Budget Tips The Philippines

The Philippines: How Much Did it Cost?

Can you believe that my little money book has been sitting at the bottom of the bag since I got back from the Philippines over 2 months ago, and that I’m just getting around to writing this post? I can’t! Part of the reason I’ve been putting it off for so long is that I’ve been a little bit too scared to actually look and see what I spent. I was definitely in holiday mode while I was in the Philippines- I treated myself to massages, sunset cocktails and loads of seafood. Plus, it was mine and the Wee Gypsy Boyfriends first trip away together (awww) so we were both happy to pay a little bit extra to stay in a nicer hotel, rather than the usual rock-bottom budget accommodation.

With that being said, it’s pretty obvious that our travel costs will have been much more than those of someone who is mindfully trying to spend as little as possible. If you’re going to The Philippines to relax, see a few islands in a short space of time and do a few different activities, then this is what you can expect to spend.

Please note, the prices quoted are for one person. I was travelling with my boyfriend, so of course things like taxis and accommodation costs have been split between 2. Prices are in PHP. Conversions to GBP and USD are accurate at the time of writing. (1 PHP=0.015 GBP/0.022 USD)

We spent 12 days in the Philippines and visited 3 different islands- Boracay, Bohol and El Nido

Accommodation

Total per Person: 13000 PHP/ 195 GBP/ 275 USD
Daily Spend per Person: 1083 PHP/ 16 GBP/ 23 USD

We booked all of our accommodation using Booking and Agoda before we left as we had been advised that a lot of rooms would be fully booked in the high season. When we got to The Philippines I noticed “vacant” signs at a lot of guest houses, plus a lot of hotel owners hanging around ferry terminals handing out business cards and offering reduced rates. We could definitely have saved some money if we hadn’t prebooked, but I was glad to not have the hassle of bartering for a place to stay since our holiday time was limited.

My favourite accommodation that we stayed in was the Alona Swiss Resort in Bohol- only 22GBP per night in a great location with AC and a swimming pool. Our biggest splurge was the

Our biggest splurge was the Belmont Hotel in Manila but I honestly don’t regret a single penny! We were arriving into Manila at about 2pm and flying back to Korea at lunchtime the next day. We knew that we would have holiday blues and would be dreading going back to winter and work after 12 days of relaxing in a sunny paradise, so we decided to pamper ourselves. The hotel was 68GBP per night (ouch!) but we were right across the road from the airport, had a rooftop swimming pool and one of the softest beds I have ever slept in. I felt like I was floating in a big marshmallow! A hotel of this standard would definitely cost a few hundred a night back home, so it was

The hotel was 68GBP per night (ouch!) but we were right across the road from the airport, had a rooftop swimming pool and one of the softest beds I have ever slept in. I felt like I was floating in a big marshmallow! A hotel of this standard would definitely cost a few hundred a night back home, so it was great sample a wee bit of luxury. One of my favourite things about this hotel was the continental breakfast in the morning. It’s not

One of my favourite things about this hotel was the continental breakfast in the morning. It’s not everyday that we get nice bread, non-processed cheese and cured meat in Asia, so I felt totally spoiled. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to treat their self before a long flight home.

Alona Swiss Beach Resort in Bohol

Alona Swiss Beach Resort in Bohol

Domestic Flights

Total per Person: 8200 PHP/ 123 GBP/ 173 USD

The Philippines is made up of around 7,641 islands so, as you can probably imagine, it is a bit of a hassle to get around. Although I usually like to travel the cheapest way and avoid taking domestic flights where I can, this wasn’t possible in The Philippines. Popular islands like Boracay and Palawan are miles away from each other and it would take days to get there on a boat, plus it probably wouldn’t even work out to be cost effective.

We booked all of our flights through Cebu Pacific. They are definitely the most popular budget airline in The Philippines. Don’t expect any frills on these flights, and don’t expect them to take off on time! If you’re planning a trip to The Philippines, I recommend that you sign up to their newsletter as they have quite a few promo sales throughout the year. We bought all of our tickets on the promo and saved a lot of money this way!

Check out Nina’s 2-week Philippines Itinerary– she focussed her travels on the mainland and Palawan, minimising the need for too many domestic flights.

Eating

Total per Person: 7570 PHP/ 114 GBP/ 160 USD 
Daily Spend Per Person: 631 PHP/ 13 USD/ 9 GBP

Food in The Philippines can be as reasonable or expensive as you want it to be. In Boracay, we tended to stick to the touristy restaurants for the sake of convenience. In Bohol, we splashed out on 2 big meals at the

In Boracay, we tended to stick to the touristy restaurants for the sake of convenience. In Bohol, we splashed out on 2 big meals at the

In Bohol, we splashed out on 2 big meals at the Bohol Bee Farm, an eco-farm with a restaurant specialising in the most amazing organic food. These were my favourite meals in The Philippines. If you are in Bohol, I recommend that you check it out!

For the rest of our time in Bohol we opted for local food which was great because we got to try some really authentic Filippino food, and save money! In El Nido, our lunches were included in 2 of the tours, so this isn’t included here. These lunches were amazing! Grilled fish, vegetables, rice and fresh fruit on the beach. Apart from that, we ate at a mixture of tourist restaurants and local shacks for our dinners. I really recommend you check out a few local places. Learn the names of some Filippino dishes you want to try before you go. The main language in The Philippines uses the same alphabet as English, so it should be pretty easy to find what you want on a menu!

In El Nido, our lunches were included in 2 of the tours, so this isn’t included here. These lunches were amazing! Grilled fish, vegetables, rice and fresh fruit on the beach. Apart from that, we ate at a mixture of tourist restaurants and local shacks for our dinners. I really recommend you check out a few local places. Learn the names of some Filippino dishes you want to try before you go. The main language in The Philippines uses the same alphabet as English, so it should be pretty easy to find what you want on a menu!

I really recommend you check out a few local places. Learn the names of some Filippino dishes you want to try before you go. The main language in The Philippines uses the same alphabet as English, so it should be pretty easy to find what you want on a menu!

Art Cafe Decking Edit

Activities

Total per Person: 6995 PHP/ 148 USD/ 105 GBP
Daily Spend Per Person: 583 PHP/ 12USD/ 9 GBP

We managed to do A LOT of activities in The Philippines! We only actually spent 2 days lazing around the beach, so we could have spent much less if we spent more time relaxing.

Over 12 days we went snorkelling, cliff diving (well, I chickened out at the last minute…), parasailing, zip lining, had massages on the beach, explored caves and did some sightseeing at the Chocolate Hills and Bohol Tarsier Sanctuary.

If I could give you some advice it would be to avoid underwater activities in Boracay. We went snorkelling there and the conditions were so terrible! I saw about 3 fish and the waves were so choppy that I almost concussed myself when I smashed my head off the side of the boat.

Activities in Bohol were great value for money. We spent just a fiver to zip line across the Loboc River and 75p to see the famous Chocolate Hills!

If there’s one activity not to miss, it’s kayaking around the beautiful archipelago in El Nido on Island Hopping Tour A. This is my most precious memory from my time in the Philippines.

Transport

Total per Person: 4715 PHP/ 104 USD/ 71 GBP
Daily Spend per Person: 393 PHP/ 9 USD/ 6 GBP

This includes all transport around the Philippines, except for domestic flights. We took a few ferrys in The Philippines, and you will need to too if you want to travel to Boracay since there is no airport on the main island. Also, if you want to get to Bohol via Cebu airport, which is definitely the cheapest way to go, you need to take a ferry!

We spent 3 full days of our trip actually travelling between the islands, and covered a lot of ground, so that is why this total is quite high. If you want to get to El Nido, the most budget friendly way is to fly to Puerto Princesa and take a van from there. These are advertised as taking about 5 hours, but with numerous hotel pick ups on the way, it’s more like 7/8! Bring entertainment, snacks and car sickness medicine. The main mode of transport to get around the islands is tricycle- a tuk-tuk with a motorbike attached. Journeys aren’t expensive and I found drivers in The Philippines to be much more honest than in other countries so you’re unlikely to get ripped off- even in the big tourist areas like Boracay!

The main mode of transport to get around the islands is tricycle- a tuk-tuk with a motorbike attached. Journeys aren’t expensive and I found drivers in The Philippines to be much more honest than in other countries so you’re unlikely to get ripped off- even in the big tourist areas like Boracay!

SAM_2962edit

Miscellaneous

Total per Person: 3105PHP/ 47GBP/ 68USD
Daily Spend per Person: 259PHP/ 4GBP/ 6USD

It’s mental how much money you spend on s**te, eh? Buying little things like bottled water (definitely going to invest in a filter bottle or steripen for our next trip!), ice cream and snacks really added up. I also, forget to pack my sunglasses….. Quite ironic, considering I wrote a post about packing tips for girls the night before we left!

Alcohol

Total per Person: 1898PHP/ 28GBP/ 42USD
Daily Spend per Person: 158PHP/ 2GBP (omg!)/ 3USD

I definitely indulged in quite a few sunset san miguels and margaritas while I was away, so I was pleasantly surprised by how little I spent. Alcohol in the Philippines is so cheap! Especially in Boracay where you can get a beer for as little as 25PHP (40p/60 cents.) We met my best friend from home and her boyfriend in Boracay. When Scottish people get together after a while apart, it’s always a bit messy! This was no exception. We consumed a fair few drinks everyday, but managed not to break our budget. Woo!

Fees

Total per Person: 695 PHP/ 10GBP/ 15USD
Daily Spend per Person: 58PHP/ 85p/ 1USD

Do note, that when you arrive at each island in the Philippines, you will have to pay an terminal fee and most places will require you to pay an environmental fee. Always make sure you have cash on hand when travelling between islands.

Total Spent in 12 Days in The Philippines

Total per Person: 46178PHP/ 693GBP/ 1016USD
Daily Spend per Person: 3848PHP/ 58GBP/ 85USD

I definitely spent much more than I thought that I would. And I definitely could have done it for much cheaper, especially if we had decided to stay in cheaper accommodation. Of course, I could have indulged in less seafood curries, did less activities and stuck in the one place for longer. But, I have absolutely no regrets!

The Philippines is an amazing place to see and I’m glad I got to see so much of it in just 12 days. If you’re looking for an action packed holiday in a tropical place, then I think that The Philippines offers great value for money!

The Philippines (3)

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Have you ever been somewhere that really blew your budget? Was it worth it? Leave a comment and let me know! 🙂

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24 Comments

  • Reply
    Christine @thetraveloguer
    8th April 2016 at 6:51 pm

    Thanks for putting this together. I thought the Philippines would be a little cheaper. It looks so gorgeous though, I really regret not going there when in Asia.

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      11th April 2016 at 2:02 pm

      You could definitely do it on a budget. I was just in holiday mode at the time and making the most of all the activities and amazing seafood 🙂

  • Reply
    evan kristine
    8th April 2016 at 8:12 pm

    This is a really good budget breakdown. Unfortunately it is getting really expensive in Philippines. I remember visiting four years ago and the costs are so much cheaper. Last year when i visited the prices pretty much doubled!

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      11th April 2016 at 2:03 pm

      Thanks! Wow, I didn’t realise that the prices had gone up.. wish I had the chance to visit years ago!

  • Reply
    Elizabeth @ Compass & Fork
    8th April 2016 at 9:05 pm

    Very helpful. Good details. Easy for someone to use for planning.
    Elizabeth @ Compass & Fork recently posted…How to Save Money Renting a Car in EuropeMy Profile

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      11th April 2016 at 2:03 pm

      Thanks 🙂

  • Reply
    Bernard Tan
    8th April 2016 at 10:46 pm

    Thanks for the breakdown! It allows me to plan for my trip in the philippines.

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      11th April 2016 at 2:04 pm

      Amazing, I hope you have a great trip! 🙂

  • Reply
    Tom
    9th April 2016 at 12:15 am

    I spent a month in the Philippines last year and loved it! I agree with a lot of what you say, as we were three guys, we were pretty useless at booking accommodation and flights. Booking flights on the day of the flight is not a good idea, the price increase is crazy!! Sometimes it’s difficult to save money, despite your best intentions! At least you enjoyed yourself, that’s the main thing!

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      11th April 2016 at 2:05 pm

      Haha I’m glad I’m not the only one who went way over budget in The Philippines!

  • Reply
    Anne Klien ( MeAnne)
    9th April 2016 at 1:40 am

    Philippines is a cheap place to go if you stay there longer, and it depends what activities you want to do and go where the locals go to eat, it’s cheaper.

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      11th April 2016 at 2:08 pm

      Yeah, in the less touristy areas with a lot of local restaurants, we were able to eat really cheaply! If I could do it again, I would stay in one place for much longer. Good tips!

  • Reply
    sarah
    9th April 2016 at 3:20 am

    Yes I often delay working out how much I’ve spent because i know I’ve gone way over budget. Actually, I pretty much always go over budget. Yes you could have done it a lot cheaper but it is a case of finding a balance between not wasting money but still enjoying yourself. And where that balance is is different for each person.

  • Reply
    Marge Gavan
    9th April 2016 at 5:14 am

    I would argue that there are cheaper options here just to encourage other travelers to come visit my country, but as you said so yourself, you do not regret it, and that’s what’s important. The fact that we are an island may be one of the reasons this is not as popular as a tourist destination as our neighboring countries, but I do hope that more tourists would give our country a chance, the way you did. I’m so happy that you had a fab time during your stay!
    Marge Gavan recently posted…Crossing Border – Ho Chi Minh to Siem ReapMy Profile

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      11th April 2016 at 2:09 pm

      Yes, I agree. I definitely went a bit overboard and could have spent much less if I had tried harder! I loved The Philippines, it’s such a beautiful country 🙂

  • Reply
    Natasha
    9th April 2016 at 9:38 am

    Great roundup! This was really informative and helpful, thanks so much! My mom and I are talking about visiting the Philippines in December, so I’ll definitely be forwarding this to her! We’ll have family to visit in Manila, but I’m excited to get out to the beaches

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      11th April 2016 at 2:10 pm

      Thanks! I hope you get a chance to visit, The Philippines is amazing… especially the beaches 🙂

  • Reply
    Votel Travels
    9th April 2016 at 10:24 am

    Great subject matter, great topic, great blog. Looked like you had a great time. Look forward to reading more

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      11th April 2016 at 2:12 pm

      Thanks 🙂

  • Reply
    Ajaya Kumar Rout
    9th April 2016 at 11:49 pm

    This is very informative and useful for travellers like me who are planning for a trip to Phillipines.I heard it is not that expensive out there.I need to rethink on my budget.

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      11th April 2016 at 2:14 pm

      I went way over budget in the Philippines. You could do it for much less than I did. I hope you have an amazing trip 🙂

  • Reply
    Dani
    11th April 2016 at 3:40 am

    Thanks for this breakdown Nicole!
    I really thought the Philippines would be way cheaper, I guess the budget can be decreased by avoiding resorts and too many costly activities.

    Keep up the good work!
    -Dani

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      11th April 2016 at 2:15 pm

      Thanks! There are so many cheaper lodging options than what I went for, and I did some pricey activities. You could definitely do it for less if you tried a bit harder than I did 🙂

  • Reply
    5 Easy and Budget Friendly Trips to Take from Korea - Wee Gypsy Girl
    4th July 2016 at 1:51 pm

    […] Things are cheap in The Philippines but can soon add up- those of you who follow my blog regularly might remember how I went way over budget on my trip. […]

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