Cost of Living Update, Calbayog City, Philippines


Tricycle waiting for a passenger!

Tricycle Rides!?!?!

A friend and fellow blogger just published a post indicating that the going rate for a tricycle ride in the Angeles City area is now P100, or roughly the equivalent of about $2.15USD. Angeles is the metropolitan area adjacent to formerly U.S. occupied Clark Air Force Base. The main reason for these relative exorbitant prices? Possibly because Angeles City has remained to this day, and has gained an international reputation for, “thee” place to go for girls and nightlife in the Philippines. With numerous bars, nightclubs, hotels, plenty of girls and never-ending supply of cold beer (and all the frills an adult male can handle!), travelers from Europe, Australia, Japan, Canada, the U.S. and other western nations flock to Angeles City for…well, R & R!  Back in the days when the U.S. occupied several base leaseholds here, and while the dollar was much stronger against the Philippine Peso, the local economies then were basically driven by consumption and scaled upon the cumulative of U.S. Service member’s disposable income. And that typically kept things at a bargain level for most military visitors. When the limited dollars would flow freely, and when every entrepreneur wanted some of it, low price was king on almost everything!

Fresh Butchered Chicken

Fresh Butchered Chicken

Since that time, other factors such as a reduced demand combined with    greater individual disposable income has become the driving factor (along with some politically motivated cash needs) that may determine today’s cost of “products & services” and the cost of living in this area. Outside of Angeles City however (and for the most part Manila), elsewhere in the Philippines, it is poverty driven as usual and the cost of living remains comparably lower. Take that same aforementioned P100 tricycle ride – In Calbayog City where we live, it is only P10 per person to basically anywhere in town. The more manual mode of transportation, the “pedjak” (or pedi-cab) is only P5. It is readily apparent that when a local economy anywhere experiences a greater influx of outsider money, inflation-on-demand (and possibly some collusion and price-fixing) sets in. Here in Calbayog City we still enjoy a lower cost of living with most things with the exception of imported goods, which is basically no different anywhere across the Philippine archipelago.

Why We Retired in Samar!

Many readers of my blog and other Philippine blogs constantly ask the question “How much does it take to live in the Philippines?” This is a question that is as varied as the belief in Ancien Aliens. In real estate, the old saying goes “Location, Location, Location!”   Here, the question of cost of living can be answered similarly….”Lifestyle, Location, Lifestyle!” We chose to retire in Samar for two reasons…family and a lower cost of living. If you need an air-conditioned house, with all the luxuries like microwave oven and hot showers, etc., you can still expect to shell out some pesos, but if you choose to live under more native conditions with few amenities like aircon in the bedroom for sleeping, no hot water, no Mexican buffets or cheeseburgers, rice three times a day, and total reliance on public transportation, you can live comfortably on much less. Below are some extrapolated examples of some everyday costs for common items and services in Calbayog City.

Propane tank

20 lb tank of propane

Average Monthly

Nice clean 2BR apartment – P8,000  ($172)
Cable TV –                             P347  ($7.46)
Internet Subscription             P999  ($21.48)Propane (20lb) for cooking    P720  ($15.48)

Basic Food Costs
Rice (avg quality) p/kilo        P46     ($0.99)
Fresh cut pork  (p/kilo)          P200   ($4.30)
Fresh chicken   (p/kilo)          P160   ($3.44)
Fresh caught Tuna (p/kilo)    P160   ($3.44)
Potatoes (p/kilo)                    P80     ($1.72)
Flat of eggs (30 eggs)           P180   ($3.87)
(…or $1.55 p/doz.)
Bottled water (5 gal)              P30     ($0.64)
  (chilled individual size)        P10     ($0.22)
12 oz beer (sari-sari store)    P27     ($0.58)
              (bar or restaurant)   P35     ($0.75)
Fifth of Brandy (Emperador)  P85     ($1.82)
Cheeseburger combo meal
                      (Jolibbee’s)      P160   ($3.44)

Emperador Brandy

The drink of Choice…the drink of Necessity!

Misc Costs
Resort Entrance Fee –
   – all day pool & beach        P50     ($1.07)
   – beach cottage rental         P350   ($7.52)
Average Hotel –
      – Room cost w/aircon     P1,200 ($25.80)
Average restaurant meals –
           – Breakfast w/coffee    P280   ($6.02)  
           – Large lunch w/drinks P400   ($8.60)
           –  Dinner w/2 beers     P600   ($12.90)  
Full body Massage (1 hr.)       P350   ($7.52)
Men’s hair cut                         P40     ($0.86)
Women hair cut                      P100   ($2.15)
Labor costs p/day
                     – Skilled             P400
                     – Unskilled         P250-300

(Amounts in $$ are based on this date’s exchange rate of P46.50/$1USD.)
(one kilo = 2.2 lbs)
(The cost of a bottle of Emperador Light is correct…P85, and is not a typo! This should be taken into consideration when trying to understand the drinking problem here in the Philippines.)

If I missed a product or item you would like to have more information about, leave a comment or send me a message and I will get back to you with more details. I hope this is helpful.