Metro Manila · Moving to Manila: A Guide In 10 Steps

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The Megacitizens guide for moving to Manila, from booking a flight and packing your things to finding a job and making new friends.

1.Book a flight

Dozens of airlines fly to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Manila, but among them are only one European and two American airlines. Check our list of airlines with flights to the Philippines. For Europe, airlines from the Gulf states often offer the best value for money.

Check the Philippine weather and seasons before you book a flight. Try to avoid arriving here during rainy season or in hot summer months.

2. Pack and prepare

Things to bring: umbrella, flip-flops, sunscreen, cap, insect repellent, adapter plug, camera, some dollars in case you have problems with the ATMs, a return ticket (see the visa guidelines), travel insurance, some formal clothes, many light clothes, a pair of sturdy shoes, and a list of basic Tagalog phrases. If you want to move with your whole household, hire a relocation company in your home country.

Regarding vaccinations and first-aid kits, discuss the details with your medical practitioner. Recommended are malaria prophylaxis, anti-rabies inoculation, Hepatitis A vaccination, and an anti-diarrheal agent, among others.

3. Arrive and survive the first days in Manila

Check our article on riding a cab before getting a taxi at the the airport. Also, read our Quick Guide to Safety. Check in at a nice hotel or hostel. Reservation is recommended. Get a SIM card for your phone from a convenient store or a corner shop. Buy a map of Manila in one of the bookstores in the shopping malls, or ask your hotel if they provide one for free. 

4. Get around in Manila: learn to use public transport and/or get a car

There always comes a time when no cab is in sight, so knowing how to ride the jeepney, tricycle, or bus comes in handy. If you are planning to get your own car and perhaps a driver, here is what you need to know.

5. Find a job and apply for a work visa

If you were not sent to Manila by your employer and plan to look for a job, check our Working & Jobs section to see what options there are.

If your new company does not assist you with your work visa and permit, check here to inform yourself about what to do. Hiring a travel and visa agency for the paper work is probably worth the money.

6. Find the right accommodation

Make up your mind on whether you prefer a little condominium unit or if you want to live in a proper house. Don't sign a year-long contract or so before you know where you are going to work. Living near your workplace can safe you precious hours of your day. Also, try to find a flood free area. Once you moved in, ask your landlady, guards, or neighbors for reliable laundry, water, and other services nearby.

7. Make friends and socialize

Most Filipinos are very open-hearted and it is not hard finding friends in Manila. If you are looking for new business contacts or just some fellow countrymen and -women to talk about the challenges of life in the Megacity, there are plenty of expat networks and associations to choose from. Very important: Join our Stammtisch and meet like-minded people from all over the world!

8. Having kids? Choose a school and connect with other parents

There are a number of international schools in Metro Manila, from kindergarten to high school. Expat family networks like MADS offer great support and help you with all your questions.

9. Take care of your health

Find out where the nearest hospital is, just in case. Ask friends and colleagues for reliable dentists and doctors.

Many condominiums and subdivisions provide fitness facilities for their residents, and there are options for almost any kind of sports in Metro Manila. Spas and massage parlors offer very reasonably priced services, don't miss it out! Eating healthy can be a challenge, but here is our how-to.

10. Enjoy your stay

Now that you are more or less settled, enjoy your stay! Discover Manila's HotSpots with countless great bars, restaurants, and shopping opportunities, visit cultural and social events, and go on weekend trips to enjoy the beauty of the Philippine Islands.