Life is full of contradictions. One of the most commonly discussed dichotomies of all time are the price tags of main commodities. What’s the cheapest item your money can buy? Or, if you happen to among the one percent who own more than half of the world’s wealth: What’s the priciest luxury I can afford?
Of course, most of us mere mortals would always go for the former, because we always strive to get the most out of our earnings. Some choose the latter because they want to enjoy life’s pleasures while they can. Or quite simply, because they can.
To illustrate our point, we’ve prepared a simple infographic that shows the stark contrast between some of the cheapest and most expensive items available in the Philippines—no middle ground, no ifs and buts, just honest-to-goodness figures.
According to the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc. (CAMPI), car sales have seen a year-on-year 30.3% increase as of April 2016, a testament to the perceived higher purchasing power of Filipinos these days. Add to that the influx of low cost, entry-level cars on the market—the cheapest of which is the Suzuki Alto 800 at P398,000.
On the opposite side of the spectrum is the hand-built Rolls-Royce Phantom, which costs about P40 million when bought from Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Manila. Football star Cristiano Ronaldo drives one. (Willie Revillame is known to drive its slightly more economical sibling, the Rolls-Royce Ghost, which costs at least P25.9 million.)
Pinoys eat everything, from pre-payday carinderia grub to Instagram-worthy hors d’oeuvres. In 2012, a Pinoy chef set a world record by making the most expensive sushi known to man—worth $1,978.15, or P91,800. But that’s only because Cheft Angelito Araneta topped the 24-karat-gold-leaf-wrapped five-piece sushi with 0.25 carat diamonds.
If spending five digits on nourishment sounds right to you, then Aseana City in Parañaque City is the place to be.
Japanese restaurant Hide Yamamoto at the City of Dreams serves a sumptuous 500g Charcoal Grilled Japanese Beef Sirloin steak with wasabi for P17,280.
Solaire Resort and Casino’s Yakumi, on the other hand, offers a jaw-dropping alternative for high-rollers: a P37,000-worth sashimi sampler called “Best of the Best,” which consists of tuna belly sashimi, uni (sea urchin), Japanese mackerel, scallops, live lobster sashimi, and other rare, fresh catches of the day. Just don’t ever compare that with your ever-so-modest fish ball, which goes for P0.50 apiece.
In terms of availability in the Philippines, Apple may have the priciest smartphone in its lineup to date: The iPhone 6s Plus with 128 GB memory capacity, which costs almost P56,000 as indicated on the company’s official website.
Elsewhere in the world, Israeli startup Sirin Labs has just released the most expensive smartphone ever, Solarin, which according to the Times of India costs a staggering $14,000, or about P658,000. It runs on a 2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor, with a 28.3-megapixel laser-focus camera, and water resistance—nothing too fancy, except that it claims to be the most secure Android phone in the world.
For those who are looking for budget-friendly alternatives, there are a number of cost-efficient smartphones from brands like Acer, Cherry Mobile, Firefly, Torque, O+, MyPhone, and SKK, all going for P3,000 or less.
Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila currently holds the record for having the most expensive hotel accommodation in the country: the prestigious Imperial Residence, yours for P300,000 a night. It’s a 6,200-square feet suite built with five bedrooms, private office, maid’s quarters, expansive living and dining areas, 180 degrees view of the city, lounge privileges, personal gym, and complimentary use of the helipad (free breakfast is out of the question).
Think you can do without the luxurious amenities? You can always opt to stay at a clean and decent budget hostel/guesthouse like the Lokal Hostel in Poblacion, Makati, for P700 a night.
No doubt, motorcycles are the most affordable means of private transportation in the country. The least expensive of them all? The Kymco Visar Spoke 110CC, which sells for P39,000. For the more privileged riders, a Harley Davidson CVO Roadking with 1800cc engine capacity is highly coveted. It comes with a steep P2,388,000 price tag—more than a brand-new Toyota Prius 1.8 Hybrid car.
Forbes Park has the reputation of being the most expensive place of residence in the country. It seems to be the case because, according to pinoylist.ph, the median price of a house and lot at the esteemed enclave in Makati City is a whopping P382.9 million. Boxing star and Senator Manny Pacquiao’s mansion was reported to cost around P388 million. On the other hand, you can buy raw lands for as low as P150 per square meter in some rural areas outside of Metro Manila, if you do your research well. –Diana Lyn Balbalosa