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Making A Living In The Philippines

Ever wondered how you could make a living in a tropical paradise

Thousands of people from around the world visit the Philippines and fall in love with the relaxed life style and tropical climate. Many start to think about escaping their dreary 9-5 lives back home and being able to live in the Philippines.

Unless you already have a nice pension or other secure retirement income to fall back on, living in the Philippines full time when you still need to make a living can be problematic to say the least! Even a tropical paradise in a third world country costs money. Food, accommodation, transportation, entertainment, medical… It all adds up even when the cost of living might be half what you face back home.

The Philippines export 8 million of their citizens around the world every year to bring home the ‘remittances’ that keep this economy afloat. Jobs here are protected for citizens by Law! You can’t even run your own business doing just anything you choose because there are laws and limits on what you can and can’t do!

There are many international corporations that employ non Filipinos mostly in senior management roles or those with highly specialised technical skills. If you are not a senior manager or do not have specialised technical skills that are in demand then you are forced to compete directly with Filipinos and often for much lower rates of pay than you would get back home for the equivalent work. .

Over twenty years ago I was told that there is a sure way to come away from the Philippines with a small fortune…that is to bring a big fortune there in the first place. There is a bitter truth to this and I wish I had a peso for every foreigner who started a business only to end up broke after only a year or so defeated by the culture they did not understand and a system that does not look favourably at foreigners competing in their market. This is not to say it can’t be done. Only that you really need to do your home work and spend the time to learn about the culture.


The costs associated with setting up and running a business in the Philippines are a fraction of what they are back home and this makes it an attractive alternative to trying to find a job but there are restrictions on foreign ownership of business with a requirement that the majority be owned by a Filipino citizen. There are ways to structure your business to protect your capital from being taken by the business partner the law forced you to have should that relationship sour for any reason.


When planning to set up a business the first thing you need to do is identify your target market. If you plan to operate within the Philippines economy then you need to decide which segment of the population you will target. One of the most common mistake people make is having an arrogant belief they can do something better or an assumption that they have something the local market will want. Most Filipinos are very price sensitive will often choose the cheapest option without regard to quality or value for money.  You might have something that will last 2 or 3 times longer and is only 20% more expensive and will struggle to sell it.


If you plan to target overseas markets and take advantage of the lower cost of infrastructure and labour you have the advantage of earning dollars selling goods or services into more affluent overseas markets and only paying out pesos. You will still need to deal with government regulations, local suppliers and managing employees.


If you don’t want the hassle of setting up and running your own business then you can invest is someone else’s. This is an area where you need to exercise the greatest caution. There are real investment opportunities in the Philippines but there are also even more scammers ready to fleece you and not all the scammers are Filipino.  There are plenty of foreigners living in the Philippines that survive by scamming newcomers out of their savings.

Investment Philippines

  • What it is really like to find a job in the Philippines
  • How To Start Your Own Small Business
  • How To Choose A Small Business That Will Succeed
  • What Are The Most Likely Risks You Will Face – and there are plenty!
  • Can I work Here and Live There? Plenty do!
  • Can I earn Offshore, Say On The Internet? I did!
  • And so Much More

Join our community to discover what you need to know to find work, setup a business or invest in the Philippines and use our FREE boards to search for jobs, find businesses for sale and explore business opportunities