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Philippines Travel Tips

Make the most of your trip to the Philippines with our useful Philippines travel tips, as well as our list of top-rated destinations, best attractions, and things to do while you are on a holiday in the country.

  • Costs and Prices in the Philippines
  • Costs and Prices in the Philippines
  • Costs and Prices in the Philippines
  • Costs and Prices in the Philippines
  • Costs and Prices in the Philippines
  • Costs and Prices in the Philippines
  • Costs and Prices in the Philippines

Costs and Prices in the Philippines

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Are you planning to travel to the Philippines and need a budget for your trip?

First off, the budget is very relative and does not have to be the same for everyone, since it depends on various factors, such as: when you travel, the way you travel, travel duration, discounts, and promotions you have, and so on.

That is why, in this post, we do not want to inform you of a fixed budget, rather we want to give you a rough idea about how a budget for a trip to the Philippines looks like. 
room accommodation hotel in the Philippines

Accommodations in the Philippines

In most trips, accommodation is possibly the main variable that will determine your budget, particularly if you have your own preferences and requirements. Therefore, when you make calculations to know how much it costs to travel to the Philippines, it will be important that you ask yourself, what type of accommodation do I want?

The price of hotels in the Philippines varies considerably depending on where we are talking about and the season. For example, accommodation in highly touristy areas such as Boracay, El Nido, or Siargao is usually higher than in other less frequented areas such as Siquijor or Romblon. And, in addition, prices tend to rise dramatically during high seasons from November to May, with Christmas and Easter being the periods in which they reach their peak.

In general, we could tell you that a person who has a budget to travel to the Philippines at a low cost, can find hostels and beds in shared dormitories from €5 per night. Of course, if you increase to €10 a night, you can find a little more decent places, with air conditioning and a hot shower. A good figure for a more comfortable stay could be €20/night per person, for more than good hotels.

If you have more budget to splurge, of course, you can also spend the nights in the country’s best in class hotels. In many tourist island destinations such as Boracay, Palawan, Siargao, Cebu, or Panglao, there are superb hotels and resorts to take your breath away, including bungalows with stunning sea views. Here prices rarely go below €200/night for a double room and can even go as high as €1,000/night.
colorful jeepney in the Philippines

Transportation in the Philippines

With over seven thousand islands, it will not be strange that another critical factor when determining how much it costs to travel to the Philippines is the cost of transport.

To move between islands you can use ferries, fast boats, and airplanes. Generally, we can tell you that transportation is not cheap when combined. You can, however, spend less if you don't want to cover many destinations and if you have plenty of time to avoid taking many planes, which are the fastest ways to transfer from one destination to another.

The price of an internal flight varies a lot depending on your destination, the season, whether or not you have booked in advance. From Manila to Cebu, and vice versa, for instance, you can find flights for less than €20 each way, but from Manila to El Nido (which is only operated by a company called Air Swift, with much smaller planes) prices do not usually go down of €70 and can be placed at €120 during peak seasons, or if you get your tickets well in advance. 

As for fast craft boats and ferries, prices range from €2, such as that of a trip between Sibulan Ferry Terminal and Liloan (Dumaguete to Moalboal) but it can also cost you up to  €38 like for the boat from El Nido to Coron and vice versa, for instance. One way to travel cheaply in the Philippines is also to use overnight ferries with beds. For example, the ferry from Cebu to Surigao (to then go to Siargao) costs around €16 and includes the use of a bed, saving you on accommodation.

Within the islands or cities themselves, you will find many methods of transportation. For example, in Manila or Cebu, you can take taxis or cars from Grab. There are also buses, vans, jeepneys, tricycles or habal-habal, among others. A taxi ride rarely costs 300 Philippine pesos (about €5) unless you go very far. The regular fare for a jeepney or tricycle ride is usually around 10 pesos. Depending on your route, a trip by bus or van can cost from 100 (€ 1.50) to 900 pesos (€15). Obviously, if you request private trips, it will cost you much more, since you will have to negotiate with the driver.

To save on transportation costs, you can also opt to rent a motorcycle in the Philippines, which is relatively cheap and also allows you to explore the country at your own pace. Motorcycles are one of the most popular ways to get around the country. The price, which is negotiable in many cases if you extend the rental, typically ranges between 250 and 500 pesos a day depending on the destination and the dates.
rice, seafood, meat, and tropical fruits food in the Philippines

Food and drink in the Philippines

As in any trip, if you eat in places where the locals eat, you will save a significant amount for each meal during the duration of your trip. In the Philippines, the typical places are the carinderias. These are the local restaurants, where the food is already prepared on trays and you can choose yourself which dishes you would like to try. Of course, they are always accompanied by a good portion of rice.

To give you an idea, if you eat in a carinderia, you will see that the prices of a portion of rice usually will cost you 10 or 15 pesos, 20 pesos for a vegetable dish, and 40-60 pesos for a serving of chicken or meat dish. 

As expected, if you go to higher-level restaurants or cafes, you can pay 10 times more easily. This is 100% up to you. In the Philippines, there are also pizzerias, hamburgers, gourmet cuisine restaurants, smoothie stalls, and other international restaurants, which obviously are a bit more pricey.

As for the drink, a beer in a local bar usually costs 50-60 pesos (€0.80 - €1). In a supermarket, it usually costs 35 pesos. If you go to more classy sites, like a high-end resort or bar, it can cost around 100-150 pesos (€ 1.70-2.50).

And what about the water? For the most part, restaurants, bars, dive shops, markets, hotels, and others, offer purified water that is totally safe for consumption. The cost of refilling a bottle is usually free or less than 10 pesos per liter (€ 0.17), typically it costs only 2 pesos. On the other hand, for a liter bottle of water, they can charge you about 30 or 50 pesos. So, if you travel with your reusable bottle, you not only save money, but you do not waste plastic and do responsible tourism.

Therefore, we could estimate from €4 a day for your food and drink in the Philippines on a budget to €20 a day for more comfortable budgets.
free diving in the Philippines

Tickets, excursions, and other activities

Another important factor in knowing how much it costs to travel to the Philippines is the prices of tickets, diving excursions, and other attractions. 

Tickets to access the sights and attractions in the country are not usually very expensive. although they are very common. You pay to be on beaches, explore islands, visit a natural park, bathe in waterfalls, go to swimming pools, cross a hanging bridge, etc! The prices are typically between 20 and 300 pesos. On tours in Coron, for instance, you pay for each stop you make independently, be it a beach, or a cave.

In the Philippines, island tours by hiring an excursion or a private boat are a popular activity. Depending on the place, the season, type of excursion, and the number of people you are with, excursions in the Philippines can cost from € 10 to €50. But, broadly speaking, we could say that it would be rare for you to spend more than € 20-€ 25.

For example, excursions in El Nido or Coron (which are usually the most expensive) in which you spend the whole day on the boat and usually include food, water and the rental of the snorkeling gear usually cost about 1,200-1,400 pesos (€ 20-24). If you opt for a private tour, the price depends on the number of people on the boat, but the most usual thing is that it does not go beyond € 35 per person. In other places in the Philippines, such as Siargao, Bohol, or Malapascua, the usual thing is that you pay between 900 and 1,200 pesos per person (€ 15-20).

Meanwhile, if you are a diver, you cannot miss the opportunity to dive in the Philippines. The country boasts some of the best diving spots in the world, it would be a shame if you didn't take advantage of it. A diving experience usually ranges from 1,300 pesos (€ 22) to 1,800 pesos (€ 30), including the rental of diving equipment and fees. In places like Moalboal or Camiguin, they are usually much cheaper than diving in Malapascua, well-known for thresher shark sightings, or Balicasag in Bohol, since higher conservation fees are paid here.
happy family with luggage in the airport

Tips: Traveling in the Philippines on a Budget

The Philippines is much cheaper than any European, American, or Australian city. However, the Philippines generally has higher prices than many Southeast Asian countries, such as Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Cambodia, and there are several factors that can affect the budget you need to prepare for travel.

Nevertheless, consider the following tips if you want to travel the Philippines on a budget:

  • Accommodation: Accommodation is a bit more expensive in the Philippines compared to other Southeast Asian countries, but you can find cheap double rooms at 10 euros a night in many places around the country and you can also take advantage of the package deals and promotions when available.

  • Dining and Transportation: There are a number of cheap food options in the county. To save money on food and drinks, you can eat in carinderias frequented by the locals. Here you can have a plate of rice with vegetables and chicken for less than 1 euro. For transportation, opt for local transport instead of private, or where possible you can rent a motorcycle and save on transportation costs while at the same time be able to experience local attractions at your own schedule.

  • Plan the duration of your trip. If you have 15 days, maybe you have to take 3 planes and 3 fast boats. If you travel 20-30 days, you can do everything more relaxed, opt for slower ferries, and, thus, your trip to the Philippines will be cheaper.

  • Haggle, but with respect. If you want to travel to the Philippines cheaply, you can also haggle, especially if you are going to sleep in a hotel for several nights or you are going to rent a motorcycle for several days. If you need private transportation, especially a tricycle, in many cases they will try to charge you more for being a tourist. One thing you can do is to ask at the hotel reception or a local how much he usually pays for that trip, so you have an idea ahead of the pricing. Nobody wants to feel ripped off, obviously, but don't overdo haggling, going after € 0.10 either. Consider this, for a Filipino family, 20 pesos is 3 plates of rice.

  • Find other travelers to share excursions or transportation. If you have to pay attention to your budget and are traveling in pairs, i.e. can share the accommodation costs, and live modestly.

  • Forget about plastic bottles and carry your own reusable bottle.

  • If you have a student card, you can use it on some transports and attractions to obtain discounted prices.

  • Travel during the low season. You can greatly reduce how much it costs you to travel to the Philippines if you do it in the low season. If you are very concerned about the budget, opt for the months of September and October, which are usually the cheapest. Avoid Christmas, the Holy Week (March or April), and the summer months (April to May) when the main beach destinations are fully booked and rates are higher. By doing so, you not only save money but also avoid the crowd.

  • Book flights in advance. This is the eternal question: do I book the flights earlier or do I wait to see how the weather is? Generally, booking a flight in the Philippines the day before is much more expensive than booking your flight a few months ahead.

  • Bring cash and a good travel card. Outside of the big cities like Manila and Cebu, it can be of your advantage to bring enough cash with you. Most hotels and restaurants do not accept a card and, worst of all, withdrawing money from ATMs is 99% of the time associated with a commission of almost € 5 per transaction.

Final Thoughts

The Philippines is a destination suitable for practically all budgets. It can be extremely cheap, ideal for a medium budget, or a perfect place for those who want (and can) afford luxurious travel. In the end, your preferences, needs, and travel style will largely determine how much you spend for the whole duration of your trip.