Philippines has attracted 25,000 foreign retirees since 1985, according to the government’s retirement authority. It stepped up recruitment of expatriate retirees in 2006 in an attempt to boost the economy. Retirees mean houses to clean and golf courses, or more jobs for the locals.

Foreign retirees in the country now include about 2,400 South Korean retirees and 3,000 mainland Chinese, the retirement authority says. Americans number about 1,000. Thailand and Indonesia also encourage foreign retirees, but the Philippines has recruited them more aggressively. For Westerners, the use of English and predominance of Christianity put the Philippines above any rivals.