Destinations For Expats

Where Do Most Expats Live in the Philippines? Check these 6 Places!

The Philippines is more than just an archipelago that cradles astounding mountains, beautiful beaches, and abundant biodiversity. It is also a home of retired expatriates who chose to live here in the country for some interesting reasons. But, where do most expats live in the Philippines despite various city choices and province options?

If you are one of those expats and want to retire here in the Philippines, stay with us until the end to know the common places where your fellow expats reside. Moreover, there are also some of the reason why the Philippines is considered as one of the best places to retire.

Where do most expats live in the Philippines? Why is the Philippines the best retiring destination?

Actually, the Philippines is a country that caters lots of advantages. From a fair cost of living, palatable local meals, and rich natural resources, a country is a perfect place for living. In fact, there are numbers of expats that find communication with the local community very easy.

Generally, expat families find better international school choices and affordable private healthcare facilities. Aside from that, expats enjoy great travel opportunities within the country. They have lots of chances to explore the islands of the Philippines.

Moreover, here are some of the important things that you must know before you retire and move here in the Philippines:


It is actually in Makati City where do most expats live in the Philippines. Makati City is a place in the Metro that embraces international businesses and diplomatic communities.

*How to find accommodation?

Retiring here in the Philippines is never that hard as there are lots of accommodation options for expats. You may actually find luxury condos or decent houses within gated villages. Moreover, furnished apartments are widely available in the country. However, many houses are not yet furnished. An important tip here, most properties here in the country do not have Western toilets, so be aware of that.

*How to rent a property?

Here in the country, a two-year lease is the preferred contract by most landlords. Good thing is that there are short-term contracts that are also available. Aside from the two months deposit for the rent, you may also need to pay the annual rent.


Most house rentals in the Philippines do not include the water and electricity bills in payment of the monthly rental. Yet, this seems to be really a costly expense. Moreover, when you have air-conditioning units in your rented property, the cost of maintenance should be shouldered at your own expense.


Filipino culture is generally influenced by the traditions of the Europeans and Americans. However, there are still a number of expats that may find a hard time adjusting to the new lifestyle approach.


Actually, the Filipino culture follows an old-style tradition in which most of the actions are linked with religious behavior. Expats may generally have some gestures that tend to be offensive in the tradition here in the country. That’s why it is very crucial for most expats to research for this Filipino culture before moving in.

Examples of gestures that may offend locals are standing with hands on the hips which is a strong indication of anger. Aside from that, prolonged eye contact is a symbol of aggressive behavior. 


The formation of Philippine education generally depends on colonialism. Yet, the system of education today primarily based on the US format. Both private and public educational institutions teach classes using Filipino and English language.

  • Public schools

The fund of public education basically comes from the government. However, you may experience a low-grade education in which the class sizes are usually large. Aside from that, the resources are not enough that’s why expats bring their children to international schools.

  • Private schools

Most private educational institutions began as Christian missionary institutions. The educational curriculum that they utilize is closely similar to that of the public schools. Yet, the difference may be seen in terms of the facilities and resources that are actually much better.

  • International schools

The location of most international schools in the Philippines is within Metro Manila. Those schools offer educations designated mainly for British, German, American, French, and Japanese. Generally, in this school, the fees are actually expensive and the terms of admission vary on the result of the interview.


Healthcare facilities and methods in the country vary from excellent to very poor. Expect to experience high-quality healthcare within the cities and lacking such elements in the rural areas.

Just like in education, the healthcare here in the country also categorized between public and private. In major cities, you may find private hospitals that cater medical care to most expats.

  • Health hazards

Some parts of the Philippines experience endemic diseases such as malaria and dengue. These two are mosquito-borne diseases prone during the rainy season within the country.


Getting around the country has many transportation options but they are generally crowded. That’s the reason why most of the expats opt to hire a taxi to explore around the country. Here are the most common modes of transportation within the Philippines.

  1. Taxi
  2. Trains
  3. Buses
  4. Boats
  5. Jeepneys
  6. Air travel
where do most expats live in the Philippines


Retiring and residing here in the country, expats can still keep in touch with their families abroad and even by the news update from their hometown by the following communication means:

  1. Landline
  2. Internet
  3. Mobile phones
  4. English media like newsprints
  5. Postal services

Where do most expats live in the Philippines?

There are generally lots of expatriates retiring and living in the Philippines. Basically, most of them fall into the following categories:

  1. Nationals of other countries who have been assigned for work into the Philippines
  2. Spouses of Filipino citizens who are living here for a business establishment or for retirement
  3. Retirees who are not Filipino citizens

Below are the places where most of the above expats live in the Philippines:

Where do most expats live in the Philippines: METRO MANILA

The place where do most expats live in the Philippines is in Metro Manila, the country’s capital. However, the issue with this city is that it is highly congested due to heavy traffic and air pollution. Yet, most expats who fall under the first category choose the place where they live based on the place of work.

Generally, vast numbers of expats reside in the Metro which primarily includes “expat-friendly” cities like Makati City or the Bonifacio Global City in Taguig. Basically, expat-friendly doesn’t literally mean cities with most approachable locals. But, this term describes the availability of food and beverage sources and service outlets that are aligned with the international standards.

Actually, in case you want to look for places to live within the vicinity of Makati or BGC, it is important to consider the mode of transportation to the place of work. Keep in mind that the city is prone to traffic, that’s why travelling during rush hours may take almost an hour going to the other side of Makati.

Another important consideration that most expats account the most is air pollution. Due to this, many of them opt to live outside the city. This is pretty much applicable for those who have asthma or other problems affecting the respiratory system. However, this option can elevate the commuting time.

Where do most expats live in the Philippines: CEBU

Cebu is basically one of the options where do most expats live in the Philippines. This is ideal for those expats under the next two categories. Some expats who have spouses with Filipino relatives, their choice of the place where to live depends actually on the place where their relatives are living. Yet, there are others who prefer to live in Cebu, the second city of the country within the Visayan island. 

Similar to Manila, Cebu offers the same facilities but with the exemption of urban congestion and air pollution. Moreover, the main difference of Cebu from Manila is the convenience of getting out of the city. Aside from that, many options for rural areas are available for commuting from Cebu.

Additionally, this city in the central Philippines is the transportation center of most tourist locations within the Visayas. This means that there are lots of opportunities open during the weekend. Actually, the Mactan-Cebu International Airport caters direct flights to many Asian cities like Hong Kong, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, and Singapore to name a few. Meaning, Cebu is where most expats live in the Philippines because they can initially travel in and out of the Philippines without the hassle in going to Manila.

The smaller towns of Cebu, Mactan, and Bohol are the most common places where most expats live within the central Philippines. They generally consider living in these places because of the provinces’ safety rather than to other provinces of the country.

Where do most expats live in the Philippines: BAGUIO

Aside from being the country’s summer capital, Baguio City is one of the places where do most expats live in the Philippines. However, it is not that attractive to many expats due to insufficient facilities. Yet, the amazing thing about Baguio City is that it offers a generally cooler climate compared to other parts of the country. And this is why there are little records of expats residents in this city.

where do most expats live in the Philippines baguio

Another reason for having getting smaller expat residents in the city is that the level facilities do not meet the standard like that in the healthcare and educational institutions in Manila. Even though, shopping malls and restaurants are large enough within the city, this does not suffice the reason to attract more expats even the climate is really good.

Where do most expats live in the Philippines: ANGELES CITY

Aside from the Subic Bay which is just an hour within the main city of Angeles, Pampanga, there is nothing more that makes this province attractive. Since Subic Bay is a previous naval base of the US Army; this becomes a popular beach hub for single male expatriates. Another reason why this city is very famous for male expats is due to the availability of go-go bars and night clubs.

Where do most expats live in the Philippines: DAVAO CITY

There is actually a vast population of expatriates living in Davao. However, many countries post travel advisories against travelling in Mindanao where most expats live in the Philippines.

Despite this, expats who reside here for many years feel the safety of living in the eastern section of Mindanao which is basically far from the regions mostly attacked by terrorists. Yet, the incident of the Davao City market bombing and kidnapping of the expats in a resort close to Davao generally changed the safety mindset around this place of most expats. 

Where do most expats live in the Philippines: PROVINCES

Provinces are generally one of the options where most expats live in the Philippines. This applies basically for expat retirees who actually dream to have a small farm or a property within the provincial regions of the country. Despite the fact that many expatriates are into this option, non-Filipinos tend to lease a land property within the rural area. This is because they do not have the ability to buy land.

where do most expats live in the Philippines laguna

Moreover, expats who seek to live in a rural area, it is primarily important to seek local advice regarding security matters prior to lease commitment. Keep in mind the presence of a group of rebellions like the New People’s Army or NPA residing in some provinces of the Philippines.

Aside from that, there are recorded petty crimes within the provinces because of poverty and unemployment. Due to this, there are armed security guards present within gated communities and residential farm estates.


Where most expats popularly live in the Philippines are the provinces of Laguna and Cavite. The reason for this is the safety of the province and its close proximity to the Metro. Within these provinces, gated communities are available to cater security for home rentals that actually fit the budgets of expats and even the locals.

Another thing that makes Laguna and Cavite the place where most expats live in the Philippines is its accessibility to most high-class facilities Manila which just takes around 1 to 2 hours. Moreover, there is also convenient access to the international airport from these provinces.

Final Thoughts

Most expatriates choose the Philippines as their retiring destination. They usually live here for good and enjoy the country because of a few reasons. Some of these are a way of accommodation, Filipino culture, education, healthcare, mode of transportation and communication.

Where do most expats live in the Philippines vary depending on the category that they may fall. But, wherever these expats choose to live in the country, they may truly have an enjoyable stay in their new chosen homeland.

One Response

  1. turkce February 10, 2021

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