I've rented a nice one bedroom apartment for $80/ month, but that adds up. You can find places acceptable for as low as $50/ month. My electric bill was usually around 600php, or $12, but I brought a low powered projector, and used mostly only my cellphone. Food will vary depending on what you require. Street peanuts are 25 cents USD and are one of my favorite things in this world to eat. A Shawarma (Gyro) wrap, small by american standards is about a dollar. A meal deal at McDonalds is $3. The 1/4 pounder meal is closer to $4. No free refills on soda and the cups are small... It is easy to find good deals in the Philippines. I found a motorcycle with 4,000km Kawasaki Baja for 20k php. A new one is closer to 40K php. Sales people aren't trying to severely rip you off as most Filipinos feel that a 10% profit is a good sale for them. Finding good deals with people who aren't trying hard to hide the value of their product is like nothing in the Philippines. Sure there are plenty to take advantage of you, but look around for a little while and you will quickly see the difference. Friendship and family doesn't cost much to please either, and that's where the biggest value in the Philippines truly is. You could make a filipinos wages doing online surveys for 8 hours a day using a virtual machine you set up back in the USA. Then just offer to help taylors, and other skilled trades in the Philippines to let you post some of there stuff on eBay here in the USA (in bulk) taylors are a good target as the quality is high, and the prices low. You should be able to make double what the average Filipino makes without taking a single dollar from the Filipino workforce. However, if they need you for something, it wouldn't be a bad idea to help out if you can get the work permit to do so. It will be easy to stay in the Philippines once you've setup a few ways to make marginal income off the web, and have brought enough cash to pay rent up for a year. Check the visa fees, and carefully consider how you will obtain the legal right to live there.