Many potential expats want to know what the cost of living in the Philippines is. I don’t think the cost of living in the Philippines for 2012 will rise a lot. The most likely area to see cost rising are the same as the rest of the world. Energy cost have gone up a great deal over the four years that I  have lived here. The biggest jump is for electricity. My electric bill has risen from about P7ooo a month to P10,000 a month.  Its now around $240 a month and sometimes a bit more. I’m only cooling one room. I have a window unit in my bedroom. The rest of the house is usually melting and I’m usually in the bedroom.  So my bill has gone from around $170 a month to $240 a month.  That’s significant and caused me to raise the temperature of my air con by one degree.

Overall The Cost of Living in The Philippines Remain Mostly Stable

Food cost have gone up some but they are still quite low. Eating out in a Filipino style establishment is very inexpensive. I can still go to the BBQ in Bogo or Cebu City for less than $10 and that for two people. Actually, I’ve taken many more than two people and spent less than that.

Travel cost in the Philippines remain low. Jessie pointed out a P1 seat sale the other day for air fare. It was Sinulog 2012 In The Philippinesoffered by Cebu Pacific. Which means they would add taxes and fuel charges on top of that. If you want to take anything other than a small light weight hand held bag then you’ll pay for that too. These fees can drive up the cost quite a bit.  Cebu Pacific regularly prices their seats this way while Philippines Airlines usually does not. The last time I purchased a ticket for a city in a nearby province was to Tacloban and the cost was about $75.00 including all fees. So the cost of air fair in the Philippines is still quite low.

Likewise, the cost of a hotel room can be much less. You can easily get a room with air conditioning for less than $30. I rarely pay that much.  The rooms I get are usually P800 or closer to $20. That includes a private restroom and air con. When you get a room in the Philippines in a pension house or Filipino style hotel, you need to confirm that. Of course, you can pay over $100 if you wish to stay in the Hilton or same quality hotel.  The most I have paid was about $70 a night. That was in Palawan and the rooms were up to Western standards.  The bed was as nice as you’d find in the USA. But even there, the restaurant and lobby did not have air conditioning.

If you decide to live out in the jungle like I do, then you should probably figure into your cost of living an occasional trip to Cebu City or other similar sized City.  There’s only one city that is more modern and that is Manila. I’ve seen some claim Davao has more people but I doubt that’s true. Probably is if it counted a certain way. For me personally, Cebu City includes Mandaue, Lapu-Lapu and some other nearby cities. If you can’t tell where one stops and the other begins other than by a road sign, then they are all the same to me. :)

I wrote an article a while back that shows a comparison of my cost of living in the Philippines compared to the USA.  I think it is very helpful. Now you’re needs might be different than my own but this has been the result for me.  You can see that article here.  The link will open in a new window so that you don’t loose your place in this article.  Look at where my cost were and where they are now. I’d have to revise the electric cost though. They are as much as $50 a month more but usually about $30 a month. It got quite warm in my room today. Its that time of the year when the sun begins beating down on my bedroom.

Inflation has been a bit higher in the Philippines than in the USA. One year we had some months in the double digit area for a short period of time. Generally though they have been around 5% and a little under that based on my memory. The Philippines did not experience a recession as growth remained positive. It fell quite a bit but I don’t believe it ever went negative. I’m calling on my memory though so someone can correct me if they have the facts.

For Some The Cost of Living In The Philippines is Higher

Before I close, some say that the cost of living in the Philippines is more. I know one fellow that spends more when he visits. He visits for months at time and owns property. He might be reading this.  He shops in areas where the price for a chicken is four times what I pay for a cooked and served chicken. He has to take his bird home, clean it, cut it and cook it. :) If you are a person of means and try to maintain the same standard of living, the cost for many things will be more.

I recently shopped for a camera in the Philippines and the cost was double that I would pay online from Amazon. Now 50% of that is tax I think. I tried to find the exact tax rate on electronics after someone said it was 100%.  The highest number I could find was 50% but I have no way of knowing  if that was current information or not.  It really doesn’t matter. All that matters to me is the cost is way too much and I’ll order from the USA. I do know that if you import something, even for personal use that has a value of $1000 the taxes due on that are excessive.

That should bring you up to date on the cost of living in the Philippines for 2012.  Now my figures do revolve around Cebu.  The cost will be about the same in most parts of the Philippines.  The further you away from Cebu City, the more cost tend to fall.   This is especially true for housing. But the options for housing go down even more. It can be very difficult to find a place to live out in the boondocks. The cost of living in Mindanao is a bit less than Cebu and the cost of living in Manila is about twice what it is in Cebu.  Other than that, the cost of living will be close to what it is for me. Boracay could be an exception. I don’t know. It is one of the more expensive tourist areas to go to. One would think the cost of living on Bantayan Island is a lot more but I found that it is even less than where I am. So I won’t assume the cost of living in Boracay goes up substantially. I’m sure there are pocket areas of the Philippines where the cost of living does go up.  Generally the prices I pay will be in the ball park and provide a good gauge of what your cost of living in the Philippines can be.

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