Cost of Living in the Philippines in 2020

Hi everyone,

Every year, we invite expats who are living in the Philippines to share their experience and tell us more about the average price of products and services in their town, city or area, so that we can help future expats planning to settle in the Philippines.
We would like to thank you in advance for your contribution.

Regarding accommodation, how much does it cost to rent or buy an apartment or a house in the Philippines?

How much do you pay on average for public transport (bus, subway, train, tram, taxi)?
How much does it cost to fill up your car’s fuel tank?

Concerning your food expenses : how much do you pay for basic food items such as rice, bread, and pasta? What is the average price of your monthly food shopping?

How much does it cost to have health insurance? How much for a health specialist’s consultation in the Philippines?

How much does childcare cost on average per month? What about school fees?

How much do you pay for electricity, gas, water, internet, mobile’s subscription etc., per month?

How much do you spend on leisure in the Philippines (cinema,sport, etc)?

Feel free to add any other daily expenses that you have in mind.

Thank you for sharing,

Loïc

Is it ok to post links to my blog where I have several posts on this topic?

presuming this is ok

cost of local market goods/produce
https://www.philippinedestiny.com/2019/ … t-day.html

breakdown of monthly cost for a family of three
https://www.philippinedestiny.com/2019/ … pines.html

PhilHealth
https://www.philippinedestiny.com/2019/ … ealth.html

basic appliances
https://www.philippinedestiny.com/2019/ … guide.html

Loïc :

Hi everyone,
Concerning your food expenses : how much do you pay for basic food items such as rice, bread, and pasta? What is the average price of your monthly food shopping?

When we go grocery shopping we have two lists mine (American Products) & other family products. My products come from S&R:

Smart Popcorn: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .179.50 PHP
Welches Concord Grape Juice:. . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . 249 PHP
Ocean Spray Diet Cranberry 3L:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1676 PHP
Costco Ground Coffee 1.36 Kg:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 799 PHP
Clasico Tomato  Sauce 32oz:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 199 PHP
Skippy Peanut Butter 48oz:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 708 PHP
Libbys Vienna Sausage 1 case, 18 cans:. . . . . . . . 654 PHP
White Castle Cheeseburgers Box: (six Burgers): 1197 PHP
Box of Philly Steak Sandwiches (6 sandwiches):  1199 PHP
Snapple 20oz: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65 PHP
Kraft Pimiento Cheese Whiz 456g: . . . . . . . . . . . . .158 PHP
Spam 20oz:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .171.50 PHP
Bertolli Alfredo Sauce 15Oz:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 154 PHP
Munchies Cheeze Fix:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .160.75 PHP

This is just my stuff, not my wifes or family.


Sometimes S&R runs out and doesn't restock my favorite brands, so I buy multiple of some of the items. Sometimes it's one & done with S&R, here today gone forever. That's why I have 8 jars of Kraft Mayo & Miracle Whip.

I did a detailed review last year so not going to repeat. We (family of 5) live in Cebu City and spend about 90-100K/mo. ($1800-2000/mo USD). Thats living a pleasant urban lifestyle.

We spend 25-30K for groceries for 5 people, including two boys that eat a lot. We do not eat a lot of processed foods at home but I do like to eat out, especially lunch, so another 10-15K for restaurant meals. There are many fantastic restaurants in Cebu.

We rent a home in the foothills for 24K plus 5-6K utilities. Tuition and school costs including vanpool add 10K/mo. Another 10-15K for misc expenses like gas for the car, clothing, weekend trips, doctor/dental visits, family assistance, etc. We own a 2014 Kia that has been extremely reliable and costs very little to maintain and insure - about (25-30K/yr). It has had a hard life here in the congested city, lol.

Philippine Destiny :

Is it ok to post links to my blog where I have several posts on this topic?

Very nice blog PD. I poked around your site, very well done and interesting.

pnwcyclist :
Philippine Destiny :

Is it ok to post links to my blog where I have several posts on this topic?

Very nice blog PD. I poked around your site, very well done and interesting.

Thanks.

There might be some errors here and there.

I don't proof read well on the first go around and for some reason I have to force myself to look at stuff after I hit enter.

Amazing in depth blog PD  : many thanks & the real eye opener.

I am just just "amazed"; more like "thunder struck" at the actual "breakdown cost" of living here (expat lifestyle) in the Philippines, in a so called a 3rd world developing country & definitely **not at all cheap as many would assume.

I guess you were *not joking when you told me to take my *red pill dosage on alternate days & I think I will do that immediately...I've been on the *blue pill for far too long.

Thanks Again
:thanks:  :thanks:  :thanks:

manwonder :

Amazing in depth blog PD  : many thanks & the real eye opener.

I am just just "amazed"; more like "thunder struck" at the actual "breakdown cost" of living here (expat lifestyle) in the Philippines, in a so called a 3rd world developing country & definitely **not at all cheap as many would assume.

I guess you were *not joking when you told me to take my *red pill dosage on alternate days & I think I will do that immediately...I've been on the *blue pill for far too long.

Thanks Again
:thanks:  :thanks:  :thanks:

don't take the red and blue pills at the same time. You might see red and blue lights if you do  :D

But I think it is pretty cheap living in Philippines.

The base cost for the 3 of us is $11k.

We don't need a car and we own the house.

That is very cheap, I think.

But groceries have rocketed up since the tax hikes.

I assume the $11K is for a year.

I would argue that the base cost description is inaccurate since housing is not included and little is more basic than housing/food.  Reasonable housing could be $3600 a year or so bumping your basic to $14,000 to $15,000.

Tsmslf :

I assume the $11K is for a year.

I would argue that the base cost description is inaccurate since housing is not included and little is more basic than housing/food.  Reasonable housing could be $3600 a year or so bumping your basic to $14,000 to $15,000.

Hi tsmslf;
*No Arguments required here, 'PD' has excluded the requ'd Housing/Car expenses. So best to unlock your other SUBSTANTIAL fund chest & use it to purchase the Housing+Car+Emergency Fund if all goes wrong+SRRV fund if you intend to stay here long term.
That's why I find the base monthly costs v.expensive to start with!

Thanks & Have a good one!

Tsmslf :

I assume the $11K is for a year.

I would argue that the base cost description is inaccurate since housing is not included and little is more basic than housing/food.  Reasonable housing could be $3600 a year or so bumping your basic to $14,000 to $15,000.

In the article I listed an example 300,000PHP per year for rent and 130,000PHP per year vehicle expense (included depreciation) for a yearly total of just over 1 million PHP.

I have a lot of anxiety about buying a car.

That shiny new investment can become a heap of worthless junk in a second.

We have gotten by with public transport for 10 years and we are out in a rural area. It has not been a great inconvenience. We have employed numerous drivers in that time.

I have witnessed our hired drivers' vehicle being struck in traffic and they have little recourse but to accept the damage.

There have also been times when we come out of the store and find that someone hit the driver's vehicle in the parking lot. Nothing can be done.

One of our drivers told me that people throw things at his windshield.

Not sure that I want to deal with all of that.

It would be cool to see a shiny truck in front of the house. maybe not so much to actually drive it.

Philippine Destiny :

I have a lot of anxiety about buying a car.

That shiny new investment can become a heap of worthless junk in a second.

We have gotten by with public transport for 10 years and we are out in a rural area. It has not been a great inconvenience. We have employed numerous drivers in that time.

I have witnessed our hired drivers' vehicle being struck in traffic and they have little recourse but to accept the damage.

There have also been times when we come out of the store and find that someone hit the driver's vehicle in the parking lot. Nothing can be done.

One of our drivers told me that people throw things at his windshield.

Not sure that I want to deal with all of that.

It would be cool to see a shiny truck in front of the house. maybe not so much to actually drive it.

Wise decision once again PD...all the more to jus settle for one of those "SHINY SHINNY" brand new multicabs!!

:D

Yep the car's are expensive, yet no more than in my home country  (except that car's are cheaper to buy in Australia than they are in the Philippine's  - must be the tax that is charged to then on importation into the Philippines)


Cost of owning and running a car

Purchase cost of car     PHP 1,900,000
   

Car Deprecation PA - Based full depreciation every 12 years    PHP 158,333
Rego PA Car    PHP 10,000
Car Servicing PA    PHP 51,000
Insurance PA Car    PHP 35,000
Car Petrol PW = PHP 1,700 =     PA - PHP 88,400


Total cost Per year:                        PHP 342,733

Total cost of Per Week                    PHP 6,591

pej1111 :

Yep the car's are expensive, yet no more than in my home country  (except that car's are cheaper to buy in Australia than they are in the Philippine's  - must be the tax that is charged to then on importation into the Philippines)


Cost of owning and running a car

Purchase cost of car     PHP 1,900,000
   

Car Deprecation PA - Based full depreciation every 12 years    PHP 158,333
Rego PA Car    PHP 10,000
Car Servicing PA    PHP 51,000
Insurance PA Car    PHP 35,000
Car Petrol PW = PHP 1,700 =     PA - PHP 88,400


Total cost Per year:                        PHP 342,733

Total cost of Per Week                    PHP 6,591

PHP 1,900,000 is a nicely equipped Everest. Way more car than most people need.

A well equipped new crew cab truck will run 1.2-1.4 million.

new  Mux - 1.3-1.5 million

many new  cars under 1 million

a new base 4 door truck for about a million

wide variety of used options well under 1 million and most of the depreciation is already wrung out of them

maintenance on a new vehicle will not be close to 51k per year and if it is then you bought a lemon

Anyone who is paying 1.9 million for a vehicle in the Philippines is not concerned with the cost of living.

I like the 4-door Nissan Navara

https://www.nissan.ph/vehicles/new/np30 … tions.html

Right around 1 million for the one I want.

Insurance: 25k

Maintenance should be very low fro many years. I have owned two in the past and they cost almost nothing to drive other than tires, batteries, filters and oil. Maybe 10-20 k per year esp under warranty.

Fuel cost depends.

Depreciation will be high. You lose 25% when you drive it off the lot.

But this is a mid level choice IMO where COA is concerned. maybe this one is about 200k.

There are lots of other options esp the used ones or the multicabs.

pej1111 :

Yep the car's are expensive, yet no more than in my home country  (except that car's are cheaper to buy in Australia than they are in the Philippine's  - must be the tax that is charged to then on importation into the Philippines)


Cost of owning and running a car

Purchase cost of car     PHP 1,900,000
   

Car Deprecation PA - Based full depreciation every 12 years    PHP 158,333
Rego PA Car    PHP 10,000
Car Servicing PA    PHP 51,000
Insurance PA Car    PHP 35,000
Car Petrol PW = PHP 1,700 =     PA - PHP 88,400


Total cost Per year:                        PHP 342,733

Total cost of Per Week                    PHP 6,591

Agreed pej1111;

Thats hardly cheap!!!

"Sigh..sigh"..I'm getting the cold feet feeling again!!

Time for me to go to the SARI2 shop, and get hold of the local 'Long Neck Tanduay' that is about the only thing that still remains CHEAP!

:D

Agreed PD :

Especially the  "NISSAN NAVARA" in
savannah ORANGE!

Yes "I Like"

:D  :D  :D

manwonder :

Agreed PD :

Especially the  "NISSAN NAVARA" in
savannah ORANGE!

Yes "I Like"

:D  :D  :D

you nailed it

I do not know why I like that one, but it is my favorite. Probably because that seems to be the most common color I see them in.

But my choice is always white. The paint is more resilient.

.

Right on PD;

I was quoted 972t for brand new wif  3yr registration (4x2/6 Speed Manual/EL Calibre model) and a real beauty/work horse.

"I like"

:thanks:

manwonder :

Right on PD;

I was quoted 972t for brand new wif  3yr registration (4x2/6 Speed Manual/EL Calibre model) and a real beauty/work horse.

"I like"

:thanks:

how long ago was that quote?

Abt 3mths ago

pej1111, I have updated my article based upon your input

The Navara is the best looking truck on the market IMO.

it's the curves

for some reason I like them  :D

I too love everything about the NN..& still very much do!...I seriously wanted to get one about 1yr ago & communicated/emailed Nissan Manila HQ a few times basis a full cash purchase & infact rechecked prices again 3mths ago.Haizzz.  :/
But something just kept telling me to go easy....Like you mentioned I too cannot handle a broken windscreen or windows/scratches/dents & the horrible roads in my province.
Not forgetting the dangerous drivers, and the envious eyes around.
You won't have all those problems/headaches with a brand new Multicab....I like the idea of being in control / always in a position of being able to write off anything & everything that I do here in the phils...so I stick that into my head always....thats just me guys!..no offence meant!!!!

Time for my pills again!!!

:D

here is a nice economical vehicle for someone's asawa

https://www.carousell.ph/p/ferrari-458- … ap_index=9

LOL!! That one's for me..

Seriously though, you need not pay more than a million for a good car. In 2014 I bought  from a departing expat a 3 month old Kia Rio Hatchback which is a fully equipped car, not a stripper - bluetooth, rain sensing wipers, back up sensors, etc.  It's slightly smaller than a Sportage and I paid 720K for it. It has been a terrific urban car with only a couple of minor issues fixed under the comprehensive 5 year warranty. Change oil once a year with full synthetic, tires every other year, a couple batteries.. and keep rolling.

We have put 10K km/year on it, at the blistering average pace of 15km/h here in Cebu, lol. Going to the mall, taking her and the kids to school, weekend trips to Moalboal, Bantayan, Bohol.. or the province, where it has impressed on the steep gravel road. The worst part is the low profile factory tires which get chewed up on the bad roads and attract nails, but every other aspect has been good and it still steers perfectly straight to my unending amazement. Folding the seats allows a bike or large items to easily go in also, which is important for me. 

What is really important to me is having dual airbags, a great HVAC and Recirc system for the polluted air here, and not having to sit in some filthy taxi and listen to the crap on the radio station, or repeating Hinay-Hinay to the race car driver behind the wheel..

It still steers perfectly straight to my unending amazement...yes you got a winner!
The brand new multicab can't do that!!!

:one

Cheers & Have a good one!

pnwcyclist :

LOL!! That one's for me..

Seriously though, you need not pay more than a million for a good car. In 2014 I bought  from a departing expat a 3 month old Kia Rio Hatchback which is a fully equipped car, not a stripper - bluetooth, rain sensing wipers, back up sensors, etc.  It's slightly smaller than a Sportage and I paid 720K for it. It has been a terrific urban car with only a couple of minor issues fixed under the comprehensive 5 year warranty. Change oil once a year with full synthetic, tires every other year, a couple batteries.. and keep rolling.

We have put 10K km/year on it, at the blistering average pace of 15km/h here in Cebu, lol. Going to the mall, taking her and the kids to school, weekend trips to Moalboal, Bantayan, Bohol.. or the province, where it has impressed on the steep gravel road. The worst part is the low profile factory tires which get chewed up on the bad roads and attract nails, but every other aspect has been good and it still steers perfectly straight to my unending amazement. Folding the seats allows a bike or large items to easily go in also, which is important for me. 

What is really important to me is having dual airbags, a great HVAC and Recirc system for the polluted air here, and not having to sit in some filthy taxi and listen to the crap on the radio station, or repeating Hinay-Hinay to the race car driver behind the wheel..

I know there are good used vehicles out there and that is why I cannot bring myself to buy a new one. I know I will be throwing money away. The problem for us is that we are remote and it's difficult to find a used vehicle for sale that I can trust. I want to find the kind of deal that you got.

Absolutely right.. I didn't want to sink too much into it at that point (buying new) and yet didn't want to buy a used vehicle with too many Km on it without a service history. Just started looking around and asking.. and this one popped up. Three months old with 3K on it. Saved 150K off price of a new one. The salesman at the car dealership actually told me about it, even though he wasn't supposed to, lol. He knew the expat was leaving, and so he got a little piece of the action, haha.

In the US I buy all my vehicles used, 2-3 years old but still under warranty. Let someone else take that initial hit.

pnwcyclist :

Absolutely right.. I didn't want to sink too much into it at that point (buying new) and yet didn't want to buy a used vehicle with too many Km on it without a service history. Just started looking around and asking.. and this one popped up. Three months old with 3K on it. Saved 150K off price of a new one. The salesman at the car dealership actually told me about it, even though he wasn't supposed to, lol. He knew the expat was leaving, and so he got a little piece of the action, haha.

In the US I buy all my vehicles used, 2-3 years old but still under warranty. Let someone else take that initial hit.

Sure. If only slightly used, that´s good planning. In the Philippines - upon purchase of a used car, do they let you bring the car to a mechanic for inspection before the purchase?

robal :
pnwcyclist :

Absolutely right.. I didn't want to sink too much into it at that point (buying new) and yet didn't want to buy a used vehicle with too many Km on it without a service history. Just started looking around and asking.. and this one popped up. Three months old with 3K on it. Saved 150K off price of a new one. The salesman at the car dealership actually told me about it, even though he wasn't supposed to, lol. He knew the expat was leaving, and so he got a little piece of the action, haha.

In the US I buy all my vehicles used, 2-3 years old but still under warranty. Let someone else take that initial hit.

Sure. If only slightly used, that´s good planning. In the Philippines - upon purchase of a used car, do they let you bring the car to a mechanic for inspection before the purchase?

Any seller who does not allow you to have the vehicle independently checked out should be avoided.

Normally all used car sellers/dealers here do allow you to bring along your own mechanic to view/inspect the vehicle within their premises....but never allow you to drive the vehicle out to bring it to another independant workshop for further assessment.
(Note : For any vehicle priced [at] <1M pesos for those that I have viewed!)

Philippine Destiny :
robal :
pnwcyclist :

Absolutely right.. I didn't want to sink too much into it at that point (buying new) and yet didn't want to buy a used vehicle with too many Km on it without a service history. Just started looking around and asking.. and this one popped up. Three months old with 3K on it. Saved 150K off price of a new one. The salesman at the car dealership actually told me about it, even though he wasn't supposed to, lol. He knew the expat was leaving, and so he got a little piece of the action, haha.

In the US I buy all my vehicles used, 2-3 years old but still under warranty. Let someone else take that initial hit.

Sure. If only slightly used, that´s good planning. In the Philippines - upon purchase of a used car, do they let you bring the car to a mechanic for inspection before the purchase?

Any seller who does not allow you to have the vehicle independently checked out should be avoided.

Agree.

manwonder :

Normally all used car sellers/dealers here do allow you to bring along your own mechanic to view/inspect the vehicle within their premises....but never allow you to drive the vehicle out to bring it to another independant workshop for further assessment.
(Note : For any vehicle priced [at] <1M pesos for those that I have viewed!)

Ok. That´s also easy to stomach. As long as they let your mechanic poke around the engine, transmission and suspension. Of course he should be able to test drive it.

Well I'm kind of a car guy (used to do all my own repairs) so I usually feel comfortable checking vehicles out myself, especially newer ones.. along with a test drive. But I was fooled once in Oregon and bought a truck with a bad con-rod bearing. Lowlifes had put heavy oil in to mask it. Now I only buy newer cars with maintenance records, haha.

to many of those in Oregon! So a Lemon law was passed

This kind of reminds of the saying "how long is a piece of string" Much depends on how you want to live and where. If you insist on living a western life style to max then you will pay to the max.
My advise find how you want to live and where as this greatly effects your economy Ie do you need a car and driver, If your concerned about security maybe you need to hire a vet as a driver for protection or lived in a enclosed housing set up. How much of the local diet can you stomach/like etc. Provincial living is less costly in every aspect but it does have it own costs especially around medical issues.
Medical will always be expensive as a westerner due to our expectations. If for example you live in Cebu then Chong Hua will be only hospital that will meet your expectations. Any similar hospitals around the country will be the same.

Good morning Folks,

Does anyone know of good condo rents in Davao.

Cheers

thewoodenpotter :

This kind of reminds of the saying "how long is a piece of string" Much depends on how you want to live and where. If you insist on living a western life style to max then you will pay to the max.
My advise find how you want to live and where as this greatly effects your economy Ie do you need a car and driver, If your concerned about security maybe you need to hire a vet as a driver for protection or lived in a enclosed housing set up. How much of the local diet can you stomach/like etc. Provincial living is less costly in every aspect but it does have it own costs especially around medical issues.
Medical will always be expensive as a westerner due to our expectations. If for example you live in Cebu then Chong Hua will be only hospital that will meet your expectations. Any similar hospitals around the country will be the same.

This has been an interesting watch (the OP) with all the great input, even the red and blue pill conundrum, interestingly I worked for 4 months in Fox studios and Sydney streets while we made the first Matrix movie, 97, released 98. Great job and yes great film.

Our budget (said and justified this before in other posts) is AU 3K per month. Always left overs. We own our house and live well but not excessive. We both drink and smoke away money, our choice. We looked at buying the new  Ford Wildtrak 12/18 months ago primarily because they were about 12K cheaper than in Oz........ no taxes on utilities in PH. that's why you see so many running around.
Any way on reflection and soul searching found no need for a ute especially given every thing here can be delivered at minimal/occasionally no cost.

We purchased a Haima S5 noble, a Chinese knock of brand mirroring European styling and appointments (had an SL Merc. and 508 Pug in Oz) so looked for similar appointments at a reasonable price) with space and good ergonomics etc.
PHP 1,050,000. 3 years rego, 1 year comp insurance.  First service [at] 2,500 kms was 3,400 pesos and that was with fully synthetic oil to make the next service at 12,500 kms. The car has only 4,500 kms after 8 months,,,,,,,,, Ben and I use the Mio most times to dart in and out of town. Keep the car 10 years? Probably only 60 to 80K on the clock. sell the car for 250K so lost 80K per year plus running costs, for us very affordable.

Living carefully in PH. can be cheap, Ben is there looking after our house while I am working O/S  and lives very well on only AU 1K per month and that includes internet, power, sat tv, Barangay rates etc. so I am the pig when there tripling our budget but as said there are left overs that we enjoy in travelling etc.
Yes how long is a piece of string but the question that is never asked is the quality, only astute research by the individual can work that out.

Cheers, Steve.

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