Is Manila a good place to retire in the Philippines?

Good day my readers,

Today let’s go ahead and discuss if retiring in the Philippines especially in Manila is good. Some of us had already settled here in the Philippines but truth be told, most people and expats do not prefer to retire in Manila.

The reason? EXPENSIVE.

For me the only reason why it is expensive is because people fail to find the RIGHT DEAL–  and that is my Job *wink.

But here’s the thing, I want you to believe that you could live here in the Philippines with $1,000 USD or 45,000 Php.
But of course, some would say that you can’t seem to figure out how you can live with that amount? or the infamous “On where I live, the breakdown of bills are not like that”… Well my readers, that is the reason I am here.
I am here to assist you, and as always, feel free to contact me on the comments below. I bet you my life I could find a suitable place for you to retire.

Read further below or you could also read this ARTICLE about How to live a simple but “rich” life in the Philippines.

Anyways, it’s not all that expensive though.

I’m not going to sugar coat it. I myself felt like it when I first moved here. But let me tell you though, the quality of living is better in the central city the same as convenience with the expat services and domestic facilities i.e. hospitals, night life, business areas… etc.  However, keep in mind that the standard cost of living in cities especially in Manila is higher than in rural areas. The fees are also higher for services and the prices of accommodations and food are quite higher than most provincial areas in the Philippines.

For example, if a retiree have about $2,000 USD (about +- 88,000 PHP) every month, then living in Manila might be feasible. Here’s my calculation from my experience:

  1. 10,000 Pesos (PHP) for rental apartment/condo
  2. 3,000 php for electricity
  3. 500 php for water
  4. 1,500 php for medical insurance
  5. 8,000 php for Food and Personal effects.
  6. 1,300 php for DSL Internet and Phone
  7. 1,000 php for Load Cellular Device
  8. 4,000 Php for Local Commute monthly

Total is about 29,300 Php (about $700-800 USD)

You would still have money left to buy stuff or go travel somewhere.

Technically, you could live within a very high standard in Manila as long as you live a simple life. No mid-night excursions on god knows where land. Just a fine living in Manila. An expensive dinner or buffet will not hurt your pockets, but why is it though that some expats and even BALIKBAYANS complain that living in Manila (or even in the Philippines) is expensive than my calculation above?

The sad answer my friends is not the place but the Filipino habit of Familism.

I remember before when I was teaching Ethics, that familism is the bane of the average Filipino. When there’s money, career, business, etc… they must first serve not oneself but the family (sometimes close friends). This habit and mannerism drains income from the household, and ofcourse, if you will be living here in the Philippines then you are expected to provide some “support”.

If you are single, and you have a filipino partner, then that also is a statement that you also have to “provide” for the family or friends involved within your life.

Is this a bad thing or not? Well, it depends… But remember, living life here in the Philippines should not be complicated, and it won’t  be complicated if you use prudence.

Check this article here for Alternative Retirement Spot in the Philippines: Places to retire in the Philippines.

Also remember to get my ebook “Living Successfully in the Philippines” as your arsenal and guide in order to make sure that you have a settled and financed living here in the Philippines.




-Be informed.



"Jay Penn" is a Financial Literacy Mentor and Investor who is best known for his Book "Polymath's Profit". He is also an expert in the field of Maritime, Engineering, and Emergency Medical from his past careers. Experienced with Security Analysis, Crisis Prevention, Contingency Planning, and Global Maritime Distress Safety System. Currently instructs Nautical Sciences and is an avid Researcher of Business and Economics. He is also recognized as the "Top Maritime Instructor" for 3 consecutive years in the Maritime Education from 2014; raising the standard for the Maritime Industry and Training.

2 thoughts on “Is Manila a good place to retire in the Philippines?

  • November 19, 2016 at 12:46 am

    Excellent article. Although I’m not living now in Manila, my wife worked for years in Makati and we investigated moving here several times to be close to her work.

    When people, either Filipinos or foreigners, make comments about the expense of Manila, it’s often becuase they just accept any price quoted to them, and they “overbuy” or “over rent” their accommodations. Example, in Makati (probably the most expensive of all the cites in the NCR, youcan easily find condos for rent for 40,000 a month and up, up up. But you can also find “low rise” deals lie a second-floor two bedroom unit, with off street parking, in the heart of Makati. Well under P20k a month.

    How? You ask, you search, you look and you control your impulses and you exercise patience. Good deals are out there.

    One other thing people miss when deciding against living in Manila “becuase it’s too expensive” is the need, especially for foreigners, to continually be dealing with government agencies like Immigration. Also for dealing with your home country embassy. If you live in the Metro, it’s just a taxi ride away. If you live out in a far-flung province “becuase it’s cheap” there, how much will frequent trips to Manila, overnight stays, etc, cost in the long run?

    You have to think the whole thing through, there’s more to life than “cheap”.

    • November 28, 2016 at 10:37 am

      Hi Dave, I’m glad you came to the site. Thanks for the comment 🙂 Yes, you are quite correct. Foreigners and expats alike must think the whole thing about being cheap at what is more for the purpose itself. Sometimes, what is convenient is better than what is “cheap” or vice versa depending on their need. You will be surprise that a lot of foreigners take deals here in Manila at face value and neglect the art of haggling. Still, it is quite a skill to learn in order to survive here. Good points on checking with impulse buying and such… it’s really a killer for the finances really.


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