Once again, today we will look at another City where expats might want to consider settling down! Today’s Overview is of Iligan City, and I was helped out by my friend, Marc de Piolenc. Marc is a dual French/US Citizen, and I’ve known him since the early ’90s online, and in person for nearly 10 years now too! I consider Marc a good friend, and I appreciate his willingness to answer my survey.
Marc tells us that he has been living in Iligan for Nine years already! Heck, he’s already practically a founder of the city, having been there that long!
When it comes to housing, Marc says that price depends on your needs, of course, but you can readily find a place to rent for P5,000 to P10,000. Marc says that he is currently paying P6,000 for his place. I’ve visited Marc’s house a number of times, and I can tell you that it is quite livable and very nice! I feel that P6,000 is quite a bargain for the house that he is living in! To give you an idea, Marc’s home is a 1 1/2 storey detached house in a great neighborhood near to a good local university and also close to the National Highway.
As for amenities in town that foreigner might be looking for, Marc says the following:
A new Gaisano mall is under construction to replace the aging department store near the port area. There are gyms, but I’m not a user so can’t comment. No public swimming pools in town, but Timoga springs with multiple pools is a few km outside of town on the Lanao side; likewise Maze Park. On the other side, the corporate rec area of Holcim Cement is accessible for a modest fee. There are four cinemas and many restaurants, ranging from hole-in-the wall eateries to restaurants I would not hesitate to take foreign visitors to.
Marc says that the cost of living in Iligan is “Cheap” with a lechon manok going for P140.
As far as transportation in Iligan, Marc says that the highways are very good, with local roads ranging from good to not so good. Jeepneys, Tricycles and Taxis are all readily available around town. Taxis are even radio dispatched, and will pick you up if you give the dispatcher a call! Unfortunately, while Iligan has an airport, it currently has no commercial flights. Generally, people in Iligan would depend on the Cagayan de Oro Airport, about an hour and a half away.
Marc also says that dealing with Government offices in Iligan is getting better all the time. He says that while there are some hassles, they are really improving compared to previous years.
Marc says that there are not too many foreigners living in Iligan, maybe a maximum of 100 or so in the entire city. He says that it would be rare to find more than 20 of them in a single place, though. Many of these foreigners are missionaries working with the local people in the area.
Iligan gets about 40 inches of rain per year, with peak rainfall in November. Minimum rainfall is in April. Summers are hot and humid, and mostly dry. Tap water varies in quality, and Marc recommends drinking only bottled water, which is delivered to the house at a reasonable price. Electricity in Iligan is cheap, due to the vast amounts of hydro power being used in the area. Electricity rates are only about P5 per kilowatt hour. Power interruptions are frequent, though – Marc reports that they average about two brownouts per week.
For entertainment, Marc says that good beaches can be found very close to Iligan – around 10 Kilometers in either direction of the city. Cable TV is also available in town, as is broadband internet.
Marc reports that some imported items (like Wine!) are available in Iligan, but for better shopping you should plan to go to Cagayan de Oro, about 80km away.
Marc feel that most people in Iligan are quite friendly, although there are a few neighborhoods that he would not visit alone at night – although those are small and few.
By the way, one thing that Marc didn’t mention, but I thought that I would add is that Iligan is the “City of Waterfalls” with lots of great waterfalls. If you love waterfalls, you will certainly love Iligan City!
Thanks again, Marc for sharing your experiences in Iligan!