I do a regular on the cost of living especially when prices rise or I move to another house. And many others on Youtube and blogs do the same, but to sum up every month the same stuff like rent, water and electricity bills explaining whether or not the air con was on a month or I could do without is a bit too much. And pretty boring. There are plenty of posts on this website about the subject and prices do not change that much.
So here we go for some different and specific stuff:
helmets. When buying a motorcycle in the Philippines you usually get a helmet for free. Now for those that want to protect their lovely face and brains a little better, there are different brands for sale: Best so far for me are Spyder and NHK. Prices for helmets start around 2.500 pesos for a simple helmet, a full face, dual visor and airflow helmet from a better quality is around 4000 pesos. (75 dollar more or less)
suits for motorbikes. A jacket from a true brand starts at 4.800 pesos, running easily up to 10.000 pesos for a jacket with body protector, elbow and shoulder protection and lots of airy parts so it is suitable for the tropics. Some come with a raincoat, others are just body protectors. It all depends on the brand and looks. Trousers for bikers, coming with the jacket are more or less the same prices. Unless you want to buy armored jeans which are around 7.500 PHP each.
Shoes start as low as 7.500 pesos, and fully protected boots with clips and steel noses are around 10k.
Now let’s do some ladies stuff:
a decent bra is a hunt. You can buy a bra as low as 35 pesos at any local supermarket and I must confess I had one that was pretty comfortable and lasted quite long. But not very flattery. If you want brands you can find Triumph, starting at 1.700 pesos (31 US$) for a nice bra with a touch of lace. Do not even start a search for Passionata, After Eden or brands like that, they are simply not available. Bras are small here, not the least petite and me with European size 95B I have a hard time finding a comfortable affordable bra. I order them at Amazon through LBC Shipping Cart. An affordable service of shipping goods from the US to the Philippines. The rate includes fees, taxes, and door to door delivery.
shampoo, there is plenty of shampoos available in the Philippines, Filipinas love to take good care of their hair. There are the little sachets starting at 7 pesos each and the half a liter bottles from good brands for around 250-300 pesos each. (5 dollar more or less) Same goes for conditioner.
douche gel or bath foam is rare in the Philippines, there is Dove, around the same price as a bottle of shampoo and Watson’s offers a bundle of sweet-smelling fruit-based shower gels but that is all I could find. The luxury brands I used back home, based on sauna treatments, dead sea salts, and fragrances with wood and flowers and such are simply not available here. Shops like Yves Rocher (Yes they do exist here) and Body Shop have makeup, scrub and hair masks, but not the fragranced soaps and shower lotions we are used to in the Netherlands.
Back to general items
a good diary, lined, good quality writing paper is around 300 pesos, cheaper is available, but than the paper is thin or the binding is rubbish and pages will get loose.
washi tape, 25 pesos for 2 rolls, so affordable, I love to buy washi tape to make my own vases and little storage boxes. But also to decorate my diary and other stuff.
a Cellphone. It all depends on the brand, type and what you like. You have the very very basic ones for 500 pesos (more or less 10 us$) they break easily, but for phone calls inquiring for houses and land to buy or lease they will do perfectly. it’s is the kind of throwaway quality we have in the west. You can get iPhone here, same prices as back home, or brands like Oppo, Vivo, Huawei, Sony, you name it. All dual sim, even the cheaper ones and starting around 4000 pesos for a simple Cherry mobile or older Oppo model. My Huawei Nova 2i cost 11.999 pesos 224 us$. The newest model will be more or less double that price
kitchenware: expensive and cheap, just like in our home countries. When you go to the public market you can get a cast iron pan in any size starting at 150 pesos, go to a kitchen supply store and pay 800 pesos for a small one. And everything in between. So between 2 and 15 dollars, you can buy them, best to buy a set. or at the public market and haggle for a discount. The same goes for plates, forks, and spoons, etc. There are these amazing shops like NOVO that have fun items for little prices. Local supermarkets usually sell porcelain plates and glasses but it might be worth the while to shop in the so-called Chinese shops for a bargain. I once did an entire kitchen for less than 2000 pesos (37 US$)
flip flops, they come in all sizes and all prices, but larger than size 8 can be hard to find. Prices start at 35 pesos at the local public market up till 1500 pesos for Havaianas
Other prices for daily items:
gasoline is going up and down, prices may vary per day, but they all move between 53 till 60 pesos maximum for premium gasoline. 91 is usually 50 centavos cheaper. 55 pesos is 1 US$ at the time I write this blog.
bread, all sorts of prices depending on whether or not you eat the (rather sweet) Filipino bread. 5 pieces of so-called star bread for 20 pesos. A whole cinnamon loaf for 35 pesos, whole grain fewer sugar buns for 14 pesos each. European bread is available but more expensive. When I buy European bread I pay between 25 and 80 pesos per bun/bread. paninis are 25 pesos, whole grain big hamburger buns do 35 pesos and Italian half-size white bread is 80 pesos.
apples and pears, fruit and veggies go per kilo price here, but apples and pears go per piece. Depending on the type and the season more or less 10 pesos each, sometimes even 20 pesos. Pears look a bit different here, more like yellow apples, but the taste is great.
cooking gas, most rental houses come with a gas cooker. You need the blue bottles available almost at any gas station. Deposit is 800 pesos and a refill is 840 pesos. It lasts a long time. In the three years in the Philippines and the more or less 2 years, I rented houses I used maybe 2.
drinking water, now this is a weird one. Clean drinking water is only available through purification stations. They have a door to door delivery but not scheduled, you have to ask them to come or they stop by the house every once and a while. There are different sizes and different prices. Taking about the big barrel I pay 15 pesos when I pick it up myself, and 20 pesos each when they deliver them. The deposit for the barrel is 100 pesos. Now there are places in the Philippines where drinking water is very expensive. Puerto Galera is such a place. I paid 60 pesos for half a barrel there, carrying it home myself. I think that is an outrageous price. Boracay was a place with very expensive water also. So do not nail me down on the price of 15 pesos, please.
rice and noodles, the price for rice have gone up lately, from 18 pesos per kilo for poor quality or corn rice, now a kilo of rice easily costs 52 pesos or more. Which I think is rather expensive for a rice-producing country. Noodles are very affordable, there is the half wet noodles int he public market that are 10 pesos per package, serving 2 people, and the dried ones, that are even more affordable for more noodles. The soup noodles with additional spices start at 4 pesos a package.
eggs, this country thrives on eggs. Hard-boiled eggs are sold everywhere. There are duck eggs, salted eggs, raw chicken eggs, fried eggs, egg adobo, balut (what is balut? Read here….) and eggs in all sizes. An average size raw chicken egg is 7 pesos. (0.13 US$)
Well, I wrap it up. Please do check the category: cost of living for more details on monthly costs, how to set a budget and prices in the Philippines.
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Jeanette, a Dutch female nomad, started to travel the world at the age of 17. Walker of beaches, shell searcher and iPhone photographer. Writer and owner of two websites
Currently, she lives in Mexico.
She is an emigration coach and works online.