Buying property? Keep the real estate agents' mantra “location, location, and location” in mind. When making home purchase decisions, investors need to understand the value of location.
Properties with direct access to essential amenities and facilities—such as schools, workplaces, hospitals, churches, and transport terminals—provide convenience. This is why a lot of us are drawn to big cities and metropolitan areas. The struggle, however, is that prime properties are expensive.
These days, property developers are creating communities outside of Manila. You have the chance to find properties that aren't that expensive yet. Moreover, in the long run, major cities will be decongested and provincial cities and towns will be put in the spotlight.
If you’re looking for the best place to live in the Philippines, here are some recommendations to consider.
Best Place to Live in the Philippines in 2023: 13 Options to Consider
For a country as big as the Philippines, you won't run out of options. Get a sneak peek of the country's best and most ideal places to live in, starting with Luzon.
Best Places to Live in Luzon
Luzon, the largest island of the Philippines, has a lot of great places to live in. It has some of the best locations to invest in real estate in the Philippines in 2023, especially if you start with the following provinces.
Baguio has a lot of things going for it. Who doesn't love the cool weather and iconic tourist spots, such as Burnham Park, Tam-awan Village, and Bencab Museum?
Tourism is Baguio's lifeblood, followed by agriculture and hospitality. If you're looking to settle down in Baguio, you'll be glad to know that it's reportedly one of the safest cities in the Philippines. Plus, the cost of living is relatively lower compared to other major cities in the country.
For those with kids, Baguio is home to some of the best schools in the country, such as Saint Louis University, University of the Philippines Baguio, University of the Cordilleras, and more.
Because of its proximity to Manila, Bulacan is one of the best places to live in Luzon. You can take that much-needed breather but still easily head back to Manila whenever you need to.
Transportation shouldn’t be a problem, as the province has direct access to the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX). It can also be accessed through the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX).
It takes only about an hour and a half to get to Bulacan from Manila, making it ideal for those who want to live near the city but avoid traffic. If you’re a commuter, you can anticipate the opening of the MRT Line 7, which will take you from Bulacan to Manila in just around 30 minutes. And if you’re a frequent flyer, the New Manila International Airport is an exciting development to watch out for.
Malls and enterprises are already established―you'll never get bored! Numerous malls allow individuals to enjoy both rural and urban life.
Major real estate developers, such as Ayala Land, are building townships in San Jose del Monte City. You may also consider Ayala Land’s Altaraza (which features Avida Settings Altaraza).
Looking for the best subdivision in Bulacan? Take your pick between Camella Bulacan, Avida Parkfield Settings Pulilan, and others.
Megaworld is set to develop the 85-hectare Northwind Global City in Marilao and Bocaue, transforming the city into a global business district in 15 to 20 years.
Another province up north that can be considered among the best places to live in the Philippines is Pampanga. It gives easy access to the Clark International Airport, North Luzon Expressway (NLEX), and Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX). You can also enjoy the benefits of infrastructure projects, such as the North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR), which is expected to be completed by 2023.
Leading cities and towns include Angeles, San Fernando, and Porac. Some of the best subdivisions in Pampanga include Megaworld’s Capital Town in San Fernando, Ayala Land’s Alviera in Porac, Filinvest’s Claremont in Mabalacat, and Century Properties’ The Resort Residences in San Fernando.
For many real estate investors, Laguna will always be a foolproof choice. Foremost, a huge portion of the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) is covered by the province. Second, it offers a sophisticated mix of urban and rural living. It also serves as a gateway to holiday destinations such as Tagaytay and Batangas.
Laguna houses a number of major manufacturing plants and businesses. Take Santa Rosa City, for example, which is nicknamed the Detroit of the Philippines due to the number of car manufacturer factories in the city.
If you’re raising kids, you can choose between reputable schools, such as the University of the Philippines (UP) Los Baños, Malayan Colleges (Mapua), University of Perpetual-Help Laguna, Miriam College, De La Salle University, Colegio San Agustin, and Brent International School.
Top developments and projects include Ayala Land’s Nuvali, Eton Properties’ Eton City, and Megaworld’s Southwoods City.
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Because of its cool climate, Tagaytay also makes it to this list of the best places to live in the Philippines. The city is located on a ridge overlooking the Taal Volcano, making it the perfect spot to enjoy nature and breathtaking sights.
Moreover, Tagaytay has numerous tourist attractions, such as the Taal Vista Hotel, People's Park in the Sky, and Tagaytay Ridge.
The city is accessible via the Tagaytay-Nasugbu Highway and the Tagaytay-Calamba Road. You can also use the Skyway and the newly opened CALAX for a smoother, faster drive up north. It will take you less than two hours to get to Bulacan and an hour and a half to NAIA Terminal 3.
If you want to live in Tagaytay, check out the following communities: Ayala Land's Serin East and West, Vista Land's Camella Silang, and Megaworld's Twin Lakes.
Because it’s blessed with natural resources, Batangas is also one of the best places to live in Luzon. The province has an abundance of beaches, mountains, and lakes.
Business in the province has grown over the years, making it a perfect choice for people who are looking for work and business opportunities. Batangas also has thriving industries such as fisheries, agriculture, and tourism.
Batangas is accessible through the STAR Tollway and SLEX. Travel time from Batangas to Makati takes about 1.5 hours by car, depending on the traffic situation and other external factors.
Batangas is not too urbanized but not too rural―perfect for people who want to steer away from Metro Manila's busy and fast-paced environment. It's also an excellent option for starting families since children can enjoy nature and outdoor activities.
If you want to settle in Batangas, feel free to check Rockwell Land Corporation's Terreno South, AboitizLand Seafront Residences, and Suntrust's Sienna Hills.
If you’re on the lookout for a reasonably priced real estate package in a location poised for growth, consider Cavite as one of the best places to live in the Philippines. It has access to three major expressways: the Cavite-Laguna Expressway or CALAX (that connects you to SLEX), the Muntinlupa-Cavite Expressway or MCX (also connects you to SLEX), and the Manila-Cavite Expressway (CAVITEX).
The province is home to leading business process outsourcing (BPO) companies, such as TaskUs, Inc. and IQOR Philippines. Top universities and colleges, such as De La Salle-Dasmariñas, Emilio Aguinaldo College, and San Sebastian College, are also in Cavite.
If you’re looking for the best place to live in Cavite, check out the following communities: Ayala Land’s Vermosa, PRO-FRIENDS’ Lancaster New City, Vista Land’s The Island Park, Cathay Land’s South Forbes City, and Megaworld’s Southwoods City (Cavite part).
What makes Antipolo one of the best places to live in Luzon? Its proximity to Manila and its calming, rural feel. This city in Rizal is accessible via Marcos Highway and Sumulong Highway.
Antipolo is also home to schools such as De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde, Our Lady of Fatima University, and ICCT Colleges.
The city is known for its many religious sites and tourist spots, such as the Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage Shrine, Hinulugang Taktak, and the Pinto Art Museum.
If you're looking for the best place to build a house in the Philippines, consider Antipolo. The city has numerous subdivisions and villages that offer affordable townhouses and condominium units. Check out Megaworld's Eastland Heights, Camella Homes Eastridge, and Fernandez/Martinez-Leyba, Inc.'s Fairmount Hills, which is considered the Forbes Park of Antipolo.
Best Places to Live in Visayas
The best place to live in the Philippines may not necessarily be in Luzon, so consider scoping out locations in other regions, too, like major cities in Visayas.
Those who have been to Cebu City for a vacation or business trip will certainly tell you that it’s like being in Makati or Taguig. This is primarily because of its bustling environment, dominated by towering skyscrapers, posh restaurants, and massive business parks.
However, its rich culture keeps it grounded. Its proximity to holiday destinations, such as Oslob and Bohol, makes it one of the best locations to buy a house in the Philippines.
Cebu can be accessed by air, sea, and land. If you’re a jet setter who flies internationally, the Mactan-Cebu International Airport is just nearby.
In the coming years, Cebu City is expected to transform significantly because of the multi-billion projects planned for the region. These include Isla Dela Victoria, Seaside Arena, Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway (CCLEX), Metro Cebu Expressway, and Ming-Mori Business Park in Minglanilla.
Cebu City is also a haven of quality education since the UP Cebu, University of Cebu, Cebu Institute of Technology, University of San Jose-Recoletos, and the University of San Carlos are all located here.
📍 Iloilo City
This coastal city on Panay Island has many beautiful things in store—not just for tourists, but also for people looking to settle down and real estate investors who want profitable properties.
Iloilo City is one of the best places to live in the Philippines, especially if you want to integrate historical sensibilities into urban living. Major architectural themes lean towards Spanish aesthetics, and a lot of districts still have plazas.
Iloilo City has always been a premier center of trade, commerce, finance, health, and tourism in the Western Visayas region. The Iloilo International Airport is also a major gateway to important Asian cities here and abroad.
The city has a wealth of reputable colleges and universities, such as the UP Iloilo City Campus, University of Iloilo, University of San Agustin, Saint Paul University, and Western Institute of Technology.
Major real estate developments come from Ayala Land (including the Atria Park District), DoubleDragon Properties Corporation (owned by Ilonggo native Injap Sia, the founder of Mang Inasal), and residential projects such as FirstHomes.
📍 Bacolod City
Just like Iloilo, Bacolod is a bustling coastal city. You can access it via land, sea, and air. It has busy seaports, a clear indicator of active trade and a rising economy. Its airport is your doorway to other major cities, such as Manila, Cebu, and Davao.
Some visitors may liken Bacolod to Iloilo because of its designs and architectural style.
Bacolod is part of the Bacolod Metropolitan Area, which also includes the cities of Talisay and Silay. While the city thrives in agriculture, it is also home to IT and BPO companies.
If you want your kids to enjoy high-quality education, Bacolod has excellent universities and colleges, such as Colegio San Agustin, La Consolacion College, the University of Saint La Salle, and Bacolod City College.
The City of Smiles has attracted some of the country’s major real estate developers, such as Megaworld, the company behind The Upper East, and Ayala Land, which developed Envisions, a fully integrated community patterned after other Ayala townships.
Best Places to Live in Mindanao
Still looking for the best place to live in the Philippines? Don't worry because you might find it in Mindanao.
📍 Cagayan de Oro City
Cagayan de Oro is considered one of the next-wave cities in the country. Real estate think tanks, such as Lamudi, say this North Mindanao city is on the brink of a real estate “explosion.”
CDO is not just for adventurers who want to experience the thrill of whitewater rafting. It's also one of the best places to buy property in the Philippines, especially now that the city is investing heavily in infrastructure. This includes the expansion of the Laguindingan Airport and the development of the biggest passenger terminal at the city’s port.
Other than tourism and agriculture, Cagayan de Oro’s BPO industry is also expanding.
When it comes to education, Cagayan de Oro is proud of its prestigious institutions, such as Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan, Liceo de Cagayan University, Capitol University, and the University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines.
📍 Davao City
Like the Visayan cities of Iloilo and Bacolod, Davao is also a coastal city. You can reach it via air and sea. The city also has an extensive bus network that can take you back to Manila and other key cities from Mindanao.
Davao is very much like Metro Manila when it comes to economic performance, as it's home to diverse industries. While agriculture remains the city’s largest economic sector, it also plays host to leading companies, such as Coca-Cola Bottlers, Phil., RC Cola Philippines, Pepsi-Cola, Phoenix Petroleum, Holcim Philippines, and SteelAsia.
Tourism is also a big contributor to the success of the city, as demonstrated by hospitality businesses, such as Marco Polo Davao, Apo View Hotel, and Pearl Farm Beach Resort.
Davao City is often hailed as one of the safest and most affordable places to live in the Philippines. It's also home to top universities, such as the Ateneo de Davao University, the University of Mindanao, and the University of Southeastern Philippines.
Is Real Estate a Good Investment in the Philippines?
Every real estate investor in the Philippines always asks this question. After all, investing in a condominium or a house and lot package requires you to shell out a great deal of money.
No doubt about it—real estate is a good investment in the Philippines. The country has a temperate climate and excellent infrastructure, making it an ideal place to live. The Build Build Build program has so far completed over 40,000 kilometers of roads, which are linked to several cities and provinces.
There are numerous real estate options available in the Philippines, so do your research before investing. The best places to invest are those with a stable economy and offer plenty of growth opportunities.
If you can’t afford a property now, you don’t have to force it. Otherwise, you’ll just end up suffering financially or having a hard time choosing between your priorities.
- Condo vs House: Which is a Better Buy?
- Buy or Rent a House? Know the Pros and Cons Before You Decide
- Should You Buy or Build a House? Important Things to Consider
Where to Invest in Real Estate in the Philippines: 5 Things to Consider
Where to buy land in the Philippines? To find the ideal property location and maximize your investment, there are five important things to remember:
Obviously, this should be at the top of your list, especially now that you know the best places to live in the Philippines. When choosing a location, always consider your long-term plans.
Do you plan to live away from Manila’s hustle and bustle? Are you planning to build your own resort? Do you want your kids to always wake up to fresh morning air, away from pollution?
✔️ Property Cost
Expect properties located in central business districts and key cities to be expensive. Avoid properties and housing loans that are difficult to pay off. Stick to your budget to avoid financial troubles in the end.
Remember that the costs of buying the property don’t just end with your mortgage. You’ll also have to think about construction, home insurance, maintenance, and renovation.
✔️ Property Type
Your real estate property should always be in line with your lifestyle and future plans. In case you and your spouse want to have four kids, getting a 24-square-meter condominium may not be the best idea, for instance.
✔️ School District
Another thing to consider when buying a property is the school district. If you have a growing family, make sure your home is just a few minutes away from schools and universities. Choose a place that’s home to excellent education with plenty of opportunities for extracurricular activities.
✔️ Accessibility of Services, Establishments, and Infrastructure
It's also important to consider the accessibility of services before buying property. The best place to live in the Philippines should have excellent infrastructure and plenty of services available, such as hospitals, malls, and restaurants.
Consider ongoing and future road developments or infrastructure projects in the vicinity, whether they’re developing lands, roads, or business hubs.
If you're looking for a place with lots of hospitality and investment opportunities plus accessibility to Metro Manila, find a place in Luzon. But if you're after a more relaxed lifestyle surrounded by natural beauty, then Visayas might be perfect for you. Or if you want to experience all that the Philippines has to offer―from beaches to forests and rice paddies―then Mindanao is definitely worth considering.
Of course, real estate is always a gamble. Your journey to can get tough, and you’ll definitely have a lot of questions in mind. But don’t get stressed. Do things one step at a time.
First, determine the best places to live in the Philippines. And from there, decide which location is perfect for you.
-  Megaworld to build P98-B global business district in Bulacan
-  DOTr: Malolos-Clark Railway Construction to Start in November, Partial Operation Seen by 2023 (CNN Philippines, 2020)
-  The Detroit of the Philippines Has Just Been Infused With German Flavor (Inquirer.net, 2020)
-  The Future Looks Bright for Bacolod’s Real Estate Landscape (Lamudi, 2019)
-  On the Rise: What Makes Cagayan de Oro an Investment Hotspot (Lamudi, 2020)
-  ‘Build, Build, Build’ continues: Building more for better lives (PNA)