The Pros and Cons of Living in the Philippines

The Philippines is a tempting location for expats looking for a laid-back lifestyle in a warm, sunny climate and gorgeous natural scenery. But like with any country, the Philippines has both pros and cons for expats who want to live there.

Pros of living in the Philippines

Cost of living

One of the advantages of living in the Philippines for expats is the low cost of living. According to Numbeo, the cost of living in the Philippines is 47.3% lower than in the UK.

It’s estimated that overall, a family of four will need around £1,380 per month (excluding rent) and a single person will need around £404 per month to cover costs, excluding rent.

Manila, the capital city, is the most expensive are in the Philippines and more rural locations will be cheaper. However, the cost of living will remain cheap whether you choose to live in a city or rural place.


Expats who work in the Philippines have access to free public healthcare, which is usually accessed through the employer. Healthcare facilities in cities are generally of good quality, although can be lacking in rural areas.

Many expats choose private healthcare with health insurance for expats. This gives them access to better quality facilities and care and is widely available in urban areas.  

Outdoor activities

Another advantage to living in the Philippines is access to amazing natural landscapes. The Philippines has a lot to offer for nature lovers and lovers of the outdoors. With an array of sandy beaches, dense rainforests, and rocky mountains, residents can enjoy all sorts of activities, such as scuba diving, trekking, surfing, and rock climbing.

The Philippines has a diverse array of plants and wildlife that nature lovers can observe and study. There are lots of conservation programmes across the Philippines where residents and tourists alike volunteer.


There is a lot of choice for expats when it comes to accommodation. There are large, freestanding family homes with plenty of land, as well as townhouses and apartments. There are also gated communities for those who are looking for extra security.

The cost of accommodation is generally cheap, and Numbeo estimates it is around 70% lower than in the UK. A one-bedroom apartment in the city center costs on average £257 per month and the same size accommodation outside the city will cost around £145.

To buy accommodation in the Philippines, an apartment in the city centre will cost around £1,929 per square meter and a place outside the city will cost around £1,061 per square metre.

Cons of living in the Philippines

Crime rate

The Philippines has a relatively high crime rate and occurs in various forms, including gang activity, drugs, and violent crime. Human trafficking and corruption are also a concern. Crime is especially prevalent in the cities like Manila.

Tourists and foreigners can find themselves targeted for robberies and scams across the Philippines and are advised to take extra safety precautions and security measures at home.


Driving can be a concern for expats in the Philippines. The initial purchase of a car can be expensive due to high import duties. Following that, drivers in the Philippines generally don’t follow driving rules and they can be reckless and chaotic.

Traffic can also be an issue, especially in urban areas. Traffic jams can be common at any time during the day, and aren’t kept just to the typical rush hour.

Natural disasters

The Philippines experiences both typhoons and earthquakes. Around 100 to 150 earthquakes occur in the Philippines every year, of varying magnitude.

Typhoon season lasts from April to November, with August and September being the worst months. There are typically strong winds, flooding and landslides across the islands, which can cause major disruption and be dangerous for residents.


Whilst terrorist activity has declined from 2021 to 2022, it still remains a threat in the Philippines. Overall, it had the highest death rate from terrorist attacks in the Asia-Pacific region over the last decade. According to the Global Terrorism Index, the Philippines ranks 16th in the world for the worst impact of terrorism.

Typically, terrorist attacks in the Philippines involve explosives and can happen anywhere from cities to more isolated islands. The Government, alongside the Armed Forces of the Philippines, is consistently taking steps to combat terrorism and minimize risk.

Related News