Many people find their paradise in the Philippines. With a low cost of living and a sunny climate, it is a dream come true for many. Especially men find their way to the archipelago, in search of new love and the pursuit of happiness. But also more women are moving to the islands every year.
I traveled and lived for over 3 years in the Philippines, mainly in the Visaya area, from Bohol to the south of Luzon Island, from Manila to Samar and Leyte, and everything in between the Islands of Mindoro Boracay, Panay, Negros, the smaller islands around them and my long-time favorite Siqujor.
Living in the Philippines
Who does not dream of the gorgeous white beaches, the kind people that always smile, and the relaxed lifestyle of the Filipino people?
Surrounded by the grandeur of nature and all of that for only pennies?
Living in the Philippines is a cultural experience. YOu have the choice between the abundant city life with bars and nightclubs, condo’s and good medical care facilities, or the more rural areas where you will live a more authentic life among the locals and shop at a public market.
Both offer a good living, it all depends on your preferences.
Daily life in the Philippines
The Filipino’s are relaxed easy-going people, what can be postponed does have to be done immediately, unless it refers to a fiesta or eating. Fiesta is celebrated for all kinds of occasions and usually comes with sweet spaghetti, pancit canton, and lechon, a pig roast prepared at home over an open fire.
Although the larger part of the country is considered a developing country, the bigger cities like Manila, Iloilo, Cebu, and Davao are very modern, hip, vibrant and well connected to the digital world. With big shopping malls and modern hospitals and office spaces.
As for where the countryside is more laid-back, underdeveloped and you will be depending on the public market and sari-sari store a lot and maybe have to travel a bit for a decent hospital.
Filipinos live outdoor, as it is cooler outside the house and there is a lot to see. They are group people and love to chat together, sitting around and do crowd-watching.
Cost of living in the Philippines
In the articles below, you find plenty of information about the cost of living in different parts of the Philippines. For prices will differ a lot, depending on your location and the nearby facilities.
Living in Manila, Davao, or Cebu you might need at least 1500 to 2000 US$ per month for a decent life. In a rural area, you can live on 750US$ or maybe even less, depending on how much electricity costs in your area and how often you switch on the aircon.
The Internet is affordable, and almost the whole country is connected, either by landline ADSL, Fiber, or through a hotspot.
The lifestyle of the Filipinos
A Filipino does not live to work, yet he loves money. So he has plenty of side-kicks as they call them. Going door to door selling homemade products. Helping you to sell something for a commission. They are not long-term kind of people. They live in the moment and so all their finance solutions are also “in the moment”.
100 pesos in the pocket often show a spending habit of 200 pesos. Filipinos are in huge debt. The corporation system they use for loans makes it easy to lend a few pesos per day, week, or month.
But no matter how hard life conditions can be, they seem always happy.
Bahala na, is what they live by: It comes how God wants. They accept flooding, fire, earthquakes, and storm damage, patiently waiting for government relief goods to arrive sometimes even years after the disaster took place.
They have deep-rooted traditions for family gatherings around marriage, birth, death, and birthdays.
The climate in the Philippines
Depending on where you are at what time of the year you might need a hat and gloves (Baguio City) or only swim trunks and flip-flops.
The diversity in weather in the Philippines is enormous, like in any large country. There are roughly 2 seasons, the rainy season and the dry season.
The winds are known as La niña en El niño, Habagat brings warm air and rain.
Some islands and areas are more vulnerable to typhoons during the rainy season than others.
Overall the climate is tropical with high to moderate temperatures of 24-40ºC with high humidity of an average of 60%
Although it is said that Filipinos speak English and all government business is done in English, not all want to speak it or speak it well. A sense of patriotism demands for a local language more and more. The main local languages are Tagalog and Bisaya, and there are lots of native dialects and less official languages.
Just keep in mind that there will be confusion due to the pronunciation of the English, for example, the “f’ and “v” sound is pronounced as ‘P’ and the “o” is more often pronounced as an ‘a’.
So you will order ‘a hat tea from a Pilipino” instead of a ‘hot tea from a Filipino”
Safety in the Philippines
Many foreign affairs departments have issued safety warnings for the Philippines and for specific areas in the Philippines. It is wise to consult the website of your local foreign affairs department regularly.
Keep in mind that as a foreigner you stand out in the crowd. With many Filipinos thinking that all foreigners equal wealth, you are vulnerable. As you would be in any developing country where poor people struggle to survive.
Just be aware that lending money to a person is considered a gift, and that your items like tools and such may be ‘borrowed’ a lot.
You pon the spot made up value-added tax everywhere you go, so be prepared for that.
It is my strong belief that hiding behind a high wall with barbed wire on to[ surrounded by a pack of mean barking dogs only makes you attract more unwanted attention. I think the safest way to live in a foreign country is to live and adjust as much as possible and act normal. Use your common sense and mind your own business.
I have never felt unsafe living in the Philippines.
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