Recognized by now as a pivotal actor within the country’s development
policies, the Department of Tourism has in recent years begun working
closely with land developers and real estate corporations to facilitate and
channel the financial capital of balikbayans back into the Philippines. By
linking the interests of state agencies with those of private investors, the
Philippine government is inventing new ways to persuade balikbayans to
continue being patrons of the state; it seeks to draw overseas Filipinos not
only to visit their homeland but also to invest in property and retire in the
The accumulation of these investments has financed the construction
of retirement villages: massive property developments that are viewed by
many as the future of the Philippines’ tourism economy. This chapter dis-
cusses the process through which the tourism industry has conjoined itself
with the retirement and health care industries to provide balikbayans with a
solution to their incessant anxiety around returning and settling back home
in the Philippines. Retirement villages therefore represent the contempo-
rary amalgamation of these diverse intersections. Adopting Aihwa Ong’s
(2006) concept of “neoliberalism as exception,” I describe how these special
Retirement Landscapes
and the Geography of Exception
Previous Page Next Page