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Actually living costs vary from family to family and province to province and lifestyle to lifestyle.
A filipino family of four can survive in rural Mindanao on 8, 000 pesos a month living "day to day" for food, which is mainly fish and rice, sleeping in a nipa hut, using coconut charcoal to cook with and no money left over for kids school or medicine and candles at night to light and walking for transportation.
That same lifestyle for a family of four will cost 10,000 pesos per month in Cebu and 12,500 pesos per month in Luzon.
Throw in a two bedroom concrete home with electric and running water, propane to cook with, a comfortable bed to sleep in for the family, proper schooling and medical for the kids, small car for transportation and this will cost approximately 28,000/month in Mindanao, 30,000/month in Cebu and 35,000/month in Luzon.
Throw in a few movies a month, one weekend a month at the beach, one night out a week at the mall, newspapers, medicine for the retired American and one hour internet access per day, minor savings account, and your monthly costs increase close to the $1000 per month for a family of four. So I hope this clears up why a retired American with a family of four needs about $1000 per month acceptable lifestyle needs for the family.
Living in the Province (Cost of Living) by a Filipina not now in the Philippines, but missing it three meals a day is a goal to those who are very desperate especially in big cities in Manila. You can see a lot of squatters and beggars and all other sad pictures. Actually most of them came from the province seeking their luck in Manila and something happens like lose their jobs and cannot find another job because of the lack of job opportunities so they cannot pay rent anymore and ended up squatting and even marrying and having lots of children: (and now it is even harder to go back to the province because of the traveling expenses especially if they are just trying to feed the family 3x a day. It is really desperate to see it and even me as a Filipino cannot understand how people could leave the life in the province where there is much cleaner air and freshest food there is. I have lived all over the Philippines, but personally I will not trade it off in the city life where it is always seem chaotic. They said that life in the province is boring. Yes it is. But it is you who will make your day. We make the action there and maybe we are just easy to please. Life is simpler and pleasant and healthy. However, there is not a lot of jobs available there, but when I was living with my grandparents along with my two other cousins they don't have a fixed income, but we seem to have always good meals and varieties of good food. We go to the market and buy fish that are still swimming and shrimps jumping on the counter and crabs still trying to get away from the bundle. Vegetables are always green and crisp, but we grow our own garden so we pick it from there.
Our entertainment is gathering in a shed especially after dinner when it's cooler and having dim lights on and just spend time sharing jokes and stories and just conversation or sometimes just listening to some music and there is always laughter there and its real laughter. Free from the worries of the world. Sometimes there are programs sponsored by schools or the municipality and they have it on a plaza if it is free and if they charge tickets they have it in a gymnasium or a building complex On the weekends we try to go to places like beach, natural waterfalls (forest) or swimming pools. We have natural and artificial. If anyone have been to "Tuburan" that is my favorite place. It is a natural pool in a hilly forest location where the water comes from under the ground endlessly and then it flows like falls down to the lower area. So the water just keeps coming and going and its crystal clear and always clean no matter how many people are there. I have fun memories in the province and at some point I will be back to live there and share those places with my husband. Going to these places almost cost nothing so it makes it even better.
However, when I graduated I joined my mom in Cavite and started hunting for jobs. There are a lot of big industrial parks in Cavite and I started applying jobs there. I worked in the factories of garments, electrical and cable accessories and different other factories. They always have a contract and usually it is six months and then they decide whether to retain you or not. They don't care and could fire you easily because there are hundreds applications waiting to be approved. I was even fired by being 10 minutes late and it just happens after I have been working there for five months and I was sick that day, but still insisted I'll be fine. I feel bad because I worked hard like a dog and worked overtime when they needed me and do my duty more than what it calls for. We were made to memorize the vision-mission statement of the company and their mission is full of pledge to take care of employee's well-being and giving them a dignified way of living and honorable treatment, but it was all about how to impress the evaluators who come and visit companies whether they are doing the standard rules and procedures and to be able to be in the internationally accredited level company. But I'm not the only one, who knows how many more of us were treated like that. Almost all companies require college graduates so when I passed the test I thought I will be assigned to a job related to my course, but I was not and I asked a lady who is a worker there for quite a long time she said that we need to start at the bottom and so when I decided to go for it I discovered that everybody were degrees holders.
Well after I was out there and look for another job, this time I want to make sure I will work to a place where I could use my knowledge and honed my skills, we were interviewed three times and three exams in one day and in one job position there are like hundreds applying for it. And lucky if you got admitted immediately because some of them have more experience than the young and inexperienced graduates unless they have a very strong "backer". I keep looking and eventually I found the right job for me and I was contented with it because I like my boss and my co-workers. It was not a good paying job, but at least I have a job and it will get me started. What is really important is the "now and today" and worry about tomorrow. We have no house there so we pay the rent and the bills, etc. We have to watch what we buy and food has limits and sometimes the food we like we could not even get because it not fit the budget anymore. Unlike in the province, food is cheap and no house rents. Water is almost free P30/month unlimited use and electric is not that much.
But you cannot have both worlds. You have to choose one and decide where you are happier.
By: Mrs Mike