Retire in Davao Philippines for $900 Month

Davao Philippines Retire Cheap $900 Month 
Davao Philippines Cost of Living  
Best Cheap Food, Accommodations, Flights  
Best White Sand Beaches in Davao Philippine
Davao Philippines Nightlife  
Davao Philippines Walking Tour 
Best Retire Cheap in Paradise Locations in the World

This is my Retire in Davao Philippines for $900 Month post.

This is Dan of Vagabond Awake, the Youtube Channel for Vagabond Buddha. As you may know, I love to travel the world and investigate the feasibility of retiring cheap in beautiful places all over the world.

My goal was to retire early and travel the world at age 55. I was prepared to make that happen when the real estate market crashed in 2008. I knew if I didn’t figure something out fast, my retirement would be delayed until my 70s.

Luckily, my job allowed me to travel the world. As I traveled, I learned about international destinations where I could for half as much as it would cost at home in the USA.

Since then, I have loved traveling so much, I just keep moving forward reporting on the best retired cheap destinations in the world. I am the opposite of a tourist. Tourists travel for one or two weeks per year. I go home for one or two weeks per year.

So, instead of retiring completely, I decided to follow my passion. In 2016, I started Vagabond Buddha to share what I learned as I travel around the world. So, even though I have the resources to retire already, I am not sure I ever will. I am having too much fun learning about the world and sharing it with you.

Just click the “More Information” link below this video, for all my information about Retire in Davao Philippines for $900 USD Month and 50 other of the best retire cheap destinations Worldwide.

Davao Philippines Cost of Living

One of the biggest mistakes you can make living internationally is to try to recreate your old life in a new country. Here is my video about the Top 10 Mistakes International Retirees Make. If you try to recreate your old life in a new country, it could easily cost you twice as much to live internationally. Don’t do that.

Your goal is to eat great local food, live in great local accommodations, and live the local life. That is how you can retire internationally for much, much less than home. You could easily save more than 50% in many of our suggested international retirement destinations.

If you are like me, each passing year that you live offshore the easier and more enjoyable it will be to live like a local. After you make that adjustment, if you ever do make that adjustment, your living costs might actually go down over the first few years.

Let me give you an example. A dish in a really great local restaurant, like our favorite restaurant in Davao, is only 80 Pesos ($1.60 USD) per person. Yet, if you eat in this high-end tourist restaurant in Davao, you can easily pay $6 USD per person not including drinks. The two restaurants I am referencing are

Rents follow this same rule. Locals can easily find well-appointed one-bedroom apartments for $150 USD per month plus utilities of around $100 including the Internet. That same apartment in the city center would be about $100 USD more per month. Yet, if you act like many ex-pats and try to rent a brand spanking new place in a gated community with a guard you could easily add another $100 USD (or more) per month depending on square footage and amenities. See Numbeo for Davao.

The below numbers are for a temporary visitor. So the rents are a little higher than discussed in the previous paragraph. As such, some people may be able to save a little in rent and a little more by cooking at home.

Estimated Cost of Living Table

















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Here is a free report explaining, “How The Cost of Living Table Works

This estimated cost of living for one month, for one person, as a temporary visitor. It only includes rent, 2 meals per day, and local transportation. I usually have oatmeal for breakfast in my room, so I don’t count that. For a full understanding of what it would cost you to live here, visit Davao and add any items you spend money on.

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 lifestyle and the time since this post.

Here are the livability factors I would use to determine whether or not you could Retire in Davao Philippines for $900 Month.

Davao Livability Factors

Next, I will talk about my livability factors. But first, just some general observations. In many areas of Davao, the sidewalks are broken and some have holes through to the dirt below. The streets also have some deferred maintenance. This is a condition that you will find to be the case not only in many parts of SE Asia but also in other retire cheap areas around the world. This is no longer an issue for me though it did bother me the first few years when I started living outside the United States. But you need to pay attention when you are walking around town. Okay, now for my livability factors.

Walkability: High. I rate Davao as highly walkable. My first choice would be to live in the old town area near the hotel “Where We Stayed.” See the below link. But anywhere within a few kilometers of there would be fine for me. Everything I need would be within walking distance. Plus, if I didn’t feel like walking or it was raining, there are Jeepneys running in all directions for 8 Pesos ($0.16 USD) in the downtown area. Qiang Hui would prefer to stay a little further out and just take a Jeepney into the city once or twice a week to get supplies.

Internet: High. In Davao, the Internet in our hotel was terrible. But we heard that if we got our own apartment with its own router, things would be fine. That fact was confirmed when we moved to the next city in the Philippines. We had our own router and the Wifi was great. The great Wifi we have is called Globe at Home. You will be fine if you are Internet hogs like us. Also, there is another fast Internet solution even if you stay in a hotel. Just go to one of the coworking spaces in town. They are below about $5 USD per day and include unlimited coffee.

Food: Medium. There doesn’t seem to be as many international food choices in Davao as you will find in other parts of SE Asia. Plus, there is a very meat-centric diet in the Philippines. Luckily we were able to find an amazing vegan restaurant in Davao that turned out to be our favorite restaurant (first restaurant on the link) in Davao.

Weather: High. Average highs (days) range seasonally from a low of 87F/31C in December to a high of 91F/33C in April. Average lows (nights) range seasonally from a low of 74F/23C in January to a high of 76F/25C in May. The rain doesn’t vary that much between seasons. In June, 7.35 inches (186 mm) of rain falls over 18 days. In March, 4 inches (108 mm) of rain falls over 11 days. The other months of the year average about 6 inches (170 mm) spread over 15 days.

Things to Do: Medium if you are a cultural lover. High if you are a nature lover. Many people speak English here and love the chance to communicate with foreigners. There are two islands just a short ferry ride from Davao for about $2 to $3 ferry ride each way. The islands have places you can pitch a tent for $3 to $8 USD for the night. They have snack bars and rudimentary restaurants but locals seem to bring their own food and drink in coolers. The museums are a bit limited now, but they are building a new museum next door to People’s Park. You will find live music in the city and a safe nightlife to walk around and enjoy. Make sure to check out the night market while you are in Davao to taste the local foods. There are several large malls in Davao where people go to see and be seen, enjoy a movie, or sample the food courts. We have attempted to give you the feel for the city in our various videos, like our nightlife video, our walking tour video, our best beach video, and this video.

Expats: Medium. With English speakers everywhere, you may not have the same craving for ex-pat attention as you would in other places in SE Asia. Walking around the downtown area we didn’t see as many foreigners as we do in places like Bali, Bangkok, or Kuala Lumpur. That can be a good thing because you are more of a novelty just being there. We averaged seeing one or two ex-pats per day walking around. Also, you can go on these web pages and ask people where to buy unusual things that ex-pats miss from home. Facebook 1 (1500 members). Facebook 2 (617 Members). Facebook 3 (254 Members). This is a great place to ask advice, cost of living ranges, and the availability of products or supplies that are important to your life.

Medical: Medium. I have not been to the clinic or hospital in Davao. But the Southern Philippines Medical Center has a 4.2 rating with 91 reviews on Google. People can get fairly frustrated at hospitals so that is a decent rating in my opinion. I know nothing more.

Exploratory Visa: High. For your exploratory visit to the Philippines, Americans (and Malaysians) can obtain a 30-day free visa stamp upon arrival at the international airport. We were able to get a 29-day extension for a total of 59 days in less than an hour at this immigration office. It cost $60 USD to extend 29 days. You need only your passport and money. There is no longer a picture required for the extension application which you can complete in 5 minutes at the office. I am told, you can get additional extensions of up to 6 months with some proof of solvency. As stated in my “Top 10 Mistakes International Retirees Make,” I recommend you spend several months here (at least 3 to 6 months), before considering obtaining a retirement visa.

Retirement Visas: High. There is a Visa program for people 35 to 49 years of age if you are healthy, active, and able to deposit $20,000 in an approved Filipino retirement account. This Visa allows you to live in but not invest in the Philippines and you can pay extra for dependents. You just need the money, a medical clearance, and a police clearance. The most popular visa allows investment in the Philippines and requires a larger deposit. For those 35 to 49 years, with a $50,000 deposit, or those over 50 years with a $10,000 deposit, you can qualify for either if you can also show $800 monthly income for individuals or $1,000 for couples. This visa will allow you the right to invest in the Philippines. Or, if you are over 50 years, you can avoid proving income with a $50,000 deposit. Income requirements can be shown with the Social Security Administration stating your benefit amount.

Real Estate: High. Rents are cheap. This is not professional advice. But I would not buy real estate in the Philippines. If someone recommends that you buy in the Philippines, they probably have a conflict of interest with you. Just lease month to month. The rents are cheap and you can just hand the keys back to the landlord when you leave. If you want to own real estate, buy in a more economically safe country (i.e. USA) and live off the rents in a cheap country like the Philippines. Hire a property manager to manage your real estate at home. Some people will tell you clever ways to get around the limitations of buying property here, but I suggest you balance their advice against what they will gain personally if you buy.

Banking: Medium. This is not professional advice. Leave your money in your home country bank and take money out as needed at ATMs. When you are in a foreign country, it is much easier to get into a mess than to get out of one. If you want to store money outside your home country, don’t put it in developing country banks. Put it somewhere safe, like Switzerland. If you decide to put money in the banks here to get a visa, you will probably end up fine. Just understand the risks are higher.

Pollution: High. Davao is on the ocean so the air seemed fairly good. I was surprised to learn it was merely moderate. Maybe it is all the Jeepneys that seem to be spewing smoke out the back. In general, it is better to not swim rivers or lakes near cities in SE Asia unless there is some government periodic testing you can verify. The further you get from cities and industrial areas the safer the water generally there is lower risk. There were very few observable pollutants in the air in Davao while we were there. In the dry season, you will experience dust especially on roads of Davao that are not paved. Like most of SE Asia, it is not unusual to see single-use bags strewn about the city or piles of garbage in open fields.

Davao Overall Desirability Score: High for nature lovers and medium for cultural explorers. There are beautiful beaches to explore on the islands just offshore from Davao and gorgeous volcanic mountains surrounded by jungles to explore all within a few hours of Davao. Plus you are just a short flight from some of the most beautiful beaches, jungles, and mountains of the Philippines. The people are lovely here in Davao.

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Davao Facts and History

Here are some interesting Davao facts and history.

Davao City has the largest landmass of any city in the Philippines and has the second largest population. There were 1.6 million people living here during the last census of 2015. Davao City is called the durian capital of the Philippines.

Davao has the third-largest metro population at 2.5 million compared to Cebu Metro with 2.8 million and Manila Metro with 12 million.

Mount Apo, a dormant volcano is the highest mountain in the Philippines at about 3000 meters or 10,000 feet.

The Spanish monitored the Davao Gulf region starting in around the 16th century, they never made claim to the area until 1844 when the Spanish Crown renamed Davao City. The Sultan of Maguindanao protested but the Spanish didn’t try to control the area until 1848 when 70 Spanish people landed intent on colonization. Spain’s efforts were finally successful when warships with reinforcements showed up 3 months later.

Although the local resistance continued, the Spanish were eventually able to convert locals to Christianity and force both Muslims and Christians into religious-based communities, by 1898.

A Filipino revolution was short-lived because, in 1900, the Americans showed up. Economic success quickly followed as large areas were developed for agricultural investments. The Davao population grew with immigrants from other parts of the Philippines and the world as the agricultural growth continued until 1941 when the Japanese invaded.

The Japanese were in charge until 1945. The Battle of Davao was one of the longest and most destructive battles in the Philippines towards the end of World War II. The American bombing of the Japanese positions in Davao destroyed much of the infrastructure built before the start of World War II.

After World War II, Davao returned to being an agricultural power of the Philippines.

However, crime became rampant in Davao with murder in the streets until a vigilante group “Alsa Masa” drove criminals from the city in 1985.

Agriculture and fishing remain two of the dominant industries in Davao.

Christianity is widespread as a result of Spanish colonization. There are also a number of smaller temples and mosques of other religions around the city.

Davao Chinatown is the primary residence of many of the Chinese that live in the city. Several other cultures also can be found in the city such as Japanese, Malaysians, Indonesians, Koreans, and Indians.

The most famous dish of Davao is Kinlaw, which is something like Ceviche.

The Philippine Eagle is the national bird and is the largest eagle in the world.

The New York Times reported an alleged death squad that roamed Davao city and did summary executions of over 1000 people suspected of criminal behavior between 1998 and 2008. That Times report was denied by local officials after an investigation was completed in 2019.

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This is Dan of Vagabond Buddha. Thank you for your interest in our Retire in Davao Philippines for $900 Month information. The world is your home. What time will you be home for dinner?

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