The 5 Best Places To Live In The Philippines 

Curious as to where the best places to live in the Philippines are? 

For many, the Philippines are what you would call paradise and a dream vacation destination. However, as this archipelagic country has one of the best economies in the East Asia Pacific region, living and working here is totally possible for foreigners. 

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The Philippines consists of over 7000 islands, 2000 of which are inhabited. Among them, you’ll find everything from bustling cosmopolitans to happening coastal towns to picturesque fishing villages.

But where should you base yourself when living and working in the Philippines as a foreigner?

We’ve handpicked the 5 best places to live in the Philippines for expats, remote workers, and digital nomads. Read on to find out the pros and cons of each, along with average rental costs. 

the philippines flag

Manila

As the capital of the archipelagic country, Manila is easily one of the best cities to live in the Philippines if you’re looking to work locally. Here, you’ll enjoy a vibrant lifestyle and never get bored, as there are endless museums, shopping malls, theaters, restaurants, bars, and more.

By far, Manila has the most job and business opportunities. IT, tech, and finance are some of the most in-demand sectors, but many call centers also employ unskilled foreigners. 

Here you will also find the university belt, an unofficial sub-district of Manila home to some of the top educational institutes in Southeast Asia. Thus, Manila is easily one of the best places to live in the Philippines for those with careers in education and research.

Life in Manila is undoubtedly fast-paced. The hustle and bustle can prove stressful if you don’t enjoy big-city living.


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In addition, Manila is one of the most expensive places to live in the nation. Still, the wages are also higher, which balances it out. 

Regarding housing, rental rates vary significantly depending on the level of luxury and the location.

Generally, one-bedroom apartments range from $300 to $550 a month. Larger apartments and houses can cost anywhere up to $1600.

Manila

Makati

Makati is a vibrant city within the Manila region that offers a high-quality lifestyle for expats and digital nomads living and working in the Philippines. It has many things to do and see, including luxury shopping malls, top-quality restaurants, and trendy bars. 

At only a 45-minute drive to central Manila, Makati is a fabulous option if you have a job in the capital city. Still, Makati’s Central Business District is full of skyscrapers, so there are plenty of work and job opportunities here, too.

As Makati is associated with a luxurious lifestyle, you can find some of the most lavish and ultra-modern condos and apartments here. They do come at a price tag, though, and like Manila, this isn’t the cheapest place to live in the Philippines.

Makati

Cebu

Cebu is another of the best Filipino cities for a blend of urban and natural living. This pristine city is located in the country’s Central Visayas region.

It has a booming economy, an excellent transportation system, and top-quality healthcare and education. 

As a result, Cebu is incredibly desirable to foreigners and is super accommodating to the large expat community here. You’ll find plenty of safe and modern gated communities, luxurious condos, stunning beaches, and vibrant nightlife.

Along with an excellent public transport system within the city, Cebu’s international airport has excellent links to the rest of the country and beyond.

There is also easy access to many nearby tourist spots and islands, giving you endless weekend activities. 

Cebu has a good range of jobs for foreigners in industries such as customer service, education, and IT. Living here is cheaper than in the capital city, but it’s still one of the most expensive cities in the Philippines.

One-bedroom apartments cost between $250 and $400 a month, whereas 3-bedroom places are typically between $500 and $800.

Cebu

Dumaguete

Dumaguete, located on Negros Island, offers a highly laid-back and peaceful vibe. This coastal city is ideal for remote workers and digital nomads who want to take it easy.

Here, you’ll be close to nature yet won’t feel like you are in the middle of nowhere. 

Dumaguete is known for its incredible diving spots and iconic waterfront lined with restaurants and bars. It is the largest city on the island with a population of 125,000, so it’s peaceful but not at all sleepy. 

It’s also a haven for nature lovers with many beautiful places to explore. There are numerous lakes, mountains, and waterfalls, along with the Manjuyod Sandbar and Talabong Mangrove Park. 

There is a significant foreign community of expats and retirees; however, local jobs are few and far between here. Thus, this lovely city is best for those who work remotely.

In fact, if you work for an overseas company, you’ll quickly build your savings here as the cost of living is so low. 

There is a noticeable difference among consumer prices, including restaurants, compared to Manila. However, the most drastic contrast is rental rates, as renting is less than half the cost.

Here you can rent a one-bedroom apartment for less than $250 or a 3-bedroom house for no more than $400 a month. 

dumaguete

Boracay

As a small island, the Boracay lifestyle is entirely different from all the places on this list. Still, it’s undoubtedly one of the best places to live in the Philippines for those that want to end each work day with a cocktail on the beach watching the sunset. 

You’re unlikely to find a local job here; however, if you work remotely, you can fulfill your dream of working and living in paradise. The beaches are postcard-perfect, with white sand and turquoise seas, and many are lined with palm trees, bars, and restaurants.

Boracay is traditionally a tourist island, but it’s slowly becoming prevalent among digital nomads. However, you might struggle if you need a continuous fast Wifi connection as the internet is not great.

It is also one of the more expensive parts of the nation, especially during high season when businesses raise their rates for tourists.

Boracay has a strong sense of community and an authentic feel. There are not many things to do, though, and the island is small, so if you prefer more action, you may get bored here after a while.

Boracay

Final Thoughts On Best Places To Live In The Philippines

As you can see, these five best places to live in the Philippines are all very different. Thus, when deciding where to live, consider the lifestyle you’re seeking and your work circumstances. 

Manila and Makati are ideal if you’re heading here to seek employment. For investment opportunities, check Cebu.

Or, for a relaxed life surrounded by nature, you’ll surely adore Dumaguete and Boracay.

Not sure if the Philippines is the right place for you? Read one of the following guides:

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