Top 10 Cheapest Places to Live in the Philippines

Have you just accepted a job offer from a company halfway across the world? Are you bored with life and want to start over in a new country?

No matter your reasoning, moving to the Philippines is an exciting and worthwhile decision. You will experience great weather, fantastic cuisine, and meager living costs.

The Philippines generally has a low cost of living, but this article explores ten of the cheapest places to live. Keep reading to learn more and to help you make your decision of where to live, hopefully. 

NB: Unless stated otherwise, all of the figures presented in this article are taken from costoflive and numbeo.com. This list is in no particular order.

1) Davao City

First on the list is Davao City, the largest city in the Philippines regarding landmass. Davao also has the third-largest population of any city in the country; the 2015 census recorded over 1.6 million residents

Rent in Davao City

The following information is based on a one-bedroom apartment of average size (around 900 sqft).

In the center of Davao city, it will cost, on average, $266.16 per month. However, if you’re willing to live outside the city, you can save quite a bit, with the average rent being $183.68.

Utilities in Davao City

Utilities can be broken down into three main categories (and again, these values are the average costs while living in a one-bedroom apartment).

  • Necessities (electricity, water, heating, etc.) – $133.30
  • Internet (unlimited data at a speed of 60mbps or higher) – $53.83 
  • Phone bill (1 minute of prepaid mobile tariff) – $0.19

Eating Out in Davao City

For this category, we have provided the average price for two significantly different instances of going out to eat.

  • A fast-food combo meal (KFC, McDonald’s, etc.) costs $3.13.
  • A three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant will be around $17.13. 
  • The average cost of a pint of beer is $0.75. 

Transport in Davao City

Throughout most of the Philippines, jeepneys are generally the cheapest way to get around.

The brightly colored vehicles operate like buses, driving routes all over the city and operating through the day and night. A single jeepney ticket in Davao is less than $0.20, while you can buy a monthly pass for less than $15. 

Meanwhile, taxis have a starting fare of around $0.84 and an extra $0.45 per mile traveled.

Driving in Davao city (and the Philippines as a whole) can be expensive, with a gallon of gas costing $3.86 on average. However, public transport is so efficient that you likely won’t need to drive!

The average total cost of living: is $751 per month

Benefits of Davao City:

  • One of the safest cities in the Philippines
  • Close to Mount Apo and has plenty of top-quality shopping centers, perfect for nature lovers and city dwellers alike.

2) Bacolod City

As the capital of Negro Occidental, Bacolod sits on the northwestern coast of the province. As of 2015, it is home to just over half a million people.

Rent in Bacolod City

Renting a one-bedroom apartment is slightly cheaper in Bacolod than in Davao. The average price to rent in the city center is $204.47 per month and further out of the city; you will be $162.88.

Utilities in Bacolod City

Similarly, the monthly cost of running your home in Bacolod is cheaper than a Davao apartment. 

  • Necessities (electricity, water, heating, etc.) – $115.93
  • Internet (unlimited data at a speed of 60mbps or higher) – $39.21
  • Phone bill (one minute of prepaid mobile tariff) – $0.20

Eating Out in Bacolod City

If you’ve grown up in the US, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how affordable eating out is in the Philippines, and Bacolod is no exception.

  • The average cost of a fast-food combo meal is $3.13.
  • A three-course meal for two people at a mid-range restaurant will cost just $14.62.
  • A pint of beer in Bacolod costs $0.89.

Transport in Bacolod City

  • The minimum cost of a jeepney trip is similar to Davao’s prices, at $0.19. 
  • Taxis will start at $0.84 on average and increase by $0.45 for every mile traveled.
  • A gallon of gasoline is $4.07.

The average total cost of living: $588 per month

Benefits of Bacolod City:

  • Known as the “city of smiles” due to its high happiness level
  • IT and business industries are booming (will be of particular interest to those working in these fields) 

3) Baguio City

This mountain town on Luzon island has the smallest population on our list, with just under 350,000 residents. However, the low living costs make it an attractive place to live. 

Rent in Baguio City

Renting in Baguio city is almost impossibly cheap. Here’s how much you’ll pay for a one-bedroom apartment:

  • $211.23 in the city center
  • $169.81 on the outskirts of the city

Utilities in Baguio City

Utility bills are on the same level as in other cheap cities in the Philippines.

  • Necessities (electricity, water, heating, etc.) – $139.43
  • Internet (unlimited data at a speed of 60mbps or higher) – $50.25
  • Phone bill (one minute of prepaid mobile tariff) – $0.16

Eating Out in Baguio City

  • In Baguio City, a fast food combo meal costs $3.13 on average.
  • For a three-course meal for two in a mid-range restaurant, you’ll pay around $15.15.
  • The average pint of beer costs $1.65.

Transport in Baguio City

While the jeepney starts at $0.19 (similarly to other cities), a monthly pass costs $20. This is a little steep when compared to elsewhere.

Taxis will start at around $0.73 and cost an extra $0.50 per mile, while a gallon of gasoline costs $4.26.

The average total cost of living: $650 per month

Benefits of Baguio City:

  • Unusually cool climate (which makes a nice change from the high humidity in the rest of the country)
  • Low food costs due to the city’s prosperous agricultural sector 
  • Several esteemed educational institutes

4) Cavite City

This city has a relatively small population (just over 100,000 residents). Still, it is close to Manila, meaning you can enjoy what it offers without enduring the high living costs.

Rent in Cavite City

This is what you’ll pay for a one-bedroom apartment in Cavite City:

  • $135.80 in the city center
  • $104.46 outside the city

Utilities in Cavite City

  • Necessities (electricity, water, heating, etc.) – $116.59 
  • Internet (unlimited data at a speed of 60mbps or higher) – $51.06
  • Phone bill (one minute of prepaid mobile tariff) – $0.14

Eating Out in Cavite City

  • The average fast-food combo meal in Cavite City costs $3.13.
  • A three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant costs $25.07.
  • A pint of beer costs $1.01.

Transport in Cavite City

In Cavite City, the jeepney starts at $0.16, but you’ll be better off buying a monthly pass since it costs just $2.45.

Taxis start at $0.84 and are around $0.45 per mile, while a gallon of gasoline costs $3.94.

The average total cost of living: $512 per month

Benefits of Cavite City: 

  • Easy access to Manila
  • Real estate is booming (all over the Philippines but especially so in Cavite)

5) Dasmariñas City

Nicknamed Dasma, this city is in the Cavite province and has a population of just over 650,000.

Rent in Dasmariñas City

In Dasmariñas City, a one-bedroom apartment will cost:

  • $167.13 (in the city center) 
  • $73.12 (outside the city)

Utilities in Dasmariñas City

The following is the average monthly cost of utilities in Dasmariñas City:

  • Necessities (electricity, water, heating, etc.) – $150.57
  • Internet (unlimited data at a speed of 60mbps or more) – $47.05
  • Phone bill (one minute of prepaid mobile tariff) – $0.15

Eating Out in Dasmariñas City

  • The average fast-food combo meal costs $2.82.
  • On average, a three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant is $16.71.
  • A pint of beer costs $1.10.

Transport in Dasmariñas City

The cost of a jeepney ticket remains similar to other cities, starting at $0.21 on average.

A taxi will start at around $0.84 and charge $0.40 for every mile traveled. Meanwhile, the average price of a gallon of gasoline is $3.86.

The average total cost of living: $355 per month

Benefits of Dasmariñas City:

  • Consistent urban growth (perfect for those who enjoy a busy lifestyle)
  • Increasing employment opportunities in several sectors 

6) Dumaguete City

Dumaguete is the capital city of Negros Oriental, in the southern area of the Philippines (Negros island). As of the 2015 census, it has just over 130,000 people.

With four different universities, Dumaguete City is very popular with students, and the cost of living reflects this.

Rent in Dumaguete City

This is the average monthly cost to rent a one-bedroom apartment in Dumaguete:

  • In the city center – $311.13 
  • Outside of the city – $226.42

Utilities in Dumaguete City

  • Necessities (electricity, water, heating, etc.) – $115.93 
  • Internet (unlimited data at a speed of 60mbps or more) – $42.69
  • Phone bill (one minute of prepaid mobile tariff) – $0.25

Eating Out in Dumaguete City

  • A fast-food combo meal in Dumaguete City costs $4.18 on average.
  • For a three-course meal for two in a mid-range restaurant, you will pay $14.62.
  • A pint of beer costs $1.05.

Transport in Dumaguete City

Like in Dasmariñas, a jeepney ticket in Dumaguete costs $0.21 minimum.

Taxis start at around $0.84 and charge $0.45 for every mile traveled, and a gallon of gasoline will cost you $4.09

The average total cost of living: $738 per month

Benefits of Dumaguete City

  • A large number of colleges and universities give you a chance to enrich your learning.
  • Known as “the city of gentle people” because of how friendly and relaxed the locals are

7) Tarlac City

Tarlac City is a component city in the province of Tarlac and is home to just under 350,000 people.

Rent in Tarlac City

In Tarlac City, here’s how much you’ll have to fork out to rent a one-bedroom apartment:

  • $103.97 (city center)
  • $93.57 (outside of the city)

Utilities in Tarlac City

  • Necessities (electricity, water, heating, etc.) – $119.68
  • Internet (unlimited data at a speed of 60mbps or more) – $42.63
  • Phone bill (one minute of prepaid mobile tariff) –  $0.16

Eating Out in Tarlac City

  • A fast food combo meal in Tarlac City costs $2.82 on average.
  • A three-course meal for two in a mid-range restaurant costs $12.54.
  • A pint of beer will cost you $1.15.

Transport in Tarlac City

There isn’t much information online on the cost of taking a jeepney in Tarlac city. However, this article provides some interesting information on how they’re attempting to modernize the service. 

Taxi costs in Tarlac are very similar to elsewhere in the Philippines – they start at $0.84 and charge approximately $0.45 per mile traveled.

The price of gasoline also matches that of other cities at $3.86 per gallon.

The average total cost of living: $480 per month

Benefits of Tarlac City

  • Less densely populated and surrounded by quiet farmland – perfect for those who want a balance between city and suburban life. 
  • The capital can be easily accessed via the MacArthur Highway, which runs through the city.

8) Cebu City

Cebu is the oldest city in the Philippines, with the fifth-largest population in the country (the 2015 census recorded a little under one million residents).

This is the most expensive option on our list, and the price differences are noticeable, particularly in the rent.

However, compared to most cities in the US, Cebu City is still incredibly affordable. Cebu could be your new home if you have a little more to spare.

Rent in Cebu City

As mentioned, it’s a little more expensive to rent in Cebu than in other areas on our list. Here’s the average price of a one-bedroom apartment:

  • $493.82 (in the city center)
  • $270.07 (outside of the city)

Utilities in Cebu City

Contrastingly, utility prices in Cebu are more or less in line with other cities.

  • Necessities (electricity, water, heating, etc.) – $124.14
  • Internet (unlimited data at a speed of 60mbps or more) – $51
  • Phone bill (one minute of prepaid mobile tariff) – $0.16

Eating Out in Cebu City

  • In Cebu City, the average cost of a fast-food combo meal is $3.76.
  • A three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant costs $22.98.
  • A pint of beer costs $1.11.

Transport in Cebu City

  • A single ticket on the jeepney costs, on average, $0.21. A monthly pass is around $8.
  • Taxis start at $0.84 and cost $0.45 per mile traveled.
  • A gallon of gasoline costs $4.10.

The average total cost of living: $1,041 per month

Benefits of Cebu City

  • A large number of opportunities for employment in many areas 
  • All the conveniences of Manila, but with less congestion

9) Iloilo City

Iloilo is a city in the Western Visayas region with just under half a million residents. It also has meager living costs. 

Rent in Iloilo City

Here is the cost of a one-bedroom apartment in Iloilo City:

  • City center – $135.16
  • Outside the city – $91.84

Utilities in Iloilo City

  • Necessities (electricity, water, heating, etc.) – $154.58
  • Internet (unlimited data at a speed of 60mbps or more) – $62.38
  • Phone bill (one minute of prepaid mobile tariff) – $0.11

Eating Out in Iloilo City

  • You can expect to pay around $3.55 for a fast food combo meal in Iloilo City.
  • On average, a three-course meal for two in a mid-range restaurant costs $12.54.
  • A pint of beer costs $0.89.

Transport in Iloilo City

  • In Iloilo City, a jeepney ticket costs less than $0.20, and a monthly pass is just over ten dollars.
  • Taxi prices start at $0.84 and cost around $0.45 for every mile traveled. 
  • A gallon of gasoline costs $3.98. 

The average total cost of living: is $595 per month

Benefits of Iloilo City 

  • It has a seaport and an international airport. 
  • High-quality healthcare and educational institutes
  • Plenty of commerce and trade 

10) Cagayan de Oro City

Cagayan de Oro is a city in the Northern Mindanao region with almost 700,000 residents. In terms of living costs, it sits around the middle of this list.

Rent in Cagayan de Oro City

Here are the average costs of renting a one-bedroom apartment in Cagayan de Oro City:

  • $325.77 (in the city center)
  • $249.52 (outside the city) 

Utilities in Cagayan de Oro City

  • Necessities (electricity, water, heating, etc.) – $129.84
  • Internet (unlimited data at a speed of 60mbps or more) – $45.97
  • Phone bill (one minute of prepaid mobile tariff) – $0.18

Eating Out in Cagayan de Oro City

  • A fast-food combo meal costs $3.13 in Cagayan de Oro City.
  • A three-course meal for two in mid-range restaurant costs around $17.13.
  • A pint of beer costs $1.09.

Transport in Cagayan de Oro City

  • A jeepney ticket costs around $0.20, while a monthly pass costs slightly more than two dollars.
  • Taxis start at a minimum of $0.84 and cost around $0.45 per mile traveled. 
  • The average cost of one gallon of gasoline is $3.79.

The average total cost of living: $796 per month

Benefits of Cagayan de Oro City:

  • Businesses are being opened by foreign investors, providing more employment opportunities. 
  • Perfect for adventure-seeking nature lovers due to its proximity to the Cagayan de Oro river 
  • Opening more BPO (business process outsourcing) companies

Conclusion

Moving to a new country is exciting, but it can be nerve-wracking, especially if you’re unsure how everyday living works.

Additionally, your budget will always be a significant deciding factor when deciding where to call your new home.

Hopefully, this article has provided you with the information needed to make this exciting decision. Good luck on your journey!

Originally posted on June 2, 2021 @ 5:37 pm

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As a lifelong traveler and founder of lovefortraveling.com, I, Alex Deidda, have always been driven by my passion for exploring new places and cultures.

Throughout the years, I have had the opportunity to live in various countries, each offering unique perspectives and experiences.

My love for traveling led me to create lovefortraveling.com, a website and blog dedicated to helping people plan their trips.

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