MANILA -- It is more expensive to live in Manila, a new study suggests.
Information aggregator iPrice gathered and analyzed data from six popular Southeast Asian cities and found that Manila has the third most expensive cost of living in the region.
According to the Malaysia-based firm, the cost of rent, food, transportation, utilities, etc. in Manila totals to about P50,798, a figure 168 percent higher than its residents' average net salary, which the report estimated at P18,900 a month -- the lowest among the ASEAN cities included in the report.
The Philippines' capital city was only behind wealthy city-state Singapore, where the price of the mentioned necessities amounts to roughly P119,732, and tourist hotspot Bangkok, Thailand, which has a rate of about P51,517.
"The cost of living in Singapore is at least 132 percent higher than the others. However, Bangkok and Manila are neck and neck at the top [with the latter] only 1 percent lower," iPrice explained.
Meanwhile, there was a significant gap between the overall expenses of Filipinos living in Manila and its ASEAN neighbors with a “comparable economic state.” The combined price of rent, food, transportation, utilities, etc. in Manila surpassed Jakarta, Indonesia (P41,026), Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam (P39,608), and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (P38,314), by 24 percent, 28 percent, and 33 percent respectively.
"It comes as no surprise that about 35 percent of Metro Manila’s population is reported to live in unstable, badly constructed shelters in the slums, and 11 percent of these reside near railroads or garbage dumps," iPrice said, citing a study from the Borgen Project.
The research indicated rent drains a large chunk of a Filipino’s budget. According to the gathered data, Manila has the second most expensive rental rate among the six cities, right after Singapore.
A one-bedroom apartment at the city's center, for example, costs roughly P22,000, an amount 56 percent higher than Kuala Lumpur’s, 47 percent higher than Jakarta’s, 31 percent higher than Ho Chi Minh’s, and 9 percent higher than Bangkok’s.
"We all know that Singapore is way ahead of its Southeast ASEAN peers, so it’s quite surprising that a developing country’s capital city, which is way behind the aforementioned Lion City in terms of economic development, has the second-highest rent price in the region," iPrice noted.
Due to the steep price of units, many Filipinos, particularly members of the workforce, opt for shared rooms or bed spaces. Even with rental fees slashed, however, the cost of living is still pricey at P28,800 per month.
"This gives you an idea of its residents' quality of life... Perhaps leisure expenses or take-outs are kept to a minimum or aren’t enjoyed at all," iPrice said.