Philippines Expat Forum - cost of living in the philippines?

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dave6
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1/12/2011 22:42    
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i was considering the Philippines to relocate and start a small business. i have some money to work with but want to keep a budget for my living expenses under 1200 US a month, could that afford a decent lifestyle?
what are the basic costs like there?

Nancylongatan
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1/13/2011 20:34    
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Hey, Dave,

Sorry if you didn't feel welcomed, I sure always want to encourage more people to enjoy the Philippines! The problem with this cost of living question, which many people ask, is it is really soooo subjective what a "decent" lifestyle may be. For myself, living in a rural area in North Luzon, the Philippine salary of my husband at about $200 a month with housing provided was quite decent, where for others anything other than a gated community with private security guards is not decent. Also it varies a lot from place to place in the country.
For the business expat communities of Manila and Makati, $1200 a month will not work. For a beach place in, say Puerta Princesa, you'd be fine. So you need to set some more parameters to get a coherent answer.
Realistically, I think the best recommendation is always to plan a trip for a few weeks or so just to see for yourself. Other people's answers to this question are not likely to satisfy you in planning a big transition like this. Wish I could be of more help!
Nancy

dave6
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1/13/2011 22:49    
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your answer was very helpful and i see the flaw in my question.
i know many expats here in Haiti and they live on budgets that exceed 5 thousand a month sometime 8-9 thousand a month and to them that is humble.
I have always been a middle class person and it does not take much to make me happy i can survive in places like Jamaica and Haiti where i have been living much of my 28 year life on less than 2,500 US dollars, when i was in my late teens and early twenties i was in places like Haiti living on less than one thousand, it was enough to get me a decent apartment, food, local transportation, and take care of all my basic needs.
when i say decent would 12-1500 a month get me all my basic costs like a good house or apartment meaning something that is a stable good structure that is not infested with bugs and vermin, would it allow me to eat 2-3 meals a day of good proper food, would it allow me to have telecomunication access, pay my utulties like electricity and water, and have enough money left over for taxis fare/bus fare, and have a little left over so i could share a bottle of rum with my friends, go to the disco tech now and then, and smoke some cigars.
i am a simple man who would rather have bread with friends than meat and fish alone.

pinaymentor
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1/14/2011 19:12    
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Hi Dave.

There are ways and means to live on that budget, but you might consider taking time to visit different places before you make your decision. The exchange rate of dollars to peso is not that stable and we don't know how long it will stay in the 40's. The other day the exchange rate was 44.3 which is good. The cost of living here in the metro area has gone up tremendously.
My American husband and I moved back here for good last year and found our little gated village here in Alabang to be still affordable, great community, near the commercial and financial districts. In fact it is walking distance to the Town Center,about an hour away from the Taal Lake area where the weather is cooler. an hour away from the beach. But if I am not working as a Financial Consultant still, I will settle to stay way out in the farmlands area and nearer the beach at the same time.
My husband is about to build several communities for retired American Veterans in different locations. I am sure he will have space for non-vet. If that is something that would interest you, let me know. He can probably work out some numbers with you to make that budget work.
Let us know when you are in town.
Pinaymentor

ExpatAussie
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1/14/2011 20:00    
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Hi Dave6 are u single or with family. I think US$1,200/month might be achievable but I would seek professional advice (say a local accounting firm or country research firm) before making any life changing decisions.
In my view there are (at least) 2 levels of living here. One is the "local" way of living & the other is the "western" way of living. I can only comment on the "western". In my case it involves sending my child to an international school, health insurance, car with driver, housing, maintaining a western diet etc. Because of this our expenses as a family a very high compared to how the majority of Filipinos live. For example l don't eat from the road side food vendors. I have been advised that the risks to my health are not worth it. As a result, I pay much more for food that most locals do. Hope this helps.

dave6
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1/14/2011 23:09    
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i will be in touch i like the idea of the place you and your husband are building, but i am 28 and my friend/partner in business is 30, i do not know if you are focusing this older people. i am not a an american war vet but my friend just got out of the united states marine corp, so maybe that could qualify us. thank you for the suggestion

dave6
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1/14/2011 23:14    
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I am single but i will need to help support my friend a little until we can get a solid business in play.
I have no family to support.
I understand the lifestyle you lead i know many canadian and american expats in haiti who live much like you and your family. i live much better than the average person but i do not need or spend as much as americans do.
I know what you mean about eating from road side stands and i know the dangers i even got typhoid once in Haiti from a restaurant who did not wash there vegtables properly, i have learned my lesson but still buy food very cheap, if i get vegtables and fruit i make sure i wash them with water a little bleach and lemon juice and i make sure everything is cooked well, i have my rice and peas and i am fine i do not need to shop in fancy supermarkets unless i need a luxury item that is hard to get. thank you for the advice and yes i plan to check things out before i get myself cemented in.

garywigle
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1/20/2011 20:44    
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You will have to have a special visa to start a business. After you get that then you can only own 40% of the business. Best to think of a internet business with the server based in another country. Many expats do that here and many make real money doing it. Look before you leap!

73,
Gary

guimaras41
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1/24/2011 00:30    
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It's all about location, Dave, as Nancy said. I'm an American expat living in the rural province of Guimaras known for its sweet mangoes. My Filipina wife and I support five people in our household for about 750 USD a month, but my wife had already bought and paid for the house and property we live on years ago. Just depends on what kind of lifestyle you want here.

c0w60y
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1/24/2011 15:35    
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Dave, I'd recommend that you and your friend take a 2-3 week vacation over here and do some "window shopping", for a location that will fit your needs. A few weeks here may also help you determine if your business has a chance of success or not. There are inexpensive places for rent in Dinalupihan, Bataan. 90 minutes from Manila and about 30 minutes from Subic. Good luck.

Champs82
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2/25/2011 15:31    
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I retired from the military, in 2001, and completely retired in 2003.....so I'm not working, at all. Just general question about how much money I can live on with, for instance, a Philippina wife and maybe a mother in law, I'm rated 80% by VA, and completely depended on VA for medical, also I'll turn 65 this year........my soon to be my wife, and I live on $1000.00 @ month.....no car, TV, computer a must, but that is it, for now......just checking, I'll maybe move in 2014, I'll travel to the Philippines in Nov. 11, 2011. Later, maybe buy a house........purely retirement for me, no work maybe part time, since I'm recieving my retirement benefits from socal security, already......Thanks in advance, for any info. ATW.

Rachamim
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3/2/2011 08:15    
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For 1200 US a month you can live like a king by local standards. The key is location and your level of comfort. If you need Western comforts (and most expats do) a good place to begin may be Makati, subletting a condo (Filipino owned, never off of another expat due to the income differentials). An example, I live primarily on Mindanao but sublet an unfurnished studio in one of Makati's finest buildings (Rada Regency) and pay 210 US a month plus electricity and cable/broadband. If I ate in and lived decently I could live extremely well for 800 US a month including an active social life.

If you flock to expat colonies, like subdivisions in and around Angeles, Baguio or Cebu you will pay more, sometimes significantly more.

In Mindanao and other less trodden places you can live on a lot less but it depends, as I said, on your level of comfort.

tracymegaworld
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3/25/2011 23:53    
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hello. This is the estimate of the cost of living here in the Philippines

$400- rental/month (sometimes it is inclusive of water and electricity)

$200- food/month

$135- gasoline/month 9depending on your milage)

The rest are miscellaneous already.

I think since you are interested in relocating in the Philippines, it is wise for you to purchase a condominium unit. The monthly of these condominium units have the same rate as renting an apartment. developers of real estate here in the Philippines provide No downpayment at 0% interest.

adude
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8/24/2011 20:06    
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Heya,

great thread going on here. I am thinking about moving to Phillipines as well next year, so this info is precious to me.

My budget will be similar, between $1,000 and $1,200 per month, although I believe I can do very good with that (even tho I've never been to PH).

I live at the same budget in my country (its a bit more expensive here), so I think I would do well in the Phillippines.

Do you think that would be enough for someone living in the small community close to sea? Must-have for me is good internet connection, 1-2 nights out / week (not really a big drinker), condo/room with a/c and that's about it. Any suggestions for such a place? :)

Borsia
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8/31/2011 18:01    
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I see many of the same questions that I have in this thread.
I am 57 and live on my SSD with about $1200 p/m.
I lived in China for 2 years and have now been in Colombia going on 3. But the dollar has fallen 30% since I came here and that was pretty much my entire entertainment budget. So I am thinking of jumping ship again and heading to the PIs.
I am a writer and photographer so I am pretty much self amusing. All I need is a place with INTERNET.
My question is can I find a place that isn't so hot?
I have looked at Baguio and it is a possibility but it is bordering on too cool and wet. I don't mind rain but 15' is a bit much.
I would be eating the local food from the wet market and going out rarely. I don't drink or smoke and I don't like bars.
Would need to find a Filipina gf.
Any suggestions for locations?

pogikai
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9/12/2011 21:32    
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Cost of living in iloilo city
middle class.
houses all over in small subd. 5000 peso montly rental.
50 000 p month will be just fine no probs
welcome here.

amanasan
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9/19/2011 05:16    
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Hi Champs 82. Standard of living in the Philippines depends on the location where you want to stay. If you go to the countryside, $1,000.00 could give you and your wife a comfortable life. Internet, TV all in.
Again, you have to find out where you want to stay. Is your wife a Filipina? Maybe you can start from the area where she belongs.
Anything more you want to know, feel free to ask.

amanasan
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9/19/2011 05:16    
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Hi Champs 82. Standard of living in the Philippines depends on the location where you want to stay. If you go to the countryside, $1,000.00 could give you and your wife a comfortable life. Internet, TV all in.
Again, you have to find out where you want to stay. Is your wife a Filipina? Maybe you can start from the area where she belongs.
Anything more you want to know, feel free to ask.

amanasan
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9/19/2011 05:16    
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Hi Champs 82. Standard of living in the Philippines depends on the location where you want to stay. If you go to the countryside, $1,000.00 could give you and your wife a comfortable life. Internet, TV all in.
Again, you have to find out where you want to stay. Is your wife a Filipina? Maybe you can start from the area where she belongs.
Anything more you want to know, feel free to ask.

amanasan
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9/19/2011 05:18    
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Hi Dave, this would all depend on which part of the Philippines you want to relocate yourself.

Any preference?

casafilippineDotCom
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9/19/2011 13:12    
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Hi everyone,my name is Vanessa,filipina,
2 persons can live in the Philippines in a very nice beach house with fresh and biological food and fish for only: 35,000Php (600€ or 800USD)

I have 2 beach houses for rent situated in a well-protected bay, which serve as a rich-fishing ground for the whole village. A perfect place for being at peace,no hustles,no cars,no videoke...a perfect place for being at peace while listening to the exquisite songs of tropical birds in the overhanging palm trees and the tranquil sound of the waves against the shore.

Very accessible for only 40-minute flight from Manila and 2-hour boat ride from Boracay (No. 1 tourist destination in the Philippines), they provide services such as renewal of visas.

One apartment is good for 4 persons inclusions of weekly general cleaning and bed change.
Rental per month is 30,000Php

for contacts:
info@casafilippine.com
http://www.casafilippine.com/2/

pookytx
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9/20/2011 23:32    
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my husband is retire army and we are tihinking of moving to the Phillippines. Anything we should be looking for?

casafilippineDotCom
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9/21/2011 13:17    
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Hi,
Casa Paradiso is perfect for pensioners,absolute peace and tranquility.You can relax and sleep very well since in this village there are no cars,no motors.You can breath fresh ocean air good for your health.Have a great workout walking on the sandy beach and if you want more thrill,you can explore the hills beside the house.Casa is very accessible just 30 minutes from the airport.If you want to have a vegetable or flower garden,there are lots of free land around and a small elementary school if you want to volunteer teaching English to the village children.

amanasan
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9/21/2011 18:27    
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Hi Pookytx!
To answer your question about the Philippines, maybe I can ask a few first:
1. Why did you choose Philippines as your second home?
2. What is your budget monthly?
3. Any children, ages?
4. Anyone of you half filipino and having relatives here?
Maybe if your can light me up with the questions I asked, I could guide you better.
best,
Aida

evaltonen
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10/13/2011 01:37    
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hI,
1- Want to be close to west and east
2- Budget of max 1450 USD
3- No children
4- No relatives or any half
I hope you can help me, I am a serious inquirer

amanasan
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10/13/2011 09:15    
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Hi evaltonin. Yourquestion is so huge and general. Have you thought of which part of the Philippines you wish to stay?
You have a good budget but it should be matched to the area you want to settle.
Please clear us out on preferences. Also your plans, business, work?

aceclass
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10/14/2011 03:42    
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Hi, Dave. If you live in Bacolod, Phils., you will need a budget 500 pesos per week excluding gas for your car. And if you live in the Laguna area in the south of Luzon, you will need the same budget, more or less. I am selling my house and lot in Sta. Rosa, Laguna in a gated community for 4M pesos, 184 sqm, with a clubhouse and swimming pool. I am also selling a lot of 324 sqm in a high-end community in Talisay City near Bacolod in Negros Occ. island for 4M pesos also, with a clubhouse and swimming pool and next to the sea with boating and water sports allowed. Both properties in the Phils. are close to different amenities. I am offering suggestions for businesses for both places.

Britster
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10/16/2011 22:31    
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I moved from Hong Kong to Cebu, Philippines in 2001, with the Filipina that I met in Hong Kong in 1998.

Primary reason for moving, was the lower cost of living.

Having said that it is more expensive to live her today, than it was 10 years ago. I would suggest you need twice as much foreign currency for same standard of living!

This is because of:-
i) Exchange Rates:
£1 =Php100, nowUS$1 =56, now ii) 12% VAT introduced,
iii) inflation.

Cost of Fuel for vehicles increased over 4x.

Cost of running our own car is about Php5km (total annual costs, averaged)

Electricity Bills have tripled as have Water Bills! Php9k pm for these!

We own our House/Lot, so no Rental so saving Php15k pm typically there.

One can still live reasonably comfortably on US1,000pm. This depends on where you are living and what sort of lifestyle you follow.

meliza1
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11/19/2012 10:22    
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considering the cost of living vary from the lifestyle you want to live here.There are many things that you need to consider when you want to live in the Philippines.way back 2011 i know someone who lived in cebu city and he live in a decent life under 1,200USD. there are many house here that is 2 bed room 1 bath for around 300USD/month. you can eat in the decent restaurant for as low as 2-5USD/or meal.you can also save by buying your own food in the grocery store and cook them at home.transportation vary from the location. utility bill 50-100USD is enough for the two of you.
Rum is not so expensive here so you can still have them anytime you want.But in metro manila i am sure the cost of living their is high so it is very much important for you to visit several place and see if which place you want to stay.

meliza1
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11/19/2012 10:26    
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Try to visit Cebu city or Cagayan de oro city.The cost of living their is low.compare to manila or any other place in luzon.there are also many forighners living in cebu.

Borsia
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From: United States
11/20/2012 10:02    
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I responded to this post back when I was living in Colombia.
I moved to the PH in March of 12 and I don’t seem to have any problems living in the PH on my budget. I live on Luzon in one of the more expensive areas. I could certainly live in one of the less expensive, yet still nice areas nearby, and save even more. I just like the somewhat cooler climate here. Even there I could move to Baguio and live cheaper and cooler.
As for running a business do your research as to what can be done. Running a business locally is no cakewalk while some sort of international home based business wouldn’t be a problem.
Check out a site called Philfaqs.com

robcam1029
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9/10/2013 11:18    
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i am wondering .. the condo idea sounds good but i imagine Condo's like this woudl be in bigger cities more expensive.. do they have these in Bacolod or even smaller dumaguete..? how would you find these in different cities.. is the a reliable realtor.. ? or a way to contact the developers directly..?

robcam1029
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9/10/2013 11:18    
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i am wondering .. the condo idea sounds good but i imagine Condo's like this woudl be in bigger cities more expensive.. do they have these in Bacolod or even smaller dumaguete..? how would you find these in different cities.. is the a reliable realtor.. ? or a way to contact the developers directly..?

dawggydaddy
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9/10/2013 12:26    
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Rob, for sure there are condos for rent/lease/sale in Bacolod. You can try craigslist and/or google 'condos for rent or lease in Bacolod' for a list as well as the brokers who handle the properties.

dawggydaddy
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9/10/2013 12:27    
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Rob, for sure there are condos for rent/lease/sale in Bacolod. You can try craigslist and/or google 'condos for rent or lease in Bacolod' for a list as well as the brokers who handle the properties.

All times are ET.  


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