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How to Retire in the Philippines for Less than $1,500 a Month

Updated on December 6, 2014
chateaudumer profile image

There are a few other places in the world that one can retire cheaply. However, the Philippines is still my number one choice as discussed.

How to Live in the Philippines for less than $1500 a Month

There are several articles and blogs discussing how cheap it is to retire or live in the Philippines. The articles indicate that one can comfortably live in the Philippines from about $1000 (as a single person) to $4000 (for a couple) per month depending on the location and your style of living. Generally it is much cheaper to live in the provinces compared to residing in big cities such as in Manila, Cebu or Davao.

My own personal experience showed that my wife and I can live in the island of Marinduque for about $2000 per month. This amount allows us to live like a King and a Queen, that is we have house hold help including a personal driver, a gardener and a cook and a laundry woman.

For the past twelve years, my wife and I resides from 4 to 5 months in a year in the island of Marinduque every year. We had built our second home in this island after my retirement from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2002.

We love Marinduque very much, but we also cherish our home here in Northern California. We recommend Marinduque if you want to retire in a quiet, peaceful and not a polluted place in the Philippines. Hopefully with the resumption of air services from Manila and back by the end of this year, the island will now be very accessible to the comforts and modern living that westerners are accustomed to that are available in big cities such as Manila..

Retire in Paradise


Our Own Budget-Living in Marinduque

Our monthly budget is around $2000 which includes the services of a cook, gardener and a driver and a savings for emergency. Our budget as follows plus or minus 10%.:

Housing is free since we own our own home but we allocate $500 for maintenance and taxes . This will be your rental per month for a small house or apartment in Marinduque.

Utilities: includes electricity, phone bill and internet connection: $300 ( electricity is the most expensive item in the Philippines

Food and Groceries: $300 ( This budget includes eating occasionally imported type of food and delicacies) You can save on this if you eat locally produced food products. In Marinduque, there is an abundance of fresh vegetables, sea foods and poultry products that are reasonably price. you can have additional savings if you shop in the local open or flea markets.

Transportation: We have an old car and gas is expensive so we have a budget of $300 for this item.. If you do not have a car and rely on public transportation which is reliable( jeepneys, tricycles, bicycle and buses) your budget should be about half: $150.

Medical and Insurance; $200 ( If you have insurance abroad, be sure to check if you can use or is applicable in the Philippines). We have a Federal insurance and we can use it in Manila. However, you can also purchase a Philippine health insurance for a reasonable cost.

Miscellaneous and Entertainment: Haircuts, massages, pedicure, manicure: $100 ( you can save on this items if you wish). The price of a movie ticket is less than $1. Once a month escapade to a decent restaurant is highly recommended. Haircuts in Marinduque is about $1,10 and four hour whole body massage is about $10.

Savings for Emergency: $200. In addition you should have a savings of at least $5000 in case of emergency that you can cash without having to wait for more than one day..

Household Help: $300. You can save this amount if you do your own house work and do not own a car and not hiring a driver. However a weekly services for a laundry woman is highly recommended

The current exchange rate as of this date is around 45 pesos for one US dollar

Can you Live in the Philippines for $1600 a Month

One of the Many Sunsets you will Enjoy during your Retirement in the Philippines

Sunset from the Balcony of the Chateau Du Mer Beach House, Marinduque, Philippines
Sunset from the Balcony of the Chateau Du Mer Beach House, Marinduque, Philippines | Source

Retiring in the Philippines

Do you have immediate plans on retiring to the Philippines?

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Suggested Budget For You.

This will be your typical budget if you live simply and do not hire Household Help: Note that I am including a saving for emergency:

Housing ( $500), Utilities ( $300), Food ( $300). Transportation( $100), Medical and Insurance ($100), Miscellaneous ( zero to $100), Household Help ) zero to $50 for the laundry woman twice a month and lastly a savings for emergency ( from zero to any amount you can afford)..Total $1450 per month.

References on the Cost of Living in the Philippines

In addition read as much as you have the time about retiring in the Philippines. Some of the most interesting and practical sites on the subject are as follows:

Number of Expats and Aliens Residing in the Philippines

In March of 2012, The Bureau of Immigration’s alien registration showed that more than 65,155 foreign nationals are residing in the Philippines. This was based on their filed annual reports that year. This number was much higher by 8.53 percent, based on the number of aliens that filed a report last year. The Philippines government had earned more than P19.5 million in fees and are encouraging more expatriate in the Islands. Most of these aliens reside in Metro Manila, Cebu and Davao. In Marinduque, there are at least a dozens of expats that I personally know.

Philippines is a Tropical Country-The Front Yard of Our Retirement Home

The Philippines is a tropical country. There is an abundance of insects, flies, ants and other tropical pests. Be prepare for it and bring a lot of insect repellents.
The Philippines is a tropical country. There is an abundance of insects, flies, ants and other tropical pests. Be prepare for it and bring a lot of insect repellents. | Source

Homes for Rent in the Philippines

Home rental will vary from the simple to the luxurious
Home rental will vary from the simple to the luxurious | Source

Last Advice and Expectations

Before deciding where to retire or live in the Philippines, visit the location during the summer months and see if you can stand the summer heat. Remember, there is a rainy and also a typhoon season in the Philippines. The best months as far as climate is concern are the months of December, January and February where it is cool and dry.

Do not expect to get employed by a private company. But if you are self-employed and make a lot of money on-line writing for Hubpages, the Philippines is not a bad place to retire, The internet connection is slower compared to the US but it will do the job.

Be sure you have also plenty of cash for emergency or for your return to your original home, if you do not like the Philippines

Open a local bank account as soon as you can. You can request for a direct deposit of your income, pension funds or social security payments to your local bank.

Last but not least, Please remember that Home is not a Place but in the Heart.

Home is not a Place but in the Heart

— Anonymous

Budget for a Single Man in the Philippines

Expenses in Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental

Visit the Philippines


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    • chateaudumer profile imageAUTHOR

      David B Katague 

      3 years ago from Northern California and the Philippines

      HI Peachpurple, Thank you for your comment. I hope you have a great summer!

    • peachpurple profile image


      3 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      Wow, you are clever at budgeting, you must be enjoying yr life

    • chateaudumer profile imageAUTHOR

      David B Katague 

      3 years ago from Northern California and the Philippines

      Hi Ladyguitarpicker, thank you for visiting my hub, Good Day to you also!

    • ladyguitarpicker profile image

      stella vadakin 

      3 years ago from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619

      Never been there, but it looks interesting and affordable. Good information. Have a good day.

    • chateaudumer profile imageAUTHOR

      David B Katague 

      4 years ago from Northern California and the Philippines

      Something to think about in the future!

    • vkwok profile image

      Victor W. Kwok 

      4 years ago from Hawaii

      Maybe I'll move to the Philippines in the future.

    • chateaudumer profile imageAUTHOR

      David B Katague 

      4 years ago from Northern California and the Philippines

      Thanks, Bill! Have a great day!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I've never been there although I do have friends who live there...great information, easy to read, succinct...nicely written.


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