We live in Iloilo City and keep quite close track of our food expenditures. We had read about soaring food price inflation in the Philippines so we decided to see how much our own food expenditures had risen. Bear in mind that our figures include the non-food items we buy at the grocery store such as soap products and a few other incidentals. Since our income is in US dollars, we keep track of our expenses in dollars.
On Sept. 30, 07 the exchange rate was P45.20 pesos per USD. On Sept. 30, 08 the exchange rate was P47.25 per USD. I don’t have the math skills to make much more sense of this for peso purchasers.
I do note that the rice we buy is a premium quality rice variety called Malido. Last year it was P32 per kilo. Today it is P48, a 50% increase. This is from the same rice vendor in the Villa, Iloilo City public market. We used to buy imported Thai Jasmine rice but now we like the Philippine Malido.
Here are our figures:
- Jan 1 to Sept 30 2007 $205.76 per month.
- Jan 1 to Sept 30 2008 $251.87 per month
- Jan 1 to Aug 31 2011 $330.71 per month (includes two visitor who stayed for two months)
If anything, the picture may be worse than the above figures show. We are buying more fruits and vegetables at public markets where they are cheaper — and better. We are also buying some meat products from stalls rather than the supermarket. We used to think that it was safer to buy meat at the supermarket (refrigeration, fewer flies) but we have been increasingly suspicious that supermarkets use red dye to make meat look fresh when it’s not and maybe other adulterants as well. When we go to a meat vendor in the early morning we can find freshly killed and butchered (apologies to vegetarians!) meat that looks just that way — fresh and unadulterated.
We are a normally a household of two persons. We do buy luxuries such as imported olive oil, imported spaghetti sauce, Parmesan cheese and some other imported cheese, New Zealand milk and butter and so forth. Nothing here claimed to be the product of statistical competence, but hope it may be of interest to others expats or aspiring expats.
ILOILO BIG MAC INDEX: The price of a Big Mac meal has become something of a transnational guide to the cost of living, popularized by the Economist Magazine. The news from Iloilo City is not promising. When we moved here in early 2007 a Big Mac meal was P98. As of January 2009 it’s P126, a 28% increase in two years.