Well I have written many times on my actual costs as an American living in the Philippines (just outside Metro Manila. Try:
- 0.1 How Low Can You Go With Philippine Cost of Living?
- 0.2 Real Cost of Living, Philippines
- 0.3 Philippine Cost Of Living — Can I Live in the Philippines on $1300 a Month?
- 0.4 (soon to be) Definitive Answer to those Cost of Living Questions
- 0.5 A Surplus of Riches — Or Comparisons of Riches.
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I also have links to several user-updated tools that will show you a good estimate of costs for living in the Philippines:
But real-world, up to date data is always best.
Reader Joe generously provided this current (August 2012 synopsis of setting up his stepson in a decent place to live (the town of Mecauyan, Bulacan, just outside the Metro) and stone’s throw from where I live myself in Marilao. I’ve added a few clarifications/comments to Joe’s report. Thanks immensely, Joe.
Thought I would throw in some salient info for your consideration.
My current girlfriend here in the USA is in the process of resettling her 38 year old son in the Philippines. This young man was in the states for 25 years, and for a variety of reasons had to move back.
With NO JOB prospects or skill to speak of, we found a 3 bedroom HOUSE for about 200 US Dollars per month. We went with the larger home, so we have a place to stay when we visit, and he can also share ONE room to supplement what is sent to him. This home by the way is owned by a dentist that works in Dubai and is VERY nice, so housing is not an issue for a few hundred a month. We scouted several and settled on this one since we got a good deal on the long term rent and it is walking distance to the El Camino market etc. No need for a car at all…
There are decent homes like this for rent all over the Metro Manila area. I lived for years in the same home my wife and I live in now for P7000 a month, and there are plenty of homes in Marilao and
and other towns nearby for P7000, p8000, P9000 as well. Typically these are small (by American standards) 2 and 3 bedroom one or two bath “bungalow” style homes. Unlike American cheap tract housing ‘stick and staple’ design, they are typically quite well built, steel reinforced pour concrete or “hollow block” walls and low truss roofs covered with GI (steel) roofing. They may not look impressive to some Americans but consider this … many of these homes have been here through many earthquakes and 30 or 40 years of typhoon seasons and are still doing fine.
he is surviving quite easily on 600 dollars per month. However he is having tons of issues re-acclimatizing to the life style. TO be sure he is WELL OFF compared to others and in fact some of the ‘long lost" relatives have zeroed in on this and always show up at dinner time on the weekends!
That’s 600 for RENT, MERALCO, Sub division Water supply and SMARTBRO internet with basic Cable…plus food, plus a few bottles of MP Light per month for Tagay sessions with his new barkada. AND a few nice local items for his girlfriend (s) (I have counseled his mom to NOT send him money every time he calls, it breeds more calls and less action on his end.
Today’s monthly by my own account:
Water P 800 (includes HOA dues)
Electric P 3500 (one aircon running all night)
Internet P 799
Cable: P 550
Total: P24,299 at today’s rate still well under Joe’s $600 USD estimate.
A word about food, which will likely be an average American’s largest expense next to rent. A LOT depends on where you buy and what you buy. When my wife was working outside the home, in Makati, I was cooking at least 5 days a week. A typical dinner for two, with plenty leftovers.
200g (little under a half pound) or extra-lean ground beef. P40
Three or four cloves of Garlic (too cheap for me to calculate) ~P5 or so
Tablespoon of cooking oil, cook the garlic until translucent and then add the meat and salt, pepper and a few capfuls of Patis maybe P4 more,
Two large Chinese radishes (Daikon), peeled and julienned, cook until tender, just a few minutes, then serve over rice (two cups, maybe another p10 or p15). Serves at least a couple and the husband’s lunch the next day.
If I was feeling like more meat, I walked to the chicken grilling stand a few blocks away and got a whole “Lechon Manok”, P160 and served that with two cups cooked rice, more than enough for two meals for two people and a nice chicken soup made with the carcass later.
Now if you want to eat at Wendy’s or some other restaurant place, you can spend way more, P300 to p400 per person.
The cost of living, particularly the cost of food, is way more dependent on what you will choose to buy rather than actual prices.
As Joe pointed out, absolutely no need for a car. You can take a Jeepney to Manila for P25 (local rides are only P8, you can reach virtually any point in the Philippines by bus and/or ferry from Manila for a few hundred to perhaps p1000, you can fly to any town in the Philippines with an airport for P1,000 to P2,000 from Manila, including airport fees, taxes and such.
The cost of living is mainly, what you choose to make it.
If you feel I have missed anything, write in and tell me what else I should include.
I have been asking him to THINK about what it is he wants to do, other than sit around and wait for the next XOOM deposit. SLOWLY he is coming to the realization that HE is responsible for his life and that the money coming his way now, may not be there later. What is he doing right now? Corresponding with Tito Joe about getting off his ass and stop feeling sorry for himself. it is working and he has a few meager prospects in the short term, long term he has a world of opportunity, we just need to school him on that part.
So there ya have it, one US Balikbayan living on 600 dollars near manila. Not high on the hog, but not starving either.
This article ties in nicely with recent one’s I have written about retiring (or just “Economy Birding”
early) to the Philippines.
If you are mired in debt, unable to see you way out of the financial quicksand of normal life in the USA, you really could do worse than moving to the Philippines for a few years to just get your head above water. It certainly worked for me. Will it work for you? As we say on the Internet, YMMV.