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What is it Like to Live in the Philippines

The Philippines is one of the countries that has a low cost of living. You will be surprised at how inexpensive the foods and accommodations are. In fact, most of the travelers I know extended their stay because it does not cost them much money. While traveling in the Philippines is fun, is it the same as living in the country? If you are planning to move to the Philippines and stay there for several months or years, you should at least know what is it like to live in the Philippines, the best places to live in the country, their culture, and safety, to name a few.

What is it Like to Live in the Philippines: About the Country

The Philippines is known to have great weather all year round, a low cost of living, and has hospitable citizens. Also, it is known to be a country of contrasts. Regardless of what you are looking for, you will most likely find whatever you are – street, crowded cities, and even beaches.

The Philippines has more than 7500 islands in the Asia Pacific. This is not that far from the equator. In addition to that, it is near Taiwan, and some hundred miles to the north.

*Philippines facts and figures

what is it like to live in the philippines

Considering the fact that the Philippines is a huge country and has a population of approximately 112 million, it is no wonder why it is the 13th most populous country in the world. Apart from that, it is also evenly distributed among urban settlers and those people living in the Philippines.

You probably heard some people saying, that since the Philippines has a large population, what is it like to live in the Philippines is like you are always in crowded places. This is not entirely true. While the majority of the places are crowded, there are several peaceful and serene travel destinations and places to live in the country. But if you want to avoid crowded, then you do not want to look for a place to live in the bustling city of metro manila.

Manila is the capital of the Philippines and is the home of 13 million people. Furthermore, it is one of the most populated cities in the world, having about 43,000 people per square meter. Aside from Manila, other populated places in the Philippines are Davao and Cebu. On the other hand, unlike Manila, Cebu and Davao are much peaceful. Aside from that, there are plenty of beautiful places to visit in those cities.


This is also important if you want to know what is it like to live in the Philippines. Luckily, they are not that strict when it comes to religion. It is also important to know that the Philippines permit the worship of different religion. But majority of the Filipinos practice catholicism. On the other hand, Christians, Muslims, and Buddhists live side by side.

*Language and Dialects

The dialect of the Filipinos depends on the city. If what to know what is it like to live in the Philippines because you will plan to stay there for a long time, you should know the useful expression spoken in the dialect of the place you are planning to stay. For instance, if you plan to stay in Cebu, you must know useful Cebuano phrases. We are not saying that it is mandatory, it would just be best to know some of the commonly used phrases.


If you do not want to live in a hot, dry country, the Philippines is not for you. It is a tropical country which is why the weather is hot throughout the year. The monsoon season starts from June and ends in November. The weather is the hottest during the months of March-May. This is why the popular beaches in the Philippines are crowded during these months.

The average temperature is around 29 degrees Celcius. It is hotter in a rural areas, so you might want to look for a place to live in the city. However, expect that the rate is high.

Aside from the tropical climate, the Philippines also frequently suffer from extreme weather and natural calamities such as earthquakes.


Generally, the Philippines has a developing and sophisticated economy based on agriculture and technology. Even so, Filipinos prefer to look for jobs reverses because the pay is much higher compared to working in their own country.

Apart from that, the Philippines is also believed to be one of the worlds leading electronic devices users. This explains why the smartphone industry in the Philippine is booming.

What is it Like to Live in the Philippines: Expats in the Country

The country Philippines is divided into 3 major islands, Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. Half of the population of the Philippines is believed to be staying in the island of Luzon. The capital city of the Philippines is also located in the island of Luzon.

According to 2011 and 2012 studies, there are approximately 11,000 British ex-pats living in the Philippines. Also, they are not living in one place as they are scattered all over the country.

Younger ex-pats who decided to live in the Philippines whether on assignment or for jobs will most likely stay in the city. On the other hand, ex-pats whose purpose of living in the Philippine is retirement will most likely stay in more peaceful places, such as provinces and beaches.

If you are planning to live in the Philippine, you might want to consider these places:

1.Baguio City

As mentioned in the earlier part of this article, the Philippines is a tropical country which is why the weather is dry most of the year. Fortunately, the temperature in Baguio city is mostly cold throughout the year. During summer, a lot of Filipinos and tourists visit Baguio city to enjoy its cold weather while eating some strawberries, which is very popular in the said city.

Compared to other provinces in the Philippines that mostly have hot weather, Baguio city is known for its cool climate. That being said, the vegetables and fruits always fresh. In addition to that, going from one establishment to another is never a problem. Because of its cool climate, the place never fails to put the residents and travelers in a great mood. Apart from that, there are jaw-dropping tourist spots in Baguio city that you will never get tired of visiting.

On the other hand, just like other busy cities in the country, the traffic builds up especially during peak season where the city is crowded from the hundreds and thousands of tourists.

2.Tagaytay City

what is it like to live in the philippines

Even if you are not planning to live in the Philippines for a long time, you might want to take some time to visit Tagaytay City especially if you are staying in Manila. People who want to experience the cold weather but cannot go to Baguio because it is at least 5-hour drive go to Tagaytay. The truth is that, Tagaytay is one of the closest travel destinations in Manila.

Just like Baguio City, Tagaytay has a cooler climate compared to other provinces. However, unlike Baguio, there are plenty of white sand beaches near Tagaytay. If you plan to look for a place to live in Tagaytay, make sure to look for places that are not too near to the popular tourist destinations as it can be noisy sometimes especially if you are near the road, bars, and restaurants.

In addition to that, Tagaytay City is also a great place to live with your family especially if there are kids. The several leisure and outdoor activities will not disappoint you. Even though it is close to Manila, Tagaytay city is mostly covered in greens and smog. Most importantly, the spectacular view of tall lake will always amaze you.

3. Lipa City, Batangas

If you are looking for a place to live in the Philippines, you should consider this province as it is home to several white-sand beaches. It is also close to Tagaytay, so if you get tired of the leisure activities in Tagaytay, you can easily go Batangas for a quick beach getaway with your friends or family.

Whether you are looking for white sand or rocky beaches, Batangas has different beach resorts for people looking for peaceful place to relax their mind and body.

4. Makati City

what is it like to live in the philippines

While Metro Manila is a bustling city, there are cities that are well developed. One of the least populated cities in Metro Manila is Makati. If you prefer to live in the city because you got a job there, Makati City is an excellent choice. While the cost of living is high, there are plenty of ways to save money.

For home seekers, there are high-quality condominiums available. These also provide convenience for individuals who work around the area and choose to enjoy the city life. In addition to that, the government is known to provide strict security which ensures each person’s safety while living, staying, or visiting in Makati City.

What is it like to live in the Philippines: Social ethics, Culture, Tradition

*Do not reject a beso

Beso is the Tagalog term for “kiss in the cheeks”. It is a popular form of greeting in the Philippines. It is mostly done by males and females but never male to male. For males, they usually pat each other’s shoulders or high-five as a form of greeting.

If someone tries to beso you, do not turn them down as it will offend the person. Also, most Filipinos find turning down a beso rude.

*LGBT and Same-Sex Couples

What is great about living in the Philippine is that LGBT and same-sex couples are being normalized. That being said, do not be surprised if you see plenty of LGBTQ members anywhere you go. Generally, the Philippine has high tolerance towards such a community. In addition to that, the law does not see same-sex couples the way UK sees them. In the Philippines, it is okay to show public display of affection. Normally, Filipinos will not mind you.

*It is hard for Filipinos to say “No”

In the event you have traveled to the Philippines before, you will get what I am saying. One of the many things that you must know about Filipinos is that they find it hard to say “No” simply because they want to satisfy the person.

Aside from that, it is the nature of Filipinos to be Polite. It is considered as a virtue.

*Filipino Beliefs and Folklore

During your stay in the Philippines, you will most likely hear weird and horror stories such as non-Christian creatures especially if you decided to stay in the province:


Aswang is one of the famous non-christian creatures in the Philippines. There are even movies and TV series about aswang. It is in a shape of a woman and she can separate her upper body from her lower body. During midnight, the body of the aswang will be divided in half and her lower body is left on the ground.

She then find a house with a pregnant woman and wait at the roof until the pregnant woman falls asleep. The aswang will then eat the fetus inside the pregnant woman’s womb. Aside from pregnant women, she also targets small children because they have a healthy liver. If you think I am making this up, you can look for aswang stories on the internet. Also, you can ask your Filipino friend about this non-christian creature.


Aside from aswang, another popular non-christian creature is kapre. Kapre is smoking giant that is commonly found in large trees and preys on small children that love to play at night. Filipinos believe that the only way for kids to gain control of the kapre is turn their clothes inside out.

Even some Filipinos I know still wonder where these stories originated. Some people believe that Spanish injected these kinds of beliefs, while some say that these beliefs are uniquely Filipino. The truth is that, until now, no one really knows where these came from.

What is it like to live in the Philippines: Best things to do while living in the country

If you will stay in the Philippines for good, you might as well make the mos out of your stay there. Plan a trip twice a year with your family or friends. Do not worry as you will never run of spectacular places to visit in the country.

To help you save time looking for the best places to visit during your stay, we listed down the most popular travel destinations:


It is almost impossible that you have not heard of Boracay, because it is what the Philippines is known for. Boracay is mostly crowded with travel especially during the summer season. In addition to that, it is one of the beaches in the Philippine that has the finest white sand.

Several years ago, Boracay island is full of small stores, hotels, and beach resorts. However, since October 2018, there are very limited number of beach resorts that are allowed to operate. Furthermore, the government of Boracay only allow limited number of travelers.

2. Vigan

If you are not a fan of beaches, you can also choose to visit Vigan. However, it is more than 6 hours drive from Manila. What make Vigan a popular travel destination is its Hispanic heritage. There are several balconied houses and plazas along the street. Aside from that, there are also spectacular fountains.

The best way to enjoy Vigan and appreciate what it has to offer is by riding the traditional kalesa. This two-wheeled caritela is the most preferred made of transportation in the city.

While you are in Vigan, make sure to have a taste of the famous Vigan empanadas, longganisa, and agent. You might also want to bring some at home.

3. Manila

While Manila is known as a bustling city, it also has amazing places to visit. If you do not want long hour drive, you can just choose to book a fancy hotel in Manila for a weekend getaway.

Expect to witness the best museums in the country as well as theaters and auditoriums showing the world-class performances of talented Filipino artists. Apart from that, there are also night clubs and bars that you can go to with your friends.

4. Chocolate Hill, Bohol

The famous chocolate hills can be found in the province of Bohol. It is a definitely must seen since there are only few of these in the world. The number of hills has never been determined but it is believed to be in a thousand. During the wet season, the hills are covered in grass. On the other hand, the grass dries out when the climate changes.

You can visit the Chocolate Hills in Bohol any time of the year, but is most impressive when they are in the color brown. This happens during the summer or hot season.

Final Words

Visiting the Philippine for vacation is entirely different from living in the country. If you are planning to stay in the country for good, there are plenty of things to know about what is it like to live in the country – from religion, culture, places, and people. It is fun and safe to live in the country as long as you know how to get along with Filipinos and choose the best and safe place to stay.

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