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Questions about Cost of Living in the Philippines

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Postby Winston » Tue Jun 01, 2010 6:09 am

yatterman1 wrote:I am still interested in knowing what the cost of basic groceries is in the philippines...for example...how much does a loaf of bread cost?


A loaf of bread costs between 40 and 60 pesos depending on the quality, which is around a dollar.

I think most people do not even get their food from supermarkets. They get it from outdoor markets in the morning which are cheapest.

The average person there makes only 100 or 200 dollars a month. I know many girls who only make 300p a day and half of it goes to food and transportation. So I have no idea how they eat at all or pay any bills in their homes. It doesn't add up. And no one can really explain it.
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Postby Jacaré » Tue Jan 03, 2012 9:41 pm

From my short experience in Cebu last year, I reckon that 1.5 to 2k/month would provide a very fun lifestyle of partying, eating out, and meeting 1 or 2 new girls every day if one wishes to. Even 1k can provide a good lifestyle provided one is more frugal and doesn't go out everynight. But wouldn't that defeat the purpose of living in the Phils? At least that's my opinion. I admire those who make it on less than 1k/month as I wouldn't be able to, unless one leaves as a local in the boonies pretty much.
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Postby IRON_JOCK_STRAP » Sun Jan 15, 2012 1:51 am

Interesting stuff to find out...
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My move to the Phill...

Postby MzNayniki » Mon Feb 27, 2012 7:01 pm

I have lived in the US for 24 years. Since I was 2. Because of a little trouble(that every freakin other teenage american gets into - Less than oz of MJ) I am subject to deportation back to the Phillipines. I am stuck in the US with no way of working, can't drive, can't do shit. I am really looking into what it would be like to return to my country of origin. I guess my question is, what would it be like for an Americanized Phillipine Native....broke may I add with 2 kids.
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Postby pete98146 » Mon Feb 27, 2012 8:00 pm

Jacaré wrote:From my short experience in Cebu last year, I reckon that 1.5 to 2k/month would provide a very fun lifestyle of partying, eating out, and meeting 1 or 2 new girls every day if one wishes to. Even 1k can provide a good lifestyle provided one is more frugal and doesn't go out everynight. But wouldn't that defeat the purpose of living in the Phils? At least that's my opinion. I admire those who make it on less than 1k/month as I wouldn't be able to, unless one leaves as a local in the boonies pretty much.


I've read many expat posts about living in Cebu. Unfortunately, the cost of housing is much higher then it should be. The line in the sand for most guys living there is $1000 a month. Sure you can live on much less but you'll have to modify your habits and learn to live "filipino" which is easier said then done. Gotta remember that the natives get by because they pack so many people into their homes. Most expats I know aren't willing to have multiple family members living with them so there is a price of our sacred independence.

Also, my expats will use more aircon, eat more American foods which will add to your bottom line.

If a guy is dead set on moving to Phils on a cheaper budget, I'd recommend staying away from Manila and Cebu which are the two most expensive cities in the country. Instead, why not try Davao, Cagayan de Oro or Dumaguete? My guess is those cities are atleast 20% less expensive.
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Postby The_Adventurer » Fri Jan 18, 2013 12:30 pm

Therein lies the problem. You keep hearing people talking about partying, eating out, eating American foods at that, and bargirls. Of course you can't live cheap in Phils and do that. I didn't go to live in Philippines for drinking and bargirls. I went because I wanted OUT OF THE RAT RACE. I wanted out of the American lifestyle in general.

I had a huge salary working in America. I didn't need to go anywhere to eat out, party, drink and get girls. I could have stayed home. My American friend in Philippines thought I was a FOOL to give up my six figure salary, nice car and all that to go live like a pauper, in his view, in Philippines. Still, you know what? I had FREEDOM! I could live MY life and do things MY way, and no boss or job could tell me different. I could do my internet business and even if I onLy made $500 that month, I was happy because I was surviving by my own power.

Of course, I allso knew I wouldn't always make $500 per month, and years later, I make a lot more, MY WAY, doing my thing. I do what I want. The Philippines gave me that. TIME, time to build my own business and life the way I want, because I took advantage of the cost.

It still hasn't instilled a desire to party and eat out in me.
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Re: Questions about Cost of Living in the Philippines

Postby publicduende » Fri Jan 18, 2013 9:48 pm

yatterman1 wrote:Can i get the average price for the following:

1) rent for a 1 bedroom apartment (per month)
2) 1 month of food (average food)
3) water bill (per month)
4) electric bill (per month)
5) cell phone bill (per month)
6) internet (per month)
7) transportation if I use it a lot (per month)

I know it can vary but can i get some sort of ball park estimate?


This is based on Davao City and quite up to date, as I have been there only a few weeks ago (Dec 2012).

1) The vast majority of properties rented to Filipinos aren't of a standard and quality a foreigner would easily adapt and live in. Many of those properties don't even have air conditioning. Townhouses are usually 2, 3 or more bedroom and probably too big for a single foreigner wanting to spend a few months in the Phils. The best bet for "one of us" is a studio or 1 bedroom in a condo, which would be anything between $100 and $250. Davao is a very nice and safe city, it is only a pleasure to live in a relatively central area (like Poblacion, Bacaca or some parts of Buhangin) or a well-served peripheral one (like Matina or Ecoland). A excellent site for rented properties is http://www.ayosdito.ph. Do yourself a favour and take the time to browse through local offerings, as properties listed in specialised expat sites and forums have a massive premiums charged by the middle man du jour.

2) Define "average food". I can see some people here have wildly different opinions of Filipino food. Perhaps they sticked to those seedy restaurants in Angeles City or Manila, where they administer US fast food quality stuff, or worse. Again, my experience in Davao City is one where the food was absolutely delicious and, at least by my standards, as cheap as it gets. How can anyone say Filipino food sucks if one can have an excellent kinilaw (sliced cucumber and ginger and lots of lemon marinated tuna/grouper sashimi) for less than 100 PHP ($2)?? Or a gorgeous charcoal grilled 500g squid for about 200 PHP ($4)? If I were to live in Davao I would eat at a grill or restaurant at least once a day, and I wouldn't pay more than 300 PHP per day. So 300 * 30 = 9000 PHP, or $200. If one wanted to stick to home cooking or simply live on garlic rice and chop suey vegetables with the odd chicken/pork adobo, I am sure they could easily cut that figure to a third, so 3000 PHP or $70.

3-4) Water and electricity are, at least in Davao, more expensive than Europe compared to average wages. Electricity consumption massively depends on how long you leave your air con unit on during the day. Based on a 4 to 6 hours of air con a day, I would say essential bills shouldn't exceed 2000 PHP ($50) a month.

5) I couldn't tell, as I had a top-up micro SIM from SMART, the mobile network owned by Philippines' larger telecoms provider PLDTC. http://store.smart.com.ph/st/catalog/52/ If you're planning to use your mobile a lot, there are popular plans that include unlimited calls & texts to SMART numbers or even all networks for a fixed daily fee, usually between 20 and 50 PHP. So let's assume it's 30 PHP * 30 = 900 PHP, or $20.

6) This varies a lot. One expat guy I met had a popular solution called SMARTBro, a USB key that offers fast 3G Internet. This looks like a nice synopsis: http://www1.smart.com.ph/bro/products/ I was told the standard domestic broadband packages cost about 2000 PHP a month for a 1 or 2 Mbit, up to 10000 PHP for 12 or 24 Mbit. Not all areas in the Philippines are covered by fast broadband services, even some in metro Davao.

7) Taxis in Davao are quite cheap, from a minimum of 40 PHP ($1) to 150 PHP ($3.5) to cross the city side to side. The fares can add up to quite a lot if you use them multiple times a day. If you don't have any urgency and you're only running through the main roads, a jeepney is a lot cheaper, usually 10/15 PHP, but will easily get stuck in traffic and takes ages just to churn a couple of miles.
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Re: Questions about Cost of Living in the Philippines

Postby eurobrat » Fri Jan 18, 2013 9:58 pm

...
Last edited by eurobrat on Mon May 27, 2013 10:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby publicduende » Fri Jan 18, 2013 10:01 pm

pete98146 wrote:
Jacaré wrote:From my short experience in Cebu last year, I reckon that 1.5 to 2k/month would provide a very fun lifestyle of partying, eating out, and meeting 1 or 2 new girls every day if one wishes to. Even 1k can provide a good lifestyle provided one is more frugal and doesn't go out everynight. But wouldn't that defeat the purpose of living in the Phils? At least that's my opinion. I admire those who make it on less than 1k/month as I wouldn't be able to, unless one leaves as a local in the boonies pretty much.


I've read many expat posts about living in Cebu. Unfortunately, the cost of housing is much higher then it should be. The line in the sand for most guys living there is $1000 a month. Sure you can live on much less but you'll have to modify your habits and learn to live "filipino" which is easier said then done. Gotta remember that the natives get by because they pack so many people into their homes. Most expats I know aren't willing to have multiple family members living with them so there is a price of our sacred independence.

Also, my expats will use more aircon, eat more American foods which will add to your bottom line.

If a guy is dead set on moving to Phils on a cheaper budget, I'd recommend staying away from Manila and Cebu which are the two most expensive cities in the country. Instead, why not try Davao, Cagayan de Oro or Dumaguete? My guess is those cities are atleast 20% less expensive.


I have done my homework in Davao and can guarantee you one can live to Western-like standards (plus local perks like delicious and fresh food, cheaper cinema and clothing items, private healthcare etc.) for less than $1000 a month. Middle class families with 2 or 3 kids live comfortably with about 60,000/70,000 PHP.
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Re: Questions about Cost of Living in the Philippines

Postby publicduende » Fri Jan 18, 2013 10:06 pm

eurobrat wrote:
publicduende wrote:
yatterman1 wrote:Can i get the average price for the following:

1) rent for a 1 bedroom apartment (per month)
2) 1 month of food (average food)
3) water bill (per month)
4) electric bill (per month)
5) cell phone bill (per month)
6) internet (per month)
7) transportation if I use it a lot (per month)

I know it can vary but can i get some sort of ball park estimate?


This is based on Davao City and quite up to date, as I have been there only a few weeks ago (Dec 2012).

1) The vast majority of properties rented to Filipinos aren't of a standard and quality a foreigner would easily adapt and live in. Many of those properties don't even have air conditioning. Townhouses are usually 2, 3 or more bedroom and probably too big for a single foreigner wanting to spend a few months in the Phils. The best bet for "one of us" is a studio or 1 bedroom in a condo, which would be anything between $100 and $250. Davao is a very nice and safe city, it is only a pleasure to live in a relatively central area (like Poblacion, Bacaca or some parts of Buhangin) or a well-served peripheral one (like Matina or Ecoland). A excellent site for rented properties is http://www.ayosdito.ph. Do yourself a favour and take the time to browse through local offerings, as properties listed in specialised expat sites and forums have a massive premiums charged by the middle man du jour.

2) Define "average food". I can see some people here have wildly different opinions of Filipino food. Perhaps they sticked to those seedy restaurants in Angeles City or Manila, where they administer US fast food quality stuff, or worse. Again, my experience in Davao City is one where the food was absolutely delicious and, at least by my standards, as cheap as it gets. How can anyone say Filipino food sucks if one can have an excellent kinilaw (sliced cucumber and ginger and lots of lemon marinated tuna/grouper sashimi) for less than 100 PHP ($2)?? Or a gorgeous charcoal grilled 500g squid for about 200 PHP ($4)? If I were to live in Davao I would eat at a grill or restaurant at least once a day, and I wouldn't pay more than 300 PHP per day. So 300 * 30 = 9000 PHP, or $200. If one wanted to stick to home cooking or simply live on garlic rice and chop suey vegetables with the odd chicken/pork adobo, I am sure they could easily cut that figure to a third, so 3000 PHP or $70.

3-4) Water and electricity are, at least in Davao, more expensive than Europe compared to average wages. Electricity consumption massively depends on how long you leave your air con unit on during the day. Based on a 4 to 6 hours of air con a day, I would say essential bills shouldn't exceed 2000 PHP ($50) a month.

5) I couldn't tell, as I had a top-up micro SIM from SMART, the mobile network owned by Philippines' larger telecoms provider PLDTC. http://store.smart.com.ph/st/catalog/52/ If you're planning to use your mobile a lot, there are popular plans that include unlimited calls & texts to SMART numbers or even all networks for a fixed daily fee, usually between 20 and 50 PHP. So let's assume it's 30 PHP * 30 = 900 PHP, or $20.

6) This varies a lot. One expat guy I met had a popular solution called SMARTBro, a USB key that offers fast 3G Internet. This looks like a nice synopsis: http://www1.smart.com.ph/bro/products/ I was told the standard domestic broadband packages cost about 2000 PHP a month for a 1 or 2 Mbit, up to 10000 PHP for 12 or 24 Mbit. Not all areas in the Philippines are covered by fast broadband services, even some in metro Davao.

7) Taxis in Davao are quite cheap, from a minimum of 40 PHP ($1) to 150 PHP ($3.5) to cross the city side to side. The fares can add up to quite a lot if you use them multiple times a day. If you don't have any urgency and you're only running through the main roads, a jeepney is a lot cheaper, usually 10/15 PHP, but will easily get stuck in traffic and takes ages just to churn a couple of miles.


So what's your monthly take on how much is needed to just be comfortable? For me confortable is one solid meal a day, some coffee/cappuccino in the morning and then some beers at night and maybe some bar money?

I'm considering a month in the Philippines if my electronics project does well. I'm guessing I wouldn't need more than $2,000 plus the plane ticket for a month right?


$1000 is more than you need to live comfortably in Davao, Tony. A San Miguel is a great beer and it's never more than 60 pesos. Kinilaw and other bars snacks are delicious and never let you part with more than 200 pesos. Italian-style espresso or cappuccino are considered novelty coffees and you can find the at Starbucks or some other local franchises for about 70 PHP (for a single) and 120/150 PHP for a cappuccino. Another thing that shocked me is how cheap cinemas are. Usually 100 PHP for a ticket...and I'm not talking about wooden sheds with a projection hole at the bottom, they're all air-con screens with Dolby Surround sounds and big screens, the kind you would find in US or UK mall multiscreens.

The most important thing about Davao is not just the low prices, but the honesty of the people who charge you - which makes living there predictable as well as affordable.
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Postby eurobrat » Fri Jan 18, 2013 10:09 pm

...
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Postby publicduende » Fri Jan 18, 2013 10:16 pm

eurobrat wrote:How much are drinks at the bar in Davao, I'm really intrested to find out because I have heard mixed stories on the Manila/AC bar scene.


They're not expensive at all. I think things will change slightly in the next month or so due to a new "sin tax" on tobacco and alcohol introduced by the Aquino government. Still, there might be a 5/10% hike, not much for a social drinker on a Western income. San Miguel is the staple drink in any bar, and I have never found it at more than 80 PHP, even in the classiest bars. Cocktails are generally around 150/200 pesos if based on the local rhum (Tanduay), or around 200/300 if a foreign spirit (eg. whiskey, vodka) is used.

All in all, an average night on Torres St including late afternoon karaoke, nice seafood meal and 4 or 5 drinks in a club is around 1000 pesos, or $25.

The good thing about Davao, which might also be a bad thing depending on perspectives, is that there's no such thing as the expat scene and the local scene: it's one and the same, and prices are tuned on the average Filipino rather than the wealthier foreigner. The downside is obviously that bars, clubs and venues are what they are. I never complained, but it's clear one will find more glamorous stuff (glamorous scams included!) in Manila or Cebu.
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Postby Banano » Fri Jan 18, 2013 11:22 pm

How about us western food lovers who like beef steak/ schnitzel, chicken,lamb,piza,pasta, food quality burger..you need at least 2 meals a day

In Thailand its impossible to live on 1k if you eat western style food, western food is more expensive thn it is in the west and quality of meat is sub par, also wine is pricey

Can you still live on 1K a month in PH?
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Postby Banano » Fri Jan 18, 2013 11:22 pm

How about us western food lovers who like beef steak/ schnitzel, chicken,lamb,piza,pasta, food quality burger..you need at least 2 meals a day

In Thailand its impossible to live on 1k if you eat western style food, western food is more expensive thn it is in the west and quality of meat is sub par, also wine is pricey

Can you still live on 1K a month in PH?
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Postby pete98146 » Fri Jan 18, 2013 11:43 pm

Banano wrote:How about us western food lovers who like beef steak/ schnitzel, chicken,lamb,piza,pasta, food quality burger..you need at least 2 meals a day

In Thailand its impossible to live on 1k if you eat western style food, western food is more expensive thn it is in the west and quality of meat is sub par, also wine is pricey

Can you still live on 1K a month in PH?


Not true...go check out some of JC's videos at RetireCheapAsia.com. You can live in Chiang Mai up north for $1000 easily. He does a good job of showing you $200/mo homes to rent.
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