Cost Of Living In The Philippines
Much like the rest of Southeast Asia, the cost of living in the Philippines is relatively low, particularly for travelers from Europe and North America. Dollars, euros, and pounds go far here, so if these are your home currencies, lucky you!
From transportation to communication and everything in between, here’s an idea of the cost of living in the Philippines:
In the Philippines, this is especially cheap, with jeepneys costing PHP 7 (USD 0.14) minimum fare and cabs starting at a flag down fare of PHP 40 (USD 0.81). Even boats and planes that go from island to island are relatively cheaper, especially if you can haggle down the price or book during a seat sale.
However much you eat, one thing’s for sure: you’ll never go hungry in the Philippines. A mid-range restaurant can set you back just PHP 300 (USD 6) a meal, and in most places, you can get full meals for even less. For instance, street food and small eateries called carinderias will cost between PHP 50 (USD 1) to PHP 100 (USD 2) per dish.
When it comes to drinks, you can look forward to getting drunk for next to nothing. A 330-mL bottle of local beer costs between PHP 40 (USD 0.80) to PHP 70 (USD 1.40) in most places, depending on where you buy it. Meanwhile, a 750-mL bottle of local dark rum costs between PHP 80 (USD 1.60) to PHP 120 (USD 2.40)—so you can totally pull a Hunter S. Thompson and take shots of rum on the beach.
Cigarettes are relatively affordable, too, so if you’re trying to kick the habit, your willpower will definitely be tested. A pack of 20s costs about PHP 80 (USD 1.60).
Hostels in the Philippines aren’t as cheap as those in Southeast Asia. On average, a bed in a decent hostel will set you back PHP 500 (USD 10). It can be even more expensive in popular tourist areas such as Boracay and Palawan. It can be much cheaper if you are traveling with a friend, or in a group, as some rooms divided between two or four can come out to just PHP 250 (USD 5) per person.
If you prefer something a little more luxurious, hotels of varying price ranges are available for short-term and long-term stays. Prices also depend on the city or province your hotel is located. A night’s stay at one of the more upscale five-star hotels located in the central business district can cost between PHP 7,500 (USD 150) to PHP 21,000 (USD 421) a night. On the other hand, three-star hotels located in the same city but are more suited for travelers start at PHP 2,500 (USD 50) a night.
Hotels away from the city proper usually have abbreviated amenities and are much cheaper. A chunk of your budget for cost of living in the Philippines will usually be spent towards your accommodations. Choose something that is both cost-efficient and perfect for your needs.
If you plan on buying a local SIM card, it will cost you about PHP 50 (USD 1). You can have it loaded with as little as PHP 10 (USD 0.20) call and text credits, which will let you send from five to 10 text messages or make one call.
Wi-Fi is not always available, so if you’re a digital nomad and need an internet connection wherever you are, your best bet is to get a mobile data subscription. This is not cheap, though, and it can set you back about PHP 1,000 (USD 20) per month. You can also subscribe to mobile data plans on a per-day or per-usage basis, whichever suits you best.
If you plan on staying in the Philippines long term, rent can be pretty affordable. A decent, studio in a nice area will cost you between PHP 17,000 (USD 340) to PHP 25,000 (USD 500) a month. Do note that some landlords may require a deposit and a minimum number of months to stay. Depending on your usage, electricity can set you back up to PHP 3,000 (USD 60) a month if you’re living alone.
If you have kids, sending them to a good private school (grade school or high school) can cost up to PHP 110,000 (USD 2,200) per school year. This is, of course, relative to where you send your kid. If you plan on going to university here, tuition fee at the state university costs about PHP 50,000 (USD 1,000) per school year, while private universities cost about PHP 200,000 (USD 4,000) per school year.
Many foreigners find the cost of living in the Philippines very affordable, and true enough, a luxurious life can be had here for much less than a lot of other places in the world. As if the breathtaking beaches, kind people, and interesting food weren’t already enough reason to stay!