Today we will be exploring the popular question of what is life like living in Cebu as a foreigner? Living in Cebu is a unique experience and is often compared with living in Manila and Davao; therefore, today, we will be going through some pros and cons of living in Cebu and diving into the subject of living in Cebu Vs Manila.
Previously we have covered retirement in Cebu, discussed if Cebu Philippines is a good place to live for foreigners, and discussed Cebu city in a recent YouTube video. Thus if you’re looking For more information, feel free to visit the relevant links above.
What is life like Living In Cebu As A Foreigner?
One of the benefits of living in Cebu as a foreigner is that the island and the city offer a unique experience for foreigners. When living in the Philippines, you may find that each city and island is slightly different, which adds to its unique charm.
Cebu is no different in this respect. So what is life like living in Cebu as a foreigner? As a whole, Cebu is a fantastic city and island to live in. international business tycoons and investors find living in Cebu very rewarding as there are still to this date many opportunities for business and investment across the island and city.
Cebu is also popular with digital nomads, retirees, expats, and international students. This is because Cebu is a modernized city. In other words, living in Cebu is very attractive to many foreigners because the city has many amenities needed to live a comfortable life.
Cebu is also well known for other areas on the island, such as Mandaue City, Lapu-Lapu City, Oslob, Moalboal, Danao City, and Daanbantayan. These areas are very appealing to foreigners living in Cebu as each destination has additional benefits. For example, Oslob is well known for its whale sharks, Moalboal has the advantage of beautiful picturesque beaches, and Mandaue City offers slightly lower living expenses than Cebu city.
In addition, when looking at what life is like living in Cebu as a foreigner, it’s essential to mention the island’s people. Cebuano individuals are very friendly, welcoming, and highly educated. As always, there are pros and cons of living in Cebu, and likewise, there are good and bad people, so when living in Cebu as a foreigner, it’s always essential to trust your gut instincts.
Over the years, business and investment boomed across Cebu, allowing for the island’s growth. This is fantastic and certainly plays into the pros and cons of living in Cebu. However, even though the benefit of living in Cebu as a foreigner includes a modern lifestyle, it also comes with a drawback: the city can be highly congested and busy.
If you wonder if Cebu is a good place to live for foreigners, you will find the answer relies upon your individual lifestyle needs. Nonetheless, in most cases, Cebu is a good place to live as a foreigner. It offers foreigners a modern lifestyle in a lively city with easy access to stunning beaches.
Below, we will discuss the pros and cons of living in Cebu as a foreigner. We will discuss specific advantages and disadvantages that are important to note if you are planning to live in Cebu as a foreigner.
Living In Cebu Vs Manila
Recently we have discovered the pros and cons of living in Manila which I’ve attached above for your reference. But the question is, living in Cebu vs Manila, what is the difference?
Cebu & Manila share a lot of qualities. Based on several considerations, if we were to place a foreigner in Manila and Cebu without them knowing the location, it may take them some time to correctly guess what location they are in due to the likeness of many external factors. This is on a surface level, but it would be easy for the foreigner to distinguish between the two cities after some time.
One of the reasons a foreigner may find it challenging to distinguish between Manila and Cebu is that the first problem they will encounter is traffic. In modern times, the traffic levels of both cities are horrendous, and during peak times, it’s not uncommon to be sat in traffic for hours.
Other factors will make it difficult for our foreigner avatar to know the exact location. This includes corporate dominance, which is visibly seen all across the Philippines. Next, we have the condominiums. He/She will find that condominium projects from specific developers are nearly identical in design.
However, it’s much easier to see the differences when living in Cebu vs Manila after some time. For example, Manila has, on average, and higher crime index score. In addition, poverty is visible, and the slums of Manila had been a well-documented subject over the last few years.
So what are the main differences between living in Cebu vs Manila? The main difference in living in either city includes living expenses, visible poverty, accessibility, and general lifestyles. Similarities of Cebu vs Manila include identical condominium developments, congested traffic, and investment opportunities.
So after looking at what is life like living in Cebu as a foreigner and considering living in Cebu vs Manila, the ultimate question today is what the pros and cons of living in Cebu as a foreigner are?
Pros And Cons Of Living In Cebu
Pros Of Living In Cebu As A Foreigner
Access To Immigration Departments
The Bureau of immigration has many offices stretched across Cebu, with most of these being situated in Cebu city. For example, suppose you want to extend your retirement visa or obtain a long-term visa while living in Cebu. In that case, you will have no problems as the immigration department has many facilities, and most requests can be actioned directly at the immigration office in Cebu.
In addition, you will find travel agencies and visa support companies willing to assist foreigners in gaining the correct visa type. Often this includes a higher price than what you would pay initially, but it does make the process somewhat stress-free.
Modernized City Lifestyle
When looking at what life is like in Cebu as a foreigner, we discovered that Cebu has a modern lifestyle, but what does that mean?
There are many corporations for many industries that are situated in Cebu. This includes well-known gyms, restaurants, cafes, bars, and so on. These places of interest and other considerations such as transportation and nightlife result in a modernized way of life and thus is often essential to consider when looking at the pros and cons of living in Cebu as a foreigner.
High Level Of English Proficiency
In general, the Philippines is a country that has a high level of English proficiency. Statistically, the Philippines is the second-best country in Asia for spoken English. This is important to mention when looking at the pros and cons of living in Cebu as a foreigner because clear communication is often one of the most significant advantages of residing in the Philippines in general.
If you have an accent, it may be difficult for some Cebuanos to understand every word, so I would always recommend slowing down the pace ever so slightly. In the Philippines, the schools teach American English, and most schools use a standard neutral tone. Thus Cebuano may find it slightly challenging to understand if you have a very strong accent.
Accessibility To Beach, Water Spots, And Other Islands
The next advantage of living in Cebu as a foreigner is that you can undoubtedly find a suitable place on the island! Not many places in the Philippines have modernized city life, such as Cebu. Still, with easy access to beautiful beaches, Cebu has become a hotspot for foreigners living in the Philippines.
There are many beautiful beaches all across the North and Southwest of the island. Oslob is a well-known area for those looking to get up and close with whale sharks, but in the Northern part of Cebu, you will find some of the most beautiful beaches on the island.
Direct International Flights
Direct flights are an underrated topic when looking at the pros and cons of living in Cebu as a foreigner. Unfortunately, many are unaware of just how many direct flights operate from Cebu airport.
Over the years, the development in the transportation sector has been clear. There are many plans for the expansion of transportation. Still, at this moment in time, not all cities in the Philippines operate direct flights. [Find out more about how to find cheap international flights to the Philippines]
Grab Is Available Across The City
As you may be aware, grab is a company that allows its customers to order taxis from their app. This is often much more convenient and cheaper than hauling down a taxi; however, grab is not available in every area, and the more remote an area becomes, the less grab is available. However, there are many grab drivers all across Cebu city.
Cons Of Living In Cebu As A Foreigner
Over the years, the traffic in Cebu has become highly congested, and even though there are plans and operations to reduce this, the roads still seem to be highly congested. When we explored living in Cebu vs Manila, we discovered that the traffic in both areas could be indistinguishable. Therefore it’s recommended to travel during non-peak times if possible.
There has been tremendous growth in Cebu city over the last few years; this includes several condominium projects and other constructions, but with all this ongoing work and heavy traffic pollution, both air and noise can suffer. For those looking to live in Cebu as a foreigner long-term, I recommend reading our official checklist for moving to the Philippines.
Rental Prices Can Be High
Cebu has an overall lower cost of living compared to Manila. Still, due to an expat’s lifestyle or business commitments, they may have to live in certain areas, which may not be the cheapest. If you are looking to lower the costs of rental prices, it’s recommended to rent long-term if possible and always negotiate before signing a contract.
Poverty Is Visibility
Poverty is heartbreaking in the Philippines as there are many economic issues, making it very challenging for anybody to break out of poverty no matter how determined they are. Unfortunately, over the years, more and more Filipino families find themselves under that poverty line. Visible poverty is not so well seen in Cebu vs Manila, but it is still a visible site that can be seen across the city.
Some Areas Are Over Developed
Many years ago, I was interested in real estate investing, and I heavily looked into developments around Cebu city. Unfortunately, I found that many areas across Cebu are now overdeveloped. Investors may find more success investing in areas such as Davao city. Still, whether you are planning to invest or rent, you may find the overdevelopment of certain regions challenging.
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