Is it possible to live cheap in the Philippines?

Puerto Princesa house for rent monthly


Although one thing I never understand is why expats insist on living in polluted and overpopulated Manila/National Capital Region, where prices are comparatively many times more expensive.

,I donu2019t think they even realize that u201cprovinceu201d in the Philippines doesnu2019t mean backwater jungles and bamboo huts.

The Philippines has around more than a dozen highly urbanized areas outside of Manila (red in map below) with pretty much the same amenities (including malls, major hospitals, universities, hotels, etc.

) but are much cheaper and far less polluted or overpopulated.

And most importantly - with very easy access to the beaches and islands that is what you came for in the Philippines in the first place.

Examples include Cebu, Iloilo, Legazpi, Cagayan de Oro, Davao, Dumaguete, Bacolod, Puerto Princesa, Ormoc, Baguio, Dagupan, Butuan, etc.

,And there are dozens more of smaller cities (green in map below) which are large enough to have two or three malls and are within driving distance of the major cities.

If thereu2019s something you canu2019t get, airports (including a couple of international airports) are scattered evenly throughout (usually only a few hours by bus/driving from the cities), or you can buy online.

Depending on where you are, you can even have fiber optic internet in most of these small cities and surrounding towns for around $60 to $70 a month.

,Provided youu2019ve built or rented a house, you can live very comfortably for around $1000 a month in these places.

Thatu2019s the average upper middle class monthly income in the Philippines.

You can have a u201ccity lifeu201d, but much less hectic and insane like Manila.

With far less of the traffic, pollution, crime, or extreme wealth gaps.

To give you an idea: it is very rare to find homeless people in these cities (and they are restricted to people with mental problems), in contrast to Manila where you find entire families every few blocks or so.

,The only reason locals go to Manila is for office jobs in the business districts or for school in the leading universities there.

The only difference from the provincial cities is that Manila has more skyscrapers.

If youu2019re not working for a multinational company or are not a student, itu2019s nonsensical for you to live there.