How Much Money Do You Need to Move to the Philippines?


The cost of living in the Philippines is significantly lower compared to other Asian countries. Manila ranked as 75th (out of 207 cities) in the 2015 Mercer’s Cost of Living Survey. This ranking trumps Jakarta but, not the most expensive city that is Singapore.


The country’s living expenses may be forgiving but, that depends highly on the location. Your rent in the city center is slightly more expensive than if you rented in the outskirts. For example, the rental rates in the island province of Bohol is about 53.17% lower than in the urban jungle of Manila.


Know more about the different factors that influence the way of life in the Philippines by reading thru this post.


Food and Beverages


When it comes to food and beverages, we all have our unique preferences. My boyfriend prefers to munch on typical breakfast meals that are cheaper and easier to prepare. On the other hand, I prefer Italian and Thai cuisine that need more expensive ingredients found at the imported goods aisle.


Adding to this equation is the fact that some people are gifted with the prowess to cook while others do not even know how to fry an egg. This is why you can either spend little or a lot of money on this category.


Say a staple dish in your monthly menu is Tuna Paella. A delicious alternative to fresh tuna is a canned one that is offered by Century Tuna. It comes with many flavors and each can only retails for about PHP 30 (AUD 0.84)! Put some frozen veggies and pair it with rice to have a “healthy” lunch.


Generally speaking, consumable products in the Philippines are lower than what Australians are used to. You can even opt to buy relatively cheaper and readily accessible produce at the local markets or street vendors to save more money. For instance, you can get a carrot for about PHP 10 (AUD 0.28) each. How about that?


The only downside is that imported Western food in supermarkets are costly. In fact, a 0.33L bottle of imported beer can cost about PHP 84.33 or AUD 2.36. Compare this to a can of the local brands San Miguel and Red Horse that sell for about PHP 30 (AUD 0.84) each. Alcoholic drinks and cigarettes are certainly cheaper in the Philippines than elsewhere.


Furthermore, you will be happy to know that restaurants and cafés are more affordable than that of Australia’s. Let us take two famous cities into account. A three-course meal for two people in Manila can cost about PHP 1,000 (AUD 28) while, it will cost you about PHP 2,852.75 (AUD 80.00) in Sydney.




How does one begin to describe the public transportation in the Philippines?


Well, it is a subject that brings grave headaches to the majority of locals. The public transportation is undoubtedly affordable. If you took a cab and cruise within a kilometer away, you will have to pay a normal tariff of about PHP 12 (AUD 0.34). However, the horrible traffic jams can affect the tariff at times. Opt for jeepneys and buses instead of taxis as much as possible. Learning how to speak in Filipino or Tagalog comes in handy while traveling.


If it is hard for you to adapt to the public transportation and the local language, consider getting your own car. You will find that vehicles in the country are sold for more than what you are used to. This is due to the high importation fees. Be prepared for that!




One of the major expenses that will take a toll on a person’s budget is the monthly rent. Rental fees in the Philippines vary depending on the location and the contents (furnished or unfurnished) of the flat. In most cases, the closer the space is to the city center and the tourist spots, the more expensive it becomes.


In Manila, a 1-bedroom apartment in the city center costs about PHP 23,000 (AUD 645) per month. This is certainly costlier than living in a 1-bedroom apartment outside of the city center (PHP 8,405 or AUD 236). Weigh your options before signing a lease.


Utilities (e.g., water or electricity) and other miscellaneous (e.g., Internet services or cable television) are not always included in the rental fee. This is why it is important to budget these variable expenses along with your rent.


For Aussies who are moving to the country as a part of their company’s relocation program, expenses are usually covered by the company itself. Ensure that you read and understood your contract before making negotiations on this matter.


For Aussies who are married to Filipino citizens, your spouses will have the sole ownership of the properties you bought. The law prohibits foreigners from purchasing their own properties and the only exception is when the Filipino spouses die.




The education system in the Philippines is regulated by Department of Education (DepEd), Commission on Higher Education (CHED), and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA). In the past decades, fundamental schooling took 10 years to complete. This all changed three years ago due to the implementation of the Kindergarten Education Act of 2012 and Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013. Basic education takes about 13 years to complete today.


On that note, education is likely to be the second biggest expense category after accommodation. You can get good education at a well-known private school for about PHP 50,000 (AUD 1,405) per annum.


For Aussies who desire to enroll their children to international schools, tuition fee can take you back up to PHP 900,000 (AUD 25,299) per year! Contemplate whether this hefty price is worth it or whether you are willing to settle for enrolling at a public school.


The cost of living in the Philippines depend on your lifestyle choices as well as the place where you want to reside. An average cost for a person to enjoy a comfortable life outside of the city is PHP 100,000 (AUD  2,797) per year. Ensure that your savings is able to fulfill this amount even without a job or someone to rely on.


Note: All the information about the living expenses are based on the information provided by Numbeo. Numbeo is a website that keeps the “world’s largest database of user contributed information” about people’s living conditions.

Anna Agoncillo

Anna is a Registered Psychometrician and a graduate of Cardiff Metropolitan University, United Kingdom. Earning a bachelor's degree with honors in Psychological Studies, lead her to a career of writing and teaching. She is also the author of the new book entitled Psychology of Love, Money, & Life.


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