How much does a person from the Philippines earn?

by Dave from The Longest Way Home ~ July 29th, 2010. Updated on April 25th, 2012. Published in: Travel blog » Discover World Culture » How to live overseas » Philippines.
hands holding a coin

Money to some simply means, "I will eat tonight"

How much money does a person from the Philippines earn or make a day?

From the least paid all the way to the president, I took to the streets to try to find out. The results, while holding no scientific nor Wall Street Journal like quality, are interesting nonetheless.

I say per day, as when I ask people on a lower-income, this is what they quote me, exactly:

“I make ___ , sir.”

A middle-income person is more reluctant, but will quote by the month using the term around“.

Upper income people usually just smile. But will happily tell you what everyone else makes.

(Updated for 2012)

Cost of living in The Philippines (average, local)

Here’s a rough idea of what local things cost so you can see what a wage quote lower down must be spent on:

  • Jeepney ride – 10 pesos (medium distance transport)
  • Cost of fuel per liter – p58 +
  • Tricycad – city transport - p6 +
  • Small bottle of water – p15-20
  • Average local meal with meat – p69
Fat Asia Stomach

Is it a pregnant lady? Or a case of wealthy male Pinoy belly: It's actually scary to see so many rich Filipinos who are grossly overweight

60 pesos (p60) = USD$1.38 approx

The reality of wealth distribution in the Philippines:

A village girl or boy brought to a town to work as a house keeper can be paid as little as 0 to 50 pesos per day. They are given accommodation and meals (basic, as in rice and the floor).

Official minimum wage in The Philippines is based on regions, and noted later on.

Low income earnings: 

The average security person man or woman earns p200+ per day

The average guest house / hotel cleaner earns 200+ pesos per day

The Jollibee starting salary is 200+ pesos per day

A receptionist (starter) earns: p200 – 300 per day

(it should be noted that government regulation states benefits should be given to every permanent employee. So most employers only hire people for 5 months then release them. Supermarket chains and fast food restaurants in particular)

Middle income earnings

Front of three cars

Filipino's are obsessed with big cars, all the wealthy own one; shame they haven't been reading the rest of the worlds industry reports - or maybe they have been ...

A call center employees earns p10,000 – 18,000 per month

An office administrator earns p10,000 – 20,000 per month

A basic teacher earns p15,000 – 18,000 per month

Note: there are hidden extras in many middle-income salaries. Many will also be given a free sack of rice every month, a health care plan and transport. Depending on the job and circumstances.

Upper income

A doctor earns between p18,000 – 35,000 pesos per month

An airline pilot earns 80- 100,000 pesos per month

How much does a Government official in The Philippines make?

Now this was hard to find answers on, I wonder why?

The president earns 40,000 -60,000 pesos per month (everyone laughs when this is mentioned)

A governor earns … ???

The president’s “official” salary was easy to find out. As for a Governor, Mayor or other government officials no one seems to know.

If you happen to know, then please leave a comment (references would be great).

–Update –

One of the great things about having a such a good community of readers here has just revealed itself thanks to the comments of Marnie.

We now know the official salary of a Governor in the Philippines is 28,875 – 34,323 pesos a month. Here are some other scales.

Salaries of Government officials in the Philippines:

President of the Philippines salary is: 57,750

Vice President’s salary is: 46,200 – 54,917

Senator’s salary is: 40,425 -48,052

Congressman’s salary is: 40,425 -48,052

Governor’s salary is: 28,875 – 34,323

Mayor’s salary is: 23,422 – 27,842

(source)

Again many thanks to Marnie for finding this list.

Note: I can’t help but add in here about the massive fringe benefits politicians get in The Philippines. Not forgetting the wealth of political dynasties, shady business partnerships and corruption the countries politicians have been known for. They are amongst the richest here, one way or another. See further below for an example of a $20,000 steakhouse dinner

Official Minimum Wage in The Philippines 2012

The official minimum wage in the Philippines set by the government is broken into regions (based on non-agriculture salaries, upper limits).

  • NCR  - P426
  • CAR   – P272
  • Region I Ilocos – P248
  • Region II, Cagayan Valley – P245
  • Region III  Central Luzon – P330
  • Region IV A Calabarzon – P337
  • Region IV B Mimaropa – P264
  • Region V Bicol  - P247
  • Region VI Eastern Visayas – P277
  • Region VII Central Visayas – P305
  • Region VIII Western Visayas - P253
  • Region IX, Zamboanga Peninsula – P267
  • Region X, Northern Mindanao – P286
  • Region XI, Davao Region – P291
  • Region XII Central Mindanao – P260
  • Region XIII Caraga – P258
  • Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao  - P232

For further information and breakdowns on the official minimum wage in The Philippines please see The Philippines National Wages & Productivity Commission page 

Expats & overseas workers:

Diplomats earn the same as their civil service salaries back home, plus hardship bonuses (differs depending on origin country). Least to say, they are far from suffering judging by the luxury apartments/ buildings, most live in.

Non owning manager of a corporate overseas business: $USD 80,000 + per year depending on business. (plus other benefits)

Unqualified expat looking for a job – same as a local, unless you get lucky.

A note on small expat businesses in the Philippines: in order to run a registered business in the Philippines you need to be a national. Foreigners generally (that I am aware of) have two options.

  1. Marry a local: in which case the local will own the majority share of the company
  2. Form a company whereby the BOD has at least 5 Pinoy members

I’ve seen and heard of many a bad story due to the above.

street girl eating leftovers

Street girl eating someones leftovers on a plate - is her only hope to escape overseas by any means? Or could she really run for office & eat a little better ...

Equality & fairness in the Philippine salary:

The above is not an official list of salaries by some government body. These are quotes from people either in that job, related to it, from the street or from a news agency and treated as a given average.

What struck me was the salary scale of a call center employee vs a teacher or even a doctor. Call centers are booming in The Philippines, and many graduates would rather work in a call center, rather than in their chosen profession.

Apart that is from those looking to leave the country, via their profession.

Filipinos working overseas:

In my time here I’ve met a staggering amount of Filipinos looking to work overseas. This is actually an industry itself. And no, I am not talking about the return of wealth from overseas workers.

I am talking about the amount of businesses within the Philippines dedicated to getting people jobs overseas. And, to a lesser scale, simply taking the money with idle promises.

Unemployment vs overseas working

Today’s figures state there about 12 million overseas Filipino workers. The population is around 95 million. That’s roughly about 10% of the population that work overseas.

The unemployment rate is around 8% give or take. How this is actually calculated is beyond me as there’s very to back this up. Living off the land out of necessity and eating nothing but plain rice is considered employed.

Fringe benefits & justice

Rather than the usual developing country heartache of focusing on people eating nothing but plain rice, children falling asleep due to hunger, or no medical care. I’d like this to highlight the flip side of things.

Whereby some people live very well

Last year as the Philippines was struggling to cope with the world food crises former President Arroyo spent $15,000 and then another $20,000 on two meals for 60 colleagues whilst visiting the U.S.A. One of which was at a steakhouse where the bill was allegedly footed by a nephew of former president Marcos. The story was reported in many places. Here’s a brief ABS-CBN report.

The follow ups to this were met with non-statements, allegations, rebuttals and the usual “the head of state desires good treatment because …”

Conclusion on earning and salaries in The Philippines:

 This should give readers a rough insight into how mixed, cumbersome, irrational, fraudulent and bizarre salaries are in The Philippines.

From hand to mouth non earners, to teachers earning less than call center staff to Presidents and their entourages eating $20,000 dinners.

It’s a bizarre scale, and I somehow I don’t think The Philippines is alone in the world in this regard.

And, it would be interesting to see if anyone else can add to this, or disagree with my findings, either in the Philippines, or globally.

I am sure wealth distribution anomalies happen elsewhere too.

Coming Soon:

Documenting my life 101

Plus, a special on bribery within the travel photography community … aka travel photography ethics

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Speak your mind, all opinions welcome - leave a comment below

107 Great responses to How much does a person from the Philippines earn?

  1. Clark says:

    I can live with my girlfriend, in the Philippines, with P22.000/month ?
    Not in Manila, which is too expensive, but in some other places, such to Cebu. This is possible?
    Please, answer me.

    Thanks so much.

    • I have no idea what your living expenses are, so couldn’t answer that. Certainly Cebu is cheaper than Manila to live. See the minimum wage section here for a rough indication on the cheapest areas to live in The Philippines are. Keeping in mind, it’s based on Filipino living standards.

      • Clark says:

        I just want to know if with PHP22,000 or so, we will also cover expenses for food, transportation, clothing and any other charges.
        We don’t ask so much, we not be interested in dining at restaurants or go shopping spree…
        Living a simple life in a rented apartment for two persons + a baby.
        With PHP 22,000 may live decently, then?

        ( sorry for my english, i’m italian )

        Thanks.

        • Again, it depends on you. If you can eat basic rice meals 3 times a day, live with no air conditioning, in a rural area then yes. If you want a car, air-con, buy/ cook European style food, and have to pay for things like tourist visa’s and get health insurance for yourself, partner or baby then the answer is “you will struggle”.

          If you can manage to find an apartment for 10,000 pesos a month. Then you will do okay on the basics, short term. But long term you will find it hard. e.g. never going out, etc.

          If you are planning a permanent move to the Philippines, then please be aware of the whole “support a family” issue over there. And the fact that you as an Italian will be looked at as being rich. And people will wonder why you are not paying for better things. This can be difficult socially!

          Send me an email if you want to discuss more.

        • Maria says:

          thats ok to live with that amount if u guys already have ur house and appliances, cuz that amount will just covered for ur food, bills and some extra of course esp if u have a kid….things in the philippines now r not cheap anymore. not to mentioned u have to atleast give or help the family of the girl…but then again its all depends on the way u spend ur money or on the way the girl handle the money.

          • Clark says:

            Hi Maria,
            Thank you for your answer.

            but this thing to help his family, I do not really like. I’m not rich, and I’m not their benefactor … if she really loves me, she should understand. I will help his family if I can.
            But apart from these speculations …. you can give me some useful web address for me? Prices, apartments and everything I need ?

            Thanks so much.

            I’m sorry for my bad english. I’m just learning..

        • Dieter says:

          22000 P is aprox. 500 .- CDN dollars. I live in Cebu City-Guadalupe and pay for an unfurnished apartment 7000 P a month + utilities so that brings it up to 11500 a month. If you have 22000 P a month, a filipino young wife and a baby ,your life will be a very unhappy one after the first few months of initial happyness. I am also married to a filipina and met many young ladies before and I know of the constant demand for money and other things the ask for themselfes or family .

    • Ann says:

      This is so true

    • Daniel Sadler says:

      You could live say in Central Visayas for that, it depends on what you have to pay for housing. If you can find a place aways from main cities, your rent would be around P3000 – P8000 per month. But overall, P20,000+ per month will do well. I lived there with my wife even in Manila for P40,000 per month, and that is the most expensive place to live over there.

      • Rick Sadler says:

        What do you do for a living in Manila Daniel ?
        My wife and I were there for 5 weeks at Christmas and we spent a lotmore than that and stayed 3 weeks with family !

    • Myles Delfin says:

      Hello Clark,

      I’m from Cebu in the Philippines. Although, I live and work in Manila for most of the year now. Cebu is a good place to live in, you get all the urban benefits of a city but are never more than 15 minutes away from the beach. You also have the option to go to other nearby islands through a relatively cheap ferry service, though not all of them are as well-appointed as other ferries abroad. Still, you get to visit places like Camotes Island, Bohol, Siquijor, Negros, among others.

      The first thing you need to know about the Philippines is that foreigners are looked at as people who can afford expensive things. Often, you will be given a much higher rate when you start inquiring about houses. One way of getting a good price is to go with a local you trust who can help you haggle the price. This is not a sure thing, but its much better than going house hunting on your own.

      The transportation system in Cebu City and nearby places is dominated by a small vehicle called a mutli-cab and it is incredibly cheap. For a trip to a town called Consolacion just outside of the city for example, the fare is only 24 pesos. You can also take an air-conditioned taxi, public transport vans (vans that are shared like a bus by passengers), and of course there are buses. If you live within the city of Cebu, most places are actually within walking distance, including churches, malls, groceries, and other places.

      Utilities in Cebu can be just as expensive as Manila. Although, if you know how you can save some pesos. Cable television for example, you can get the pre-paid cable service where you can buy pre-paid cards for your digital cable television. That way, you only spend a specific amount. The water in Cebu has residue when you boil it, so I wouldn’t recommend it for drinking, I would suggest you look for what is called a “mineral water” store near your house and have your weekly supply delivered. Different stores have different prices, you can actually look for a good deal. Don’t use electric stoves because they use more electricity, also, it would be best to buy a small brand-new regrigerator that is suited to the amount of food you intend to keep per week. Take note, in Cebu, public markets and stores are almost always nearby so you can actually buy a lot of things on a daily basis including fresh meat and fish.

      As it is in almost any other city, the biggest expense is going out. The prices in the malls in Cebu are sometimes a little bit lower than in Manila, but they are still more expensive than eating at home. The cheapest form of entertainment is still of course gong to the movies, walking in the malls without buying anything (it can be fun too!), or catching a band in any of the small bars and restaurants in the city where you can watch the performance for the price of a pizza or a bottle of beer.

      One of the best way to save money in Cebu is to get a bicycle. You can actually pedal your way around most of the city and around the towns. Just be careful when you ride in the main roads, watch out for the buses and the motorcycles, they almost always drive very fast.

      For a Filipino family, a 22,000 peso budget is enough money to live on for a month. Although, foreigners sometimes end up with a higher cost of living because of the way they’re used to living life back in their home country or because of “family expenses” brought on by the “extended” Filipino family.

      Let me clarify those things:

      “Family Expenses” might include spending for gifts for relatives kids at Christmas and birthdays. Sometimes, when a relative gets sick or gives birth, relatives will approach you for help. Even for trivial things like electric bills and unpaid rent, people will knock on your door and see if you have “extra cash” that you can spare.

      “Extended Family” will include grand mothers, aunts, uncles, cousins, second cousins and their neighbors. It is customary for people to ask if you can give some form of help every now and then. The good thing is, if you have a good family that you’re with, they will also reciprocate the gesture in any way that they can when its your turn to ask for help. Remembering that, in the Philppines, a lot of humility and patience goes a long way.

      Lastly, with whatever budget that you eventually work with, just always prioritize your “fixed expenses” such as the rent for your house. All other things like cable tv and internet connection can be disconnected but just as easily reconnected when you have the money to pay for the bill.

      An important reminder, do not, at all costs, invest money in anything unless you are a hundred percent sure about anything that is offered to you. Remember that, as a foreigner, you can only own 40% of a business and you can’t own property. If you really want to do some kind of business in the country, Read about it here: http://real-estate-guide.philsite.net/foreigners.htm

      I work as a travel and adventure writer and photographer. From experience, the easiest way is never the cheapest way to go around the Philippines, nor is it necessarily the best way to get anywhere. Sometimes, a bumpy and dusty bus ride can be more fruitful than paying for a seat on an air-conditioned tourist bus. But, of course, as it is with any other country, just go with what your common sense tells you and you’ll be just fine. Have fun!

    • abby says:

      Hi Clark,
      I am filipina with swedish bf, we are living in South Philippines, (General Santos City), with 22,000 pesos/month we lived like standard living,, we can go out sometimes, shopping. beach,, name it we can still do that things.. we built a simple little hut house with 2 bedroom, living room, kitchen and toilet,, if you have little savings you can build your own little hut house too beside us hehehe,,

  2. Maria and Chris says:

    Clark,

    I’m sorry to say that even though you are not rich, the culture in the Philippines is VERY close when it comes to family. The family may not expect you to be a benefactor, but very often families will share what little they have with eachother. Taking care of parents is just about second nature because they went through so much to raise the child it is seen as a debt that cannot be repaid but an attempt must be made. I am not saying you HAVE to pay them but do not be surprised if pressured to give some money here and there. Secondly, Cebu is a tourist area, it is second in expensiveness only to Manila. My best advice to be to find a less well known city/area to live because costs can double or even triple the closer to cities you live. The best place to start when looking at prices for items would be local malls in the area you plan on staying. If you can afford the prices in the malls you can pretty much afford buying from smaller stores for the same item. Hope this helped and enjoy.

    • Clark says:

      Thanks for your comment and explanations, Mary.

      In which sense should I look for an apartment in the malls? even in the same Manila? I do not think you understand …. I may have mistranslated with my Italian.
      uff ….. I WANT LEARN ENGLISH! : (

      Can you be as clear as possible? thanks a lot!

      • Maria and Chris says:

        hahah no thats not wut i meant, wut i mean is if u can afford things in the big malls then u can afford small things around it….get it? but anyway we lived in negros occidental and we have our own house already and appliances, so 22000pesos is much enough to pay our bills and some extra..but i dont think u can do that in cebu esp if ur in the city…. my advise is just be clever with ur money, things in philippines is not cheap as it was. if u know u cant afford it then just dont get it….goodluck and im sure ur partner knows where to find a suitable place for u and ur family esp if she living in cebu.

        • Clark says:

          well, now you have been much clearer, thank you very much!
          chiederò alla mia ragazza… troverà lei un posto carino..

          just a curiosity, that has nothing to do … but the Filipina girls, get drunk? :D

          Are you Filipina, you were there, or live there now?

          • Maria says:

            yes im filipina and married to an american. but we r not in philippines anymore. anyway if ur partner is filipina then u should know if filipina gets drunk or not but of course all people in the world drink…u should explore philippines to know more or do some research….try to know ur partner culture and background first before u live with them so that u wont regret at the end. goodluck and hopefully youll enjoy living in philippines…

      • james says:

        Sorry to say but 22,000Peso isnt going to be enough for your monthly expenses unless you will have a home paid for or rent free.

    • Robert says:

      I have been here in the Philippines for two years now. I’m married to a Filipina,we live in Agdao near San Carlos City, Pangasinan. It is a little town just like living in the country back home in Florida where I grew up. I built my own house a 2/1 home for 850,000 pesos. The cost of living here in this town is very cheap with bills and food the monthly cost is 18,000. That’s 15,000 food, 2000 lights, and 1000 internet (broadband)signal is ok unless it rains lol. I maybe 38 years old but still play basketball with a bet of 20 pesos per head (man) and we sometimes gamble. My wifes family will buy meals dinner and lunch and I buy also its pretty much 50/50 on that. For the most part from what I have learned here so far from others “Don’t loan money or borrow”. The percentage is very high from 10% to 40% on a monthly return and some charge this by the week and you may not get it back. So don’t take the chance. For the most part I enjoy it here but still wish you could get things just as easily like back in America.

  3. Clark says:

    Hi Maria
    I LOVE so much the filipino girls, are so beautiful and sweets! :))
    my girl is the most beautiful thing happened to me! i’m not kidding! and i hope really to realize my dreams to living with her, after we know each other better..i love her so very much! :))

    a question again: it’s very difficult marry her?

    Thanks a lot for your answer.

    • Maria says:

      what do u mean “difficult to marry her”? u mean the law in philippines or papers?? me and my husband married in philippines but it was easy bcuz it wasnt a church wedding and we didnt deal with alot of papers cuz we have it all ready and we didnt wait for dates for simenars and stuffs bcuz we paid people to make it quick…so all in all it wasnt that hard or difficult cuz it was all simple and just family…but i dont know bout u, i dont know how u going to handle all the papers and i dont know where u going to get married….but of course ur gf should know all that, she should help u to get all the papers done. she need to ask wut and how in her local place how to get married a forienger. u need to do some research too cuz thats wut we did before we get married….

  4. Neo says:

    Great article about salary in PI!! And to the Italian asking about living expenses, Philippines is getting very expensive. I think to live up to US/Europe standards it would cost probably around 42k pesos per month, not including getting a car or scooter. That’s just for apartment with AC and hot water, food, clothes, healthcare, going out once in awhile and buying a few things here and there. 42k per month you cannot live like a king in Philippines as you once could. I’m looking to retire there someday so hopefully I will have enough monthly income to do so. Luckily the healthcare is very affordable still.

  5. ghui says:

    Nice article you’ve got here. I can really see that you’ve spend time collecting these information. These things are very true and evident here in the Philippines. The government is claiming that they are doing their best to address the problem but we cant seem to see any progress that’s is why we resort to our own solutions which includes working overseas and even being underemployed (like working as a call center agent even if she’s a nursing graduate) as long as the pay is high even and will help them get by..It so sad but true..

  6. yakan says:

    great article!
    if you want to get rich, get elected! the government allots money for farm-to-market roads for a supposed better transport of goods by farmers to consumers. but in reality, they become farm-to-pocket roads for government officials. etc.etc.
    but i’m staying here. and hopefully, one day, i won’t have to curse every time i pay my taxes.
    22 thousand will be enough i think. but it depends o how you spend. filipinos, unfortunately, spend a lot. apparently on things that we don’t really need. like cellphones with all the cool features but we rarely use. we’re status conscious. and we like imported things a lot. =)

  7. Ger says:

    Can anybody help me to decide. I am a 54 year old Irishman with a monthly pension of about 59000 pesos. I am hoping to retire to The Philippines. Would this give me a good standard of living. My email is ger.roche@live,ie Thank You

    • Andrea says:

      I’m earning 40,000 a month and my husband at around 20,000 a month so our total earning is around 60k a month. We don’t have a baby yet and we’re only renting a house in an executive village in Quezon City. I can say 60,000 pesos a month for the two of us is just enough but not too much as we pay our rent in an exclusive village and we dine out regularly. But if you’re living alone OR if you’re going to have a family here and live in an ordinary subdivision, 59000 pesos a month is already more than enough. It actually depends on the lifestyle you want, whether a simple one or a luxurious one. With our salary, we always get to watch movies and go shopping at least twice a week. But if we get a child, I doubt if we can afford to send our child to very expensive international schools at this rate.

    • Ker says:

      I think 59,000pesos per month would be enough. In zambales (central Luzon 4-5hrs from manila), you’ll be spending *around 5,000pesos for a decent house or apartment,
      *3,000-5,000 for utility bills (water, electricity etc)
      *3,000-5,000 for a helper
      *500 pesos a day for grocery /15,000pesos a month
      *1000 for transpo allowance per month (tricycle 12pesos per ride)
      ***2,000pesos for shopping,leisure(massage,spa,salon) every week etc.
      a total of 35,000-39,000 expenses a month
      You have an approximate savings of 20,000 a month :)

  8. Lukban Mojica Sakay says:

    If you live in Tacloban City which is a tertiary city by Philippines’ standard then you can live comfortably. Anyway, Manila is probably the worst place to retire to. Here are some basic costs of living-

    House (Furnished, within the city, it gets cheaper as one goes further away from the center, which is really a nice thing) – 5,000 Php roughly around $122

    Dining out-

    Sari-sari (Common man’s restaurant) – 35.00 – 50.00 = .75 cents to $ 1.25 (rice, fish/meat stew and vegetables)

    Fastfood – (Mcdonald’s) – plain burger and soda 35.00 = .75 cents (JCO local fastfood) – Big serving of Chicken with rice – 49 = $ 1.25

    Casual Dining (Sunzibar-Mexican, Red Salt – New Asian, Ayo – Fusion, Canto Frescov-Designer Pizza, Rafael Farm’s (Modern Filipino), Mall restaurants – Average cost per meal is $ 2.5 to 4 dollars

    Fine Dining – Ocho (Filipino/Oriental), Giuseppes (Authentic Italian), Royal Seafood Chinese, Stereo Sushi (japanese)- Average cost is from $ 2.5 to 6 dollars

    San Miguel Beer – Mom and Pops store – around $.35 restaurants- $ .5 to .75, Clubs and bars = $.75 to 1.5 , Girly bars – $ 1.5 to 3

    Public Transpo – $.20 within the city, interisland travel 3 dollars

    Doctors fee – consultation is $ 10

    Gym Membership – 40 to 50 dollars a month (High end)

    House helper- (will cook, do laundry, clean the house daily) 80 dollars (good rate)

    An adidas/nike/converse shoe will cost – $80 up

    Travel to the near islands (food transpo lodging included)- $100 to 150 (3 days)

    Occasional happiness – $ 75 to 100 (model types already)

    You can buy a decent small van/car/multicab for 4,000 dollars

    Cost of
    pork per kilo – 5 dollars,
    Chicken – 3.5 dollars
    Beef – 6 dollars
    Crusty bread Loaf – 2.5 dollars
    Fresh Milk – 2 dollars
    Deli ham – 2 dollars per 100 grams
    Deli Cheese – 1.5 dollars per 100 grams
    Potato – 1.25 akilo

    Hope this helps. Cheers mate!

  9. paul says:

    Great Article. I’m just back from spending some time in Philippines. Would love to find a way to live and work there but it doesn’t seem likely. Unlike other Asian countries the is no market for the usual traveller jobs such as English teaching. Its hard to see such wonderful young men and women working in malls and fast food outlets, earning as little a day as I would spend on beer in two hours. With such little opportunity it becomes easy to understand how so many young woman chose to make their money befriending foreign men in the bars at night. One encounter can be worth the equivalent of two weeks salary in Jolibee. So many having come to towns and cities to support families at home in the poorest regions.

  10. Ron says:

    Within the next year I plan to move to the islands, not manila for sure. I will have stateside kind of small income from retirement but as of now it wowuld convert over to approxmately 45K-50k pesos, so I think i should be comfortable, GF is a nurse there.. Recently I have been reminded about something I heard a few years back, REgarding safety, are americans safe or should they be concerned about kidnapping and ransome. Any info would greatly be appreciated

  11. R. Cole says:

    Going to be retiring in about 2 yrs. Thinking about retiring in Cebu/Lapu Lapu area. My monthly retirement will be around 1800.00 USD a month. How well will I be able to live there. I will be looking for a wife as well. Hope maybe to find a nice professional lady there and settle down. I have to come back to Texas 1st of every yr to take care of taxes and check on my properties. Any expert advice would be welcome.

    • ben says:

      $1800.00 a month will be fine you can rent a apt for $250.00 or so , Finding women will be the least of your worries
      Their everywhere there . You will live comfortable on that for sure with room to spare. You will be helping your new gf family once in awhile. You’ll love it there or hate it.
      It’s a whole new ballgame there

  12. Lynn says:

    Hi, great article! I’m a Filipino and been living overseas for 21 years. I am a widow with a very young child. I’ve been offered a job by the company I used to work for 10 years ago. This job is based in Manila. Im really concern with the cost of International Schools in Manila. Can anyone give me an idea how much should I expect to spend for monthly living there.

    Thanks

    • Greg says:

      Hi Lyyn

      I am currently working in a n international school in Las Pinas. The tuition fee runs around a hundred thousand per year. Assuming that your kid is on the primary or secondary level. As for international baccalaureate, it is way expensive.

  13. superdonkey says:

    i have been philippines 5 times and have a filipina wife a and our daughter is half british/filipina.
    we have our house / car already paid for and intend to live there from next year. my goal is about 15k peso a month considering we already have a house.

    i would say:
    electricity: 2000 (with low powered devices)
    internet: 1000
    phil health: 1500
    food: 8000 (not buying from mall)
    beer and other: 2500 :)

    for foreigners i would say the following.
    you will need about 4k peso extra for rent each month if you do not have your own property.

    for electric be conscious of how much an appliance uses, bring a electric wall meter with you and only run efficient appliances. consider solar power if you have the money to invest and a house to put it on.

    let your filipina wife do the shopping and not in the malls! if she lives like she used to before you dazzled her with cash then then she will buy from local outdoor markets and consider 100peso to be very expensive. dont try to buy stuff as a foreigner you will be ripped off.

    dont keep a car when you can get a jeepney. trike so cheap.

    be aware that filipino women like to show off to each other a lot and are very very conscious of how their community sees their status – its a generalisation of course everyone is different but most will spend spend spend and you will pick up the bill.

    family, if they are fairly poor you will be asked for money for her family and saying no if you have the money can get very very bad. do not underestimate the family ties. its not like usa/europe where you dump your mother in a pensioners home and run. The good side of this is once you are in the clan you will always have people to depend on so its best to be diplomatic – if i dont want to pay i usually say “its ok we can sell something to help your friend / family etc” then tell her you will sell the car / tv / whatever and say you will sacrifice for her family.. good chance she will back out straight away if the request is not really serious.

    enjoy a slower more relaxed pace of life and days in the sun!

  14. Chris Simpson says:

    My house in Zambales (near beach, nice town of 30,000)is p3000 month. 3000 a week feeds my wife and I as well as my mother in law (who lives with us).
    My PI budget looks like:

    Rent: 3000
    Electricity: 1200
    Gas: 600
    Food: 12000
    Scooter: 400
    Beer: 6000

    Basics total:P23,000 Month

    We have 2 children born in PI and live back and forth between Oz & PI. Children’s needs are expensive; I can buy both nappies and formula cheaper in Australia than in the Philippines. Medicines are relatively cheap, doctors also, but seem to me less qualified than Australian nurses (a doctor qualified in 1974 in the Philippines has very likely not read a single paper or attended any update seminars since graduation. Beware that medical specialists in PI are not at all specialists by western standards, only requiring 80% mark in a subject to ‘specialize’, no internment programs etc.)

    The wife’s family are always an issue. Most foreigners wind up having to put some distance between themselves and the family as the almost constant pestering for money drives us nuts.

    Marrying a Filipina is a seriously huge step fraught with peril. Culture clash is huge. Be very careful.

    NEVER show or brag that you have money. I would suggest if you can’t live without a car or without a/c, you can’t live safely long term in the Philippines. Having these things makes you a target, much more so than your white skin.

    • marco spanos says:

      i agree with the last comment. I travel to Manila about 7 times a year for work, i have a g/f there who i met last year. She is great and i care about her dearly but her family has almost broken us up to the point now that she wont let them associate with me for fear of losing our relationship. Not once did she ask me for money as she has a full time job in Makati but on the second instance of meeting her family her mum hit me up for some assistance. Then again every other time i was there. I didn’t mind giving them some money but her mum would get upset if i gave them less than 10,000 pesos. In the end my g/f even said enough and now doesn’t let them see me, which suits me perfectly.

      It is very true that marrying a Filipina is a perilous move, you do so at your own risk. And don’t get me started with the “accidental” pregnancies, never take their word that they are on contraception, use a condom always, trust me on this point as 2 of my co workers have had this happen to them.

      On the living cost issue 20,000 pesos in Cebu will allow you to survive but without luxuries, your g/f should find some part time work or something she can do from home. If you are disciplined you can survive on 20k pesos a month, but survive is all that you will do.

      Otherwise good luck with it all, i wish you all the best.

  15. ALICE says:

    I really don’t understand, why some of the Filipinos think that foreigners have lots of money. In reality, they earned the same way. The debts are at the top of the neck. I wonder the family of these girls with FOREIGN BF have common sense. If they only knew the real story behind it, i bit you. They might decline. Sorry, for those girl’s relative who took advantage. If i am a foreigner, i’ll tell them straightforward that i am not a walking bank..sorry..

  16. Joy says:

    Hi. Im 19 years old. I already have my own family. My BF is 21 years old. My baby is already 1 year and 7 months already. We live together for 2years and 1 month. We live here in bulacan in my parents house. My parents are seperated already but my dad pay all the bills here in our house. Including electricity, water bills and maids also. My mother didnt live here also. Me, my baby and bf including maids who only live here in this huge house. It has 6 big rooms 2 big salas and 1 pool with big gardens. The only problem is our budget. My Dad still giving me a allowance 8k – 10k monthly and my BF parents gave my BF 8k pesos also. So we have 16,000 every month. But i dont know why we cannot save money. Even my dad pay all the bills here in our house. With sacks of rices, dad pay also the mgas. Our problem is how to save money or budget our money for food, my baby’s needs. And the Gas also of my BF’s Car. I think we spent 2,500 every week. And also my bF is still studying.. Someone help me to budget out money… My BF budget everyday for his school i think its 300 pesos. Becase he bring his car.. Everyday. Except sundays..

    • kel says:

      to joy,
      i somewhat calculated the amounts that you have mentioned like the school expenses. if that amount from monday-friday then its about 6000+ per month. the car expense for about 2500, for a whole month its about 10000. so actually you are already over the budget of 16000 a month and thats why you guys are not saving any. first thing you need to do to save money. is write down all the expenses and cut down all the unnecessary expenses. write down the most important expenses and see how you can lower the amount of your important expenses to a more affordable way. try that and see how things go.

  17. Juliah Vera says:

    To Joy,
    I enjoyed reading your post regarding how to budget your money. First, I am going to give you both credit for being very young (19 & 21). People your age seemingly do not know how to budget their money. With your dad paint for everything, the one thing you and your boyfriend lack is DISCIPLINE–that is, in terms of budget. But budgeting is rather simple. Start with the basics. First, invest in a cheap but reliable calculator (do not buy one over p200). Second, since both of you are in school, I trust that you know what to do next. Keep a written list of every day and weekly expenses and post it everywhere (door, bathroom, kitchen,etc–trust me on this). This will help you be physically and mentally reminded of your budget to such a time when you’ll remember this consciously and unconsciously (because the mental image will be permanently stored in your brain). That way, when you start to go “over budget”– this image will act as an “alarm clock” if you will, to remind you that you are overspending. Try this simple exercise first and see if it helps. If not, I believe your dad is rich enough to hire you an accountant to sit down with you and go over your budget. Best of luck. P.S. enjoy your life and have fun raising your baby. I’m proud that even as young parents, you are both in school. Keep up the good work and stay focus. You’re on the right tack.

  18. I started to read the many posts upon this page and found that it was like a good book that you can’t put down. I have been to the Philippines once for 2 months and will return this Christmas 2013. I intend to open a pawn shop with a good filipino friend (female, friend only) as my manager and ofcourse she will have 70% ownership (on paper). I have learnt so much from all the good people that have wrote there comments and given there advise, I thank you all for that. I hope to commute between Australia and the Philippines on a regular basis to participate in this new venture but will be running the online part of the business and the technical side of things from Australia. I have a question…..what is the current weekly rate of pay for a shop assistant in the Philippines? I can’t seem to find an accurate up to date answer, any help on this matter would be appreciated.

  19. Saneel says:

    Hi, I’m from Malaysia..Many friends/relatives here told me that moving from Malaysia to the Philippines is a crazy thing to do…since i have a good job here and good salary, but i’ve told them, money is not a concern..all i need is a good life and a happy one..i been to Philippines for 5 times before this on vacations and i think u could get the best hospitality there plus great people..all i’m looking for is to land a job that could pay me about PHP25000 a month. Anyway my main concern is, if i dont get a job there soon, can u advise , is it possible for me to gain the SRRV SMILE Visa and how long can i stay in the Philippines under that option. TQ

  20. Lilybeth says:

    Well, very extensive commentaries here. Anyhow, I am a Filipina married to a Canadian once, now a widow. I explained to my late husband my culture but lucky for him I don’t tolerate my family asking hand outs. I always insist that my partner is not shoveling money in the snow.
    But anyhow that mentality should really go. It must be the economic issue no matter what. I live in Canada and work and when I visit home they always look at someone as a dollar sign Filipino or not as long as they know you are a foreigner or a Filipino living and working abroad. hhmm bad mentality indeed of my own culture. Don’t give in. Be firm with no. I would love to, but I don’t have much to spare. they will raise their eyebrow but you see they were in the Philippines living there forever and they manage to live without your help. If you must it has to come from your heat.