Do you envy the life of luxury enjoyed by people in developed countries, wishing that you too could live such a life but without the $10,000 monthly income required for such a life? Well, I challenge you to consider living in the Philippines, either full time or part time. Retirement is not a matter of age; it’s a matter of having enough ongoing income. With a monthly income of $2,000 (or pension or annuity), one can truly live a life of luxury. I present how this is done and list the main expenses of living in the Philippines as a foreigner.


Manila is a bustling and exciting city, but filled with congestion and expensive real estate, just like any major city in the Western world. The further you go from Manila, the lower the cost of living accommodations. Of course, there is always the trade-off that the more remote the location, the less comfort and convenience of the Western world you will find.

For this reason, I always advise people to consider the major secondary cities of Cebu or Davao, or the Subic Bay area, or tourist or university communities like Baguio, Dumaguete, Tacloban, and Cagayan De Oro. The cost of housing in these areas is substantially below Manila, however, they have readily available air access in and out of the community, and because foreigners tend to prefer to reside in these areas, there are more upscale housing accommodations to choose from.

The two cities with the most luxurious amenities for a Westerner, outside of Manila, are Cebu City and Davao City.

In these two cities, you can expect to pay anywhere from $300 a month for a small apartment to $800 a month for a luxury home in a gated community with a pool. A similar rental in the US would cost between $3,000 and $4,000 per month. A similar house in Manila would cost between $1,500 and $2,000 per month, or more, depending on the location in Manila.


For the life of luxury, you’ll want a couple of maids, one to cook and shop, and one to do laundry and clean the house. They’ll do all your grocery shopping (at a lower cost than you could ever get), wash and iron all your clothes, and have your favorite food ready for you at every meal. A true luxury that is completely unaffordable in the Western world at $2,000 per month. Two maids would cost less around $100 to $120 per month.

You would probably want a driver if you decide to buy your own car. While living in Cebu City a few years ago, I had a new vehicle that I drove myself, but I soon discovered that by hiring a driver for $80 a month, the vehicle was always kept in perfect condition and had someone to take care of it. vehicle while dining, shopping, or on business appointments. I never had to worry about where to park the vehicle or about petty theft or destruction of the vehicle. While living in Butuan city, I tend not to use a personal vehicle as much, but I’ve found that it’s still worth having a driver.


With a monthly income of $2,000, he would not opt ​​for the local Philippine health insurance programs, but instead purchase an international one for foreigners living abroad. Depending on her age and pre-conditions, a policy that she would pay $500 a month for in the US would cost her about $200 a month.


With her housing, maid services, transportation, and health care provided for about $1,200 a month, that leaves her with $800 a month for everything else. Utilities (electricity, water, phone, cell phone, high-speed Internet service, and cable TV) will add about $150 per month, bringing the cumulative total to $1,350 per month.

This leaves $650 a month for food, entertainment, fuel for your car, travel, personal care items. Groceries will cost about $250 a month, and gas and personal care items could add up to $50 a month, leaving about $350 for restaurant meals, entertainment and travel. Dining out a few times a week and entertainment per month would cost about $200 per month, so you would still have $150 per month of surplus funds for savings.


Each is different from the other in many ways, and Davao City costs of living are less than Cebu City, so your lifestyle there can be even better.

Cebu has a large population of foreign retirees relative to its population. Foreigners are attracted by the abundance of beaches and resorts. It is a beautiful city, surrounded by mountains on one side and the ocean on the other. Like Manila, it also has its modern and exclusive shopping malls, casinos, and great nightlife.

Those who love to live near the coast, have an interest in scuba diving and other water sports, but like the efficiency and conveniences of a smaller modern city, then Cebu City would be your choice.
Davao City is THE city of Mindanao, and by square miles it is the second largest city in the world. Its population is approximately 1.4 million. Located in southern Mindanao, it is the more rural of the two cities and has the lowest cost of living. So if you enjoy the big city lifestyle and want more money in your pocket at the end of the month, then Davao is the place for you.

Davao City doesn’t get as many foreign travelers as Cebu City does, but for those seeking outdoor adventure, options are plentiful. Living in Davao is a bit like living in both an urban and a rural city, as the city has modern shopping malls, luxury gated communities and hotels, but living there you become deeply rooted in the land outside of the city.

The important thing about living in the Philippines is doing your research, based on your wants, needs, and desires, and connecting with someone who has gone before you and can provide wisdom by guiding you through the variety of questions and anxieties.

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