Sunset over boat on seashore in Balabac, Philippines

Best Places to Live in the Philippines | 10 Wonderful Cities

Spanning over 7,000 islands, the Philippines is an archipelagic country that is known for its stunning beauty, magical beaches, and low cost of living. The cities in the Philippines are some of the best places to live in South East Asia.

Every city is unique and special for a reason, giving you a ton of choices for where to live. As many choices as there are, some are better than others, so read on to find out which city will suit you the best.

Best Places to Live in the Philippines for:

  1. Expats: Manila City
  2. English Speakers: Cebu City
  3. Digital Nomads: Makati City
  4. Solo Travelers: Davao City
  5. Couples: Bacolod City
  6. Groups: Tagaytay City

Top 10 Places to Live in the Philippines

1. Manila City

Best City for ExpatsManila City skyline under blue sky during daytime

Cost of Living: $$$

If you are looking for a unique and busy lifestyle, then look no further than Manila City. It is the capital of the Philippines and has beautiful Spanish colonial architecture and huge modern skyscrapers. Manila City has many job opportunities and is filled with things to do and see—like museums, shopping malls, theaters, and restaurants.

Tip: You should map out your daily route to avoid traffic congestion and get to work on time.

Who Would Like to Live There: Expats & Digital Nomads

Pros:

  • Abundant job opportunities
  • Gorgeous architecture
  • Vibrant nightlife

Cons:

  • Traffic congestion
  • Higher cost of living compared to the rest of the Philippines
  • Noise and air pollution

2. Cebu City

Best City for English SpeakersCebu City lit up during the evening

Cost of Living: $$

Cebu City is known for its rich culture and pristine beaches. A lovely place to live, growing bored in this city is a tough task. You can easily find something to entertain yourself within this city, and it has a thriving nightlife. Cebu City has a beautiful natural landscape surrounding it that is perfect for hikes and walks.

Tip: You should download Grab on your phone (similar to Uber) for quick and easy transportation.

Who Would Like to Live There: English Speakers, Expats & Solo Travelers

Pros:

  • Culturally rich
  • Lovely natural scenery
  • Great beaches

Cons:

  • The price of accommodation can be high
  • Terrible traffic
  • The Wi-Fi can be very slow

3. Makati City

Best City for Digital NomadsMakati City skyline lit up at night

Cost of Living: $$

Makati City is a great location if you prefer the finer things in life. It’s filled with amazing restaurants, five-star hotels, and shopping malls with everything you could need and more. It’s a great option if you enjoy the city life and the busyness that comes with it.

Tip: Cook your own meals to save money and cut down on the fast food which is abundant in the Philippines.

Who Would Like to Live There: Digital Nomads & Expats

Pros:

  • Great nightlife
  • Many restaurant options
  • Lovely cafés to work from

Cons:

  • Streets can sometimes get flooded during the rainy season
  • The Internet is not stable
  • Garbage can be seen throughout the city

4. Davao City

Best City for Solo TravelersWhite clouds over green mountains in Davao City

Cost of Living: $$

One of the safest cities in the world, Davao City is a great place to set up a base if you plan on traveling to other cities in the Philippines, due to its international airport. It is a city with extremely well-maintained facilities and offers numerous options in terms of entertainment and restaurants.

Tip: If you have an interest in animals and birds you should visit the Philippine Eagle Center, Davao Butterfly House, and the Crocodile Park.

Who Would Like to Live There: Solo Travelers, Expats & Digital Nomads

Pros:

  • Safe city
  • Easy to travel the rest of the country
  • Great choices to entertain yourself

Cons:

  • Nightlife can be a bit slow
  • The humidity can be overwhelming
  • Many of the food choices can be unhealthy

5. Bacolod City

Best City for CouplesThe Ruins in Bacolod City, Philippines

Cost of Living: $

Known as the “City of Smiles” due to the friendly and welcoming locals, Bacolod city is a wonderful place to live. It is a great combination of city life while still being laid-back—perfect if you want to escape the hustle and bustle of busier cities while still enjoying all the benefits of a big city.

Tip: The locals of Bacolod City are deeply religious Catholics, so refrain from insulting the religion or religious talk out at dinner altogether.

Who Would Like to Live There: Couples, Groups & English Speakers

Pros:

  • Friendly locals
  • Combination of laid-back and big city lifestyle
  • Low cost of living

Cons:

  • Public hospitals are not the best
  • Nightlife isn’t very exciting
  • Power outages can occur

6. Tagaytay City

Best City for GroupsTaal volcano surrounded by body of water

Cost of Living: $

Tagaytay is a city that is known for its beautiful natural scenery and moderate climate. Just under two hours away from Manila City, it’s ideal for outdoor activities. Food lovers will also find numerous restaurants to choose from. Tagaytay City is home to breathtaking views and a luscious green landscape that lovers of nature will adore.

Tip: A van to Makati for a weekend away is 265 to 290 Philippine Pesos (around 5 USD).

Who Would Like to Live There: Groups & Couples

Pros:

  • Many outdoor activities
  • Breathtaking views of nature
  • Well-balanced climate

Cons:

  • Natural disasters like the Taal volcano erupting can occur
  • Traffic can be a problem
  • Finding work can be difficult

7. Batangas City

Best City for Beach LoversWhite boat on seashore near trees in Batangas

Cost of Living: $$

Batangas City has beautiful white sand beaches and is one of the best tropical vacation spots in the Philippines. There are several gorgeous beach resorts to treat yourself to and be extra close to the water. It’s more of a laid-back city, but with Manila City so close, you can always use your weekends for a getaway to scratch that city life itch you might get.

Tip: If you’re a coffee connoisseur, be sure to try the famous Kapeng Barako which is grown in this city’s province.

Who Would Like to Live There: Digital Nomads, Couples & Solo Travelers

Pros:

  • Beautiful white sand beaches
  • Laid-back
  • Rich culture and cuisine

Cons:

  • Public transportation isn’t great
  • Nightlife is almost non-existent
  • If you aren’t the outdoors type you may run out of things to do

8. Subic City

Best City for AdventurersBlue sea under blue sky in Subic City

Cost of Living: $

Subic City is a popular choice for those who prefer a more adventurous lifestyle. The city has an amusement park with thrilling rides and offers some of the world’s best scuba diving areas with well-preserved shipwrecks and beautiful coral reefs that are teeming with marine life.

Tip: Purchase a bicycle to get around as taxis can begin to drain your budget after a while.

Who Would Like to Live There: Solo Travelers, Groups & Expats

Pros:

  • Lovely diving locations
  • Beautiful marine life to see
  • Many shipwrecks to explore

Cons:

  • Lack of public transport
  • The city is very quiet
  • Imported goods can be expensive

9. Baguio City

Best City for Cultural EnthusiastsSunset behind silhouette of mountain in Baguio City

Cost of Living: $

Baguio City has a wonderfully cool climate thanks to the city’s elevation, making it a great choice if you are not a fan of the heat. It’s a laid-back city with a beautiful natural landscape and it’s rich in culture with a thriving art scene. Baguio City offers you the chance to escape the busy city and breathe in the fresh air around astonishing natural attractions.

Tip: Be sure to never leave the house without an umbrella as the rain can be heavy and unpredictable.

Who Would Like to Live There: Groups & Couples

Pros:

  • Fresh air and cooler climate
  • Rich in culture
  • Lovely natural attractions

Cons:

  • Overpopulation is a big problem during the tourist season
  • Water shortage due to overpopulation
  • Wi-Fi is slow

10. Dumaguete City

Best City for Island LivingHarbor with boats and buildings in Dumaguete City

Cost of Living: $

Dumaguete is a gorgeous coastal city that is quaint and very easy-going. It is nicknamed the “City of Gentle People” due to how sincere and hospitable the locals are. The cost of living is fairly low in Dumaguete City, which means you can spend more money spoiling yourself.

Tip: You can easily walk to your destination in this small city, so there is no need to waste your money on taxis or buying a car or bicycle.

Who Would Like to Live There: Couples, English Speakers & Expats

Pros:

  • Quiet and laid-back city
  • Low cost of living
  • Clean and safe

Cons:

  • Road travel can be chaotic
  • Brownouts occur
  • Rain falls throughout the year

FAQs

1. Is It Safe in the Philippines?

There are a few areas you should stay clear of but overall the Philippines is fairly safe.

2. What Currency Do They Use in the Philippines?

The Philippine Peso is the currency used.

3. What Language Do They Speak in the Philippines?

Filipino is the national language of the Philippines and English is widely spoken throughout.

4. How to Travel Around the Philippines?

You can travel around the Philippines by car, bus, motorcycle, bicycle, ferry, and airplane.

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