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Why the Philippines is a Great Digital Nomad Destination in 2019

Is the Philippines one of the best digital nomad destinations in 2019? Short answer; yes. It’s like Thailand circa 1994 with internet. 

I’d been craving something more authentic, something that doesn’t try so hard to cater to Westerners. And while they do try, I like the happy medium I find in the Philippines.

Here’s why, the caveats, and how to set yourself up as a Philippines digital nomad. 

Siargao Nomad Philippines
Siargao, Philippines

As Southeast Asia continues to evolve, I’d like to make a case for digital nomads to embrace the Philippines as a top destination in 2019.

This is a companion article to our How to Become a Digital Nomad guide.

Nomad Philippines Makati City Manila
Makati City, Manila, Philippines

Reddit Digital Nomads Wanted to Know

Reddit’s /r/digitalnomad is an established, very helpful subreddit for digital nomads. With over 334,000 subscribers at the time of writing, it’s the most active digital nomad Reddit channel and the world’s largest digital nomad community by far –making Reddit a great inspiration for digital nomad blog posts like this one.

Nomad Philippines questions are common on Reddit, and every few months I will find a thread where someone is asking if the Philippines is ready to be considered a prime digital nomad destination. Responses often range from cold to lukewarm.

So, I answered a few of them. Conversations followed, and I decided to piece together the updated nomad Philippines information I shared with them into a blog post for 2019.

I came to the Philippines soon after writing Digital Nomad Escape Plan to turn over a new leaf and break out on my own, outside of the massive nomad community of Chiang Mai and its crowded cafes and coworking spaces for a change of pace.

Nomadic life in the Philippines has been changing rapidly since I first got here for a number of reasons I’ll discuss in this article.

Nacpan Beach El Nido
Nacpan Beach, El Nido, Palawan

Digital Nomads in the Philippines

While the general consensus by Reddit digital nomads is that the Philippines is not a nomad-friendly destination, I’d like to politely create a counter-argument, explain my reasons, and shed some light on why I think it’s such a hotly debated topic in the first place.

After that, I’ve got a Nomad Philippines mini-guide for those interested in exploring this beautiful country. Click here to jump straight to it.

Philippines Digital Nomad

General Consensus

Doing my own research, the general consensus in regard to the Philippines by Reddit digital nomads, travel bloggers, and your average expat is as follows;


  • English is widely spoken, lowest language barrier in SEA
  • Dating is more approachable between foreigners and locals, there’s less cultural barriers, and generally, the people are pretty amazing (I should know, I married a local)
  • Air quality, places to work from, overall friendliness, freedom of speech, cost of living, fun things to do, peace, and air conditioning are all “great”


  • Online business in the Philippines is difficult due to poor internet speeds
  • Food is either too salty or too sweet to appeal to Western taste buds
  • Quality of life is mediocre and racial tolerance is “bad”

Not all the cons on this list are accurate today.


The majority of my general consensus points above come from NomadList, Reddit digital nomad threads, and travel videos on YouTube.

NomadList Philippines (Palawan)
NomadList Palawan, Philippines

For those who haven’t heard of NomadList, it’s a great crowdsourced resource that aggregates information from a wide range of data sources to help those in our circles select their next digital nomad destination.

To its credit, NomadList is a massive undertaking and the hard work that went into it is outstanding, although I respectfully disagree with one single point about Palawan; its “bad” rating for racial tolerance.

Even in the more provincial areas of the Philippines where foreigners are rare, I’ve always been treated kindly. In these areas you’ll often hear “Hey Joe!” or “Fuck You!” from little kids –a product of limited English and pop culture; seeing a cute little dude giggle and make a gang sign yelling “Fuck you!” is more comical than it is “racially intolerant”. It’s fucking funny. It’s high five worthy.

Other research comes from what other bloggers are saying.

I always enjoy a good travel video about the Philippines, with Lost Leblanc and Just One Way Ticket being my two favorite vloggers that have invested a lot of their time in covering the Philippines. I highly recommend watching their videos as part of your own research.

Philippines digital nomad
There’s great surfing at Duli Beach, few bloggers know about it, it’s always empty, and there’s only one resort

My Nomad Philippines Experience

The Philippines is less gentrified than Thailand, Hong Kong, Singapore, or Vietnam. It definitely has world class areas, but for the most part it’s laid back, rustic, and for those who prefer to live off the beaten track outside the scope of traditional nomad hubs.

The beaches are phenomenal, many of which are great for surfing –and they’re not overcrowded if you know where to look.

Digital Nomad Philippines Reddit
Chillin’ at Duli Beach Resort

For some nomads, Philippines is a place to go if you need reprieve from language barriers or want to hang out with locals who understand your culture in ways that few other Southeast Asia countries do.

The nature of your personal reasons and/or online business in the Philippines is a key factor to consider. Being a digital nomad in the Philippines isn’t black and white, only good or only bad. It’s nuanced.

I’ve been a Philippines nomad for the majority of the last 4 years or so, and I rarely run into problems with internet speeds, personal safety, or quality of life.

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Reddit Digital Nomad

Internet Speed

Since the internet speeds are the main concern for Reddit digital nomads considering the Philippines, I’ll fill you in on what I use it for;

  • Video Skype calls on a regular basis
  • Copywriting research for blog posts
  • Downloading large files on Bit Torrent protocol
  • Watching news television programs on YouTube

For personal use or online business, Philippines internet speeds suit most digital nomads just fine. Large files can be downloaded in minutes, only 1 out of 10 Skype video calls drop (and in those cases we just switch to audio), I can stream YouTube in high definition, and I’ve never had a problem getting shit done.

On the contrary, if you’re a vlogger who needs to upload a lot of large video files on a regular basis, the Philippines may not be for you. Internet speeds aren’t as good as Thailand, however, they will suit your needs if you’re a moderate internet user like myself –and they’re steadily getting better.

The current president has cautioned local telecommunications companies that if they don’t start modernizing their networks he will open the borders to outside competition. And local telcos have been listening.

Ookla SpeedTest reports a steady improvement in internet speeds over the course of 2018 and it’s a trend that will continue into 2019.

Nomad Philippines
Ookla SpeedTest Trends for the Philippines

Why do some Reddit digital nomads think internet in Philippines is terrible?

If I had to guess why some Reddit digital nomad users take such a hard line on the Philippines, I’d attribute it to either not staying current, having above-average internet speed requirements, or they went somewhere that didn’t have good internet and called it a day.

Even if their experience was only six months ago, bandwidth in the area they visited may have already increased.

I noticed this passing through Cagayan de Oro recently; on our first pass it was sketchy, two months later it was vastly improved.

Philippines Digital Nomad 2019
Lunch earlier today at Meso

Local Cuisine

I can vouch for the local cuisine often being a little too salty or sweet and lacking vegetables –even pasta sauce could have Carnation Condensed Milk in it (that stuff they use in “Thai Coffee”, gross), and a lot of the baked goods have an over-manufactured fakeness to them; the texture isn’t right, I can’t put my finger on it. Bread almost always has sugar added, and when a recipe calls for it, fake processed Eden cheese is used instead of the real deal.

However, in tourist-friendly areas like Cebu, Makati, Boracay, Siargao and Palawan, it’s not hard to find more world class food variety.

Here in Palawan we’ve got a lot of international foods served in local restaurants. It’s not as great as Thailand’s selection, or that of Vietnam, Singapore, or Hong Kong –but it’s enough. Especially once you start cooking at home.

Nomad Philippines 2019

Quality of Life

Everyone agrees that the cost of living in the Philippines is low, but some believe that the quality of life is lacking. If you’re resourceful, your quality of life as a nomad in the Philippines can be similar to that in Thailand.

And unlike some parts of Thailand, there isn’t a two-class pricing system (one for locals, one for foreigners).

In fact, SM Malls which are common in the Philippines offer discounts to tourists. I recently bought a plunger and the cash register flashed “class discount”. I don’t like the semantics of a “class discount”, but I like saving money so I’ll take it.

What’s Missing?

When I first got here I found that probiotic foods like kefir and kimchi were hard to find; and then local grocery stores started carrying kimchi and I discovered an organic farm for kefir.

I thought locally sold vitamins and health supplements are an overpriced, low quality rip off in grocery stores, and then I started using Lazada, the Amazon of Asia.

Making friends with locals and foreigners is even easier than other parts of Asia. Most islands are large enough that you don’t get claustrophobic. And it’s as easy to get around as anywhere else in Asia.

In the Philippines, there’s a bit of a hierarchy of tourist hotspots; Boracay being on the top of the list, followed by Bohol, then Siargao, Cebu Province, Palawan, and finally, Siquijor. (Locals reading this, did I get that right?).

We chose Palawan because it has all the comforts of home; international food options, less dangerous/major highways so I feel safe riding a motorbike, good enough internet, cheap rent, rarely a line-up at Immigration, modern shopping malls, nearby beaches, and it’s not as busy during high season.

In Palawan, most tourists flock to El Nido and they’re on their way out of Puerto Princesa as soon as their plane lands. Puerto Princesa is peaceful.

Puerto Princesa is like Chiang Mai surrounded by ocean. This city covers all our bases. And there are others like it; Cebu city was excellent for all the same reasons.

Hidden beaches of the Philippines
A hidden beach across the bay from Puerto Princesa

It’s More Fun in the Philippines

If you’re glued to your laptop 24/7 what’s the point of being a digital nomad?

If adventure activities, island hopping, scuba diving, surfing, nature hiking, and chilling on the beach are why you got behind the digital nomad lifestyle, the Philippines is high on the list of nomad destinations to explore.

Nomad Philippines Top 10

To reiterate the how ideal the Philippines is for nomads if you’re skimming this article:

  1. Internet speeds increasing rapidly
  2. 7,107 islands at last count; that’s a lot of beaches
  3. Low cost of accommodation, Airbnb widely used
  4. Low cost of food, beer, social activities
  5. Travel within the country is cheap
  6. Everyone speaks English
  7. Great people, great dating scene
  8. Great weather
  9. Air conditioning is ubiquitous
  10. Lots of cafes, coworking spaces

I recommend any Reddit digital nomad reading this give the Philippines a whirl for a month. Try out Cebu city, explore Boracay, Bohol, Siargao, Palawan, and if you like more urban areas similar to Bangkok, give Makati a shot.

It’s not all holiday hotspots, there’s a lot of ideal locations to set up a home base.

digital nomad subreddit

Digital Nomad Philippines Guide (2019)

This nomad Philippines guide has been updated for 2019 with a focus on banking, how to dodge the onward ticket requirement, how to easily get an apartment, and how to setup your mobile phone for the cheapest internet.

As previously mentioned, consider this brief supplemental Nomad Philippines guide a companion to our more general How to Become a Digital Nomad article.

We’ve also got another companion piece for Bali digital nomads that you might want to look at, too.

subreddit digital nomad

Top Locations

The best cities for digital nomads in the Philippines right now are as follows –each links to their resource page on NomadList for deeper insights:

Each location has solid internet connectivity from the top 3 internet providers in the Philippines (more on that later), and each is a paradise in their own unique way.

In order to keep this post evergreen, I’m not going to get into coworking spaces for each individual nomad Philippines location because those open, close, and move around as with anything in Asia.

Nomad Reddit Philippines

Get a Visa

Visas for the Philippines are a lot easier to manage than Thailand or Indonesia; most Western countries will get a free 30 day waiver on arrival, and from there you can get back-to-back visa extensions without having to leave the country.

I’ve got pages and pages of tourist visa extensions as I haven’t yet explored my new visa options after marrying my wife here.

After a couple extensions, you’ll also be given an ACR card; (Alien Certificate of Registration) a plastic local photo ID card with a smart chip that allows you to open a local bank account, among other benefits (I leave this with bike rentals instead of my passport).

Visa extensions will cost you about $60 USD, bring 5,000 pesos with you to be sure. Prices differ based on whether you’re being given an ACR card or not, which expire annually.

How to Become a Digital Nomad 2019

Don’t Pay for an Onward Ticket

When you first enter the Philippines, you’ll need proof that you have an onward ticket –a flight booking out of the country within 30 days. This is mandatory, even though it’s likely a wasted flight because you plan to get a visa extension.

Do not waste your money, check out Nomad Proof instead. It works incredibly well, and I go into a little more detail in this post.

Get Cheap Accommodation

Accommodation is incredibly cheap in the Philippines, even cheaper than Thailand.

I’ll include a widget below so you can explore hostels, hotels, and resorts on Agoda –however, I’ve got a little tip to help you find a cheap apartment in the Philippines.

We currently have two apartments in the Philippines that we keep year ‘round to make life easier; one near the in-laws, and one in Palawan. It allows us to travel light, wherever we go. We don’t pay more than $300 USD for both apartments combined, and they aren’t tiny studio apartments, either.

Here’s the tip;

Find a place you like on Airbnb and rent it for a couple days at the listed rate. If you like it, make them an offer to rent it off-app, monthly. Your offer for a full month should be about 8-10 days of the listed rate on Airbnb.

The reason for this is that few listings get rented more than 8-10 days per month, even in peak season. In most cases the landlord will be happy with your offer.

Sign up for Airbnb with this link and get up to $43 in credit that you can put towards your first stay.


With one-of-a-kind homes and experiences, Airbnb is a great way to travel. When you sign up, you’ll get $31 off a home booking of $68 or more and $12 toward an experience of $45 or more. Coupons expire one year from date of sign up.

Get Airbnb

Philippines Digital Nomads

Get Internet and Mobile Data

Globe, Smart, and PLDT are the three most prominent internet service providers in the Philippines.

Globe is currently our favorite and the best internet service provider in the Philippines for your phone due to its ever-expanding coverage.

PLDT is the best internet service provider if you’re looking for a fiber optic internet connection in your apartment. In some rural areas, Smart is the only option for your smartphone.

Dual SIM smartphones are common in Asia, and I use one so I can tether off either, on a per-case basis.

The best deal you are going to get with Globe Telecom on your smartphone is 2GB full speed, un-throttled internet data usage for 90 pesos. That’s under $2 USD.

To get 2GB of data with Globe, text “GOTSCOMBODD90” to 8080. It’s the best deal you’ll find in 2019.

Philippines Digital Nomad Destination

Get a Bank Account

Philippines digital nomads have a few options for banking below; if you’d like something more international check out our “Best Bank for Digital Nomads” post.

Traditional Bank

Once you have your ACR card, getting a bank account with a traditional bank is a pretty straightforward process. Branches of all major international banks can be found in most cities across the country, locally I’d recommend BPI, China Bank, Security Bank, or BDO.


  • ACR card
  • Passport
  • Passport photo
  • Utility bill or rental contract
  • Minimum deposit, card fee

GCash as a PayPal Card

GCash is little more than a prepaid Mastercard, with an optional small amount of credit based on your “GScore”. It’s got a handy app, and you can also make purchases scanning a QR code.

What makes this even more useful is that it’s linked to your Globe number so you can easily top up your phone service “load”.

If you create a Philippines PayPal account that matches your name, address, and ID to your GCash account –you can withdrawal from PayPal seconds after getting paid, without a fee. From there, it’s on the card and can be used like any other banking card.

Visit a Globe store or GCash kiosk at any mall to get an account.

Coins is another really handy app you can use to buy load, pay bills, and even send, receive, or hold cryptocurrencies. Yep, it’s a cardless hot wallet for Bitcoin and Ethereum with support for other altcoins rolling out as it matures.

Coins is a crypto exchange that allows nomads in the Philippines to top up its balance at a 7-Eleven with cash, and then convert it to the cryptocurrency of your choice.

You can download from your favorite smartphone app store.

Nomads Philippines Work From Home

Get Groceries

In most cases, the Philippines are the cheapest in all of Asia for buying groceries. Most groceries. Some foods you might be used to back home are either not available, hard to find, or more expensive –but your staples are covered.

Pro-tip: Get a blender or juicer and make strawberry-banana-beet-spinach-coconut oil smoothies at home to ensure you’re getting enough vegetables! You can’t taste the veggies, and the coconut oil ties it all together.

As with most of Asia, the beef is always tough and awful, don’t recommend it unless you boil the shit out of it until it’s tender.

Eating out is incredibly cheap –cheaper than Thailand in most cases. However they don’t have the selection Thailand has and vegetables are scarce. If you like Pho, noodles and Chinese food, you’re in luck.

Local restaurant chains far outnumber bespoke restaurants. This might turn off some people, but in many ways, it’s the only way you’re going to get any consistency.

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Related Articles

We’ve got a few other articles related to the Philippines you may want to read:

Solo Travel Reddit


Once you settle in, you’ll find that the Philippines has a handful of what could rank as “the best cities for digital nomads”. There’s something for everyone, with options that range from urban to beach life.

I recommend the Philippines for digital nomads who have been to at least one other nomad hub like Thailand, Indonesia, or Vietnam first –and are well adjusted to setting up shop in a place that’s a little more rugged. I find Chiang Mai, Bali, and Ho Chi Minh to be great places to cut your teeth in the beginning of your nomadic lifestyle.

After that, you’re ready for nomad Philippines life. The reason for this is that there’s less digital nomads in the Philippines, and that means less support if you run into trouble.

Check out our other nomad guides:

What do you think, did I cover enough bases? Let everyone know what you think of this nomad Philippines 2019 guide in the comments.

Read: Location Independent Jobs That Are Always Hiring (Updated Weekly) –this article links to active search results on FlexJobs for entry-level remote jobs that you can apply for today.

Nomad Life Blog - Michael Hulleman

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  1. Hi Michael,

    What a great article! My plan is to work from The Philippines for a month, staying in one location. Which has to be a good surfer place. Would you recommend me any place that has surf and reliable internet connectivity?

    1. Hey Douwe, I think you’d like Siargao for surfing and reliable internet but look around online. I’m just a wannabe surfer, there may be less crowded areas that are better.

      Normally we visit/holiday Duli Beach in El Nido, but the internet is almost non-existent there currently.

      1. Thanks a lot! I did some research and the area above San Fernando could also work maybe. But will check it out for sure 🙂

        1. Ah! I was just at the nearby airport on my way to Canada (Clark) –yeah, I’ve heard great things about San Fernando and I’ve seen even better photos. San Fernando would be a way better suggestion than mine when it comes to surfing + internet, I’d just forgot its name. My bad, my bad.

          Have a blast buddy.

  2. Great write-up, Michael. Thanks for introducing me to Nomad Proof.

    A question: do you recommend any online classifieds sites for apartments or rooms for rent? I was there in March. I found “upper-working-class” housing way more expensive there than in Bangkok, and figured maybe I was looking in the wrong places.

    1. Unfortunately the Philippines doesn’t have much of a go-to site for apartment hunting, all I’ve got is my Airbnb hack. Any home grown website I found was rarely updated or never took off.

      Really appreciate the comment A C, thanks for stopping by.

  3. HI Michael. I read your blog and your post here on Puerto Princesa with some interest as I am considering going digital nomad some time in the future, although I have a decent position now and I do have some trepidation about starting out. I live and work in China, and my job teaching academic English to university students is decent atm. Having visited Palawan, I was impressed by the island overall, and not just El Nido, but I saw a certain appeal in PP. In the medium to long term I would like to supplement work doing academic editing and maybe high end business and academic teaching online. Obviously Skype is an absolute necessity for this. You mentioned that Internet is improving, but still mediocre in the Philippines generally although better in PP. I would need minimum 10Mgs to make this work. From your point of view, what could I do to avoid brownouts and poor connections, a home generator is one idea, I think there is some kind of a Wifi battery pack (I don’t know what you call it), that allows a consistent connection? Can you shed any light on how to get around these issues, because 85-90% connectivity is not sufficient when your livelihood (potentially) depends on this.

    1. Hi Andrew,

      We’ve had our off day without internet, and if you’re an online educator by trade I suspect having backup lessons would be a good idea (no matter where you go).

      I’ve never been 100% without internet in the Philippines longer than a few hours, but some times I can only text chat. If you have backup lessons with commonly neglected topics I assume that could suffice via cloud when the internet isn’t top shape.

      PP has been a great digital nomad destination, but there will be off days here. I assume Cebu is a little better for internet –but I still prefer where I’m at. As a writer and internet marketer, internet connectivity is maybe less important than it is for you.

  4. Fantastic blog post! It was exactly what I was looking for. Think I’ll try Cebu first and do your Airbnb trick!
    I do ‘boutique’ online Esl classes; High pay and low hours so it gives me time to work on my puppetry and training business.
    I’ve been in Taiwan 3 years, China 7 and Thailand 2.5. The last 3 months have been in Vietnam, and I’m heading back there tomorrow because the workshop that puts my puppets together is there.
    After reading this article I’m strongly considering Cebu as my next adventure! Thanks again. Salamat 🙂

    1. You’ve got an interesting racket, James!

      Puppetry, language lessons, and a great travel itinerary –sounds like a story and a half. Awesome to hear you’re making it work creatively!

      Vietnam has been on our list for years but I got sucked into the chill Philippines atmosphere, family life, and empty beaches if you know where to look.

      Don’t be a stranger, would be great to meet up some time.

  5. I have been working remotely in the past three years mainly in the USA (living full time in an RV) and Europe. I went for a ten day trip with a friend recently to Palawan and fell in love with it. I’m keep thinking to go back for a while not just for vacation but to work from there too. We stayed at a resort an hour out from El Nido. They had WiFi but it was spotty. It worked mainly at night, not during the day. Possibly because more guests were on it during the day. Your post gave me some tips how to start it but it’s something very new and big for me. I really liked the least touristy places but probably these places would be harder to start living in. Honestly, living full time in an RV and working remotely in the USA is a great life but it’s been way more fun since I discovered like minded people to travel with. I think finding a little community would make it all easier. So, with all that said, is there any way to find local nomads already living there? I know of huge groups of digital nomads but I’m specifically looking for local groups. I only saw El Nido but planning to see Puerto Princessa as well and I think I should discover center a bit too. You said that Cebu would be a good place to start?

    1. Hi Viktoria! Yes, El Nido is spotty in terms of internet –it’s great in El Nido town, but not so much in all the areas surrounding El Nido (the best places to go!). That’s why we live in Puerto Princesa, great coverage, city-wide.

      As for Cebu? Definitely one of my faves and highly recommended. Lots to do in the area only a bus or a ferry ride away, and solid infrastructure.

      Looking for local nomads is easy on Facebook, there are several “digital nomad Philippines” groups on there. I personally haven’t used Facebook for around 7 months, but when I did I was a member of many Philippines nomad groups. Just search for Cebu Digital Nomads, I believe something will pop up.

      Sincere best of luck on your journey!

  6. Awesome! Its genuinely remarkable piece of writing, I have got much clear idea concerning
    from this piece of writing.

    1. Awesome! And your comment isn’t spam at all!

      I removed your URL because come on. I don’t mind links, but dick pills? Really? Eat one maybe?

  7. Hey Michael,

    I’ve been literally waiting for someone to write an article about DN life in the Philippines. THANK YOU for doing a fantastic job! We are hosting a lot of workations and our members have been requesting this country a lot. We are always doing one-month-stays and I’ve been wondering what you would recommend for a group of 20 people? Palawan (if so, which area?) or Cebu City? Would love to hear your feedback!!

    Thanks in advance

    1. Hey Julia, love WiFi Tribe.

      Off the top of my head, Cebu. It’s near Bohol and many other tourist hotspots (caves, whale sharks, etc), great infrastructure, great city, great quality of life, excellent accommodation options, great hospitals (just in case). Lived there for a year, loved it. It’s likely the best you’ll get for managing a group, it’s a got a safety net, so to speak.

      If you have a more business class group, Makati. It’s more luxurious, even better all the things for digital nomads. Super fast internet.

      However, if your group is like us; small group, chill, willing to go off grid for a few days at a time to hit a beach, etc –we love Puerto Princesa, Palawan.

      Good beach is an hour away from Puerto Princesa City and El Nido is 5-6 hours away by van.

      El Nido is a hot mess of a lot of tourists in a small space, construction going on, but the internet is fast in El Nido town. Outside of town, it’s non-existent but it’s got some of the best beaches in the country.

      Puerto Princesa itself, wee boring. But a great place to lay your head low and get shit done. Rizal avenue has a lot of great spots for food and night life.

      I hope that helps, and I welcome other locals to chime in. Thanks for stopping by Julia!

  8. Glad I stumbled back to you again Mike! This article is another ‘just what I was looking for’ too! We’ve cut our teeth in Penang, Bali and Chiang Mai over last two years and will probably base ourselves in Vietnam next but a month in Philippines in 2019 could be ideal for our travel plans.

    Two questions (one you’ve partly answered)
    How is it for vegetarians?
    How family friendly is it? We have a five-year old and a newborn.

    1. Hey Colin! It is possible to be a vegetarian here, but the dishes aren’t comparable to the vegetarian selection I experienced in Chiang Mai.

      If you scope out a particular city in advance you can either adjust your trip accordingly or cook at home. I’d say good vegetarian restaurants are riding the coat tails of WiFi speeds –getting better and more abundant, every day. High tourist areas are leading the charge.

      I’ve survived a few years as a Philippines digital nomad because I’ve got a nice multi-burner stove, quality pots and pans, and a juicer. I’m not a vegetarian, but vegetarian meals that aren’t drowning in monosodium are hard to find in a restaurant.

  9. This is such a great guide, Mike! Thanks for taking the time to put it together. My partner and I spent the better part of 2018 in SEA, but didn’t make it to the Philippines — partly due to the fact that we’d read internet was too unreliable. You’re right about how fast that can change, though. I’ve certainly been to many other places where the same was said to be true, but when I got there, everything was perfectly fine. I’m definitely saving this for our next SEA trip. Thanks again — great post!

    1. Thanks so much, Kristen!

      Yeah, the internet is vastly improving all over the country and I bet by your next pass through SEA it will be even better.

      I think that in the last 30 days, I’ve had 2 evenings where my Chromecast thingamawazit chopped. The only two cases where internet speeds get choppy for streaming HD video are on holidays when the network load is high (New Year’s Day), or an overseas VPN connection is lagging.

      I can speak for Cebu, Makati, and Puerto Princesa –the internet speeds are very conducive to the Philippines digital nomad lifestyle 85% – 95% of the time.

      A beginner nomad might lose their nerve when things slow down, but after doing this for almost a decade –a bad internet day, like New Year’s Day, is just an excuse to hit the beach.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  10. Hello Michael,

    Great post! I was in Palawan in October and loved it to pieces. Outside of El Nido it was so affordable, but I never thought about settling there for a while. You gave me a lot of good stuff to think about 🙂 Cheers!

    1. You made my day, Charlotte! Yeah, IMO El Nido is a bit of a hot expensive mess; such a small town and it’s got so much construction going on. They’re going to rehabilitate the area without a closure, it’s much needed.

      And yet with that said there’s so many great hidden gems on Palawan other than El Nido, for such a small island we’re spoiled for choice. Puerto Princesa is perfect for the daily life of a digital nomad, and beautiful surrounding areas like Duli beach, Coron, and San Vicente are only a stone’s throw away.

      Even outside of Palawan, the Philippines is ready for those who are looking for something with less traffic and plenty of rugged beauty. Where there’s WiFi, there’s limitless possibility.

      Thanks for your comment 🌴💻🌴

  11. Very nice Mike! You’ve made some nice suggestions. I wish we had been able to visit the Philippines when we were traveling through SEA. The beaches look amazing!

    I do take issue with your statement about “…strawberry-banana-beet-spinach-coconut oil smoothies…” though. BEETS?! Really? My anti-vegetable taste buds don’t care for beets, Bro!

    I hope you and Oshin are doing great!

    1. The beaches are epic –we just found another one across the bay from where we live in Puerto Princesa; even in high season, no one’s around.

      And beets! Can’t even taste them 😉 Thanks for stopping by Alan! Oshin’s birthday today. Lots to be grateful for.

      Hope our paths cross again sometime soon.

  12. Very informative, but I’ve heard their president is a Trump level control freak who has “suspected drug dealers” aka anyone who doesn’t agree with his politics killed by police without trial. Is that a Western smear campaign? Does the politics there affect nomads at all? I’ve been to the Philippines but it was literally 20 years ago. So I have no first hand current info. Thanks.

    1. Thanks for your comment, it’s definitely on a lot of people’s minds. 20 years ago drug violence was at its peak. If you didn’t feel unsafe then, you’ve got nothing to worry about today.

      Local politics have had no effect on my life as a digital nomad in the Philippines. If anything, it’s made the country much safer. You wouldn’t even know they’re having a “bloody war on drugs” in any of the Philippines nomad destinations I’ve mentioned in this article.

      I get calls all the time “are you okay?”. I usually have no idea what they’re talking about until I check the news. Even weather is sensationalised –remember that last hurricane? We had light rain that’s typical of wet season.

      In my experience the only thing I’ve seen is the odd military checkpoint, as is common in neighbouring countries as well. I remember being in Thailand during the last coupe, walking down streets the Western media said were supposed to be “war zones”. Sensationalism to sell a paper or get a click.

      I believe Lost Leblanc is here in the country right now making daily videos and my wife and I meet a lot of solo backpackers whenever we visit Mad Monkey at Nacpan beach. No one we’ve met has reported feeling unsafe or had any issues.

      I hope that helps! Thanks for stopping by Michelle.

      1. Hi! I’m a local living in Manila. I read this blog because I’m going to be a digital nomad in a few months. About our president, he’s crazy (even more than Trump). But I must agree, it doesn’t affect foreigners or even locals that much (other than the really poor locals). It is more a war on the poor than a war on drugs. Even the martial law in Mindanao doesn’t feel any different than before it was declared.

        1. Hey Kenn, thanks for sharing your perspective as a local.

          Foreigners are incredibly lucky to be left out of what we see in Western media and some local news sites.

          Have you spent much time in Mindanao? I completely agree with your thought about it not feeling any different. I’ve only spent a few weeks at a time in Manila, Makati, etc. It’s such a busy place, the war on drugs was invisible to me as a foreigner.

          I am aware that there’s some politics about Duterte that divide the country –online the sentiment is negative (Reddit digital nomads, Western media, Rappler the BuzzFeed of the Philippines, fans of certain detained political figures), and then on the ground, at least where I’ve been, it seems very positive.

          From my understanding, sentiment here has a lot of parallels with the United States; in the North they detest martial law (more Liberal), in the South where it’s actually enforced it is welcome and they fully support the president (more Conservative). His face is on t-shirts, Jeepneys, schools, houses, and commercial establishments. From my observance, support is in the majority –even from Filipino-Americans in my new extended family.

          I spent over a year in Cagayan de Oro, not far from the trouble that was going on and right in the middle of martial law territory. Still very little to see beyond the odd helicopter and military checkpoint. I am convinced I saw a US drone one night walking home from 7-Eleven.

          The only danger I ever felt was on the roads –people drive like it’s World War Z!

          As a foreigner, the politics are not for me to judge or take sides. All I have is love for the Philippines and its diverse people. I’ve had a very warm welcome since before all this started.

          Whatever your situation, hang in there and don’t hesitate to email us via the contact form if you need a few tips from a Canada / Philippines digital nomad couple. If you’re headed elsewhere in Southeast Asia, I’m your guy.

          Thanks for stopping by!

          1. I grew up in Mindanao (mostly in Cagayan de Oro). Yes, Duterte is popular in the Philippines. It’s weird because the split isn’t due to education level unlike before. You never know who is and isn’ta supporter. I won’t say any more since it’s not about being a digital nomad. I’ll be leaving my job in March. I’ll visit my parents in April. And work there for a month to sort out stuff (taxes, insurance, social security). My parents are also retiring this year so it’ll be fun. I’ll travel asia first (my family used to live in Bangkok). Then, I’ll head for South America.

          2. Oh, Bangkok. How I love thee. I used to hate it.

            Let me know if you want a brief call next week, would be happy to share what I know. I wrote the book on Thailand, but there’s a lot of things I can’t put in writing.

            Cheers, Kenn.

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