Digital Nomad Guide to Manila (Philippines): Everything You Need

By Yogi



Welcome to the bustling metropolis of Manila, a vibrant city that's fast becoming a hotspot for digital nomads seeking the perfect blend of work and culture. With its friendly locals, affordable cost of living, and a growing number of co-working spaces, Manila offers a unique opportunity for remote workers to thrive in an environment that balances productivity with exploration. Today, we will dive into the digital nomad guide to Manila (Philippines).

Philippines Digital Nomad Visa: A Complete Guide For You!

Whether you're an introverted nomad looking for quiet corners or an entrepreneur ready to dive into the local scene, this digital nomad guide to Manila will navigate you through the essentials of living and working in this dynamic city.


As you embark on your digital nomad journey in Manila, you'll discover a city that's both welcoming and challenging, with its fast internet and beautiful surroundings juxtaposed against the hustle and bustle of city life.

From the delicious and affordable food options in places like Roxas to the high-quality shopping centers, Manila is a city that caters to a variety of tastes and preferences. And with most locals speaking English well, communication is rarely a barrier. This guide will help you leverage Manila's offerings to your advantage, ensuring a seamless transition into your new nomadic lifestyle.

Best time to visit Manila as a digital nomad

Weather considerations

When planning your stay, it's crucial to consider the weather in Manila, as it can significantly impact your digital nomad experience. The city has a tropical climate with a distinct dry season from December to May and a wet season from June to November.

The best time to visit is during the cooler months of the dry season, particularly between January and February, when humidity is lower, and the heat is more manageable. This period allows for comfortable exploration and outdoor activities without the inconvenience of heavy rains that can disrupt internet connectivity and transportation.

Keep in mind that Manila can be quite hot and humid during the summer months of March to May, which might affect your productivity if you're not accustomed to tropical climates. However, this is also the time when you can enjoy Manila's vibrant festivals and events, which are a feast for the senses and a fantastic way to immerse yourself in the local culture. Balancing your work schedule with the city's seasonal offerings will ensure you get the most out of your time as a digital nomad in Manila.

Festivals and events

Manila's calendar is dotted with colorful festivals and events that showcase the city's rich cultural tapestry, offering digital nomads a unique glimpse into Filipino traditions. The most famous of these is the Feast of the Black Nazarene every January, a religious procession that draws millions of devotees.

Meanwhile, the Chinese New Year celebrations in Binondo, Manila's own Chinatown, are not to be missed, with dragon dances and street festivities adding to the vibrant atmosphere. Participating in these events provides a welcome break from work and an opportunity to network with locals and fellow nomads alike, creating memories that enrich the digital nomad lifestyle.

For those who align their travels with cultural experiences, the summer months bring the Flores de Mayo – a flower festival culminating in Santacruzan, a pageant commemorating the search of the Holy Cross by Queen Helena and Constantine the Great.

These events not only offer a chance to witness the Philippines' deep-rooted Catholic traditions but also to enjoy the communal spirit and hospitality that Filipinos are known for. Attending these festivals can be a delightful way to understand the local ethos while taking a break from the digital screen, ensuring a well-rounded experience in Manila.

Accommodation options for digital nomads in Manila

 Accommodation options for digital nomads in Manila

Co-working spaces

As a digital nomad in Manila, finding the right workspace is key to productivity, and the city's burgeoning coworking scene is a treasure trove of options. WeWork BCG stands out with its art-filled lounges and central location in the upscale Bonifacio Global City, offering both private and shared desks, as well as high-speed Wi-Fi, making it a hotspot for entrepreneurs and like-minded nomads. The modern amenities and professional environment foster a conducive work atmosphere, while also providing opportunities to mingle and network.

For those seeking a more laid-back vibe, Bullish in Quezon City offers a perfect blend of comfort and functionality with its high-speed fiber Wi-Fi, a variety of desk options, and the added perk of free brewed coffee.

Co-Working Space Location Amenities Pricing
ASPACE Makati City High-speed internet, meeting rooms, events space Flexible plans available
Common Ground BGC (Bonifacio Global City) 24/7 access, office supplies, events Monthly memberships
Acceler8 by UnionSPACE Makati City Fast internet, private offices, events Flexible plans available
The Company Makati City & BGC Modern workspace, meeting rooms, events Monthly memberships
Spaces Makati City High-speed Wi-Fi, lounge areas, events Flexible plans available
Clock In Multiple Locations Flexible workspaces, meeting rooms, events Various membership plans
KMC Solutions Multiple Locations Managed offices, meeting rooms, events Customized solutions

The contemporary design and casual ambiance appeal to creatives and tech professionals alike. Moreover, the Philippines' growing trend of integrating coworking spaces into beach resorts caters to digital nomads who yearn for a balance between work and leisure, ensuring that wherever you are in the country, you're never too far from a welcoming workspace.

Airbnb and short-term rentals

Transitioning from the communal energy of coworking spaces, Airbnb and short-term rentals present a more private and personalized accommodation option for digital nomads in Manila. While Airbnb may not offer the same level of bargains as platforms like Agoda, it still provides a diverse selection of homes and apartments that cater to different tastes and budgets.

These rentals often come with the added benefits of a kitchen, living space, and sometimes even a dedicated workspace, allowing for a comfortable and self-sufficient living environment. Short-term rentals can be particularly advantageous for those planning an extended stay, as they offer a sense of home and the opportunity to truly immerse oneself in the local neighborhoods of Manila.

Moreover, engaging with local real estate agents can open doors to exclusive deals not found online, potentially leading to significant savings on long-term leases. Whether you're drawn to the high-rise apartments of Makati or the more modest studios in other districts, Manila's rental market is adaptable to the needs of a digital nomad.

With the average cost of a one-bedroom studio in upscale areas being remarkably affordable, digital nomads can enjoy the comforts of a private space without breaking the bank, ensuring a productive and enjoyable stay in the heart of the Philippines.

Hotels and hostels

For digital nomads who prioritize flexibility and affordability, Manila's hotels and hostels offer a range of options to suit various preferences and budgets. While hotels in the city may present a pricier alternative compared to other Southeast Asian destinations, they often provide reliable Wi-Fi, essential amenities, and the convenience of central locations.

The average monthly cost for a hotel stay is higher than a studio rental, but for short-term stays or those who prefer hotel services, it can be a worthwhile investment. Additionally, many hotels cater to business travelers and thus are equipped with business centers and meeting rooms, which can be an asset for nomads needing professional spaces for client interactions or collaborative projects.

Conversely, hostels in Manila are a boon for budget-conscious nomads, with nightly rates as low as 10 USD. These accommodations are ideal for those looking to save on costs and meet fellow travelers. However, it's important to note that while hostels offer a unique social experience, the Wi-Fi speeds can be inconsistent, which may impact work productivity.

For nomads planning a longer-term stay, hostels might serve as a temporary solution while exploring more stable living arrangements. Regardless of the choice between hotels and hostels, Manila's accommodation landscape is diverse, providing digital nomads with the flexibility to find a space that aligns with their lifestyle and work requirements.

Connectivity and internet access in Manila

 Connectivity and internet access in Manila

Mobile data and SIM cards

When it comes to staying connected in Manila, digital nomads should consider their mobile data and SIM card options carefully. Given the city's improved telecommunications infrastructure, purchasing a local SIM card with a generous data plan is a practical choice.

Providers frequently offer competitive deals, and while the quality of service can be similar across the board, it's wise to select the provider with the best current promotion. This approach ensures not only cost-effectiveness but also the flexibility to switch providers if necessary to maintain consistent internet access.

For those who require a more robust connection, portable hotspots like SkyRoam or Google's Fi for Android devices can serve as reliable backups, especially when cafe Wi-Fi falls short. These devices are particularly useful for nomads who move around the city for work or leisure, providing a stable internet connection that supports a productive remote working experience. With the right mobile data solution, digital nomads in Manila can enjoy the freedom to work from anywhere, confident in their ability to stay online and engaged with their global clientele or audience.

Internet speed and reliability

Internet speed and reliability are crucial for digital nomads, and Manila has made significant strides in this area. The city's connectivity has seen a remarkable improvement, with many areas now boasting fiber-optic infrastructure. In fact, in business districts like Makati and Ortigas, it's not uncommon to find internet speeds exceeding 250 Mbps, ensuring that digital nomads can work with efficiency and without the frustration of frequent disconnections. This level of service is a testament to Manila's commitment to becoming a competitive hub for remote workers and tech-savvy travelers.

Moreover, the widespread availability of high-speed internet extends beyond residential spaces into public venues. Coworking spaces, cafes, and even some restaurants in Manila offer Wi-Fi that often surpasses 50 Mbps, catering to the needs of professionals who require a fast and stable online presence. This enhanced connectivity reflects the city's understanding of the digital nomad lifestyle and its efforts to support a growing community of location-independent workers. With such reliable internet access, Manila positions itself as an attractive destination for those whose livelihoods depend on being online.

Exploring the city while working remotely

 Exploring the city while working remotely

Cafes and restaurants with good Wi-Fi

For the digital nomad in search of a cozy corner and a strong Wi-Fi signal, Manila's cafes and restaurants are a haven. Take Cartel Coffee Deli, a favorite among remote workers for its exceptional Filipino coffee and internet-free environment that encourages deep focus. However, when online access is a must, there's no shortage of establishments offering robust Wi-Fi connections.

Places like Bullish in Quezon City not only provide high-speed fiber Wi-Fi but also create an environment conducive to productivity with their modern design and array of amenities, including private desks and meeting rooms. These spots exemplify Manila's vibrant cafe culture, which is increasingly catering to the digital nomad community with both excellent service and the connectivity needed to thrive professionally.

Additionally, the trend of combining work and leisure is on the rise, with beach resorts near Manila beginning to offer coworking and coliving spaces. These resorts understand the digital nomad's desire for balance, providing high-speed Wi-Fi alongside the allure of the ocean. This unique blend of work and relaxation allows nomads to enjoy the tropical climate and picturesque views while staying on top of their tasks. Whether it's a bustling city cafe or a serene beachside retreat, Manila's array of Wi-Fi-equipped venues ensures that digital nomads can find the perfect spot to be productive and unwind.

Sightseeing and cultural experiences

When the laptops close and the screens dim, Manila beckons digital nomads with its rich tapestry of cultural experiences and sightseeing opportunities. The city's history is palpable in the walled area of Intramuros, where centuries-old fortifications tell tales of the Spanish colonial era.

Museums like the National Museum of the Philippines offer insightful glimpses into the country's artistic and cultural heritage, while contemporary art spaces such as the Cultural Center of the Philippines showcase the vibrant creativity of modern Filipino artists.

For those seeking a more immersive experience, the bustling streets of Binondo, the world's oldest Chinatown, provide a sensory feast with its array of shops, temples, and eateries serving authentic Chinese-Filipino cuisine.

Manila's cultural landscape is as diverse as its population, with festivals and events throughout the year celebrating everything from local music to religious traditions. The Feast of the Black Nazarene, a massive annual procession, and the colorful street dances of the Aliwan Fiesta are just a couple of the events that offer a window into the Filipino soul.

Digital nomads can enrich their stay by participating in these local festivities, forging deeper connections with the community and gaining insights that transcend the typical tourist experience. In Manila, the blend of work and cultural exploration creates a uniquely fulfilling nomadic lifestyle, where every corner turned is a potential story and every encounter an opportunity for growth.

Off the beaten path experiences

For digital nomads looking for off-the-beaten-path experiences in Manila, here are some unique and lesser-known activities to consider:

  1. Art in the Streets of Poblacion: Explore the vibrant and ever-changing street art scene in Poblacion, Makati. Poblacion is known for its bohemian atmosphere, and you can discover hidden murals, graffiti, and street art while wandering through its alleys.
  2. Bamboo Bike Tour in Intramuros: Instead of the usual walking tour, explore the historic walled city of Intramuros on a bamboo bike. This eco-friendly mode of transportation allows you to see the centuries-old Spanish colonial architecture while enjoying a unique experience.
  3. Silahis Arts & Artifacts: Visit Silahis Arts & Artifacts in Intramuros, a hidden gem that showcases traditional Filipino crafts, artifacts, and artworks. It's a great place to learn about the country's cultural heritage and pick up unique handmade souvenirs.
  4. Mystery Manila – Escape Room Experience: Challenge your problem-solving skills by participating in an escape room experience at Mystery Manila. It's a fun and immersive activity that can be an exciting break from work and a chance to interact with locals and other travelers.
  5. Local Co-Working Spaces in Quezon City: Explore co-working spaces in less touristy areas like Quezon City. Places like QC Hub, Spaces Matalino, or The Study by Enderun offer a more local and relaxed atmosphere compared to some of the popular spaces in Makati or BGC.
  6. La Mesa Ecopark: Take a break from the urban hustle and visit La Mesa Ecopark, a hidden oasis in Quezon City. You can enjoy nature walks, boat rides, and even ziplining. It's a peaceful retreat away from the bustling city.
  7. Biking at Nuvali: If you're up for a day trip, head to Nuvali, located just outside Manila. Rent a bike and explore the scenic trails around the lake. It's a refreshing outdoor experience that's not commonly associated with Manila.
  8. Indie Film Screenings at Cinema '76: Experience the local indie film scene by catching a screening at Cinema '76 Film Society. This micro-cinema in San Juan showcases independent Filipino films and provides a unique cultural experience.
  9. Local Markets in Marikina: Explore the local markets in Marikina, known for its shoemaking industry. The Marikina Market and Riverbanks Center offer a glimpse into everyday Filipino life, and you can find affordable local products and delicacies.
  10. Dine in Maginhawa Street: Maginhawa Street in Quezon City is a haven for food enthusiasts. Skip the mainstream restaurants and try the quirky and unique food offerings in this foodie haven, ranging from hole-in-the-wall cafes to themed restaurants.

These off-the-beaten-path experiences provide a mix of cultural immersion, relaxation, and unique adventures for digital nomads seeking something different in Manila.

Local cuisine

Manila, being the capital city of the Philippines, offers a diverse range of delicious local cuisine that reflects the country's rich culinary heritage. Here are some popular local dishes you can try in Manila:

  1. Adobo: A signature Filipino dish, Adobo involves marinating meat (usually pork or chicken) in soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, and spices, then simmering until tender. It's a savory and slightly tangy dish.
  2. Sinigang: A sour tamarind-based soup with various ingredients such as pork, shrimp, or beef, combined with vegetables like water spinach, radish, and eggplant. Sinigang is known for its comforting and tangy flavor.
  3. Lechon: Roast pig, or Lechon, is a festive dish often served during special occasions. The skin is crispy, and the meat is tender and flavorful. It's typically enjoyed with liver sauce or vinegar dip.
  4. Kare-Kare: A Filipino oxtail stew made with a rich peanut sauce, often accompanied by vegetables like banana hearts, eggplants, and string beans. It is usually served with bagoong (fermented shrimp paste) on the side.
  5. Pancit: There are various types of Filipino noodle dishes collectively known as “Pancit.” Pancit Canton, Pancit Malabon, and Pancit Bihon are some popular versions featuring different noodle types, meats, and vegetables.
  6. Balut: A unique Filipino street food, Balut is a fertilized duck egg with a partially developed embryo. It is boiled and commonly seasoned with salt and sometimes vinegar. It's a delicacy for those who enjoy adventurous eating.
  7. Taho: A sweet snack made with fresh silken tofu, arnibal (sweet syrup made from caramelized brown sugar), and sago pearls (similar to tapioca pearls). Taho is often sold by street vendors in the morning.
  8. Halo-Halo: A popular dessert that translates to “mix-mix,” Halo-Halo is a refreshing concoction of crushed ice, sweetened fruits, jellies, leche flan, ube (purple yam) halaya, and other delightful ingredients.
  9. Sisig: A sizzling dish made from chopped pig's face and ears, seasoned with calamansi (Philippine lime) and chili peppers. Sisig is often served on a hotplate, and variations may include chicken or seafood.
  10. Bibingka and Puto Bumbong: These are traditional Filipino rice cakes often enjoyed during the Christmas season. Bibingka is a round rice cake, while Puto Bumbong is a purple rice cake steamed in bamboo tubes, both served with grated coconut and butter.

Here are some suggestions on where to try these delicious Filipino dishes in Manila:

  1. Adobo:
    • Where to eat: Abe, Sentro 1771, Manam Comfort Filipino
  2. Sinigang:
    • Where to eat: Sinigang sa Miso at Gerry's Grill, Neil's Kitchen, Sentro 1771
  3. Lechon:
    • Where to eat: Lydia's Lechon, Elar's Lechon, Rico's Lechon
  4. Kare-Kare:
    • Where to eat: Kanin Club, Sentro 1771, Aristocrat Restaurant
  5. Pancit:
    • Where to eat: Aling Banang's, Buddy's Pancit Lucban, Little Quiapo
  6. Balut:
    • Where to eat: Street vendors in popular nightlife areas like Poblacion or during local festivals. Look for vendors with a steady stream of customers.
  7. Taho:
    • Where to eat: Taho vendors roam the streets in the morning. You can find them near busy intersections or markets. Alternatively, some food markets like Salcedo Saturday Market may have vendors selling Taho.
  8. Halo-Halo:
    • Where to eat: Razon's of Guagua, Halo-Halo de Iloko, Mang Inasal
  9. Sisig:
    • Where to eat: Gerry's Grill, Aling Lucing's Sisig, Locavore
  10. Bibingka and Puto Bumbong:
    • Where to eat: Via Mare, Ferino's Bibingka, Ristorante Delle Mitre

Exploring Manila's local cuisine will give you a taste of the diverse and flavorful dishes that the Philippines has to offer. Enjoy your culinary journey!

Cost of living and budgeting tips for digital nomads in Manila

 Cost of living and budgeting tips for digital nomads in Manila

Accommodation costs

Turning to the practicalities of living in Manila, accommodation costs are a significant consideration for digital nomads. The city offers a spectrum of options to suit various budgets and preferences. A one-bedroom studio in an upscale area averages at $411 monthly, presenting an attractive price point for those seeking private, comfortable living spaces. For those who prioritize savings, hostels provide beds at around $10 per night, though this choice may come with the trade-off of inconsistent Wi-Fi speeds.

Overall, with a monthly cost of living estimated at $1,452, including accommodation, digital nomads can find value in Manila's housing market without compromising on the essentials needed for a productive remote working experience.

While Manila's hotel rates, averaging $823 monthly, may be steeper compared to other Southeast Asian cities, they reflect the city's developing status and offer amenities that cater to a range of needs.

Whether opting for the social atmosphere of hostels, the convenience of short-term rentals, or the comfort of hotels, digital nomads can navigate Manila's accommodation landscape with confidence, knowing that there are choices to match their lifestyle and budgetary requirements.

This flexibility in living arrangements is just one aspect that makes Manila an appealing destination for the global remote workforce.

Food and dining expenses

As for sustenance, Manila presents an array of food and dining options that cater to both the palate and the wallet. The city's culinary scene is a melting pot of flavors, offering everything from street food delicacies to high-end dining experiences.

Digital nomads can enjoy local dishes like adobo or sinigang for just a few dollars at a local carinderia, or venture into the myriad of international restaurants that dot the cityscape. The cost of food is remarkably affordable, with daily meals easily managed within a budget of $3 to $7, allowing for a diverse and enjoyable dining experience without breaking the bank.

Moreover, the affordability of groceries means that those who prefer to cook can do so economically, with fresh produce and local ingredients readily available at public markets and supermarkets. This flexibility in food expenses is integral to the digital nomad lifestyle in Manila, ensuring that whether one is grabbing a quick bite between work sessions or indulging in a leisurely meal, the city accommodates all tastes and budgets. By smartly navigating the culinary offerings, digital nomads can relish the flavors of Manila while maintaining a cost-effective living standard.

Transportation and leisure activities

When it comes to getting around, Manila's transportation system offers a variety of options, including the iconic jeepneys, tricycles, buses, and the metro rail transit (MRT). Digital nomads can traverse the city economically, with a single jeepney ride costing less than a dollar.

For those who prefer convenience, ride-hailing apps like Grab are widely used and offer affordable rates. Balancing work and leisure is effortless in Manila, where one can easily transition from a productive day at a co-working space to an evening exploring the vibrant street markets or unwinding at one of the city's lush parks.

Leisure activities in Manila are as diverse as its culture, with options ranging from historical tours of Intramuros to modern shopping malls like SM Mall of Asia. The city is also home to numerous art galleries, museums, and cultural centers that provide insight into the Philippines' rich heritage.

For the adventurous nomad, weekend getaways to nearby beaches or mountains are just a bus ride away. With such a wide array of activities, digital nomads in Manila can enrich their remote working lifestyle with memorable experiences that are both accessible and affordable.

Networking and community for digital nomads in Manila

 Networking and community for digital nomads in Manila

Meetup groups and events

Networking and community building are essential aspects of the digital nomad lifestyle, and Manila offers ample opportunities for both. The city's vibrant scene of meetup groups and events caters to the diverse interests of remote workers.

Digital nomads can join Facebook groups such as “Digital Nomad Philippines” or “Digital Nomads – Makati, Philippines” to connect with peers, share insights, and stay updated on local happenings.

These online communities are a treasure trove of information, offering tips on the best spots for work and leisure, and often organize casual meetups, workshops, and collaborative events that can lead to meaningful connections and potential business partnerships.

For those looking to engage with fellow nomads and entrepreneurs in person, attending events organized by groups like the “Digital Nomads & Entrepreneurs Beach Club Philippines” (DNEBC PH) can be incredibly rewarding.

These gatherings are not just about networking; they're also about building a supportive environment where ideas are exchanged, and friendships are formed. While apps like Meetup may have limited offerings in the city, the proactive approach of visiting co-working spaces and participating in community-driven events can lead to valuable interactions with both locals and international digital nomads, enriching the overall experience of living and working in Manila.

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In conclusion, Manila presents a dynamic and promising destination for digital nomads seeking a blend of cultural immersion and professional growth. With its diverse accommodation options, reliable connectivity, and a cost of living that can be tailored to various budgets, the city is well-equipped to support the digital nomad lifestyle.

The key to thriving in Manila lies in embracing the local way of life, exploring its rich tapestry of experiences, and tapping into the community of like-minded individuals who can transform a remote working stint into a memorable chapter of your nomadic journey. Whether you're in for the short haul or planning an extended stay, Manila's unique charm is sure to leave a lasting impression on your digital nomad adventure.

Remember, the essence of travel as a digital nomad isn't just about finding comfort in the familiar, but also about discovering new perspectives and ways of living. Manila, with its vibrant streets, warm hospitality, and growing digital infrastructure, offers just that—a chance to work, learn, and connect in an environment that's as stimulating as it is welcoming. So pack your bags, set your sights on Manila, and get ready to write the next exciting chapter of your digital nomad story in this bustling metropolis.



  • Is Philippines good for digital nomad?

    Like many other Southeast Asian countries, the Philippines offers an affordable cost of living for most digital nomads. One thing that stands out is that accommodation is surprisingly cheap and it is not difficult to find local rentals as a foreigner.

  • Which island in the Philippines is best for digital nomads?

    Siargao. Known as the surfing capital of the Philippines, Siargao is a laid-back island that offers a relaxed lifestyle for digital nomads. This island paradise is perfect for those who want to combine work and leisure.

  • Can a US citizen work remotely in the Philippines?

    Digital Nomad Visa Philippines The Digital Nomad Visa for the Philippines is set to revolutionize the way remote workers experience the country. It offers a unique opportunity to reside and work in the Philippines for an initial period of 12 months, with the potential for a 12-month extension.

  • What is the cheapest country to live as a digital nomad?

    After looking at the data, the research team found that Colombia is indeed the cheapest place for Americans to work abroad as digital nomads. Colombia ranked in the No. 1 spot thanks to its high number of coworking spaces, fast internet speeds, low cost of living, and the availability of a digital nomad visa.

Originally posted 2024-01-02 08:15:44.

About the author

Meet Yogi, the insightful author and resident digital nomad expert at! With a passion for exploring the world while working remotely, Yogi has embarked on a transformative journey as a digital nomad. Through firsthand experiences, Yogi has embraced the nomadic lifestyle and successfully blended work with wanderlust.



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