Cost Of Living In Malabon, Manila (2008)

It is not only a falling US dollar but also a falling UK pound. We used to get 100 pesos now we get 80.

Incredible maybe but the Philippines is still excellent value and will continue to be so even if we have a pound worth 40 pesos and a dollar worth 20.

Why am I so optimistic?

Well we rent a house in Malabon, a handy place for Manila by train and handy for the boats to the other islands, cost is 5, 500 php with electricity. So it is currently costing us under 70 UK pounds a month plus our fish and rice. In the UK this would be more like 700 pounds, and the rest. Also at this price level in London it would be quite dangerous to live there not a nice seaside resort like Malabon.

The UK weather is so grim, people too a bit grim, with good reasons maybe. So the Philippines really is an island paradise on earth, believe me! As for coping with the rise of the peso, we develop our business in the Philippines and we will then change the pesos into pounds and win!

Or, maybe, just maybe we will change them into Rupiah, Ringgits, Singapore dollars or Baht and be happy traveling in Asia and so life is good! We wish to serve the community in the Philippines and the one thing that we can do as expats is refuse absolutely to fly on planes as we should, IMHO, support local people and local transport meaning, Boat, Bus, Jeepney, Train and Bike. By living a more humble life, no aircon, no meat, just a modest house, rice and fish we will become more welcome and more integrated in our beloved Philippine islands.

What about the return ticket and immigration I hear you ask? Well, here we really can help, a lot. Travelers from the Philippines need really need a lot, a reliable passenger ferry boat to Hong Kong. This will enable anyone to travel abroad for a small fare and no airport tax. Visitors will be able to disembark at Manila pier 14 with an open ticket or a ticket valid in 20 days then they can extend it or just sail to Hong Kong for a daytrip as we in the UK sail to France.

How much will it cost? Well there are different prices depending on your length of stay and availability of seats and cabins. £20 which is now 1600 pesos will buy you a day return ticket from Portsmouth to St. Malo (a 12 hour trip) all taxes included. So from Manila to Hong Kong would be around 2000 pesos for a day return shopper trip (one day in Hong Kong and two nights on board). Of course the shipping company will earn more from optional cabins (£40 each way for 4 people) and optional drinks and luxury food in the restaurants. In fact this type of service will be more and more available as all Filipinos become better off and more able to travel. Just as we have now the tiger airways so we will soon have the Philippine International Ferry boats. Ask your travel agents please, demand this service, bring affordable travel to all in the Philippines. Live a happy and humble life on our devalued currencies; it is still most excellent value!