Pros & Cons of Living in Manila

Before I moved to Asia I was dead set on living in Manila. Since arriving, I haven’t spent more than 10 days straight in the city.

living in manila

There are certain nice things about it and if I had more money then maybe I would give it more of a shot.  But when I am there I feel like I am spending more money to have less free time.

Pros of Living in Manila

The capital city of any country will always have lots of advantages.  Not only is Manila the capital but it is also by far the biggest city in the country.  That means there is more to do there and it does have a lot to offer in that regard.  There is more of everything whether it be restaurants, bars, people, and sexy Pinays.

Not only is there more but there is also better.  In Manila you will find the nicest restaurants, the nicest bars, and the hottest Filipina girls.  That is a pretty big selling point. If you are the type of person that likes the best of the best then Manila is the right place for you.

You really can meet a limitless amount of Pinays in Manila.  There are 20+ million people living there.  With that many people around you really will be seeing new faces all the time and will have many opportunities to meet new people.

There will never be a lack of things to do in Manila.  You should always be able to find some way to entertain yourself and have a good time.  You won’t lack for company and you should enjoy your time there immensely.

Cons of Living in Manila

All of the above sounds great I am sure.  The problem is that it comes with two major costs, and they are big ones.  First off is the financial cost.  Everything in Manila is more expensive.

I have never talked to a westerner that is paying less than $500/month for an apartment in Manila.  If you want to have a decent apartment in a nice area expect to pay at least that much.

If you are living in the US that may not sound bad, but when you think that the average Filipino makes around $200 a month you see where my questioning of the ridiculous price of accommodation in this country comes from.  Granted it’s not only a Manila thing, it’s bad throughout Phils, but it’s worse in Manila.

Not only will your apartment cost you more but so will many other things.  They have the most expensive restaurants in the country by a wide margin.

Cebu is the 2nd biggest city and you can eat at almost any restaurant there for $5 a plate.  Living in Manila you’ll find lots of places that are $10-$15 a plate and some even higher.  You can still find your $5 a plate meals but it isn’t fun being priced out of any market.

When meeting Filipina girls you will have to pay their taxi to meet you and taxi fares in Manila are much more expensive then other places because it is bigger and there will be lots of time waiting in traffic.

Drone video of downtown Manila

In Cebu it’s quite easy to ask a girl to take a jeep because the jeepney routes in Cebu are easy to know.  Living in Manila you basically have no chance of asking them to take 4 different rides and explaining which ones to take and where to get off.

The next thing you lose is your time.  Going anywhere in Manila will take a really long time.  The only way I could ever live there long term is if I had an apartment on top of a mall, and of course that would be very expensive.

Not only is waiting in traffic bad but any errand you need to run will involve waiting in long lines.  Manila is the most densely populated city in the world and you really feel that.

The last real negative about living in Manila is that it is less safe than other cities in the Philippines.  There are lots of snatchers out that will jack your phone or your wallet.

This happens in other places but when you hear about it happening in Manila you often here the words “gun” or “knife” and that is very rare for other cities.  You probably would be fine living there, but it is a bit riskier.

Even if money weren’t a factor I doubt I would ever want to live there long term.  I guess staying in a baller apartment on top of Greenbelt 3 would have its perks, but then any time I would have to go outside of Makati I would wonder why I was living there instead of a more laid back place.

4 Responses

  1. John says:

    cant you get a scooter in manila if its expensive to take taxi? roughly how much is a taxi compared to bkk?
    500 usd for a centralized decent centralized apartment doesn’t sound too bad? Does it have a gym and a shared swimming pool too in that prize range? But what I would probably do is just get an apartment a bit outside of central since I would want to get a scooter, having a scooter is not just fun but has a lot of advantages too, easy to drive to any restaurant that you want, so what if you arent budgeted for every restaurant in manila.. just hop on the scooter and drive a few minutes to the ones you are budgeted for?

  2. kick2dante says:

    manila traffic is to crazy for me to ever consider driving a scooter in

    probably not gonna get a $500 a month apartment in makati with a gym and pool, at least not on month to month

  3. harley says:

    I got one for 690$ from airbnb which is not bad for 1 month

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