As the center for trade and commerce, Manila is a top-tier capital for most Filipinos. Those who live in the provinces pack their bags to live and eventually find work here. Others from nearby areas commute early in the morning to beat the rush-hour traffic.
But despite the glam and offer of opportunities the capital has, sometimes you can’t help but think whether it’s time to let it go and move to someplace else. The question is, how do you know? Here are the telltale signs to look out for:
1. You’re Tired of the Traffic
Over the last few years, “traffic” is the term that often goes with Manila for a reason. As of 2019, the Philippine capital’s traffic ranked second-worst in the world, according to TomTom. The congestion level was 70 percent in non-highways and nearly 75 percent on highways.
The same report suggested that if one traveled back home a few minutes after rush hour, they could have saved 5 hours a year. Meanwhile, when the person becomes unlucky, they could spend 73 minutes more on the road.
Traffic is not only costly but also stressful, and stress can affect the body in the long term. It also exposes to pollutants for an extended period.
When you want to say bye-bye to traffic but are not ready to leave your Manila work yet, consider moving to nearby cities and towns like Cavite.
When you want to learn how to go to Tanza, for example, you can now take the Manila-Cavite Expressway, a 14-kilometer coastal road that connects the province to Roxas Boulevard and Paranaque.
Some community development projects are also making transport easier. These include providing more access roads to its residents and dedicated buses.
2. You Want a Lower Cost of Living
Compared to popular Asian cities like Tokyo and Singapore, Manila’s cost of living is affordable. However, it can be expensive when matched with, say, Kuala Lumpur.
The capital of the Philippines is about 8 percent pricier than Malaysia’s capital in terms of consumer prices (less rent), according to Numbeo. Rent is also over 90 percent higher.
Other data suggests that the average rental price for condos is already at least 35,000 pesos, but it can go to 50,000 in more expensive places.
Houses are no longer that affordable either. Global Property Guide shared in 2020 that a three-bedroom condominium in Makati can be worth 232,000 pesos per square meter. Although the price growth has been declining, it also grew by a whopping 132 percent between 2010 and 2018.
To live comfortably here, a family may need to earn at least 40,000 a month or reach the median salary of around 650,000 a year.
You can stretch that by considering moving to places with a lower cost of living. In Cavite, you can already buy a three-bedroom house with 50 square meters and a carport for around 15,000 a month. The total contract price is less than 2 million pesos.
Because most of the goods, such as vegetables, fruits, and meat and poultry, come from the provinces, these areas may also offer cheaper prices for food.
3. You Want to a Better Work-Life Balance
All work and no play doesn’t just make Juan a dull boy. It also increases the risk of chronic illnesses later. Long working hours coupled with prolonged sitting can endanger your life to the risk of stroke, heart disease, and some types of cancer.
You may also be more prone to diabetes and mental health problems like depression and anxiety. In other words, your present lifestyle may lead to premature disability or, worse death.
Finding a work-life balance may be difficult for many living in Manila. First, there’s the long commute that already reduces the time for relaxation.
Second is the cost of living, which may add more financial stress to the family. Third, the noises and lights of a busy capital can still affect sleep even if you achieve 7 hours.
Although provinces offer lower wages, the cost of living is affordable. Air pollution is less of a problem, along with noise.
Further, to help decongest Manila, both the public and the private sectors are improving infrastructure and support in other regions, so you may look forward to more jobs away from Manila soon.
Moving away from Manila still demands careful thinking, especially if you’ve been in the capital for a long time. At the end of the day, you should weigh the pros and cons. But the points above may hopefully prevent you from experiencing analysis paralysis.