Retire early on $1032 USD Month on Siargao Island Philippines

This is my Retire early on $1032 USD Month on Siargao Island, Philippines. I have brought you all over the world and shown you my feet-on-the-ground videos of the best places to retire early for pennies in paradise. I have over 200 reports available at already.

Today we bring you to a hippy surfer paradise in the Philippines. This remote white sand beach island paradise will not make the top 10 retirement spots for most Western retires, for reasons I will share in a moment.

But, since old surfers never die, they just start riding longer boards, older surfers must consider this place for retirement, and everyone else must come here to experience one of the best reasonably priced vacation destinations in the world.

Okay, here are some of our estimated expenses.


One of the biggest mistakes you can make living internationally on a tight budget is to buy groceries imported from your home country or other parts of the world. Something you would pay one dollar for at home could easily cost you three dollars here. Remember, it is fancy foreign food once it is shipped internationally.

You won’t be able to make that mistake very easily while on Siargao Island. You see, they don’t have the large expat grocery stores that you will see in other parts of the Philippines. So you will be forced to shop in more local style open-air markets here.

That means you will be buying your fruits, vegetables, and proteins from small family-owned stores that are not importing that expensive stuff. So, although it is much cheaper than imported processed foods, you will have to know how to cook to prepare these Philippines-sourced foods.

By shopping like locals in this way, we estimate about $280 USD per month for fresh daily foods which we would prepare at home ourselves. That is how we would manage our grocery budget.


One of the problems with living in Siargao would be all the great restaurants. You would be tempted to eat in all the great restaurants more often which could challenge your restaurant budget. You see, Siargao Island is a foreign tourist destination not just for surfers, but for vloggers, backpackers, and others touring through SE Asia.

So there is a large demand for healthy hippy foods including vegan and vegetarian foods which is not as common in other small islands in other parts of the Philippines. So higher demand from Euros and Dollars means prices tend to be higher than local dishes and local restaurants.

So, although you will find meals in local Filipino restaurants for around $1.50 to $3.00 USD, the meals where you will see foreigners eating run more in the range of about $3.00 to $6.00 USD per person. If you are new in the Philippines, you will be tempted to eat in the more expensive restaurants until you learn the local dishes. So how do you learn the local dishes and ingredients so you can educe your food budget over time?

Here is how we do it. We go for local-style restaurant adventures a few times per week for the first few months to identify what the locals eat. Finding favorites in local restaurants helps us stay on budget as follows.

When I go out to eat I am paying local restaurant prices. Second, when I shop in open air markets and more locals style markets, I learn what local ingredients to buy so I can try preparing local dishes at home. You can often find videos on how to prepare local-style dishes on Youtube.

So, when we go shopping, we know what local-style ingredients to buy instead of always looking for imported ingredients. So understanding the local diet helps me save money when I go out to eat plus it teaches me how to save money on local ingredients when I prepare foods at home.

If you are wondering why other foreign retirees report spending two and three times as much as me in grocery stores and in restaurants, they are often eating only in foreign restaurants and buying only imported brands from home.

So, if we retired in Siaragao and enjoyed both the local and foreign restaurants but ate most of our meals at home, we estimate that we would spend about $160 USD per month on restaurants.


If you come to Siargao and look for a place on for a month, you could easily pay $500 to $1200 per month for an apartment including utilities and internet. If you are looking for western style accommodations it could be at the higher end of that range. There is nothing wrong with that if you have the money and like the convenience of something that feels more like home.

I understand that you need somewhere to go when you first land in a country. I do too. So, I book a place on,, or for about 4-5 days. That gives us a place to go when we first arrive and it puts our feet on the ground in our target neighborhood.

But after that, if we were looking for something more local feeling, for the long term, say 6 to 12 months, we would spend the next 2 or 3 days doing what locals do to find cheaper rents. It isn’t always easy, but we can usually cut the online rent in half with our apartment rental process.

So we would put our feet on the ground in General Luna and start walking neighborhoods looking for a landlord that was looking for something longer term. Based upon what we learned, we estimate that we would be able to get a more local place suitable for us for around $400 USD per month plus utilities.

Utilities and Internet

We estimate utilities of $50 per month and Internet for $50 per month.


If we lived in central General Luna, as discussed above, almost everything would be walkable for us. So we would get our exercise just going about our daily routine every day. We could also buy an old scooter or old bicycle if we wanted to get around faster. So, we estimate that our transportation would average about $40 USD per month.

Cell Data

We paid about $10 USD for our SMART SIM card and data which included 22 GB of data per month.


It cost us $5 per week to drop off and pick up our laundry for washing, dry, and folding. So we estimate $20 per month for laundry drop off and pick up.


R/O water in twenty-liter bottle jugs delivered to our house would be about 60 pesos per month per jug or about $22 USD per month.

Alcohol (Optional)

San Miguel Pilsen Grande beers are about 160 PH pesos or $3 USD each. The Grande is about 2 beers so beers are about $1.50 each. You could easily pay twice as much in bars and restaurants so we would drink mostly at home. We estimate about $130 per month in alcohol for the two of us.

Entertainment (Optional)

We estimate that we would spend about $200 per month for entertainment which includes trips down the beach for the day, tours, hiking, and that sort of thing.

After I summarize our estimated living costs in General Luna, Siargao Island, I will take you on a tour of some of the most beautiful places on the island.

Retire early on $1032 USD Month on Siargao Island, Philippines

Siargao Island

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Not all of your potential expenses are listed in the above table. Visit Numbeo Philippines, and add anything you spend money on in your home country each month that is not mentioned in the above table. This is our estimated cost of living if the two of us moved here 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. 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 drastically differ depending on your lifestyle and the time since this post.

More typical ex-pat living costs in the Philippines range from about $1400 to $2500 USD per month. But people spending that much often 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.

Many of you will likely be unable to retire on so little here. I give example reasons why in these reports: Two Biggest Risks of Retiring Early for Cheap, Do Not Try to Retire Here on $900 Month and Understanding Why Overseas Living Costs Vary Widely.

My Favorite Markets and Restaurants in Siargao

Siargao Markets

General Luna Local Market: This is the largest open-air market in General Luna where you will find fruits, vegetables, and proteins sold in stalls run by families.

Gwapa Mini Store: Expensive expat-style grocery store. Not very big just some specialty items imported from overseas like chocolate, wines, spirits, ice cream, and chocolate, etc.

Swell Wash Laundry: This is where we got laundry done for $5 per week.

Siargao Restaurants

Favorites bubbled to the top:

Cosmic Siargao – A Vegan Restaurant & Cafe: Curry 250php/ sisig 250php / rice 40php

Kurvada: Both meat and Vegan. 80php/scoop

Hakata Ramen: Both Veg and Meat Ramen.

Green Waves Café: Pan seared tuna 320php/ Veggie curry 280php

CEV: Ceviche & Kinilaw Shack: Really expensive but they had a nice ceviche if you want it. 360php Cev / Salad 380 ($6-$7 USD).

Drunken Sushi Siargao: Delicious sushi, both vegan and raw fish. Sushi per set 330php

Shaka Cafe: On the beach in Surfing area. Meat and Veg. Falafel 270php/ Salad of the day 270php

The Food Truck Siargao – Mexican Tacos: 3 Tacos/290php (Bar behind Taco Truck where you can eat and have 100 php beer: Happiness Beach Bar Siargao

White Beard Coffee: A very popular spot for locals and foreigners for breakfast. Good Western breakfast.

Catangnan BBQ: Local (cheap) barbequed Filipino-style meat.

Siargao Corner Cafe: Omettle + Waffle 199php/lemonade 129php

Sunday Siargao (Cafe and Pool): Okay food, but a nice place to sit and work if you want a pool nearby and great internet to work. Dick shape Waffle 120php, beer 100php.

Sibol Siargao: Small beers 100 pesos

Siargao Nightlife

Here are a few of the spots we had a good time at night while in Siargao. Don’t get your hopes too high. It was pretty chill when we were there.

POP UP BAR SIARGAO: Cloud 9 beach watching sunset and surfers while having a beer: Beer 100 pesos.

In terms of live music or things going on a night when we were in Siargao, there didn’t seem to be many choices. But here are three possibilities for checking out.

Sunset Bridge: Both locals and foreigners show up at this bridge around sunset and hang around for an hour or two.

Mad Monkey Hostel Siargao: This hostel seems to have stuff goig on at least 4 to 5 nights a week, like DJ music, live acoustic music, and games. The schedule is posted on the wall across from the bar.

Reef Beach Resort: Had live music one night. It is next door to the following place (Happiness Beach Bar Siargao) which was a little more chill with better music.

Tourist Road: <–Click this link and walk the area shown for quieter venues where people chill and sip adult beverages.

Siargao Island Hopping Tour

This is the three-island tour in the above video where you see Qiang and I cruising around a traditional style Philippines Pontoon Boat. MC Travel And Tour Siargao: We paid 1400php ($25 USD) per person and visited Naked Island, Daku Island, Guyam Island, and Secret Island and including lunch. We will not make a commission if you take this tour.

Sohoton Bucas Grande Tour

This all-day tour includes a long boat journey, cliff jumping, jellyfish watching, lagoon, bolitas cave, tik tik lake lagoon, and lunch. MC Travel And Tour Siargao: We paid 2500php ($45 USD) per person. We will not make a commission if you take this tour.

Scooter Tour of Siargao Island

Here is the Google map of the Scooter Tour we took of Siargao Island. We rented a scooter (and 2 helmets) for 24 hours for 350 pesos ($7 USD).


Here are the stops on the map in order starting from General Luna.


First Stop: Magpopongko Rock Pool: At low tide a natural rock swimming pool surfaces and it is a great place to take Instagram photos and Drone videos.

Maasin Bridge River Swing: Your Kayak comes with a guide for about $10 USD. Each Kayak will hold about 2 people plus the guide. The views are breathtaking and there is a blue lagoon at the end for more great photos.

On the drive back, you will pass through two more stops on the maps for great drone shots and photos. We started from General Luna around 7 AM and were home by 3 PM. But remember to time arrival at the first stop based on low tide.

Where We Stayed

We paid about $27.00 USD per night for the first 4 nights when we arrived in General Luna on Siargao Island. Here is where it is in General Luna. I am not setting the price on this. I am just telling you what I paid to stay here.

Then we went walking around the central area of General Luna and found this second studio apartment we show you in the above video for two more weeks. The apartment had a small kitchen, hot shower, moderate Internet, and a front porch with table and 2 chairs. Plus, it was only about a 7-minute walk to the beach. The contact information for that second apartment will be provided to members when the Siargao Island Retire Cheap Report posts in the Philippines section of

Here is the contact information for the studio apartment in General Luna, Siargao slang in the Philippines. We rented it for only two weeks but the landlord said we could rent it for 3 months next year if we were willing to pay 20K PHP ($356 USD) per month. Here is the landlord Herbert’s contact information: Herbert: (SMS and WhatsApp) +639996768337, Facebook Page, WebPage.

If you decide to live or retire in Siargao, for a year or more, and you will be trying to live within the budget we are estimating in this report. you are going to have to put your feet on the ground and look for more local less expensive long-term accommodations. Here is our process for finding places as we slowly travel: How to find great apartments around the world.

Traveling to Siargao Philippines

We are traveling around the World right now exploring the best places to retire cheap in Paradise. We are presently in the Philippines. Siargao is our first stop on this trip to the Philippines.

We flew Philippines Airlines from Kuala Lumpur Malaysia to Siargao Island via a stopover in Manila. The one-way fare cost $286 USD per person. It included 30KG luggage each plus a 7KG Carry on each. Our backpacks are 10-12 KG put they didn’t weigh them We found the flight on

Transfers from the Siargao airport to our first accommodations were arranged by the first place we stayed above for 300 pesos, $6 per person by a shared minivan. We booked the transfer through our first landlord shown above.

Ground Transportation

Most tourists rent scooters in Siargao for short stays for about 350 pesos ($7 USD) per day. Many parts of the Philippines have Grab Taxi or Grab Tricycle, but neither was here. Local tricycles charge around 20 to 40 pesos to get around General Luna. If we stayed long-term, we would buy an old scooter for around $800 to $1000 USD.

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. I am writing these factors based upon my personal experience in General Luna in Siargao.

Walkability: Siargao Island is large. The below map is the General Luna area of Siargao Island. The yellow circle is where most people live in General Luna. The red triangle is where many shorter-term Filipino and International tourists stay, surf, and party.

The best surfing is all the way at the top of the red triangle in an area called Cloud 9. If you are just coming for a week or two to blow off some steam, you will probably find yourself in the red triangle much of the time.

If you are coming long term, you are more likely to find yourself in the Yellow Circle where it is easier to find local prices for everything instead of tourist prices.

In terms of walkability, if you live in the Yellow Circle, you will be able to walk everywhere for your daily needs. If you are spending significant time in the red triangle, things are more spread out there so you will likely need to rent a scooter or take tricycle taxis.

Yellow Circle: Highly Walkable.

Red Triangle: Low Walkability.

Internet: Medium Desirability. You will have to get your own router if you plan on having workable internet speeds. Our place had a shared internet with only about 10 MBPS up and down so it was workable but we would upgrade to our own router if we stayed here long term. That would be around $50 per month.

If connectivity is mission-critical for you, I would also suggest getting both Smart and Globe SIM cards so you will have hot spots on your phone. That came in handy a few times when we were uploading videos.

Food: High. Siargao has an amazing assortment of restaurants for both meat eaters and vegetarians. It way outshines other cities of this size in the Philippines (30k people).

The local food choices averaged about $2 USD per meal and the tourist places averaged about $4-$6 USD per meal.

Transportation: Medium. We didn’t see Jeepneys (local-style jeep-buses) running between the Tourist Area (Red Triangle) and General Luna (Yellow Circle). If we decided to stay long-term, we would probably buy a used scooter as I already mentioned above. We rented a scooter twice while here and we rented tricycle taxis other times (20-50 pesos, $0.40 to $1.00 USD, per person).

Weather: Low Desirability. Typhoons are why many people decide to only visit Siargao Island but live in other parts of the Philippines. Incidentally, Siargao is also in an earthquake zone. Read this report on where to stay in the Philippines to avoid the 4 kinds of natural disasters.

Siargao Island has a tropical rainforest climate. The yearly average maximum temperature is about 85F, 29C, the average ranging very little from 83F, 28C in January to 86F, 30C in May. But it can get up to 100F, 37C in May. The average nightly lows also range very little from 25C, 77F in January to about 27C, 81F in May. On average, the most rain falls from May through December 100mm (4 inches) or more per month, and less rain falls from January through April around 60mm (2.5 inches) per month. But it is tropical rain, so it usually comes in bursts with time between bursts.

Things to Do: Beaches, surfing, scuba, snorkeling, people watching, night markets, cooking, yoga, meditation, massage, gyms, restaurants, bar hopping, live music, running, coffee shops, scooter rides all over the island, tours, street foods, and other ocean sports.

Healthcare: Low. You should be able to get basic medical care at various clinics around Siargao, but for more serious problems you will likely need to go to Cebu City or Manila in the Philippines. Here is a clinic that Qiang and I visited while we were in General Luna and we were perfectly happy with their services: Metrodocs Medical Clinic. The prices were very fair and the doctor was very good and spoke perfect English. If you prefer to be near top-notch medical care at a moment’s notice, Siargao is not a good choice for long-term living.

Expats: Low. We only saw a few retirement-age ex-pats around Siargao. We saw many more expats much younger in age, 20 to 40 years old. If you are looking for a community of retirement-age expats to associate with, you may be able to accomplish that, but it will not likely be as easy as just posting in a Facebook expat page. We did find one Siargao Expat Facebook page but the posts seemed to be mostly locals advertising services to expats. So it wilI be a little harder to learn from expats where to find things and get things done. 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: 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. In the Philippines, you can’t own land directly in your name. Some foreigners get a long-term lease on land before they build, others put the property in their Filipino wife or husband’s name. Do hire a local lawyer if you decide to invest in real estate. Do not use a lawyer referred to you by someone with a conflict of interest.

Exploratory 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. For this reason, almost nobody I have met in the Philippines bothers to get a retirement visa.

Siargao Overall Retirement Desirability Score: Medium. I think everyone should visit, but maybe not retire here. I am ranking Siargao with a medium retirement desirability. I personally like the lifestyle and attitudes of the people here, but I think I would get bored if I lived here long term. But if you are a surfer hippy, it is worth your consideration. I am a bit of a hippy but I am not a surfer. The cost of living for such a high quality of life is brilliant. Also, I really seemed to like the kind of ex-pats that are attracted to Siargao. But you will need to put your feet on the ground here to determine that for yourself.

Thanks for reviewing my report, Retire early on $1032 USD Month on Siargao Island, Philippines.

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