In the Philippines, your dollar stretches (and stretches and stretches). Around $1,400 a month will fund a lot of luxuries such as maids, gardeners, massages…
And that figure includes rent too…
To find the best-value rentals though, you need to go see for yourself. The rental market in the Philippines is a “boots on the ground” project. There is no online presence for most rentals so once you arrive start talking to everyone, expats and locals, to find the best opportunities.
On my recent visit that’s what I did, and here’s a taste of what I found in my favourite parts of the country…
Dumaguete: Ocean Living
If you love the ocean and want a small, happening, university town full of life then make your way to Dumaguete. In the heart of downtown, steps away from Rizal Boulevard, the main boardwalk along the oceanfront, you can live in a contemporary, one-bedroom furnished apartment for $480 per month. Less if you are willing to find a fixer upper and put some elbow grease into it. Or I came across an unfurnished three-bedroom, two-bathroom house about a kilometre away for about $550 a month.
Great prices if you want to have all the conveniences of living in the town. However, a few kilometres out of town you’ll find gorgeous, newly built town homes where, for $775 or so a month, you get four bedrooms, three bathrooms and about 185 square metres of space. They are unfurnished but well worth the money if you need that kind of large space and want something modern. Although they aren’t near the centre of town, there is cheap and easy-to-use public transport that can get you there within 10 minutes.
Another option that brings you even closer to the beach is to travel about 20 minutes away to the ocean town of Dauin where a big beach house can be found for $1,200 a month. Dauin is the jumping off point for scuba divers and snorkellers and the perfect beach retreat if you’re looking to live away from town.
Although it is possible to find your perfect dream home in virtually any area of the Philippines, it takes patience, persistence and perseverance. Give yourself some time to find the right location and remember to negotiate for everything.
Cebu: Modern Living
Right in the heart of Cebu, the second largest city in the Philippines, you can find some of the most modern apartments in the country.
Ayala Mall is in the heart of Cebu and living nearby means never having to leave the neighbourhood; it has everything. Besides more than 200 shops, there is a massive grocery store with food and wines from around the world, a movie theatre playing the latest movies and more than 40 bars and international restaurants. It’s a social centre for locals and expats alike and living near here is like hitting the neighbourhood jackpot.
Some recently built high-rise residences within walking distance of the Ayala Mall, have fully furnished apartments in a quiet neighbourhood. I checked out a modern one-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment with a deck that starts at around $2,000 per month. For $2,400, you can get a two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment with a deck. There is a fully equipped gym and a large pool for those days that you don’t feel like taking off to the beach, which is only about 30 minutes away.
If you want more space, there are older high-rises in the same area that might not have all of the amenities but are much larger. Some of the apartments may need updating, but everything is negotiable in the Philippines. There are two-bedroom, two-bathroom units starting at $1,200 per month and come with a free parking space.
If you have a desire for more space and your own patch of grass, travel a few kilometres out of the city to a trendy area called Banilad where I found a two-bedroom, two-bathroom town home for $940 per month.
Tagaytay: Mountain Living
Would you rather live in a small town where you know all of your neighbours and are surrounded by mountains and rolling hills? Then Tagaytay is a great choice.
Located in the mountains of the Cavite province only 59 kilometres south of Manila, its higher elevation means cooler temperatures and fantastic local farm produce.
While there aren’t as many rentals available here as in Cebu, they are just as varied. If you want to be in the centre of town and are willing to spend a little more, then the unfurnished, five-bedroom home in a gated community that I saw for about $1,200 is perfect. Otherwise, go towards the outskirts of town where three-bedroom furnished homes start at $460 per month. There is still room for residential growth in Tagaytay; they are currently breaking ground on a lot of new apartment buildings, even a few “green” buildings.
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