A recent study revealed that the capital of the Philippines, Manila, is third most expensive cities to live in in six Southeast Asian countries even though its residents have the lowest average salary across the region. 

iPrice, an e-commerce aggregator, found out that the monthly cost of living in Manila is set at P50,800 for a single person monthly, and P28,800 excluding rent. 

The amount is slightly lower than Bangkok, Thailand’s P51,517 and Singapore’s P119,732, the highest in the region.

The combined price of rent, food, transportation, utilities, etc. of Filipinos living in Manila surpassed its ASEAN neighbors with a “comparable economic state.” Jakarta, Indonesia has a monthly cost of living or P41,026, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam with P39,608, and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia P38,314 which is 24 percent, 28 percent, and 33 percent respectively lower than Manila’s

The average salary in Manila is estimated at P18,900 per month, which is the lowest recorded estimated average net salary compared to the other cities.

The research indicated rent drains a large chunk of a Filipino’s budget. According to the gathered data, Manila has the second most expensive rental rate among the six cities, right after Singapore.

According to iPrice, a one-bedroom in Manila is 56% higher than in Kuala Lumpur; 47% higher than in Jakarta; 31% higher than Ho Chi Minh; and 9% higher than Bangkok. 

iPrice said “It comes as no surprise that about 35 percent of Metro Manila’s population is reported to live in unstable, badly constructed shelters in the slums, and 11 percent of these reside near railroads or garbage dumps” since the average cost of living is “168% higher than the average salary.”

“This leaves you wondering what other things Manila residents need to bear with given the high costs and low wages,” iPrice said in its writeup.

“Perhaps leisure expenses or take-outs are kept to a minimum or aren’t enjoyed at all. This, along with Manila having the second-worst traffic in the world, gives you an idea of its residents’ quality of life,” it added.

In 2018, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said a typical Filipino family of five needs a monthly income of P42,000 to live “decently.” Ronald dela Cruz