Digital Nomad Guide to Living in the Philippines

Written by Patrick

Several foreigners have been living in the Philippines as a digital nomad.

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The Philippines is a favorite tropical destination for people who want to experience endless sunny days.  It has thousands of islands, hundreds of stunning beaches, rich biodiversity, and many other natural resources that will make anyone wish to stay in the country longer than intended. 

Fortunately, making the Philippines a home, even for foreigners, isn’t impossible nor complicated.  In fact, many foreigners consider the country as a great place to retire and are now enjoying their golden years in this part of the world.

Living in the Philippines is not viable for expats only, digital nomads are seeing the possibility and several of us have taken the plunge and made the Philippines a home for months.

This guide hopes to help anyone who considers living in the Philippines as a digital nomad.

About Living in the Philippines

philippines pacific guam map

The Philippines is an archipelago country in Southeast Asia.  It began trading with Chinese and other Asian neighbors during the Pre-colonial period and has survived years of colonization which are therefore credited to the country’s rich history and cultural diversity.  Therefore it isn’t surprising that the influences of Chinese, Spanish, American, and Japanese are still alive up to this day.

There are several Filipino dishes derived from Chinese cuisine.  American, European, Japanese, and Korean restaurants are all over the country.  While the Philippines is not a popular foodie destination as compared to its neighbors, the food scene in the country is a wide spectrum of cuisines that is definitely a treat to thousands of tourists from various parts of the world.

Despite having world famous tourist destinations, the Philippines is actually an affordable country to live.  Your money will go a long way and you can find decent meals and homes without hurting your bank account.

The Philippines for Digital Nomads

In addition to natural tourist destinations, the Philippines is a good place for digital nomads due to a wide array of activities one can do in the country and accessibility of public transportation.  Whether you’re into water sports, mountain climbing, history, or nature biodiversity, you will always find something to enjoy.  And despite the provinces, cities, and towns mostly separated by seas, getting around is never a big issue.  Ferries and bangka (motorized outriggers) can take you from one island to another while buses carry passengers to and from towns and cities.  You can even rent a motorbike and explore the area at your own pace and time.

One problem a digital nomad may face while living in the Philippines is internet connection issues.  The speed is slow as compared to its Asian neighbors and expensive considering its standards.  But with internet providers doing upgrades to improve their services and the government ensuring that these internet providers provide people the services they paid for,  the problem with unreliable internet connection will hopefully soon be resolved.

Are the Philippines Safe?

Most part of the Philippines is safe for expats and tourists including digital nomads.  However there are areas in the country, particularly the southern part, where foreigners are advised to take precaution when visiting, or not visit at all.  Be aware of the laws and make sure not to get involved in anything illegal to avoid any problem.  It also helps to know about the popular scams and crimes in the country and to avoid displaying expensive belongings to prevent attracting robbers.

Like with other countries, paying attention to what’s going on around you and always erring on the safe side will ensure a hassle-free stay in the Philippines. 

READ MORE: DOs and DON’Ts to Stay Safe in the Philippines

What Are The Best Areas to Live in the Philippines?

There is no definite answer to this question since determining which area is the best to live in the Philippines depends greatly on one’s preferences, needs, and interests.  The best thing to do is list down the potential destinations and narrow down the list to which one ticks all the boxes.

Below are the areas which will more likely appeal to digital nomads.

Metro Manila

Officially called the National Capital Region, Metro Manila is the capital region of the Philippines.  It is composed of 16 cities and one municipality with top cities which include Quezon City, Manila City, Pasig, Pasay, Makati, and Taguig.

Metro Manila is where everything is found – from the highest seat of the government to the largest shopping malls and best schools in the country.  It is the major point of entry to the Philippines and jump off point to all those beautiful tropical destinations.  For a digital nomad who wants easy access to everything, Metro Manila tops the list.  Fancy hotels and restaurants are not hard to find so are posh apartments and condominiums that will pass most Western standards.

Traffic in Manila, however, is annoying.  But if you are patient enough to endure the traffic, the country’s capital is a great choice especially for someone who is out to catch events and opportunities.

READ MORE: Metro Manila Travel Guide

Cebu City

The first capital and the oldest city in the Philippines, Cebu is one of the most prosperous cities in the Philippines.  Though small in terms of land area, its booming economy attracts tourists and expats alike making it a good place for a digital nomad to live in.  It’s also a great access point to other towns and cities in Cebu as well as neighboring islands like Bohol and Negros – both islands are popular tourist destinations, too.

It has all the establishments and businesses a digital nomad may need and traffic is more bearable compared to Manila.

READ MORE: Cebu City Travel Guide

Davao City

Davao City is the largest city in terms of land area and third largest in terms of population.  Although located in Mindanao Island, the city is friendly, crime-free, and affordable.  It has hotels, restaurants, malls, shops,and services to help make everyone’s life, including digital nomads, convenient, satisfying, and enjoyable.

It is also an easy access point to the beautiful beaches of Samal Island and Mount Apo, the highest peak in the Philippines and home to a variety of wildlife including the majestic Philippine Eagle.

READ MORE: Davao City Travel Guide

Baguio City

Located almost 1,500 meters above sea level, what sets Baguio apart from the others in the list is its relatively cool temperature which is perfect for someone with low tolerance to endless tropical heat.  The lush greenery and scenic mountain views make for a quiet and relaxing stay in the city.  Additionally, several of its attractions have Western influences and it is a popular access point to Mount Pulag and Banaue Rice Terraces, terraces carved into mountains by the indigenous people thousands of years ago.

READ MORE: Baguio City Travel Guide


Who wouldn’t want to stay on an island surrounded with breathtaking beaches and interesting flora and fauna?  Palawan is a nomad’s dream tropical destination particularly the towns of El Nido, Coron, and even San Vicente.  Although internet connection is not always reliable in the towns mentioned, Puerto Princesa, Palawan‘s capital city, has infrastructures and services to provide connectivity and other things a digital nomad needs.

READ MORE: Palawan Island Travel Guide

Siargao Island

Siargao is a perfect choice for someone looking for a laidback place near the beach.  It’s a popular destination among foreign tourists particularly those who are into surfing.  Some foreigners even fell in love with the place that they’ve decided to build a home and settle there.

The cost of living in Siargao is affordable but good internet connection can only be experienced in the town of General Luna.  There are around 20 restaurants on the island but no large malls and shopping centers.  However, you’ll surely find the basics you need to survive.

READ MORE: Siargao Island Travel Guide

Boracay Island

Famous for its powdery white sand beaches and blue waters, Boracay is a premier destination favored by locals and foreigners alike.  The island is developed so finding a reliable internet connection and accommodation that will suit your budget is not an issue.  Boracay expects a massive arrival of tourists on a daily basis so expect for businesses, particularly along the White Beach, to be crowded.

READ MORE: Boracay Island Travel Guide

Bohol Island

Bohol is not so far away from Cebu City. It boasts of its waters teeming with rich and colorful marine life – a haven for snorkelers and divers. Its white sand beaches blessed with crystal clear water make for a perfect beach-bumming location. Each of these beaches has their own personality so exploring them will give you a clearer idea how one differs from the other. From the highly-commercialized Alona Beach to the more peaceful Danao or Dumaluan Beach, you will surely find a little spot for you in Bohol.

READ MORE: Bohol Island Travel Guide

How to Find Apartments in the Philippines

You can search sites like AirBnB,, Agoda, RentPad, or Lamudi for property listings in your preferred area.  Refer to reviews to help you decide which one to book or ask for an opinion in forums or anyone you know who has experience staying at the potential residence.  While you can always make a reservation online, I highly suggest conducting an ocular inspection before signing the contract for long-term rent.  If possible, find a place that has taken your fancy and rent it for a few days.  If you like it, make an offer directly with the concerned establishment for your long-term rent.  Know that it is always cheaper to conduct business directly and rent on a monthly or annual basis, as opposed to overnight rate via booking apps.

READ MORE: Various Types of Accommodations Available When Traveling in the Philippines

WiFi Speed in the Philippines

Globe, PLDT, and Smart are the three most popular internet service providers in the country.  PLDT is the best choice when it comes to fiber optic connection however it’s availability is limited to cities and nearby towns only.  The coverage of Globe and Smart are wider but the latter is usually the only option in some rural areas.

For a digital nomad living in the Philippines, it is best to have a smartphone with dual SIM so you can use either Globe or Smart when necessary.  Both of these networks offer deals for prepaid users with bundles that often include data, text messaging, and phone calls.  You just have to get the right keyword for a particular bundle and send it to a number in order to register.  For example, to get 3GB of data which is valid for a week from Globe, simply text the code GOSAKTO120 to 8080.  This bundle comes with an unlimited call to the same network and unlimited texts to all networks.

Co-Working Spaces in the Philippines

Co-working spaces are increasingly becoming popular in the Philippines as several Filipinos have embraced online freelancing.  Mostly located in the cities, these co-working spaces are the go-to place for stable internet access and inviting ambience and layout.  Some are even open 24/7 and have additional amenities like lounges, napping areas, kitchen and garden.  Rent duration could be hourly, daily, or monthly and the rate depends on whether you choose a shared desk, private office, meeting room, or training room.

What Is The Cost Of Living in the Philippines?

The cost of living in the Philippines as a digital nomad is not too high but that also depends on the kind of lifestyle you have.  It is easy to find budget-friendly options when it comes to accommodations, foods, and transportation.  The rent of a furnished condo, apartment, or townhouse in a popular area like Manila or Cebu range from $400 USD to $900 USD but you will surely find accommodations for a lesser price in the provinces or on the islands.  But remember that rental contracts usually last six months to a year and you have to pay a month or two months rent in advance.

Meals for one person in a nice restaurant usually cost not more than $10 but you can find meals cheaper than that at local eateries.  Cooking at home is even cheaper, more so if you shop for fresh vegetables and fruits at local markets.

When it comes to transportation, jeepney and tricycle are the cheapest although the latter is used for nearby destinations only.  Taxi, Grab Car, or Uber are available in cities only but be careful with taxis as some drivers demand to charge a fixed rate which is often expensive rather than use the meter.

Weather in the Philippines

The Philippines has two seasons – the wet and dry season.  The wet or rainy season is from June to October while the dry season is from November to May.  While it is the best time to explore the islands and enjoy the beaches, be aware that temperatures and humidity levels are particularly high during the dry season.

During the wet season, the country is challenged by typhoons, some of which can be destructive.  Depending on weather forecasts, outdoor activities and tours may be cancelled to avoid any untoward incidents befall the tourists.  Transportation via boat, and sometimes plane, is also impacted as well.

READ MORE: Climate of the Philippines

Pros and Cons of Living in the Philippines as a Digital Nomad


  • English is widely spoken.
  • Low cost of living
  • Great weather
  • Great and friendly people, dating between foreigners and locals is generally accepted
  • Lots of islands and beaches to explore
  • Several co-working spaces and good places to work from
  • Many activities to do


  • Poor internet speeds in some rural areas
  • Traffic in big cities

What is the Visa Situation in the Philippines?

Visa allowed for most Western countries is only for 30 days and upon arrival or before the 30th day, you can apply for extension without leaving the country.  Fee for visa extension is between $60 USD to $100 USD.


Despite some cons about living in the Philippines, you’d eventually like it especially once you have settled in and gotten the hang of getting around the country.  From urban living to rugged life in rural areas, the options are out there for a nomadic who wants to experience it all.

Don’t Forget …

What tips do you have for Digital Nomads living in the Philippines?

About the Author


Patrick is an entrepreneur, digital nomad, explorer, and photographer. Patrick is always in search of fun and adventure. He is well travelled throughout the world, and although location independent, his home base is Phoenix, Arizona in the USA. Patrick loves island lifestyle which is no wonder why he is so interested in spending time in the Philippines with it’s over 7,000 islands. Patrick created this site to share his knowledge of and experiences in the Philippines with Filipinos as well as other foreigners.

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