Today let’s head up north and look at Naga City, in Bicol. Anybody who has been around the Philippines much has heard of “Bicol Express,” which is a super spicy cuisine that reigns from Bicol (of course!), this is about the only part of the Philippines that specializes in spicy food! But, we are not going there to eat today, we want to check the place out and see how suitable it might be as a place to live.
Our guide today is Jim, who is a well known fixture on a number of Philippine related e-groups, and I’ve been reading his excellent posts and absorbing his knowledge for years. Let’s see what he has to say about living in Naga City. Jim has lived in Naga City for 4 years now, so he has a good feel for the place!
If you are looking for a place to live, apartments in Naga City can be found for P4,000 to P8,000, house rentals from P7,000 to P15,000.
When you visit Naga City, Jim says that you will currently find two malls, one of which is more of a discount mall. However, SM is scheduled to open a new mall in town in December 2008.
How’s the cost of living in Naga City? Let’s see what Jim has to say about that:
In general the prices for most things are cheaper in Naga than in outlying areas. The exception is seafood which is cheaper if you get closer to the point of delivery. Other items at the wet markets can be cheaper outside of Naga as well. In general Naga is cheaper than Manila and Cebu but more expensive than many outlying areas.
Within Naga City, roads are excellent! Good roads going south to Legazpi too, as is the road headed east to the Pacific Ocean. The roads headed north to Manila are generally in need of repair, though, and are currently getting that much needed attention. Taxis are not available in the City, but tricycles and Jeepneys are easy to find. If you want to fly, there is an airport in Naga City, although currently it has only one flight per day, and that goes to Manila. Additional air services are expected with the arrival of Cebu Pacific airlines in September 2008.
It would seem that the local population of foreigners is rather limited with only about 25 expats living in town, according to Jim. This could be a good thing or bad, depending on your perspective. Local foreigners try to get together every Wednesday around noon, although the location varies. The weekly attendance varies from the average of 4 or 5 up to as many as 10 at a given time.
Jim says that dealing with government offices in Naga City is very quick and painless, there is little corruption in the area. Getting a driver’s license can take about a half day, while paying property taxes only takes about an hour or so.
Typically, it is rainy in Naga City from July through December. The upside to the rain is that it also makes for slightly cooler temperatures during this time of the year. Typhoons can be a problem in the area, so be ready for that if you decide to settle in the area. Electricity is generally good, but expensive (like the rest of the Philippines), with few brownouts affecting the area.
The drinking water in Naga City is safe to drink, although Jim says that he prefers bottled water in most instances. I would imagine that they go through a lot of water up there, due to the spicy foods!
You can find some nice beaches if you head toward the Pacific Ocean, about 50 minutes drive from the City. Cable TV is also readily available in town, but not so much in the outlying areas.
Looking for imported items? Jim says that almost anything he needs is readily available in Naga City, with the only exception being different mustards. For the mustards, or other specialty imported items, it means a trip to Manila, about 9 hours by bus.
According to Jim, the crime rate in Naga City is quite low, the police are friendly and helpful too. He travels around town, day or night without any problems at all!
Thanks for your information and help today, Jim. We appreciate your willingness to introduce our readers to your home, Naga City, Bicol!