Doc’s Passport Score: Ranking the Best Expat Cities

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Purpose of the Ratings

The world is big, my friend. Big, beautiful, and occasionally mind-bogglingly intimidating. And as an expatriate or a ‘global nomad’ if you will, it can be a real challenge to find your own slice of paradise to call home temporarily. But fear not, because that’s where our all-new Doc’s Passport Score comes in.

Why the Philippines, you might ask? Well, because it’s a land that’s as diverse as it is captivating, offering up everything from sun-drenched beaches to bustling cityscapes. But not all cities here are created equal, especially for the expat. So, we’ve devised this comprehensive rubric to separate the wheat from the chaff, the ‘could-be-betters’ from the ‘just-plain-wonderfuls.’

The Leader Board (So Far)

#1:  Tagaytay (Doc’s Passport Score: 86)

#2:  Dumaguete (Doc’s Passport Score: 84)

#3:  Davao (Doc’s Passport Score: 83)

#3:  Cebu City (Doc’s Passport Score: 83)

The Rest of the Pack

#4:  La Union (Doc’s Passport Score: 82)

#5  Tacloban (Doc’s Passport Score: 81)

#6:  El Nido (Doc’s Passport Score: 80)

#7:  Manila (Doc’s Passport Score: 80)

#8:  Iloilo (Doc’s Passport Score: 77)

#9:  Sagada (Doc’s Passport Score: 73)

Elements of the Rubric

Buckle up, because we’re about to break down the twelve categories that make up the Doc’s Passport Score. By the end of it, you’ll see the world, or at least the Philippines, in a whole new light.

Affordability (out of 15)

Life isn’t just about the Benjamins, but let’s face it, the almighty dollar matters.  So, too, do exchange rates. Affordability is king, whether you’re fresh off the boat or an experienced expat. Here we consider the cost of housing, groceries, entertainment, you name it. A city that leaves you enough to enjoy life after the bills are paid? That’s a city worth considering.  To put it simply, the best expat cities must, above all, be affordable.

Proximity to a Good Airport (out of 10)

An airport is your gateway to the world, a hub for easy ins and outs. Being close to a well-connected airport means spontaneous weekend trips to exotic locations, family visits without arduous journeys, and less time spent navigating local traffic.  To rank as one of the best expat cities, you must be able to reach it with relative ease.

Availability of Internet (out of 10)

We’re in the digital age, and reliable internet is a necessity, not a luxury. Whether it’s for remote work, keeping in touch with loved ones, or binge-watching your favorite shows, strong internet is a must. We’re not savages, after all.  The best expat cities, then, must link you to the outside world.

Public Transportation and Infrastructure (out of 10)

Smooth roads, reliable buses, and efficient trains can make a world of difference to your everyday life. A well-structured city with a solid transport system is like a well-oiled machine – it’s just better.

English Language Accessibility (out of 10)

In an ideal world, we’d all be polyglots. But until then, finding a place where English is spoken widely can make life a helluva lot easier. From asking directions to forming friendships, the language barrier is one we aim to keep low.

Availability of Emergency Medical Care (out of 5)

Life happens, and sometimes it throws you a curveball. Accessible, quality healthcare ensures you’re covered for those unexpected pitches.

Safety & Security (out of 15)

A city is only as good as it is safe. A low crime rate, a trustworthy police force, a strong sense of community—these things matter. They’re the bedrock on which good lives are built.

Expat Community & Services (out of 5)

We’re all social animals, and having a community of like-minded people can provide a support network, social opportunities, and a taste of home when you need it.

Natural Beauty & Outdoor Recreation (out of 5)

We’re not just looking for concrete jungles here. Natural beauty and opportunities for outdoor recreation add that extra spice to life that keeps things exciting.

Cultural, Recreational Activities & Entertainment (out of 5)

Life’s too short to be bored. A city with rich culture, recreational activities, and entertainment keeps the spirit young and the heart happy.

Food, Dining & Social Scene (out of 5)

Ah, food. The universal language of love. A city with a vibrant food scene and buzzing social life is a city that knows how to live.

Climate (out of 5)

Let’s not forget the weather. Too hot, too cold, too rainy, too dry—getting the climate just right is the goldilocks scenario for the expat life.  The best expat cities should, ideally, be comfortable.

That’s it, my friend. The ‘Doc’s Passport Score,’ the key to finding the right fit for your expat adventure in the Philippines. Now, let’s embark on this journey together. There’s a whole world out there waiting to be discovered.

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