Cost of Living in the Philippines
The Philippines has always represented good value for foreigners and expats. Even though the cost of living is low, it is easy to let your expatriate lifestyle spiral out of control and you can spend as much as you have if you're not careful. This page can only be seen a a very rough outline to costs, which will vary wildly with your own lifestyle.
Naturally, the large city centres tend to have the highest prices, so we'll concentrate on Manila for this guide. It is possible to live very cheaply if you're willing to live as a local Filipino but it's likely you'll grow very tired of such a lifestyle and find yourself craving the home comforts your expat friends will be enjoying. If you're on a full expat package, with housing benefits etc, it's possible to live a very extravagant lifestyle.
It's easy to find a house or apartment to suit most budgets. You'll probably be charged a little more, simply because you're a foreigner. However, landlords will invariable prefer to rent to an expatriate because of the increased likelihood of being paid on time.
Many choose to live in gated communities or compounds, which come with security. The Philippines does have a higher degree of criminality compared with Thailand for example and many prefer the peace of mind of a high wall and 24 hour surveillance.
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Housing in Manila is higher than elsewhere in the country and varies greatly depending on the area of town. For example, Ayala Alabang and Alabang Hills seem to be the most sought after and you can expect to pay P30,000 for a townhouse. The same money would rent you a 3 bedroomed detached property in a more modest area. In other parts of the country, this money will rent you a huge property.
As a guide, electricity is about P7 per Kwh. If you're running the aircon for 8 hours a day, have a couple of TV's, a fridge, other appliances like a washing machine and fans etc, you should expect to pay perhaps P4000 per months. By far, the air conditioners are going to be the big consumers of power and heavy use will send your bills much higher.
Water is supplied in a few ways. In the city, you'll probably be on a mains supply but in some areas it is unreliable and in such places, a well may be dug. You can also have your water delivered... budget P150 for 500 Gallons.
The national telephone company is called PDLT. Calls are cheap and line rental should be around P1000 per month and include free local calls. Calls to other areas are P5 per minute at the time of writing. PDLT also offer broadband internet.
Buying food at the local market will keep your food cost way down low. However, eating in restaurants is not expensive (comparatively speaking for Westerners). Expensive hotels and high end restaurants will charge very high prices. This is the hardest section to estimate because it will depend largely if you're single or have a large family to feed. Sample costs...
One Egg P4
Litre Coke P30
Whole chicken P90
1 gallon bleach P80
Big Mac Meal P95
San Miguel P20 (P50 in a bar)
You should also bear in mind that you'll be drinking a lot of water in this hot, tropical country. Fortunately, bottled water is available everywhere and is very cheap.
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