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It doesn't cost much to fly to the Philippines. Expect to pay $900 or less round trip from Los Angeles or San Francisco. Some members of the "Living in the Philippines" list say you can get flights from LA for as little as $400. These are courier flights, with no baggage allowed. You can find other flights from LA for $600, with advance purchase requirements and other restrictions.
Public transportation is great in Cebu City, a city of about 500,000 hospitable souls. It is not the only great one to live in Baguio, Davao, Iloilo, Bacolod and Baguio. Manila for those who prefer the metropolis is exciting. In Manila are not the same because there taxis are hard to get and they try to make "contracts," rather than go to by the meter, illegal but done more often than not. Her in Cebu City, taxis are air-conditioned, reasonably new, and readily available. In Davao too, they are new and fair, but many are small Korean cars, not air-conditioned.
You can go anywhere in town, here in Cebu, for $2 (U.S.). A long trip to the airport is about $4. Recently I went to visit a friend and my taxi fare was 25 pesos (about 50 U.S. cents). I gave the driver 30 pesos. After I got out of the taxi, the driver chased me so he could return my change. He could not understand why I gave him such a big tip - or any tip, for that matter.