The Real Pros & Disadvantages of Living In Manila

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Disadvantages of Living In Manila

Are you considering moving to Manila? With its vibrant culture, delicious cuisine, and bustling city life, the Philippines’ capital has much to offer. However, as with any big city, there are both pros and cons of living in Manila.

On the one hand, Manila is a hub for business and career opportunities, making it an attractive destination for young professionals. The city’s cosmopolitan energy offers endless options for entertainment – from trendy bars and nightclubs to world-class shopping malls and cultural landmarks like Intramuros and Rizal Park. Despite its reputation for traffic congestion, transportation options such as ride-hailing apps make getting around easier than ever before.

On the other hand, pollution levels can be high in some areas of the city, while crime rates remain a concern in certain neighborhoods. Housing prices have also been on the rise due to gentrification efforts in recent years.

In this article, we will explore both sides of the coin, including the disadvantages of living In Manila so that you can make an informed decision about whether or not it is the right place for you.


Living in Manila has its pros and cons, but one of the biggest advantages is its affordable cost of living. Compared to other major cities in Asia, Manila offers a lower cost of living without sacrificing the quality of life. This makes it an attractive option for digital nomads and expats who are looking for a place where they can stretch their budget.

However, one thing that must be kept in mind when considering affordability is the risk of natural disasters. Manila sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire, which means that earthquakes and typhoons are common occurrences. While Filipinos are known for their resilience and ability to adapt to these situations, it’s important to factor this into your decision-making process.

When it comes to medical care, Manila also has its fair share of options. The city boasts world-class hospitals with highly trained doctors and nurses. However, not all healthcare facilities may meet your standards or expectations so it’s important to do thorough research before making any decisions.

Overall, while there are some challenges that come with city life in Manila, its affordability combined with warm hospitality from Filipino people make it an enticing destination worth considering.

Cost Of Living

Living in Manila has its fair share of pros and cons, with the cost of living being a crucial factor. It is true that city life can be overwhelming for some, but it also provides access to affordable cost options when compared to other metropolitan cities.

With a plethora of expats calling Manila home, there are plenty of opportunities to indulge in Filipino cuisine while enjoying diverse cultural experiences.

However, one must consider the potential risks associated with living in this bustling capital city. Natural disasters such as typhoons and earthquakes happen frequently, which may cause disruption to daily life. Air pollution is another concern that could affect your health if you’re not careful. Medical care facilities are available but might require significant financial investment depending on your condition.

Lastly, crime rates should not be ignored when considering the overall cost of living in Manila. While there have been efforts made by government officials to improve safety measures, it’s still essential to remain vigilant at all times.

Despite these challenges though, many people continue to call Manila their home due to its vibrant energy and unique character that offers something different from any other place in the world.

Local Culture

As discussed in the previous section, living in Manila can be affordable compared to other big cities. However, while it may have its pros, there are also some cons that you should consider before deciding to move here.

One of the major downsides of living in Manila is the traffic. The city’s roads can get congested during rush hours and can make commuting a nightmare. This means that traveling from one place to another takes longer than expected. But if you’re willing to brave this inconvenience, then there are plenty of things to experience and explore in Manila.

The local culture is something that sets Manila apart from other cities around the world. Filipino people are known for being hospitable and welcoming towards foreigners. You’ll find yourself immersed in a rich cultural experience where food, music, and festivities play an integral part in everyday life.

Here are some more points on how locals celebrate their culture:

  • Festivals such as Sinulog or Ati-Atihan showcase colorful costumes and traditional dances.
  • Food markets like Mercato Centrale offer diverse culinary delights ranging from street food favorites to gourmet dishes.
  • Museums like the National Museum of Fine Arts highlight Philippine art history with exhibits featuring prominent artists.

Living in Manila has its upsides and downsides but experiencing its unique culture is what makes it worthwhile. So if you’re looking for adventure and want to immerse yourself in a new way of life, then moving here might just be your cup of tea!


When it comes to food, Manila has a lot to offer. As the capital city of the Philippines, there is an abundance of Filipino cuisine available at every turn. From traditional street food like balut and fish balls to upscale restaurants offering gourmet takes on classic dishes, expats and locals alike have access to a wide range of delicious options.

One of the biggest pros of living in Manila is that you can easily find affordable yet tasty meals everywhere you go. Whether you’re grabbing a quick bite from a food cart or sitting down for a fancy dinner with friends, there’s something for everyone. Plus, many popular local dishes are made with fresh ingredients like seafood and tropical fruits, making them both healthy and flavorful.

However, as with any big city, there are also some cons when it comes to dining in Manila. For one thing, traffic can be brutal during peak hours which can make getting around to different restaurants more difficult. Additionally, while Filipino cuisine is undoubtedly delicious, it might not suit everyone’s palate – especially those who aren’t used to bold flavors or exotic ingredients.

Despite these challenges though, living in Manila offers unparalleled access to some of the best food in Asia. With its mix of international influences and rich culinary traditions unique to the Philippines itself, this vibrant city is sure to satisfy even the most discerning eaters out there!


Shopping in Manila is a unique experience that can be both exciting and overwhelming. As one of the largest urban areas in South East Asia, there are countless shopping malls to choose from. From high-end luxury retailers to bargain markets, there’s something for almost everyone.

However, it’s important to note that air pollution can be a major concern when navigating through the city on foot or by car. Additionally, natural disasters such as typhoons and earthquakes have been known to cause disruptions in transportation and access to certain areas, including shopping districts.

Despite these challenges, many expats appreciate the convenience of living near top-notch medical care facilities and having direct flights available to other parts of the world.

Overall, shopping in Manila offers an interesting glimpse into Filipino culture while also providing plenty of options for those seeking retail therapy.

For budget-conscious shoppers, try bargaining at Divisoria Market or Greenhills Shopping Center.

Luxury brands like Louis Vuitton and Gucci can be found at S Maison Mall and Greenbelt 5.

Looking for cheap, authentic Filipino souvenirs? Head over to Salcedo Saturday Market or Quiapo Market for handmade crafts and local delicacies.

Don’t forget about online shopping! Popular websites like Lazada and Shopee offer delivery services straight to your doorstep.

By keeping these tips in mind and adjusting accordingly during times of natural disaster or high levels of air pollution, visitors and residents alike can fully enjoy all that Manila has to offer in terms of shopping experiences.

Medical Costs

After a long day of shopping in Manila, it’s important to consider the potential medical costs that may arise from living in this bustling urban area. While the Philippines offers affordable healthcare compared to Western countries, there are certain pros and cons to be aware of as an expat or local resident.

One major factor is natural disasters. The Philippines is prone to typhoons and earthquakes, which can result in injuries requiring medical attention. It’s crucial to have access to quality medical care during these times, especially if you’re not accustomed to navigating South East Asia’s healthcare systems.

On the other hand, during non-disaster times, medical care in Manila can be quite affordable and accessible for both locals and expats alike. However, like any city, there are areas with better healthcare facilities than others.

Additionally, while the rainy season brings cooler temperatures and relief from the heat, it also increases the risk of waterborne illnesses such as dengue fever or leptospirosis. Thus, it’s essential to take preventative measures such as vaccinations or avoiding stagnant water.

Living in Manila means weighing out various factors when considering healthcare options. Despite its challenges, many expats find comfort in knowing they have access to adequate medical care at reasonable prices. As with any decision involving relocation abroad, careful research and preparation can help mitigate risks associated with health concerns.


Language can be both a pro and a con when living in Manila. On one hand, many Filipinos speak English fluently, making it easy for foreigners to communicate with locals. This is especially helpful for expats who may not have the time or resources to learn a new language. Additionally, having access to English speakers makes navigating daily life much easier.

On the other hand, there are still some barriers that come with language differences. For example, street signs and menus may not always be translated into English, which can make getting around town or ordering food challenging at times. Furthermore, while many locals do speak English well, there are still some who don’t feel as comfortable using it in everyday conversation. In these instances, it’s important to remember that patience and understanding go a long way.

Despite any language challenges that you might face living in Manila, the pros outweigh the cons overall. With world-class medical care available throughout urban areas of Manila and beyond, healthcare needs are easily met. And although the cost of living here is higher than elsewhere in the Philippines (especially if you’re used to provincial prices), this is offset by greater job opportunities and better salaries.

As far as safety goes, like any big city there are areas where caution should be exercised but generally speaking, Manila remains safe enough for people from all walks of life to call home without fear.


Living in Manila means being a part of a diverse and vibrant community. The city is home to expats and foreigners alike, making it a melting pot of cultures. You’ll experience new customs and traditions that will broaden your horizons and enrich your life.

One of the pros of living in Manila is the friendliness of its people. Filipinos are known for their warm hospitality, which makes settling into this bustling metropolis much easier. Whether you’re trying out local street food or asking for directions, you can expect locals to be more than willing to help you out.

However, like any major cities around the world, Manila also has its cons when it comes to safety concerns. It’s important to stay safe and vigilant at all times and take precautions such as avoiding isolated areas and carrying only what you need with you.

Despite these challenges, many expats have found ways to live comfortably while still enjoying all that this exciting city has to offer.

Living in Manila offers both opportunities and challenges, but one thing remains constant: the sense of community among those who call it home. From sharing meals with new friends to exploring different neighborhoods together, there’s always something happening in this lively city that brings people together.

So if you’re looking for a place where friendly faces abound and adventure awaits, consider making Manila your next destination!

Friendly Locals

Living in Manila has both its pros and cons, but one of the biggest advantages of residing in this bustling city is the friendliness of the locals.

Filipinos are known to be warm and welcoming towards expats and tourists alike, making it easy for newcomers to feel at home here.

It’s not uncommon for strangers to strike up a conversation or offer help if they see someone in need.

In comparison to other cities around the world, Manila stands out as having some of the most hospitable residents.

While there may be language barriers or cultural differences that can cause misunderstandings, locals will often go out of their way to make visitors feel comfortable.

This kind of hospitality extends beyond just simple interactions – many families have been adopted by Filipino friends who treat them like family members.

Of course, living among friendly locals also comes with certain drawbacks.

As with any densely populated area, crime rates can be high in some parts of Manila.

Expats should take caution when venturing into unfamiliar neighborhoods or walking alone at night.

However, as long as you exercise common sense and follow basic safety guidelines, you’ll find that Manila’s friendly population makes it an ideal place to call home.

Infrastructure Issues

The infrastructure in Manila is a mixed bag of pros and cons for those living in the city.

On one hand, there are plenty of modern amenities available to residents, including high-speed internet, shopping malls with luxury brands, and world-class medical facilities that cater to both locals and expats alike. However, this level of development comes at a cost – literally.

One of the biggest issues facing Manila’s infrastructure is the sheer amount of traffic on its roads. This can make getting around the city a nightmare during peak hours, leading to long commutes and wasted time. Additionally, many areas suffer from poor public transportation options, which can further exacerbate these issues.

While ride-sharing apps have become popular in recent years as an alternative means of transport, using them regularly can quickly eat into your monthly budget.

Another challenge faced by Manila’s infrastructure is its aging buildings and utilities systems. Many parts of the city still rely on outdated power grids and water supply networks, which makes frequent brownouts and water shortages a common occurrence.

Although this issue has been slowly improving over time thanks to government initiatives aimed at modernizing key services across the city, it remains something that anyone considering living in Manila needs to be aware of before making any decisions.

Living in Manila isn’t always easy when it comes to infrastructure issues like traffic jams or unreliable utility systems – but despite these challenges, the city continues to attract people from all walks of life who are drawn by its unique mix of urban hustle and cultural charm.

Ultimately, whether you decide to live here will depend largely on how much money you’re willing to spend each month (and how patient you are when stuck in traffic!)

Safety And Crime Rates

Safety is a top concern for anyone looking to relocate, and Manila’s reputation on this front can be daunting. However, it’s important to remember that crime rates vary depending on location and time of day.

Pasay City is one area with higher reported incidents, but other parts of the city are much safer.

In terms of natural disasters, living in South East Asia always carries some level of risk. The rainy season brings flooding and landslides, while typhoons can hit at any time from June through November. But again, specific areas may be less prone to these issues than others. And if you’re willing to venture beyond Manila itself, destinations like Cebu City offer direct flights and lower risks when it comes to both crime and natural disasters.

Ultimately, safety concerns should be weighed against all the pros and cons of life in a larger city like Manila. While there are challenges to overcome, many find the excitement and opportunity worth the trade-offs.

And by doing your research ahead of time – checking up-to-date safety reports and consulting with locals or expats who know the area well – you can make informed decisions about where to live and how best to enjoy everything this dynamic metropolis has to offer.

Weather And Climate

Despite concerns about safety and crime rates in Manila, the city has a lot to offer. However, one factor that can make living here challenging is the weather and climate. The transition from the dry season to the rainy season can be abrupt and intense, with typhoons threatening the city regularly.

Living in larger cities like Manila means dealing with pollution, traffic congestion, and other urban challenges. However, most expats find that there are many benefits as well. For example, Manila offers access to a range of amenities including international schools, modern healthcare facilities, and diverse cultural experiences.

Manila’s location in Southeast Asia also makes it vulnerable to natural disasters such as earthquakes and typhoons. While this may sound concerning at first glance, it’s important to remember that the Philippines is no different from its neighbors when it comes to these types of hazards. In fact, many foreigners choose to live in the country precisely because they appreciate how Filipinos come together during times of crisis.

Here are four things you should know about the weather and climate in Manila:

  1. The rainy season typically lasts from May/June until October/November.
  2. Typhoons can hit Manila anytime between June-November.
  3. Temperatures remain relatively consistent throughout the year – averaging around 27-30°C (80-86°F).
  4. Despite some challenges posed by extreme weather events, most people who live in Manila learn to adapt over time.

Living in Manila isn’t for everyone but those who do enjoy their life here despite any downsides often cite its unique energy and character as the main reasons why they stay. Whether you’re interested in discovering new cuisines or exploring nature reserves outside of town limits; there’s always something exciting happening within reach!

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are The Popular Recreational Activities In Manila?

Looking for a good time in Manila? You won’t be disappointed!

From exploring the vibrant nightlife scene to indulging in some retail therapy at the city’s trendy shopping malls, there are plenty of recreational activities to keep you entertained.

Take a stroll through Rizal Park and enjoy the beautiful views of Manila Bay or head over to Intramuros, where history comes alive with its colonial-era architecture.

Feeling adventurous? Why not try your hand at wakeboarding or surfing at nearby beautiful beaches like La Union or Baler?

Whatever your interests may be, Manila has something for everyone seeking a little bit of fun and excitement.

Is There A Significant Expat Community In Manila?

There is a significant expat community in Manila, and they thrive amidst the bustling city life.

While it’s true that living in Manila has its own set of challenges, joining this community can provide a sense of familiarity and make it easier to adjust to the new environment.

Expats here enjoy various benefits such as access to international schools, healthcare facilities, and recreational activities.

They also have the opportunity to meet people from different cultures and backgrounds which leads to personal growth and development.

So if you’re considering moving to Manila, don’t hesitate to reach out to this welcoming community!

How Easy Is It To Find Accommodation In Manila?

Looking for a place to stay in Manila? The good news is that finding accommodation here can be relatively easy, depending on your budget and preferences.

There are plenty of options available, from apartments and condos to houses and townhouses.

You can search online or contact a real estate agent to help you find the perfect spot.

However, keep in mind that prices vary greatly depending on location and amenities.

So while it may not be difficult to find a place to live in Manila, it’s important to do your research first to make sure you’re getting the best value for your money.

Are There Any Environmental Concerns In Manila?

While Manila is a bustling city filled with endless opportunities, it’s important to acknowledge the environmental concerns that come along with it.

Pollution and waste management are major issues that residents face on a daily basis. Air quality can be poor due to heavy traffic and industrial emissions, which can lead to health problems for those living in the city. Additionally, garbage disposal continues to be an ongoing problem, as landfills reach their capacity and illegal dumping persists.

However, there are efforts being made towards sustainability and eco-friendliness through government initiatives and community-led projects. It’s up to each individual resident to take responsibility for their own impact on the environment while striving towards a greener future for all of Manila.

How Does Manila Compare To Other Major Cities In Southeast Asia?

When it comes to Southeast Asian cities, Manila is a fascinating place that has both positives and negatives. It’s undoubtedly one of the most vibrant places to visit in Asia with its lively culture and colorful atmosphere.

However, compared to other major cities like Bangkok or Singapore, Manila still struggles with issues such as traffic congestion and pollution. Despite these challenges, there are many reasons to love this city – from its friendly people to delicious food options.

So if you’re looking for an adventure and don’t mind some chaos along the way, Manila could be the perfect escape for you!

Wrapping Up

Overall, living in Manila has its pros and cons. The city offers a bustling atmosphere with plenty of recreational activities to keep you busy. Plus, there is a growing expat community that can help ease the transition into living in this vibrant city.

However, finding affordable accommodation can be difficult and environmental concerns such as pollution are a major issue. Compared to other major cities in Southeast Asia, like Bangkok or Singapore, Manila may not have the same level of infrastructure or cleanliness.

It’s important to weigh these factors before making the decision to live in Manila.

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