Can you really retire on $500 USD Month in the Philippines

In this report, Gio answers the question, “Can you really retire on $500 USD Month in the Philippines?”

In this above video, Gio talks about a documentary he just released.  Well, here it is, “Snapshots of Sogod-Falling in Love with the Philippines.”  

Gio’s Cost of Living in the Philippines


$100 Month (fixer-upper)


$16 USD Month


$0 (well water)


$0 (cooks with electricity)


$25 USD Month


$6 USD Month


$80 USD Month


$30 USD Month (Once per week)


$5 USD Month

Visa Fees

$25 USD Month



Total Expenses:

$287 Month

Gio explains how he was living on as little as $200 USD per month when he first arrived in the Philippines in 2018, but now he is averaging about $500 a month. Before moving here in 2018, Gio did several exploratory visits to make sure it felt right and affordable for him.

What does he love most about living in the Philippines? First, he loves the Philippine people. Second, he loves the beautiful scenery. Third, he loves the weather. He had a harder time making friends in New York where he moved here from. He tried living in Spain too but didn’t like how the people lived mostly inside. He likes people and how he can easily meet people in the Philippines because they are all outside enjoying life.

What does he like least? He is a positive person and doesn’t focus on negativity. He has noticed that some USA ex-pats constantly complain about all the turmoil happening in the USA. He is aware of the troubles in the USA, but he doesn’t talk or complain about that. He is too busy enjoying the Philippines.

What is your rent Gio? He pays $100 USD per month but it is a bit of a fixer-upper. It is so cheap because he is so far out in the country, 30 minutes outside Sogod in Southern Leyte in the Philippines. It is a beautiful area but not many ex-pats know about it so rents remain fairly cheap.

What is your electricity bill? $16 USD Month. He is adjusted to the Philippine way of life.

Water is Free. He has a well in the backyard that he pumps with an electric pump.

What is gas per month? We cook with electricity so gas is zero.

Internet is $25 USD a month. He will buy Elon Musk’s Starlink Internet as soon as it is available at $100 per month.

What do you spend on local transportation? The average cost per month is $6 USD per month. The bus to Sogod is $1.12 USD round trip.

Groceries per month? 4000 Pesos is $80 USD on average per month for groceries.

How much do you spend in restaurants per month? $3.25 USD per person, once a week is $30 USD per month average.

Do you have health care? No. If he needs serious medical care he will return to the USA for that.

How much do you spend on bottled drinking water? About $5 USD per month for filtered drinking water.

What are you averaging per month, all in for the cost of living in the Philippines? I am averaging about $500 USD per month for everything.

What sort of films are you making? We are making documentary films. The first one will be about at the time this interview publishes on Youtube. He is creating the films with his android phone. No other cameras, no microphones. He will show his films on his YouTube channel.

Do you have a background in documentary filmmaking? Yes, I was working under Jason DaSilva in New York City. 

What kind of movies will you make? Educational. But I don’t want to just be educational, I want to integrate my story into this film, such as how did I start, where was I in the middle, and where did I end up. So they are burning the candle at both ends they are so excited about movie-making. Gio is really excited about teaching his assistant what Jason DaSilva taught him.

How are you finding cheap places to live in the Philippines? You have to go on foot and meet people. Look for signs. Walk the neighborhoods you love. Many people are shy in the smaller towns so you have to strike up the conversation.

Do you have a love interest presently? He doesn’t have presently have a love interest, but he is open to meeting a quality person.

What do you do for fun in the Philippines other than film making? We do film making for fun. It is really a hobby. When someone says they are working, they are probably doing something they don’t enjoy. But when it comes to film making, we love it. If you love something is not work.

Do you feel safe living in the Philippines? I feel extremely safe here. Nobody I know of here locks their door at night except me. I feel extremely safe. This is a very safe community in the Philippines. When we talk about communities in the Philippines, we are talking about families that all live near each other. It is a very tribal place. I feel like they have adopted me as family.

What type of Visa do you have and what is the cost and renewal period. I just have a tourist visa and I renew it once every 6 months. I get a 6-month extension about twice a year for $150 USD. It is about $300 per year. Just do the tourist visa and start getting extensions once you get here.

If you knew what you know now, would you do anything different when you arrive in the Philippines? Yes, I would have avoided pursuing a relationship online before arriving. People online are looking for something else like a green card. Just wait until you get here and then date around.

What advice do you have for people thinking of living this lifestyle? Just go and travel around until you find a place that feels like home for you. I am not a big fan of cities, but here in the countryside, they are friendly. I say hello to people first. Say hello first and they will be friendly back to you.

Are you happy? I am happier than I have ever been in my life. I have no plans of ever leaving. It is a beautiful place which is very important to me as an artist. I am surrounded by beautiful nature.

Thus, Gio explains where he has been able to retire early on $500 USD per month in the Philippines. He has done it 30 minutes outside the town of Sogod in Southern Lyte in the Philippines.

Thanks for reading Gio’s explanation of where can you retire early on $500 USD Month in the Philippines.

Make sure to get a free copy of my eBook: How I Fired My Boss and Traveled the World for 14+ years.  

This is Dan of Vagabond Awake, the YouTube Channel for  The world is your home.  What time will you be home for dinner?  

4 thoughts on “Can you really retire on $500 USD Month in the Philippines”

  1. Hi, what kind OF documentary films is he doing? i a.m interested ni watching some OF his works. Especially about life ni my country. I am from Angeles City, I want to know the perspective of foreigners living ni rural area.

  2. That was Gio in the above video that signed up for Starlink. He does respond to most questions in the comments below the video. Try leaving this question there. Thanks for watching and reading Donald! Best, Dan

  3. Hello
    You have mentioned about Starlink you signed up. I’m quite interested since i can’t find the answer. The availability of the connection starts 2022, but then we have to pay a monthly of $99/month and the kit which cost $400 plus. How does this deal works if it starts 2022 and paying the monthly starts as soon as you received the kits delivered to your code plus area? I was directed to pay upfront like you said of $99 but I’m kinda confused since it will do start 2022. What does that mean? Why do I have to pay 99 if it were to start 2022?

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