Cebu Budget Breakdown

I usually spend a little under $1,000 a month when living in Cebu. I could probably get it a bit cheaper if I wanted to move further away from the center of the city. But since I spend the vast majority of my time when out in places like Ayala, IT Park, and SM I will pay a bit more to be close to them.


Cebu is like the rest of the Philippines in that you get bad value for your apartments. It is just something that you have to deal with there. It’s not that big of a deal because everything else is so cheap that you can live a good life for a very nice price.

If you want to live in any reasonably nice place in the city you should expect to pay at least $450 a month. You can find a decent furnished place in that price range that will also be in a good enough location.

AirBnB can be useful to test out condos and find out if it’s worth moving in longterm.

Getting Around

This is what makes Cebu one of my favorite places in Asia. It is a huge city with a lot of people, yet the traffic really isn’t that bad. The jeepney routes are very easy to learn and you can get from one side of the city to the other for pennies.

Find a place near a popular jeepney route and your visitors will be fine with taking jeeps to come visit you instead of taxis. This cuts down on costs a lot as well if you have frequent visitors. Even if you pay their taxi home it will likely be less than $4.

There are motodops at all major public locations so if you are in a hurry you can get a ride for $1 or $2. Also if you pay a little more like me you can put yourself in a nice central location and be a 20 minute walk away from many places that you will frequent. When in Cebu I never take a taxi if I am traveling somewhere alone and spend under $20 a month on transportation.

Cebu Food

cebu-food-budget-cost-of-livingThere are pros and cons to the food in Cebu. The main pro is that most of the restaurants top out at $5ish for their most expensive meals so you can eat very cheaply. Like most places my food budget is under $250 when living in Cebu.

There are also a lot of $3ish a meal places that can help you keep your budget down. And cooking at home is always a nice cheap option and there are very good supermarkets all over the city.

The cons are that there just aren’t that many good restaurants and my rotation of meals is quite small there. Not only that but many of the best meals in Cebu are sort of doubled up.

What I mean by that is 2 of my favorite meals in Cebu are the Malayaan Chicken Curry from Banana Leaf at Ayala and Chicken Curry and Vegetables at Persian Pallate at Ayala.

They aren’t exactly the same but very similar. I know of three white sauce pastas that I really like there, but again they’re similar. So I may have 14 meals in my rotation in Cebu but half of them are the same. For a city this big I would expect better options.


With a million Filipina women around and not very many young foreigners living here you really have no reason to be going to girly bars. Even getting semi pros from the discos at Mango Square isn’t really necessary, as online dating is so big.

And in a city where a meal costs $5 or less and visitors are fine with riding jeeps to your place your ‘dates’ from FilipinoCupid and PinaLove don’t add much to your budget at all.


This is one of the downfalls of Cebu and if you’re a digital nomad you will probably need to get your own PLDT line put in to work online.

At $30 a month it really isn’t that big of a cost to your budget, but you have to sign a 1 year contract (though not give a deposit.)

Overall Breakdown

All in all I spend about $500 on my apartment + utilities + internet when living in Cebu. Another $250ish on food and $20ish on transportation. Maybe $30 on random stuff like cell phone load, health, shoes, soap or whatever. Then add another $100-$150 on ‘entertainment’ and you get the $950ish a month I usually spend when in Cebu.

If it’s your first time living in the Philippines you should budget for a bit higher living cost until you get settled in. You will be quite green and naive about things and get overcharged often.  Even if you know to bargain and negotiate costs you will still end up overpaying for many things.

You will probably also feel like you are on a vacation even though it may be a full on move.  This will have you splurging on things, and believe me temptations will be all around you.  I have very good self discipline, it takes that to live here for $1000 a month, but in my first weeks here I spent way to much on ‘entertainment’  That said I wouldn’t take it back :).

I should also point out that I am super cheap and pinch pennies at every cost.  It is hard work to spend as little as I spend.  If you want to live that cheaply you will have to make some sacrifices and not splurge on things you don’t need.

36 Responses

  1. Brockstar says:

    I’ve been wanting to go to Cebu. It’s kind of like Snookyville, in that I always plan to go, but I never do. Everyone I’ve talked to about Cebu has said the same thing in that its quite nice, but its way more spread out. All that being said, I still do plan on going one of these days….

  2. kick2dante says:

    it’s really not that big at all, check it out in google maps and you can see that the city is quite small

  3. Mobile 4g seems fine at a nearest developed island (Bantayan) than the city, the problem about it is they couldn’t fix the data congestion. 🙁

    And its way more cheaper to live there but downside about it is you have to ride a ferry+bus just to get to the city 😂 and Im sure there are girls too, seen a lot of beach bummers and locals.

  4. kick2dante says:

    have any 3sums yet?

  5. Nada. Lol getover with that crazy idea. 😂

  6. kick2dante says:

    oh so you are waiting for me to come back to manila until you try one again… sounds like a good plan

  7. Joe says:

    Re:Cebu lifestyle
    How far away is a good beach from Cebu?

    Do they have apartments with swimming pools, nice Marriot in US style comfy beds, maids, etc.?

    Call me spoiled but I need a good 3 star or better American hotel style Queen sized bed to sleep in? Do they sell beds like that or have them in decent apartments?

    What do maids charge to clean/do laundry/etc?

    If a foreigner (i.e. American) fell over on the sidewalk downtown Cebu with a major medical issue (burst appendix, burst gallbladder, heart attack, stroke, etc) would a Filipino hospital admit them or are they screwed?

    What are the cost of common prescription drugs (xanax-for relaxing, Cialis-for getting rock hard, testosterone replacement therapy, etc.) over there?

  8. kick2dante says:

    you may want to check out bohol, it is a few hours away by boat (take the fast ferry)

    i know a guy who lived there and said it was quite nice

    yes there are big beds here, how big or comfy they are will vary

    hiring a maid won’t be hard and that will be very cheap, some places have maids provided, others you may have to do a bit of searching

    laundry shops all over the place, very cheap, $2 for 3 kilos

    if you want to pay for travel insurance then you will have no problems at the hospital, if you dont have travel insurance then you may have to pay up front

    phils health insurance would work too, and you can get some extremely cheap (like $5 a month, won’t cover much, but it will get them admitting and operating)

    there are generic drug stores all over with very cheap drugs, the name brand drugs will cost a bit more, sorry i dont know exact prices

  9. kick2dante says:

    For Cebu, I’d sign up to AirBnb. $25 off link here –

    And then once you’re signed up and logged in, this link will show you all the Cebu properties, filtered for a slightly higher price, as you can see there are quite a few decent listings with swimming pool, large bed, modern furniture, etc.–Philippines?room_types%5B%5D=Entire+home%2Fapt&price_min=1114&ss_id=74t3u3dc&s_tag=BrKC2t0w

  10. LonelyBox says:

    Only $100-$150 on entertainement?

  11. kick2dante says:

    ya i dont really do anything lol

    in cebu i dont even wh0re much, and the dates are generally quite cheap

  12. Joe says:

    Hey Dante,
    Have you ever filmed and uploaded day game (college campuses, malls, or anything else) in the Phils?

    Is it cool to try to meet regular nonpro girls at night on the street in Cebu or are they hesitant?

    What areas would you say of Cebu will have the most foot traffic to try to meet ladies on the street both day and night? Does the foot traffic differ day and night?

    Where did you have better night and day game luck in approaching previously unknown girls in Cebu (clubs, bars, malls, sidewalks, etc.)?

    I’m glad I found this cool blog. Thanks.

  13. kick2dante says:

    i have not filmed that, i go in and out so quick that there really wouldnt be much to see

    the street is always a shaky place, girls are more defensive and aware of ‘strangers’ on the street, malls, stores, restaurants, basically anywhere indoors they feel much safer, you can pull off approaches on the street but if the girl looks scared or isnt welcoming back off quick

    i suck at clubs but if you have club game you will do great there

  14. Joe says:

    Yeah, I think footage of a bunch girls in the middle of the day at a big college campus would really show your audience the potential that’s out there.

  15. kick2dante says:

    at least from what i have seen college campuses aren’t the same here as what you are expecting

    they seem more like a high school located in a crowded area of the city, and there is a big gate at the front and a guard, can’t exactly walk in there and make a video of some girls lol

    in cebu you can hang out around colon and there are always lots of college students there, but one thing you have to remember is that college students can be as young as 16 here, and pinays ages are so hard to judge it gets tricky

    i used to live by a college and i approached much fewer girls then i would have liked too, i didnt want to be ‘that guy’ who is hanging around the college campus hitting on 16 or 17 year olds right by my home

  16. Joe says:

    LOL- yeah man those Asian chicks at 18 or 19 do look 15-so I don’t blame you for avoiding that jail bait scene.

    Are the guards at the gate in the Phils real gestappo Jack boot pricks at the colleges or pretty cool?

    The Filipino dudes I’ve met I thought were gay or like happy teddy bears on crack. The smile, jump around happy, make big motions with their hands when they talk, and stand close enough to almost kiss you when they talk (it was weird) but they seemed like good dudes. I imagine if the general people are cool like that then the popos there couldn’t be too bad.

    On college campus day game-
    I’m a Roosh V fan and read him regularly- Roosh V said they have guards just like you described for the Phils in Colombia and some EE countries but that didn’t stop him from both going into the library, hanging out at the student union, and doing street game. He always carried local
    language books. I’ve had campus security called on me in America for day approaching. The school I was at was lame, the girls were mainly lame and 7s at best on average, it just was so stupid-pay a compliment and get campus security-sick ass American chicks. Roosh said he just had to be cool, and only approach chicks with basic questions then if they showed some interest do more from there. When you’re the older dude on a college campus you gotta be real cool-I always ask research questions or directions to everybody then if I see a girl who’s showing good signs I go indirect. It’s fun. What’s amazing is sometimes really hot young girls
    will start checking you out once you zone out reading a book near a major pedestrian outlet on campus. I know when I was in college I thought people in their late 20s were cooler than most if not all of us but, yeah dealing with bitchs is always full of twists and turns (probably their inherent nature at work in the Universe).

    Ps-I was LOL over the weed in the other guys hotel room and the rolled up paper towel by the waste basket at the gym. Cambodia sounds full of contradictions. The chicks scamming tourists to buy food for the babies they carry around sounds really screwed up. Anywhere Communism is or was or is going to is shabby.

  17. kick2dante says:

    at the colleges there is a big gate with a small door to walk through and a guard sitting right there

    could you walk through and get in? i guess….. but you are going to be sticking out like a sore thumb the entire time you are inside

    so many other places to meet girls in phils don’t think that is a necessary thing

  18. abcdef says:

    For anyone reading dantes advice,tips,budget breakdown,all of it i just want you to know if your thinking about visiting cebu…DO IT…I spent several months there last year and will be returning soon and probably staying indefinetly.This blog and all the good info helped give me the courage to come.Im a middle aged guy,wouldnt consider myself a monger,but will say it would be hard to stay single in cebu for more then an hour cuz you really are a rockstar here(even old guys!)…It really is a life changing experience…You probably wont be able to stick to his budget,but hes spot on for prices,lodging,ect,,,But try to dress halfway decent(polo shirt,no holes)…its great as is(women)but why not add any edge possible is my motto…and his number thing(hand off,leave)isnt as goofy as it sounds.Mostly cuz the local women will recieve a lot of gossip(the worst place for this ive ever seen)for talking to u and the number thing gives her an out without being embarrassed and she can text you when alone……Pay attention,this guy knows what hes talking about!!

    • Joe says:

      Yeah man Dante has been cool to Us on here man and gives legit data on logistics etc. I know I owe him a beer when I get over there for sure.

      Hey Bd10370-
      If you don’t mind expounding on some
      Of your points.

      How rockstar do these chicks treat guys?

      When you say older does that mean late 40s, balding, obese, etc can date normal cute looking girls?

      Do you ever worry about every dude in the West learning about the Phils and packing up and leaving the feminazi cunt women behind (thus flooding the Phils and making it suck for meeting girls like the West)?

      And Guys tell me am I unreasonable-

      The women in the Wes are just like Roosh V says- feminist, deceptive, obese, cock carousel riders, passive aggressive snitches who call the man on you if they get mad, arrogant, materialistic aka basically vile human beings- does that match your experience as well?

  19. kick2dante says:

    hey you made me blush 🙂

  20. Frank says:

    How would I do on 2k a month in Cebu? Plan to live with a filipina gf so no bar girl entertainment expenses.

  21. kick2dante says:

    i would have trouble spending that much to be honest

    for that you could get a nice apartment in IT park for $800 (could get cheaper in IT park, but with that budget might as well get a good sized 1 bedroom at a nice building)

    average good meal price there is $5, very few restos that cost more then that, even in IT park most are less

    taxis are cheap, thats almost 2.5x what i normally spend so i dont think you would have any problems at all

  22. Firefighter in Cebu says:

    Hey bd103170,

    From 1 middle age man to another, can u shoot me an email please? I took my 1st trip to Cebu last year and would like to compare notes and ask you a question or two if possible.

    Thanks, (at ya hoo)

  23. Mike says:

    Great stuff! Glad I came across this website. How good is mobile phone hotspot if you buy a sim card and use your phone in Cebu? I’m planning on going for about one month and will be staying at a hotel and MUST have internet for work 8-10hrs a day and need it throughout my work period. If the hotel wifi sucks is mobile phone a good option?

  24. NormalNomad says:

    Could someone give me an idea of the average cost of utilities for a condo unit in Cebu City?

    I’m about to sign a 1 year lease at Avida Towers and I’m trying to budget how much I’ll be spending every month. Thanks!

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