30k USD annual pension. Can i lead comfortable life in Davao?

Well been to the Philippines a few times and mainly stayed in Manila but loved Davao and I could certainly live there after meeting so many people. I was made redundant in Perth after 21 years in the Government, On my return there is no chance here of a job again (even if I am a CPA, masters etc) because of age discrimination so I might as well settle in Davao as its no fun here now.

Questions are:

1. I have a life long annual pension of 40k AUD (30k USD) index linked in hand. maybe if I sell my house and savings I may get 400K USD to USE. WIll this be enough to live a comfortable life in Davao without struggle? I know all about visas etc.
2. How much rent would a reasonable 2 bed apartment costs me in Davao say near G mall or Abreeza or people park.
3. How much is decent Philippine health insurance annually.

Thank you so much for any help I can get.


Hi baron im from manila. if i read it correctly your annual pension is 30k usd devided by 12mos = 2,500 usd per month. if u multiple it by 45 php = 112,500 php. Yes you can have a decent living but its not enough to buy a brand new house n lot. However u can buy a 2nd hand car on that amount.

Thanks mate. I cant buy a house anyway as not a local. But I can buy an apartment with the sale of my house. How much is Philippine health insurance e.g Blue Cross?


Dude, you want straight answers right? goodness... Your a millionaire with that kind of money... An apartment anywhere can go from 10k to 30k there..maybe more depending on its luxury status. The locals consider 10k high...expats seek the best amenities then worry with prices.

400k Cash is awesome.... Put half in home country and get a US dollars account at a bank and a Pesos account... Try two different banks PNB and BPI both have US branches...

If you purchase a condo try not to go over 100k US....that way you will have cusion incase you choose to later move and can't sell quickly... I know a guy who has a condo for sale that's been on the market for a year now... He can't sell it because it has issues and he paid cash....most of his savings is in the condo... So try and use discretion. No one need ever know what you are playing with. If after six months you can get the bank to finance the condo that way you won't have too much cash in it and your payments may even be lower than rent. A car may cost at most 20k you will have no problems.... Enjoy your life dude. You're a millionaire....

Thanks for reply good info. Don't know about being a millionaire but I take your point

baron.ward :

Thanks for reply good info. Don't know about being a millionaire but I take your point

I am in a similar position you, and I don't feel like a millionaire either ;)
But the locals do consider us so.  A 40sqm condo, and once a month in a restaurant, and they think we live like Kings ;)

However, with about 110,000 pesos per month, (A$40x33/12=110,000)  it is a reasonable lifestyle. Especially if you have the extra cash handy too.

I would "seriously" consider keeping your house, and renting it out for a larger income. It would give you more security for the future too.  I made the mistake of selling mine, and I now regret it.

Actually, if your a CPA and have a masters, you could most likely find a job in Metro Manila. But cost of living is of courser higher and quality of life lower.

People will say you can live like a king on AUD2500. But the aussie dollar is weakening and the peso is probably at its 5 year weakest. What will happen when the peso strenghens. You AUD wont seem like very much, especially if you need to make any emergency trips/expenses.  Remember, you have no safety net in Philippines as opposed to living in Aus.

For sure, I live on $1500 monthly here and I consider it "comfortable".  It all depends on what it takes for you to be comfortable.  Obviously, you could spend $2500 each month.  What you eat, where you live and what comforts you consider important all play into this.

roundhead1952 :

For sure, I live on $1500 monthly here and I consider it "comfortable".  It all depends on what it takes for you to be comfortable.  Obviously, you could spend $2500 each month.  What you eat, where you live and what comforts you consider important all play into this.

I think it mainly comes down to how much you choose to pay for accommodation, and what you are used to.

I tried the 18,000 pesos a month accommodation for a while.  It was OK, but I needed to get back to normal at some stage.  I am now spending $1,200 a month on rent, but considering moving somewhere better, although at nearer $1,500 a month.
A decent restaurant for two is about $30 without drinks, so not something we do very much. The $2 eating out options are not really my style ;)

People need to know both sides of the cost of living here.

$1,000 monthly is comfortable to some, but not others
$3,000 monthly is normal living to some, but living like a king to others
$5,000 monthly... Yes, I think I would like that :)

I live in C.D.O on less than that.   4 bedroom with air.  large lot, great view.  Maid, & girlfriend. Dress well & eat well. Go out often. But you need learn how to shop here.    If you hit the malls to shop you will pay almost American prices.  Learn the markets, learn were and how to bargan shop and on that you can live like a Prince here.   I can not spend that much here if I try.  I go to the beach, Parade next week, stay busy all the time. Free entertainment at the malls. You like the local talent.   So life here can be good & cheap. Or you can go first class and it is not enough.

James Mitchel :

If you hit the malls to shop you will pay almost American prices.

That's what people need to know.

The problem is that too many people have been told it is cheap in the Philippines, without any qualification like that.
Then they hit the malls and find it isn't.

Shop like locals and it is cheaper, eat like locals and again it is cheaper.

But... 8 oz Angus Steak for two with ice tea and that's 1,700 pesos (A$53) gone. (Racks Ribs Manila) Add an appetizer and a dessert, and it hits 2,500 pesos. (A$76)

Or Jollibee, two serves of 1 piece chicken and rice with coke is 158 pesos (A$5) ;)

ABCDiamond :
James Mitchel :

If you hit the malls to shop you will pay almost American prices.

That's what people need to know.

Shop like locals and it is cheaper, eat like locals and again it is cheaper.

Or Jollibee, two serves of 1 piece chicken and rice with coke is 158 pesos (A$5) ;)

I can't believe how expensive it is shopping in the malls! As you say, it's almost the same as USA or Australian prices. Australia is cheaper on many things. I don't think the ordinary Philippino could shop in the malls.

Jollibee may only be $5, but totally inedible for me! Too much sugar, too much salt and just not decent food. Most of the chain food places are the same. I went into a Kenny Rogers Roasters and it was garbage!

There are some good Filipino food places that are excellent value for money and with good food. Ask around and you can dine out well for $15-20 for two or 3 plus drinks.

I find most Filipino food is high in sugar and salt. The bread is inedible to me as it has a very high sugar content. It's like eating cake! I found some low sugar, low salt wholemeal bread in the supermarket.

OzFreddie :

I find most Filipino food is high in sugar and salt. The bread is inedible to me as it has a very high sugar content. It's like eating cake! I found some low sugar, low salt wholemeal bread in the supermarket.

I eat the Gardenia Bread; 62 pesos ($1.90) Very close in quality to the ALDI white bread for 85 cents.
The milk is twice the price of Australia, Cheese is 3 or 4 times the price.

Most Australian type food is more expensive.  The only way to live substantially cheaper is to change lifestyle.

And yes, that can also be done in Australia too, for people who need to live cheaper.

we rented a house les than 5 minutes walking from the beach ,we had 3 bedrooms ,2 bathrooms (1 wit weterheater) ,a large garden with carpark and 4 mango trees we payed 5000 peso a month for this house ,
as i am a coca cola slave and a smoke a paket of marlboro a day  haha and i love to eat wel on groseries we spended about 20 000 peso a month  this last yr .
soon ower life style wil change and ower costs wil be lower ,not becorse i want this but becorse we are moving away from the city life and go totaly provincial ,i realise a lot of foods i buy now wil not be availebol there but i dont care ,so easy disision to me .
living in an inclosed comunity is the last thing i woold ever do ,not becorse it is way more expensive but i is just not my way of living to be inclosed in any way .
so to answer the original question ,yep you can  live here very comfotebol on your income

It would be good to see comparison photos and sizes of houses at various prices in each area. So that people can see what their options actually are.

From Dinky2408:
Have just loined I have lived in Davao for the past 4 yrs, and have rented and bought Condos and property.I think if your careful U$30k  will give you a good standard of living. Fruit,vegetables and fish from the open markets are relatively cheap.The finished products you tend to buy from the supermarket chains where you have plenty of choice. Beer and rum are very cheap also. Regarding property, it all depends on where you want to live and what type of property, Condos are going up everywhere, however they tend to be smaller than what expats are used to.price range for a two bed from 3.5m to 8m pesos. Most are gated with security, have parking spaces for sale or rent, with swimming pools and club houses, which are mostly basic, but adequate. The three main gated  high end communities, where you will find some expats are Woodridge, Monter Ritz and Ladislawa. There are re-sells in this communities or you can buy a lot of land with permission to build on.However I dont recommend you go that way. Just rent to begin with and drive around to get to know the areas with your partner..There is a building boom at present, which has caused an increase in traffic congestion, as well as roadworks for drainage.So plan to rent get to know the area, then decide to buy in a well placed area.

That's 30 times the money most folks will get in a year. Please stop acting like its a hard task...itsxa frickin no brainer. Your wealthy beyond your means... Enjoy it and stop acting like its so hard to make it here ....

sirrobcentral :

That's 30 times the money most folks will get in a year. Please stop acting like its a hard task...itsxa frickin no brainer. Your wealthy beyond your means... Enjoy it and stop acting like its so hard to make it here ....

US$30,000 is 1,350,000 pesos per year, or 112,500 per month.
That is near the average of what a fair number of expats spend for their choice of western lifestyle here.
You say "that is 30 times the money most folks will get in a year" .   

So that’s about 3,750 pesos per month       
That may be correct for a poor Filipino, but this site is for Expats, normally used to better living standards.

The site quotes: ” In 2012, Filipino families had an annual income of 235 thousand pesos, on average.”   
That is about 20,000 pesos per month, per average Filipino family.
Not a lot for the average Ex-pat style of living.                   
I just got back from SM and spent 2,000 on food etc, and I do that 5 or 6 times a month. And its full of Filipinos spending similar figures.           
I spend on average 16,000 a month on food and household stuff.   
I spend another 4,000 a month on eating out.  We don't eat out much.  Maybe once a week.

If I wanted a fast Internet, Globe charges almost 3,700 per month for its cheapest Unlimited broadband plan at 25 Mbs.

For a Filipino style life it can be cheap.
For a Western compatible life it isn't.

That,s the best advice I have had mate regarding property. I would like to initially rent near the centre of the city and I suppose willing to pay up 40000 a month which from further research should get me something ok . I have played tennis at Woodridge. Its great there but a few kms out. I drive of course but in Philippines!! I think id need to get lessons.

Dinky. mate not be arrogant or rude was just asking as was on holiday there in a hotel and as I will be initially on my own I want to ask these questions. No offense intended and I am sure I will be a charitable sort of guy.

Hi Baron,
You can rent near Abreeza in Northpoint for 25,000 to 30,000 pesos two bed rooms fully furnished, plus monthly dues, around 3000 pesos, plus electric and water. Gated condo community 1o mins walking to Abreeza. When you intending to stay?

Mate I stayed at Pinnacles last time. Might this time come for two weeks but that sound fantastic and close to tennis near victoria mall. How big are apartments any idea on what they are called. However thats 1000 aud a month and i can do that. I often went to prima bar to watch afl do you know that?

You need to remember that mostly the guys here talk USD.

USD30,000 is AUD43,000

Your AUD1000 is only $703 so do your sums by converting, it makes a big difference.

20,000 piso a week is what I spend here and can not spend all of that.   I live like a prince here on that amount.  4 bedroom home with good view in gated subdivision. Outside of town up high so good air here most times coming in from the ocean.

OzFreddie :

You need to remember that mostly the guys here talk USD.

USD30,000 is AUD43,000

Your AUD1000 is only $703 so do your sums by converting, it makes a big difference.

They should all talk pesos or pisos. ;)

This thread caught my eye, in relation to the currency, from the very beginning:

Title: 30k USD annual pension
Actual: I have a life long annual pension of 40k AUD

Neither figure means anything if the FX rate changes...

My rent used to be $880 pm but is now $1,156 pm, but it has stayed the same in Pesos.

Not long ago the 30k US was 1.2m peso and the 40k A$ was 1.6m pesos
But now 30k US is 1.38M pesos and 40k A$ was 1.32m pesos

You say that "AUD1000 is only $703", but both are actually the same (if the FX rate hasn't changed) at 32,850 peso or 32,876.

If someone with Australia as their base/home talks dollars I will always assume A$, but I notice that most will say AUD or A$ for clarity.

You can live well here on $24,000 a year U.S. Nice home,car, all.  Once you are set up & learn how to shop here.  $30,000 you are well off here.  I do not spend that much here and live very well here.  $2,000 a month and you live like a Prince here.  You need shop in Davao more at place like Victoria mall rather than the big malls, learn the downtown discount areas to shop. And be set up furniture bought & payed for and all so figure U.S. $5,000 start up money and on $30,000 a year to spend.  I could not spend that much & I have more than that to spend.

James Mitchel :

Once you are set up & learn how to shop here.

That is THE big thing.  Need to change your lifestyle.

After two years in Philippines, I am now back in Australia, and I am finding that food is cheaper in the Supermarkets on the Gold Coast, that it was in the SM Hypermarkets in the Philippines.

My Girlfriend is even happily buying clothes cheaper here.

Our first dinner back in Australia:

Dinner in Australia

$2.76 Chicken Tenders Crumbed (commercial pack) $9.22 kg
$0.63 Frozen Chips 300gm at $1.89 kg

Australia: Total for fried chicken and chips for two: $3.39 or 110 pesos

Dinner in the Philippines

60 pesos 300gm Chicken Breast at 197 peso per kg (A$6.15)
80 pesos Potato for French Fries

Philippines: Total for fried chicken and chips for two: 140 pesos  or $$4.40

It's weird but cheaper in Australia...

If I were you, You can avail/buy through installment with one of condominium in Davao City which is more secure and as Foreigner, You can buy a unit from 2nd floor and up as long as you don't buy lot. Cheaper than renting a place forever and condo units are situated in the heart of the city where is convenient and near in everything.

       In Davao City I don't know.    I pay 4000 Pisos in a provincial town full of bundok people and no decent restaurants about 25 kilometers from Manila in the growing and crowded province of Cavite.     
      I have two bedrooms and a small compound but it is quite noisy however the noise is about the only thing that really bothers me.
Except for the neighbor's cat that fights with my cats.     
        I would move but only to a cheaper rent level, say 3,500 and it would have to be more quiet.   However, to get real quiet in the Philippines I believe you have to pay a lot more than I'm willing to pay.
        But there is an EVOLUTION of attitudes toward expat housing.  When you first get usually is the case you will pay too much.   First place I had was 8000 Piso per month, then I had a place for 15,000 Piso per month right on the beach, then at one time I have a 12,000 Piso a month place in Manila area.
         Would I ever pay those amounts again???  No.    Maybe 6000 Piso but that would be the top and the place would have to be like a palace and a quiet one at that.

The whole thing boils down to your standard of living and what you consider a "reasonable" amount of rent. I, for 1, would rather buy a condo or house than pay P20,000 or more in monthly rent. At least I can retain some equity that way.

It is true that the Philippines can be as expensive as your own country depending on your standard of living, as most imported food is extremely expensive, and eating like you were in the US or Australia will set you back DOUBLE or more what you are used to paying. That's why ABCDiamond can live cheaper in Australia than here! If your tastes are more like the everyday man I.e. chicken, pork, and fish along with your gormet steaks and seafood then prices start to come way down. The nice thing about Davao is that you can shop for less at places like S&R and eat out very nicely at places like Outback Grill without "breaking the bank".

Finally, I have found that the real savings from living here comes from the much lower annual utility costs along with lower priced (and crappier) cable and " high speed" internet.

On $30,000 a year you can live like a prince in the Philippines. Maybe not Manila. but most places.   On that try a 3 bedroom with maids quarters. 3 bath. river & ocean view. Gated subdivision.  Maid, girlfriend, good life.  With money left over.  Most here do not have that much & live well.  If you have set up money when you first get here.  Rent above $400 a month U.S. you are looking at upscale living.  Utilities above $200 a month and you have 3 airconditioners running. Lights on all night.  Food is 1/2 of what you pay in America if you shop the markets not the Malls. Cloths dress like a king once you figure out were the discount bins are.  I bought a new suit a few weeks ago. 60% man made material 40% wool. I am thinking $500 above in the U.S.  $2 U.S. out of a discount bin. So it is how & were you shop.  You shop only at the big Malls you will pay the same as in America. You need get out learn the Philippines and it is 50% cheaper to live here than in America. So can you live in America on $50,000 or $60,000 a year?   There is the answer if you learn how to shop & buy here.  Some don't they pay the same as in America.

I am a Danish Citizen who have been living in Manila since 2003.

I would say you could live comfortable enough for your pension. You could even consider buying a condo in an area with some security. I do not know much about Davao. but sure it will be cheaper than Manila

For visa. A good solution for you might be the government agency for retirement in the Philippines. A bit of a shortcut to get visa.. There is a yearly fee. You will find it on internet if you search on retirement in the Philippines. There is a requirement to deposit some funds. But they can be used to buy a condo.

The cost of medical procedures is low in Philippines. With your savings I would consider paying as you go.

I suggest you keep most of your savings in Australia or in an offshore account. Banking system in Philippines is good. But keep a low profile

Best regards

Hi If you're planning to live in Davao now is the best time. I am currently selling my humble house at bambu subdivision kisanlu lands. i am
Selling for the price lower than the developer price. It was just fnished last year and I didnt get the chance to live in there as I have lost the reason to live in Davao, I bougjt another property in Gen santos and planning to settle there. The location is perfect for an expat like you, or if you know somebody who is planning to buy a property I would give a five percent slack cut for you.. The house has bigger lot area than the others since it is at the corner; it is a beautiful convenient location for a subdivision, near the market, malls, schools, hospitals and just 15 mins away from davao airport.
If you are ineterested let me know.
1k USD is comfortable enough to live in that place... Unless you have 1 whole big family

I rent 2 apartments in Sta Rosa Laguna. One 2 bedroom apartment is not big enough because my partner has 3 children. The kids go to private school, we eat well and all up, it costs us 900 USD(1200 AUD) monthly.
I don't run a car and we live frugally, but well and I manage to save some from my Australian pension.

Are your apartments in secure subdivisions? I am in Santa Rosa at least twice a year as my wife is from there and my in-laws still live there. Area is not to my taste though. Too industrial and not enough "fresh air".

No, not in secure subdivisions, but I feel totally safe where I am. We were lucky to get two apartments next to each other, new and spacious.

Yes, fairly industrial, but it's close to my partner's family and the kids would need to change school if we lived elsewhere.

Access to Nuvali and Tagaytay is easy if we want a change of air and climate and Batangas a couple of hours on the bus to the beach. Manila is also easily accessible from here.

Not perfect, but I am happy here.

Glad to hear. Keeping my distance from the in-laws too. They are working people but my wife is VERY generous when she is around them so, for her sake, I decided to move to Davao.

Hi my name is Ian I live in Mintal on a Modest UK pension what you have sounds quite high so yes you should be ok with that again it all comes down to life style ,if you drink,smoke run a car Party Party  out every night in restaurants etc then yes its going to be expensive but if your careful you should be ok
I hardly drink dont smoke and dont drive and I dont Party Party my Partner and I go out occasionally where we live we have free access to a swimming pool Basketball courts to sum things up you can live here as cheap or as expensive as your budget will allow we are about average

Hi Baron,
Don't know if you made the move to Davao as yet, if not, do your homework.
You can easily live on the amount of money you indicated, but as far as bank accounts, open yourself an account with a prime bank, like HSBC, a US dollar account, with a peso account on the side, and only transfer the US to PHP when you need it.
With a HSBC US account, you can have a US dollar debit card for any overseas use, and your Php account for anything here.
Fine, you know all about visas, but there is probably a lot you don't know.
The world is full of shifty crooks, with the Philippines being no exception; the real God here,mand you will find out, is the dollar!
Everything you do, or even think about will cost you money, it is simply not like Australia; don't expect to find a tropical country with long and clean sandy beaches, it is simply not the case, unless you pay and pay.
I'm married here, to a lady who is an exception to the rule, because she simply does not want anything except our marriage to be happy and forever; I met her here, she never had an email account, I met her at a bus terminal; she cried for days, when the other year, I gave her a small gold crucifix on a chain for xmas, but as I say, she is an exception to the rules.
Your money is your life, guard it like it is; any money you put out, lend or whatever, just make sure you have security!
Lawyers here think they are Gods, but like all lawyers,mthey are only after your money -,realise it!
Davao is the same as any other city in the Philippines, so do not be misled by the incessant propaganda.
As far as health insurance, you need to join an international company, otherwise you will find out the hard way!
Filipinos are never wrong, but you will find out what I mean.
If you drive, no matter who's fault it is, it will be yours, and prejudice seriously exists against non Filipinos.
It's not all bad here, but be aware it is NOT like Australia.
I have a house near Toril if you need to rent, it is  3 bed, 2 bathroom, 4 aircons, very secure, 2 years old.

Good advice Robbie. Especially the part about the Filipino always being right. I would just like to add that you should always carry good and full auto insurance coverage if you plan on driving here. Believe it or not, most of the insurance companies will pay on a claim and you can tell the Filipino blaming you for the accident to take it up with them.

Why live in the city centre I live in Mintal on a subdivision with my Partner , it's a Beautiful spot with Mt Apo over looking the site   With free swimming pool and Basketball courts and club house ok I'm lucky as I do not pay anything for rent or Mortgage as my Partners Son pays that but I pay for utilities and food I am on a modest Uk Pension  the uk pound value is a lot higher than the US Dollar currently at 68 peso to one pound US Dollar is 46 it makes a big difference so yes your income is very high I know ex pats on around 800 To 1000 US a month and they manage ok and your not the only guy with a nice lady ok most of the partners and wife's of expats here are pretty decent ladies ,of course you will get the exception as for monthly expenditure it all comes down to how you want to live , The secret is to live as simply as possible . I don't drink or smoke or drive a car or bike and i am happy enough

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