Monday, August 20th, 2018

Living Local Part 2 (Rental Houses)


In a follow up to an earlier post Living Local, I wanted to delve deeper into what you can do to “Live Local” and save tons of money on your next trip to the Philippines.

Inevitably in your lead up to moving / retiring in the Philippines you will make several if not many trips to your new / future home. We usually go every 2 years to the Philippines and spend a extended time there. We typically are in country from 3-5 weeks depending on what we need to accomplish. In our first couple trips over we exclusively stayed in hotels and took public transportation (i.e. taxis) We stayed in hotels that we could find ratings and reviews for online, before we left. These were always nice hotels and we were never disappointed with the accommodations. This was before we had definitely decided that we were going to retire in the Philippines and were treating the trips as vacations and a chance to visit family and have a good time.

After coming home from a Christmas trip over, I was looking at the expenditures from the trip (which I’m sure you can imagine a X-mas trip to relatives) and saw that this trip was far too expensive and that we needed to find solutions to this issue before our next trip over. I believe that our total trip cost that time was somewhere in the range of $15,000 USD. As I thought about what we could do to lower the trip cost, while looking over what we spent, the single largest expenditure were the hotel fees. Now granted we were not staying in local hotels we were staying in western hotels that were very nice. Priced at daily total fees of approximately $100 USD per night, you can see that this cost could be potentially $5,000 USD for a 5 week trip. Besides the cost factor of staying in hotels during our trips, my wife was constantly asking me if I thought that I could “handle” living in the Philippines and would I be able to endure all the “down sides” to life in a 3rd world country.

So with those two factors in my head, I started researching short term rental houses in Davao City (where we plan to retire). I asked the usual expat forums and such but didn’t get any good information. So I dug into the internet and the never ending “non page 1” responses from Google. I found several Davao City rentals ranging from $60 USD to $90 USD per night. Most owners will make a deal if your going to rent for several weeks to months. We made such a deal for a rental house with a pool and a car for about 30 days. I believe that we payed about $45 a night for the house and $15 a day for the car, no driver. So for $60 USD a day we had a 3 bedroom house with pool and a car. Of course there is no room service in this situation and no restaurants on-site, but that’s what it is to live local 🙂 Although we did have “maid” service while we were there. The house lady came daily and straightened up and mopped floors and such. We gave her a nominal tip on our departure, although I doubt it was required.

Make sure you do your looking and reserving well in advance and you will be able to get a better deal. A owner will be more than overjoyed to have their property rented 6 months to 1 year in advance of your arrival. Most of them will require between 40% and 50% down approximately 7 – 21 days advance of your arrival. You can’t really begrudge them that, it is not like they will be able to rent that property within only days of a cancellation. So for $1,800 dollars we were able to have a rental car and a 3 bedroom rental house with pool for our entire stay, at the same time saving a lot of money on food, solely because we shopped and cooked at our home away from home.

So if you want to save a ton of money on your next trip to the Philippines and find out if you can live local, then lose the hotel and rent a house.


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9 Responses to “Living Local Part 2 (Rental Houses)”
  1. Gary Wigle says:

    Live like a local WHAT??????? The peso to dollar rate is about 43.7 to 1. Even with that I rent a 2 bedroom, 2 CR apartment in the nice part of town and the cost is 5,000 pesos per month. About $3.88 per day (or night). Like it said on the Motel 6 ad. They are the same with the lights out.


    • rich says:

      But I am sure that in order to get that price you have a long term lease. I have never heard of anywhere in Davao that you could rent a house for 1 days or 20 days at that rate. Boy that would be great. If have access to information regarding short term rental houses that are priced such as that PLEASE, let us know, well get the word out. I would love to pay $4 USD per night for a 2 bedroom house during our trips over.

  2. Dave Starr says:

    Indeed there’s a lot better reason than money to rent a house in the Philippines before you make a long-term commitment. In fact I’d almost say it is a necessity. Why?

    Because living in a hotel is, well, living in a hotel. There are more things the same about living in a hotel in say, Davao, and living in a hotel in Newark, NJ or Cairo Egypt, than there are differences.

    You don’t know how early the rooster crows (literally), how many times a day your neighbors hoot their horn in front of their gate waiting for the maid to wake up and open it, how deep the water gets in a rain, who burns trash in the gutter and so on if you aren’t living “on the economy” as we used to say when I lived overseas for the military.

    Another issue you won’t find out about in a hotel … if you are like many of us couples who frequent blogs like this one, remember that the ‘half’ of your happy little couple most likely to have adjustment issues when you get down to day to day life is the Filipino ‘half’.

    To an American it all tends to be an adventure … at least for the first few years. And this is a very male-oriented society … men are catered to and spoiled rotten. In spite of the stories you sometimes hear about people taking advantage of foreigners, in my experience, it’s much more often a case of local people going out of their way to help the foreigner out … his Filipino wife is lucky if she gets half as good treatment in stores and such.

    Women, who typically are the ones who have to cope with when all the stores are out of laundry soap, when the brownouts will come in the middle of cooking, when the laundry lady doesn’t show up, yet again, as promised and when her family members secretly pester her for loans and ‘help’ they would never dare mention to her foreigner husband … that becomes the reality of adjustment.

    You won’t learn how to cope and if things are really OK for you, especially as a couple, if you stay in hotels and live like … well … foreigners 😉
    Dave Starr recently posted..How Much Does It Cost to Retire in the Philippines

    • rich says:

      Dave your absolutely right and those damn Tandangs do start crazy early in the morning!! They don’t even wait for the sun GRRRRRRRRRRR, lol. That to me is the strangest part about it, is every day being up before the sun. Right now here in the states 6.30 is normal but while over there it always seems were doing something by that time in the morning, hehe. But conversely a nap during the afternoon heat is a welcome treat. Your right on the head as usual Philly.

      Check Daves blog Phil Faqs it contains a wealth of information.

  3. Dan2vero says:


    Great article, I believe living local is much better also, especially saving money. But also you get the feel for the Philippines, instead of staying at a Western style hotel. I stayed with my fiance’s family at there house in Maasin City. But its not for everyone for sure, it was very hot there in the house. Thank goodness Roses bedroom had a aircon, the only one in the house. They don’t use it as all, because they can’t afford to pay the extra electric bill. But I used it while there, and of course paid for the bill each month.
    If you truly want the whole Philippine experience, rent a house or apartment if you can and if are going to be there more than just a week. It was just a better experience for me, and plus there are restaurants in Maasin City, but not too many. We mostly went to the markets, and prepared our own foods, another great way to experience great food from the Philippines.
    Danny H.

    • rich says:

      Dan, great to have you here. You are right that is the best way to experience the country during your stay. With my family, they don’t even live where we spend most of our time, so we must have other arrangements. Again glad to have you around 🙂

  4. Randy Benoit says:

    Hi Rich,
    I am a Canadian who owns a 2 bedroom condo in Davao city. My wife and I have been renting it out on a daily, weekly or montly basis.
    Our rates are P1500 per day (35 USD), P10,000 per week (230 USD) and P35,000 per month (810 USD).
    The condo includes cable tv, air conditioning in both bedroom, hot and cold water in the shower, a complete kitchen access to the condo swimming pool and basketball 1/2 court and in the near future we will also include WiFi.
    Electric is charged extra based on the electric meter but other than that everything is included.

    This is a condo so it is a bit small but certainly comfortable for 2 adults and 1 or 2 children.
    You get the advantage of a walled and gated building site with 24 hour security guards plus the location is great. Just across the street from SM Davao city shopping center.

    If you or your readers are looking for a place feel free to contact us at:
    If we can’t help then we can refer people to our condo caretaker who manages several owners condos and he can generally find available condos.

    Best regards,

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