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The Philippines is an archipelago in Southeast Asia, located in the western Pacific Ocean. This island country consists of 7,640 islands that lie about 800 kilometers off the coast of Vietnam. The country was a Spanish colony for over three centuries and named after King Phillip II of Spain. It was then taken over by the US late in 1898 and the country gained its independence in 1946. The influences of both Spain and the US remain strong in the country, particularly in terms of language, religion, and government. Visitors can also see the Spanish and US influences in the country’s architecture, particularly in Manila.
Due to the Philippines’ recent economic boom and relatively low cost of living, the country welcomes an ever-increasing number of expatriates. As a result, the demand for housing is high and the property market is steadily increasing, making the country a lucrative real estate market for foreign investors.
Learn more about the Philippines condo market through trends and average prices.
Although the Philippines is made up of more than 7,000 islands, most its growing population lives on just 11 of them. The country is home to 110 million people, making it the 12th most populous country in the world. About 12 million of the population live in Metro Manila. It is the national capital region of the country that is composed of 16 cities, including the city of Manila, Quezon City, and Makati. Metro Manila serves as the center of economy, education, government, and culture within the country.
The city of Manila is very popular among tourists as visitors can witness its rich historical heritage, such as Casa Manila, Fort Santiago, and Malacañang Palace. It also has some of the best museums in Southeast Asia, such as the Museum of the Filipino People and Museo Pambata. Other cities in Metro Manila, particularly Quezon City and Makati, are very popular among expats.
Besides Metro Manila, Cebu City is also frequented by international visitors. It is the oldest city in the Philippines that has transformed into a modern metropolis. This city combines its historical heritage with glamorous restaurants, buzzing nightlife scene, and a modern urban skyline, all set in a lush natural environment. Some of the most popular attractions are Fort San Pedro, Colon Street, Cebu Provincial Museum, and Casa Gorordo Museum. However, most people come to Cebu City as their jumping-off point to visit its surrounding small islands, such as the island Olango, which is an ideal spot to snorkel and bird-watching.
With new projects constantly being developed in the Philippines, investors now have plenty of options to choose from. Condos in the Philippines can be divided into two main types: low-rise and high-rise. High-rise condos are usually located in the best locations, such as the business districts, and offer beautiful city views, while low-rise condos normally offer a more exclusive community feel with spacious rooms. Both can offer swimming pools, gyms, 24-hour security, and clubhouses.
The average size of condo units in the country is less than 50 square kilometers. The type of units, range from a studio room, one to three bedrooms, loft, split-level, and penthouses. The studio room is normally the smallest, with an open plan room that serves as the bedroom, dining room/kitchen, and living room. Some studio rooms can be as small as 16 square meters. Loft and split-level units have multi-levels. Loft rooms have high ceilings, where the bedroom is usually located in the upper room, while the split-level is very similar to a traditional two-story home. The penthouse is the biggest type of unit, which can be found on the top of a condo and are typically the most expensive.
Besides the size, buyers can also choose between off-plan or completed condo. Buying off-plan means buying the condo before any structure is developed or before the condo is finished being built.
The Philippines is one of the most affordable countries to live in. Just like most countries in Southeast Asia, foreigners coming from western countries can typically live comfortably with a mid-level salary. Those who are on a budget can easily rely on the country’s delicious and affordable street food, and get around with jeepney or MRT.
The official currency used in the Philippines is the Philippine Peso. US$1 converts to around ₱49.10. In some areas, particularly tourist areas, US dollars are usually accepted to pay for goods and services. Since ATMs that accept international cards are only available in major cities, it is advisable that you bring some cash before traveling to more rural areas. Credit cards are only accepted in major cities as well.
The people living in the Philippines enjoys a tropical climate, with warm weather all year round. Although the climate can be slightly different in each region, there are generally two seasons in the country: dry and rainy. The rainy season lasts from June to November, is prone to typhoons. The hot season lasts from December to May, and the temperatures can get as high as 40°C.
Filipinos are known to be very friendly and welcoming and they are also religious, with around 92% of the population adhere to Christianity. While Christianity is the biggest religion, the population is free to follow any faiths and Islam is the largest minor religion in the country.
Long Stay Visitor Visa allows foreigners to stay in the country for an extended period of time. This type of visa has a maximum length of 16 months but must be reapplied for up to 6 months at a time. Permanent visas are also available, which can be obtained using proof of income or funds.