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.



18 thoughts on “Cost of Living Update, Calbayog City, Philippines

  1. great artical and point on. this is why we have chosen sorsogon city to build are retirement home. family & cost.
    when were back there I never have a problem with over charging. most places the prices are marked. and the people there actuly will help you out if needed.
    ” province living much more relaxed and a lot less hassle”
    hope to get over to visit you during are upcoming visit..

  2. We’ve been through Sorsogon on a couple occasions. Stopped for gas and spent the night there once. I forget the name of the hotel, but it was a combination gas station/hotel. I don’t think you will want for anything in that area. Good choice!

  3. Sorsogen City sucks big time . Calbayog is a much better choice. Some of the prices I would dispute though, hotel prices for instance. like the Sopia Dianne – which is a dump is more then twice what you say a better quality is 4 times more. Coca Cola is cheap, Rice is cheap fish is cheap. Unfortunately there is, like in most places in the Philips a lot of poverty but a decent place can be reanted for about P2,000 a month and not P8,000- Calbayog city is actually struggling to become modern and with some better admin it may actually become a great place to live – not now, but ONE day . You can actually buy the CHEAPEST electric guitar in Calbayog that you find ANYwhere in the Philippines. I do beleive that ex pats, like you, have a responsibility if you intend to live there permanently in input as to “how to do.”

  4. Hi Ian, thanks for your input. I’ve only travelled through Sorsogen a few times enroute to Manila and back so I don’t know much about the place (except it looks like any other same sized city in the Philippines!) Calbayog City is an up and coming city and in the three years we have been here, we have seen some major strides forward. Just last week Gaisano opened their Super Metro Hypermarket here and the Gaisano Grand Mall is currently under construction downtown and should open sometime next year. Robinson’s seems to be moving forward with thier plans also. The business climate here has been set for increased investment (tax abatements in place) for the next five years. I will question your comment though about finding a decent place to rent for P2,000 per month in Calbayog City – I guess that depends on your definition of “decent.” In my opinion, you will find nothing but roach and rat infested places for less than P4,000. You might find a shack in a squatter area for P2,000. A decent bording house for college kids runs about P1,000. Calbayognons sure seem to be proud of their rental units! I’m not sure what you mean by expats having “a responsibility….” to do what exactly?

  5. P2,000, P4,000……P10,000 for a decent rental? It’s going to be the same argument as “How much can I live on in the PI”? That discussion is always fun and really productive, hahaha.

  6. Like I said, it all depends on one’s definition of “decent.” Many times it is the difference between what somebody can afford or is willing to pay. Personally, we are used to western styled living and live that way here. If we had to pay rent on our place, it would be about P20,000+ per month, depending on location.

  7. Retired in Samar. I agree with you. I love Calbayog compared to the rest of the Philippines. I have spent years in Angeles city during the us military days. I have lived in Caloocan city manila. I have been going to Calbayog off and on for eleven years. I stay at Eduardo’s tourist hotel. It is a decent hotel. It cost the wife and I P1,200 per night. The room has two double beds, air conditioning, hot water showers, cable tv, refrigerator and kitchen table and chairs. We own a lot in Calbayog and property in barangay calabayog (SP?) We will be there again in Janaury 2017 for the fiestas.
    When I retire I will defiantly spend more time there and at Malajog beach with the rest of the family.
    Thanks for the info and your videos. Keep it up.

  8. Make sure you give us a shout out when you are here. Maybe we can meet up for a coffee, beer, or whatever! Thanks for visiting my site!

  9. Just a quick reply to thank you for dropping by the house. It’s always nice to have loyal subscribers drop by to say hi. Hope to see you again around Calbayog City!

  10. Hi I’m a Irish man moving to Calbayog soon with my beautiful wife and we have a plot of land just wondering a rough price on building a average two bed safe home. Looking forward to living there. Thank you kindly

  11. Your costs will vary based upon the construction methods, materials, and amenities you add to the home. Typically, you can spend around P20,000 per sq. meter for a solid home with all appliances. Of course you can spend more or less depending on your lifestyle choice.

  12. Thank you for your reply.
    I’m just a simple forklift driver and don’t have much money but found true love with my wife and going to change my live by moving to Calbayog. We won’t have an expencive life still but I do want to have a safe well built home for the both of us and hopefully a family. I am thinking I will have about 1,500,000 paso. I’m hoping that will be enough to start our life in the Philippines. My wife keeps saying yes it is but I worry because I just want a good home for her and hopefully my kids.

  13. The amount you plan to retire with could possibly build you a house and get you settled, but will not sustain you. Hopefully you will have a steady income once you are settled. Good luck and stay in touch!

  14. Yes I just want it to enough to get started a good home built decorated a bike a dog haha. I can get a income after that to live know. Thank you kindly have a good day

  15. Great review. Planning on retiring there in Oct 2017. My email address is i would lo talk with you in more detail. Hope to hear from you. Thx Michael

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.