Can you live on $2800 in cebu phillippines?

Hi all I have been doing my research and have found many sites in relations to this but I didn't see much in regards to relationships. I am looking to move to Cebu and plan to marry a filipino I have income and I will always have it. I would like to know if I can live on and have a relationship with $2,800 a month. Of course I would want to help out my wifes family ash as much as I can but want to make sure this would work prior to coming. sorry for continuing to post stuff like this I just really need to know. Thanks

Yes you can and you will live very comfortably. Until my social security kicked in I was living on about $500 a month and I did just fine but I was by myself at that time. Right now the exchange rate is about 44 pesos on the dollar or about 123,000 pesos a month in your case. Considering that the average teacher here makes from 7,000 to 15,000 pesos a month you can see that your monthly is a lot! No, you will do just fine but watch your money! Be careful of strangers promising you that they can fix a certain problem you have, These "fixers" make a nice living taking your money!
Do help your wife's family. The average person here as compared to Americans have nearly nothing yet they always have a smile on their faces and remain happy no matter what.  Good luck and ask me whatever you want, I've been here over 11 years now and have seen it all.  Dave

Hello Dexternik,

Cebu is a great area to relocate to out of the city.  I personally live across the straights in the City of Ormoc, on Leyte Island. which was hit hard by the Typhoon last November.  We use the 2.5 hour fast ferry ride to cross the straight to go to Cebu to shop every once and a while.  I moved here from California's Central Valley in late 2010 and love the islands and life style here.  Where you live is totally dependent on how you like your lifestyle.  Lots of people, big cities and expensive COL, not so many people, medium to smaller cities and moderate COL, and rural a few people and inexpensive COL.

$2,800.00 USD (120,000php) is more than enough to live comfortable live here if you are conservative.  If you live a flashier life style then you will find you will spend more than you wish sometimes.  A few warnings for you here:  People here will take advantage of you when ever they can by raising prices.  They are more than happy to help you spend your money.  Dress like the poorest person in the world, wear no expensive jewelry or flash your money.  Open a USA bank account with Wells Fargo Bank and then open an account with BPI in Cebu.  The two banks have an agreement to do money transfers from the USA and the cost is only 5 to 10 dollars a transfer and a slightly lower exchange rate, which is still better than some other ways to transfer..  Only hitch with WFB is you have to make the first transfer from in the USA, then you can do it electronically after that.  You will need a POA on the USA account, so someone there can do the first one for you.  Otherwise, plan on a trip back to the USA to do it.

There is no medical insurance here except PhilHealth, which pays about 25 percent of your hospital stay.  A recommendation is that if you pay $800.00 for insurance in the USA, then I would cancel it and use the money to put in a savings account here for your medical needs.  I pay less USA dollars a month here, than my co-pay back in the USA a month.  Hospitals here are way different than in the USA also, their system here works completely different here.

Relationships and marring here:
This is the great question.  I was extremely lucky with my wife when I came here because she was the sister of a friend of mine here that I visited when I came here for medical reasons.  Women here are always looking for a foreigner to marry.  They feel it is an easy life for them.  There are a bunch of rules if you marry a Filipina under 26 years old.  There are a lot of cultural differences here.  My wife and I had our share the first two years I was here, since all has been wonderful with her.  You will find out fast enough when you get here that all is not what if seems.  She says she is single, but she may have a common law husband and several kids that you do not know about hidden in the wings.  You will really need to do your due diligence when getting to know a girl here and let her know that you will not tolerate any lies.  You may find that you will never see her again after that conversation.  Treat your wife here good, love her, tell her that she is beautiful and sexy.  The women here love to be praised.  You will find that your wife or girlfriend will test your loyalness by having her friends around and flirting with you.  If you are serious about her, then she should be the only woman in your world always.  My home is always full of beautiful women and for me they are not even here because I love my wife so much.

When you marry here, you need the parents approval of the marriage, if under 26 years old.  A younger wife means immaturity and age difference.  I am 66 and my wife is 26 and the age difference was the first thing we discussed. 

Live here for a year or so and go thru the hassle of visa renewals so you can see where to relocate permanently.  This will give you time to look around and meet different women.

Get a Filipino you can trust to scout out a place to live and negotiate the price for you before you look at the place.  Do the same when buying furniture and other items here.  When people here see a foreigner the raise the price. An example of this would be a two bedroom apartment for 8k php for the Filipino, but if you were the person inquiring about it the cost would be 10k php a month and with a one month security deposit and two months rent up front.  Check out the area that you choose to live for location, squatter areas and stores, hospitals.  Be advised, you can not own property here, and cars and motorbikes are questionable.  The only thing you can own is a condo and there are two types.  A condominium development and high rises.  High rises are not recommended because we are in seismic Zone 4 and construction here lacks the standards for this zone.  Ownership to condos is limited to, I think, 40 percent of the complex can be foreign owned and 60 percent Filipino owned.  The land is 100 percent Filipino owned, and you are at their mercy.  There are others that disagree about this, but if you go online and search Filipino law and read the statutes you will see what your rights are really.  I know a foreigner that bought land and built a home without due diligence and when he was done out of the woodwork was a relative of the previous owner that claimed having an interest in the land and the family could not sell it to him.  He lost 4.5m php on the experience. If you are thinking of doing any type of investing, land , home, or vehicles here do your due diligence and read the laws ruling the transaction before you know.  Lawyers here are also corrupt when it comes to  monetary dealings.  If you are directed to a certain lawyer for a purchase by the seller, then take all the paperwork to a different lawyer in a different city for a second opinion.  You would not believe who is related to who here.

If you find a woman, go and meet her parents and family.  Use your senses when there, look, watch and listen.  If you are unsure about your choice in lady, have her get her NSO birth certificate copy.  Then you take it and go to the NSO and check her marriage status and if she has given birth ever.  There are fees for these services, but well worth the aggravation you may have later from an unwanted surprise.  People here use many names, it is really hard to determine if it is her real name or not.  They can go to the NSO and file a application for delayed birth certificate and give different name.  It will boil back to the parents and how many children they recorded during their life.  It really boils down to your feelings and if you trust, or are open minded to accept surprises in your life.

When you marry it is advisable to move a distance from the in-laws to cut down on visits, or you being their new home. There will always be a reason for need of money.  I give my wife 10k a month to do whatever she want with it.  We help the family when ever we can depending on if we have extra funds or not.  We live comfortably on my 1,700.00USA a month SSA.  I have not driven a car since coming here and it is cheaper to pay transportation here then own and drive a car.  The exception is if you are in the medium to big cities where taxis are and they are expensive.

Look at the weather here when deciding where to live.  The northern and southern areas of the country get much more rain then the central areas do.  The whole country is subject to more than 20 typhoons a year, most are nothing, but every once and a while they hit land real bad like last November.

Buy your self a MagicJack there in the USA and activate it.  Get the five year plan for $99.00.  It has paid for itself many, many, many times over.  I run mine 24/7 and have my USA phone here to get and do calls to the USA.

I hope this helps you out a little bit.

FB: Zoy47

i live comfortably on 1000 usd per month.. you should be able to save most of your money in an account. im not sure why anyone would need 2800 per month to live on in the Philippines. heck, you can even live in Singapore or hong kong for 2800 per month. if I made that much, im not so sure I would live in the philippines

Wow thank so much for the advice I am 33 and I am looking towards the Philippines because I have friends that got their wives from Cebu. They keep telling me that they will never look back. I have a few more months here in the states to get stuff in order before I come. I am looking to hopefully meet someone in the Philippines and then travel with them and build a life together.  I have always had income and I found that money doesn't buy me happiness a family of my own is what I am after. I have lived in Costa Rica before but that place is far too dangerous and not worth it. I came back to the US because my dad died and now I help out my mom. Income would be higher but helping her out brings it down lower. In the end like I said money doesn't make me happy and I really want to meet a girl and be with someone who loves me for me. Thanks for the info I am for sure not wanting to get involved with someone who has a common law man I am totally against cheating so this I can see will probably be the biggest challenge but im up for it. Any other info you guys think of please let me know. Do any of you travel with your wives? If so how hard is it for her to go to places like Thailand or asia? I have friends all over the world that I would want to visit but m my focus is on Asia at the moment. I have a lot of really good friends in Germany and plan to see them for a month at a time. So if you have any tips on what my significant other may need or have to do for travel please let me know. Thanks

taht money is enough sir but you need to hire a help like me so that you have an assistant....i can do multi tasking and a great cook and friendly +639192064100 christophercajurao29[at]

living in cebu is not like in manila that so expensive but you must have a house so that you cant pay monthly.....

[Moderated: Off-topic.+Avoid Copy/Paste on the forum.]

Hi topher29,

Looking for a job, feel free to post an advert in the Home help in Cebu section, this might surely help. Thank you! :)



Expat-blog team.

[P.S: Sorry for the off topic.]

$ 2800 is more than enough even if you go and rent a villa...

Yes I Live like a King on much Less in the Province there .

take your time Deciding on a Girl Millions around .. they can go anywhere on a passport in Asia .. Have Fun before settling down Enjoy Life as a Philippino

I have read the replies you received on living on $2800, follow their advice, you received very good advice from people who know.

Yes like upper class. 3 bedroom home travel by taxie, have a maid in twice a week for just you and your wife.   Helping her family and you will be broke and in debt in no time. Not near enough!

Hi James got your friend request, thanks for inviting me. I have been living in the Philippines for 4 years. I live in Cagayan de Oro (CDO) which is in northern Mindanao. I am here in the US visiting my children will be here till September. I live on my SSA and a small retirement total of $1,600. I live comfortably and can afford everything I need. As for banking I have no account in the Philippines I use my visa debit card and withdraw money from atms. I can get 40,000 pesos a day but have to pay 200 pesos per 10,000. My credit union here in the US gives me the current exchange rate. From what I know of the banking system they give reduced rates so I feel I do just fine with 200 pesos charge. costs me $20 a month to get my money. When I arrived here I had some pesos I needed to change to dollars went to wells fargo at the Atlanta airport and they charged me 54 pesos to the dollar and the exchange rate is over 44. I am checking out the wells fargo bpi deal. But if they do that kind of exchange rate I probably wont be dealing with them. BPI has branches and agents here in the states where you can deposit money directly to an BPI account. Be careful with getting married there Filipinas say they hate liars but they will lie to you in a second especially if has to do with money. I don 't plan on getting married again. The only hassle is visas. On a tourist visa you have to renew every 2 months cost about $100. There are different kinds of retirement visas but they require a rather large dollar deposit in a Filipino bank. You can find that information online. Good luck and be careful taxis are not that expensive compared to what you pay here. I can go to any of the 4 malls here for $3. and taxis in Cebu charge the same 40 peso drop and 3.5 peso per 300 meter.

Hi dawatson1946,
If you do the WFB to BPI thing you will find it works out well.  Transfers cost $5.00 to $8.00 depending on the amount transferred.  WFB has a daily limit on the amount you can transfer to BPI.  I have found that the conversion rate goes up and down depending on the strength of the Peso.  The usual difference has been around .40php to .70php per dollar transferred.  The rate is comparable or better than some of the rates from other financial institutions.  The only catch is that the first transfer from WFB must be done in the USA. If you can not be in the USA to do the first transfer then have a POA assigned to your WFB Account so that person can handle it for you.  After the first time you can do all transfers after that online with ease.  Also if you have good credit then you may want to think about setting up a credit line with WFB before you leave the states.  The interest rate there is a lot less than borrowing money here.  If you need it then you can use it. Just transfer it to your WFB account then to Philippines.  Don't take the whole amount of the credit line out, leave a little to cover bank fees.  They got me when I took all out after Yolanda to help recover from the storm here.  You can pay the minimum a month or more back to the account with just a transfer from your WFB account to the credit line.  You can also have all your income sources direct deposited to WFB and then use as needed here.

Hope this helps, RAC

More than enough

Yes,you can live for 2,800
But to help,thats a mistake rather than emergency,like hospital.not give money they coming back and fort to you.they can live,they can eat, before without you

Windybadillo :

Yes,you can live for 2,800
But to help,thats a mistake rather than emergency,like hospital.not give money they coming back and fort to you.they can live,they can eat, before without you

Did you bother to notice that you replied to a 2 year old post?

Thanks for the post "expat"

Hello everyone,

Closing this old thread. If you need up to date info, please create a new topic on the Cebu forum.

All the best,

[Topic Closed]

New topic