The Cost of Living in Cebu, Philippines

Cebu City
Cebu City

Probably the most ever question a foreigner has about living in the Philippines is the cost of living. Many want to retire or semi-retire here, find a loyal, nice, Filipina woman to love and be happy in a place where the temperature seldom drops below 65F and seldom above 90F. It is VERY much like southern Florida and far cheaper overall. Of course, the infrastructure, customs, and services are those of a 2nd or 3rd World country, especially, when you leave the city and venture out into the rural outlands, which are beautiful, but where everything is limited in all ways (gas stations, grocery stores, shops, medical etc.).

So, the cost for two living in a one bedroom apartment in Cebu City varies due to lifestyle. There is the minimalist approach, the living as a Westerner approach, living as an Asian approach. It depends on frequency and needs. If you eat out most of the time, it will be more costly versus eating at home, depending on your diet. It depends if you have a car or frequently take a taxi or jeepney, how often you shop in the mall etc. The cost of living is like anywhere else- it depends.

However, one can have a good “ballpark” figure for two. The current average prices (in pesos. There are 45 pesos to $1 USD) for various things in Cebu in 2015 are the following:

  • Standard meal from 160 to 750p
  • 1 Gal. of milk = 300p
  • Bread = 40p
  • One pound of rice= 25p or 1 kg =50-60p
  • A dozen eggs = 75p
  • 1 kg (2 lbs) of chicken = 180-200p
  • 1 Kg of beef = 250p
  • 2-3 apples = 60p
  • 1 kg of bananas = 50p
  • 2-3 oranges = 26p
  • One bottle of wine = 300p +
  • A taxi ride costs 40p to start and 26p for each mile
  • One gal. of gas = 150p
  • Monthly utilities including: electricity, heat, water, garbage = 3800p
  • Health club = 1500p
  • Movie = 200p
  • Levis = 2000p
  • Nike shoes = 3500-5000p
  • One bedroom apartment in Cebu City limits = 18000p ($200)
  • If in suburb: 9000p
  • A 3-bdrm apartment in Cebu City = 27000p ($300 or so)
  • The average salary in Cebu City is 12,500- 16000p
  • Internet and Cable TV = 4000p

Remember, these are averages and not absolute. As you compare, rent, food, and utilities are the big money expenditures like anywhere else. The consumer index, excluding rent is 36%, rent index 11%, groceries 35%.

The answer to living there is for a frugal type lifestyle, not less than $700 month. For a decent, existence buying Western and Asian food, not eating out a lot, $900. Of course, for $1000-1500, you can live very well, for sure. This is for a one bedroom apartment for two.

The USD goes much, much, further in the Philippines and even further in Thailand etc. Basically, for every 1000p it is $25, so many things in Cebu cost that or less for sure. While 4000p sounds like a lot, it is just $100. So, at first, the big money numbers startle you and you learn how to do rough conversion into USD, something you can actually relate to while you are shopping or whatever.

The cost of living do not reflect medical or any other costs not listed.

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