Top 10 Cities in the Philippines for Expats

The Philippines, with its diverse cities, offers a range of experiences for expatriates. Whether it’s the hustle and bustle of metropolitan areas or the serene landscapes of coastal towns, there’s a perfect Philippine city waiting to be called home by expats from around the globe.

The Philippines has been making waves on the global scene as one of the most coveted destinations for expatriates. From its picture-perfect beaches and vibrant urban life to its rich history and warm locals, it’s no wonder the Philippines has garnered attention. Here’s a look at the top 10 cities that have been receiving the most admiration from the international community.


Overview: As the capital city, Manila offers an intoxicating blend of history, culture, and modern living. Skyscrapers rub shoulders with centuries-old churches, while bustling markets stand in contrast to sleek shopping malls.

Expat Appeal: Being the primary gateway to the country, Manila provides ample employment opportunities, especially in sectors like IT, finance, and real estate. Expats often find themselves living in upscale neighborhoods such as Makati and BGC, which boast world-class amenities and a cosmopolitan vibe.

Cebu City

Overview: Cebu City, often dubbed as the “Queen City of the South”, is a perfect blend of city life and island vibes. With its rich colonial history and vibrant festivities like Sinulog, it’s a cultural feast.

Expat Appeal: Besides being a major business hub, Cebu City provides expats with easy access to nearby beaches and resorts. The cost of living is relatively lower than in Manila, and the city has a burgeoning tech scene, attracting many IT professionals.

Davao City

Overview: Located on the island of Mindanao, Davao is known for its strict governance, leading to it being one of the safest cities in the country. It boasts a rich biodiversity with attractions like Mount Apo and the Philippine Eagle Center.

Expat Appeal: Davao’s growth as an agricultural and trading hub has opened avenues for expatriate employment. The city’s modern amenities combined with its proximity to natural wonders make it an enticing location.

Iloilo City

Overview: Dubbed as the “City of Love”, Iloilo is rich in cultural heritage with Spanish-era churches and ancestral homes. Its Dinagyang Festival is one of the country’s most colorful spectacles.

Expat Appeal: With the development of business parks and IT centers, Iloilo is fast becoming a hotspot for expats in the fields of business and technology. Its serene riverside views and delectable local cuisine also add to its charm.

Baguio City

Overview: Nestled in the Cordillera Mountains, Baguio is the “Summer Capital” of the Philippines. Its cool climate, pine trees, and panoramic views set it apart from other cities.

Expat Appeal: Many expats, especially retirees, are drawn to Baguio’s laid-back atmosphere. The city also offers a range of educational institutions, making it ideal for expat families.


Overview: While Boracay is more of an island than a city, its recent rehabilitation has brought infrastructure developments turning it into a livable paradise with white-sand beaches.

Expat Appeal: Often chosen by those looking for a semi-retired lifestyle, Boracay offers a relaxed environment with the perks of island living. The island’s vibrant nightlife and water activities also make it a favorite among younger expats.

Subic Bay

Overview: Once a U.S. Naval Base, Subic Bay has transformed into a bustling freeport zone with a mix of industrial, commercial, and recreational areas.

Expat Appeal: The city’s structured urban planning, investment opportunities, and recreational activities like diving and trekking draw in a considerable expat crowd.

Dumaguete City

Overview: Located in Negros Oriental, Dumaguete is known as the “City of Gentle People”. It’s a university town with a relaxed vibe, beautiful boulevards, and a scenic seafront.

Expat Appeal: Dumaguete attracts a significant number of expat retirees owing to its peaceful environment, relatively low cost of living, and vibrant arts scene.

Angeles City

Overview: Located in Pampanga, Angeles City is a blend of local Filipino culture and remnants from its American Air Base past.

Expat Appeal: Angeles City has emerged as an entertainment and culinary hotspot. Its proximity to the Clark Freeport Zone also means ample job opportunities for expatriates.

Bacolod City

Overview: Bacolod, the “City of Smiles”, is known for its MassKara Festival, old-world charm, and sugarcane plantations.

Expat Appeal: Apart from being a significant economic hub in the Visayas region, Bacolod’s friendly locals, delectable cuisine, and slower pace of life attract many expats looking for a genuine Filipino experience.

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Hello! I'm Wise, a Filipina with a deep love for my country and a passion for sharing its beauty with the world. As a writer, blogger, and videographer, I capture the essence of the Philippines through my eyes, hoping to give foreign visitors a true taste of what makes these islands so special.

From the vibrant streets of Manila to the tranquil beaches of Palawan, my journey is about uncovering the hidden gems and everyday wonders that define the Filipino spirit. My articles and blogs are not just travel guides; they are invitations to explore, to feel, and to fall in love with the Philippines, just as I have.

Through my videos, I strive to bring the sights, sounds, and stories of my homeland to life. Whether it's the local cuisine, the colorful festivals, or the warm smiles of the people, I aim to prepare visitors for an authentic experience.

For those seeking more than just a vacation, the Philippines can be a place of discovery and, perhaps, even love. My goal is to be your guide, not just to the places you'll visit, but to the experiences and connections that await in this beautiful corner of the world. Welcome to the Philippines, through my eyes. Let's explore together!

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