How Much Should I Charge On oDesk? How Much Should I Pay My Filipino Virtual Assistant? (Or Is It True Commodities In Philippines Are Cheap?)

The real title of this post: How Potatoes Made Me Realise I Need To Increase My Hourly Rate

There’s a misconception that “commodities in Philippines are cheap; therefore Filipinos should be paid less.” What people aren’t taking into consideration are “how cheap?”, “how long do Filipinos work just to be able to afford something?”, and “what standard of living is acceptable?”

The short answer is yes, it’s cheap…if you want to suffer and have a bad standard of living. Many Filipinos work for longs hours just for the sake of being able to buy basic necessities. Travel, gadgets, and other things that might actually be important for you, need years of saving. Or months, if you opt not to eat. Air-conditioner and even vacuum cleaner are considered as status symbols. Heck, even going to cinema can be a luxury already.

Wondering how much I should charge my clients, I did some calculations yesterday. If you still think Filipinos deserve low hourly rate just because they’re in Philippines, think again.

For these calculations, I used the info found on Numbeo.

If you want to have an idea how much a good standard of living in Philippines is, don’t use the average income in Philippines. These calculations actually show an average Filipino is underpaid. There’s a reason why Philippines is ranked low in standard of living lists. You have to wonder how long does it take for someone in a country with good standard of living to be able to afford something, then apply that ratio to commodity prices in PH. Because one of my clients is from Texas, I used that place.

What I did: get the ratio of another country’s commodity price to the average income in that city, then use the commodity price in PH divided by the ratio in that other city. That’s confusing, so just take a look at this computation:


(Prices are in USD)

potato calculation

This means if you’re earning lower than $15.90 per hour, you’re working way too hard just to be able to afford a potato!

Let’s take a look at how much you should earn to be able to afford these other things in Manila, in the same way an average McAllen Texas person can afford them. (Prices for these items in Texas and in Manila are found here.)


  • Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant -$8.00 (This is the hourly rate that you NEED to earn.)
  • Meal for 2, Mid-range Restaurant, Three-course – $8.54
  • Combo Meal at McDonalds or Similar – $9.35
  • Cappuccino (regular) – $10.98
  • Coke/Pepsi (0.33 litre bottle) – $8.00
  • Water (0.33 liter bottle) (This is in restaurants where water is actually mostly free, so I wouldn’t really count this.)- $5.81


  • Rice (white), (1kg) – $9.05
  • Eggs (12) – $14.79
  • Chicken Breasts (Boneless, Skinless), (1kg) – $15.03
  • Water (1.5 liter bottle) (The expensive water!) – $11.96
  • Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range) – $10.01


  • Gasoline (1 litre) – $25.13 (Gasoline in ph is actually MORE expensive than in Texas. A totally wtf moment.)
  • Volkswagen Golf 1.4 90 KW Trendline (Or Equivalent New Car) – $17.59

UTILITIES (If you’ll notice here, utilities in Philippines are actually really expensive, thanks to our private companies profiting on the poor.)

  • Basic (Electricity, Heating, Water, Garbage) for 85m2 Apartment – $12.74
  • Internet (6 Mbps, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL) – $22.08


  • Fitness Club, Monthly Fee for 1 Adult (way more expensive in PH than Texas!!)- $28.38
  • Cinema, International Release, 1 Seat – $8.42


  • 1 Pair of Jeans (Levis 501 Or Similar)- $25.57
  • 1 Summer Dress in a Chain Store (Zara, H&M, …) – $15.99
  • 1 Pair of Nike Shoes – $18.23


  • Apartment (1 bedroom)- $11.64

(I used 140 hours of work per month. Freelancers don’t have paid break time, hence, 7 hours x 5 days x 4 weeks = 140 hours)

So how much should you charge if you’re quite skilled, experienced, and want to have the same standard of living of those in Texas?

According to numbeo,

numbeo texas

Hence you would need $1,773.93 per month or $12.67 per hour in Manila to “Maintain the same standard of life that you can have with” the average income $2,462.50 in McAllen, Texas.

In conclusion, I work too long just to be able to afford a potato. I need to remedy this.

Scientists Discover Young Mice’ Blood Can Make Older Mice Healthier

time to give something ack


“It sounds like the dark plot of a vampire movie.”

They’re already testing it on old people with Alzheimer’s Disease. Freaking interesting. So humans, if ever you’ll need blood transfusion, opt for blood from a young person. (Should be also compatible with your blood type, of course.)

If you’d like to read the full article, you can check out this New Scientist magazine’s pdf. The article’s entitled “Young Blood Turns Back Time”.

Gillian Flynn’s Dark Places

It’s so addicting that I spent one Saturday mentally “partying” in this book. At some point, I even uttered “It’s even better than Gone Girl!”. I know; blasphemy, isn’t it? But such is the awesomeness of Dark Places. Also, I can’t wait for the movie. If you’re a Chloe Grace Moretz fan, this is definitely the movie you should be excited about. SHE’S GOING TO PLAY DIONDRA! Once you’ve read the book, you’ll understand why that is exciting.

This review is not in any way sponsored or paid by Dark Places’ author Gillian Flynn but if Flynn feels it is in her best interest to pay Jenn, the latter is open to the idea of receiving payment (galleons preferred, but a real-life version of Lyle, that dude in the book who’s so nerdy and talks in an unsure way sometimes, which makes him cute, would be nice as well).

Things To Do In Singapore



LUGEI cannot stress enough how fun this ride is. You can race with your friends, go slowly while enjoying the scenery, or just go really fast, forgetting about everything–just you, the luge, and the track filled with trees on both sides. It’s like driving inside a forest, which just made it scarier when at some point I couldn’t see my sister at the track. I stopped and waited for her, calling out for her behind me. I was alone at the track then and no one was really coming along for a few seconds.

It was really scary that I just proceeded driving my luge, thinking that maybe she went ahead and I just didn’t notice. I finished the track.

Few minutes later, my sister emerged from it, laughing at herself about how her luge got stuck. I have no idea why that happened to her. Believe me, the luge is pretty easy to drive. You just have to push the handle, but not too far or else it will stop.

Singapore SkyRide

Luge tickets usually come with Skyride. It wasn’t as brilliant as luge but it’s still a good experience being up there. Not to mention the getting on/off the ride part is fun! We had to stand on a circle then the ride would be behind us, not stopping, and we had to immediately sit! There was that thrill of dying by getting hit by the ride. Not really. It keeps moving but not fast enough to kill you. Not yet anyway. Who knows if that is their goal and they’re just not yet succeeding.



Swim at the Beach


Even though we didn’t swim ourselves (sobs), I really recommend doing that. The place is beautiful and free. What more can I say?


Tram in Sentosa. It’s free!


Have a Picnic at the Beach



Well not there in front of the beach but there’s a place there on the right side of the sea where some people can have picnic. We did!

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

My sister, my cousin, and my uncle.

Here's our messy but yummy picnic food.


Singapore Zoo







Singapore Zoo

I love how Singapore’s zoo is full of trees. It’s as though the place is really a forest with animals and you’re a welcome visitor.

A tip: go early and check the shows’ schedule. The best show I’ve witnessed there was the elephant show. They were so smart, talented, and cute. No kidding, they’re really smart, doing some tricks here and there.

Overstay and Never Come Back To Your Homeland.*

You didn’t read that here.


That’s it for now. I’ll write about other things we did, places we visited and yummy food we ate at a separate post, which I will write godzilla knows when.

 *A joke. I’m back in PH and just stayed in Singapore for 10 days. I don’t want immigration officers searching for me. Thank you.