What is the Cost of Living in Davao City

Photo representing the cost of living

This is the most common question and one of the most difficult to answer 

So I will stick my neck out and try to give you a ballpark figure.  It does not take into account the cost of setting up your new home or medical expense that you might have.

  • 50,000 Peso per month is livable
  • 75 to 100,000 Peso is comfortable
  • 125 to 175,000 Peso per month is luxury.

Based on a western lifestyle.  It is possible to live for less than 50,000 Peso per month if you downgrade your accommodation and/or live outside the city area.  

Living in an outlying area and keeping entertainment expenses down you could live OK for 30,000 a month, but not in the Davao City main area.

Cost of Living grafix

What are my average outgoings

per month?

I live with my teenage son on a mid-range housing estate or ‘subdivision’.  There is supposed to be a swimming pool, but it is still under construction.

It takes me 10 minutes to get to 3 different malls with grocery stores using a scooter and about 30 mins to the business district.  The Subdivision is guarded by 2 security guards at the main gate 24 hrs a day

I live in 3 bedroom bungalow that is  45 SqM.   It has a small yard/garden with a parking area.  

Fully furnished and aircon throughout.  ( I got the property at a discounted rent)

  • Rent 25k
  • Groceries 20K
  • Electricity 6K  (In the house 24/7 because of COVID-19)
  • Domestic help 3000 
  • Internet 15 MBs fibre 1900
  • Gasoline 750
  • Water including bottle drinking water 300
  • Miscellaneous 2500
  • Total  59,450

On top of this, I may spend 10K a month on entertainment and eating out, trips to the beach, cinema, coffee shops, Etc..   We do eat well in the house and do not skimp on food, usually eating a western diet and good quality meat.  I typically shop at the grocery store at the malls and not the market.

It would be reasonably easy to get the rent down to 15K a month for an acceptable unfurnished place and my food bill to 12 to 15K buying from the market and cutting down on western-style food

This is a favourable Cost of Living to most Western cities

carton drawing of a bag of money

More Money Matters

Opening a bank account

To open a bank account in the Philippines, you need an ACR I-card (Alien Certificate of Registration card).

You may be able to open an account with just your passport and another form of ID other than the ACR but most bank are strict with the requirements of a ACR card

Some banks will accept an Immigrant Certificate of Registration (ICR) as proof of your residency. You will have to go to the bank in person to open an account, and if you don’t have an ACR card, you might have to have a meeting with the bank manager.

Once you have your ACR card, it is a reasonably straightforward process. You will need your passport (or another photo ID), one passport-sized photo ( but take more than one) and proof of your address such as a utility bill or rental contract. 

You then fill in the forms at the bank and make the minimum deposit. You can get a bank book for making withdrawals and deposits straight away, but you will need to wait to receive your debit card in the post or for collection at the bank

The bank you choose will depend on many factors, predominantly where you live and what you want to do with your money.

 If you are making a lot of international transfers, it might be better to choose a multi-national bank such as HSBC or Citibank

Most Expats opt for BDO or BPI. The Bdo has a relatively easy and working online banking system

Here is a comprehensive list of Banks available in Davao

Utilities and how to pay for them

Davao Light Logo
Davao water Logo


Unfortunately, the Philippines has expensive electricity and very little competition in each area/ region

Davao Light serves Davao city. There is no other choice. Air Conditioning Units and Fridge Freezers account for the majority of the consumption, and I would advise paying for up to date inverter technology that will undoubtedly help to keep your electricity costs down.

As I am now working from home, I am paying around 6000 Peso per month. I have a 3 HP Aircon for the main room of my house and a smaller 3/4 HP for the bedroom.

I have an up to date Samsung Fridge Freezer, 60 Inch TV and two computers. I also cook with electricity which is unusual. We do not use LPG in the house.

Bills arrive at the house and need paying monthly. The easiest way is through online banking. Also, many payment centres are dotted around the city, and even some online prepaid Apps are available


Davao water is a public utility company tasked with supplying water to Davao City and the surrounding areas.

It is a task that they sometimes have difficulty to manage, and many expats have an external water tank and pump to allow them to keep a storage of water and pressure to the house.

The water charges are reasonable, but you need to be very careful about leaks after the water meter as they are uncompromising when charging for the water passing through the meter.

I have 2 CR, and my small garden gets watered almost every day, and my scooter washed two times a week. I usually pay just 100 or 120 Peso a month for the mains supplied water.

Drinking water comes supplied and delivered by a local company in 5-gallon containers. Each container is 25 peso. I would expect to pay around 200 Pesos per month.

If you are not going to have an external water tank, then it is normal to have a large container in the bathroom (CR) topped up with water for a shower during interruptions of the water supply

LPG Bottle

LPG – Gas for cooking

LPG Cooking gas is typically sold in 11KG canisters and normally costs around 900 Peso.  The price fluctuates by 50 to 75 Peso almost on a weekly bases

You can normally expect the gas to last from 2 to 3 months.  

There are many delivery firms for your convenience that will charge a little more

What would you like me to include

If you would like to see the cost or prices of anything else in this section please send me a message and I will be happy to look into it


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