Manila is a beautiful and unique city that is home to many foreigners living in the Philippines. However, as Manila is the capital city, there are many different advantages and disadvantages of living in Manila. Thus in today’s article, we will be looking at – living in Manila’s pros and cons, discussing life in Manila as an expat, exploring where most expats live in the Philippines, and more.
Living In Manila Pros And Cons
In this section, we will be covering living in Manila pros and cons. When looking at Manila’s pros and cons, it’s essential to consider the pandemic that has affected life as an expat living in Manila.
Pros Of Living In Manila As An Expat
Exceptional Levels Of Spoken English
According to the official English proficiency index, the Philippines ranks the second-highest country in Asia for spoken English and ranks 27th globally. Officially there are more English speakers in the Philippines than in other countries whose native language is English. When looking at living in Manila pros and cons, English is one of the leading advantages for expats living in Manila.
Without a doubt, Manila is home to some of the incredible nightlife. If you are an individual who enjoys clubs, then you most definitely have a large selection of unique nightlife. In addition, many wine bars and smaller establishments are stretched across Manila; however, as it’s the capital city, some prices can be slightly high.
When you think about living in Manila pros and cons, you may not necessarily think about the cuisine; however, Filipino cuisine is well known to be delicious and exceptional. Food in Manila is highly available across the city, and if you are looking to stay in and enjoy a home delivery service, there are also many options to choose from.
Investment And Business Opportunities
According to the PSA, In the first quarter of 2021, just under 20 Billion pesos have been invested in the Philippines. Later on, we will be discussing where do most expats Live in the Philippines as it’s often a common question, but without giving too much away, one of the most popular areas in the Philippines for business tycoons and investors is Manila. A few years ago, Manila was well known to investors overseas for its real estate opportunities.
Friendly, Professional, And Respectful Locals
One of the reasons you will most likely fall in love with the Philippines is the friendly, professional, and respectable locals. This is one of the motivations why many expats live in Manila full time. You may also find many professionals who are living in Manila due to their careers. On average, English tends to be used more often in Manila.
Huge Shopping Malls
As an expat living in Manila, one of the first things I decided to do was visit a shopping mall. I was surprised as the shopping mall felt like a mini-city. In fact, I often got lost on my weekly strolls around the stores. However, this does bring a huge selection of cosmetic goods for expats living in Manila, and thus it belongs on a list of living in Manila’s pros and cons.
Cons Of Living In Manila As An Expat
According to Global Satisfaction conducted by Waze, The area of Metro Manila has the worst traffic in Southeast Asia. Many reports from expats living in Manila have also confirmed just how horrendous traffic can be. It’s not uncommon to be sitting in traffic jams for several hours during peak times.
Statistically, on average, levels of crime range from moderate to very high, and thus crime index tends to fluctuate between high and moderate depending on the source of information. For example, back in 2018, Statista stated that the most common crying in the Philippines was theft. However, crime in Manila varies, ranging from petty crimes to more serious and dangerous crimes.
Higher Cost Of Living
The cost of living in Manila for an expat has been highly documented. Many publications cover the cost of living in the Philippines, but Manila is slightly different as living expenses can be astronomical. Therefore, you may find living in Manila as an expat that the everyday items (and essential living expenses) are more expensive, which may increase the amount of money you will need to live in Manila as an expat.
Overcrowded In Certain Areas
The current population of the Philippines is 111 million. This is expected to grow to 136 million by the year 2040. According to the world population review, the current population in Manila stands at an estimated 1.6 million (excluding nearby cities). Thus when looking at living in Manila’s pros and cons, you may find that this disadvantage is more common depending on what area you are situated in.
Borgenproject Released a fantastic publication discussing how best to combat poverty in the Philippines. They estimated that 3.1 million homeless people live in Manila. It is very heartbreaking to witness, but visible poverty is common in Manila, and with the rise of inflation, many families sadly find themselves under the poverty line.
Some Areas Can Be Neglected
Manila is a magnificent city that has a certain unique charm about it. Still, unfortunately, some areas can be neglected, which can be common in many significant regions of the Philippines. It is not uncommon to see half-built buildings and abandoned garbage in some parts of Manila. But as this is the capital, this is to be expected to a certain degree.
Life In Manila As An Expat / Living In Manila As An Expat
One of the most common questions is what is life in Manila like as an expat? Of course, there are many different areas to discuss when addressing living in Manila as an expat, but if I were to summarise this answer into a few sentences, I would say…
Life in Manila as an expat is more expensive and hectic, and many expats find other cities outside of Metro Manila more convenient for living. Nonetheless, Manila is a one-of-a-kind city that does offer many advantages for expats, especially if you are interested in business and investment.
When looking at living in Manila pros and cons, one not-so-discussed advantage for expats is that international culture has specifically influenced the Philippines and Manila. This includes western culture and other Asian cultures such as Korean culture. This has led to Manila being a trendy destination for expats traveling or living in the Philippines.
If you enjoy the quieter way of life and you are looking to save some cash, Manila may not be the best city to live in. But if money is not a problem and you enjoy the busyness of capital, then Manila will not disappoint.
Lastly, after discussing living in Manila pros and cons, we touched upon several areas. One of these areas was safety. Safety in the Philippines is an important area that we have covered in greater detail previously, so it’s always recommended to do your research before traveling to Manila due to the high rates of reported crimes.
What The Community Says About Life In Manila As An Expat
It’s always a great idea to look at the community and find out what others are saying about life in Manila. So here are some statements from expats who have lived in Manila, including a mixture of accounts before the pandemic and during current times.
One of the pros for me is the variety of choices in restaurants, pubs, and shops.
The best part of the Philippines is the people; I’m retired and have been married to a Filipino for over eight years. During this time, I’ve lived in Manila and a few other provinces towards the South, but one thing that I found here is just how much my wife’s family genuinely cares for us. I feel very grateful to have found an amazing wife with a fantastic family.
For me, one of the reasons why I settled in the Philippines is because Filipinos have superb English, and I’ve never had an issue with communication.
I can’t stand Manila. The traffic is enough to send anyone packing for another country. I like the weather and the food but getting about is crazy.
For me, I originally came to Manila for business. Most Filipinos are amazing, and they have great values and strengths but doing business here is something that I regret. Unfortunately, corruption is still real in the Philippines. So I would recommend anyone thinking about starting a business here to seriously consider if it’s the right decision for you or not.
I’m in American living in Manila and have been living here for six years. I enjoy traveling around the Philippines, but there are many pros and cons of living in Manila as an expat. I enjoy city life, but you need to leave Manila every so often, even if it’s only for a few days, as it can drive you crazy.
Where Do Most Expats Live In The Philippines
According to HSBC in their recent publication, which was updated in October 2020, most expats in the Philippines live in the Manila area. However, there is minimal information and statistics regarding where expats Live in the Philippines at this current time.
As many international corporations are based in the Manila area, one is led to believe that this is where most expats live, and an HSBC publication also confirms this. Still, again there is minimal information about this topic. Furthermore, some accounts from the online community suggest that many expats live in and around Cebu city.
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