It is entirely possible to live well in the Philippines on a modest budget. Homes for rent can be found in the cities for a reasonable price and the further out you go, the cheaper it gets. You could rent a large house with all the trimmings for less than a small apartment in many large cities back home.
Scooters are big in the Philippines and if you feel adventurous you could go that route but tuktuks and lcoal scooter taxis are dirt cheap. Buying a vehicle is not a necessity.
You can stretch your funds quite far due not only to the low cost of living but also to an extremely favorable excahnge rate. Buying local foods will always save you money and give you the freshest options. At a restaurant you will obviously be spending more but it will still be low by western standards.