Whoever seeks on the internet about the cost of living in the Philippines probably ends up with a bunch of outdated forum posts in how cheap this country is compared to one’s home place. But be aware that information is outdated and the Filipino economy is moving forward very fast.
Although when I write this article the Peso is very weak and your dollar or euro is worth a lot, you cannot buy as much anymore as 5-10 years ago. And that is usually the information that pops up first.
In January 2018 the TRAIN, tax reform project of the government was implied and prices have been rising ever since. Gasoline became 7 pesos more expensive per liter and that will go up the coming years with 7 more pesos. That will make transportation and therefore grocery shopping more expensive as well.
Hotels and resorts have raised their prices with an average of 500 pesos per night due to rising barangay taxes and environmental fees. New property taxes are implemented for homestay and house rentals and that all flows back in your wallet.
I have been in the Philippines for almost three years now and even I can notice the difference and raised prices. Rice prices have gone up, public transport, alcohol and tobacco, fuel and so on, and so on.
Meat, fruit and veggies and even fish become more expensive and regular groceries also. Some people even mention that electricity has gone up. That makes sense since most plants run on diesel fuel and taxes for diesel storage tanks have gone up as well.
Could you easily rent a house for 5-7k pesos a few years ago, those houses now are the exception to the rule? You easily pay 20-40k nowadays for a 2 bedroom or depending on your destination a 1 bedroom apartment or house.
I do not say the Philippines has become expensive. For that is not true, but it is not as cheap as it was anymore. And while calculating your budget and planning to live here or coming here on a holiday, you have to look carefully at your budget.
Can you still live in the Philippines on 1,000 Euros (50,000 pesos) per month?
Yes, you can. You can easily live on 50k pesos per month, but preferably in the countryside. For your money has more value in rural areas.
I still manage to live on 40K pesos per month, I ride my motorbike from that and I go out for lunch and dinner. Mostly in Filipino restaurants, and sometimes in a more fancy place like Hukads, Kuya J or Jo’s Chicken.
I do not smoke and I do not drink. That saves me a lot of money
I budget in an app, just to get an overview of where my money goes every month and if necessary where I can cut back on the costs Especially in the first months that is a wise thing to do. For money has a habit of disappearing easily here. You spent 5 pesos here and 20 there and before you know it you spent 500 pesos that you cannot even recall.
When you just arrive here, you tend to think that everything is very cheap here and you easily overspent, After a while, you realize you are the only one in town paying 150 pesos for a tricycle and all the others pay 8 pesos. And hotel rooms can be rented out a lot cheaper than they tell you if you bargain a little.
Make sure you have plenty of backup finances or income
And the street food you probably overpay as well. But you get the hang of it. The most important is that you know your budget and you know how to handle it wisely and not end up like some expats and travelers here: without any cash or savings left. Overspending is done easily and before you know it you have reached the end of both your wallet and savings. And this is a cruel country for those that mismanage their finances and end up broke.
Example of a new build apartment for rent 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.