Cost of Living in the Philippines.
(Last updated 6 April 2017)
- 0.1 How This Got Started
- 0.2 I’ve written many times on Cost of Living in the Philippines
- 0.3 Cost of Living Philippines again some more. I wrote an article or two
- 0.4 Philippine Cost Of Living — Can I Live in the Philippines on $1300
- 0.5 Philippine Cost of Living Update — June 2015
- 0.6 Cost of Living Philippines — May 2014
- 0.7 But Let’s See Just What Google Said Earlier Today
- 0.8 50 to One is a Hell of a Difference From 23 to One!
- 0.9 Nightmare stuff.
- 0.10 Taking A Look At Google’s Top Ten Results:
- 0.11 1. Cost of Living in Philippines. Prices in Philippines. Updated Apr 2017
- 0.12 2. Cost of Living, Prices in Manila (Philippines) – Expatistan
- 0.13 3. What Is The Cost Of Living In The Philippines? – 2017
- 0.14 4. How Much Money Do You Need to Live in the Philippines? – Matt Forney
- 0.15 6. Cost of Living in the Philippines – Reach Financial Independence
- 0.16 7. Cost of Living in The Philippines – International Living Countries
- 0.17 8. Cost of Living in the Philippines | Expat Arrivals
- 1 Cost of accommodation in the Philippines
- 2 Related Posts
- 3 Share this Article:
Take Google With a Grain of Salt. Good advice, I suspect. I’ve been given it before, but I have to admit I don’t always follow it, Usually, when something shows up at the top of the Google search results I pretty much accept it as “the truth”. How about you?
How This Got Started
I usually write pretty much what I want to write here and don’t pay much attention to the “Great Google God”. But from time to time I like to see where Google ranks me in the search results. After all this site is highly dependent upon first time visitors, and normally over 80% of first time visitors find me through Google’s search rankings.
I’ve written many times on Cost of Living in the Philippines
and probably a dozen more, but these articles don’t show up on Google’s first page of search results … the one the average searcher never looks beyond.
So I looked earlier today to see just what Google does show for queries on Cost of Living in the Philippines.
(Note, these results change, sometimes even as often as every time you type in a query, and they will also change based on what Google thinks you, yourself, are trying to find, so don’t write in and tell me “Hey, you’re wrong, I got different results”. It’s pretty much a given that your own results will be somewhat different.)
But Let’s See Just What Google Said Earlier Today
Here’s the newest and most coveted response, what Google calls it’s “Answer Box”. It’s also known as “Position zero” to many search engine gurus. One might think that it’s the best result Google’s mighty search could find in response to the question typed in.
Well, the link goes to a video produced by a fellow named Matt Forney and first published back in 2014. So far so good, it’s not really up to date but in reality prices haven’t changed all that much in the past three years.
And people do respond well to videos and you can watch Matt’s videos all day long and never have to read a word … this suits a lot of searchers out there.
But do take a minute to note what is stated right in the first sentence of Google’s little synopisis of the serach result:
“Right now the exchange rate is 23 Philippine pesos to One Dollar.”
Folks, I have no explanation for this statement. It’s not a simple typo, because Matt makes the same totally wrong statement a number of times in the video itself.
The Peso to Dollar exchange rate is the most important factor of all in trying to pin down the cost of living here in the Philippines for foreigners. You realize, I am sure, that you can’t spend US dollars in a grocery store, or pay your electric bill, etc.
If you live here you have to use the currency of the land, Pesos and how many Pesos you can buy (exchange, convert, etc) for each dollar you have is literally “everything” in making cost comparisons.
50 to One is a Hell of a Difference From 23 to One!
Right now, today, 6 April 2017, the exchange rate for Philippine Pesos to US dollars is very close to 50 to one. It’s been over 50, close to 50 or in the high 40’s for months now.
The rate does, of course, fluctuate, but it hasn’t been anywhere near 23 to one since back in the 1980’s!
I have no idea where this 23 to one nonsense came from, and I’m not just being a pernickety old man and splitting hairs here.
If the exchange rate went to 23 to one tonight, by tomorrow yours truly would be on a plane moving back to the USA. A rate of 23 to one would cut my effective spendable income here in the Philippines by more than 50%. It would instantly mena my house, my paid for car, my Philippine pesos savings in the bank, etc. would have lost over half their resale value to me over night.
But fear not. This “nightmare” is not going to happen. Just make sure, though, that when you search for things on Google you take care to do a little “fact checking” on your own before you automatically accept what you are reading or watching.
Taking A Look At Google’s Top Ten Results:
Numbeo.com is lie an old friend to me. I’ve written about it many times, and referred to it often. It’s an excellent choice by Google for the all important first search results position.
Numbeo is a sort of “user built” site. They gather information from thousands and thousands of users in various cities and countries, store the numbers reported by these users in a database, and then use those numbers to calculate cost of living reports and comparisons.
This makes Numbero’s figures as accurate as their thousands of users can make them. I highly recommend Numbero for overall costs of living anywhere they already have data for.
Expatistan is sort of a twin to Numbero.com. They sample cost of living data from all over the world, crunch and store the numbers and then call them up to answer user requests for cost reports and comparisons. Expatistan, like Numbeo, does not do well when looking at the costs in smaller Philippine cities and remote provinces. Not enough folks living there who also contribute to the listings.
They do an excellent job and earn their well deserved position of number 2 in the Google Search results. Also highly recommend by Philly at PhilFAQS.
I was unfamiliar with this site, banker in the sun, until I undertook this survey. Much of the information seems quite general in nature and often makes so (to me), wild assumptions. For example, the cost of living is as low as 50% of the cost of living in Thailand? Really?
I’ve lived in both countries and I don’t believe that if comparing similar accommodations to similar accommodations that this statement is anywhere near true … but this misses the point completely … if you want to know the costs in Thailand, then use a site specifically centered on Thailand.
Also, some advice offered here just shows quite a low understanding of how things are actually done here in the Philippines. Example:
The contractual norm for housing is one month’s advance rent and two month’s security deposit. I’ll give you another piece of advice: that security deposit often gets spent by the landlord and not returned, so be sure to take photos of every part of your apartment before moving in.
Well “taking photos of every part of your apartment” is not necessarily bad advice, but the common business practice here in the Philippines is that the tenant pays one or two months rent in advance and then recovers that rent by not paying during the last two months of the lease. It’s just the normal way of doing things here. The landlord/owner is NOT going to hand you over cash at the end of the lease.
I was a landlord in the USA for a number of years and most states have very strict rules on the landlord holding tenants deposits in an escrow account, not using the tenants money until the end of the lease, and so on. During the 11 years I’ve lived here in the Philippines I’ve run into a number of foreigners who expect things to be done here the same way and then at the end of their lease get themselves all bent out of shape when the landlord has no money available to return their deposit.
This may seem “wrong” to many, and hey, perhaps it is, but it’s the way things are here, so plan accordingly, photos or no photos.
Hostel dorm — $7-10 / night
Hostel private room (ensuite) — $20 / night (many not listed on Hostel sites)
Mid-range hotel — $50-$100 / night
Top hotels — $100-$250 / night (I found these to be comparatively more expensive)
Luxury resorts — $250+ / night
1 bedroom budget apartment — $200 / month
1 bedroom luxury apartment — $600+ / month
1 bedroom budget apartment (so-so neighborhood) — $100 / month
These price samplings completely ignore the very common and cost-effective solution many expats find suitable, rent a separate, detached house in a suburb. Here in my area of Central Luzon (just a few miles outside Metro Manila, one can easily find 2 or three bedroom, 1 bath detached bungalow style homes for rent for $200 to $240 USD per month. Often these homes come with a garage/car port space and a small, but usable yard, no pet restrictions and much more freedom of life style than in an apartment or townhouse.
Philly’s rating of this site? Not very useful. The pictures are pretty but I fail to see how it rates the number 3 position.
Already mentioned in position “0”. This video is watchable, and quite informative in some was, but I can’t recommend it at all due the egregious errors in the actual costs. It’s also quite dated, although general costs of shelter and food have not increased all that much.
In position number 5 we find this site, which has a wide circulation on the web. It’s a site mainly about various investment services and instruments and only mentions the Philippines and other low-cost countries to gather traffic “eye balls” to its many ads, IMO.
Most of their data is from 2015, and I take a rather strong exception to their overall assertion that one can live quite comfortably on $1000 USD per month,
Whether you decide to live in the city, in the highlands or near the beach, you should have no trouble making your budget, likely with funds left over for dining out, entertainment and perhaps some travel.
Umm, I think not. $1,000 USD per month is enough to scrape by in cheap areas for most Americans if they watch every penny and stay away from Western “luxuries” like hot water from your shower, but it’s far too over-optimistic to me to allow me to recommend this site. Philly says, “avoid”.
This is a good site, I’ve used it for years, although the actual cost information is rather narrow in scope and quite limited. It’s published by a fellow who has a lot in common with my thoughts, seeking financial independence no matter here you choose to live, rather than following the rest of the “human sheep” into the licensed slavery of a “J*O*B”.
Even for those folks who really can’t or don’t want to make a commitment to live in the Philippines “forever:, coming to the Philippines to live (and retire your debts and save some money) for a few years might be just what your bank account needs. See, for example:
Unique to most of the sites about cost of living here in the Philippines, most of the Philippine price information on this site comes from Clarrise, an employee of the site own who happens to be a Filipino and a lifetime resident of the Philippines. This gives it a ring of truth and a perspective unique to the way most of us foreigners look at the Philippines. Philly recommends this site, especially for background information and the “Filipino Perspective”.
As with anywhere, the cost of living in the Philippines will depend greatly on the lifestyle you choose to lead—but you can certainly live well here on a low budget. If you live like a local, shop where they shop, eat where they eat, you can get by on a monthly budget of just over $760, even near some of the big cities and famous beaches.
Of course the bigger the budget, the more lavish the lifestyle. A couple can live like royalty on $2,280 a month anywhere in the Philippines. For that money, you can enjoy life’s finer things…massages… maids…country club membership…travel…
This is the main thing you should remember. The “cost of living in the Philippines” is not some hard and fast number anyone is going to pin down.
Rather, you, the reader, is the most important factor in determining your own cost of living here in the Philippines. You can live very, very cheaply, or you can send money like crazy, it doesn’t really depend upon any fixed coast in the country, it depends on what you want to spend for the lifestyle you choose to live, There is NO “right or wrong” number.
This being said, my recommendation for this site contains a bit of a caveat. It’s produced by a company who wants to see you a LOT of newsletters, guides and such which are great if you want to spend your life dreaming of places you might go “someday”. It’s not really about those of us who actually want ti do something with our lives and go somewhere in our lifetime.
Certainly a site with quite a bit of information, but a lot of it is sketchy and vague. Again, this is a site promoting such businesses and “Philippine Relocation Services” which are often very much attuned to foreigners coming to the Philippine son relocation packages from large corporations, with thousands and thousands to spend.
A lot of words which say very little:
Cost of accommodation in the PhilippinesAccommodation will likely be an expat’s most significant monthly expense in the Philippines. Rental rates vary depending on the location and whether a home is furnished or unfurnished, but generally the closer to tourist areas and the city centre one goes, the more one will pay. Many landlords prefer to rent to foreigners, as they can charge a higher price, so expats are not likely to struggle to find suitable accommodation. Those moving to the Philippines as part of an international relocation package often have this expense covered by their company, so it is worth considering during contract negotiations.Utilities such as water and electricity are not always included in the rental and are additional costs that tenants will have to pay. Other monthly costs to take into consideration include Internet, telephone line, cable television and air conditioning maintenance.It’s worth noting that electricity is very expensive in the Philippines. Expats need to take this into account as extreme temperatures during the hot and humid summer months may require the use of air conditioning, which will increase costs tremendously. Many homes do not have central air conditioning and expats may have to pay to have this installed.Another luxury that expats may find they can afford in the Philippines is household help such as nannies, domestic cleaners, drivers and gardeners.
Here, finally, I’m on home ground. This is me, your faithful scribe. I’ve spent years living here in the Philippines, as accurately as I can reporting actual, real-world costs for an expat who lives modesty, but well. I didn’t come to the Philippines to live cheap, but to live well, and I feel I’ve been pretty successful at that. Do I deserve Google’s ninth place? Well, you my readers will be the judge. Let me know if I can help you more in your quest for information.
Here’s a hidden gem I just came across in this survey. A US fellow name of “Bobby D”, who has been living here in the Philippines for some time and does a very good job in presenting an excellent, believable picture of his true costs and lifestyle,
As an aside, Bobby is a black man and we very seldom get much information on how life is here for a foreigner who is not white.
Those of you who are white may think that since Filipino’s skin color is various shades of brown, virtually never white, that life for one “colored” person here is the same as any other life, but I can assure you that the Philippines exhibits a LOT of non-white prejudice, much to my surprise and dismay, really. “White” is the skin color to have in the Philippines, for sure.
Good job, Bobby. This is a site that Google ranks way too low, says Philly. Recommended.
So What Do You Think?
Anything else I can write about the Cost of Living in the Philippines?