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Expat Cost Of Living In Cebu Philippines 2024

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    If you are thinking about living in Cebu, you have made an excellent choice! Cebu is one of the most beautiful cities in the Philippines, but what is the cost of living in Cebu Philippines?

    Throughout today’s article, we will be covering the cost of living in Cebu Philippines and going over many common questions such as what is it like to live in Cebu as a foreigner, how much is the minimum cost of living in Cebu, where is the best place to live in Cebu and many other vital questions.

    Before we dive in, today’s article is written firsthand. I have lived in Cebu for many years; thus, through my own experience, speaking to foreigners and locals living in Cebu, and looking at the latest statistics, we will be covering an extensive guide on the cost of living in Cebu, Philippines.

    When looking at the cost of living in Cebu, Philippines, there are many different costs to consider. We have firsthand spoken about the overall cost of living in the Philippines; however, we will break Cebu living costs into three categories: rental, food, and other living costs.

    Rental costs are one of the most significant expenses when living in Cebu. It is not that the rental costs are overly expensive; however, rent is often one of the most significant compared to other expenses.

    If you are looking to save money living in Cebu, it is best to avoid the central areas such as those near the IT part, which is a very popular and beautiful part of the city. Mandaue City is next to Cebu city, and rental costs can often be slightly lower than in Cebu City.

    Nonetheless, here are the most expensive areas in Cebu city;

    • Mabolo
    • Luz
    • Hipodroma
    • Cebu IT park
    • Kasambagan
    • Cogon Ramos
    • Sambag 2
    • Kamputaw

    Even though these are the most expensive areas in Cebu city, they are not necessarily expensive as other areas such as Manila or Western countries.

    A small studio unit inside Cebu City can range from 18,000 to 23,000 Pesos on average, excluding bills. A one-bedroom condominium unit can range between 23,000 – 29,000 Pesos. Lastly, a two-bedroom unit situated in the city can be upwards of 30,000 pesos.

    As mentioned, if you are looking to save money living in Cebu in the Philippines, it is possible to find a much cheaper rate; however, this is often much easier outside of Cebu city.

    Additionally, there are also living costs in Cebu, such as electricity and water. Water tends to be very low. Electricity, on the other hand, can be slightly high. Many reports of electric prices for a small studio running up to 4K,5K, or even 6,000 Pesos. Thus, on average, utilities are not the cheapest in the Philippines as in other neighboring South East Asian countries.

    Lastly, looking at the cost of living in Cebu, Philippines, you may wish to use high-speed fiber Internet. A strong and steady internet connection can be purchased for around 2000 Pesos on average. There are a few different Internet providers in Cebu; however, the location of your property is what’s most important as some connections are stronger than others depending on where your property is situated.

    If you are interested in purchasing a condominium in the Philippines, then the real estate can be purchased for a reasonable fee; however, the city has grown rapidly over the last 10 years, so you may wish to investigate the real estate opportunity before investing entirely. Feel free to take a look at our entire condominium investing guide for prices, strategies, tips, and more details.

    Food costs in Cebu are a unique topic as you can find just about any kind of food at entirely different prices depending on the type of season and the place you are visiting.

    A friend of mine who is a foreigner has a Filipina wife. Recently, he purchased the ingredients for a meal and spent over 2000 Pesos. However, his wife the following week purchased the same ingredients and spent only 800 Pesos! So, if you are a foreigner reading this, it is recommended to trust Filipinos as they are excellent at finding bargains!

    There are several markets across Cebu city, which dramatically reduces living as a foreigner in Cebu. These markets often have deals, and negotiation is a common practice.

    Carbon Market & Taboan Public Market are two of the most popular markets in the city. The great thing about these local markets is that you can purchase fresh produce at affordable prices. They are significant marketplaces to explore whatever your dietary requirements.

    For instance, 20 pesos can be used to purchase a kilogram of tomatoes! Which is incredibly affordable. Additionally, aside from common fruit and vegetables, you will be able to purchase dried fruit and fish at these venues.

    If you prefer home delivery, you will have many options with popular apps such as Foodpanda! Foodpanda is not the only food delivery service in Cebu, but it is one of the most popular and quickest services.

    Aside from the more significant categories of living expenses, Cebu also has several living costs to take into account.

    One common living cost is leisure, including many different areas such as fitness, hobbies, nightlife, and many other subcategories.

    On average, nightlife and alcohol are relatively inexpensive in most parts of Cebu. Alcoholic beverages are also considerably lower if purchased from 7/11 or other convenience stores.

    Many alcoholic beverages are sold in large bottles, such as the famous red horse and Sam Miguel, lowering the price per unit.

    In terms of fitness, many independent and corporate gyms are set up around Cebu. The cost for gyms in Cebu can be slightly high when signing up for anytime fitness, for example, compared to independent gyms in my experience.

    If you are looking to lower the cost of living in Cebu, a great option is to work out in the local parks. Cebu has many outdoor fitness options for those who like to keep fit regularly.

    The average cost of living in Cebu as an expat can range between $800 and $1500 depending on the individuals’ lifestyle and the area in Cebu they live. Even though living costs are much lower than in Western countries, living costs are still much higher than food costs, leisure costs, etc.

    The great thing about living in Cebu in the Philippines is that many different costs can be changed or removed depending on your lifestyle, dramatically reducing the overall cost of living in Cebu.

    It is often recommended when moving to Cebu to have more than you believe you will need by at least a few hundred dollars; thus, a great target to aim for is at least $1200 a month to cover the overall cost of living in Cebu however this is not always essential.

    The average cost of living in Cebu as a Filipino is slightly less than a foreigner. Locals often have geographical knowledge of the area and cultural experience, allowing a much lower cost of living.

    If you’re wondering what it is like living in Cebu as a foreigner, I can honestly say you will have a fantastic experience! But let’s look at this question in more detail.

    Living in Cebu as a foreigner is a fantastic experience, and this is generally due to the food, the people, and the day-to-day happenings in Cebu.

    The food in the Philippines is fantastic; many food experts will tell you that food in the Philippines is not always the healthiest; however, it is delicious, and there are lots of food hacks and tricks that Filipinos use to make their food taste delicious.

    The people of Cebu speak phenomenal English, and in some cases, I met many locals who spoke better English than myself! Living in Cebu is a much more pleasant experience for foreigners as foreigners will communicate much more effortlessly.

    Additionally, the day-to-day happenings in Cebu are also a great experience. There are many different events, festivals, and experiences in Cebu city and down South and the North of the island.

    If you are looking for a city with an easy reach of a beach, then Cebu might be the perfect area for you.

    When looking at what it is like living in Cebu in the Philippines, I would also mention that it’s essential to be very streetwise as even though it is a safe city, there are indeed scams and other happenings that take place daily. in many cases locals are also targeted, so it’s best to keep an eye and ear to the ground.

    The minimum cost of living in Cebu depends on an individual’s lifestyle, including the area in Cebu they live and other expenses they incur on a day-to-day basis.

    For foreigners living in Cebu, the minimum cost of living is approximately $800.  This can be as low as $700; however, many luxuries need to be removed to meet this target. For locals living in Cebu, the minimum cost of living is often 30%(+) lower due to cultural and geographical knowledge of the area.

    The cost of living in Cebu verse Manila is a common question. We had covered a similar topic when we spoke in great detail about the overall cost of living in Thailand versus the Philippines.

    For this article’s purpose, we will compare living in Cebu city vs. Metro Manila as both areas are very similar in terms of what they offer for new residents.

    On average, Metro Manila has a much higher cost of living than Cebu city. One of the main reasons Metro Manila is more expensive than Cebu city is that daily living expenses are more expensive, which increases the overall cost of living.

    A classic example of this is transportation. Looking through the latest statistics on transportation costs, transport is much higher in Metro Manila than in Cebu. One of the reasons is the time it takes to travel to Manila. Still, Cebu is slowly catching up with Manila in recent years as more cars are visible across Cebu city.

    Additionally, there are many more lavish venues and entertainment arenas across Metro Manila. One thing that stood out when I lived in Manila is that convenience is often much more expensive in Manila than in every other city in the Philippines.


    Over the last several years, Cebu has become busier and busier. As a result, real estate has boomed, transportation has become excessive, and the city has grown rapidly. As a result, prices have risen, but on average, the cost of living in Cebu is much cheaper(20-35% on average) compared to Metro Manila.

    Consumer Prices in Cebu are 3.15% lower than in Manila (without rent)
    Consumer Prices, Including Rent in Cebu, are 18.14% lower than in Manila
    Rent Prices in Cebu are 44.74% lower than in Manila
    Restaurant Prices in Cebu are 5.45% lower than in Manila
    Groceries Prices in Cebu are 0.54% higher than in Manila
    Local Purchasing Power in Cebu is 21.03% higher than in Manila
    Source: Numbeo

    When looking at where to live in Cebu, you have many different options. For example, if you are an entrepreneur and have a business, then living close to Cebu It Park / Business Park may be a great option.

    Mabolo is a beautiful part of the city that includes some premium housing and apartments. The cost of living in this area is often much higher than in other areas; however, it has many perks, including being accessible to many vital areas and attractions.

    If you are looking to save money when living in Cebu and want to live near the city, Tipolo in Mandaue City is a popular area. This area is technically not in Cebu City but lies on the border between the two cities. However, this area has some benefits, such as being close to Parkmore mall and Chong Hua Hospital and offering a great selection of accommodation.

    In recent years areas such as Lapu-Lapu city / Mactan have become increasingly popular. As a result, many real estate developers have started building in this area which offers an excellent opportunity to consider renting or buying in Cebu.

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