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Helpful Guide To Living In Olongapo City As An Expat

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    Living In Olongapo City as an Expat: This city always rings a bell to the ears of most of the expats, for Olongapo City was once where the U.S. Naval Base was situated. Slowly it made an economic recovery and now became one of the industrialized and urbanized cities of the country.

    The famous name of Olongapo City to most foreigners may be why they decide to move into the place and permanently reside in the area.

    Therefore, if you are pondering about moving out from your country and looking for a place to stay and most likely to settle down, it is better that you should conduct intensive research regarding the place, the people living in the area, its history, customs, dialects, actions, and so on.

    Olongapo City Historical Background

    You might have already visited Olongapo City and already entertained the thoughts into moving into the city. This city is a by-product of the cultures of America and the Philippines. This may be attributed to Americans staying in the city for about a decade.

    The Philippine independence was granted by the United States of America on July 4, 1946, after the end of World War II.  However, Filipinos celebrate independence day on June 12, for this was the day that the Philippines declared their independence on July 12, 1898.

    Despite the grant of independence to the Philippines, Olongapo was continuously being governed by the Subic Bay Naval Station.

    Finally, in 1959, the area had been converted into a municipality, and the governance was turned over to the Philippines. Due to the earnest efforts of James Gordon, the father of Sen. Richard Gordon, it made it possible for the Olongapo’s turn-over to the governance to the Filipino hands.

    Mayor James Gordon then administered Olongapo to convert the municipality into a chartered city. As a result, the city is being administered autonomously even though it is within the territorial borders of Zambales province. 

    The lease contract between the Philippines and Subic Bay Naval Station had expired in 1992. As a result, the U.S. servicemen left Olongapo City, impacting serious financial hurt to the businesses, especially those establishments that cater to the U.S. servicemen.

    However, through the steering leadership of Mayor Richard Gordon, who is currently the Philippines senator, he successfully made the area the Subic Bay Free Port, thus opening the doors for business opportunities.

    Local Dialects in Olongapo City

    It may be due to the long relationship of the locals with the Americans that the locals had developed a way of combining the two languages, English and Tagalog, which is colloquially called “Taglish.” Aside from taglish, some of the dialects being spoken are Sambal, Pangasinan, Ilocano, and Kapampangan.

    Transportation in Olongapo City

    If you have been to other parts of the country, you will not be surprised to see a coded public utility vehicle, but such colorful codes originated in Olongapo City. The color code for every jeepney and tricycle are based on their route.

    The color coding would make it easy for a commuter to know which jeepney or tricycle to ride. The common means of transportation in the area are jeepneys and tricycles. There are also taxis but only very limited. 

    There are also buses available as a mode of transportation for going out of the city. In addition, you can see Saulog Transit and Victory Liner bus terminals within the city which are being used to transport passengers outside the city and inside the Subic Bay FreePORT Zone.

    Olongapo City Accessibility

    The city is accessible through the National Highway via the Zigzag Road from Hermosa and Dinalupihan, Bataan. It is also accessible via the SCTEX (Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway, through the Subic Freeport Expressway, which exits on the gates of Subic Bay Freeport Zone. It is a given fact that since SCTEX had been opened, it paved the way to greater mobility within the Clark region. 

    Cost of Living in Olongapo City As A Foreigner

    To summarise, the cost of living in Olongapo City as a foreigner is $1050 – $1450 to live comfortably. Costs can be lower or higher depending on the lifestyle and living arrangements.

    Apprehension creeps into those who are moving to a new place, for there are many things to consider, one of which is the cost of living in the area. If you wonder what the cost of living in Olongapo City is, let us explore the current market prices in Olongapo City as to the rent, utilities, and foodstuff.

    Understanding these details before heading off to Olongapo City will give you the vantage point of whether it is viable to live in Olongapo City.

    Considering the peculiar geographic location of Olongapo City, located in tidal flatland and on its three sides are the Zambales Mountains, would make it difficult for the locals to make a massive economic development.

    Such geographic location may affect the cost of living in Olongapo City; they viewed it as a “little expensive” living in Olongapo City. Bloggers had made some mental calculations and made a rough estimate of the total cost of living in Olongapo City.

    To live decently in the city may make one shell out around USD 617 a month. This figure was being reached upon determining the cost for renting the one-bedroom apartment, which is about USD 275 per month.

    In addition, you have to allocate a sum of USD 130 for utilities in a month and approximately $472, including your transportation, dining into restaurants, sports, and leisure. 

    Let us take a look in detail at the commodities and their prices in the market of Olongapo City for you to have a headstart on how to live in Olongapo City. The standard of living and one’s lifestyle determine their living cost in Olongapo City.

    If you still have a dwelling place in the city, you may consider renting within or outside the city center. For example, a one-bedroom apartment within the business center would cost around $211.61, while three are $566.51. But if you want to have lower rent, you may opt to stay outside the city center, where rent for a 1-bedroom apartment ranges to USD 163.12.

    After settling your abode, let us take a look at the prices of the different commodities in the market, such as the price of regular 1-liter milk, which is $1.44, for one loaf of white bread, which is about 500g is $1.02, the 12 pieces of regular eggs are priced foe $1.55. the local cheese is about $5.91, the 1.5 liters of bottled water is $.084.

    If wine and cigarettes are part of your grocery list, you may want to check their prices for a mid-range bottle, which is $8.93, the domestic beer is $0.89, and the imported beer is $1.49. You can also grab a 20 pack Malboro for $1.79.

    You can add to your market bag some fruits and vegetables of which is being in Olongapo City market for $2.96 1kg of apples, the oranges are priced for $1.98, you can grab a potato wherein it is freshly sold at $1.86, for 1 head of lettuce it cost about $1.9, and for every 1kg of tomatoes it is priced at $1.3, bananas are sold for 1kg at $1.33 and onions for $1.7 per 1kg.

    Sumptuous Filipino meals always include rice and viand, most likely from poultry products such as chicken, pork, and beef. For example, forever 1kg chicken breasts which are boneless and skinless, can be bought at $3.95, rice for 1kg is $0.96, and beef is $5.66 for 1kg.

    Ordinarily, you must expect that prices fluctuate and vary, for it depends entirely on the market’s supply and demand. Therefore, though there may be some changes, the discrepancy would be slim, and you may not even notice it.

    Other expats may claim that Olongapo City has a high cost of living, but it is just but reasonable for others. The perception of the standard of living costs in Olongapo City entirely depends on the type and kind of lifestyle that a person has. Of course, the financial status and the earning capacity would also come into play.

    Is Olongapo City A Safe Place For Foreigners

    If you browse the net and search for how safe Olongapo City is for foreigners, you would be amazed at the comments and reactions of expats and foreigners who consider Olongapo City the safest and the cleanest city in the Philippines.

    However, safety covers many different areas such as crime, natural disaster, public safety, food hygiene, etc. In general, Olongapo City is a safe place, and most visits are trouble-free; however, travelers should always be vigilant and careful of petty crimes such as pickpocketing.

    Is Olongapo City A Good Choice For An Expat To Retire

    Most expats would nod their heads in conformity that Olongapo City is their retirement home. The red-district image of the city had long been gone, and it is being replaced by the cleanest, safest, and the industrialized city not only in Northern Luzon but in the entire Philippines.

    If you are looking to retire in a modern city in the Philippines, you will be glad to visit the area as Olongapo City has many options.

    Living In Olongapo City