The Philippines has a very low cost of living. The peso has significantly lost much of its value since the Asian Financial Crisis but over the past few years the country is getting back on its feet. The Philippine economy ranks 47th worldwide with a total GDP of over 120 billion euros. Expatriates will find living in the country very cheap compared to the United Kingdom.
The unemployment rate is not tremendously high but poverty may have been rampant due to overpopulation. The Philippines is the 12th most populous country globally with over 88 million people. Some individuals live on 2 euros daily so if immigrants are used to earning 2,000 euros every month, they will be able to afford a semi-luxurious quality of life.
The Philippine economy is a free market and most of its foreign earnings rely on remittances from overseas Filipino workers that comprises over 10% of the total population. The country was dubbed as a newly industrialized country and is a member of the APEC, IMF and other financial institutions. In recent years, the economy has been growing steadily at a rate of 7% each year. The government is actually looking for more foreign investors to bring in pounds, euros and dollars. Most foreign businesses cover trade, agriculture and telecommunications.
Food and Drinks Costs in the Philippines
Food and drinks are very cheap in the Philippines. A regular individual spends around 200 euros every month. One can eat in middle class restaurants every day since each meal would roughly cost 3 to 4 euros. There is also more expensive food in hotels and fine restaurants that can reach up to 150 euros for a meal and accomodations.
Basically, Filipinos prefer buying raw goods like meat, fish, eggs, milk, fruits and vegetables at the local market to save more. The key is finding the best places to purchase these products from the myriad of stores available in cities and places throughout the archipelago. Another aspect of your groceries should be the purchase of bottled water as part of your grocery list.
The Philippines’ agricultural products are bountiful all-year round especially in surrounding provinces and the southern regions. Food in the capital city, Manila can cost twice as much compared to buying in other growing cities like Cebu and Davao.
Usual meat products in the country are pork and beef. Poultry and eggs are also staple food sources. The Philippines has several varieties of fruits and vegetables like mango, papaya, cabbage, eggplant, durian and beans which are sold at less than one Euro per kilo. Fish products like tuna and marlin are abundant in the southern island of Mindanao. The country also manufactures drinks like goat milk and fruit juices.
Clothing and Accessories Costs in the Philippines
Buying clothes in the Philippines can be considerably cheap. There are several types of textiles sold in all surrounding provinces that can cost only a fraction of the price compared to buying in Manila. Most expatriates travel down south when looking for exotic clothes like batik and tribal accessories since these are much cheaper.
On the average, Filipinos spend around 100 euros every month on clothes. Cars and electronics cost the same as in Europe and most brands are imported from Japan, the United States and China. The influx of china-made products has also caused locally made wares to decrease in price. The quality of these products is not as good but nevertheless very affordable. If looking for designer brands, expatriates can venture into Manila since there are several malls and shopping centers housing popular names from Europe and the US.
Housing Costs in the Philippines
Housing in the Philippines is very cheap but expatriates may have to change their citizenship or be married to a Filipino citizen before being allowed to own land. The high population count in Manila makes the city very expensive and congested to live in, so the options can be the other highly urbanized cities in the country, such as Metro Cebu and Metro Davao.
There are over 10 million residents in Manila alone. It will be ideal to rent a condominium units that are plenty in the downtown districts or a two-bedroom apartment. Rental rates are around 200 to 300 euros every month for an excellent quality and spacious condominium. Living in smaller houses and apartments can cost around 100 euros.
Some expatriates enjoy the southern regions of the Philippines since these are less populous and the place is more conducive for starting a family or retiring. The provinces are usually the spots where expatriates are eyeing on to buy property.
Some foreign investors with agricultural businesses live on the southern islands which relatively cost less than 100 euros for renting a house or apartment. There are also places where low class citizens are advised to live by the government. National housing authorities exist in most regions of the country to provide suitable living conditions for those with lower income.
Services Costs in the Philippines
Public hospitals are mainly subsidized by the government. The country currently has a lot of working hands in the health care sector so service and quality of care is excellent. There are also private institutions which are more expensive but render state-of-the-art approach and equipment. Medical tourism has been one of the recent projects that the Philippines wants to develop in the near future.
Transportation in the major cities is convenient and cheap. In Manila, there are buses, trains, taxis and MRT which can quickly take people around. Going around town will cost around 5 to 10 euros at most. Traveling to the southern regions can be done by airplane or boat. The Philippines has very modern airports and comfortable naval vessels which travel to and from different islands everyday.
Employment Costs in the Philippines
The Philippines is currently battling high unemployment rate at 7.3% overall, concentrated mainly in Metro Manila. There are several willing workers but job opportunities have not been that much despite the fact that the country ranks among the highest in the world in terms of literacy rate. At present, the country continues to control its population as well as send workers abroad to help the Philippine economy.
Expatriates can successfully find jobs in smaller cities or run businesses instead of being employed. Small businesses can do very well in provinces. In Manila, expatriates can still find employment considering that they have the right knowledge and skills on the fields in demand at the moment such as business, marketing, computer technology and engineering.