7 Best Places to Live in Luzon

I remember when I first came to The Philippines and was deciding where I should put down my roots. Honestly, I didn’t have much of an idea. I just knew I didn’t want to be in Mindanao for safety reasons. Now I know that most of Mindanao island is perfectly safe. Deciding where to live can be a daunting task. Each place has it’s upsides and downsides.

After researching thoroughly and actually visiting these places I have come up with a list of the 7 best places to live in on the Island of Luzon:

  • Metro Manila
  • Bataganas
  • Laguna Province
  • Cavite Province
  • Baguio City
  • Angeles City
  • Pampanga

#1 Metro Manila

Monthly cost of a 1 bedroom apartment in Makati (a popular expat area): 41,000 php ($820)

This is a no-brainer if you’re into city life. Metro Manila is the capital of The Philippines and it’s where almost all of the country’s economic development is located. Manila has plays, bars, churches, schools, high-end shopping, great restaurants, nightlife, diversity, and much much more. If you’re into city life then Manila is it. There’s simply no way to get bored if you’re living in Manila. Some of my favorite places to visit in Manila are the Green Belt Mall, Intramuros, and Manila Ocean Park. The top areas for expats to live in Manila are BGC and Makati. Those are also some of the most expensive areas.

Related: All About Manila

Who wouldn’t like Manila?

If you’re into a quiet existence where you know your neighbors and talk to each other then Manila may not be the best place for you. Also, if you go to Makati and BGC you’ll meet some of the snobbiest locals The Philippines has to offer. It’s quite expensive to live in Manila compared to everywhere else in The Philippines. Oh, and if you’re into breathing clean air Manila is not for you either.

Related: Hacks for Saving Money in Manila

#2 Batangas Province

Monthly cost of a 1 bedroom apartment: 3,000 php ($70)

Batangas is a nice and quite province just two hours south of Metro Manila. There you’ll see beautiful beaches and kind locals. It’s much more rural but getting more and more crowded on the weekends with Manilans going there to get away from the city. Its famous attractions include Masasa Beach and Malabrigo Lighthouse. You can go to Pinoy Adventurista to find the most interesting things to do there. That being said this is a mostly rural province. A person that’s used to the city may not like it here.

#3 Laguna Province

Monthly cost of a 1 bedroom apartment: 6,700 php ($134)

Laguna province is becoming home for more and more people who are tired of the city life and want a nice and affordable place to life. Thanks to the Laguna Lake Expressway it’s quicker to get to Laguna from Manila than it’s neighboring province, Cavite. Laguna also has the Santa Rosa park which has rides and a large ferris wheel. It’s decent but not something that would cause anyone to make a decision about moving there or not.

#4 Cavite Province

Monthly Cost for a 1 bedroom apartment: 5,300 php ($110)

Like Laguna province, Cavite has become another Manila commuter province. You can get condos there for less than 5,000 php per month. The major cities are Imus, Dasmarinas, and Bacoor. The favorite place of expats to live in Tagaytay city. It’s home to the world’s smallest active volcano located in the middle of Lake Taal. Expect to pay double the average cost of an apartment if you choose to live in Tagaytay. It can also get quite cold, especially at night. The city is small but beautiful with very nice condos. Some residents complain about Manila weekend vacationers crowding the place.

#5 Baguio City

Monthly cost for a 1 bedroom apartment downtown: 10,600 php ($212)

Baguio city is known as the summer capital of the Philippines because its cold climate provides relief to Manilans who are roasting in the hot summers. Baguio is truly unique in that it’s like you’ve left the Philippines and gone back home. The palm trees are replaced by beautiful pines and you’ll need a jacket for the first time since you’ve arrived in The Philippines. It’s also home to some nice attractions such as Mt. Pulag National Park and the Baguio Botanical Gardens.  Expats like the city for its relative safety. Baguio enjoys some of the lowest crime rates in The Philippines. The city is also quite progressive, holding the country’s first same-sex wedding.

#6 Angeles City

Monthly cost for a 1 bedroom apartment downtown: 13,500 php ($270)

The city is trying to shed its reputation for being the prostitution capital of The Philippines but still; that’s why most guys go there. They have the largest assortment of girly bars in the country and you can get pretty much whatever you want there. That being said there is a nice military museum and water park there. Check out things to do in Angeles City.

#7 Pampanga Province

Monthly cost for a 1 bedroom apartment: 5,000 php ($100)

The Northern Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) has made Pampanga much more accessible. Traveling to and from Metro Manila is no longer an arduous three-hour drive. Home to the US Naval base of Subic Bay the province just north of Manila is growing immensely in popularity. It’s home to the famous Sky Ranch Water and Amusement Park in San Fernando. You can expect to pay around 5,000 php a month for a decent one bedroom apartment in downtown. The biggest city is San Fernando.

#8 Sorsogon City

Monthly cost for a 1 bedroom apartment downtown: 4,000 php ($80)

Sorsogon City is the capital city of the province of Sorsogon, the southernmost province in Luzon Island and the gateway to the Visayas and Mindanao. Sorsogon is endearingly called the Luzon Tip. The city itself is made up of two former independent towns, Sorsogon (the old capital town) and Bacon (Pronounced Baacon). In 2000, these two towns merged into a city. Expats like it because it is quiet without being too rural. It’s also cool because you can swim with whale sharks nearby! The downside would be that it’s in the typhoon belt which means the city gets hit with typhoons pretty regularly about 5-10 per year. The city is also very conservative and religious having some of the highest church attendance rates in the country.

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