I'm new here. Can I live well on $1800 a month in Cebu

I wish you the best in your search.  You may not want to share your personal info like actual income in an open forum where some locals tend to lurk "trying to assist the expat" in reducing their bank balances.

The 2017 average annual salary in Manila is reported to be P383,371.00 or P32K/month.  Cebu and other provinces will typically be less than the NCR.  A person with P100K/month + is well above the average local income and needs to be careful.  Best wishes.

Why did you move from Mexico to here?

It all depends on your nightlife. You can live very well if you don't drink or gamble.

When searching for a two bed room in Cebu we found a few nice two bed room apts for 20,000 to 25,000 in Cebu city itself. Some where on the road leading out of town towards the area known as Rolling Hills. There where two units in the city itself. So, 25,000 equals $500 dollars. $1,800 - $500 = $1,300 left. It at local food stands and don't drink or gamble and you are good to go.

Thank you for responding to my question. New question. Where in Cebu did you chose to live? My wife and I have visited the city but did not care for it because of all the traffic. Are you living some where out side of the towN? If so, how did you come to chose where you live? Did you rent a car and drive the whole island? I am not sure how to figure out the best place for us to live in the Philippines. We liked Duagette and I am interested in Tagaytay/Santa Rosa because it is suppose to be cooler. I am open to looking at Cebu but not sure where to look to evaluate living in Cebu. Thank you in advance for answering this question. Craig C.

Good Morning

I would check out Dumaguete as a good place to live. You will be surprised how much cheaper you will it there. Clean city, good hospital and great people. I wish I was living there but to late for me now as I'm established here in Angeles City. Cebu, to many people and traffic sucks. Cost of living to high.

I have a income of 150,000 per month and i support a 4yr old, girlfriend, nanny and a gardener/driver plus live in a gated sub-division with a pool. Biggest expense is private school for my son and food. maybe spent 90 to 100 thousand per month which does not include the fun stuff.


@ 952cccraig20,

After living in Tagaytay City proper for the last 4+ years, it is much cooler than most other locations.  Santa Rosa is also a bit cooler than Metro Manila but not as cool as Tagaytay.  I find it to be 4-6 C warmer in Santa Rosa compared to Tagaytay City proper. 

Take a look at this weather chart for Tagaytay City to review the temps (https://en.climate-data.org/location/492692/). 

Best wishes.

Yes,1800 is more than enough,it can even be less than that if you want it like that ,best thing is to not over spend and budget your money wisely,but it would be wise to have someone of trust,to help you,but not too easy to find,just use common sense.Good luck.

Just wanted to ask a general question out of the topic.But do you know how and where I can send an auto from CAlifornia to Philippines,even if it's to Manila,thanks for any advice,wondering which city might be cheaper,im from the east coast.

The import duties would be too high, unless you have a 13a and are retiring to the Philippines. Then, you are allowed to bring in one container, duty free. So, unless that is the case, you would be much better off buying a car in the Philippines.

@ Boriloco,
A few years back (2013), I considered this same question.  From Long Beach Port to Manila Port for a 1996 Lexus LS400 (with Pink Slip) was as follows:

Sealed container for one car:  $3150.00 (~50 days)
Misc Port fees in Manila:  ~ Php 38,000.00
Import Taxes (estimated ):      Php 420-465K
added fees (engine size):  Php 15,500 for the 4.0 Ltr V8 Engine
Bureau of Customs add-ons:  Php ~ 45,000 for the Valorem Tax + a fee for not being on a 13A visa.  A portion had to paid up front in person before the papers are processed/approved in Manila and prior to placement on a ship in California.

Note:  One official became very interested in the original retail price as sold in California in 1996 (~ $54,000.00) and he made noises to base the fees on that as the starting tax since they can go as high as 100%.

Required proof that the car was in my name, fully paid off and currently registered in California for the past 6 months.

Total would be about $14500.00 +/- $750.00    So, with my car being valued at ~ $6500.00 as an original California car in very good condition, I passed!!  It is possible that the laws have changed to make it even more of a deterrent and you will need to get a clear update from the Bureau of Import Services (BIS) at: 3rd Flr., Welding Industries of the Philippines Building, 349 Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue Makati City, Metro Manila. Tel. No. (632)895-7466.

Please  double check all of this as that is the last address/info I had and I have not reviewed if in a few years for accuracy or any updates. YMMV

Best wishes to you.

you could live on that in NYC, whats your point??

Hi! Yes I Thank so thats already a big amount Of money... if u ask Me the place is much more Cheap to live is Dumaguete and lots Of beautiful Beach...  goodluck and welcome

Yes,if you keep it simple,that's more than enough,most will go towards the rent,shop around,food and transportation is inexpensive,the rest is up to you,good luck.

Cebu is a great place to live . You can Rent an apartment for as low as 10,000 peso a month , also all  the shopping you would require is there , you can eat out in the food courts and other areas . Food is not as good as Thailand Ofcoarse , but you can spice it up . Also good markets to buy and cook at home . Beer is much cheaper here in the Philippines . Hope you Enjoy your life here many Great islands and various lifestyles to have fun  . Cheers

Hi! A lot of delicious food in Philippines 🇵🇭 and also not spicy like what you get used to it in Thailand sir.   Enjoy your stay in Philippines

The Philippines must stop discriminating against Americans and should allow expat US citizens to buy property, it’s only fair!

Ken4767 :

The Philippines must stop discriminating against Americans and should allow expat US citizens to buy property, it’s only fair!

They don't discriminate against US citizens, no foreigners can own property.  I think it is a good idea to keep the Philippines for Filipinos.

Ken4767 :

The Philippines must stop discriminating against Americans and should allow expat US citizens to buy property, it’s only fair!

If this does happen I hope that you have a very big bank account.  Because once non Filipino's can purchase land here, the Chinese, Korean's and every other country would be bidding a lot of money for the good land, and then the flow on effect would be that all land price would skyrocket.

In general, this topic is more complex than some may think.  A key phrase to consider is "Reciprocity or Reciprocal Relationship" in order to place a more even handed solution on this topic, that is of course assuming a government would be interested in a solution, one must look at more even playing fields.  Example can be seen in the U.S. Visa: Reciprocity and Civil Documents by Country listing: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel … untry.html

If a government was to treat it's expats in the same manner that county's citizens are treated in each expat's country of origin, we may not be blogging on this sub-topic.  So, if an American can't own land in China, Philippines or Thailand for example, that reciprocity should result in citizens from those countries not being able to hold/own land in the USA. 

A clear limit as to the amount that can be owned would seem like a decent compromise to start with.  Even at $1800/month, it is my view that many Americans would find a way to afford a small lot that would give them proper ownership/security, and still have a decent life.  Even if an expat were to spend $300.00/month for 2 years on a land payment (using ~ P350K to purchase the lot) the remaining $1500/month is more than enough to live well and save for building a simple house on his/her land. 

Perhaps an established lot size above a certain amount of SQ MTR's could mean a business vs. private ownership and result in different levels of approval.

Hi! You can own a property in the philippines. Like condo (flat) I dont know About land area but some foreigner they owned a Beach resort even they are foreigner... u can ask a lawyer About it anyway.  I know in the lang it east for foreigner to own and buy a properly there.  Anyway goodluck and we dont descriminate foreigner and even what nationalities U.S. Or other.    Maybe you deal with wrong people. #just saying. Peace On this earth.  Thanks anyway

@ MrsAC,
The term "property" has broad meanings and one must be careful with the broad statement "you can own property in the Philippines".  This has been blogged about so many times here and yet we still see such statements.    Many condos here are on TCTs.  There are no condos that can be legally owned and titled by an expat here that are not on a CCT and that meets the other related constitutional requirements.  Some assume all condos in the PI are CCT while so many are TCT and not intended for foreign ownership. 

Regarding "owning a beach Resort" the same caution is given.  One must look at the land ownership, the building ownership and the expat's visa status in order to fully understand true business management & ownership status. 

Regarding "we don't discriminate" towards expats - If only this were true for most of us.....one should try being an expat first or the mate of an expat before declaring such falsehoods.  This site alone is filled with expat experiences that beg to differ.  We try very hard to be a viable resource for each other here and that includes how to avoid such common acts as "price discrimination".  How would a local feel if they were to walk into a US store or business and because they are filipino, they get 40-100 % increase in the sales price?


"If you're looking for the SAME standards as in foreign country, I would say that you will spend more here, unfortunately. "

After many years research and trips to the Philippines I can agree with the above statement. I have been contemplating the Philippines as our retirement bolt hole for the last 6 years, but I do not intend to retire with lower standards than I have here in the UK on my pension. I would expect higher standards for my Buck wherever I end up. Contemplating Portugal and Spain, accommodation there away from the tourist hots pots can be found for the same prices mentioned for the Philippines but much larger. OK the UK winters are cold and dull, but my social housing here is affordable on my pension and local knowledge helps in keeping living costs down (especially food) ALSO FREE HEALTH CARE. So my plans now are to stay resident here in the UK and spend the winter months in Portugal or Spain and a few week holiday in the Philippines with my Filipina partners family. Back to the UK in the Summer for the Cricket!!!. That's another con to the Philippines no Premier league football or cricket on tv. Might consider retirement to India for that.

moongoddess28 :
:)  You might want to check out AppleOne Banawa Heights, a condo-type private Subdivision that offers a 2.8 hectares of exclusive community living! Its not just a stand alone building, and there are amenities & shops within the subdivision so that you dont need to look anywhere else. For only P14,000-16,000/month you can own your unit even if you're a foreigner..you only need a check and I can definitely recommend where to easily open your account. …….

A Rabbit Hutch Condo

pej1111 :

Here is what I am budgeting, and would enjoy hearing every ones thoughts on my budget.
This is for one persons, in a city (not Manila)

I have not included person comforts in this budget, nor have I included a car, flights and accommodation back to Australia, or holiday flights and accommodation.

Item                    Monthly
Rent                              PHP 20,000
Cable TV                  1,000php
Internet                     PHP 865
Water - Including drinking water and household water           PHP 636
Electricity                  PHP 3,000
Gas                             PHP 467
Trash Collection     PHP 100
Maid                             PHP 8,000
Food and Sundry for Maid    PHP 2,756
House Maintenance    PHP 2,000
Furniture depreciation    PHP 10,746
Breakfast                            PHP 1,837
Lunch                            PHP 2,204
Dinner                            PHP 4,041
Dinner out 3 x P/W         PHP 5,200
Hair Cut                           PHP 100
General grocery Shopping - personal products and house cleaning sundries    PHP 1,091
Drinks                          PHP 6,067
Town transport          PHP 3,033
Cigarettes                  PHP 2,427
General cash                 PHP 7,583
Spend on Doctors or Dentist or save for emergency    PHP 7,750
Medical Insurance and repatriation emergency               PHP 10,333
Mobile Phone Depreciation    PHP 581
Computer Depreciation       PHP 646
Clothes Depreciation              PHP 775
Club Membership                    PHP 1,938
Anti Virus for Laptop            PHP 478
Bank Fees Australia            PHP 194
Bank Fees Philippines            PHP 83
Mobile phone - call chargers    PHP 458
Tax agent ??                            PHP 646
Christmas presents                    PHP 500
Party 1                                   PHP 500
Party 2                                   PHP 500
12 month, 59 day period, multiple entry visa        PHP 419
Monthly Total                            PHP 108,794

Yep that sounds about right in order to maintain near the same standard of living one would have in the west.

Thank you sir, as an Australian Vet I lose all my  DVA medical cover if I relocate overseas.

A little low on some things but probably made up with some things being high. Why the Philippines of all places?

$1800 is a lot actually. My biggest challenge is getting VA health care. I will look into the Phil health. I guess Im facing a trip to Manila to cement in my monthly meds though. I live in Butuan. Anything close to an american standard of living will cost you a bit more. I also agree that being with someone who has kids is a challenge. I am working with orphans and my fiancee has two kids of her own. I had to take charge of the finances after a one month trial. Seems I was facing issues if I didnt.

gordy5938 :

$1800 is a lot actually. My biggest challenge is getting VA health care. I will look into the Phil health. I guess Im facing a trip to Manila to cement in my monthly meds though. I live in Butuan. Anything close to an american standard of living will cost you a bit more. I also agree that being with someone who has kids is a challenge. I am working with orphans and my fiancee has two kids of her own. I had to take charge of the finances after a one month trial. Seems I was facing issues if I didnt.

"Anything close to an american standard of living will cost you a bit more"

This is what perplexes me from the posters here retiring/contemplating retiring in the Philippines. OK the sunshine  and beaches are great, but why retire to a lower standard of living. Especially for us Brits with our free health care if we stay in the UK.

Point well taken about healthcare. It isnt free in the US for most people though. Mine is free because of military service. The challenge now is logistics.

I decided to move here and retire even though I'm still relatively young because I grew tired of the rat race, isolation and down right competition back home. I saw it as an opportunity to come and enjoy a simpler life while helping the host country nationals.

Finding yourself surrounded by beautiful ladies doesnt hurt either!

Philhealth will  not cover serious conditions like cancer or kidney  disease  for foreigners

If your a city boy and want to live like an expat you can do it but take care, some of the prices quoted are very high compared to Davao I live in the Province I built my own house so not that much, I eat my own mix of food not much Filipino, fish, free range chicken, fresh pork, I know a few foreigners who live dam near off the land, but in the hills about 45 minutes from me, you will need a jacket at night but good area to farm, VA health only outpatient for service connect issues, you can get medicine, Phill health you need it, but now it is about 17,000 a year for permanent resident, unless the law has changed no import of vehicles over 5 years old ,you can buy or lease lots around Davao City reasonable I see some in Tagum 15 minutes from town on good road and electric for 50,000 per 100 sq meters, 20,000 down 12 payments just depends on if you like neighbors ,I dont

From what I have learned yes u can. It does depend on yoyr life style  and how often u want to eat out. I have heard u can even do it for A 1000 dollars which is 40000 paseos.

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