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How do the locals live?


tomaw

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Let me be a little more specific. I'm not talking about the poor and uneducated living in some squatter's shack. I'm also not talking about the rich elite. I am talking about local Philippine professionals ( teachers, nurses, engineers etc.) that average about $300 a month. I've read several threads that tell me this. I've also read a bunch of cost of living threads with posts by expats that think I'll be living in poverty on less than $1,500 a month. So how are the successful locals able to have a good standard of living on what they make?

 

Firstly, I have not read any other replies here. So, I hope I am not repeating information that was previously posted.

 

Secondly, you would NEVER hear or read where I have said you could not live a decent life in the Philippines on $1,500 USD per month. That was about what I spent, for years, living there. The differences come in due to one person finding $2,000 to be just bearable, while $2,000 for another person would be more than he would need. 

 

Now, back in, oh, 2004, my former wife (JJ) and I lived in pretty simple digs. Read about it here. During that time, about fourteen months or so, we lived on less than, or about, $500 USD per month. Bear in mind, this was when the USD / PHP rate was PHP 54 or PHP 55 to $1.00 USD. This was the amount I needed to live there. I could not live as cheaply as a Filipino. I just simply could not do it. I tried to cut more off that amount each month. But, it would not happen.  

 

Filipinos don't have to pay visa extensions. We do. Filipinos, even middle / upper class, can live without conveniences - like air-con. Many foreigners cannot. Filipinos can live in smaller apartments / homes than westerners can. Typically, they simply need fewer resources and have lower overhead to maintain similar lifestyles. 

 

Filipinos can live cheaper than foreigners, within the boundaries of the Philippines. When they go to the west, though, things change considerably. I witnessed that during the time I lived in the US, and knew many Filipinos. Trust me, they can learn to waste as much as we do, in the west.

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OFWs are the people whose families live comfortably on the most part. My brother in law brings in 7000 usd per month as a chief officer on LNG tanker ships, they own several properties for rental, a p

Firstly, I have not read any other replies here. So, I hope I am not repeating information that was previously posted.   Secondly, you would NEVER hear or read where I have said you could not live a

Don't take this the wrong way, but what are you after with this question? I truly do not understand what you are looking for?   I tried to read the responses, here, but the replies just reek with pe

My sister-in-law is a teacher at a public school. Her husband operates a typical sari sari. Their combined income is around 50,000 a month. From that are some deductions as a teacher for various government benefits and taxes. They also pay for a business license for the store. They have three children, all school age. They have a maid watching one child and doing some chores.

 

That is the basics. What they DO NOT pay for are things like refuse pickup (there is none), water (sometimes they have it, sometimes not and they drink only bottled water), heating or air conditioning costs.

 

They have borrowed money from a program available to teachers (one of the benefits of being a public school teacher) and used it to complete their family home (windows instead of just curtains, tiles on the floor, walls patched and painted (hollow block house construction), real doors instead of plywood, gutters, a porch with a roof and some other improvements.

 

They send one child to a private school, the other one goes to public school. Cost is around 2000 each month. There are frequent hidden costs for both schools such as costumes for some one-day event, payment for a t-shirt for some activity etc.

 

Medical costs are paid out of pocket, but sometimes they can use Philhealth to offset these costs. The husband had surgery recently and had some of it covered by Philhealth.

 

They eat foods common to the area, chicken, pork, fish.

 

The kids have clean clothes and toys. They just recently bought a laptop for one child from money they had been saving for several years.

 

I think the problem in answering your query is that the reader, members of this forum, will make comparisons to the lifestyle they have become accustomed to. For example, when this family has no water for extended periods, they will have to bathe in a nearby creek. Not sure how many members would be willing to do that. The initial query wanted to eliminate "poor and uneducated" from the matrix. The couple I have described is not poor and both parents are college graduates.

 

Another sister and her husband, both college graduates, have one child, live in a rental for 600 a month, have only furniture they have been given, wash clothes by hand, bathe in the creek, dump their toilet waste out of buckets each day. They ARE poor.

 

I know lawyers, doctors, engineers and other professionals who live quite simply if being judged by western standards. Hard to say if they have a good life.

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Mandingo

Yea...but that guy owns a jeepney...Ive seen worst places in Cebu than where that guy lived.

Like Detroit, lol.

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Open_Ended

Let me be a little more specific. I'm not talking about the poor and uneducated living in some squatter's shack. I'm also not talking about the rich elite. I am talking about local Philippine professionals ( teachers, nurses, engineers etc.) that average about $300 a month. I've read several threads that tell me this. I've also read a bunch of cost of living threads with posts by expats that think I'll be living in poverty on less than $1,500 a month. So how are the successful locals able to have a good standard of living on what they make?

 

Don't take this the wrong way, but what are you after with this question? I truly do not understand what you are looking for?

 

I tried to read the responses, here, but the replies just reek with people who apparently think they know what life is about and look down their noses at life here ... As God as my witness, why are you here if you have nothing good to say about this place? Are you tied and chained up here and can't leave? What? Just bad character? Its like a recurring theme here.

 

Here's a clue for some : Donald trump looks down his nose at your life right now. 

Clue #2 -- Lots of people around the world buy food for 1 day .. The food tastes better when not frozen for a week ... When I was in GER a ~decade or so back, many in that society purchased food for 1 day.  Is that so bad? lol ...

 

My monthly payments are 4,000P for rent, 1000P for internet, 1000 ELEC, 200P for water ... Again, I do not live in the same Philippines as 99% of the posters here ...

 

Nothing is going here but life ...Same as across the globe ...

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Buko Beach

Don't forget that most Gov paid professionals (teachers, PNP, ect) get a 13th month salary at Christmas.

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Buko Beach

Don't take this the wrong way, but what are you after with this question? I truly do not understand what you are looking for?

 

I tried to read the responses, here, but the replies just reek with people who apparently think they know what life is about and look down their noses at life here ... As God as my witness, why are you here if you have nothing good to say about this place? Are you tied and chained up here and can't leave? What? Just bad character? Its like a recurring theme here.

 

Here's a clue for some : Donald trump looks down his nose at your life right now. 

Clue #2 -- Lots of people around the world buy food for 1 day .. The food tastes better when not frozen for a week ... When I was in GER a ~decade or so back, many in that society purchased food for 1 day.  Is that so bad? lol ...

Umm, I hate to break the news to you but Tomaw hasn't set foot in the Philippines in what, 8, 9, 10yrs?

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Open_Ended

Umm, I hate to break the news to you but Tomaw hasn't set foot in the Philippines in what, 8, 9, 10yrs?

 

thanks for the info ... Again, I'm clueless and baffled ...

 

--

The Philippines as a whole is a great place to be but you gotta go with the flow, accept things as they are, drop your cemented ideas on how things should be... And just let it all unfold in front of you ... Its really sort of fun and interesting to watch these guys live their daily lives ...

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Rocketman

Look for a video named, "toughest place to be a bus driver". Download and watch and you will see how many /most Filipinas live.

Good video!  I've been here for several years and at times we think all Filipinos are happy because they smile a lot and accept their poor lives.  Seeing the sadness and difficulty in this video when the man cries brings reality to the picture.

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OFWs are the people whose families live comfortably on the most part. My brother in law brings in 7000 usd per month as a chief officer on LNG tanker ships, they own several properties for rental, a pig farm and a large beautiful modern house in Talisay which I'm incredibly jealous of. They also know how to look after their money without being particularly generous to the less fortunate family members, so we just follow their lead.

OFWs bring in anything from 400usd to 10,000+ usd a month from all over the world which i'm sure pays for many of these large houses on new subdivisions. I can't see the average doctor or lawyer in the Philippines affording the same houses, unless they have several professional salaries coming in.

 

That being said, with the climate in the Philippines, its very easy to live comfortably without many of the luxuries. Build a single story house with a few bedrooms, kitchen and lounge, get around to the windows when you can afford them, it's no real hassle. I'd rather live in a basic house mortgage free, then a massive house and up to my ears in debt.

...... I think the last paragraph of what you wrote makes more sense than anything in this thread. a simple accommodation works well in the Philippines. Even the most expensive and luxurious hotel we stayed in (Shangri-La) had open walls and just a ceiling fan in the lobby area and restaurants.
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HeyMike

I think you would do just fine on $1500 a month. I have been here a little over 5 years now living on a lot less than $1500 a month.

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A_Simple_Man

 

I am talking about local Philippine professionals ( teachers, nurses, engineers etc.) that average about $300 a month

 

Its not what they do, its what they do not do.  They do not eat in restaurants that charge more than 50 pesos per person.  They do not go on vacations to other cities.  They do not pay high rents.  And the people you mention make closer to $500 a month as someone else mentioned.

 

So $1000 a month with husband and wife both working (thinking specifically of my neighbors).  House and lot purchased on the cheap from family members a long time ago (decent house for low income folks on a 400 sq meter lot). School kids coming by to clean and sweep daily (and stay overnight sometimes).  Payments on a nice new motorcycle.  And some food is the only other expense.  These guys do all right.  I need to get out more.  I need to pay rent.  I need a car AND a motorcycle for my comfort level.  I need to leave the country every 16 months for Visa reasons.  I need to travel to a bigger city every two months for visa renewal.  I don't have a wife bringing in $500 a month.  I have a young child to feed.  I struggle to get by on $2000 a month.  Need I say more?

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Don't take this the wrong way, but what are you after with this question? I truly do not understand what you are looking for?

 

I tried to read the responses, here, but the replies just reek with people who apparently think they know what life is about and look down their noses at life here ... As God as my witness, why are you here if you have nothing good to say about this place? Are you tied and chained up here and can't leave? What? Just bad character? Its like a recurring theme here.

 

Here's a clue for some : Donald trump looks down his nose at your life right now.

Clue #2 -- Lots of people around the world buy food for 1 day .. The food tastes better when not frozen for a week ... When I was in GER a ~decade or so back, many in that society purchased food for 1 day. Is that so bad? lol ...

 

My monthly payments are 4,000P for rent, 1000P for internet, 1000 ELEC, 200P for water ... Again, I do not live in the same Philippines as 99% of the posters here ...

 

Nothing is going here but life ...Same as across the globe ...

.. ........ I totally agree with what you're saying. I really do wonder why some of the members stay in the Philippines when they say they are so miserable all the time. I think the answer is not in what they have but who there with. I love being with my wife's family and friends even though they didn't have much. My wife likes to watch The Real Housewives shows which I personally cannot stand. I would rather live in a nipa hut with my wife's family and friends than in a mansion with those bitches! I think the attitudes of the people you're with can make all the difference in the world with how happy you are with where you're at.
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I first met my jobbing carpenter when he did major work to finish the house. Hes 66 and was working at a furniture factory for many years in Manila. He worked for 270 an hour. I upped his rate and he built me some very nice furniture. A BIG desk for the comp, coffee table, built in cupboards, drawers etc. Hes a 7 to 5 guy, six days a week. Young ones come late, go early. He goes fishing at night when theres no work. I have the utmost respect for him and labor for him if my job needs a labourer. Just because he never had the same educational opportunities as I did doesnt make me think any less if him. A few things piss me off here. A lot dont take any pride in themselves let alone equally respect others. We are all humans and humanism seems to be lacking. Never will I figure out, "You have more money than me, you should give me some". Im not father christmas. We should complain. Why? After years of living in Asia I found out that if you dont, it wont get any better. I complain because I like it here and I want things to improve for me and everybody else.

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bargeman

Don't forget that most Gov paid professionals (teachers, PNP, ect) get a 13th month salary at Christmas.

Of which most 'borrow' about mid year, less interest, repay when they get their 13 month salary.

Its all about rotating credit here.

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JasonEcos

Let me be a little more specific. I'm not talking about the poor and uneducated living in some squatter's shack. I'm also not talking about the rich elite. I am talking about local Philippine professionals ( teachers, nurses, engineers etc.) that average about $300 a month. I've read several threads that tell me this. I've also read a bunch of cost of living threads with posts by expats that think I'll be living in poverty on less than $1,500 a month. So how are the successful locals able to have a good standard of living on what they make?

 

As others mentioned, live somewhat frugally and live together with others. $300 isn't much but if you live with 3 other people making the same then its not bad income. Throw in the fact they often own their property, property tax is low, they prefer rice as their main staple, aren't addicted to foreign/imported foods, no visa renewals, etc they can often live to the same (or even better) standard as a foreigner here with low income.

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