Durn Vloggers Driving Up the Cost of Living in the Philippines!!!

A gentleman named Charlie T. commented on the latest monthly budget video that I did.  He put a lot of time into his post and brought up a few things that I thought I would write a short article.  So, without any further ado, let’s give the floor to Charlie T.

Charlie T.

Too many of you vloggers – or whatever the term of the week is – are painting a picture of Dumaguete through rose colored glasses. Rent, for example, has gone up considerably.  This is due to too many foreigners coming to Dumaguete, not checking the market and paying way too much than what a place is worth.  This in turn drives up everyone else’s rent when landlords see what other are getting paid.  

Dang foreigners are ruining it for all us foreigners!! I have actually heard a good number of other guys echo Charlie’s sentiments about ‘”foreigners paying too much and driving up the rent costs.”  When I do videos on ‘expensive’ ($400-$500) house rentals, someone invariably chimes in with a “He is paying way too much for that really nice house.”  And ostensibly, it makes sense. Rents have gone up in the five years that I have been here – most noticeably at Dumaguete Studio Apartments which went up about 6,000 pesos/$115 USD a month (but they installed a pool and include a motor rental) and some other multi-door apartment complexes. As for Charlie saying it has gone up “considerably,” I would have to disagree.  Rents have increased but not insanely so, especially factoring in the weak Philippine peso and local inflation rates.

But again, Charlie has a point.  And he continues that point.

Our rent went up 1,000 pesos last year and our landlady says they plan on raising it another 1,000 pesos every consecutive year. We have been in this particular house for seven years.   I have never been late on a rent payment and have actually paid her well ahead of time when she said she needed money to buy more property and or build another house. We also have maintained this house to the max:  We have replaced all the faucets, all the toilets internal parts, the locks and door knobs, we have put in attic insulation, new water lines and valves, have planted real grass, had the septic tank pumped twice…..you name it. The plumbing, fixtures and locks that came with it were all cheap ” CHINESE’ junk!

First off, let me just say that all the landlords in the Philippines that I have spoken with have told me that they actually like having foreign tenants. They pay their rent on time and are generally dependable. As for Charlie’s rent going up, maybe it’s just me, but rent going up $18/month a year isn’t unheard of. I guess I have been lucky – in the last five years my rent has increased by only $36 USD.  Not a deal breaker, and since I like my landlord (and he seems to tolerate me), I am staying for the foreseeable future.

And finally, Charlie brings it home with:

And we have done much more to improve her house. And this is how she rewards us? By raising our rent every year? I know who is behind that but if I out that if down it would be too telling. My wife is an obsessive compulsive cleaner, and this house and small yard is spotless all the time. She gets up at 4 a.m. to start cleaning, every day. By the way, our electric was P10,082 pesos last month. Or expenses are twice yours but there are 2 of us. We do not drink, smoke or party. We don’t even travel. We eat well for health reasons and we are healthy. I plan on being cremated someday but not slow roasted in this oppressive heat, hence our electric bill. Let me know how it works out after you get married. So that’s just a smidgen of real life in Negros Oriental

Yowzers on that $193 dollar electric bill, Charlie!  That has GOT to sting, and it seems to be a bit high – you might want to make sure no one is tapping your line.  And as for doing improvements on someone else’s house, you can’t expect any time of compensation for your time, money and effort.  Unless your landlord says that they will pay you back for any specific upgrades that you make, all you are doing is home improvement on someone else’s home.  Not a great idea, that.  When I first moved into Pink House five years ago, the whole interior needed repainting and the tile on the kitchen counter needed to be replaced.  I ‘ate’ the costs of the paint and tile because I don’t like living in a house with peeling paint or unsightly tile work.  The total cost was about $100 (labor included), and to me it was money well spent.

Over the years, the landlord has agreed to pay for two major upgrades.  The first was installing a massive nipa roof over the car port which provided shade and drastically cooled down the house.  The second was the installation of 7 mm Styrofoam insulation/heat barrier in the attic which helped to further cool down the house (notice a pattern here?).  We paid for the materials and labor ourselves and then just didn’t pay him rent until it was all paid off.  Again, though – you have to ask your landlord and go through the negotiation process. 

So, thanks to Charlie for taking the time to add his two-cents to the topic at hand. 

And as for that landlord who won’t freeze your rent and that $193 electricity bill, let me just say…..

Sorry, Charlie.

(Couldn’t resist.)



  1. Well ill just say this. Ive been living in the same house for 2 years now. Its a 3 bedroom 2 story house right by the ocean. Can literally see the ocean and beach from the gate. Close to the best mall in the city robinson mall. I could walk there in the heat if i felt tue need so ya……pretty close. I would say that our location is as good as it could possibly be with beach mall and all. Our rent 20500. So about $200. It has not gone up at all and wont go up next year either. Since here our landlord has replaced doorknobs put in 2 new water heaters added not only a second water tank but added 2 new pumps to increase pressure and drilled a well all so the already cheap water bill could be lowered. We did not complain or ask for that. Just fixed a leaky sink in the kitchen. Fixed the front gate because it was squeeky….alot. Its a nice cozy good sized house. Our electric for 4 people and 2 aircons one in my bedroom amd one in the main living space only one running at a time cost between 9k and 13k…depends on the heat and how much i run it. Water about 500. Now for me thats a fantastic price and personally if someone complains about the prices in duaguete they could always move. That being said…so what if prices raise a tiny bit. Hello developing city…. Seems foolish and rediculous to do so many fixes on a rental that you dont even own…..i mean cmon where is the common sense. Want to do improvements……want the rent to stop increasing…..want to stop rent all together……go buy some land and build a house…..thats what im doin. If you dont trust your wife enough to not leave you if she has her name on the land then welllllll your even more foolish for picking the wrong woman. Anyway…..just my little old 2 cents.

    1. The owner obviously likes having a reliable tenant and is using the rent you pay to improve the property. This is good for you and also good for the landlord.
      I noticed when l started renting that the landlord started making improvements. He was obviously waiting for the income stream to finance the work.
      20500 is cheap for a beach front rental in Dumaguete.
      A squeaking gate is like a barking dog – not sure if l would have fixed it. No surprise or uninvited visitors.

  2. Welcome to the real world. Inflation affects everyone …. and the guys we need to point fingers at are the ones that keep printing money….which makes every dollar (or peso) you’ve got worth less.

    Meanwhile, I’m really loving my rent in the Philippines and will not be at all surprised when it goes up over time. Welcome to the real world….

  3. ned.. i agree. i mean, c’mon… the guy is moaning over an $18/month annual increase? i’ll say it, if he’s got to sweat $18 then maybe his budget would be better suited to a $90/month nipa hut with no indoor plumbing.

    and i would LOVE to know how much he spends on his bar-tab every month. ha!! i’ll bet he isn’t bitching about that.

    guys like this seem to think that (a) their problems are someone else’s fault and (b) life in the PH is supposed to be practically ‘free’.

    and that high electric bill.. yah, that comes with running the air-con all day/night. and the cost per kilowatt is NOT the fault of other foreigners. that there is a bona-fide product of the philippines.

    what this guy “should” do is remember what he was paying back in his home-country per month and be thankful he has a loving filipina and a beach nearby.

    1. Hey, Reekay. Thanks for that and have a banh mi for me!! I still can’t get over how cheap it is to live in the Philippines. If one is making USD or other foreign currency and spending pesos, living here is the best IRA/401K there is.

  4. Well maybe foreigners contribute to higher living costs but let’s not forget the Universities, Call Centers and Business Process Outsourcing companies that all boost the population. After all, it’s population that contributes most to rental prices.
    Some rough statistics:
    There’s about 1900 people per year settle in Dumaguete (2000-2015 census) and about 9000 foreigners (8500 renewing tourist visas in 2018) compared with around 7000 in 2011. That’s a growth of about 1.4 per day (foreign) and about 3.8 per day (Filipino). Ok so Filipinos may be naturally better at bartering the price down than us foreigners but we are only a part of the price rises.

  5. “We do not drink, smoke or party. We don’t even travel.” ….That’s the problem right there, Charlie.

  6. It seems to me that if Charlie is so unhappy renting and feels prices keep going up for whatever reason then why not purchase a property?….that way any improvements are your investment and the price per month stays the same. And if it is foreigners who are the problem then purchase a second property and enjoy the increased rent benefit by renting to another foreigner who can make improvements like he is doing! That said I have to totally disagree that it is foreigners who are causing the increases. Inflation is a fact of life in the Philippines! Gas has gone up…food prices have increased…electrical has increased….it is pretty much across the board! In any event overall it is way cheaper to live here than for example the good ole USA. Also if he is on SS from the USA then his benefit has increased the last 2 years more than his rent per month unless he is on the low end of benefits.

  7. A 1,000p a month increase.every year seems very high to me as well. Maybe time for Charlie to start looking around . I know I would.

  8. I find the rents quite cheap in Dumaguete. I’m paying 16,000 per month for a 2 bedroom, 2 cr, fully furnished apartment in Piapi with internal kitchen and external dirty kitchen. The first months power was 2,194 but l made the mistake of running the AC all night for the first week and have since stopped that as the AC was too noisy. The power cost should be lower this month.
    I found the place on fb but l was in a rush and l probably could have found a cheaper place if l looked around a bit more before deciding but this place is nice, reasonably quiet if you can put up with tiny filipino bedrooms.
    What l find incredible is the price of house and lots for sale, 68,000,000 or 123,000,000 for a 3 or 4 bedroom house and lot in Bantayan Dumaguete thats almost like the cost of similar houses on larger lots in similar size cities in the USA or Australia and the size of the houses and quality of the buildings are worse.

    1. Power bill this month was 1,343.97 pesos.
      Changed the AC usage to 1 hour before going to bed to cool the room down and then 1 hour on a timer after going to bed and then a pedestal fan running all night.

      Another discovery l made this last trip to the Philippines, don’t waste your time bringing wicking type clothing. That includes shirts or underpants.
      Because of the higher humidity in the Tropics, they don’t work there.

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