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Cost of living in Philipines?

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pin0y
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Cost of living in Philipines?

Postby pin0y » Mon, 23 Jul 2012 11:19 am

Yes, I do realize that this is a Singapore forum ;-/ but I can't find as good a forum for the Phils and hope that some of you might have lived tehre and can offer advice.

am over 50 and basically unemployable (because of ageism), currently living in Singapore where I have a pinay gf and we will marry soon.

I put my life savings into starting a business a few years ago and it is failing badly. I think that I had best take what is left and run for the Phils.

My gf is from Solano, Nueva Viscaya, but we don't have to settle there. Her sense of finance is not the best, so I thought that I would ask here.

It would probably be better to buy a house (although pinoy here tell me that it is cheaper to have one built?). I would like about 100m2 / 1000ft2 floor space. I don't need anything fancy, although I have a weakness for air-cond (but can live with paddle fans in the ceiling) and broadband internet access (which might be tricky?).

I am happy to cook and eat at home (maybe tend a vegetable garden). I don't need fancy restaurants, bars, etc. In fact, my tastes are frugal; no fancy clothes, furniture, Iphones, etc. At most, a new PC every 3 years or so. I have lived & worked in 15 countries now; always as a local, never as a tourist or high salaried ex-pat (even if I was), if that gives you any help as to what I lam looking for.

So, two questions. Can anyone please give me a ballpark range for building such a house (in Solano/Nueva Viscaya and other parts of the country (not Cebu/Manilla/etc) and a guess at a monthly budget?

I do apologize if this is a FAQ. I would also be happy with links to previous questions & their answers.

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Postby nakatago » Mon, 23 Jul 2012 11:32 am

As a rule of thumb, Singapore is roughly 3x more expensive than the Philippines. Give-or-take, of course but makes do with quick guesstimations.

Also, in general terms of expensiveness, Nueva Vizcaya < Cebu < Manila. As for houses, 3-5 million PHP would build you a very nice house. Not sure about land prices, though. Broadband internet, however, would be expensive and in poor quality--check the local providers (as in city-scope).

For more quantitative information, try http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living
Just input city names.

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Postby skipper » Mon, 23 Jul 2012 11:51 am

Just to give you some examples:

House with land (freehold) - as in most cities, depending on the area but S$100K will get you a 1000 sq ft floor space in a gated community in the suburbs of the city

Cars - a 1.6L Japanese car costs less than S$30K vs. about S$120K here

Public transport - suggest to just get a car

Food - yeah, at least 3x more expensive here

Beer/cigarettes - 10x more expensive here!

Whatever you do, your savings will go a long way in the Philippines :wink:

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Postby morenangpinay » Mon, 23 Jul 2012 2:42 pm

are you okay with putting the title to your wife ? because as a foreigner, you can't own a property in Philippines.

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Postby nakatago » Mon, 23 Jul 2012 3:23 pm

morenangpinay wrote:are you okay with putting the title to your wife ? because as a foreigner, you can't own a property in Philippines.


Land, to be accurate. Foreigners can own condos. IANAL so not sure about the house being separate from the land on which it is built.

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Postby pin0y » Mon, 23 Jul 2012 11:03 pm

nakatago wrote:As a rule of thumb, Singapore is roughly 3x more expensive than the Philippines. Give-or-take, of course but makes do with quick guesstimations.


Thanks very much for taking the time to reply. That rule of thumb will help a lot (although I am not sure that it applies to my biggest financial outlay - beer ;-)


nakatago wrote:As for houses, 3-5 million PHP would build you a very nice house. Not sure about land prices, though. Broadband internet, however, would be expensive and in poor quality--check the local providers (as in city-scope).


Ouch! As things stand now, even that is out of my reach. What if it were not so "nice"? Just 100m2/1000 ft2 and nothing fancy (swimming pool & the like)

Thanks again!

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Postby pin0y » Mon, 23 Jul 2012 11:09 pm

skipper wrote:Just to give you some examples:

House with land (freehold) - as in most cities, depending on the area but S$100K will get you a 1000 sq ft floor space in a gated community in the suburbs of the city

Ouch! I am happy enough in HDB here; can I do without a gated community? Or are you siting security concerns? Actually, I would prefer the outskirts of a city, or - better -yet, a small town or village whee I can get to a city in an hour or two. I like nature, but realize that I may occasionally have shopping needs that can;'t be filled ina village.

skipper wrote:Public transport - suggest to just get a car

Or taxi/jitney/jeepney when needed? I did the math in Sg and am without a car for the first time in decades. It is simply much cheaper to travel everywhere by taxi.


skipper wrote:Beer/cigarettes - 10x more expensive here!

Yay!! you just made my day

Whatever you do, your savings will go a long way in the Philippines :wink:[/quote]

Thanks very much for the info!

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Postby pin0y » Mon, 23 Jul 2012 11:14 pm

nakatago wrote:
morenangpinay wrote:are you okay with putting the title to your wife ? because as a foreigner, you can't own a property in Philippines.


Land, to be accurate. Foreigners can own condos. IANAL so not sure about the house being separate from the land on which it is built.


Good points, both of you. So, I can consult a lawyer.

I have no problem putting it in her name, but options (for others who might read this) seem to be ...

- trust her
- let her own the land and build a house on it (which would be tricky if things went wrong - how to sell the house if she owns the land? Or just demolish it to spite her?)
- perhaps own a company which owns the land (if farang can own Ph companies; or farang companies can own Ph land)?
- buy a condo
- errm, that's about it

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Postby nakatago » Mon, 23 Jul 2012 11:33 pm

pin0y wrote:
nakatago wrote:
morenangpinay wrote:are you okay with putting the title to your wife ? because as a foreigner, you can't own a property in Philippines.


Land, to be accurate. Foreigners can own condos. IANAL so not sure about the house being separate from the land on which it is built.


Good points, both of you. So, I can consult a lawyer.

I have no problem putting it in her name, but options (for others who might read this) seem to be ...

- trust her
- let her own the land and build a house on it (which would be tricky if things went wrong - how to sell the house if she owns the land? Or just demolish it to spite her?)
- perhaps own a company which owns the land (if farang can own Ph companies; or farang companies can own Ph land)?
- buy a condo
- errm, that's about it


Companies usually have foreigners owning only up to 49% of the land.

A decent, common house in the province would cost about 1.3 million for around 100 sq. m, give or take. The 3-5 million DOESN'T have a pool yet. About security, it depends on the neighborhoods--ask around for petty crime, meth labs, rebel groups, or the local politician's private army.

A condo in the city could easily cost you 2.6 million for a one-bedroom, roughly 50 sq m. condos in the Philippines are unlike those here: usually just one building and only some would have a pool and sports amenities but you have security guards. Check with the developer. Also a lot of condos are preselling right now with the boom and those are cheaper than buying from a finished property.

If you're gonna live in the provinces or suburbs, it will be highly recommended if you have car since public transport is a pain in the arse since they will be packed to the brim and you can say goodbye to personal space (but get a common brand like a Toyota because of the availability of parts and so that people won't think you're BIG TIME). If in Manila, I'd still recommend a car for those late night jaunts or occasional trips to outside of the city. Otherwise, taxis would be an affordable way to get around in relative comfort. You could still brave the jeepneys, FX's and trains but check your routes--also, to and fro the city. Protip: don't count on future railroad projects. The northrail was promised to be done in 2007 and I'm already in Singapore in 2012 and still no high-speed rail into the provinces.

Wherever you decide to live, check for possible natural disasters: landslides (if in the boondocks), floods or earthquakes (e.g. faultlines). Hey, it's on the ring of fire and right next to the world's largest storm factory (the Pacific ocean) so it can't be helped.

There's also an expatforum for expats in the Philippines; you could try googling for that. A lot of foreigners fall in love with the country so all it's flaws may endear to you. You never know.

And whatever you decide on, remember: it's more fun in the Philippines.

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Postby pin0y » Wed, 25 Jul 2012 3:21 pm

If I have a small amount of money - not enough to last my life, but enough to invest a little - what would you recommend? A bar? Restaurant? A farm?

Given that I have no experience, I would put up a few 10k and have my wfie -to-be's family/friends run it

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Postby nakatago » Wed, 25 Jul 2012 3:52 pm

pin0y wrote:If I have a small amount of money - not enough to last my life, but enough to invest a little - what would you recommend? A bar? Restaurant? A farm?

Given that I have no experience, I would put up a few 10k and have my wfie -to-be's family/friends run it


Restaurants are popular, though you'll need some market research. I don't know much about the market in Nueva Vizcaya.

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Postby beppi » Wed, 25 Jul 2012 4:24 pm

Sounds like the all-too-typical itinerant, Western, ageing eternal nomad who mostly failed in life (perhaps due to his alcoholism), mistakes a (much younger) Asian girl's greed for love, moves to her country to start a new life with too little money and unwilling (or unable) to work, but having high dreams of a peaceful life and thriving business. 99% sure to fail!
Your only reasonable option is a Western country with a good social security system to feed you a meagre existence (and free health care, as that will soon also wreck your finances!).
Don't even think about sinking your money into a business unless you are very sure you can do it better AND cheaper than the locals (forget about farming, no chance with a bar/restaurant unless you have experience and it's targetted to rich Expats).
You don't want to hear and will not follow my advice, I know.
Last edited by beppi on Wed, 25 Jul 2012 4:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby beppi » Wed, 25 Jul 2012 4:46 pm

I have seen numerous of your kind over the years, in various stages of decay. I even once hosted a homeless retiree-age American in my house in Taiwan for a few months - he was talked into a property business by a "friend" and then had to leave USA with $1.5million debt and no chance ever to return. He subsequently found a job as English teacher (a typical "lost soul" job in most of Asia) and a local "girlfriend" (sigh!) and is now doing the same in China. At least he didn't drink, otherwise I'd have thrown him out immediately (alcohol ruins more than the ability to think clearly).

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Postby zzm9980 » Wed, 25 Jul 2012 5:48 pm

beppi wrote:Sounds like the all-too-typical itinerant, Western, ageing eternal nomad who mostly failed in life


Pretty sure he was Singaporean, but I enjoyed your post nonetheless and I don't doubt the truth in it :P

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Postby x9200 » Wed, 25 Jul 2012 6:51 pm

So 1% chance such story will end up with a happy end? Pretty sad. Frankly I am not sure if I would not take the risk.
Unless he moves to the Western country together with his wife to be he will regret any of the two options.


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