The Philippines is one of the cheapest places in the world to live where emglish is widely spoken. The natives are friendly, the women are beautiful and the cllimate is tropical. I live in one of the smaller cities Iloilo which is in the Visayas (middle).
Typhoons and earthquakes are rare here.
We have DSL availible at various speeds, good private hospitals, many nice and cheap beach and inland resorts. Many nice resturants and 5 new malls to choose from. The local supermarket chain carries a wide variety of imported foods.
$3,000 a month is 120,000 Philippine Pesos. That is quite allot of money. You can live well here on that kind of income.
A nice 3 br 2 bath house in a nice gated subdivision will cost P25,000 to P30,000 a month.
A live in maid will cost P 2,000 a month plus room and board.
A full time driver will cost P5,000 a month plus room and board.
We usually spend about P10,000 a month for all the utilities, Electric, cooking gas, Phone, DSL and CATV. We run major appliances and aircons plus hot water heaters. We eat well and spend about P12,000 a month for food for the 4 of us. It's about a 50/50 mix of local food and american food.
A good meal at a nice seafood resturant will cost P400.
Beer costs P25 a bottle in a resturant and P 18 at a local conienance store.
Trade offs ? You could drive here, but trust me downtown you don't want to. Traffic is chaos.
The locals run on Philippine time. That means they are never ontime for anything. A 1 o clock appointment can be as late as 2:30 and they think nothing of it.
As a foreigner you can't own property here, but you can own a condo or lease a home.
It's perfectly safe for Americans here. I have been living here for 6 years and never had a problem. Also you can stay now up to 24 months on a tourist visa with extensions ever 59 days. Extensions are quick and easy to get at the local B.I. Office.
6'2" white american who has never had a problem living here in the Philippines. I love this place.