Extreme Noise Pollution in the Philippines

In weighing out the pros and cons of making a permanent (or even temporary) move to the Philippines, one always has to keep in mind the pollution.  And I’m not talking here about just the garbage that tends to congregate just about everywhere in the cities nor am I referring to the great plumes of black diesel exhaust and smoldering, plastic-infused trash fires that fill the air with chocking threads of particulate-laden smoke– what we are talking about here is noise pollution, which – as you might have heard (no pun intended) – can be a bit of a problem here in the Philippines.

A fellow YouTuber over at “Philippine Life” posted up a video that best describes what you can sometimes expect.  This was taken in Iloilo, in the barangay of San Jose:



Crazy, huh?

For some reason or another, Filipinos sometimes feel a need to share their music with the rest of the neighborhood.  Or, when considering the size of the speakers in that video, with the entire city.  As you can see, it’s just a few guys sitting around in a church who have set up a ridiculously overpowered PA system, with the 2 meter stack of speakers facing away from them and towards the rest of the community.

The guy who was taking the video (mister or misses Philippine Life, I presume) was also pretty ballsy in putting the camera right up in the faces of these musical miscreants.  I doubt I would have done that myself, or if I had, I would have gone in bobbing my head to the funky beat with a big smile plastered on my face, as if I was digging the whole scene.  I don’t know if he or she was doing that.  Having heard some pretty bad stories about getting confrontational with Filipinos, I would have taken the “discretion is the better part of valor” route.  Call me a pussy if ya want – I just don’t want to be worried about scooters pulling up behind me and getting a few to the back of my noggin….


Your basic portable model...
Your basic portable model…




Advanced portable model….


Another thing to keep in mind is that some Filipinos really seem to like techno/dance music; as in, they listen to it recreationally.  The last time I heard/saw this was back in the US when I was driving through a Vietnamese neighborhood and was audibly assaulted by a throbbing, primeval beat.  Now, don’t get me wrong – I’m a pretty liberal, easy going guy, but listening to techno/dance outside of a club?  Hmmmm – that’s a little beyond even my mortal progressive ken.

So, yeah, noise pollution is definitely something you have to be prepared for if you are thinking about a move to the Philippines.  I have yet to experience a problem as extreme as the one noted in the video – all we have had to put up thus far was a transient music issue with an American neighbor which seems to have (hopefully) resolved itself. 

Knock on wood.

Oh, and we have the Filipino family down the road who does the religious music thing just about every morning for an hour or so, but it’s not brutally loud – and it’s a nice accompaniment to the morning rooster revue.



**Thinking about packing it up and heading off to a tropical shore to live out your retirement?  Do you telecommute to work or possessed of a small pension.  Learn the pro’s and con’s of making such a move to the Philippines here at myphilippinedreams.com! **


  1. What I hated the most is burning of trash where I smell it every morning and afternoon. Second is noise from neighbors. Need to find a western subdivision now before I lost my mind.

    1. LOL, yeah, the burning trash is crazy, especially when they are burning plastics. Our American neighbor used to be loud with his music but seems to have chilled out a bit. Knock on wood…. Good luck, Joe, on finding your subdivision!

    2. We have at least two guards down the road, just outside of our building blowing their whistles all day, every day. No one really seems to care about them or their attempt to prevent cars from stopping at the side of the road. The result is therefore pure nuisance for no reason.

      Sometimes it wakes me up 3am in the morning and when i look out, the street is completely empty with one car parked on the side and a guard blowing his whistle full blast, lol!

      Im thinking to myself, is this madness or is there something i dont understand? I have lived in BGC for three years now and the whistle blowing has been going on ever since, no matter what day or time!


  2. You get the crows in Australia in the morning. The sound seems to carry around dawn. In the PI you get roosters. That Jimmy guy was complaining about the sound systems, but in an urban jungle like Manila, what do you expect?

    I had an apartment in NY, that I got sight unseen. Worst place ever! It was near a bunch of night clubs and strip joints. I even had a flashing neon light outside my window. Sleep was impossible, until I just gave up and slept through it. It’s all urban noise. I now get the huge bass thumping boy racer cars coming past my place in the middle of the night, just lovely. Thankfully I don’t live on a main road.

    The problem with sound systems is that they are so much more cheaper and much more effective than ever. Plus the buildings are not that sound proof and people spend a lot more time in their yards, so more music is outside.

    Life in the PI, deal with it.

    1. I agree. The roosters are OK and the occassional loud music. It’s just the barking dogs right next to us and the music our neighbor sometimes pumps right into our bedroom window that drives me a bit batty!

  3. Then if nicely ask to turn down the noise, they get defensive and make all kinds of bullshit excuses. No wonder Henry Sy treats them like slaves.

  4. The unwanted noise such as loud music/videoke/karaoke is due to lack of discipline and respect for others. There are laws on the books but even the Brgy officials ignore them.
    The other problem with the noise is most people don’t complain to proper authorities, they complain to each other and some just go with the flow. It’s not courteous to FORCE others to listen to your loud music/karaoke/videoke/voices, please keep it in the confines of your house. Many will scoff or laugh but when you start losing your hearing, develop health problems due this issue, you won’t be laughing then.
    Many don’t even know that there are health problems with loud unwanted noise. Here is a URL listing many sites that tell you this https://www.bing.com/search?q=unwanted+noise+and+your+health&form=EDGNTT&qs=PF&cvid=bbd104515a37415c873a44b49f41ea64&cc=US&setlang=en-US&PC=ASTS

  5. When I lived at Winland Towers in Cebu city for 2 1/2 years, what I remember the most in the way of noise pollution was the crowing roosters all over the city (we lived high up on the 14th floor), the Karoake until 3 or 4 am from the rooftop of the building next to us and the local band marching down the street banging their drums and blowing their trumpets at 5 am about once a week!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *