What is it like to live in Manila?
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Manila is the capital city of the Philippines and like most capital cities, it is highly populated. The city was founded on 1571 during the Spanish era and even up to now, you will notice the Spanish architectures mixed with the modern buildings. It has been the seat of power for most of the country’s colonial rulers and is is home to many historic sites.
Living in Metro Manila
Commonly, when people talk about Manila, they are referring to the metropolitan. And living in the metro has its pros and cons. Sure, the place may be congested and you’ll experience terrible traffic, but all that can be surpassed by the people and the vibe. For example, Filipinos are some of the friendliest people in the world. There’s a reason why Filipinos are known internationally for their hospitality, and that’s just how they are.
Almost everyone speaks in English. You don’t have to worry much about communication barrier because people will most likely be able to converse with you or point you to the right direction. This is true even when taking a cab, tricycle, Jeep or any other mode of public transport. You don’t even have to know how to speak the Filipino language if you want to go around and see places. 95% of the people can speak communicatory English and that’s very convenient.
Shopping Malls are everywhere! There might even be one at the lower floors of the condo building you’re living in. And if they’re not in your building, you’re probably neighbors with one. Don’t be surprised if you’ll see a new one nearby in a few years. It’s intended to rival the last gigantic mall because that’s just how it is in the Philippines.
With Shopping Malls come lots of restaurants and food places. Filipinos love food and you won’t be disappointed with the wide range of choices. The staple is rice so be prepared to see rice meals everywhere. Convenience stores and everything you’ll need in life is also strategically placed near residential areas so you’ll never have to worry about your daily necessities.
One thing you’ll notice is that guards check your bags upon entry on malls, convenience stores, actually, almost everywhere. Oh, and most, if not all, guards are armed. Especially in subdivisions or villages.
As a foreigner, you can’t buy land but you can buy property. Meaning, you can buy a condo or put up a building but you can’t own the land beneath it. You can rent a home for 25 years and then renew it after the contract if it pleases you and the landlord or maybe just rent an apartment
If you wanna settle down here for a long while you’ll most likely end up buying a condo or living in a gated community. You can have domestic helpers because labor is relatively cheap here and you get to be called Ma’am or Sir. In fact, you’ll get called Ma’am or Sir everywhere like in department stores and the like. We’re not usually on first name basis in the Philippines unless you’re really really close and Ma’am and Sir is a sign of respect.
The cost of living is very cheap compared to the US. You might even say you can live like a king or queen here, especially when you convert your dollars over pesos. This means you get to eat better, get access to better stuff and generally live better than most of the population. Plus, Filipinos love foreigners so you’ll probably get special treatment.
Consumerism is also very strong so if you want to put up a business here, with the right kind and strategy, it’s bound to be a sure hit. The Philippines is somewhat Americanized as we’ve had close relationship with the country for a very long time. This also means that almost everything available in the US is available in the Philippines.
Living in the metro gives you the luxury of having everything within reach. With the convenience of being in the center of trade, cheap labor and cheaper cost of living, this is the perfect place to put up a business. The people are good, respectful and hospitable and you get good service so your investment will surely be put to good use.