Where to Live and Invest in the Philippines? Here are Our Top Picks

Published: February 11, 2021 | Updated: October 7, 2021 | Posted by: Moneymax | Sponsored Content

Best Places to Live in the Philippines | Moneymax

When buying a property, the age-old wisdom on real estate investment that says “location, location, and location” still holds true today. While it’s seemingly redundant, the intention is there—to make investors understand the value of location in the home purchase decision.

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 when it comes to purchasing a home, however, lies in one fact: prime properties are expensive.

Property developers have been creating communities outside of Manila. This move gives you a chance to find properties that are not yet that expensive. Moreover, it will benefit everyone 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 places to live in the Philippines, here are some of your top considerations.

9 Best Places to Live in the Philippines

Best Places to Live in Luzon


Maderas Grove Estate in Malolos, Bulacan. Photo c/o Avida Land.

Located at the edge of Metro Manila, Bulacan is one of the ideal places for your real estate purchase. The province’s economy is on the rise, and it provides that much-needed breather while still making sure you can easily head back to Manila whenever you need to.

San Jose del Monte City is one of the best places in Bulacan that will satisfy your dreams of leading a suburban lifestyle. Major real estate developers, such as Ayala Land, are building townships here. One of the communities that you may want to consider is Ayala Land’s Altaraza (which features Avida Settings Altaraza). But it’s also worth looking at other local developers if you have a limited budget.

Transportation should not be a problem, as the province has direct access to the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX). 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.


Another province up north that can be considered among the best places to live in the Philippines is Pampanga. Not only does it give you easy access to the Clark International Airport, North Luzon Expressway (NLEX), and Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX), but it will also let you enjoy the benefits of infrastructure projects, such as the North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR), which is expected to be completed by 2023.(1)

Among the leading cities and towns you may want to look at are Angeles, San Fernando, and Porac. Some developments to consider 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.

Read more: How to Invest in Real Estate: A Quick Guide


Nuvali in Sta. Rosa. Photo c/o TripAdvisor

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. Secondly, it has a sophisticated mix of urban and rural living. It also serves as a gateway to holiday destinations such as Tagaytay and Batangas.

Laguna is a powerhouse when it comes to business, as it houses a number of major manufacturing plants and businesses. Take Santa Rosa City, for example, which is nicknamed the Detroit of the Philippines because all the factories of car manufacturers are in the city. (2)

If you’re raising kids and you want to give them the best education possible, 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, are located here.

Top developments and projects that may lead you to the best place to live in Laguna include Ayala Land’s Nuvali, Eton Properties’ Eton City, and Megaworld’s Southwoods City.

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If you’re on the lookout for a reasonably priced real estate package in a location that is poised for growth, Cavite is one of the best places to live in the Philippines. It has access to three major expressways, such as 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 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).

Read more: Tips When Buying Your First Real Estate Property

Best Places to Live in Visayas

Cebu City

Cebu IT Park. Photo c/o Cebu IT Park Properties

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, which is perfectly displayed by towering skyscrapers, posh restaurants, and massive business parks. However, its rich culture keeps it grounded, and its proximity to holiday destinations, such as Oslob and Bohol, makes it an attractive choice.

Cebu can be accessed by air, sea, and land. And if you’re a jet setter who flies internationally, the Mactan-Cebu International Airport got you covered. 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 University of San Carlos are all located here.

Iloilo City

Javellana Building in Iloilo City. Photo from Cebu Pacific Smile Magazine.

This coastal city on Panay Island has many beautiful things in store not only 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 for those who want to integrate historical hints and sensibilities into urban living. This is because 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.

Also, 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, which include the Atria Park District. DoubleDragon Properties Corporation (which is owned by Injap Sia, the founder of Mang Inasal, who is also an Ilonggo) also builds residential projects such as FirstHomes.

Bacolod City

Bacolod Silay Airport. Photo c/o Panay News.

Just like Iloilo, Bacolod is a bustling coastal city. You can access it via land, sea, and air. It has busy seaports, which are 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 of the city may liken Bacolod to Iloilo because its designs and architectures also have Spanish sensibilities. This means that it’s a good fit for investors who want to immerse themselves in culture.

Bacolod is part of the Bacolod Metropolitan Area, which also includes the cities of Talisay and Silay. While the city thrives in agriculture, it also has companies that are heavily focused on IT and business process outsourcing.

If you want your kids to enjoy high-quality education, Bacolod has excellent universities and colleges, such as Colegio San Agustin, La Consolacion College, 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 (3), and Ayala Land, which has developed Envisions, a fully integrated community patterned after other Ayala townships in Makati, Laguna, and Cebu.

Best Places to Live in Mindanao

Cagayan de Oro City

Uptown Cagayan De Oro. Photo c/o Project Lupad.

In recent years, Cagayan de Oro has been considered one of the next-wave cities in the country. Real estate think-tanks, such as Lamudi, even said that this North Mindanao city is worth keeping an eye on, as it’s on the brink of a real estate “explosion.”(4)

CDO is not just for adventurers who want to experience the thrill of whitewater rafting. It also makes a good location for real estate investors, 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, with the likes of Concentrix and Teleperformance in the forefront. 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 University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines. Definitely, CDO is one of the best places to live in the Philippines

Davao City

Downtown Davao City. Photo c/o Jojie Alcantara as published in Smile Magazine.

Like the Visayan cities of Iloilo and Bacolod, Davao is also a coastal city. You can reach it via air and sea. Not known to many, though, the city 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 is 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.

When it comes to education, Davao City boasts its top universities, such as the Ateneo de Davao University, University of Mindanao, and University of Southeastern Philippines.

Is Real Estate a Good Investment in the Philippines?

Every real estate investor in the Philippines always asks this. After all, investing in a condominium or a house and lot package requires you to shell out a great deal of money.

Yes, real estate is a good investment. Leading online mortgage broker Nook says that everything must be taken into careful consideration, especially if you’re on a tight budget. 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.

Read more: 5 Best Reasons Why OFWs Should Invest in Real Estate

Where to Invest in Real Estate in the Philippines: 3 Things to Consider

best places to live in the philippines - what to consider

To know the ideal property location for you and maximize your real estate investment, there are three important things to remember:

1. Location

Obviously, this should be at the top of your list, especially now that you know the best places to live in the Philippines. Convenience has a cost, so always expect that properties located in central business districts and key cities are expensive. 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? These are the questions you need to ask yourself.

2. Property Cost

The golden rule of investing in real estate is avoiding 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 home insurance, maintenance, and renovation.

3. Property Type

Your real estate property should always be in line with your lifestyle and plans in life. 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.

Read more: What is the Best House Type for My Family?

Financing is among the biggest components of real estate investment, so make sure that you’re working with the right bank or lending institution. You need to get pre-qualified first. This is something that you can do within the comforts of your home through Nook.

Final Thoughts

Your journey to buying a property can be tough, and you’ll definitely have a lot of questions in mind. But don’t get stressed by absorbing everything all at once. You must do things one step at a time. And at this point, you must determine first the best places to live in the Philippines and from there determine which location is perfect for you.

This article was created in partnership with Nook Philippines. While we are financially compensated for this collaboration, we ensure to maintain our editorial integrity to provide you with the best recommendations that can help you make smarter financial decisions.

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