ex-pats who have decided to make the Philippines their second home.
When I first came to Dumaguete , quite honestly I was just not blown away. I had already spent about a year, on and off in the Philippines and what I had fallen in love with had a lot more to do with secluded white sand beaches and clear blue waters, as well as the simple way of life and culture of Filipinos in the provinces. Here, most of the beaches are mediocre, there is traffic, a little bit of pollution and the native Filipinos can be a little bit harder to get to know than in some of the other places I have been fortunate to visit. So when I saw how many foreigners lived here I decided to start asking them on an individual basis, why Dumaguete?
The number one answer was that it had the amenities they were looking for , but was only minutes away from some of the raw natural beauty that is prevalent in this country of over 7,000 islands, So I will start this series by giving my own personal experiences on what most of us ex-pats seem to think is tops on the list of neccesities when deciding where to call home in the Philippines. Medical care.
I am a middle aged guy and though in good shape, am like most people my age. I have deveoped some medical conditions over the years that sometimes require attention and medication. I have had to consult doctors several times for minor issues and have found that there is no problem finding medical professionals in Dumaguete that are knowledgeable, friendly and available on short notice. Though I have had to pay out of my own pocket, costs have been merely a fraction of what I woud have to pay if visiting a lot of other countries in the world and I appreciate that it does not appear that I have been gouged because I am a foreigner. Those people that have international health insurance of course would not need to be concerned with that.
I do require medications for a chronic illness, some of which I have been able to get at local drugstores here in dumaguete and for those others which are not available in the Philippines, pharmacy staff has been very helpful in finding alternatives. One problem I have encountered , is that pharmacies do not seem to stock large quantities of most drugs and sometimes I have had to visit numerous store locations to fill my needs. As I have gotten to recognize this issue, I have learnt to have the pharmacies order sufficient stocks ahead of time. This they do happily and without charge but I need to ensure I order a week or so ahead. Though this may seem inconvenient, outside of maybe the larger cities of Manila, Cebu, and Davao, waiting times would be closer to months than to weeks.
I have also had a more serious ailment which required hospitalization. I ended up at Siliman medical centre ,(a teaching hospital attached to Siliman University), where tests were run and I was found to have an enlarged Gall blatter. Though the accomodations were a little sparse compared to the western standards I was used to, the care I received there was top notch and within a week I was free to go home healthy and happy, though 40,000 Pesos poorer.
As for dentistry, though I have not yet had the need myself here, friends that have, give good reviews in regard to both quality of care and cost.
Overall , from what I have seen, experienced and heard, Medical care in Dumaguete city is more than adequate for the normal needs of the average middle age expat and far exceeds that which can be received in the majority of the smaller urban and rural areas of the Philippines. For more complex medical issue, it is important to note that Cebu and Manila are both a quick flight away.