I wrote a few months back about the cost of living in Guatemala, and today I asked my VA Clarisse to write in turn about the cost of living in the Philippines. If you are looking to relocate as an expat or considering early retirement in Asia, it sounds like a pretty good option. From what I read, prices are pretty similar to Guatemala, although housing sounds much cheaper if you are looking for high end, Western standard accommodation. Enjoy!
And over at Savvy Scot I lists down Five questions to ask yourself each month.
If you want to visit Asia don’t forget to put Philippines in your list. We have lots of destinations in our country that surely you will enjoy. Today I will give you ideas about our cost of living here. Manila City is the capital of the Philippines while currently I’m living in Ozamis City which is 1536 Km (around 1,000 miles)– from Manila. Mostly people want to live in Manila because there are lots of jobs there; you can find big universities, prestigious companies, beautiful hotels, motels, apartments and resorts.
There are lots of choices whether you are going to rent or to buy. The housing projects are highly offered in the city. Usually a condo or apartments that are fully furnished and have two bedrooms range from $ 300 – $ 700 depending on the location, amenities and if it is in the heart of the city then for sure the price is pretty high.
My friend who is currently renting a high class condo is paying $500 per month excluding electric and water bills. But the amenities are pretty impressive with laundry facilities, 24 hour security, Wi-Fi in the lobby and on-site swimming pool. But if you’re very tight on your budget, you can find a lower price to rent it is called “boarding house” it is a house with lots of rooms to rent. You can choose a room with a bathroom or just a bed only, usually they use double deck, students and some travelers find this option popular.
You can choose expensive restaurants, cheap restaurants, fast food chain or a “carenderia” which is very cheap. Last year when we stayed in Manila for three months, we dined out every weekend at a nice restaurant and our bill was usually $40 for a two adults and one kid.
We Filipinos really love to eat pork and also our favorite promo the “Eat All You Can”! For $7 – $23 you can enjoy that promo it depends on the food that they offer and the kind of restaurant. You can eat everything you can but you’re not allowed to bring the food outside. You need to make sure that you don’t have any leftover on your plate or else they will charge you for that.
When I want to buy canned goods, biscuits, meat I usually go to Supermarket, but when I buy fish and vegetables I prefer to go to “Merkado” it is a wet market where you can find vegetables, spices, sea foods that are pretty cheap compared to the supermarket.
McDonalds and Jollibee budget meal starts at $1.7, sunny side up or scrambled egg with rice and hotdog usually our favorite breakfast. And here are some food prices:
Meat: $3.80 per kilo ($1.7 per pound)
Fish: $2 per kilo (depend what kind of fish, around $1 per pound)
Banana: $0.4 per kilo
Avocado: $1 per kilo
Soda: $1.2 for 1.5 liter
Beer: $1 for 1 liter
Drinking Water: $1 for 1 liter
The electric rate in Manila is high especially this January since they increased the rates again. Usually the electric bill starts at $25 with very medium usage of appliances like refrigerator, TV, washing machine, lights and electric fan with no AC.
The water bill also depends on the usage usually our bill starts at $16 per month. And for your internet connection you can choose a broadband or a wired package there are $25 – $120. On your mobile, you can have a plan for as low as $23 with free text and limited call, but I prefer to use prepaid because there are many cheap promos like unlimited text to all network for 2 days for only $0.35.
The major transportation in Manila is LRT (Light Rail Transit), MRT (Metro Rail Transit), bus, taxi and jeepney. LRT fare starts at $0.4 depending on the distance. And mostly in the rural areas tricycle and motorcycle are the major mode of transportation. Jeepneys are the most common form of public transportation in the Philippines, it has no air-condition, has a wide open windows. Usually it is overloaded; two passengers in front beside the driver, 16-20 people in the jeepney’s back and PLUS some passengers hanging on the back of the jeepney! Traffic is the most common problem in here, especially now that the governments are working on the road widening project.
There are lots of public hospitals that offer free general check up and even dental check up. But if you want to visit for a private doctor it starts at $10. Philippine Health or widely known as Philhealth is the health insurance program it is an affordable health care for the population. You can find lots of government hospitals in the city and in the rural areas.