Cost Of Living In Manila South (2011)

Housing

While some of the cost of living is similar to the rest of Philippines certain things are more expensive especially housing. Much of the cost depends on the sub division and size of the house. Ayala Alabang, being the most sought after and expensive followed by Alabang Hills, BF Homes is more modest, but still offers good quality housing. Prices do fluctuate depending on market forces, and anybody buying or renting should spend some time to look around, and ignore the advertised price.

Lots are generally 250-350 sq meters, and house are normally built on one to three lots. Rental for a three bedroom house on a single lot in BF ranges from P20, 000 a month upwards. In Ayala Alabang expect to pay P30, 000 for a townhouse (terraced). For a good size house (350 sq meters floor area and above) on two lots with a garden would cost P30, 000 upwards in BF and P50, 000 upwards in Ayala Alabang. These houses may also include a swimming pool. You can also find much larger mansion style houses in these areas with rental prices to match.

Buying a house is very much dependent on land price and whether you buy a lot and build a house or whether you buy an already built house, either new or secondhand. The land price varies from P7, 000 plus per sq meter in BF up to P19, 000 per sq meter on the best plots in Ayala.

To get an idea how much a house would cost calculate the land price and add the house price, which is slightly more expensive than other parts of the Philippines, owing to a higher labor cost. While houses are advertised in BF from about P2, 000,000 upwards these would be in need of refurbishment. Expect to pay at least P5, 000,000 for a new 3/4 bedroom 250 square meters house on a single lot in BF. Given the present economic situation, many houses are for sale, and with hard bargaining a house can be bought at a great discount to the offer price. You should be able to get a secondhand house for a little above the land price, depending on how desperate the owner is to sell. In Alabang Hills a decent house would cost from P10, 000,000 upwards and more in Ayala Alabang. For those who have a higher budget, there are some very large, high quality houses in these areas, some in excess of US$1,000,000. Living in a sub division you would need to pay association fees, which are P250-500 per month. If you own the house, there would also be property tax to be paid annually. This is based on an assessed value, but should not be more than P5000 a year for an averaged size house, and is paid for per lot and property.

Transportation:

Toyota, Nissan, Isuzu, Honda and Ford have dealerships close to Alabang Town Centre, with Mitsubishi, a short ride away. A new locally assembled car or utility vehicle can be bought for less than P1, 000,000. For a luxury car, there are dealers selling Mercedes, BMW, Volvo, Audi, Lexus, Jaguar, Porsche, etc. at much higher prices. For a well-maintained two year old secondhand car expect to pay 35-40% less than the new price. Licensing fee, plus emission test and mandatory third party insurance, cost P3000 pesos a year. Comprehensive plus top up 3rd party insurance, with a good insurance company would be P15-25,000 a year. This is of course dependent on the car. Unleaded petrol is 20.40 pesos a liter. Tolls on the highway vary depending on distance and whether using the highway in Manila. Tolls though are minimal from P1-45. To use the skyway into Makati cost P55 in addition to the toll fee. Parking in Alabang is free everywhere except for the town centre, which is P10 (no time limit). Car maintenance, such as oil change, etc. at a main dealer is about P3500 including parts depending on what needs to be done.

Public transport consists of taxis, FX shared taxis, jeepneys and tricycles within the sub-division, a metered taxi is the same price as the rest of Manila and cost approximately P200 to Makati, P120 to the airport. If using the highway tolls are additional. If calling a taxi to your house, the taxi fare is fixed P300 to anywhere in Makati, Pasay, Manila (city) plus any tolls. The FX a shared multicab with specific routes, cost P38 to go to Makati. Jeepneys are P4 a ride, but public jeepneys do not go into sub divisions. BF Homes has its own private jeepney within the main roads of the sub division where fares are P4. Tricycles within the subdivision cost P20.

Utilities/Maintenance:

MERALCO provide the electricity which costs P6.8 per kwh. Having a large house with much electrical equipment such as three TVS, two Fridges, freezer, heavy-duty washing machine, microwave, hi-fi system, fans, in every room, etc. expect a monthly bill of approximately P4000 with limited aircon use. This will increase the more aircon that is used.

LPG for a cook costs approximately P400 a month.

Water is very dependent on how it is delivered, sub divisions such as Ayala Alabang has water delivered through the mains. However, BF Homes the mains water is unreliable, where most people have a deep well. If no deep well is available, water is bought and delivered at P150 for 500 gallons.

The land-line telephone is through PLDT. A line cost P740 pesos a month to rent. This includes free calls to any land-line number in Metro Manila. Calls to other parts of the Philippines (NDD) are P5 a minute and international calls (IDD) 40 US cents a minute. DSL is also available through PLDT at P2500 per month. Mobile phone usage is the same price as the rest of the country.

Expect to pay P250 - 400 a day for any maintenance work to be done on the house. The price varies depending on skill of person and whether electrician, plumber, painter, etc. If the house has a swimming pool it would need regular cleaning and will cost about P2500 per month. A garden will also require normal maintenance.

House and contents insurance with an International insurance company is 0.275% for building; 0.325% for contents plus taxes.

Domestic Help:

It is normal to have at least some domestic help who also reside with you in separate quarters. Average salaries per month are as follows: maid P3000; yaya (nanny) P4500; driver P7000; cook P4500; a boy for gardening, maintenance, etc. P4000. In addition to the salary you are expected to provide all food and sundry items. These are average as a new employee may start on less for a while until they prove themselves and good employees may be given more as an incentive to stay with you.

Many houses have dogs for security. A native dog can be obtained for free, a pedigree such as a German Shepherd from a top breeder would cost P15-25000 to buy. Expect to pay P2000 pesos for a large dog for food, vet fees, etc. per month.

Groceries:

At Alabang Town Center and Festival Mall there are a number of US Style supermarkets and specialty food and drink shops. There is very little you cannot buy in these shops and a lot of imported goods are available mainly from U.S. and Australia. Regarding prices this can be divided between what is produced locally and what is imported, the former being much cheaper. Example of prices taken mainly from Price Smart (per Kilo unless stated):

ITEMS

PRICES

 

 

PHP

 DOLLARS

whole chicken

75

$1.36

chicken legs

85

$1.55

large tilapia

80

$1.45

large bangus fish

95

$1.72

parrot fish

90

$1.64

lean ground pork

144

$2.62

pork shoulder

103

$1.87

forest ham

330

$6

rib eye beef

245

$4.45

cucumber

27

$.49

carrots

59

$1.07

red pepper

56

$1.01

baguio bean

16.75

$.30

kangkong

12.50

$.23

calamansi

20

$.36

red onion

38

$.69

ginger

27

$.49

squash

27

$.49

romaine lettuce

88

$1.6

large potatoes

33

$0.6

rice

20-25

$.36 - 45

tomatoes

30

$.55

batangas coffee

260

$4.73

large pineapple

34.50

$.63

large eggs

3.50

$.06

zonrox bleach

70(1 gallon)

$1.3

Tide

122 (800 gms.)

$2.22

corn oil

310(gallon)

$5.64

white flour

45

$.82

non-fat milk

40( 1 liter)

$.73

pineapple juice

38 (1.36 liter)

$.69

grapefruit juice

50(1 liter)

$.90

coca cola

27(1.5 liter)

$.49

vintage cheddar cheese

135 (250 gms)

$2.4

Buying at a wet market is normally cheaper, but not always and sometimes the quality is not so good. Drinking water, which is delivered cost P40 pesos for five gallons.

Alcoholic drinks are very cheap a bottle of san miguel beer P13; Tanduay rhum P46; tequila P113; a liter of Gilbeys gin P115. The imported branded drinks are also priced reasonably, a bottle of Remy Martin VSOP P1, 200: Johnnie Walker Black Label P850. Many wines are available from cheap Spanish wines at just over a P100 a bottle to expensive, e.g. French wines. For about P500 a bottle you can buy a reasonable Australian wine. I have not been in any other country, but the Philippines. I am not sure how this compares.

It is difficult to estimate a monthly grocery bill as it is very much dependent on family size, the food being bought and in particular how much imported food is being bought. A family of two eating a mixture of local and imported food plus buying food for domestic staff, a good estimate would be P20-30,000 a month.

Leisure:

Prices for a private club vary significantly, while some will cost over P1, 000,000 just for the joining membership and monthly fees of P4000, there are others which cost P5000 to join with monthly fees of P100. Expect to pay about P3000 for a round of golf with caddy, cart, etc. Tennis can be played for P40a court for an hour, P40 for the ball boy and P100 for a hitter. Entrance to swimming pools P50-100.

Cinemas at the Alabang Town Centre cost P80-100 per person. Cable TV with Sky Cable is P1983 for three months.

Restaurants vary from fast food, such as MacDonald's, Burger King, Jollibee, KFC, Pizza Hut, Chow King, Hen Lin, etc. to fine dining. Some fast food prices are Big Mac Meal P85; Whopper Meal P95; KFC P70-100. A decent meal in a good restaurant is about P500 without drinks, go to a five-star hotel and it will cost more. In between local buffet style meals cost P200-300. At restaurants, bars, etc, a san miguel beer will cost between P25-75, a coke P20 -5, also available are coffee shops where a cappuccino at Starbucks is approximately P75.

Medical:

The Asian Hospital and Medical Center, the countries best is at Alabang. A visit a local doctor is P300, a specialist at the Asian Hospital P500 - 700, a full chemistry blood test P2660 and a treadmill P1868. Drugs are expensive and probably cost more than buying in the US. A top quality dentist cost P1200 to check up and cleaning, P1300 for a cavity.

Summary:

People have different lifestyles so it is not possible to say how much per month its cost to live. Excluded from above are start up items such as furniture, etc. plus other items such as clothing, vacation. The major factor on how much you spend per month is housing. If you own your own house and, therefore, not paying rent, you can live very comfortably with a high standard of living for about P100, 000 per month. While this is expensive to living in other parts of the Philippines, the standard of living is very high with modern infrastructure and facilities. This is very reasonable compared to a similar standard of living with a large house, domestic servants, driver, etc. in not only a suburb of a major city in the West, but also compared to other cities in Asia.