Retire early $966 USD Month Baguio City Philippines

In this report, I detail how I may be able to Retire early $966 USD Month Baguio City Philippines.

My name is Dan and I have traveled all over the world for the last 15+ years looking for the best place to retire cheap in paradise. I have over 200 reports on that share what I have learned living overseas in 67 different countries during that time.

We also have reports that compare retirement in various places around the world. For example, about once a year, I do a video labeled something like Best Retire Early Cheap Places in Entire World in 2022.

When we update our future best of retire cheap videos in a few months, you can probably safely assume that Baguio is going to start showing up in one or more of those comparison videos.

You see, Baguio has some qualities that you will not see in many other parts of the Philippines. So in the future, we’ll be ranking Baguio as one of the better places to retire in the Philippines for 2023.

One of the first things you will notice about Baguio is that it is never too hot or too cold there. It is a mile high in the sky so it has moderate highland temperatures. The next thing you will notice is the green and beautiful central area of Baguio.

The sidewalks are well maintained, and there are plants growing everywhere which are maintained by Baguio City year round. There is a very large central park full of manicured grass and picnic tables with a lake full of paddle boats you can enjoy with your family and friends.

It also is one of the creative cities in the Philippines, with college students dressing up in Japanese Anima costumes walking around and drawing chalk characters on Session Road when it is closed to automobiles on Sundays.

But that is just the beginning. There also seems to be a never-ending set of things to do and events to attend along with domestic and international foods to try all over Baguio. So keep reading if any of this sounds interesting to you!

I did another video last week called My First Impressions of Baguio City in the Philippines. Make sure to watch that too.  That video covers many of the interesting things to do in central Baguio City. 

Our Favorite Markets and Restaurants in Baguio City Philippines


Baguio City (Wet & Dry) Public Market: This is where we bought fruits, vegetables, rice, tofu, meats, fish, and other perishable foods. They also have clothing, shoes, and home products in and around this market. You can save money by buying here especially if you have negotiation skills. The best prices are never at the front of public markets. You have to get deep into the bowls of the market to get the best deals. The cool weather yields fresher fruits and vegetables for two reasons. First, many of the farms are in the hills north of Baguio so you are closer to the food source. Second, because it is much cooler a mile high in the sky, everything stays fresher because it is not down in the heat experienced at sea level. Buy everything you possibly can at this open-air market because the following ex-pat grocery stores are easily 10 to 30% more expensive.

SM Supermarket: This is a large ex-pat-style grocery store inside SM City Baguio. Anything you are unable to find in the above public market you are likely to find here generally at a higher price assuming you are paying market prices above.

Robinsons Grocery Store: This is a smaller ex-pat style grocery store on Sessions

SM City Baguio: This is a relatively large mall in Baguio right at one end of Session Street. It has restaurants, clothing stores, an electronics area, and a rooftop walking area. The rooftop walking area, along with Sessions Road, is where to see and be seen in Baguio.

Night Market: Baguio is a larger college town. There are three things you will usually find in large college towns all over the world. First, is cheap street food. This night market has a great assortment of street food at prices that college students can afford. Second, is used clothing stores where students can swap their old clothes for new clothes. There is an amazing assortment of cheap clothes in the night market. Third, is fun stuff to do including arts and music. The arts and music are in the next market.

Sessions Road Street Scene: The city closes Sessions Road on Sundays so people can share their creativity for arts, crafts, music, and food. They close the road from 7 AM to 7 PM so people can walk around sharing their creativity without worrying about getting run over by a car.


Our favorites tend to be near the top of this list. 

Heaven On Earth Vegetarian Center: We went back here at least 10 times during our month in Baguio. It was 70 Pesos ($1.26 USD) for their delicious meals. They had new choices every day so we never got bored. Plus they have healthy brown rice which we love.

Garlick: This was one of Qiang’s favorite places in Baguio. They have a few dishes she kept ordering over and over again with eggs, sausage, and rice for 80 pesos ($1.44 USD). Plus, they had a to-die-for chocolate cake that we both loved.

Cosmic: This place is one meter to the left of the previous Garlick food both. Qiang and I both loved their vegan/vegetarian meals for 80 pesos ($1.44 USD) and their menu varied every day so we never got bored. If I could only eat in two places while in Baguio it would be Heaven above and this Cosmic place. Please send me an email if you find the Google Map link to this restaurant.

New 456 Restaurant: We had Chinese hot pots here for about $8 USD per person. They give you a very large amount of food. Qiang loves doing these because it is like Thanksgiving for Chinese people. They have amazing spices that make the magic happen.

Oh My Gulay: This palace has an amazing atmosphere occupying the top floor of a food mall with two-story decorations, a fish pond, and the artwork of one of the Philippines’ most famous artists. It has vegan and vegetarian dishes ranging from about $2 to $3 USD each.

Health 100 Restaurant: We enjoyed another lunch here for about $2.50 each.

Som Tom: This is a Thai Restaurant near where you renew your visa. If you are feeling the need for some Thai food it is almost as good as being in Thailand.

Street Food: Qiang kept dragging us back to the food booths in the Night Market to get chicken intestines, chicken butt, and a few other dishes. She loved the cheap street food in the night market.

Yes Pho: We enjoyed a nice Vietnamese meal here for about $2.20 USD per meal.

Café by the Ruins: The food was respectable but a bit overpriced ($4 to $6 meals). But we mention it anyway because it is an amazing atmosphere and there were great people watching here. They have veggie and non-veggie options.

Bean Talk: The pastries ad coffee here was really nice. But the prices were a little higher than we expected.

Entrée by Vizco’s: We loved the pastries here but would probably pass on the food in the future.

Best Nightlife Baguio City Philippines

Baguio didn’t seem to have much of a nightlife. Here is what we did at night that we think is worth sharing:

Rumors: This is a local bar right on Sessions road that plays decent old-school music at a volume you can still talk to each other. Local beers were 80 pesos and mixed drinks started from 110 pesos.

Live Music: They have acoustic live music on the second floor two food booths to the left of Garlick restaurants on Wednesday through Saturday nights. They serve beer, beer buckets, and pizza.

Night Market: It is fun to people watch in the night market.

Cost of Living in Baguio City Philippines

Here is my estimated cost of living converted into US dollars if the two of us moved to Baguio City in the Philippines on a tight budget. But we are all different, so you will have to put your feet on the ground in Baguio to determine your cost of living based on how you would live, shop, eat, and entertain yourself.

Rents: You will see furnished 1 bedroom apartments, in the range of about P15000 to P25000 Per Month $268 to $500 per month if you are willing to rent for a period of a year or more. Here is a place we found online for 15000 pesos per month. This may not be available when you read this report, so just Google “Long Term Apartments for Rent in Baguio City” to see what is available when you read this.

So, for this estimate, I will use $400 per month for rent for a long-term rental which does not include utilities. Make sure to also read my report on how to find perfect apartments around the world.

Utilities: Baguio City is one mile above sea level. So, it is very unlikely that you would need to run your air conditioner. The place we stayed didn’t even have an air conditioner. We stayed in Baguio for one month and our utilities were 2250 pesos ($41 USD) for one month including water and electricity. We had no gas appliances.

Groceries: Based on our time here and the money we spent on groceries, we estimate about $245 USD per month on groceries for two people. The fruits and vegetables were fresher and cheaper than in other parts of the Philippines. Shop mostly in the public market where the vegetables, fruits, rice, and meats are cheaper and only go to the more expensive expat-style grocery stores for things you can’t find in the public market.

Restaurants: If we went out to eat twice per week, once for date night and once for a lunch somewhere, plus some street food, we would spend around $35 per week or $140 per month in restaurants for the two of us. We would eat mostly in the mom-and-pop-style restaurants and food carts rather than the expensive expat-style restaurants.

Cell Phone Data: The cost to recharge prepaid service is about $16 per month. My android phone will act as a hotspot so we can both be on the internet at the same time when we are out of the house together.

Laundry: We sent our laundry out once per week for about $9 to wash, dry, and fold, so about $36 per month. This seemed more expensive than most of the Philippines.

Water: We would spend about $8 per month on drinking water. They have reverse osmosis refills for 40 Pesos for 20 liters (5 Gallons). We drank about 10 per month or 400 pesos or around $8 per month delivered.

Internet: The Internet will be about $50 per month depending on how fast you need your service. The Internet was 30 MBPS down and 5 MBPS upload speeds.

Transportation: We lived within walking distance of Sessions Road, Burnham Park, and SM Baguio City Mall, so we enjoyed walking everywhere. But if we lived there, we would probably use Jeepneys and Taxis from time to time for around $30 per month.

Alcohol (Optional): Local beers are about $1.00 USD in grocery stores here. If you watch and buy in bulk on sale you may save a little. Bars charge in the range of about $1.60 to $2.00 per beer. So for the two of us, we estimate about $120 USD per month since we would drink more at home.

Entertainment (Optional): We would budget about $160 per month for entertainment for the two of us.

Retire Early $966 USD Month Baguio City Philippines

Baguio City

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Alcohol (Optional)


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This is our estimated cost of living if the two of us moved to Baguio City in the Philippines on a tight budget. To fully understand what it would cost you to live here, you must do an exploratory visit and put your feet on the ground. Also, visit Numbeo Baguio City and add anything you spend money on in your home country that is not mentioned in the table. Our costs of living are generally much lower than a new traveler’s because we are great bargain hunters but there are a few people that live cheaper than we do.

Never move anywhere until you have visited first personally to verify the living costs for your lifestyle and needs. I am not guaranteeing these prices. These are just my notes and estimates from the time of my visit and this post. Your costs will likely be drastically different depending on your lifestyle and the time since this post.

More typical ex-pat living costs in Baguio City range from about $1500 to $2500 per month. But people spending that much also have higher incomes or pensions. They often report spending more on entertainment, eating out, and alcohol. Many also have more expensive cars, houses, or apartments.

If you are going to try to retire cheap offshore, make sure to read my report, the Two Biggest Risks of Retiring Early for Cheap Offshore, which explains why you should have emergency funds available for unexpected large expenses.

Baguio City Walking Tour

Here is the Google Map of my Baguio Walking Tour.


SM Baguio City Mall: The SM Mall of Baguio has most everything you will need in terms of shopping in Baguio. Make sure to visit the top floor of the mall where there is a walking path. People go here to see and be seen.

Our Lady of Atonement Cathedral: The cathedral was completed in 1936. Baguio was carpet bombed by allied forces towards the end of World War II to remove the Japanese forces occupying the Philippines. Thousands of people died and they are buried on the Church grounds.

Session Road: This is the most famous commercial street in Baguio lined with great shopping, restaurants, bakeries, and coffee shops. On Sundays, the road is closed to cars and artists sell their crafts along the boulevard while college students dress in Japanese anime and draw colorful chalk cartoon characters on the asphalt. Street musicians and break dancers entertain the public for tips and restaurants sample their food in booths.

Public Market: You will be amazed by the fresh and fairly priced foods, flowers, and everything under the sun in this sprawling public market.

Burnham Park: This is the central park of Baguio where families bring food and have picnics on the grass and admire the flowers, trees, and green manicured lawns. There is a lake in the middle of the park where people float about in swan paddle boats. There are also paved walkways throughout the park where people walk, run, ride bicycles, and roller skate.

Baguio City Hall: On the north end of Burnham park you will see another beautiful garden around the Baguio City Hall.

Strawberry Farm, Chines Temple

Here is the Google Map for this tour.

Jump in a Grab taxi to the first stop on this tour, The Bell Church.

Bell Church: Quaint Buddhist temple with colorful archways, a small lily pond & scenic hillside views. After viewing this beautiful Buddhist Temple, walk north (right) on the main road for about 200 meters until you see a colorful village on the mountain to your right (Colors of Stobosa).

Colors of Stobosa: This is a colorful village on a hill that you can view from the main road. Take some great photos. Next, flag down one of the Jeepneys heading further north and ask them if they are going to the Strawberry farm. If so jump in the back and jump out once you reach the spot shown on the map above. Try the strawberry shakes, the fruits wines, and strawberry ice cream. Then just walk back to where the Jeepney dropped you and take it back to Baguio.

Miners View Tour

Here is the Google Map of the Miners View Tour.

Jump in a Grab Taxi and take it to the first stop on this tour for about $5 USD.

Miners View Observation Deck: The Americans mined gold and copper here until the mine was abandoned. Now it is a beautiful view of the surrounding hills. There are also many kinds of plants and food for sale and original Cordillera people from this part of the Philippines showcasing their traditional ceremonial clothes. We just slowly walked downhill to each of the following stops on this tour. It was a lovely walk.

The Mansion: The Mansion House was built in 1908 to serve as the official summer residence of the American Governors-General. The Mansion is presently the summer palace of the President of the Philippines because Baguio is known as the summer capital of the Philippines.

Wright Park: Wright Park was named after American Governor Luke E. Wright and was established as a recreational area near The Mansion and is now known for its horseback riding.

Baguio Botanical Garden: Has sample botanical gardens including Japanese, Korean, Thai, and Chinese botanical gardens. The Botanical Garden features native huts typical of the type of Igorot dwellings found in the Cordilleras. We just walked back to Baguio after viewing the Botanical Gardens.

Kalinga-Sagada Tour

Here is the Google Map for this tour.


Apo Whang Od: One of the most famous tattoo artists in all of the world lives about 6 hours north of Baguio in Kalinga. People from all over the world go to get a tattoo from her. Her name is Apo Whang Od from Buscalan Proper, Tinglayan, Kalinga. She is 104 years old and it is a real joy to watch her tattoo people. She lives in a village on the side of a rice-terraced mountainside where no car has ever driven. All supplies are carried in on a footpath. After about 6 hours on the craziest road you have ever seen, you walk for about 30 minutes to get into her beautiful village where they live mostly untouched by the modern world.

Sagada: On the way home, you can stop by Sagada. Sagada is one of the most beautiful mountain towns in the Philippines and where you can see the famous hanging coffins. If you love Baguio but prefer to be in a smaller town, Sagada is where you want to live.

You can book the tour via this Facebook Page. We paid about 4000 pesos each for the tour. The drive was the most horrendous driving experience of my life. Try to get a front seat in the mini-van if possible. I have labeled some of the scenes from this tour in the first video above.

Where We Stayed

Since we were only in town for 30 days, we were unable to get the lower prices available with a long-term lease. So we paid 27,000 pesos for one month plus utilities. Here is where Qiang found the apartment where we stayed. I show you where we stayed in the video above. Here is our process for finding places: How to find great apartments around the world.

Bus to Baguio City

The bus to Baguio from Metro Makati is about $10 USD per person. We use the following webpage to find the best deals on ground transportation. The Victory Liner Bus takes off from Manila Pasay station.

Baguio Livability Factors and Retirement Desirability Score

Here are the factors I think about when I consider a place for early retirement potential. After I discuss each factor, I will assign an overall retirement desirability score.

Walkability: High Desirability. I love living in walkable areas of the world where you can walk to restaurants, grocery stores, nightlife, and other interesting things to do. If I decided to retire in Baguio, I would live close-in to the city center and walk everywhere. This might be the most walkable city in the Philippines unless the hills are a challenge to you. Baguio is a mile high in the sky situated on top of rolling hills in all directions.

Internet: High. The overall reliability remains fairly stable as compared to many other more rural parts of the Philippines.

Food: High. This is my favorite place for food in the Philippines. Makati is the only place with more food choices than Baguio. But Baguio wins the food factor because the restaurant food prices are easily 30 to 60% cheaper than in Baguio. Plus, many of the foods are grown in the hills north of Baguio which means they are fresher than anywhere else we have visited in the Philippines.

Transportation: High. If we decided to retire in Angles we would walk almost everywhere since we would probably live within a few blocks of central Baguio. Weeks would pass where we would never need to get in a car. But if you need one, they have Grab Taxi here. Plus, the taxis are fairly priced here. Plus, the taxi drivers are honest and polite.

Weather: High. The weather in Baguio City is probably why most people move here from other parts of the world. Although the Philippines can get very warm, Baguio is 1 mile high in the sky so the weather is always cool here. The average daily temperatures range very little from average highs of 77F, 25C, in April to the average highs of 72F, 22C, in August and January. The nightly lows range very little from an average low of 54F, 12C, in January to an average low of 61F, 16C, in May. May through October is the rainy season averaging from 11 to 21 days of rain per month while the dry season is November through April with 5 or fewer days of rain per month. The wettest months are July and August with 19 and 21 days of rain per month, respectively.

Things to Do: High. Cooking, yoga, hiking, martial arts, gyms, shooting pool, restaurants, bar hopping, live music, running, coffee shops, street foods, night market, malls, picnics, paddle boats, public parks, botanical gardens, golfing, fine dining, and street fairs. You are less than 2 hours from La Union which is a lively beach and surfing community.

Healthcare: High. There are several decent medical clinics and hospitals in Baguio City (Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center, Saint Louis University – Hospital of the Sacred Heart, Notre Dame de Chartres Hospital). They will be able to take care of most of your medical needs. But for some problems they may refer you to one of the top specialists or hospitals in the Metro Manila area which is about 5 hours away depending on traffic. The larger better equipped hospitals with more specialists are in Metro Manila Makati. Some people also fly to Thailand or the USA for more difficult procedures.

Expats: High. I found one small Facebook group for Expats in Baguio City Philippines. Plus, we only saw about 40 (obvious) ex-pats wandering around Baguio during the month we were there. So, if you are like me, and like being in a more local town than an ex-pat mecca, I would rate Baguio as High for Expats. I like having one or two ex-pat friends but mostly I like to integrate into the community more. Make sure to make friends with both locals and ex-pats for a richer experience living here. I explain why in my report, The Top 10 Mistakes International Retirees Make.

Real Estate: High. Condos range from about 65,000 USD to $200,000 USD in Baguio. I never recommend buying real estate until you have lived somewhere for at least 2 to 3 years. I have a report explaining Why Retired Expats Should not Buy Real Estate Overseas for the first 2 to 3 years of living somewhere new overseas. Make sure to read that before deciding to buy real estate overseas. Almost everyone else is going to try to get you to buy (for the commission) so read why I think you should wait until you are certain.

Visa: High. For your exploratory visit to the Philippines, citizens of many countries can obtain a 30-day free visa stamp upon arrival at the international airports. Plus, you can extend your tourist visa for a total of 36 months in the Philippines without bothering with a retirement visa. The monthly visa extensions cost about $30 USD per month. After the 36 months, you just leave the Philippines and go to another country and then fly back to start the whole 36-month process over again. There is a retirement visa in the Philippines, but very few people bother with it because it is so easy to stay in the Philippines on tourist extensions.

Baguio City Overall Retirement Desirability Score: High. Most people choose Baguio to live because of the amazing weather. It is almost never too hot or too cold. The reason Baguio stands out is because of the creativity in you see throughout the city. From street art to the street fairs, to the assortment of creative restaurants, both meat, and veggie-friendly. Plus the food is cheaper and fresher because of the vicinity to where it is grown. For long-term living or retirement in the Philippines, Baguio should easily be in the top 5 places for most places. Stay tuned for our annual rankings of the best places to retire around the world. Baguio is likely to show up in the next update.

Thanks for reviewing my report, Retire early $966 USD Month Baguio City Philippines.

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