‘First world prices with third world wages’: Filipinos compare grocery prices between Singapore and Manila

Another day, another cost of living debate. It’s no secret that Filipino shoppers have been bearing the brunt of inflation rates this year, coupled with staple goods shortages, that have led to increases in market prices.

To illustrate just how dire the situation has gotten, a number of Filipinos have begun comparing the prices of goods in supermarkets abroad versus those at home. One post on Reddit, in particular, said that one can purchase more with PHP650 (US$13) in Singapore than in Manila and showed receipts — literally.

“You know your country’s screwed when Php650 can get you this in a first world country,” user u/freesink wrote next to a photo of a grocery haul that included a carton of eggs, bananas, carrots, cucumbers, cabbage, a bag of calamansi, onions, and a loaf of bread.

Meanwhile, to compare, a kilo of cabbage and carrots each cost PHP100 (US$2)  and PHP120 (US$2.4), respectively, according to the Department of Agriculture.

The user went on to directly compare prices between Singapore’s FairPrice supermarket and the local SM Supermarket: 700 grams of red onion cost SGD1.25 (PHP51.79 or US$0.91) in Singapore, while in the Philippines it could cost PHP168 (US$3.36).

500 grams of carrots in Singapore cost SGD0.95 (PHP39.36 or US$0.69), while locally, it would set you back at PHP62.5 (US$1.25).

This clearly shocked a lot of Filipinos online.

“Holy shit! The prices in the Philippines are more expensive, but the base salary is incredibly low compared to Singapore,” one said.

“Funny how fresh produce seem to be more expensive here where they can be grown locally than in SG where they are probably imported,” another said.

“First world prices with a third world income,” a user lamented.

As shocking as this may seem, this is not the first time someone has pointed out the egregious cost of living in Manila. Academic Renee Karunungan Edwards also went viral in October as she compared prices between United Kingdom-based grocery retailer Aldi and SM Supermarket amid reports of extremely high onion prices, stating that a kilo of onion in the UK was at GBP0.50 or PHP32.76, while in Manila it was being sold for PHP136.