Some of the best sources of on-the-ground information about expat living in other countries are the various online forums available. Here are two:
The following is from a Philippines online forum, comparing Thailand to the Philippines for expat living. One of the pluses of the Philippines for a military veteran like myself not mentioned here is the availability of VA medical care in Manila, which has a large American ex-military expat community and a large VA hospital. Here are comments from the Living in the Philippines forum:
I lived in Thailand before coming here, like every two places there is good and bad. Thailand is cheaper generally, food is defiantly far more expensive in PH, eating out is far more expensive, but western style food is far better than in TL.
Drinking out is way cheaper in PH.
Overall people are friendly in both countries although I would say that generally the atmosphere being around Thai’s is much calmer.
There is an overwhelming air of being ripped of for everything in PH, it is also true in TL that non Thais pay more for everything, but in PH it seems to be at a much more intense level.
Immigration is far easier in PH, with none of the silly restrictions and a welcoming attitude from officials. You also don’t have the stupid situation of having to leave the country every three months like you have in TL.
Hardly anyone in Thailand speaks even passable English; the language is so different that it makes Thais who can hold a real conversation in English almost non existent. In PH I find the majority speak a little English many speak very good English and there are good numbers of people who have excellent English skills.
Thais are honestly of the opinion that Thailand is the centre of the world and that all foreigners are a necessary inconvenience that has to be put up with, not that they are in any way unfriendly, quite the opposite, but farang especially single men re not welcome in Thai governments eyes. People in PH seem to welcome visitors and are interested in the world outside of the country.
Yet another member who has lived both in Thailand and the Philippines on Thailand vs Philippines as a place to live for foreigners:
I lived in Thailand for a year in 2004.
We moved to the Philippines (Davao) from Thailand mostly because my wife is from Davao and she wanted to be closer to her mother.
The fact that English is one of the official languages here is kind of nice. A lot of people can understand English (sort of), quite a few people can speak a little English, some can speak American type English pretty well, and the signs are mostly in English. The people are almost as nice as the Thais but they are a little more westernized.
The Philippines is a pretty inexpensive place (especially in the provinces) but it is generally not as cheap as Thailand. For example rent was about twice the cost; food especially if you eat out was about four times the cost and for some reason bottled water was about 5 times the cost. However, booze is cheaper in the Philippines.