cost of living in Philippines

Cost to Retire in Philippines

Compared to other countries Philippines has a low cost of living. Since the Asian financial crisis, peso has lost much of its value but fortunately over the years the Philippines have slowly recovered. Foreigners or expats will find the cost to retire in Philippine very cheap compared to staying in United States or United Kingdom.

Unemployment rate in the country is quite high perhaps due to over population, So far the Philippines ranked as 12th most populous country all over the world with more than eighty-eight million people. There are a lot of willing workers but there are not enough job opportunities for them. Currently, the government continues to control its population and help to send workers in other countries to help the economy of the country. Most of its foreign earnings depend on remittances from overseas Filipino workers which is only ten percent of the total population.

The current minimum wage in the National Capital Region is four hundred twenty-six pesos a day while in the provinces ranges from two hundred sixteen pesos to two hundred eighty-one pesos. However there are still individuals who earns much less than the amount mentioned above. Some even live with three dollars daily so if you are earning around three thousand dollars then you sure can live a luxurious life in this country.

Food and dining

When it comes to food and drinks, foreigners often find the Philippines very cheap. Average amount of money spend in food alone in other countries is about $300 a month while here in the Philippines you can eat in a middle class restaurant if you want for just $5. Here are some average expenses for food, dining and drinks (all prices listed below are quoted in Philippine Pesos).
Dining in Restaurants Range
Meal in Inexpensive Restaurant 65 to 200
Meal for 2 in Mid-range Restaurant, Three-course 295 to 1,000
Combo Meal at McDonalds or Similar 90 to 155
Domestic Beer (0.5 liter draught) 25 to 65
Imported Beer (0.33 liter bottle) 45 to 125
Cappuccino (regular) 40 to 125
Coke/Pepsi (0.33 liter Bottle) 12 to 40
Water (0.33 liter Bottle) 10 to 25


Shopping in Metropolitan areas like Metro Manila, Metro Cebu, Metro Davao, Cagayan de Oro and many more would be a lot of fun. You can shop in malls which house international designs. And if you want to shop for bargains too then you can find one too in their open market like the one you find in Cagayan de Oro City. Every Fridays and Saturday Night different stalls will be put up in the whole street of Divisoria where you can find different items sold from clothes to shoes to accessories and they are relatively cheap and very affordable.
Shopping at Markets Range
1 Liter regular Milk 60 to 85
Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g) 33 to 65
12 Eggs 55 to 80
Fresh Cheese (1kg) 125 to 675
1 kg boneless, skinless Chicken Breasts 110 to 180
1 kg Apples 60 to 120
1 kg Oranges 50 to 120
1 kg Potato 43 to 110
1 Head of Lettuce 30 to 120
1.5 liter Bottle of Water 25 to 65
Bottle of Mid-Range Wine 125 to 450
0.5 Liter Bottle Local Beers like San Miguel or Red Horse 25 to 50
0.33 Liter Bottle of Imported Beer 45 to 150
Pack of Marlboro Cigarettes 25 to 50

Cost for Transportation

Transportation Range
One-way Ticket (Local transport) 7 to 28
Monthly Pass 300 to 825
Taxi Start (Normal Tariff) 35 to 44
Taxi 1km (Normal Tariff) 12 to 51
Taxi 1hour Waiting (Normal Tariff) 105 to 202
Gasoline (1 liter) 44 to 58
Honda City 1.5 E / Toyota Vios 1.5 SE or Equivalent New Car 690,000 to 1,530,000

Monthly Utilty Cost

Average Utility monthly bill which includes water, electricity, gas, garbage can cost $90 and Internet monthly cost is about $25.
Monthly Utilities Range
Basics (Electricity, Gas, Water, Garbage) for 85m2 Apartment 1,980 to 5,730
1 min. of Prepaid Mobile Tariff Local (No Discounts or Plans) 3 to 10
Internet (6 Mbps, Flat Rate, Cable/ADSL) 975 to 2,000
Sports and Leisure Range
Fitness Club, Monthly Fee for 1 Adult 495 to 1,490
Tennis Court Rent (1 Hour on Weekend) 100 to 285
Cinema, International Release, 1 Seat 95 to 200


Shopping for clothes in the Philippines is definitely cheap. Most foreigners would travel south where they can buy exotic clothes like batik and of course the famous tribal accessories. Electronics as well as automobiles cost the same in Europe. Most electronic brands are from United States, Japan and China. China products are cheap and very affordable although the quality is not as good as the others. If you want to shop for some designers clothes then you can probably venture to Manila or any Metropolitan cities where they have shopping malls that offer popular names from US and Europe. You can find a pair of 501 Levis at around $60, a pair of Nike Shoes at $85 and a pair of men leather shoes at $68.
Clothing and Shoes Range
1 Pair of Levis 501 (Or Equivalent) 1,490 to 3,350
1 Summer Dress in a Chain Store (Zara, H&M, …) 895 to 3,450
1 Pair of Nike Shoes 2,400 to 5,000
1 Pair of Men Leather Shoes 1,500 to 4,950


For a foreigner to own a land here in the Philippines he may have to marry a Filipina or they may have to change their citizenship. So the next option is to rent a house or apartment. Manila is quite crowded already so that it would be much better to rent a house in other urbanized cities like Cebu, Davao and Cagayan de Oro.

If you want to rent a place in Manila then it would be best to get one in downtown area like condominium units or a two bedroom apartment. Rental rates for this ranges from $300 to $400 a month. If you want to rent a smaller house or apartments then it can cost around $150.

For some foreigners they love to settle in the southern part of the Philippines since this place is not crowded and the best place for retiring. Provinces is where expats really set their eyes if they want to buy a property. Rentals in this part of the world can be less than $100. Here are the average cost of renting a house in the city and outside the city – One bedroom apartment in the city cost $210.00, One bedroom apartment outside the city is around $153, 3-bedroom apartment in the city cost $558 and a 3 bedroom apartment outside the city is about $300.

Rent per Month Range
Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Center 4,000 to 20,000
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Center 2,850 to 13,500
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Center 9,500 to 55,000
Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Center 6,500 to 25,000
Buy Apartment – Price Range
Price per Square Meter to Buy Apartment in City Center 8,000 to 80,000
Price per Square Meter to Buy Apartment Outside of Center 5,900 to 40,000
Salaries And Financing Range
Median Monthly Disposable Salary (After Tax) 9,940 to 20,400
Mortgage Interest Rate in Percentanges, Yearly 7.50 to 30.00

Prices differ because of different locations e,g. in metropolis like Manila or province like Davao and/or various shopping opprtunities. These data are based on: March, 2012 (All prices mentioned above are quoted in Philippine Pesos).

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