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Living in the Philippines can save you big bucks

Do you have expensive tastes? Moreover, does your spouse, girlfriend, or boyfriend have expensive tastes? Well, hold on, Pilgrim, today’s post “HOW TO DRINK CHAMPAGNE ON A BEER BUDGET IN THE PHILIPPINES” is just for you.

A quick online check of champagne prices in the Philippines reveals that a bottle of the bubbly stuff costs around 6,000 pesos, $120 US dollars. In contrast, you can enjoy a bottle of San Miguel Pilsen beer at your favorite eatery for about 50 pesos, one USD. Moreover, you can buy a bottle of Pilsen at your local market for 35 pesos. Consequently, how can you save money by living in the Philippines and enjoy more of life’s luxuries?

Live Like a Native

Do you know one way to save money in the Philippines? Live a native lifestyle. We’re simple folk in the province. Living a simpler, self-sufficient existence has been our goal the past few years. Moreover, I’m the big spender in our household. While I might have alluded in the past to how frugal (cheap) I am, when it comes to having “comfort” food, I’m the guilty party.

Shopping at S&R in Iloilo City is my downfall. I can pick up “comfort food” galore. Anything from frozen White Castle Burgers to Kraft Macaroni and Cheese.

While I have to dodge annoying questions from screeners at our local wharf before I can travel to Iloilo City, our strict lockdown for COVID-19 almost kept us out of the big city for a month. Despite a Guimaras grocery store jacking up prices from stuff they purchased from S&R our grocery bill went down because I couldn’t purchase any frozen tater tots or Hormel’s Chili with Beans.

The Wife’s Garden and New Chickens Stretch the Budget

My thrifty asawa recently started raising chickens. She only has four, three of them hens. The mother hen is producing about five eggs a week. We eat quite a few eggs at our house. While I don’t know if my spouse’s chicken feed costs outweigh the cost of an egg, we could always feed the chickens minnows.

Tony and Amelia over at “Live Free or Die” have a minnow pond. The minnows feed their chickens. The chickens’ poop serves as fertilizer for the couple’s garden. My wife uses cow manure.

Captain Tom and The Sainted Patient Wife on Poop Patrol

Captain Tom and my lovely asawa collecting cow poop in Guimaras

My hardworking wife also has planted bananas, cashews, lemon, papaya, and mango trees. She has also planted calamansi (lime), okra, peppers, and other fruits and vegetables that stretch our food budget.  

Build a Native Nipa Hut in the Province

We built a nipa hut for my father-in-law. The house, which cost 200,000 pesos, 4,000 US dollars, has a CR, Comfort Room, running water and electricity, a living room and bedroom, and concrete floors. We used wood from coconut trees from a large property my father-in-law owns in Guimaras for the house’s main structure. Furthermore, you could build a nipa hut, made of native materials, even cheaper than ours.

nipa hut in the philippines

Lolo’s nipa hut

Is it fancy? Nope. However, it’s functional. Since my father-in-law is afflicted with Alzheimer’s it’s imperative that he have 24/7 care. Consequently, the house sits right behind our main residence.

Why not have Lolo (Grandpa) live in one of our home’s four bedrooms. Because he likes to carry on noisy conversations with dead relatives all hours of the night. In addition, Lolo doesn’t even like to come into our house. He thinks a local contingent of nuns owns our home.

While we did rent a house from a group of nuns years ago at The Farm” none of the sisters ever visited us. It’s hard to say why Lolo believes Catholic sisters own our abode. Unfortunately, his brain doesn’t function properly. He believes that his oldest son got his oldest sister pregnant. There is no truth to that story. My wife’s sister has passed childbearing age years ago.

The Healer takes Lolos hand

The healer treats Lolo

Buy the Fake Stuff

Last New Year’s Eve, my asawa came home with a couple of bottles of “champagne.” She wanted to celebrate the New Year with a few of our nieces who are of legal drinking age in the Philippines. The nieces who were going to quaff some “champagne” with their “tita,” “auntie,” were older than 18, the minimum legal drinking age in the Philippines.

However, no worries mate. I scrutinized the two bottles of “champagne” my spouse had purchased at a local grocery store in Guimaras, the island province we call home. The bottle was wrapped in shiny foil. The word “champagne” was even on the bottle’s label.  Nevertheless, a close inspection on the label revealed that the “bubbly” was indeed grape juice with some carbonation added to make it fizz.

I pointed that out to the “party-goers” and laughed my butt off.

Live in the Province

It’s cheaper to live in the province versus mega cities like Metro Manila. Let’s look at some cost of living comparisons provided by Numbeo.

Cost of Living Comparison between Manila and Iloilo

You would need around 83,000 pesos, 1,660 US dollars, in Iloilo to maintain the same standard of life that you can have with 130,000 pesos, 2,600 USD in Manila.

Consumer Prices in Iloilo are 12.31% lower than in Manila

Consumer Prices Including Rent in Iloilo is 36.09% lower than in Manila

Rent Prices in Iloilo are 80.11% lower than in Manila

Restaurant Prices in Iloilo are 23.04% lower than in Manila

Groceries Prices in Iloilo are 15.72% lower than in Manila

Iloilo City is about a 15-minute pump boat ride from our Jordan Wharf in Guimaras. Iloilo City has a population of about 448,000 people. It has major shopping centers compared to tiny Guimaras that has stores whose aisles I can barely pass through.

Of course, Metro Manila offers a far greater array of shopping venues, but its population of almost 13 million people is too much for a small town guy like me.

Consequently, “HOW TO DRINK CHAMPAGNE ON A BEER BUDGET IN THE PHILIPPINES” can become a reality in the province. Just keep away from the KTV bars.

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