Manila: The Pearl of the Orient (Doc’s Passport Score: 80)

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Adventuring through a metropolis known for its vibrant life, exotic food, and undying spirit, we immerse ourselves into the bustling city of Manila, Philippines. Is it a haven for the expat life, though? Let’s find out.

English Language Accessibility: 9/10

Manila ranks high for English Language Accessibility. A vestige of American occupation, English is one of the official languages here, making navigation, communication, and adaptation far easier than in many other Asian cities.

Safety & Security: 12/15

Safety can be a concern in Manila, especially for newcomers unfamiliar with the city’s layout and nuances. Petty crime exists but can be largely avoided through awareness and caution. However, local authorities are working tirelessly to improve the city’s safety, making it a better place each day.

Affordability: 12/15

Manila’s cost of living can be remarkably low compared to Western standards, making it highly attractive for expats looking to stretch their budget. However, ‘high-end’ lifestyle choices can quickly add up, making fiscal prudence a virtue in this city of stark contrasts.

Proximity to a Good Airport: 8/10

Manila’s international airport, Ninoy Aquino International Airport, is well connected to the city. However, traffic congestion can turn the commute into a test of patience. With good planning, this is manageable and the availability of direct flights to many global destinations is a bonus.

Availability of Internet: 8/10

The Philippines has made massive strides in improving internet connectivity. It’s not perfect yet – there can be areas with spotty service, and speed might not match up to some Western countries – but for the most part, you’ll find the internet service quite satisfactory in Manila.

Public Transportation and Infrastructure: 7/10

Public transport in Manila can be an adventure. Jeepneys, tricycles, buses, the LRT, and MRT create a diverse but sometimes confusing system. Road congestion can be problematic, but the increasing popularity of ride-hailing apps makes getting around easier.

Expat Community & Services: 4/5

The expat community in Manila is large and diverse, providing ample opportunities for socializing and networking. Various services cater specifically to this community, making the transition to living in Manila much smoother.

Availability of Emergency Medical Care: 4/5

Manila has a number of quality hospitals and clinics, some offering world-class healthcare. However, understanding the local health insurance system is crucial to avoid unexpected costs.

Cultural, Recreational Activities & Entertainment: 4/5

Manila doesn’t disappoint when it comes to cultural offerings. From historic sites like Intramuros to modern malls and night markets, there’s always something to see and do. The city has a vibrant nightlife with an array of bars and clubs to enjoy.

Food, Dining & Social Scene: 4/5

Filipino cuisine, a mix of indigenous, Spanish, and Asian influences, is a delight to explore. Night markets, upscale restaurants, or the humble “karinderya” (food stalls) – all provide a gastronomic adventure.

Natural Beauty & Outdoor Recreation: 3/5

While Manila itself is highly urbanized, nearby day trips offer escapes to mountains, waterfalls, and beaches. Within the city, parks like Rizal Park and the Manila Baywalk provide spots for recreation.

Climate: 3/5

The tropical climate might be a sticking point for some. The city is warm year-round with a distinct rainy season. However, many find the steady temperatures a welcome change from the seasonal extremes of colder climates.

Final Results

In sum, Manila earns an impressive 80 out of 100 on our Doc’s Passport Score. That’s a solid ‘B’ for a city full of zest, history, and potential. If you’re an expat looking for an affordable place to live, Manila might just be the adventure you’re looking for.

This evaluation is geared towards expats seeking affordable living arrangements and not those looking for vacation spots or other purposes.

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