The Ultimate Guide to Living in the Philippines 2023

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Living on the Philippines

Are you dreaming of living abroad and taking advantage of geoarbitrage? Then the Philippines may be the destination for you!

The country is ideal for expats with its warm climate, friendly people, welcoming culture, and low living costs.

In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about living in the Philippines – from visas and taxes to safety concerns and the cost of living.

So if you want to make your move easier, come with us on this journey as we explore all the beautiful nation has to offer!


If you’re looking for an exciting new place to call home, the Philippines may be your perfect destination! With its warm climate, friendly people, and welcoming culture, you’ll quickly fall in love with this tropical paradise.

The cost of living is relatively low compared to other countries, making it a great option for those who want to stretch their dollars further. Cities like Manila are bustling metropolises where modern services like private hospitals and international restaurants can easily be found. Plus, there are plenty of beautiful beaches just waiting to be explored!

Whether looking for a digital nomad lifestyle or a more permanent residence abroad, the Philippines offers something for everyone. With convenient visa options and easy-to-navigate immigration processes, it’s no wonder why so many expats have chosen to make this their home away from home.

Plus, with options like the Special Resident Retiree Visa (SRRV) program offering long-term residency visas at an affordable price point – it’s easy to see why the Philippines is such a popular destination on everyone’s list.

With stunning landscapes and wildlife throughout all corners of the country, there’s never been a better time to experience life in one of Asia’s most underrated gems.

From breathtaking beaches and lush rainforests to vibrant cities filled with unique cultural experiences – there’s something here for everyone! Whether you want to learn Tagalog or explore some of the world’s most beautiful islands – all these things are possible when you choose the Philippines as your new home.

Cost of Living

Boasting warm weather, friendly locals, and an affordable cost of living, the Philippines is a perfect destination for expats looking to make the most of their money.

Living expenses in the country are quite low compared to other countries. Even apartments and condos near beaches or islands are much more affordable than what you’d find in Western Europe or North America. Healthcare standards in the Philippines are also quite good, with public and private hospitals providing quality care.

Schools are also relatively inexpensive when compared to many countries around the world. The cost of living varies depending on where you live; for instance, Manila is more expensive than smaller cities and rural areas due to its dense urban living environment.

Income opportunities for foreigners are relatively limited in this country as citizens have priority access over positions that require a work permit or Alien Employment Permit (AEP). That said, there are still plenty of opportunities for those who want to start a business or invest in real estate here.

In any case, it’s always important to research your options before making significant decisions regarding work or investments abroad!

Living Conditions

You’ll find the living conditions in the Philippines quite pleasant, with a warm climate and friendly locals who are always welcoming. It’s no wonder this country is a top-rated destination for expats!

The cost of living is much cheaper than in Western Europe, Canada, the UK, or the US, making it an attractive option for digital nomads and retirees looking to leverage geoarbitrage. Healthcare is also accessible, with public hospitals providing healthcare services and private medical insurance recommended.

Traveling around the Philippines couldn’t be easier, either. With English being one of the two official languages and 64% of the population speaking it fluently, you won’t have any communication barriers. Tagalog can be tricky to learn, but there are resources like the Pimsleur Method to help make it easier – learning some basic phrases will always be appreciated by Filipinos!

To stay longer than three years in the country, you can apply for a Temporary Visa or Permanent Visa that allows you to live in the Philippines at a low rate with long-term visa extensions available.

Safety should not be an issue when visiting or living here either; according to Gallup’s Law and Order survey in 2020, The Philippines scored 82 out of 100! Petty theft and pickpocketing may occur in crowded areas such as markets or nightlife spots, but these instances are rare compared to Western standards.

Expats from 157 countries don’t even need a visa for short-term visits – so explore what this beautiful country has to offer!

English and Tagalog

Experience the unique culture of The Philippines by immersing yourself in both English and Tagalog – it’s a great way to connect with the locals!

English is one of the two official languages, and 64% of the population speaks English. Tagalog is a hard language to learn, requiring roughly 44 weeks and 1100 class hours. That said, learning some basic Tagalog phrases is appreciated by Filipinos, and nearly everyone speaks some English.

If you are looking for an urban center that has an international feel, Makati City in Metro Manila or Bonifacio Global City in Taguig City may be ideal.

For those who prefer a more laid-back atmosphere but still want easy access to services and attractions, Cebu City or Santa Rosa City are good options. If you’re looking for natural beauty combined with city life, then Davao City could be perfect.

Here you can find low crime rates, affordable housing prices, clean air quality, and plenty of outdoor activities such as hiking Mount Apo or sunbathing on Samal Island.

No matter what type of environment you’re looking for in your new home country, there is something for everyone in the Philippines!

From tropical beaches like Palawan, Boracay, and Siargao Islands to urban centers like Makati City or Cebu City – living in the Philippines will give you all this plus friendly locals, low visa costs, and a stress-free lifestyle.

Safety and Security

Offering a low crime rate, the Philippines is renowned for its safety and security, making it an ideal destination for expats. According to a 2020 Gallup Law and Order survey, the Philippines scored 82 out of 100 in terms of safety. Expats can feel secure walking around during the day or night and rely on public healthcare if needed. The government also provides free healthcare coverage to those who require it.

When living in the Philippines, protecting your belongings and being aware of your surroundings is important. Petty theft and pickpocketing can occur in urban centers, crowded markets, or nightlife areas; however, perceived safety concerns are generally overblown, with these incidents being rare.

To be extra safe, expats should keep their bank accounts secure by using a Wise card or similar banking solution when withdrawing money from ATMs or using online payment systems.

It’s also important to consider mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue fever or Zika virus when living in tropical climates like the Philippines. To prevent these illnesses from occurring, use insect repellent sprays and wear appropriate clothing when outdoors to avoid bites from mosquitoes. Additionally, get vaccinated against infectious diseases before traveling overseas and purchase health insurance that covers medical costs related to disease outbreaks as well as terrorist attacks which have occurred throughout Asia recently.

Visa Requirements

Staying in the Philippines longer than your tourist visa permits? Get informed on the different types of visas available to ensure a smooth transition into expat life!

The most common nonimmigrant visa is the Tourist Visa (9A), which allows a stay of up to 59 days. If you’re looking for a more permanent solution, you’ll need to apply for an SRR visa or a Non-Quota Visa type 13(a). Both require legal visa paperwork and processing at the Philippine Embassy or Consulate.

For those with digital services, many award-winning services like Nomadic FIRE provide assistance with applying for long-term visas.

The AEP and TIN application process can be difficult for new expats in the Philippines, but luckily there are many resources available to help. The Philippine Retirement Association is an example of one such resource that helps retirees navigate their way through official applications.

Additionally, there are various online resources from organizations like Expats Services that offer advice and guidance on navigating foreign consular processes.

No matter your reason for staying in the Philippines, it’s important to understand all of your options before committing to any form of residency or work permit. Make sure to research each option thoroughly so that you can make an educated decision about what’s best for you!

Retirement Visas

Retire in paradise and enjoy the low cost of living, warm climate, and friendly locals with a Special Resident Retiree Visa (SRRV) for a stress-free lifestyle. With the SRRV, you can live in the Philippines as a permanent resident and stay for as long as you want.

You can buy or rent land, open an international bank account, drive a car, enroll your children in local or international schools, find affordable health insurance options, and explore new communities. The SRRV also offers hassle-free flights to and from other countries.

The Philippine Retirement Association helps expats with the AEP and TIN application process and provides support during their transition to living in the Philippines. They offer help with visas, housing costs such as rental prices; health insurance plans; banking options; business setup requirements; tax filing procedures; driving license applications; investment opportunities; social security benefits applications; cultural orientation classes; discounts on travel arrangements for retirees outside of the country like flights and cruises – all tailored to meet the needs of expats who are looking to make the most out of their retirement years abroad.

Living in the Philippines is easy when you have access to these services that provide assistance every step of the way. Expat retirees will find solace knowing they are part of an ever-growing community that values their presence while also enjoying all that this beautiful country has to offer – including its stunning beaches, crystal clear waters, vibrant culture, delicious cuisine, tropical islands getaways – at an unbeatable price tag!

Staying Past Validity

It’s easy to stay in the Philippines past your visa validity with minimal hassle, so you can keep enjoying its warm climate, friendly locals, and unbeatable prices for as long as you’d like!

One of the best ways to extend your stay is by filling out a Long-Stay Visitor Visa Extension form. This form is available on the Bureau of Immigration’s website. Once it’s filled out, you can link to the Filipino people working at immigration centers in any major city or gated communities throughout the country. You can also submit it online if you have access to an internet connection.

Living in the Philippines past your visa validity means taking into consideration tropical storms and other potential natural disasters that could affect air conditioning systems in homes or businesses.

For digital nomads who are considering a longer stay, there are many resources available such as and Ultimate Overseas Living Guides, that offer information about banking solutions and international health insurance for expats living abroad. Additionally, Hong Kong-based Nomadic FIRE provides an insider’s view of expat life in the Philippines with its cost-saving programs for global moving companies and their partnership with pre-screened international movers.

The Philippine government welcomes foreign retirees who wish to live permanently in the country through their Special Resident Retiree Visa program (SRRV).

With this visa type, foreigners will be able to enjoy all of the comforts that come with living abroad while also having access to quality healthcare services provided by public hospitals or private medical insurance policies recommended by local authorities.

Staying past your visa validity may incur penalties imposed by The Bureau of Immigration, but most often, these fines are minor compared to those charged by other countries for overstaying visas.

Expats and Nomads

For expats and digital nomads looking to take advantage of the affordable prices, friendly locals, and low visa costs, the Philippines is an ideal destination for a stress-free lifestyle.

From bustling cities like Manila to stunning beaches and islands, the Philippines is one of the few Western countries that offer such an array of opportunities. With its vibrant expat community, you can easily make friends with locals who are more than willing to share their culture with you.

In metropolitan areas like Metro Manila, there’s a plethora of city centers where expats can find all kinds of amenities tailored specifically for them. From cozy coffee shops to hip bars and restaurants, there’s something for everyone. However, if you’re looking for something quieter or more laid back, then consider visiting some of the stunning beaches or islands throughout this island nation. The cost is often much lower than other comparable destinations in Western countries due to the country’s affordability.

The Filipino people are also known for being very hospitable, so you can be sure that your transition into living here will be as smooth as possible. Plus, since English is one of two official languages spoken in the Philippines, it makes communication much easier, even if most Filipinos use Tagalog as their primary language.

With all these advantages combined, it’s no wonder why many foreigners choose to live in the Philippines!

Taxes and Banking

As an expat, you’re likely looking to get the most out of your new life in the Philippines. One of the things to consider when living abroad is taxes and banking.

With a few simple steps, you can make sure that your finances are taken care of while living in the Philippines.

When it comes to taxes, foreigners with income earned in the country need to pay taxes on local-sourced income, with the first 250,000 PHP (~$5,000) exempt from income tax. The Philippine government also restricts land ownership for foreign nationals; however, they are allowed to own condominiums or enter into long-term land leases. Americans and other foreigners can work in the Philippines with a legal visa and a valid Alien Employment Permit (AEP).

Moreover, if you’re moving abroad as an expat retiree, you may be eligible for Special Resident Retiree Visa (SRRV), which is a permanent residency visa for expats retirees in the Philippines.

When it comes to banking as an expat, is highly recommended as it offers currency exchange services at real-time rates for international transfers and payments with low fees. Furthermore, many private health insurance companies offer plans tailored specifically for those living overseas. These plans often include coverage for emergency medical evacuation and repatriation services as well as more comprehensive coverage such as dental care and vision benefits not typically covered by public schools or secondary school programs found throughout much of Asia Pacific regions like the Philippines.

No matter what life stage you find yourself at while living in this amazing country called The Philippines – whether it’s a working professional looking to save money through geoarbitrage or an expat retiree ready to enjoy their golden years – understanding how taxation works alongside various banking tools available will help ensure that your financial future remains secure during your stay here!

Wrapping Up

Congratulations! You’ve made it to the end of your guide to living in the Philippines.

By now, you know all about the cost of living, living conditions, language options, safety and security measures, retirement visas, staying past validity dates, and taxes and banking.

It’s time for you to make your move! With its warm climate, friendly people, welcoming culture, and low costs of living, the Philippines is an ideal place for expats looking for a change of scenery.

So don’t hesitate – take advantage of geoarbitrage today by making your move to one of the top-rated destinations for expats – the Philippines!

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