Everything You Need to Know About Living in the Philippines
10/11/2021 | By Marella Gimenez
With the bustling cities, beautiful environment, and low cost of living, foreigners have shown their interest in the Philippines. Apart from that, the country has an English-speaking population. There is little to no barrier in communicating.
But did you know that its people are also known for their hospitality and friendliness? It is not difficult to get along with Filipinos even when their culture is diverse among the rest of the world. It is undeniably more fun in the Philippines as you embrace and travel around the country. Most importantly, it has a growing economy, making it suitable for businesses.
If you are thinking about moving to the Philippines, we will share with you the requirements in traveling to the Philippines and how life there is.
Before You Move: Travel Requirements to Philippines
When traveling or moving to the Philippines, entrants should meet all the requirements established by the government. Although most foreigners are not required to apply for a visa for short-term stay, they should still bring documents necessary for traveling. Keep this guide in mind.
Entry Requirements (with considerations to the current pandemic)
Documents You Need to Bring
- Valid Passport
- Roundtrip Flight Itinerary
- Hotel Bookings
- Identification Card (Company or School ID)
- Proof of Financial Capacity
Belongings that You Shouldn’t Bring
If you are traveling or moving in the Philippines, you must take note of the following items that you should not bring.
- Marijuana, Cocaine, Narcotics, or Synthetic Drugs
- Firearms and Explosives
- Gun Replicas
- Misbranded Articles of Food or Drugs
- Gambling Outfits and Paraphernalia
- Used Clothing and Rags under R.A. 4653
- Imitation Products that violates Intellectual Property Rights
Remember that regardless of vaccination status, testing and quarantine protocols, passengers from outside Philippines must have a mandatory quarantine for 14 days and mandatory RT-PCR testing to be done on Day 7 of quarantine.
Visas & Work Permits
Types of Visa
There are various types of visas to enter the Philippines. It includes:
- Temporary Visitor’s Visa for Business Purposes
- International Treaty Trader / Investor
- Special Non-Immigrant Visa Under E.O. 226
- Alien Employment Permit (AEP)
- 9(g) Pre-Arranged Employee Commercial Visa
- Provisional Work Permit
- Special Work Permit
If a foreigner will stay and live in the Philippines as an employee, they will need to obtain an Alien Employment Permit. With that the employee should submit the following documents:
- A completed application form
- The employment contract and any related documents
- A copy of the employee’s passport along with a valid visa
- A copy of the business permit
How long it usually takes for visas to get approved
Usually, if the requirements and documents are complete, it only takes between two to ten working days to process a visa. Moreover, it also depends on the Embassy and Consulate. Use this guide to help you accomplish your requirements quickly.
Validity of each visa
Most nationalities can enter the country visa-free for short-term stays. If the visitors will not be involved in carrying out remunerated activities, they can enjoy their short-term stay in the Philippines. You can acquire a travel permit online or request a traditional visa through a travel agency or embassy.
A long-term visa can last from six months to three years depending on the type of visa you applied for. It also depends on the duration of the work contract.
Life in the Philippines
Cost of living
The cost of living in the Philippines is very low compared to other countries. Foreigners can live permanently here because the necessities and housing are relatively low.
Buying or Renting a Property Tax
Buying or renting a property depends on the needs of a person. The lifestyle, type of work, age, and family size are needed to be considered when choosing between the two. While expats cannot own land, they can buy or rent a condo. That is why most expats decide to rent or own a condominium in Manila because of its accessibility. Buying a property also includes Real Property Tax to be paid every year to LGUs.
Accepted Cards / Banking
Expats can choose amongst national banks such as Philippine National Bank, Metrobank and Bank of the Philippine Islands. They can also select international institutions such as Citibank, Bank of America and HBSC.
Philippine culture has always been a blend of the westerners and the Asian traditions. Norms, language, festivals, way of living, religions or beliefs have been associated with the foreign colonizers. Cultures are distinctly similar at some point but are very different at some aspects. If you will live in the Philippines permanently, you can easily get used to their culture.
Filipino local foods are undeniably world-class. The famous chicken adobo to sticky kalamay to the crunchy lumpiang shanghai are well-known as a pinoy specialty. A distinct sweet taste present on every dish welcomes anyone (not just pinoys) and makes them feel the warmth of home.
The official languages that are used in the country is Filipino (also referred as Tagalog) and English. After years of colonization and finding opportunities abroad, Filipinos adapt in speaking English making them one of the Asian countries who has competitive English-speaking skills. Typical Filipinos often used “Taglish” (mixture of Tagalog and English) in their daily lives as a result of being proficient in both languages.
The Philippines is located near the Earth’s equator which explains its weather, a tropical one. Tropical weather conditions only experience two climates: hot and humid. Since it is near the Pacific Ocean that forms tropical cyclones, the Philippines experiences an average of twenty storms and typhoons per year. Some of these bring casualties to locals.
For the past decades, the Philippines has been investing in newer and economic-wise transportations. Metro-rail transit (MRT), Light Rail Transit (LRT) and the ongoing project for the first subway are some of the major transport systems of the country. Various roads and bridges infrastructures are being developed to ease traffic congestions especially on the Metro. Although it is noticeable that the country is adapting slower than its neighboring countries, Filipinos created transport vehicles such as Tricycles and Jeepneys that are unique to the country and are very budget- friendly.
Negatively speaking, Philippine safety system lacks preparedness and consistency. In the recent research ranking for the safest countries in the world, the Philippines came last. According to the global index, the Philippines is described as a country with a “serious civil conflict that has high risks from a natural disaster.” With the ongoing war on drugs campaign of the government, terrorist group attacks and destructive calamities that are being funded poorly, the rank is already expected by some of the locals.
Filipinos are known for producing world-renowned icons such as Manny Pacquiao, a famous professional boxer of all-time. Pacquiao’s every match is much awaited by the country even affecting zero crime rates during the time of the match.
Aside from sports, Filipinos also find entertainment in pageantry. The Philippines has been known as a beauty pageant powerhouse after producing numerous winners from the four major beauty pageants of the world. Filipinos give all out support to every delegate representing the country.
The Philippines is one of the tourist destinations for the western travelers. The beaches whose sand is as white and as pure as powder that provides scenic sunrise and sunset. The hundred-year colonization is also reflected on the tourist spots which elaborates the richness of the country’s history. Above all the best destinations, it is the hospitality and service of the Filipinos that makes them enjoy their stay.
The Business Arena
How Philippines adapt to the Pandemic
Since the start of the pandemic, many business establishments are forced to shut down for reasons such as incapable of bringing service or a very low profit. The Philippine economy reached the rock bottom after huge financial losses. Yet, Filipino businessmen were always innovative and not afraid to take the risk. They adapted to the technology and catered to the demands of the market.
Philippines as a top outsourcing destination and trend of co-working space
A booming outsourcing industry in the Philippines also created employment opportunities for Filipinos. The job doesn’t require an excellent educational attainment, it just needs good communication skills and a talent to multitask. The Philippines will undoubtedly be recognized in this industry as many Filipinos who work here provide excellence and competency.
Due to the pandemic, companies allowed their employees to accomplish their job at home. But while Manila and other business districts adjust from the effects of coronavirus, businesses are slowly transitioning into hybrid co-working space.
Major/Strongest Business Districts
If you are an expat looking for a place to invest and thrive, Metro Manila such as Makati, BGC, Ortigas, and MOA is a good place. Aside from that, there are urban places outside Manila that are continuously booming. This includes Iloilo, Cebu, and Pampanga. You can find multiple local and international corporations around these places.
Pros & Cons of Living in the Philippines
Most expats recognize the hospitality and friendliness of Filipinos. And, the cost of living is relatively low. Moreover, Filipinos can communicate well in English, making it easier for expats to live in any part of the Philippines.
One of the disadvantages of living in Manila, Visayas, and other parts of the country is that they cannot own a property. Foreigners can only buy a condominium. Plus, there is a foreigners tax that can be frustrating for some.
Taking the Big Step
Moving in the Philippines can be challenging due to the document and requirement processes. But with enough preparation, proper research, and the right resources, anyone can find comfort living in the Philippines.
If you are planning to stay and build business here in the Philippines, you can encounter challenges regarding properties and taxes for your company. Fortunately, KMC Solutions can guide you every step of the way. KMC can also be found in different places within the country. Establishing coworking space in the Philippines won’t be a problem through their help.In a country with a diverse culture and growing economy, living in the Philippines can be exciting and thrilling.