Rustic Charm Meets Modern Conveniences: San Carlos (Doc’s Passport Score: 78)

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Located on the verdant island of Luzon, San Carlos in Pangasinan, Philippines, is an intriguing blend of rural simplicity and urban comfort, making it an engaging destination for expats seeking the tropical life, all set against a backdrop of rice paddies, rivers, and warm, welcoming locals.  I estimated the number of single adult women in San Carlos is 30,692 people.


Affordability (12/15)

The cost of living in San Carlos is highly attractive, especially for those on a budget. Rents, groceries, and daily expenses are significantly lower than in Western countries and even compared to bigger Filipino cities like Manila. However, luxury and imported items can be expensive.

Safety & Security (11/15)

The city has a generally safe environment with a low crime rate. However, it is still advised to maintain common safety measures, especially during late hours. Due to its rural setting, some areas might not be well-lit at night.

Public Transportation and Infrastructure (9/10)

Public transportation is quite efficient, with jeepneys and tricycles forming the backbone of the city’s public transport system. The city’s infrastructure, while not as developed as the larger cities, is sufficient for comfortable living.

English Language Accessibility (9/10)

English is commonly spoken in San Carlos, especially by the younger generations and in the business sector. Expats usually have no problem communicating in day-to-day interactions.

Proximity to a Good Airport (8/10)

San Carlos is approximately three hours away from Clark International Airport, one of the Philippines’ major airports, and about five hours away from Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport. While not exactly next door, these airports provide excellent connectivity to the rest of the world.

Availability of Internet (8/10)

While the city isn’t exactly Silicon Valley, San Carlos offers a decent internet connection, and most residential areas and commercial establishments have Wi-Fi access. However, the connection can be slower compared to more urban areas.

Availability of Emergency Medical Care (4/5)

There are several hospitals and clinics in San Carlos, including the San Carlos City Hospital. However, for complex health concerns, expats might need to travel to bigger cities.

Expat Community & Services (3/5)

While not as large as in major Filipino cities, there is an emerging expat community in San Carlos. There are limited expat services, but the friendly locals and the community’s overall welcoming spirit make up for it.

Climate (3/5)

San Carlos experiences a tropical climate. While it’s warm and sunny most of the year, the city can be hit by the country’s notorious typhoons.

Food, Dining & Social Scene (3/5)

San Carlos has a range of local food establishments that offer Filipino and Asian cuisines. The social scene is relatively quiet compared to the bustling nightlife in larger cities.

Natural Beauty & Outdoor Recreation (3/5)

San Carlos is surrounded by a bounty of nature’s offerings – from its rice fields to rivers. However, its outdoor activities are limited and not as varied as in other popular tourist destinations in the country.

Cultural, Recreational Activities & Entertainment (2/5)

While the city hosts traditional Filipino festivals and has a few cultural spots, the entertainment scene is relatively low-key, especially for those seeking high-energy recreational activities.

Final Results

Based on this evaluation, San Carlos, Pangasinan gets a Passport Score of 78 out of a possible 100 – a solid C+. This rating is intended for expats seeking a comfortable, budget-friendly lifestyle, not vacationers or thrill-seekers. While San Carlos might not be a global hotspot for expats, it offers a charming and relaxed lifestyle that could be perfect for those who value simplicity and genuine connections over cosmopolitan allure.

Youtube Personality Sunshine Shoulders calls San Carlos home, and does a lot of “walk around” videos from there.

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

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