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Dumaguete, Philippines

By Betsy Burlingame

Last updated on Jul 02, 2023

Summary: Expats, digital nomads and retirees talk about what it is really like living in Dumaguete , Philippines. They offer advice about meeting people, cost of living, finding a home and more.

William Russell
William Russell
William Russell
William Russell

What do I need to know about living in Dumaguete?

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

"Expats considering retirement in Dumaguete, Philippines, should be aware of several key factors. Firstly, the cost of living in Dumaguete is relatively low compared to many Western countries, making it an attractive option for retirees. However, healthcare facilities may not be as advanced or readily available as in some other countries, so it's important to have a good health insurance plan. The official language is Filipino, but English is widely spoken, especially in business and education sectors. The climate is tropical, with a rainy season from June to November and a dry season from December to May. Dumaguete is known for its friendly locals and vibrant expat community, making it easy to socialize and make new friends. The city also offers a range of recreational activities, from diving and snorkeling to hiking and exploring local markets. In terms of accommodation, there are many options available, from renting an apartment to buying a house. It's advisable to visit Dumaguete first to get a feel for the different neighborhoods before making a decision. When it comes to visas, the Philippines offers a Special Resident Retiree’s Visa (SRRV) which allows unlimited stay and multiple entries, making it a convenient option for retirees. Lastly, while Dumaguete is generally safe, it's important to be aware of local laws and customs, and to take standard precautions to protect personal safety and belongings," wrote one member in Dumaguete .

"If coming from the United States: 1. Make sure that you have a reliable income of at least $1,500/month. Lots of older expats here live on SS or pensions. 2. Open an account at Charles Schwab bank before you depart, as they refund 100% of your ATM fees each month. Philippines is a mostly cash society so you will be doing lots of ATM trips. 3. Practice driving a motorbike if coming to Dumaguete. There are no taxis here, public transit is limited and cars are quite expensive. We actually live in Valencia which is 8 miles outside of Dumaguete. The higher elevation means that it is cooler. Motorbike is a must otherwise you are stuck! 4. Eat like a local to save a few bucks. Foreign foods are available at a few stores but prices are high. 5. Keep an open mind and calm down! Filipino society is much more laid-back than the U.S. You will need to be patient at times. 6. Have fun! I've visited many other places in The Philippines but so far Dumaguete is my favorite," remarked one expat who made the move to Dumaguete.

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What do I need to know before moving to Dumaguete?

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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.

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