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Palawan, Philippines

Living in Philippines

By Betsy Burlingame

Last updated on Apr 19, 2024

Summary: The population of Philippines is approximately 108 million people. The largest cities in Philippines are Manila, Quezon City, Davao City, Cebu City, and Zamboanga City. Expats love living in Philippines for its friendly people, beautiful beaches, and tropical climate. Life in Philippines is often described as laid-back and relaxed. Popular foods in Philippines include adobo, sinigang, kare-kare, and lechon. The cons of living in Philippines include the high cost of living, traffic congestion, and air pollution. The average cost of living for an expat is around $1,000 to $2,000 per month. This includes rent, utilities, food, and transportation.

William Russell
William Russell
William Russell
William Russell

What do I need to know about living in Philippines?

When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Philippines, they said:

"Be patient. Learn to accept "indirectness" as a form of communication. Just because someone doesn't tell you something, it doesn't mean they aren't telling you something. Listen with all your senses," wrote one member in Manila.

"1. It is important to understand the local culture prior to retirement in the Philippines, as etiquette and lifestyle will differ from other countries. 2. Expats should research the cost of living in the Philippines before settling in, as certain locations will have higher living costs than others. 3. Due to the very humid climate in the Philippines, expats should invest in air-conditioning and fans in order to remain comfortable during hot days. 4. English is widely spoken across the Philippines, though expats may benefit from learning some Tagalog in order to converse with locals more easily. 5. Access to healthcare in the Philippines is generally good, with reliable infrastructure across major cities. 6. Expats may need to apply for a visa prior to retirement in the Philippines, so it is important to check all relevant visa requirements," remarked one expat who made the move to Philippines.

"Electricity still the major issue - install a solar panel. Communication and internet is improving - StarLink is already available. Road Network is improving - new roads open and cemented," explained one expat living in El Nido, Philippines.

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About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

Palawan, Philippines

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