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Cost of Living in Davao, Philippines

One Month’s Spend for Travelers, Retirees and Nomads

Planning an extended stay in Davao? Wondering what the cost of living in Davao might be? One of the Philippines most fascinating cities has a lot to offer in the way of outstanding cultural experiences, great food, beaches and affordable living. Also, it’s a common destination for travelers, digital nomads and retirees. .

When I decided to travel the world full-time, I set a monthly budget for myself of $1500 Canadian dollars (about $1,100 USD) per month. I know that it will vary depending on where I am in the world, but I plan to stick to it as best I can and hope it all evens out in the end.

I am aware that prices can vary for everyone. For instance, as a full time traveller there is no way I will get better accommodation pricing than someone that is signing a long term lease. In addition, your style of living may far exceed or be well below mine. This article is to give you a ballpark idea of what to expect to pay to stay in Davao for more than a few vacation days.

All figures below will be in US dollars.

Let’s see how my cost of living compares to my budget:

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Cost of Living in Davao

Davao is situated in the Mindanao province in the southern Philippines and holds the title as the largest city in the country. By land mass that is. Manila far exceeds Davao as far as population is concerned. Davao is also the Durian capital of the Philippines. If you’re a a fan of this pungent fruit, and I am, this is the place to be if you want the good stuff. The central Davao area is without question a metropolitan city with all the modern amenities one would expect in any major city. Davao offers a lot to do as far as attractions such as the Davao Crocodile park, great food, shopping malls and a short ferry ride away to one of the best beaches in the Philippines, Samal Island.

The island of Mindanao is home to the highest peak in the Philippines, Mount Apo. Making Mindanao an attraction for trekkers and adventurers. Mindanao is also host to a tapestry of cultures and ethnicities. Indigenous groups like the Mandaya, Maranao, and T’boli people all have distinct traditions and ways of life. And finally Mindanao is home to the majority to the countries Muslim practitioners. While there have been negative incidents that have occurred, don’t believe everything the western media tells you. The chances of any visitor to the island experiencing anything is almost non-existent. The people of Mindanao of all ethnicities and religions are some of the nicest people you will meet in the world.

Enough about the island, let’s jump into this Cost of living in Davao.


I stayed right in the heart of Davao for this 4 week period. So centrally located that I only had to walk out of my building and next door to get to the largest shopping mall in Davao, Abreeza by Ayala. I was within walking distance to everything one could need for a comfortable month long stay. The area was dotted with countless eateries and essential stores within a 1 kilometre radius from my accommodations.

The unit I stayed in is a simple studio unit. Complete with a full kitchen and bathroom, TV, work station, A/C etc. The unit on the 18th floor offers amazing sunset views of Mt. Apo. Yes, even though it’s more than 130km away, you get amazing views of it. The view looking down is not very appealing but the mountain views are breathtaking.

The building itself has the friendliest staff you will ever meet and all of the elevators were very fast in reaching any of the floors. The unit/building offers free access to the swimming pool and gym if you are staying for more than 5 nights. Less than 5 nights there is a small fee to access them due to the buildings policies.

The AirBnb host was fabulous but better yet was her caretaker. The host offered tons of recommendations and checked on me constantly while the caretaker was the sweetest woman in the world. One evening we had a power outage for a short period of time during a thunderstorm. When it came back on I couldn’t get the internet in the unit working again. The caretaker made it a point to get on the phone with the provider at 22:00 to make sure they got it back on for me. Such a life saver this woman is.

If you’re interested in checking out the unit you can find it here. Studio condo/apartment with balcony in Davao City

Total cost for accommodation for the month: $468

Looking for short term accommodations? Check these great deals:

  • Luxury Accommodations: – Mansud Shores Beach Resort – Talikud Island – The spacious villa comes with 4 bedrooms, a flat-screen TV and a fully equipped kitchen that provides guests with a microwave, a fridge, a washing machine and a stovetop. The villa offers bed linen, towels and housekeeping service.
  • Mid-Range Accommodations: – Big & Homey in exclusive village – With 1 bedroom, this recently renovated holiday home features a terrace, a living room and a flat-screen TV. The air-conditioned accommodation is equipped with a kitchen. Laundry service is also available.
  • Budget Accommodations: – White Nordic Fully-Furnished Studio at INSPIRIA Featuring air-conditioned accommodation with a rooftop pool, city view and a balcony, White Nordic Fully-Furnished Studio at INSPIRIA is set in Davao City. It is situated 200 metres from Abreeza Mall and features a lift. This is the same building that I stayed at.

Or check here for the latest deals on Booking.com

Check out my Bacolod City Cost of Living

Cost of Living in Davao – Activities

Activities this month for me were non existent as I had filmed so much during my previous month’s stay in Bacolod City that I worked non stop while I was in Davao. My 3rd month into doing this solo I still hadn’t figured out how to balance everything. Don’t worry though, it takes me a long time to figure this out and I’m still not sure I am there.

But a few things that can be done in Davao with prices:

  • Samal Island Day Trip: If you’re willing to try and leg it on your own you can expect to pay between $15 -$30 per person depending on mode of transportation. That will cover your round trip transportation and entrance fees at one of the cheaper beach resorts. Some resorts do not allow any access to their beach at all.
  • Davao Crocodile Park: About $6 for entrance fees. Transportation to and from can vary.

We could consider an evening at the Davao Crocodile Park an activity, but they wouldn’t let me pay for it no matter how hard I tried. This was to see the evening fire dance show only, not entrance into the main part of the park.

Total Cost for Activities for the month: $0

Looking for fun things to do in Davao? Check out some of these tours from Viator

Dining and Restaurants

The food scene in Davao is phenomenal. If you love trying new foods like I do, Davao is a must. From pungent fresh durian to the surprisingly delicious lechon style crocodile, Davao is a foodies dream. If you’re not into trying new foods, why the hell are you reading my blog? Relax, I’m kidding. But if you’re not into trying new foods, no problem. There is traditional Filipino food served throughout the city and International cuisines are well represented. I would highly recommend trying a Davaoeños specialty called Kalderobo. A mixture of the classic Adobo and one of my favourites, Kaldereta. And don’t miss the famous Zamboanga halal dish called Satti.

As usual, this category makes up Grab deliveries, dining out and expenses incurred for content I made. For comparison sake meals in Davao vary widely. You can get a basic rice meal for as little as $1.50 and if you want western food it will be much more expensive. Grab deliveries can vary anywhere from $4 -$5 to as high as you want to to go for food. As with every country, the local cuisine will always be much more affordable than International dishes

Total Cost for Dining out for One Month: $338

Ready to experience crocodile Lechon including a bit of the fire dance show? Check out this video


Not a whole lot of groceries for this cost of living in Davao. There was a large grocery store right next door to my AirBnb but I don’t like cooking and I definitely don’t want to have to cook and clean up the mess from my awful cooking. This month’s grocery bill includes snacks like fresh fruits, granola and yogurt. Other than that this cost is mostly toiletries.

Total Cost for Groceries for the Month: $131

Cell Phones

This month only consists of topping up my sim card that I purchased when I arrived in country.

Total Cost for Phone and Data for one Month: $9


I have lost some notes here and I have absolutely no idea why the transportation cost was so high this month. But sweet mother of God! I do remember Grab rides being almost double what I could get a regular taxi for, so I only took them a few times.

Total cost for Transportation: $281


This is the continuation of my 2nd extension in the country and I opted for a two month extension. If you have been following along, you know that you get your first 30 days visa free. Then you can extend the first time for only an additional 29 days. After that you enter the process so to speak. After 59 days you have to apply for an extension and get what is called an ACI-R card (Alien Certificate of Registration Identity Card) The card is valid for one year, so it is a one time fee for it in that time frame.

This visa Extension will be by far the costliest one during your stay. For the purpose of this article I am splitting the costs over two months, so this amount is for half of the cost of the visa.

Total Cost for Visa for one month: $70

Miscellaneous Expenses

This category covers pretty much everything that’s not included above. I include alcohol in miscellaneous, because I do enjoy a beer or 20 from time to time while hanging around the Airbnb. You might not drink and if you are planning a budget you can easily omit this cost. For me, alcohol makes up about 60% of this category. This month it also included a haircut

One thing to note in the Philippines. Banks charge hefty fees for foreign card withdrawals regardless of amounts withdrawn. It works out to a little over $3 for every transaction so if you have to pull money out, pull out as much as possible in one transaction.

Total Miscellaneous Costs for one month: $75

One thing I can’t live without while on the road full time – Saves me lots of money too!

Cost of Living in Davao – Totals

Cost of Living for One Month in Davao, Philippines

Looking at the table above, you can see I am over budget. I will probably be broke and begging someone to take me in if I keep this up for too long. But $1,372 USD works out to a little over $1,871 CAD. Not great and I’m over budget but not too shabby either. Still, this confirms what I always knew. Living abroad can still be much cheaper than in your home country. These numbers represent a fraction of what my costs would have been in Canada.

Have you lived in Davao for any length of time? Were your numbers similar to my cost of living in for one month in Davao? Do you have any other tips for potential travelers? Leave a comment and let me know. I would love to hear from you.



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