The cost of travel in the Philippines is relatively cheap, with average South East Asian prices.
The most expensive part about traveling to the Philippines is the initial flight to get there, given its location, a chain of islands off the coast of the Asian subcontinent.
If you plan on visiting many destinations throughout the Philippines, fees can add up due to island hopping and plane flights.
If you wish to stay put and not try to hop around to too many islands, the price of daily living can be very affordable.
The Philippines uses the Philippine Peso: 1 USD = 51.15 Philippine Pesos (PHP) as of July 2019.
To be honest, I Couchsurfed and stayed at local Filipino homes for the majority of my 2-month stay in the Philippines.
That being said, there are plenty of options.
- Dorm Beds: If you aim to save money, search for dorm beds which can be found from $2 – $5 (100-250 PHP) but are not always available.
- Private Double Rooms: More common than dorm beds are private rooms with a few beds in them; lowest private double rooms go for $5 – $10 (250-500 PHP)
- Step Up (Mid-Range): $15 – $30 will get you a nice hotel room (750-1,500 PHP)
- I stayed in small guesthouses and bungalows in Banaue, Batad, and Mayoyao rice terraces for $5 – $7 (250 – 350 PHP) per night by myself
- I splurged for a very nice guest house dorm bed in Sagada and paid $6 (300 PHP) per night
Accommodation can get more expensive on islands popular with tourists, like Boracay.
There are plenty of street snacks and edibles that are super cheap.
However, most meals, which include rice and side dishes run from about $1 – $3 (50 – 150 PHP) on the street.
- Manila street dining – Jolly Jeep street food: $1 – $3 (50 – 150 PHP)
- Meals at fast food chains: $2 – $5 (100 – 250 PHP)
- Sitting down for nicer meals at restaurants can cost anywhere from $5 – $14 (250 – 716 PHP) per meal. I splurged on a wonderful Korean meat barbecue dinner that came out to be $12 (615 PHP) per person after we were all overly stuffed.
- Giant seafood extravaganza is known as seafood dampa (order fresh seafood and they cook it right then and there): about $7 (300 PHP) per person
Nightlife / Drinking
As the home of San Miguel beer, the Philippines (just like Vietnam) has some super cheap beer.
- Beers from convenience stores / local bars: $0.50 – $1 (25 – 50 PHP)
- San Miguel beer from bars: $0.75 – $1.25 (35 – 65 PHP), often a deal of 6 for $5 (250 PHP)
- Tanduay is the most common local liquor: 1 liter for $1.25 – $2 (65 – 100 PHP)
- Drinks at fancier clubs and bars: $2 – $5 (100 – 250 PHP)
- Some nicer nightclubs charge a cover: $5 – $12 (250 – 600 PHP)
- Metro: $0.25 – $0.50 (10 – 25 PHP) per ride
- Bus: $0.25 – $0.50 (10 – 25 PHP) per ride
- Jeepneys: Usually $0.25 – $0.50 (15 – 25 PHP) depending on where you are going
- Taxi: $0.70 (35 PHP) startup fare and then increases from there. Make sure to confirm the driver uses the meter.
- Tricycle: Small motorcycle constructed vehicles that run around the neighborhoods of Manila and small towns, should cost $0.25 – $0.50 (15 – 25 PHP) depending on the distance.
Outside of Manila
- Flight: I took a very cheap one-way flight with Zest Airlines from Manila to the island of Palawan for $11 (550 PHP), coming back to Manila I purchased a flight 1 day ahead of departure for $30 (1,500 PHP). Other airlines to check out for flights to other island are Cebu Pacific, Air Philippines, or SE Air.
- Bus: A very decent overnight bus from Manila to a city called Naga City in the region of Bicol cost $20 (1,000 PHP). I also took an overnight bus from Manila to the rice terrace town of Banaue for $10 (500 PHP).
- 2-hour bus ride from Manila to Tagaytay to see the world's smallest active volcano: $3 (150 PHP)
- 6-hour bus ride from Manila to Baguio City: $8 (400 PHP)
Sample Costs of Sites and Attractions
- Manila Ocean Park: $9 (450 PHP)
- Walking around old colonial town Intramuros: Free
- Fort Santiago: $1.75 (88 PHP)
- Ayala Museum: $8 (400 PHP)
- Night of Karaoke: $7 (350 PHP)
Outside of Manila
- Hot Spring in Bicol – $5 (250 PHP)
- All day and night personal guide hiking through the mountains of Ifugao region of the Philippines (I was by myself) – $8 (400 PHP)
- Guide for hiking through a cave in Sagada: $5 – $9 (250 – 450 PHP) per person
- Round trip from Manila to the top of Mount Taal – the world's smallest active volcano: around $16 (800 PHP)
- Renting a boat and crew to cruise around Coron island (above): $12 – $23 (600 – 1,150 PHP) per person depending on how many people are with you
Traveling and attractions around the islands of the Philippines often cater to groups and for this reason, it's normally cheaper to have a few friends to split costs with.
When taking into account the cost of travel in the Philippines, don't forget about the $17 (850 PHP) tax when leaving the country!
Mark was raised in central Africa before migrating back to the U.S. for University. After graduating, he decided to continue traveling the world. On Migrationology, he shares the cultural side of travel from a slow-paced local perspective that often revolves around his love for eating all forms of food. Join him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter @migrationology.