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Where Should I Live: The North VS South Metro Manila Debate


There have been a few debates online (usually for fun) on whether it’s better to live in the North or South. Some have argued for costs, while others have brought up the quality of life living in more expensive areas. Perhaps the most significant consensus is that no matter where you live, you’ll still have to experience the horrendous traffic conditions of Metro Manila.

For those unfamiliar, the northern part of Metro Manila covers Quezon City, Marikina, Valenzuela, Manila, Malabon, North and South Caloocan. The southern part consists of Muntinlupa, Las Piñas, Parañaque, Taguig, Pasay, and Pateros. Caught in the middle are Pasig, Makati, San Juan, Mandaluyong, and parts of Quezon City and Manila. However, the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority declared that the geographical midpoint of Metro Manila is, in fact, San Juan

If you are looking for a new place or opportunities, there are a lot of factors to consider beyond price and accessibility. Read on and find out if you are a northerner at heart or someone who can get behind the idea of living in the cities of the south.

Quality of Living

The north has a lot to offer regarding housing, education, and work opportunities. You can find many of the best-known universities in the Philippines there. It is also home to numerous museums and iconic meet-up landmarks. However, it can get hectic in some of the older and busier residential parts of the north. If you ever decide to move there, get home insurance along the way, especially if you are not too familiar with the area. 

The south offers more quality living standards and economic development. Taguig and Makati are poster cities for such claims. Still, other cities like Muntinlupa and Las Pinas also offer similar standards and focus on curbing pollution in favor of beauty. This goes hand in hand with attracting tourists and home movers alike!


Each city has its appeal and what makes them great is all up to subjective taste. Go for the south if you enjoy modern residential areas and concrete jungles. But if you’re the kind of person to enjoy the hustle and bustle of familiar sights and heritage sites, there’s plenty to be found in the north, specifically in Manila!  

Cost of Living

By definition, the cost of living can be defined as the amount of money needed to cover basic monthly expenses per area and period of time. The average cost varies between places, with personal lifestyle being a factor to consider. 

In the north, living in Caloocan and Quezon City can cost around P20,000-P40,000, including rent and insurance. The City of Manila, Mandaluyong, and Marikina rate slightly higher at around P30,000-P50,000. Meanwhile, Taguig and Makati go for P40,000 and above, while Parañaque, Las Piñas, and Muntinlupa are reported to be slightly more affordable with rates going at P20,000-P30,000.

Cost of Owning

The cost of owning land and either buying or having a house built is a little tricky to get into. The northern part of Metro Manila has a lot of affordable places to own and rent. The Bureau of Internal Revenue states that the zonal value costs around P1,000 to P30,000 per square meter for those looking to own properties. 

On the other hand, the south might be a little too expensive for some with zonal values at P90,000 and above. Rental prices vary between cities, especially during pandemic circumstances, but all-in-all, living in the north is a lot more affordable if you don’t mind the crowds and the busy streets. 

Accessibility and public transportation

Everyone in Metro Manila knows that traffic is unavoidable. Both the north and the south have their fair share of highs and lows when it comes to traffic, and it becomes a matter of contending which cities provide less stress in dealing with travel woes. For example, traffic is abundant in Makati, but the walkways are much safer and manageable for long strolls, thanks to the city’s unique pedestrian infrastructure.

You also need to take into account the accessibility of public transportation. Commuting will rarely be a problem if you work and live within the same city. But if you work a long way from where you live, consider looking for a home where commuting won’t cost you a fortune (and your health) every week. As for whether it’s easier to commute from north to south or south to north, some netizens online are more in favor of the latter and regard the north to have more congested streets than the south.

In Summary

If someone asks you which part of Metro Manila is better for living, you can answer them by either pointing out the costs on one end and the quality on the other. 

One could argue about the advantages and disadvantages of either the north or south of Metro Manila, and yet, the decision will still be up to you. So, if you are planning to move, weigh in and compare your options. Choose what will be best for you and your family.