We hope you already grabbed a copy of the March-April issue of MoneySense. We have an interesting list there — the “Best Places to Live in the Philippines.” Curious? Here’s the top 20:
6. Las Piñas
8. San Fernando
10. Quezon City
13. Cagayan de Oro
19. General Santos
If you want to know more, of course, you have to buy a copy. But just to give you a short background about we compiled this, here’s what I wrote in the editor’s note:
There Is a Method to This Madness
Compiling a “Best Places to Live” in the Philippines list just screams for complaints and criticism. After we came out with the results, I was actually disappointed, even perplexed, that some of my favorite cities weren’t included or were so far down the ranking.
I have lived in three cities my entire life and about to move to my fourth. Only two of those – Makati and Quezon City – made the list. It kind of bothered me a bit that Antipolo – my future home – didn’t make the cut (more on that later). Did I make the right decision to live there?
As for you, are you aghast that your city is not on the list or is at the lower rung? Sorry, we didn’t hand-pick the list based on personal opinion. How can Cebu and Baguio be at the lower ranks of the top 20? We had expected them to be right there at least among the top 10. Unfortunately, Cebu ranked low in the list of the Philippine Cities Competitiveness Ranking Project (PCCRP) of the Asian Institute of Management (a major basis for our ranking) – 10th on dynamism of local economy, 12th in infrastructure, and eighth in quality of life. Baguio was also at the fringes of the criteria on economy and infrastructure, even though it ranked high in quality of life.
And where are the CALABARZON cities in the top 20 save for Batangas, Lipa, and Calamba? You’d expect to find Cavite, Sta. Rosa, Tagaytay, and Antipolo at least. Well, Cavite, Sta. Rosa, and Tagaytay were ranked really low. And Antipolo? Well, it wasn’t part of the PCCRP (that gives me hope).
You may also be annoyed by the fact that Metro Manila cities dominate the list. While we can say that there’s little difference if you live in Pasig or Quezon City if you work or study in Makati (or for that matter, also live in Makati), since it’s really not that far, it’s unfair to conclude that all Metro Manila cities are created equal and that therefore they should be just lumped as one. Obviously they’re not. Living in Marikina appears to be better than living in, say, Pasay, which ranked lowest in quality of life among metro cities.
There are three key components of what we believe makes a place the best place to live: standard of living, quality of life, and cost of living. You may be earning a lot but if you live in an overcrowded city with too much smog, a high crime rate, bad roads, and few schools to choose from, then it may be better idea to just move. Similarly, you can have fresh air, a peaceful environment, and longer life expectancy, but if you can’t find good jobs or business opportunities, you’ll also move.
What is standard of living? To us, the factors to look at are income (above average family income and per capita income), economy (high GDP and GDP growth), employment (high employment rate), and business (low cost of doing business).
Quality of life includes population (relative low population and population growth), demographics (good gender mix, good number of young economically active people, high ratio of singles), environment (clean air, clean streets), health care (high life expectancy, low mortality rate), education (high literacy rate, high proportion with high level of education), safety (low crime rate, high crime solution efficiency), and leisure (high level of tourist arrivals).
Of course, tracking all these metrics is time-consuming and difficult. So we relied on existing studies that have already done the work for us. We believed those studies sufficiently provided a solid basis for measuring standard of living and quality of life. However, we didn’t bother to anymore measure and consider cost of living as data for this is incomplete and unreliable. Besides, the “Best Places to Live” does mean best, not most affordable. And as the final listing shows, each city offers a whole range of options for every budget.
It’s not perfect, but it’s a good start.