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Telecommuting used to be a novel concept, but since the COVID-19 pandemic, embracing remote work has become a means to adapt. However, working from just about anywhere is not as ideal as it seems. The number one requirement to successfully pull off this setup? A fast internet speed. But is it even possible to work remotely in the Philippines, where internet connection is dismal, much less available to the general public? Here, we list down the best remote work destinations in the Philippines with fast internet, plus what makes each destination worth your visit.
How we zeroed in on the best remote work locations in the Philippines
To determine the best spots in the country for remote work, we extracted related points-of-interest from the dataset of Openstreetmap, an open-source geographic database. These were then overlaid against Ookla’s network performance data for the fourth quarter of 2022.
With each point’s average upload and download speeds for fixed and mobile internet connections determined, the data were then filtered to show only those that are above the third quartile: mobile download and upload at 65.2Mbps and 11.9Mbps, respectively; and fixed download and upload at 95.4Mbps and 91.1Mbps, respectively. We then created a heat map based on these sets of information to show areas with accommodations that are within the said internet speed criteria. These include hotels, bed-and-breakfast, rentals, campsites, and hostels, among other types of lodging. Unsurprisingly, highly urbanized areas offer the best connection to the World Wide Web and are also the gateways to the scenic leisure spots in the country.
The country’s capital, as expected, is one of the best places for remote work in the Philippines. Here, you can find the highest concentration of accommodation establishments with fast internet connection. Upload speed can reach as fast as ~180Mbps, while download can go for ~200Mbps The clusters of establishments radiate from Makati City, particularly from the Central Business District (CBD).
Makati’s several accommodation options cater to a wide range of budget—from five-star hotels to quaint bed-and-breakfast rentals within the CBD. Countless restaurants, upscale shopping malls, and luxury brands pepper the area, making it a perfect place for workcation.
The speedy internet connection also extends to adjacent cities like Pasig and Taguig, which have their own respective business districts. Quezon City also has small clusters of accommodations with good internet connection spread all over the area. Meanwhile, the commercial districts of Binondo, Quiapo, Sta. Cruz, and Malate in Manila City are ideal locations if you need to constantly be online.
The City of San Fernando in Pampanga, which is the regional center of Central Luzon, provides very good internet connection for accommodations located in the city’s development triangle. This consists of Jose Abad Santos Ave., Lazatin Blvd., and the MacArthur Highway. You’ll still get a stable connection as you go up north, where there’s a scattering of apartments, inns, and dormitories along MacArthur Highway.
Decent internet speed extends to the hotels surrounding the 4,400-hectare Clark Freeport and Special Economic Zone. Clark was once home to the largest air base outside the U.S. soil and is now a busy economic hub and popular tourist destination. The Clark Freeport Zone, in particular, is a bustling business and leisure spot that houses the modern Clark International Airport as well as numerous casinos and restaurants.
When in Pampanga, though, don’t just keep yourself busy with work; it’s a sin not to experience the delectable Kapampangan cuisine when you pay this province a visit.
Need to check some urgent emails before traveling by sea from Metro Manila to Boracay? Perhaps a stay for a day or two in one of the accommodations around the Batangas International Port can help you get through that deadline (that, plus a cup of strong barako coffee the province is famous for).
Although not all of Batangas offer lightning-speed connection, it’s worth taking a side trip to one of the numerous resorts in the province. The idyllic barangay of Anilao, for instance, is famous for its breathtaking dive sites, so don’t forget to pack your diving or snorkeling gear if you’re passing by here.
Baguio City is one of the top go-to places in the country, whether it’s for remote work or leisure. Hailed as the Summer Capital of the Philippines, Baguio is known for its cool weather and tourist attractions—from parks and flea markets to museums and art scene.
While most, if not all, accommodations here have decent or above-average internet speeds, the transient houses found near the common boundaries of barangays San Roque, San Luis, and Victoria offer the best connection. Transient houses remain an affordable option if you plan to stay for more than a week or two in Baguio. Otherwise, you can opt to stay in hotels that dot the city. Try those around Session Road if you want to be right smack in the commercial district, or book in one of the hotels in Camp John Hay for a laid-back stay.
Puerto Princesa City
There are numerous accommodations dotting the Palawan archipelago, but the best internet connection is in the city proper of its capital, Puerto Princesa. Look for a place to stay particularly in the vicinity of Roxas and Manalo Streets, where speeds can go as fast as ~170Mbps (mobile download) and ~30Mbps (mobile upload); and almost ~140Mbps (fixed download) and ~130Mbps (fixed upload).
Puerto Princesa is the entryway for places like the Subterranean River National Park, which is listed as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature. Tubbataha Reef, a marine sanctuary declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is also a famous dive spot. These are just a few of the world-renowned destinations in Palawan, where eco-tourism is at the forefront.
The breathtaking views of Palawan are a sure crwod-pleaser (Photo by Cris Tagupa on Unsplash)
A two-and-a-half drive from Puerto Princesa City is the municipality of Quezon. It’s home to the Tabon Caves, where the earliest known human remains in the Philippines (among other archaeological artifacts) have been found. You can stay in one of the pension houses in the town proper and work on that assignment prior to exploring the rest of this fascinating area.
Iloilo City, capital of the province of Iloilo, is known for the Dinagyang Festival, a religious celebration held every fourth of January.
As with the other metropolises in the country, you can find reliable internet connection all throughout the city. This makes it easy to choose from among the variety of accommodations—from multistory hotels to homey rentals and sprawling resort. And while you’re here, be sure to get a taste of the Ilonggo cuisine. Favorites like pancit molo, chicken binakol, and la paz batchoy are reason enough to pay this part of the country a visit. If you have spare time, don’t hesitate to explore the rest of the province, which is famous for its precious old churches that sport intricate motifs and notable architecture (there’s Miagao, San Joaquin, and Guimbal, to name a few).
Dinagyang Festival dresses the streets of Iloilo City in festive colors and merrymaking (Photo by Vinson Tan on Pixabay)
Bacolod City is the capital of Negros Occidental. As such, lodgings in the area offer good Wi-Fi connection—extremely convenient if you want to experience the culture of Bacolod without missing important deadlines.
Every fourth Sunday of October, the streets of the city come alive with Masskara Festival. Performers don elaborate costumes while dancing to festive beats. But it’s not just this revelry that makes the City of Smiles worth your while. Your stay won’t be complete if you don’t get a taste of the famous inasal, a savory roasted chicken that goes well with a steaming cup of rice. For dessert, you won’t go wrong with Napoleones, a custard-filled puff pastry that also makes for a perfect pasalubong to family and colleagues.
Cebu City, another highly urbanized area, also boasts a high number of accommodations that offer a good connection to the World Wide Web. These are found specifically within the vicinity of the Provincial Capitol and the Fuente Osmeña Circle, extending to the nearby cities of Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu. In fact, the central to southern region of Cebu province per se generally has fast internet connection.
The Queen City of the South doesn’t lack for any conveniences. Public transport makes it easier to get around. Plus, the Mactan-Cebu International Airport also makes it more accessible for foreign tourists who want to experience a taste of Filipino hospitality.
If you want to take a break from work, step out of your hotel and head to the several tourist destinations in the area, some of which still bear the marks of the Spanish colonization era, like old churches and museums. You may also want to witness the Sinulog Festival, celebrated in honor of the Sto. Niño (child Jesus), every January; just don’t expect to get any work done when you join in the festivities.
Known as the orchid capital of the country, Davao City is also home to delectable, exotic fruits like durian and mangosteen. The city is a center of trade and commerce in the Mindanao region.
It’s also famous for Mt. Apo, the highest mountain the Philippines cradling endemic bird species as well as the majestic—but critically endangered—Philippine eagle. At almost 3,000 meters high, the magnificent mountain is a must-visit destination to avid mountain climbers. Davao City is also the jump-off point to Samal Island, where you can bask in pristine waters and white sand.
While pockets of accommodations with very good internet connection are spread throughout the area, most are clustered in the city proper. Hence, it’s best to sneak in some before heading off to your mountain or beach adventure.
Davao is also known as the home of the Philippine Eagle, or the monkey-eating eagle (Photo by Jomark Francis Velasco on Unsplash)
All information presented here are based on available data and are only meant for an overview of the subject. For in-depth analyses, an extensive study is necessary.
Pushpins is a GIS company in the Philippines. For more information on how we can help your organization make use of geospatial analysis, message us here.