When it comes to Living in the Philippines, my experience is mostly in Mindanao. I have visited a number of other parts of the country, but I’ve only lived in Mindanao, so it’s hard for me to know what it is like to live in some of these other places. Luckily for me, though, I have friends in many of these other places who can help us know a little more about the place where they live! Today, my friend Dave Starr (also visit another of his sites here) has graciously agreed to tell us more about Marilao, Bulacan, where he has been living for the past 14 months now.
Marilao, as I said is in Bulacan Province in Luzon. It is just north of Manila. Dave says that Marilao is a bedroom community of Metro Manila, and a lot of people commute between the two places.
If you are looking to rent a place in Marilao, you might be surprised at how affordable of prices you can find! I know that I was surprised at Dave’s answer, because I expected that a place that close to Manila would be considerably higher than what he said! Dave says that rents are typically between P5,000 and P12,000 per month! Hey, not bad! Actually, Davao is even more than that, because here, a minimum of P10,000 is what you should expect! Dave also says that you can purchase a house for P1M to P3M or so. Not bad!
As for amenities, you can find just about anything that you might need! Dave says that Malls, Fitness Centers, Swimming Pools, Movies and Restaurants are all readily available in the area. For eating out, most people go into Manila for that, where you can find just about any time of restaurant that your heart (oops.. I mean stomach) desires!
Dave says also that the cost of living is quite reasonable in the Marilao area. An expat couple can live comfortably on a budget of $1,000 or less per month. Dave says that one of the reasons why he lives in that area is because of the inexpensive health care available, and the fact that if he needs something that he can’t find locally, it’s a quick drive into Manila where he can find virtually anything that he might want or need. By now, you know the item that I look to for a quick feel of the economy and cost of living… a lechon manok. Dave says that he can get one for just P110 within walking distance of his house! Wow, this shocked me, as we haven’t seen a lechon manok for that price in years now!
Dave goes on to say that the roads in his area range from “excellent to horrid” with the main problem being excess traffic. Having traveled in Manila (as most of us have), I can certainly understand the “horrid” part! For transportation, Jeepneys and tricycles are readily available. Taxis can generally only be found for call out service, and are expensive if they have to come out that far from the City. Dave says that you can ride a Jeepney all the way to Manila for P17, and FX (which is like a car service) can be taken to Manila for P45. If you need to catch a flight, this area is served by both NAIA in Manila and also the new airport in Clark, in Angeles City.
There are quite a few foreigners living in Marilao, Dave says there is at least a foreigner on every block in his neighborhood. However there really aren’t any organized get together activities for foreigners. As far as dealing with Government offices for things like driver’s licenses and such, Dave mainly goes into Manila to handle things like that.
Dave says that the weather in his area is the standard for Northern Luzon – Monsoon rains from April through September, but fairly dry the rest of the year. For household water needs, Dave pays about P350 per month. That water is drinkable, but not very appealing. He prefers to bring in bottled drinking water for about P60 per week.
Let’s see what Dave has to say about the electricity in the area:
Our electric is good. Brownouts are nearly unheard of. In one year we had a 4 or 5 hour outage due to a tropical storm that battered Manila and a 6 hour pre-announced maintenance outage. Two aircons, TV, etc our average for the past year has been 371 kWh per month, 121 PhP per day. The actual cost here last month is 10 PhP per kWh $0.24 USD per kWh …August’s US DOE figures say the US-wide average kWh cost is $0.10, so you can figure 2.5 times whatever you US electric bill is now and come pretty close.
What Dave says about electricity jives with what I know about it too.
Unfortunately, good beaches are hard to find in this area. Dave suggests that you would need to drive to Zambales, Bataan, Cavite or Batangas to find a nice beach to enjoy.
For any desires for imported goods, Dave goes to a membership store called SR, which he says is a “weak imitation” of Sams or Costco in the USA. Dave mostly buys coffee there, and says that for such imported goods you should expect to pay about double of the price in the USA. Pretty typical, I’d say!
Dave goes on to say that the people in the Marilao area are very friendly, and actually even go a little overboard in helping foreigners when they see them. He says that this is particularly true if you go to do anything at a government office, where generally you are invited into the manager’s office, and very well taken care of!
When it comes to entertainment at home, it’s easy in Marilao! Cable TV is P550 per month, and will generally be installed the same day that you call. There are about 50 channels on the local cable, but only 8 or 10 of those have something that you actually want to watch! About the same as back in the USA! Broadband internet is readily available, starting at P999 per month and going up from there!
Thanks much to Dave for taking the time to tell us about Marilao on the general area!