The Best Places to Live in the Philippines

The Philippines are a safe, green and, sometimes, temperate place, making them ideal if you're looking to relocate
The Philippines are a safe, green and, sometimes, temperate place, making them ideal if you're looking to relocate | © Jason Langley / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Ronica Valdeavilla
Writer30 July 2021

An archipelago with more than 7,000 islands, each spot in the Philippines has salient features that make it a must-see, either for tourists or locals. Whether it’s because of the peaceful ambience, an array of gorgeous white-sand beaches, or a cooler climate, you just might consider moving to one of these places in this Pacific country.

Baguio City

Architectural Landmark
Map View
Elk136-1407 Philippines Luzon Baguio view of town
© John Elk III / Alamy Stock Photo

The City of Pines (also known as the Summer Capital) has a cooler climate compared to the majority of provinces in the Philippines. Because of that, fruits and vegetables are always fresh and you won’t overheat walking from one spot to the next. Such temperate weather seemingly puts residents into a good mood at all times. While heavy traffic builds up every now and then, Baguio City still has charm, a laid-back atmosphere, art scenes and stunning natural attractions.

Tagaytay City

Natural Feature
Map View
skyline view around Tagaytay city Hightland at the day, Philippines
© White Lace Photography / Alamy Stock Photo

When it comes to spur-of-the-moment, out-of-town trips, Tagaytay is always a top choice. That’s because it doesn’t even take two hours to get here from the Philippines’ capital, Manila. Whether it’s a trip with the significant other or a group of friends, or a holiday with the whole family, the leisure and outdoor activities won’t disappoint. Plus, the majority of the land area is green, thick smog is nowhere to be found and the breathtaking view of Taal Lake will always leave you in awe.

Lipa City, Batangas

Architectural Landmark
Map View

If you’re a beach bum who loves peace and quiet, you’ll never get enough of the province of Batangas. Whether you’re after fine white sand or rocky shores, it has various beach resorts for solitude-seekers. The province also caters to newbie hikers and climbers, thanks to the walking and mountain-climbing opportunities. If you’re considering a move here, Lipa City is a top choice, especially among retirees, because of a cooler climate and ideal location; it’s close to nature while only being a stone’s throw from Manila.

Santa Rosa City, Laguna

Architectural Landmark, Historical Landmark
Map View

Laguna is home to various historical spots, nature parks, hot springs and a popular theme park called Enchanted Kingdom. So, if you’re someone who’s looking to move somewhere green yet modern, the booming Santa Rosa City is a perfect choice. What was once a vast field has developed into a conducive, family-friendly environment; open spaces and rich natural surroundings are accompanied by generous shopping spaces.

Subic, Zambales

Architectural Landmark, Natural Feature
Map View
Subic Bay Boardwalk in Philippines
© Catherine Lagunday / Alamy Stock Photo

A former US naval base, Subic has become popular among adventure-seekers because of thrilling rides, diving areas for shipwrecks and coral species, and wondrous beaches. The area is also a sought-after residential spot, offering both rural and urban living. Even though it’s four hours away from Manila, it has unique shopping and dining options. Plus, the best part is that you can drive around safely, because traffic rules are strictly implemented.

Makati City

Architectural Landmark
Map View

Despite being amidst the horrendous Manila traffic, business hub Makati City is a standout in the National Capital Region. Top-quality condominiums are available, convenient if you work in the area and prefer to enjoy the city life. Plus, Makati’s government is known to strictly implement security and traffic rules that guarantee overall safety.

Cebu City

Architectural Landmark
Map View
South East Asia,Philippines,Metro Cebu,Cebu City,Ayala Center and IT Business Park
© Darren Galpin / Alamy Stock Photo

The Visayas Region’s main business hub, Cebu boasts the perfect combination of urban and natural attractions. You can easily immerse yourself in good food, entertainment, rich culture and world-class beaches, such as those in Malapascua, Sumilon and Bantayan. It’s the location of the grand Sinulog Festival, plus there’s a number of growing industries for those of you seeking career opportunities. In addition, Cebuanos are regarded as accommodating and welcoming people.

Bacolod City

Architectural Landmark
Map View

In 2017, Bacolod City was dubbed the Philippines’ best place to live. This comes as no surprise; it offers the amenities of a highly urbanised city but better. There’s a cleaner and greener environment, an absence of traffic woes and a lower cost of living. It’s also home to the most delectable cuisine around; the restaurants and pastry shops give you a taste of how sweet life can be within the Sugar Bowl Capital. Bacolod is sometimes known as the City of Smiles, and that’s because the charming locals are always warm and hospitable.

Iloilo City

Architectural Landmark
Map View
Leon, Iloilo, Philippines: Teenage boy riding a bike in front of a green colored pavilion at the town plaza park in summer time
© Michael Wels / Alamy Stock Photo

Iloilo City is the jewel of the Western Visayas. This close neighbour of Bacolod City is home to genuinely kind people and has a highly urbanised setting while fostering a relaxed atmosphere with very few traffic jams. Furthermore, it has bike-friendly lanes, an esplanade ideal for late-afternoon walks and heavenly seafood restaurants. Enjoy the Dinagyang Festival (the city’s biggest cultural festival), while opportunities for hitting the beaches and island-hopping are close, since Iloilo’s near the islands of Boracay and Guimaras.

Davao City

Architectural Landmark
Map View

Davao City is among the most liveable and safest cities in the world, primarily because of a low crime rate thanks to a strict local government. Plus – since Davao City is easily accessible via land, sea or air travel – it’s no wonder that it’s become a business hub in the southern Philippines. An incredibly quickly developing city, the public utilities and infrastructures here are always well-maintained.

These recommendations were updated on July 30, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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