How Much Would It Cost You to Live as an Expatriate in the Philippines?

Cost of Living for an Expatriate in the Philippines Unlike other bustling cities of the world, the Philippines is known for its laid-back and relaxing metropolis. This is one of the main reasons expatriates in the Philippines grow in numbers as time progresses. Moreover, the Philippines is famous for its hospitable and developing nature that combines the modern lifestyle of fast-paced cities with provinces’ calmness.

In addition to the Philippines’ relaxing ambience, statistics provided that living in the Philippines is 61% cheaper than other countries in the world. You can no doubt enjoy your savings or retirement to the fullest because living in the Philippines is affordable.

If you’re considering the Philippines as a retirement place or if you plan to build your business in this country, here is a comprehensive list of living expenses you need to account for.


Housing and Residential Expenses

Your primary concern when leaving your native country is a new home. Luckily, the Philippines have numerous residential options to assess and decide which will fit your lifestyle needs. If you have the money for it, you can purchase a property (house and lot) from subdivisions or obtain real estate agents’ help when looking for a new home.

Aside from purchasing a new house, you can own an apartment instead. An apartment is ideal for expatriates in the Philippines, only looking to settle for a limited period. On the other hand, a home is suitable for family members where space is needed for everyone.

If an apartment doesn’t suit your choices, a condominium unit can suffice. A condominium unit provides you with a posh and relaxed settlement option closely similar to your native country’s set-up.

Here’s a quick comparison of housing expenses for various settlement options.

  • Condominium unit: PHP 60,000 per month (for a one-bedroom unit)
  • Apartment: PHP 20,000 per month (for a two-bedroom with private comfort room and small kitchen)
  • Property for rent: PHP 50,000 per month (for a two-bedroom house)
  • Purchase of a House and Lot: PHP 8,000,000 (for a house with two-bedrooms)

Please take note that these expenses apply in the major cities of the Philippines. For towns or non-city areas, these expenses are lowered by at least 20% to 25%. Simultaneously, these expenses do not include utilities yet, as we’ll discuss further in the next portion of the article.


Utility Expenses

There are areas in the Philippines where water doesn’t have to be paid for. However, if you are unaccustomed to such an arrangement or feel the need to purchase drinking water, you can add it to your monthly list of utility expenses.

  • Electricity: PHP 6,000 per month
  • Water: PHP 3,000 per month
  • Internet: PHP 2,000 per month
  • Laundry cleaning: PHP 1,500 per month
  • Cleaning lady: PHP 5,000 per month

If you are comfortable with doing chores by yourself, you can save more. However, if you need to have someone to accompany you or maybe even help you, you can ask around to hire somebody.


Food and Eating Out

One of the many great delights for a person who plans to live in the Philippines is its vast and rich cuisine. From international fusions to homemade goodness, the Philippines is an excellent spot for dining and eating out. So, to fill your necessity for nourishment and beautiful delicacies here’s a quick overview of food costs.

  • Groceries: PHP 5,000 per month (essential food items)
  • Eating Out: PHP 3,000 per month (fast food items)
  • Dining Out: PHP 2,000 per month (mid-range restaurant)

If you can also prepare food for yourself, you can save more instead of relying on take-outs and food deliveries. The Philippines is known for its agricultural resources, and you can buy them in bulk for a discounted price.


Transportation Expenses

Nowadays, you can see expatriates in the Philippines joining daily commutes. Whether it’s in taxis, buses, or jeepneys, expatriates have found their way around the metropolis. Because of this, it is a must for someone who’s considering settling down in the Philippines, expenses for daily commute and transportation.

  • Jeepney: PHP 800.00 per month
  • MRT or LRT: PHP 800.00 per month
  • Bus: PHP 800.00 per month
  • Taxi: PHP 1000.00 per month
  • Fuel: PHP 2,000 per month
  • Maintenance and Licensing Fees: PHP 10,000 per year (includes registration and renewal of a license, emergency repairs, and other vehicle fixes)

If you live in a residential area where all of your lifestyle needs are easily attained, transportation wouldn’t be much of an issue. Moreover, if you don’t mind the hustle and bustle of the daily commutes, you can find public transportation more affordable. But, if you want to experience comfort and privacy, you can book an Uber or Grab or other taxi-hailing services, which can be pricier.

When public transportation or daily commutes prove to be of hassle to you, you can purchase second-hand vehicles, which cost around PHP 150,000 to PHP 300,000.


Maintenance and Lifestyle Fees

There are instances when the lifestyle you have from your native country can be continued here in the Philippines. Going to the gym, subscribing to a local lifestyle magazine, and other desires all come with a cost.

  • Magazine subscription: PHP 2,500.00 per year or PHP 210.00 per month
  • Newspaper subscription: PHP 650.00 per month
  • Gym subscription: PHP 1,000 per month

These expenses are relatively cheaper than purchasing a newspaper or magazine per piece—the same with gym subscriptions. Gyms charge higher for same-day bookings rather than membership costs.


Starting a Family as an Expatriate in the Philippines

Aside from the affordable cost of living, ex-pats are attracted to the valuable progress and continuous developments that they can experience. From international schools to world-class service providers, the Philippines is becoming a beacon of progress. Pair this with the ultimate relaxation destination for families everywhere; the Philippines is a great place to settle down.

If, by chance, you meet someone or have a family of your own and you have determined to relocate to the Philippines permanently, here’s a quick guide to thriving it.


Education, Schooling, and Development

The next significant expense you’ll have when you live as an expatriate in the Philippines is your children’s education. Here’s an annual overview of how much you’ll spend on your child’s education.

  • Elementary: PHP 80,000 – PHP 200,000 per year (for six years expect to pay PHP 1,200,000)
  • High School: PHP 100,000 – PHP 250,000 per year (for six years expect to pay PHP 1,500,000)
  • College: PHP 150,000 – PHP 300,000 per year (for four years expect to pay PHP 1,200,000)

Please take note that these amounts are subject to tuition fee increases. From the date of this writing, you can consider a 10% annual increase. Moreover, these amounts reflect the most prestigious universities or learning institutions that most expatriates in the Philippines send their children.

Unless you’re okay with sending your children to public (government-owned) schools, then expect to pay at least half the price of what is listed above. Education in the Philippines is a thriving aspect of child learning and development. You can expect high-quality education.


Leisure and Recreation

When it comes to leisure, relaxation, and fun, Filipinos are no stranger to this one. Compared to other nations, Filipinos are known for their fun-loving and laidback character, making the country an excellent expatriate retirement hub.

For Filipinos, leisure isn’t just limited to trips to the malls or dining out with family. It can involve trips to tourist destinations, trying out new and exhilarating activities, or going to the latest attractions. Filipinos are also fond of community celebrations like religious fiestas and seasonal celebrations like Christmas, New Year’s, and other meaningful events.

The Philippines is also opening up trade for foreign or international brands that most expatriates are comfortable with. You can expect shopping malls with foreign goods and international service providers, making this country one step closer to home.

As an expatriate in the Philippines, you can expect numerous happenings in one month that you and your family can participate in. Here’s how much you’ll have to spend on celebrations.

  • Trips to the Park: FREE (most parks in the Philippines are built within the vicinity of the local government unit’s office)
  • Malls and Shopping Centers: PHP 3,000 per month
  • Attractions and local events: FREE (however, you can pay for the street foods or local cuisine as part of the celebration; this could amount to PHP 500 to PHP 1,000 per event)
  • Tourist Destination trips: PHP 5,000 to PHP 20,000 (depending on the itinerary and the length of your trip)

Since Filipinos are known to be fun-loving, you can expect celebrations from left to right. What’s more, most of these celebrations are for free as the local government spearheads them. You can take advantage of this unique Filipino character and save instead of always going to the malls.

Plus, if you have Filipino friends, they can show you to local thrift shops, which is basically the “shopping heaven” for a local. Places like Divisoria is a gold mine for individuals who want to save and purchase bulk items.


Other Expenses

Aside from the mentioned expenses, it is safe to have an emergency fund each month for urgent expenses. Moreover, the purpose of having this emergency fund is for impulse purchases like an additional appliance or increases in fuel costs.

  • Monthly emergency fund: PHP 5,000 to PHP 10,000 per month

This emergency fund must be utilized for expenses not listed above. It is best to live within your means or to look for great deals that you can benefit from.


Expenses in Major Cities Vs. Provinces

Living in major cities of the Philippines has its advantages and disadvantages. Naturally, it will come down to an expatriate’s desired lifestyle and living situation. As a guide, all of the above expenses are expected to be 20% to 25% less when living in the province.


Total Estimated Monthly Costs

Now that we’ve listed down every considerable cost expatriates in the Philippines should know, the total estimated monthly cost comes at a sum of PHP 65,000. This amount is the most conservative set of expenses. This benchmark applies to an ex-pat living in a major city. If you decide to settle down in a province, the estimated monthly expenses round down to PHP 50,000.

Naturally, it is best to consult or to have expert advice from Filipino friends regarding the cost of living here as expatriates in the Philippines. You can have a friend help you throughout the process of settling down or hiring a professional to get you started a new life in the Philippines.

Cost of Living for an Expatriate in the Philippines