Watch the Snakes at the Balbagan Festival in Negros Ocidental

American Retirement in the Philippines


*AUTHOR’S NOTE – Many of us Americans did not save enough for retirement. It’s time for a reality check. If we did not save for retirement, it’s time to make a plan. It’s better to start looking for a retirement place that we can afford AND enjoy. The longer we put off finding the right retirement place for us, the more difficult it will be to retire comfortably…soon.

My husband and I will be retiring in a couple of years. We are doing this research in advance for our own benefit. We are unsure if we will be able to afford a quality retirement life here in the U.S. when the right time comes, so we searched overseas.

We were looking for a country where the cost of living is affordable, where the climate is mild (not too hot/not too cold), where living is safe and secure, where people will welcome us, and where there is no language barrier. Many of the best options for enjoying an enormously enriched retirement lifestyle on even a very modest budget can be found overseas, especially in Asia.

Well, what do you know? We’ve found the country that’s exactly just that – with affordable cost of living, a tropical climate, relatively peaceful, American-friendly, and English-speaking people! We have agreed – our choice for our retirement is the Philippines! This little country seemed to be the best place for American retirement!

Knowing that there are other retirees on the same boat as we are, I am sharing this research with you. With the help of a native, I am presenting the Philippines to you, so you can pick your own location. I am sure anywhere we choose, we will enjoy a quality retirement life that we so deserve!

My posts will help you decide exactly where in the Philippines you would like to retire. We have different outlooks in life – some prefer to retire near the beach, some in the farm, some in the city, some couldn’t care less! You can view my posts about the different places in the Philippines, and find an area that you feel has a certain connection to you. Have a tour of the Philippines and visit that place, and find the connection, before you retire there permanently. I hope I can be of help.






Balbagan FestivalPhoto from:


Origin of the Festival

Balbagan FestivalPhoto from:

Balbagan Festival celebrates the origin of the Binalbagan. It is said that in ancient times cargo of shrimps, so abundant then, often got wet and partially spoiled while in transit.  To remove the slimy odor and preserve the shrimp, traders would beat barks from a tree and place them over the baskets of the shrimps.  The juice of the beaten bark was believed to contain preservatives.  The action of beating the bark was termed in the native language as “balbag” which later evolved to Binalbagan.

Another folklore tells the story of a huge snake that blocked the mouth of Binalbagan River.  People would refer to the place as “Binalabagan” which subsequently evolved to Binalbagan.


Balbagan FestivalPhoto from:



Choreography and Costume

The Balbagan Festival celebrates both historical and folkloric origin of Binalbagan through music and dance.  The rhythm of the pounding of the bass drums, bamboo tultugan and bamboo sticks provide the appropriate beat reminiscent of the balbag ritual.  The shakers produce the sound similar to the hissing of the snakes.


Balbagan FestivalPhoto from:

The choreography follows seven (7) basic movements that replicate the movements of the snakes.  Dancers are  either clad in fabric or body painted in red, orange, yellow, green and blue – the colors of snakes.  Innovative and colorful accessories and headdresses accented with gold are worn to further carry the theme of the snake.


Balbagan FestivalPhoto from:



The Celebration

The BALBAGAN FESTIVAL is celebrated on the 15th day of May as the highlight of the annual town fiesta celebration.  It is celebrated with a street dance around the Poblacion streets.  Dancers make a stopover at stations to perform their dance rituals.  The highlights of the festival is the Golden Unity Serpent representing  the Binalbageños’ aspiration for peace, harmony and prosperity.


Balbagan FestivalPhoto from:


Balbagan FestivalPhoto from:


Balbagan FestivalPhoto from:



Watch Binalbagan Festival Video



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