A few days ago I wrote about some current costs in Colorado and why the Cost of living Philippines is often 1/12 the cost of the USA. It’s here if you want to read it. Got a Rude Awakening Today
Again I want to point out that I don’t believe cost is everything in life, and that one shouldn’t decide on a place to live based only on costs, BUT we have to accept the fact that costs do matter … a lot in some cases. So let’s look at a few more current, 2015 examples.
Decided to Fly To Florida
- 0.1 Decided to Fly To Florida
- 0.2 Getting to the Airport Found a Nice Deal
- 0.3 Having a Nice Time At the Sister’s
- 0.4 So How Much Did the Medicine Cost?
- 0.5 One Last Comparison That Interested Me.
- 0.6 Taking a close look at the prices kind of made me catch my breath.
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Kind of spur of the moment my wife and I decided that since we were already in the USA we ought to hop down to Orlando and see one of our favorite sisters/sisters-in-law. Not having the opportunity to book weeks or month in advance, I just went and looked and decided to just go for a two person, round trip deal on US Air/American for about $670USD. Not too bad, I suppose for flying 2/3 of the way across the country and back.
But for comparison purposes I priced a similar “length of the country” round trip for two in the Philippines. About $178 all-in. US domestic air travel? 3.76 times more expensive than Philippine domestic air.
Getting to the Airport Found a Nice Deal
Our flight left Denver a bit early in the morning and my son was working that day, so I decided to rent a car the evening before the trip and turn it in at the airport to catch our flight. No extra charge for airport drop off. Estimated cost, with some discounts and promos, $44 USD. Couldn’t beat that so I got a lift to the Budget rental office at the local Sears store. Nice car. Got up at 4 am, got us to the airport in time and after turning it in, noticed that my $44 USD fee had only escalated to $165 USD. Oh well, 20 minutes ‘til the flight boards, no time to argue. Sure sounds like robbing the tourist to me, the same complaint often hear from foreigners visiting the Philippines.
If we had been in the Philippines I would have hired a local car service guy to take us for, at most P2500 (or about $54 USD). US? about 3 times more expensive
than the Philippines (plus I had to do the driving at 0400 … yawn).
Having a Nice Time At the Sister’s
That is I was until I discovered I had stupidly forgot to pack part of the stock of my blood pressure pills I had purchased back in the Philippines. Duh. I had a prescription but it was from my Philippine cardiologist (about $10.50 USD full price for an office visit) . Went to Walgreens. Nothing doing, no foreign issued prescriptions …. BUT … service with a smile.
“No problem sir, we have a health clinic right here in the store. Just see our smiling Nurse Practitioner and I am sure she can help you.”
So after a short wait and not too many forms I did see the nurse. She asked me a few questions (mainly about what living in the Philippines was all about), she diligently copied my Philippine doctor’s prescription onto a US form, signed it (electronically) and presented me my bill. $89 USD.
Hmm, don’t even know if this is a fair comparison, seeing a a board certified cardiologists office visit in the Philippines versus a Nurse Practitioner in Florida?
You be the judge, the US cost was 6.8 times the Philippine cost. Talk about picking the pocket of a visitor. Wow!
Well unfortunately I can’t yet tell you. You see after I took my “slightly” overpriced American copy of my Philippine prescription over to the prescription drop off window I received the answer we foreigners so often complain about in the Philippines … “Sorry sir, out of stock”. Yep at a name brand drug store in a major US city metro area, for a very common maintenance drug which hundreds of thousands of people take regularly … out of stock.
The pharmacist’s solution was, come back tomorrow after two pm, I’ve located some I’ll have it here then. Hard to believe. But again, I’m a stranger in a strange land here. I want to be back in the Philippines sooo bad right about now.
OK,an update. I went back to the store next day a bit after 1430. After a significant search amongst literally thousands of prescription envelopes, (everyone in the USA seems to pop soo many pills) the pharmacist serving me (not the same one as the guy the day before), finally found my prescription. Phew. Sigh of relief.
Then came the cash price… $112.70. Roughly FIVE TIMES the exact same product costs me in the Philippines. exact same drug … made by a large German drug company. Exact same strength, trade name, etc. … but five times the price I pay in the Philippines.
As I said to my patient and long-suffering wife, “I sure paid a “dumb-ass” tax on this deal … forgetting to pack my meds.
So many people operating on scuttlebutt and bar room rumors will tell you there is always someone out to get you in the Philippines. Well from what have seen there’s at least as many “out to get you” in the good old USA. Thaks for kightening my wallet so helpfully, Walgreens.
And I guess you could also say, based on what I paid in the USA in September, 2015, is it cheaper to live in the Philippines? Yes by a very wide margin.
If you think you’re “paying through your (long) nose” in the Philippines, just wait until they get your hands on you in the USA. (and I kind of hesitate to throw this in, since none of us should be smoking, but at my corner store in Marilao, Bulacan,a “ream” (carton)(200 ciggies or sticks) of Winston costs $8.91 USD It’s at LEAST 5 or 6 times that price in the USA, isn’t it?
One Last Comparison That Interested Me.
In the Philippines the majority of people I know or have visited use Propane for cooking. It’s a pretty universal fuel, and it is normally a part of almost every person’s budget from the ultra rich to the very poor.
Right outside the drug store was a propane exchange stand. A couple of cabinets, one for empties and one for full “20 pounder” propane tanks, exactly the same tanks as we use in the Philippines.
Of course here in American by far the largest number of customers come in to exchange an empty BBQ tank for a full one, especially if they are heading for a football game and planning to tailgate.
Taking a close look at the prices kind of made me catch my breath.
To get started with a full tank, if you don’t I already have one to exchange, you pay $55 USD. Wow. Then every time you need a refill you have to haul yourself and your tank to the store, fork over just under $20 USD and then haul you and your (now heavy) tank home.
In the Philippines no one I know of except a gas dealer owns a propane tank. To get started with gas service when you first move in, you call or text a local dealer and perhaps you pay a refundable deposit of perhaps $6 or $8 USD … although I never have.
The dealer brings a full tank with him, typically on the back of his motorcycle, hooks it up to the stove, makes sure it lights and that your flame is burning properly, charges you about P460 (about $9.60 USD), straps the empty on the back of his bike and heads off to the next customer.
Forgetting the idea of buying a tank (which I don’t know how to compare, really, what would I want to own a propane tank for, anyway)? It looks like the cost for the most common cooking fuel is about 40% cheaper in the Philippines. Or one could say the US price is about 1.66 times the Philippine price … for one of the more basic commodities of life.
Any more questions about the Cost Of Living Philippines.