Manila is one of the most expensive cities in Southeast Asia to live in as it is the second city with the highest rental prices next only to Singapore, despite having the lowest average salary rate, according to the Malaysia-based online aggregator iPrice Group.
Knowing that Singapore is one of the most prosperous nations in the world, iPrice stated that “it’s quite surprising that a developing country’s capital city, which is way behind the aforementioned Lion City in terms of economic development, has the second-highest rent prices in the region.”
The price of a one-bedroom apartment in Manila’s city center is 56% higher than in Kuala Lumpur, 47% higher than in Jakarta, 31% higher than in Ho Chi Minh, and 9% higher than in Bangkok.
Citing Numbeo, a crowd-sourced global database of quality of life information, the cost of living in Singapore is at least 132% higher than its Southeast Asian neighbors. Manila came in third at an estimated monthly cost of P50,800 for a single person, 1% cheaper than in Bangkok at P51,500. The data takes into account the usual necessities including rent, food, transportation, and utilities. Without the rent, the total cost of living in the Philippines’ capital city is still as much as P28,800 per month, while having an average salary rate of only P18,900 monthly.
Manila’s cost of living is more expensive by 33% in Kuala Lumpur, 28% in Ho Chi Minh, and 24% in Jakarta.
“Given the prices stated above, it leaves us wondering how comfortable Filipinos residing in Manila really are. The average cost of living is 168 percent higher than the average salary, so it comes as no surprise that about 35 percent of Metro Manila’s population is reported to live in unstable, badly constructed shelters in the slums and 11 percent of them reside near railroads, or garbage dumps,” iPrice said.

Sources:
https://iprice.ph/trends/insights/cost-of-living-in-southeast-asia/
https://business.inquirer.net/321577/manila-is-southeast-asias-3rd-most-expensive-city-to-live-in-study-shows
https://www.esquiremag.ph/money/industry/manila-most-expensive-cities-to-live-southeast-asia-a00289-20210421