Lower Cost of Living in the Philippines? Yep! But Lower Quality of Life As Well…

 

One of the things to keep in mind when considering retiring, working or studying in the Philippines is the inevitable trade off between lower cost of living and lower quality of life.  Yes, it does cost less to live in the Philippines, but unless you are spending an ungodly amount of money, you are probably not going to be able to achieve the same quality of life that you will experience in the West – and even if you are spending thousands of dollars every month, you are still going to encounter many of the factors noted below that decrease one’s overall quality of life.  This “quality of life” aspect is an important thing to keep in mind when you see expats blogs (like ours) talking about our low monthly expense totals. 

As examples, let’s look at some factors which affect quality of life in the Philippines.

Marauding Mozzies:  Dengue, malaria and zika can all be delivered by mosquitoes in the Philippines. (Mozzies are, in fact, the number one killer here!) All these maladies have long-term ramifications on one’s health and two of them can kill you.

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Emergency Care:  Although the Philippines has its own version of 911, don’t expect emergency responders to zoom in with ambulances or rescue vehicles  when you’re having heart palpitations by the side of the road. 

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Shopping Opportunities: You could theoretically shop on Amazon and have them ship to the Philippines but you will suffer the 40-50 percent customs fee when it finally arrives – if it does arrive, that is. Things can be out of stock, the quality of the Chinese 2nd and 3rd tier goods is pretty crummy and higher end items are more expensive than those in the West. 

Libraries:  I love libraries.  Unfortunately, the Philippines doesn’t seem to be so similarly enthralled, so finding one outside of the NCR can be a bit challenging.  Thankfully, there are e-readers. Otherwise I would have lost my mind here years ago.

Poverty:  If you’ve never experienced real poverty (that off the Third World), it can be quite a shock.  And even though it’s easier to deal with First World guilt than actually having to live in poverty, it definitely has an effect on foreigners living here.

Traffic:  Many cities in the Philippines have not given much thought to civil planning and you will find most urban byways filled with bikes, trikes, jeepneys, buses and the odd caraboa or pedal-trike.  Driving is also difficult here (Manila was recently reported to the worst place to drive in the world) and we have known many fellow expats who have died or seriously injured themselves in motor accidents. 

Trash:  The Philippines doesn’t aggressively enforce litter laws, so you will see many areas peppered with trash – veritable piles of it in some places. 

Air Quality:  Emission regulations are not heavily enforced in the Philippines, so most urban areas are filled with noxious clouds of diesel smoke.  Add in burning trash/leaves to control mosquitoes (especially in late afternoon), and the air quality in more built-up areas is not exactly conducive to a healthy lifestyle.

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Internet:  The Philippines has the third worst internet in Southeast Asia.  It is also some of the most expensive:  8 MB DL/.5 MB UL runs around 2,600 pesos per month with the most reliable provider PLDT.  You can pay less with Sky or Globe, but your signal typically won’t be as stable. 

Socializing:  Although there are thousands of foreigners living in the Philippines, you typically won’t have the social options that are available in the West.  The “pool” of eligible new friends based on common interests can be rather limited.  Either that, or I am just too picky….

Political Instability:  Some foreigners refer to the Philippines as the “Wild Wild West.”  Some like that aspect of living here. At this period of time (September 2016), that description is never more apt given President Duterte’s war on drugs.  As of September 30, the body count of slain drug dealers and users stands at 3,100 and he just stated that he will kill drug users and dealers like Hitler killed Jews.  So, to say there is some instability in the Philippines right now is a bit of an understatement.  Duterte is also seeking to wipe out generations of government corruption, which is something that has plagued the nation for decades, threatening to declare martial law if his efforts are opposed.

Noise: Like litter laws and emission control enforcement, noise ordinances are not generally enforced in the Philippines.  From the annoying screams of DBS muffler exhausts to always-bass-heavy-and-distorted karaoke parties, some areas of the Philippines can be VERY noisy.

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OK, so those are just a few of the many factors that contribute to a lower quality of life in the Philippines.  Feel free to add any others you can think of in the comment section below.

Now, I am sure that some folks are going to take exception to my “lower quality of life” stance.  That’s all good, but realize that one has to be realistic about such things.  If you are totally OK with living in a provincial (country) area with no internet, intermittent electricity, no healthcare, stores, restaurants or the like, than your definition of “quality of life” might be a bit different. 

What are your thoughts and experiences with dealing with quality of life issues living in the Philippines?  Feel free to leave them down in the comment section and become a part of the discussion!

Comments 49

  1. Ned, I’ll bite on air quality and traffic.

    The rest isn’t on my radar. I may be a little different to some here in that I’ve been in and out of the Middle East since 1976 and am not surprised by anything I found here.

    Duterte has been seriously misrepresented on the Hitler thing. Unfortunate.

    I find quality of life here at least as good as rural Canada, and in many way that matter to me it’s quite a bit better.

    And cheap. Mustn’t forget cheap!! 😉

  2. I can’t fault Ned on any aspect of this. I have lived in other 3rd world countries and they are very similar. After Ned’s features on Philippine culture I started to really look at different situations that have occurred to me while staying here. It helped make sense of some oddities. The thing he left out. Unbelievable heat almost every day and lack of decent air con in most rentals. Or the beloved foreigner tax that appears out of no where when seeing certain doctors or going to the local market. And anyone doubting the pollution only needs to walk near the Boulevard in Dumaguete and look at the sewage spewing into the sea amongst an entourage of garbage floating near the shore. Welcome home….

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  3. Don,

    Your comment made me realize how lucky I am with my own situation.

    I was in Doha in 2015, it’s 45C in the summer. Kurdistan in 2013, and Erbil hits over 50C in the summer. While it’s hot here it isn’t as bad as the Gulf.

    Rocel was an OFW in Doha when we met. We went back to Canada together then came here. Rocel already owned a house here so making improvements to it made sense.

    She is a very good deterrent to anyone trying the Kano tax on for size. Same in the market. We have a private shopper there, the same one her mom and sister use so we get good deals.

    If I had come here as a single man, particularly if I had no experience in the developing world, then every one of your and Ned’s points would be a real downer.

    As it is, meh. I like it here.

  4. This article is spot on. Although I like lots of Filipinos– and especially the Filipinas, the country itself is mostly a dump compared to what most Americans are used to. If it was nice, then a lot of broke expats couldn’t afford it.

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  5. On the financial side. Well for me it’s far better and at its worst it’s balanced with US living costs. The rent if your smart is considerably cheaper. My own example is I rent now a three bedroom apartment that is the size of my aunts house in Florida. Mind you she lives in a two bedroom house one bathroom kitchen living room dinning room and another room in the back. It’s a middle to lower class neighborhood not an upity one. My kitchen is two almost three times the size hers is dining room area is twice hers living room is equal in size I have two bedrooms and a covered porch and car port. She has neither of those. Her house would rent for minimum $750 a month roughly P33,750. I pay P20,000. As far as electricity. Here I run a 2hp ac in the living room from the time I wake up till the time I sleep. When I sleep I run the ac in the bedroom. So 24hr ac. Also have large fridge aquarium lighting tv and various other electronics that run almost nonstop. Cost roughly P8000 per month $175. That is similar to what I would pay in the 2000 square ft house I was renting before moving here from Florida. So electric costs have not really changed. Water is about P400 $8. I make my own drinking water with an RO unit. Clothes are washed here by hand also and several potted plants are watered twice a day. 3 adults and one child bathe daily.( wife twice a day) Internet may only be 10mbps but I only pay P500 $9-$10 a month. (This is split three ways as three units share the usage and cost) but other than in the late evening around 8pm does it get to slow to use. Never have issues with it other than that. Food cost us P20,000 $445 a month for 4 people. That’s comparable to what I was spending in the US. I bought a motorcycle here which given the terrible traffic is the easiest and quickest way to get around. Had I bought it brand new it would have cost around P95,000 that’s a little over $2000. Good luck with finding a brand new motorcycle under $5000 in the US. Not easy. Gas is around P1600 $35 a month and we have driven over 1000 km. Registration is under $20 a year…..that’s right….a year. US will cost if your lucky $100 in insurance a month. Insurance is also very cheap. Majority of living expenses are far cheaper here. Unless your coming here with the notion of….hey it’s so cheap I’ll live like a king and be fine….then you’ll do great and be fine. Even eating out if done properly can be super cheap and affordable. Another example. My wife and I go out almost every evening and have desert at Sans Rival by the boulevard. She likes to get the cinnamon walnut bun which is nearly as good as Cinnabon and I like to get the chocolate mouse cup. We spend a total of a whopping $1.50 for the total bill. Try that in the states ha. We like to eat street BBQ once a week at least. Four people cost a total of $3.50. Not each person but total. This is just two examples. So for those that come to a country like the Philippines and go broke and can’t afford to live is not trying to live within proper means. Here I live as good a lifestyle I had in the US. In fact it’s a much better life.

    Best thing a person can be when coming to a third world country is patient or chill laid back. Don’t be in a rush for anything. If your like this then long lines and traffic won’t matter to you. Look beyond the trash laying around. It’s spectacularly beautiful here. Pristine clear blue waters filled with lush corals and fish. Mountains that are filled with jungle and forests that you can drive through. Not buildings. Spectacular rivers and waterfalls all over the islands. The burning trash dogs barking and chickens crowing…..well after a while they fade out. I still have not encountered a foreigners tax that everyone keeps mentioning. Either way I love it here to the max.

  6. Right now I live in Cavite and life is pretty good, I have PLDT unli for P1540 with 5mpbs and it has been very reliable for the past 2 years. Our apartment in a small subdivision is nice enough, it was unfurnished so I bought a ref and aircon and all the other necessities that make my (our) life comfortable enough. I have not experienced too much Kano tax. The garbage everywhere and the burning of it does bring me down. The noise here is not so bad, yea there is occasional late night Karaoke. We are looking forward to visiting Duma and eventually moving to some province in the vasayas eventually. I would like to live closer to a nice clean beach area some day. I have been able to find a few other expats to hang out with occasionally. Over the relatively small sacrifice in quality of living has been more then made up for by the cost of living. We are currently sharing a 2 bedroom apartment and last few months I only spent about $500-$600 on everything for the 2 of us, and yes that includes rent/util/internet/food/travel/immigration/entertainment and we don’t have a car or motor so we take public transport wherever we go.

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  7. Is Zika already in the Philippines? They did a study recently in Oz and they found we only had one species of mozzy in Oz that could spread the Zika virus; the Aedis Egypti mosquito; unfortunately it can also spread Dengue, Malaria and Ross River virus as well. This little bug is also in the USA and they have already had cases of locally contracted cases of Zika in Florida. So the USA doesn’t have that over the Philippines.
    Air Pollution? Manila – yes; other larger cities – yes; but Dumaguete? – Surely thats being a bit precious!
    Noise Pollution? Another of the pet peeves on the list of Mr Duterte is the noisy motorbikes from what I have been hearing and therefore you should be expecting some action on this pretty soon after he has knocked off a few more junkies, dealers and starts getting rid of the king pins; but what do we have in Oz and the USA, dickheads driving their turbo-charged cars blowing the pop off valves every time they change gears, with mega-phone exhausts and sub-woofers going boom-boom as they deafen themselves and everyone else whilst driving down the street.
    Smokey fires and Karaoke – I suppose you could try choosing your neighbours, but thats not a guarantee of perpetual peace and clean air.
    Do your friends have any problems like that up above Sibulan?
    Political stability – Seems pretty stable to me, but I’m looking from the outside.
    Is it safe for Expats – Anecdotally – yes; unless you get involved in crime, local or Philippines national issues.
    At least unlike the USA your don’t have to worry so much about some dickhead claim his rights under the Constitution to bear arms and to prove his point he or she goes out and buys him or herself a fully automatic capable mil-standard weapon. Law enforcement and the military should be the only people who should have access to those types of weapons. Semi-automatic weapons if even that should be the only types of weapons civilians should be allowed to own.
    I suppose it is all a case of:
    What you need – First;
    What you want – Second; and
    What you can tolerate – Third;
    Which will drive your choice on whether to live in the Philippines.

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      Yep, Zika is in the Philippines.
      The quality of the air around Dumaguete can be pretty bad – especially with all the diesel trucks, two-strokes and burning trash.
      Yeah, the bora-bora mufflers and karaoke are pretty bad.
      Thanks for adding all of that, Martin!

      1. Ned, I plan to be in Dumaguete in November for 4 weeks.
        Plan to stay at the Bethel Guest House for at least the first week unless there is some festival on in which case I will book for the whole time there in advance to ensure I have accommodation.
        I know they are a ‘No Alcohol’ establishment but are they ‘No Smoking’ as well?
        If they are, I guess I will have the opportunity to check out the trucks and pollution on the Boulevard when I pop out to have a puff, no problems though because I will be breathing through a filter.
        I’m reading a book at the moment that you might be interested in, Kim Stanley Robinson’s Green Earth series in an omnibus edition, I should have finished it by then.
        Let me know if you are interested and I will bring it as a gift to distract you from what you should be paying attention to on your honey moon :–)

    2. Good post until you decided to drag the 2nd Amendment into it which has nothing to do with the Philippines :)) I really hate ignorant statements. You obviously don’t know much about firearms or actual crime statistics :))

      Is it safe in the Philippines? It’s like anywhere else, there are likely some areas to avoid but many areas are fine. Other than one attempt to pick my pocket I’ve never had a problem in the Philippines and I’ve been going there for over 9 years. Most recently I spent almost 12 months there.

      You do realize that in spite of what you consider to be better gun laws, the homicide rate by firearms in the Philippines is over double the US homicide rate? 8.9 for the Philippines vs 3.43 for the US per 100,000 population according to the most recently available statistics. Having said that I don’t worry to much about my personal safety there. Just use common sense and situational awareness and most people are fine.

      You make it seem like buying an automatic weapon in the US is as easy as going to Wal-Mart :)) Far from it! Automatic weapons are not commonly owned in the US and are a tiny minority of the weapons owned there. Lot’s of hoops to jump through to own one. There is a virtual ban on civilian ownership of automatic firearms manufactured after 1986. Pre-1986 automatic firearms have all kinds of restrictions and in addition to registration are subject to additional inspections to insure they are secure. Maybe that’s why only 3 crimes have been committed by legally owned machine guns since 1934 and 2 of the 3 were committed by police officers!

      Don’t let facts get in your way though :)) Just remember google is your friend 😉 Again, good post except for getting your facts wrong on firearms.

  8. Ned on the down side there are some nasty ex-pats in the Philippines who prey on other ex-pats. Very difficult if an ex-pat wants a business to support himself.
    When a waiter gets something wrong on your order they then don’t understand English.

    Whatever your monthly income is, don’t live to 100% of your income, use a max of 75% so if something unexpected comes up or the exchange goes against you, you will have cash buffer.

    You could also do another feature on the positive things about the Philippines

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      Thanks, Gerry. I think a lot of our videos show the positives of living here. Every now and then, I just got to throw out that there are definite downsides as well. Good advice on saving a percentage of your income!

  9. Rent P20,000 3 bedroom 2 bathrooms
    Electric P8,000 I run 2hp aircon 24 hrs a day
    Internet P500 for 10mbps
    Water P300 also make my own RO water for drinking.
    Gasoline P1,600 gets me around 800-1000km on the motorcycle
    Food P20,000 feeds four people home cooked meals
    Extra expenses i.e. Soap Tp excetra P5,000
    Total P55,400 or $1,200 give or take.
    Philippine costs of living a pretty decent life.

    Rent $750-$800 or more for three bedroom apartment
    Electric $150-$200 central air on around 73F
    Internet $75 gets you around 90+mbps
    Water $30 but includes garbage disposal
    Gasoline $30 for motorcycle $100-$200 for car or truck
    Food $400-$500 because food ain’t cheep
    Extra expenses like soap detergent tp $50-$100
    If you have a vehicle monthly insurance is mandatory $150
    Total $1,885 or $2,055 if you own a car or truck
    US minimum living expenses.

    There are ways to live cheaper anywhere I suppose. However here in the Philippines is where I found it easier to live a better lifestyle. Here is where I found my happiness. The type that many search their whole lives for and never find.

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  10. Since i met a woman online from Bohol I have followed phillipine dreams channel and blogs I have been there and cebu twice for 30 day visits. As i dont have much to offer in the way of experiences. I will as a way of expressing gratitude for the expats that have posts, opinions and comments say that all of you full time expat residents seem to like the challenge of 3rd world living else why is the quality of life there appealing at all, taking into account all the negatives…relentless heat, noise, pollution, without a shady spot on the beach and a motorcycle i was bored while there. As you might infer I am not humidity tolerant and i find myself always competing for my turn to watching something on TV besides telesary and novelas with Uyab. If you live in the phillipines you really have to be slightly to very much more intelligent and resourcefull to tolerate the negatives than the average patriot at home, Is the motivation to live there mostly your love for the pinay over women in your home country? Im somewhat of a status symbol to my girlfriend as foreigner therefore i always feel like i need to be poor mouthed in order to preserve my finances but if you ever spluge on anything then it is presumed that i have more that i let on. I’d be interested to hear just what it is for some of you that keeps you living there ?

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      My reason for staying is that – despite all the drawbacks – I still enjoy living and working here. Some parts of the nation are stunningly beautiful, the people are generally very nice, the availability of fresh fish and veggies is amazing and you can save SO much money by living and working here. Thanks, Michael.

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  11. Great post Ned, Expats planning to move in the Philippines need to be made aware of these annoyances before they make the move.
    Personally I have tried to accept the loud motorcycles, but in 3 years I still cannot get used to them. Unlike America were you might cross 2-3 of them on a bad day, here I am bombarded by the constant rumble of the 100 cc motorcycles that sound like 1000CC Haley Davidson’s….It’s complete non-sense and destroys the beauty of Dumaguete. You cannot sit on a patio and enjoy a cold one, without getting blasted by morons on loud bikes or smoked out by a diesel monster from the 50’s. Even worst, there is a bylaw in place that forbids these bikes, but again nothing is done to address the issue.
    Noise combined with the pollution of diesel cars and trucks, makes Dumaguete one of the worst cities I have travelled too. I have found wonderful, civilized retirement havens in Penang, Langkawi, Siem Reap, Ubud, Chiang Mai, and Hanoi. The only reason I can see why anyone would choose to live in Dumaguete is for the beautiful woman!

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    2. Not just the beautiful women mate.
      The percentage of English speakers is also reasonably high and that is a definite plus compared to all the other places you mentioned.
      That is one of the reasons I have chosen the Philippines over Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam or China as the place I want to retire and also all those countries have an abundance of beautiful women.
      So my little head is not driving my decision.

    3. Reivin I think it’s all a matter of personal opinion. I’m sorry you feel that women are the only reason someone would choose dumaguete. I think it’s beautiful here and if your smart about where you live in town the noise and fumes won’t be much of a bother while your at home. For ,e I like to wake up and sit outside on my porch and drink my coffee and look at the mountain staring back at me. There is minimal noise and large trucks dumping diesel fumes are far and few between. The people here are as kind and friendly as anywhere else I’ve been here. And the surrounding area is spectacularly beautiful with several sights to see less than an hr away. Some on,y 15 min away. As a married man women are not even on the radar here.

  12. I have always wondered about the primary reason for an expat to want to live in the Philippines. Is it primarily due to financial reasons, i.e., due to the lower cost of living and one’s dollar can go further?

    I am married to someone from Wisconsin and we have made California our home. We are settled in the community, we have our house, good jobs (well he just retired and collects two pensions while I am still quite away from retiring and I earn a very good 6-figure income). We live in California’s scenic Central Coast and the big cities (Los Angeles and San Francisco) are both an easy drive away on either direction (2.5-3 hours drive on the 101).

    With all of the above said, I still wonder if we may be missing on something by not retiring in the Philippines. I guess it’s a case of “is the grass greener on the other side?”

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      For me, it’s the cost of living, sunny skies and slower lifestyle. Keep in mind that as a foreign couple, you cannot purchase land or homes in the Philippines. You can do a 25 year lease and build on that, however. And as you said, “the grass is always greener” on the other side. You should consider the Caribbean area as well or Central America. Thanks, Shirley.

  13. Yesterday the exchange rate for the AUD to the Philippines Peso was just over 36 pesos
    Costs to live in Sydney, Australia:
    Rent (2 bedroom, 1 bathroom, 1 car space apartment 25km from the city, place was built in the 60’s): $350 per week (12600 pesos);
    Electricity: approx $200 per quarter (7200 pesos)(AC only needed in summer when it gets over 40 celsius);
    Water: Free with the rent;
    Food (for 1 person): $200 per fortnight (7200 pesos);
    Mobile: $25 per month (900 pesos);
    Home Phone & Internet (57 mB Broadband – still get buffering sometimes): $100 per month (3600 pesos);
    Cigarettes (pack of 30 – lasts 2 days): $26 (936 pesos)
    Petrol: Yesterday it was $1.22 per litre (44 pesos), I live close to work, a tank lasts 6 weeks, a tank at $1.22 costs $64 (2304 pesos).
    Rego, Insurance, Vehicle servicing and annual rego inspection: $2500 per year (90000 pesos).
    Health Insurance: $1300 per year (46800 pesos).
    I get by on about $1500 a fortnight (54000 pesos) or $3250 a month (117000 pesos) and that is for one person.
    Currently whilst working I am managing to save money but once I retire I will be able to just get by.
    In the Philippines I will still be able to live and save money and not necessarily just living by myself.
    I can have a family and a social life again.
    I just hope I meet the right people.
    As for the negatives of living in the Philippines – Every where has its good points and its bad points.
    All you have to do is take note of the bad points and find ways to avoid and/or overcoming them without becoming totally obsessed with them or you will not have a life you can enjoy.

  14. Martin, the Canadian dollar and Australian dollar are pretty close.

    I had a $400k mortgage on my house in Canada. We have a $35K mortgage on our house here. We spent $19K doing a bunch of upgrades to make it developed world standard, but they were all paid cash.

    When the budget recovers I want to do a 3 level expansion that will cost another $20K.

    Unlike Ned, we are older. No more kids, no plans to return to North America.

    We are in a very quiet subdivision surrounded by kin. On one side we even have a cemetary and they are pretty good about not cranking the Videoke.

    Bit of trash burning, bit of dogs barking, bit of cocks crowing. Diesel trucks are a pain if we’re on the road, but no problem at home with them or loud mufflers.

    We have passable Internet. Not as good as Ned but it’s only P1K per month. A fee brownouts but not bad. We upgraded the city water system to where we have 35 psi in the house unless we have a brownout.

    The house is as cool as we can reasonably expect with a white roof and decent insulation.

    I don’t like the electric bill at P4400 this month, but we can fix that with solar panels later.

  15. Thanks George.
    When I find the right lady I will probably do the same – Buy a hectare of land and settle down in the Philippines.
    Build a Queenslander with 12 foot verandahs all round, somewhere up high with views to the sea.
    Solar power system with battery storage and a water tower to ensure reasonable pressure.
    But first I have to clear the mortgage on an investment property which is part of my retirement funding plan.
    Last time I checked I was surprised how low it was so it should be cleared by next May, I was about to clear it earlier this year until some unexpected repairs came up.
    I suppose your lucky having quiet neighbours at least on one side :–)
    Where abouts in the Philippines are you?

  16. Sounds great Martin. I’ve seen photos of that style of house.

    We have city water but both availability and pressure were poor. We put in a big ground level tank and have a pressure pump from there feeding the house. Availability now is 100% except for brownouts and the consistent higher pressure is welcome.

    A solar system would fix the last availability niggles.

    We are at the diagonal opposite corner of Negros Island from Dumaguete. About 3 1/2 hours drive from Dumaguete.

    We’re almost on the coast 19 km south of Bacolod and 1 km north of Bago City.

    Not a big expat community here, all our friends are Filipino.

  17. Add health & visa costs plus international flights & hurricans my Caribbean Island always much cheaper. But the Filipinas are better!

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  18. Not mentioning the killings of foreigners in brutal execution style. Now a New case with old American not far from Dumaguete.

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  19. I often dream of living in the Philippines and settling down with a beautiful, petite, fair skinned Filipina.
    Having read about the corruption and dangers of living there, I”m not so sure that I want to live there anymore. Despite the lower cost of living and easy Filipinas, who wants to live in a country where you are constantly looking over your shoulder worrying about crime, pollution and possibly getting murdered?

    I cannot understand why the people of the Philippines do not / cannot improve their country. Apparently Filipinos have one the lowest IQ scores in the world. Could this be a major reason why Filipinos have remained stagnant while Koreans, Chinese and Japanese have become civilized, prosperous and wealthy? Are Filipinos inferior? Makes me wonder….

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      Well, those things do happen, but you will generally encounter them when outside of “First World” areas – it’s not simply a specific problem that the Philippines has. We just don’t want people thinking that the Philippines is just white sand beaches, sunny skies and pretty pinays. There’s a lot more to it than just that.

  20. Ned:

    While I agree with what you say or the specific negatives, I do have a nit in the title and overall philosophy. Lower cost of living can be quantified and is somewhat objective, although varies from person to person. But quality of life is completely subjective. So depending on the type of life you have in the West or wish to have in the Philippines, you might think the quality of life is superior in the Philippines, despite the issues on your list. It all depends on what is important to you. Personally, if I make a list of reasons to live in the Philippines the lower cost of living would be somewhere in the middle – not at the top.

    It might be more accurate instead of saying the quality of life is inferior to say that the quality of the infrastructure is inferior. That we could all agree with.

  21. Very good article and discussion. I totally agree with all your points about quality of life. People don’t usually think about the importance of good quality emergency medical care until it’s too late. The older I get the more I value healthy food, clean air and a pristine environment. The great majority of Filipinos I know in USA do not want to live in the Philippines again. Most of the people I’ve met are very kind and hospitable. It’s really a shame that the country’s political problems and Corruption have kept so many people in poverty.

  22. To make it short. Everyone is invited to Visit P I but not all are suited to live here on a permanent basis. .Please draw your Own Conclusions. After visiting of course…

  23. Rivers/streams stink.

    Sidewalks either parked on or vendors have them blocked often forced me to walk in the road.

    I often spent more of my time when visiting the RP out of town, but when in town it didn’t take long to want to leave. Black diesel smoke coming from seemingly everywhere and having to run for our lives to get to the other side of the street sucks.

    Tiny condos are sold for 400k in Manila and once out the door, it is wall to wall concrete, no trees, no grass, no public parks whatsoever as far as I could see. No place to relax. Just a God awful place.

    Traffic – where is a retired expat going so fast?

    I didn’t experience burning trash or extreme noise.

    The number one reason I hesitate to move to the RP is around making friends. There will be few expats and of those few, will we be compatible? When in a social setting with Filipinos, they speak in their native tongue and only speak English when speaking directly to me. Even among rich Filipinos that won’t ask me for a loan, that social setting won’t work long term.

    I worry about boredom. It is nice to be retired, but probably worse to be bored to tears. Some say plenty one could do, but what within 30 miles of one’s home every day until you die? (full disclosure: I work from home and it is a gravy train sort of job so hard to leave. Someone with a more difficult job may see things differently.)

    3100 dead drug users/dealers? As an American, I’m not sure why this would be a big deal. Chicago, Baltimore, New Orleans, St. Louis, NYC, Detroit, Oakland, Richmond, DC, LA kills 15,399 a year every year. America is one of the most dangerous countries in the world to live. Gangland justice in the RP like in the US?

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