An archipelago of more than seven thousand islands, you can expect to be surrounded by beautiful beaches when you decide to live in one of the digital nomad cities of the Philippines. But aside from the beaches, there are many good reasons to live as a Philippines digital nomad.
You can book excellent accommodations at very reasonable prices in the Philippines, and the overall cost of living is cheaper than in many other countries worldwide. Best of all, you will be surrounded by incredible nature, with the opportunity to take up fun outdoor activities during your free time. The Philippines is also renowned for its vibrant culture, delicious foods, and friendly locals.
The biggest draw for Philippines digital nomads is the low cost of living. Although it's not necessarily the most affordable compared to some other Southeast Asian countries, living as a digital nomad in the Philippines will not cost a lot. It's worth noting that the cost of living varies by location, with major cities like Manila and Cebu being the most expensive. The cost of accommodations in popular tourist destinations like Boracay and Palawan are also higher.
Of course, many other factors could affect the overall cost of living in the Philippines, such as lifestyle preferences, food choices, and many others. You can lower your expenses by choosing to cook at home instead of eating out. Taking public transportation can also help to keep your expenses to a minimum.
Like many other countries worldwide, the digital scene in the Philippines is growing. Since the country consists of thousands of different islands and is spread out, there are not too many central hubs for digital nomads compared to other places. But the main cities have plenty of coworking spaces where you can network with other nomads and attend digital nomad special events. Another great thing about living as a Philippines digital nomad is that most Filipinos are proficient in English, which makes life easier in terms of asking for directions.
Deciding where to live in the Philippines as a digital nomad can be daunting since there are thousands of islands to choose from. If you need help on this, here are the top 10 Philippines digital nomad places for you to live.
Most people who come to the Philippines will head straight to the islands in the Visayas, home to the country's most beautiful beaches. Only a few would explore its bustling capital, Manila. But if you come to the Philippines as a digital nomad, Manila is worth considering when looking for a place to live. As the country's capital city, Manila has modern infrastructures and is home to developed cities well-suited for digital nomads.
The areas in Manila suitable for digital nomads are Ortigas and Bonifacio Global City. These places will remind you of Singapore, as they are home to tall buildings, world-class restaurants, posh shopping malls, and vibrant nightlife with plenty of speakeasies.
But like any major city, Manila has a higher cost of living. The average cost of living for digital nomads in Manila is $1,267 per month. Monthly rentals can range from $300 to $1,000, depending on the number of rooms and location. Most digital nomads in Manila will stay in a condominium in the middle of the city with easy access to shopping malls, business districts, and coworking spaces.
Cebu is one of the largest cities in the Philippines but not as vast and busy as Manila. Famous for its stunning beaches, Cebu is centrally-located and a perfect base for exploring the many islands in the Visayas, such as Bohol and Siargao.
Aside from its beautiful beaches, Cebu has a rich culture, home to many religious and cultural sites. The city offers a striking blend of modern and traditional. Its business district has several skyscrapers, while its historic streets have Baroque churches and Spanish-style colonial buildings. Indeed, Cebu is an interesting place to live as a digital nomad in the Philippines.
The digital nomad culture in Cebu is thriving, and the city has a large expat scene, making it a convenient place to live as a digital nomad. If you're into outdoor adventures, Cebu will have plenty of fun activities waiting for you to do in your free time. You can swim with the giant whale sharks in Oslob, scuba dive on the beaches of Moalboal, or go canyoneering in Kawasan Falls.
Another reason why Cebu is one of the best digital nomad cities in the Philippines is you will find many decent accommodations that cater to foreigners. While the cost of living is almost similar to Manila, which averages $1,270 per month, the monthly rental is cheaper. You could rent a one-bedroom studio in the city centre for as low as $308 per month.
Davao City lies south of Mindanao Island, one of the main islands that make up the Philippines. It's one of the country's largest cities, home to 1.6 million people. Compared to Manila and Cebu, Davao has a more laid-back atmosphere. It's not too busy, has a low crime rate, and is relatively cheap, making it a great place to live for digital nomads in the Philippines.
Davao is home to Mount Apo, the tallest mountain in the country. Therefore, it's a haven for digital nomads fond of outdoor adventures, from trekking to hiking and camping. If you're into wildlife, you should visit the Philippine Eagle Center, a conservation centre aimed at preserving the Philippine eagle, the country's national bird.
You'll be spending less when you live in Davao as a digital nomad in the Philippines since the average cost of living in the city is only $1,097 per month, and the average rent for a one-bedroom studio apartment is only $260.
Davao is a well-developed city, home to a few coworking spaces with decent Internet speed. The best ones are Dev Hub, Spacelab, and Meek Coworking Cafe. There are also cozy cafés suitable for working, such as Blugré Coffee, and international coffeehouses like Starbucks and The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf.
Palawan, not a city but an island, is one of the Philippines' most popular tourist destinations. Its capital city of Puerto Princesa is where most digital nomads live. Famous for its powdery white sand beaches and unspoilt islands, Palawan is one of the best digital nomad cities in the Philippines.
If you dream of living in a city closer to the beach, Palawan is the place to be. It's a long and narrow island located in the eastern portion of the Philippines, home to picturesque beaches and stunning natural wonders. When you're not busy with work, you will find yourself exploring Palawan's many beaches, lagoons, and limestone cliffs. It's also home to an underground river, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature.
As a popular tourist destination, the cost of living in Palawan is a bit more expensive. A digital nomad could spend an average of $1,295 per month living in Palawan, while a one-bedroom studio could cost you $445 per month.
Palawan's capital of Puerto Princesa is home to a few coworking spaces, such as the Think Space and Workhub Palawan. You can also choose to work at a café or coffee shop. Palawan has plenty of excellent cafes, with some of them offering free Wi-Fi to customers.
The tiny surfing island of Siargao is an ideal place to live for digital nomads who love to surf. In fact, the majority of the population in Siargao is surfers. When the tides are up, you'll see these half-naked surfers jumping into their motorbikes with surfboards on the rack, rushing towards the coast.
But Siargao is not only about surfing. The island's laidback atmosphere lures digital nomads seeking to escape the bustling cities of the Philippines. This teardrop-shaped island is also home to some of the country's most beautiful beaches, another reason why it's popular among digital nomads in the Philippines.
While Siargao's cost of living is somewhat similar to that of the big cities like Manila and Cebu, you'll find the accommodations here are cheaper. You could rent a one-bedroom studio for only $313 a month.
As a small island, you will not find too many coworking spaces in Siargao. However, one place digital nomads should check out is Lexias Hostel Workspace, a co-working space that also functions as a hostel, bar, and restaurant.
Baguio is a mountainous city on the island of Luzon, about a four to six hours drive from Manila. Located 5,000 ft above sea level, Baguio is famous for its relatively cold weather. In fact, it's called the “Summer Capital of the Philippines” since this is where people would go to escape the heat in the lowlands during summer.
When living as a digital nomad in Baguio, you'll have many things to do during your free time. There are plenty of hiking options, including climbing the island's highest mountain, Mount Pulag.
Unfortunately, the cost of living can be high in Baguio, averaging $1,558 per month. But there are ways to save on your living expenses. Also, you could rent a studio apartment for as low as $313 per month.
7. General Santos
General Santos City is located on the southern shores of Mindanao Island. It's a highly urbanized city dubbed the “Tuna Capital of the Philippines” since it's the country's premier tuna producer. While it's not too popular with tourists, digital nomads looking for an affordable place may be interested in living in General Santos City.
The average cost of living in General Santos City is only $978 per month, making it one of the cheapest digital nomad cities in the Philippines. A studio apartment could only cost you $168 per month.
You won't find too many coworking spaces in General Santos City. There are cafes and international coffeehouses that offer a comfortable place to work. If you want to network with fellow nomads, check out Hub88, the city's first co-working space.
8. La Union
La Union is another popular surfing destination in the Philippines, home to many beautiful beaches. Aside from the beaches, the province is also famous for its centuries-old churches, natural attractions, and heritage sites. For digital nomads looking for a base close to the beach, La Union is worth considering.
But since it's a popular tourist destination, the cost of living can be expensive in La Union. The average cost of living for a digital nomad in La Union is $1,581. Meanwhile, a studio apartment could cost you $313 per month.
There's a new coworking space in La Union called The Attic Room, a 40-sqm co-working space located in San Juan City. You will also find several coffee shops where you can work for hours while enjoying free Wi-Fi service.
For digital nomads who prefer to live in a big city with well-developed and modern amenities, Makati is an excellent choice. As the financial and commercial hub of Manila, Makati is home to many high-rise commercial and residential buildings.
Makati has many high-end shopping malls with luxury boutiques and posh restaurants. You will also find museums and art galleries in the city. While it's great to live as a digital nomad in Makati, be prepared to spend a lot of money since the cost of living here can be very expensive. Living in Makati can cost a digital nomad an average of $1,618!
The best thing about living in Makati as a digital nomad in the Philippines is the abundance of co-working spaces for you to hang out and meet with other nomads. Some of the best ones are Common Ground Rockwell, Acceler8, and xState.
If you want to be surrounded by the beach as a digital nomad in the Philippines, choose Boracay, the country's most popular beach destination. The beautiful island is home to stunning beaches and has an exciting nightlife scene. It also offers a wealth of water sports and a wide variety of dining options.
But since it's the country's most popular tourist destination, you can expect everything to be pricey. Accommodations and food could cost a lot, and you can expect to spend an average of $1,680 per month.
You will not find too many coworking spaces in Boracay. But there are tons of cafes where you can work. In fact, some coffee shops are right across the beach, such as Starbucks, which opens to beautiful sea views.