Living in Manila as an expat has its pros and cons. There are so many pros and cons when living in Manila as an expat that we even created a whole article discussing this very topic! But what is the best expat advice for living in Manila, Philippines? We will cover some expat tips for living in Manila in today’s article.
Expat Advice Living In Manila, Philippines
Traveling During Non-Peak Times.
Manila’s traffic is so well known for all the wrong reasons that it has been awarded the most congested and worst traffic in Southeast Asia! The traffic in Manila is so congested that several Wikipedia pages are dedicated to this very topic. Hence, it’s no surprise this has made our list of expat advice living in Manila, Philippines.
Manila’s traffic does not stop during the non-peak times; however, it does slightly ease during specific periods in most areas. Thus, a tip for living in Manila as an expat would be if you are planning to head out to the gym or the local supermarkets to do this during non-peak times. Often traffic is at its busiest from 7 am – 10 am & 5 pm – 8 pm. However, at times it can seem that Manila’s peak time is 24/7.
Always Have An Emergency Fund
This is perhaps one of the most important and valuable pieces of advice for expats living in Manila. There have been some unfortunate cases of expats living in Manila during the years who have sadly had to beg to get enough money to fly back home.
This is not super common, but over the years, there have been more and more accounts of unfortunate expats falling into financially challenging times while living in the Philippines. This is why an emergency fund is perhaps the most effective expat tip for living in Manila.
Look Out For The New Online Scams
At Owl of Asia HQ, we have spoken about online dating frauds, finding a Filipino wife, and many other topics that slightly touched upon scams. But over the years, there have been new, more advanced scams in Manila and the Philippines in general.
Common scams include finding investors to invest in a business or property that does not exist. Other common scams across Manila include flipping cash for a higher reward in the near future. But one of the new online scams in Manila involves romance scams. Scammers use fake profiles, videos, and pictures to convince victims to hand over cash or give them something of value.
Use Grab For Private Transport
Grab is a well-known transportation and food delivery service across Southeast Asia. Still, one of the benefits of using grab in Manila is that it is often more convenient safer, and cheaper. In addition, Manila taxis have been known to overcharge foreigners even if they have lived in Manila for many years. Thus, grab is often a better option for expats living in Manila.
It’s straightforward to download the Grab app, and it is available on the Android and Apple stores. However, if you want to save more money as an expat living in Manila, then an extra tip for transport in Manila is to hop on to the Jeepneys! They are often enjoyable and are very cost-effective. Speaking of cost brings us to the following expat advice for living in Manila, Philippines: food.
To Save Money Switch To Filipino Cuisine
Although Filipino cuisine can sometimes be slightly fattening and sweet, it can also be very cost-effective and cheap. Looking at the statistics of living costs in Manila, Philippines, it is clear that local cuisine (excluding large chain corporations) often offers the most valued meal for your pesos.
As an expat living in Manila, you will discover that there are many services online that can be used to save money. One of those services we mentioned a moment ago is the grab app. Another is foodpanda. Foodpanda is often used for expats living in Manila as it is super convenient and offers many promotions which can help expats save more money when living in Manila.
To Save More Money Have A Drink Or 2 Befoe Hitting The Clubs
One benefit of living in Manila is that there is a host of different clubs and bars all across the city. the downside is that some venues are well known to be highly overpriced. This is why a simple but effective tip for expats living in Manila is to have a few drinks before hitting the town, as this will often save you much money.
In addition, through my adventures across Manila, I often found that if you were to purchase more extensive drinks, the amount of money compared to the beverage volume you received is much more favorable. In other words, breaking down the price per 10ml (which I did as a nerd) of alcoholic beverages will allow you to see that it’s cheaper to order a larger drink resulting in savings.
Withdraw Appropriate Funds At The ATMs In Manila
One of the disadvantages of living in Manila as an expat is that if you do not have a bank account (find out how to open a bank account in the Philippines here) is that ATM fees, as well as currency conversions, can soon add up, and this can be very financially damaging if you are living on a budget in Manila.
Therefore this expat advice living in Manila, Philippines, includes withdrawing the appropriate amount at the ATM fees to save more money.
Grab Yourself A Travel Belt
Travel belts are highly underrated. They are one of the most valuable pieces of equipment for expats living in Manila. Travel belts are not always big and bulky. In most cases, travel belts are the same size as a genuine belt but with hidden zips and compartments! We have recently spoken about travel belts on the YouTube channel, so feel free to head over to see more information.
Why are travel belts essential, and why is this a tip for expats living in Manila? Often because pickpocketing is common, especially in the metropolitan area of Manila. It is not uncommon for expats to experience pickpocketing at least once while living long-term in Manila, which is why travel belts are super beneficial.
Long-Term Rentals Are Best For Longterm Savings
Long-term rental of a property or vehicle is not always possible for expats living in Manila; however, if you are in a position where you can rent long-term, you can often find much better deals at a much more affordable rate. This benefit also reaches out to the business section.
Several years ago, I was planning to launch a call center, and I found that long-term agreements opened up so many more doors for me, and often I found that the offices were 15-25% cheaper if I could rent long-term.
Plan A Trip Or 2 Outside Of The City Every So Often
You soon discover an essential tip for expats living in Manila, Philippines, even though Manila is a beautiful city and offers lots of unique advantages, it is also heavily congested. So at times, even Manila’s biggest fans and supporters need a welcome break outside of the capital.
Therefore, if you are an expat living in Manila or are planning to move to this beautiful city, I would recommend budgeting slightly (if needed) to take regular trips outside the city. This does not need to include a full two weeks holiday but just a few days to relax as you will often find it does you a world of good!
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