Three Most Expat-Friendly Places in the Philippines

Cebu IT Park property

In 2018, the Philippines made it to the Global Retirement Index or GRI (rated by International Living). There has been an influx of ex-pats choosing to live in the country in the past decades. According to the GRI, the country scored high on the cost of living, entertainment, amenities, and fitting in. Not to mention that there’s a variety of sceneries that everyone can enjoy.

The low cost of  properties in the Philippines is also an attractive deal for most ex-pats who are looking for their second home. As an ex-pat, there are also several location options to choose from. Whether you want to live in a bustling city or a more relaxed province life, you can find great places and cheap properties to choose from. Here are some of the best cities to live in the Philippines as an ex-pat right now.

1. Makati City

Makati City is considered as the business center of Metro Manila, and sometimes, of the whole country. You can get all the facilities, amenities, entertainment, and government services you need all in one spot. However, expect the traffic to be unpleasant most of the time. It’s also quite crowded at peak hours, especially in public places. Ex-pats, who stay in the city, recommend getting a property on gated communities for more security.

Makati City


  • Important facilities in proximity
  • There’s always a way to get entertainment
  • Easy to settle down


  • Heavy traffic
  • Expensive houses and electricity in some places

2. Cebu City

Cebu City is also one of the Philippines’ biggest cities, but it has a more laidback environment. The rents and utility expenses are cheaper compared to Manila or Makati. Not to mention that this city is surrounded by nature and has some lovely beaches that you can enjoy during your free time. One drawback of living in Cebu City is that some western products such as fishing gears are not readily available in the local stores.

cebu property


  • Cheaper cost of living compared to Makati
  • Government services are accessible
  • More relaxed environment


  • Congestion, traffic, and pollution
  • Some items are not available.
  • You might have to walk a lot.

3. Baguio City

Baguio is a city sitting in the mountain, making the temperature cooler than other cities. There are a lot of establishments and convenient stores, as well as the feel of nature everywhere you go. One drawback here is that it can be crowded during the summertime. Once you’re inside Baguio’s premise, you can’t leave to visit other places without going down the mountain. This can be a problem or not, depending on your travel lifestyle and preferences. Traveling can be hard, as the road is always under repair because of landslides.

Baguio City


  • Nice and comfortable weather
  • Has golf courses and other leisure facilities
  • Navigating the city is quite easy via jeeps


  • It can get busy and congested on peak seasons
  • It rains a lot the whole year
  • The descent from the mountain can be quite hard