Being a digital nomad means you get to pick where to go for your next few months of work. If you’re still choosing where to go, you’ve probably heard of (and considered visiting) the Philippines. But what does the Philippines have to offer, and where should you head to?
Check out this ultimate guide to being a digital nomad in the Philippines!
- Why is the Philippines Great for Digital Nomads?
- Things to Take Note Of
- Top Destinations for Digital Nomads in the Philippines
- Getting a Philippines Visa
- Digital Nomad YouTube Videos in the Philippines
- Facebook Groups for Digital Nomads in the Philippines
- Wrapping It Up
Why is the Philippines Great for Digital Nomads?
Before anything else, why the Philippines?
Well, why not the Philippines? There’s so much to do and see, so it’s no wonder why millions of people head here for vacation! Here are just some of the reasons why digital nomads should visit the Philippines at least once in their lifetimes:
The Philippines is an absolute paradise with so many stunning islands and beaches! You get a bit of everything here, from white sand on beaches to lush green forests.
There are mountains to climb, tropical beaches to lay on, caves to explore, and so much more natural to immerse in. The best part? They have warm tropical weather, so goodbye, clunky winter clothes!
Low Cost of Living
Generally, the Philippines has a low cost of living but is not the most affordable compared to other countries in Southeast Asia. Big cities like Manila and Cebu, famous beaches like Boracay and Palawan are considered more expensive.
However, you’ll be able to enjoy accommodation at a lower price and dishes for just a few dollars!
Friendly English-speaking Locals
The Philippines is known for its hospitality, and their locals continue to pride themselves on that fact. You will find many friendly locals always willing to help whenever they can. Whether you’re asking for directions, looking for good places to eat, or need to call someone, they can direct you to the right place.
Most Filipinos can speak English, so you won’t have to worry about any language barriers!
Things to Take Note Of
While the Philippines has spectacular destinations with a low cost of living in modern or rural areas, there are some things you have to watch out for as well. Here are a few things you should be aware of when traveling in the Philippines as a digital nomad.
The Internet Service
The biggest downside of the Philippines is its spotty Internet connection – something all digital nomads (all people, really) must have! You won’t get crazy fast WiFi connections everywhere, especially when you’re outside big cities.
That’s why you must do your research and select accommodation and coworking spaces that offer stable WiFi or, better yet, high-speed Internet.
While there are horror stories about traveling in the Philippines, most are overexaggerated. That said, it’s still important to stay aware of your surroundings. Follow these tips:
- Avoid going out too late at night when alone
- Keep away from the slum districts with high street crime rates
- Be alert in busy and crowded venues, as pickpocketing may occur
Typhoons hit the Philippines from July to October. The strength of certain typhoons may cause flash floods and ruin travel plans, so plan ahead for any emergencies in case of heavy rain.
Top Destinations for Digital Nomads in the Philippines
The Philippines is home to over 7,000 islands, so it’s no wonder people get confused as to where to go first! Let’s narrow it down to the most popular and suitable destinations made for digital nomads.
Siargao Island, nestled on the eastern side of the Philippines, is an idyllic destination rapidly gaining popularity among digital nomads. Renowned for its world-class surf spots, including the famous Cloud 9, Siargao offers a perfect blend of adventure and tranquility.
The island exudes a laid-back surfer and traveler vibe, making it an ideal spot for those looking to combine work and leisure. Alongside its natural beauty, the island boasts a vibrant scene of great restaurants and bars, catering to diverse tastes and preferences.
The rise in the number of coworking spaces on the island further enhances its appeal to the digital nomad community, offering modern amenities amidst a tropical paradise. Siargao truly embodies a dream destination where work-life balance is effortlessly achieved in a stunning setting.
Cebu city is one of the largest cities in the Philippines but actually smaller compared to the urban side of Metro Manila. This city is centrally located, making it accessible to explore the entire Cebu Island or even the neighboring islands such as Negros or Bohol.
You’ll love Cebu because of its ex-pat scene, making it very convenient for the digital nomad life. From here, you can find a lot of coworking spaces in the heart of the city or even head out to the beaches that offer coliving and coworking options. If you want the mix of the beach and city life, you’ll definitely enjoy Cebu!
Metro Manila is home to the country’s capital city, Manila. It’s a massive city with a smorgasbord of things to do. When you’re here, there’s something for everybody from the biggest shopping malls to 17th-century churches, amusement parks to museums.
We recommend heading towards Makati and BGC, which are some of the wealthiest cities around. They have the fastest WiFi connections, lovely parks, coworking spaces, and many great restaurants and cafes to try out.
If you’re leaning more towards beaches, Palawan is the place for you. It’s a long and narrow island located east, offering the most beautiful beaches and natural wonders. From here, you can find a fine number of beaches, limestone cliffs, lagoons, coral reefs, and even the breathtaking UNESCO World Heritage underground river.
You can go to places in Palawan, such as Coron and Puerto Princesa, but El Nido is an underrated area! Take advantage of the peace in El Nido and enjoy the non-city home base right by the beach. Don’t worry; many accommodations in the area offer coworking spaces AND fast WiFi.
Boracay is another beach paradise in the Philippines known for its luxurious beaches and resorts and its lively nightlife. You’ll bask over their white beaches and clear waters, enjoying the sun during the day, and all the raging parties and nightclubs come evening.
You’ll find many digital nomads, tourists, and locals visiting the area, so you definitely won’t be alone. This isn’t the best spot for introverts and those who want more peace and isolation, but a perfect destination if you’re up to meet new people and party all night!
Baguio is a small city located up north in Luzon, the country’s largest island. This city is 5,000 feet above sea level and has one of the cooolest temperatures in the country, with stunning mountain views, local tourist attractions, and a lot of areas to hike in. You can even head to Mount Pulag or Sagada during your free time.
Baguio is becoming popular not only among digital nomads but also among English learners from other Asian countries, including South Korea, Vietnam, and Japan.
Getting a Philippines Visa
Traveling to the Philippines is actually easier compared to other Southeast Asian countries. That said, it’s still crucial to meet all of the entry requirements the government established for a smooth arrival and departure.
Citizens from many countries don’t need to apply for a visa when arriving in the Philippines. There is a 30-day visa waiver for many Western countries. If you plan on staying for the long term, you’ll need to have an onward ticket. You will also need to prepare the following:
- A valid passport (valid for more than 6 months)
- Roundtrip flight itinerary
- Proof of accommodation
- IDs and other travel documents, if required
- Proof of financial means
Those living in Taiwan will need a printed copy of their eTA or electronic visa waiver, besides the other requirements mentioned above. Those who come from countries that require a visa to enter the Philippines must apply for one online or in their embassy. These are the visa requirements to prepare:
- Passport or travel document that’s valid for at least six months beyond your intended stay
- Accomplished visa application form
- Passport photos
- Proof that you are a tourist or businessman traveling to the Philippines
- Confirmed roundtrip flight tickets
- Proof of visa fee payment
Digital Nomad Visa to the Philippines
The Philippines is gearing up to roll out a new Digital Nomad Visa, announced in mid-June 2023, which is great news for digital and remote workers looking for a new destination. This exciting program allows you to live and work in the Philippines for a year, with the option to stay another year if you wish. What’s more, you won’t be taxed as a local resident, meaning you’ll only pay taxes where you earn your income.
To qualify for this visa, you’ll need to have a few things in order: a valid passport, a job with a company or clients based outside the Philippines, meet a certain income level, have international health insurance that covers you in the Philippines, and a clean criminal record. The government is still working out the finer details of how to apply, but they’re also focusing on boosting the internet speed across the country to make life easier for digital nomads.
With this visa, the Philippines joins other Asian countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, and South Korea in attracting the digital nomad crowd. It’s an invitation to mix work with pleasure in a country known for its stunning natural scenery, from lush tropical forests and beautiful beaches to breathtaking volcanoes. Even though you might encounter some patchy wifi, the Philippines is quickly becoming a hot spot for the global community of digital nomads.
Coworking Spaces in the Philippines
Another fantastic benefit digital nomads will appreciate about the Philippines is its abundance of coworking spaces. Not only in the big cities like Manila, Cebu, and Davao, more and more beach resorts are adopting to facilitate coworking space for both local and foreign digital nomads.
The beach resorts can also offer coworking and coliving accommodations that focus on comfort, good food, and of course, high-speed WiFi. With more digital nomads visiting the Philippines, beach resorts are making more efforts to welcome them with more valuable amenities. That way, you can enjoy your day by the beach as you accomplish all the work that needs to be done!
Digital Nomad YouTube Videos in the Philippines
Learn more about what to expect once you’re in the Philippines from digital nomads who traveled to the country. Here are informative vloggers who share their life in the Philippines, with extra tips on being a digital nomad, where to go, what to eat, and more!
Almost 300,000 people love Dany because of his highly informative travel vlogs! He has his own Philippines Travel Series where he tours you around the country, sharing what to expect, the food, how the beaches are, and his reactions to the top destinations, from Cebu to Boracay.
Jo Dee is a dazzling beach bum who shares her life through her travel vlogs. You can learn about how to travel to Siargao, Philippines, working as a digital nomad! She has a travel guide and vlogs on where to go and what to do when in Siargao, the perfect destination for those who want the peaceful beach vibes with lots of surfing opportunities.
Beer for Breakfast
Beer for Breakfast is a lovely couple who shares their well-curated travel guides, including a series of vlogs from the Philippines. Here, you can learn about traveling to Boracay and Palawan from Manila, the secret beaches, where to eat, and even how to get visa extensions!
The YouTube video “Our monthly cost of living in the Philippines! Digital Nomads give honest prices and information!” is presented by Millennial Legends, an American couple who embarked on a unique journey, selling everything and leaving the USA to explore new horizons. Their channel, Millennial Legends produce engaging videos that share insights into their nomadic lifestyle, mainly in the Philippines. This particular video offers a detailed look into the cost of living in the Philippines, providing valuable information for those interested in similar adventures or considering a move to this beautiful country.
Daneger and Stacey
This couple is living out their goals and heading to every top destination in the Philippines! From Del Nido to BGC, you get to see what every place is like and where you should go for lots of fun and relaxation… All while still working!
Facebook Groups for Digital Nomads in the Philippines
Whether it’s your first or enth time in the Philippines, it’s always essential to have some support. There are excellent online communities that share travel tips as a digital nomad, even sharing recommendations and opportunities to meet up. Check out these helpful Facebook groups that can get you started with your trip:
Digital Nomad Philippines
This is a great group that shares everything related to working as a digital nomad. You get firsthand news on the best areas to go to, where to get travel insurance, and even join events hosted by the group or its members.
Cebu Digital Nomads
This group is dedicated to everyone heading to Cebu to live their life as a digital nomad. You can find coworking spaces, event opportunities, and a lot of advice from fellow traveling digital nomads about everything Cebu-related.
Digital Nomads & Entrepreneurs Beach Club Philippines
DNEBC PH is committed to building a community for new, veteran, or aspiring digital nomads from all places and walks of life. They organize events for collaborations and business opportunities or simple hangouts to chat and make new friends!
Digital Nomads – Makati, Philippines
One of the best places to head to as a digital nomad in Metro Manila is Makati. You can head to this group for more help about where to stay for accommodation, coworking spaces, and even find incredible job opportunities to kickstart your journey!
Wrapping It Up
The Philippines is such a fantastic place to visit, as long as you’re prepared for everything and know where to go. Make sure that you keep all this information and resources in mind as you plan your next trip to this tropical country as a digital nomad. Enjoy and safe travels!