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How Much Does It Cost to Travel the 7,000 Islands of the Philippines?

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Love and Road | Jul 07, 2015

How Much Does It Cost to Travel the 7,000 Islands of the Philippines?

How much does it cost to travel in the Philippines? Almost once a week I receive an email with this question, so we decided to breakdown our travel costs, share some figures and prove that you can enjoy the paradise without going bankrupt!

We spent almost a month traveling in the Philippines, no doubt that nature and people are the best assets of the country, and I’m sure you can have a great time there even with a tight budget. The Philippines is an archipelago with more than 7.000 islands, where you can find from luxury hotels and services, to budget accommodation and local food. You can spend thousands of dollars or just a few bucks, it all depends on your style and way of traveling.

During 20 days of stay there, we traveled around two incredible islands, and that was enough to sparkle the desire to come back there soon. We visited Boracay, known as one of the best beach destinations in the world, and Bohol, a Filipino wonderland.

To make your life easier and help you fulfill your dream of traveling, here 's everything you need to know about the Philippines & various ways to help you build a budget. 

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Philippines in Figures:

The values are in Pesos, the local currency, by the end of the article we’ll converted the totals to US dollars. All the expenses are good for two people.

Dates: 01/13/2015 to 02/01/2015

Days: 20

Cities: 8 days Boracay / 2 days Cebu / 9 days Bohol / 1 day Manila

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How Much does it Cost to Travel in The Philippines?

Is It an Expensive Destination?

Well, yes and no! It all depends on your travel style and where you come from. Inbound and outbound flights can be the major expense on your trip, that´s why transport will be the first topic on our talk about how much does it cost to travel to Philippines.

In our trip we flew from Bangkok to Manila, and got a really good price with Cebu Pacific Airline. Almost all big cities in Southeast Asia have cheap flights to Manila and Cebu, you just need to do a good research. Have a look at Skyscanner and compare the best deals.

On the other hand if you are coming from USA, South America or Europe the cost of arriving and leaving the Philippines will be more expensive. That´s why we are not including these tickets on cost of transportation.

Inbound: Bangkok (Thailand) » Manila by flight

Outbound: Manila » Phuket (Thailand) by flight

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» Transport Cost = ? 17,643

[it´s not included our inbound and outbound flights]

Intercity: ? 13,833

Local transport: ? 3,810

Usually there is no fixed price for local transportation around the islands, the tricycle drivers will charge the price according to your face and destination, so use your bargain skills and get the best prices. Good tip: share the tricycle with other people and you will only pay half of the price.

In Boracay you don’t need to worry about transportation, the island is small and super easy to get around. But in a big island such as Bohol, a motorbike is essential. There are many companies renting bikes on the island, you can find deals around 3-5k pesos for a weekly rental. Just be careful when renting and driving. 

Intercity transport can vary a lot too. You can travel between the 7 thousand islands by boat or by flight. Budget airlines cover the main islands in Philippines and you can find good prices. Boats are definitely cheaper but they will make your trip longer. If you have spare time, you can travel by boat to enjoy an amazing experience.

Transport is one the smallest expenses we have in our how much does it cost to travel in the Philippines spreadsheet, that happened because we changed islands just three times and in all them we got good deals.

Here is how much we spent on our intercity transport:

3 flights = ? 12,819

1 boat trip = ? 1,014

 

 

» Accommodation = ? 23,031.00

Hotel – 10 nights = ? 11,945

Apartment – 5 nights = ? 8,100

Airbnb – 4 nights = ? 2,986

As I told you, the cost of traveling in the Philippines can vary accordingly with you style of travel. When people ask me how much does it cost to travel in the Philippines, I always ask them back: how much do you want to spend in hotels in the Philippines? This answer is crucial to set the travel budget. 

We are kinda of budget travellers, we chose simple and comfortable accommodation in the Philippines. Even though this was the biggest expense we had there. Boracay, as expected, was the most expensive place. The first 3 nights we stayed in a hotel, than we found a nice apartment with kitchen and balcony, only two minutes from the beach on Station 3. Keep in mind that if you travel to Boracay during the low season the prices can be cheaper.

All our accommodation in Philippines were booked through Agoda and Booking.com, no doubt they have the best rates and a reliable customer service. Airbnb was a good option to save money too. We use it to rent a room on Panglao Island and in Manila. 

However, if budget accommodation is not your thing, don’t worry. You can find incredible hotels in Philippines, 5 stars, international cuisine, spa, private beach and all the services you need to pamper yourself. I can’t tell you how much does it cost to stay in a top rated hotel in the Philippines, but I can show you where to find them!

 

 

 

» Food = ? 18,083

Market: ? 5,497

We didn’t spend much money on markets because most of the time we ate out. Just in Boracay we save some bucks having breakfast and lunch at our apartment. A curious thing about shopping groceries in Philippines is that they sell everything you can imagine and need, in little packages, like sachet. What is super handy and cheap. Also the fruits were fresh, delicious and affordable. I was delighted with the sweet mangos and mangosteen, Rob was happy with the giant pomelos.

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Eat Out: ? 12,586

Most of the time we ate dinner and lunch out. In Boracay was a little bit difficult to find good food for an affordable price. The restaurants on the White Beach are amazing, but also more expensive if you compare to other islands. Even though we manage to find good food at small and local dinners. You just need to look around.

 

In Bohol we had far more options of food and there we had the opportunity to try really local dishes as jackfruit and coconut soup, malunggay soup and fish with rice. Almost every day we had our meals at small eateries on the villages. A simple restaurant where the pots are set over a table in front of the house, you can look, try and choose what you want. Hummm… delicious and so cheap, we had lunch for less than 40 pesos per person. We tried some fancy restaurants too, but those small family eateries got us by the flavours and cozy atmosphere.

Another good thing is that everywhere in Philippines you can find tiny shops selling bread, cookies and a coffee machine. If you are on a go and don’t want to starve until you reach your hotel or restaurants, those tiny coffee shops are perfect for a quick stop. And please, try the Pan de Coco, a coconut bread for only 2 pesos, you won’t regret.

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» Attraction = ? 3,845.00

There are so many things to do in Philippines that you will get tired just of thinking about them. In my opinion this is the best way to spend your money. Boat trips, parasailing, SUP classes, snorkeling, dive, kitesurf, zipline, cable cars… Plenty of attraction for all tastes and pockets. We spent most of our time in the sea, swimming and enjoy the crystal clear water.

Of course all this activities will cost some money, that´s why it is so important to check the prices and the services before you book a day trip or a boat ride. Keep in mind that group tours are always cheaper than private tour. Among all the activities you will find in Philippines, there are some of them you must do. Here are the highlights of our trip and how much we spent having fun:

– Boat Trip + Snorkeling around Boracay – ? 850 per person including lunch and equipments

– SUP on White Beach, Boracay – ? 500 for one hour SUP rental

– Boat Trip to Balicasag & Virgin Island in Bohol – ? 430 per person, no food included.

– Chocolate Hills + Tarsier Foundation in Bohol – ? 100 per person, just entrance fee.

 

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» Night Out = ? 2,834.00

Fun, party and drinks are always part of our expenses. Even when we get hammered (what doesn´t happen so often, but did happen in Boracay) we still manage to keep track of our expenses. Believe it or not, we spent the littlest amount of monet on the night life, but it doesn´t mean that we didn’t have fun. We actually had an amazing time. The beer is cheap and bars/clubs don’t charge entrance fee… Happy Days!

 

» Other Costs = ? 10,317

Souvenirs: ? 20

Internet / Print: ? 322

Doctor: ? 2,100

Pharmacy: ? 3,880

Beauty Products: ?1,490

Books: ? 1,570

Shoes: ? 120

Electronics: ? 700

Laundry: ? 115

Wooww, our “other costs” in Philippines were way too expensive. But you don’t need to worry, just some of them are related to the trip itself. We needed an extra ? 557 for other things such as souvenirs, internet, shoes and laundry. The expense with internet was a bit high because most of the budget accommodation in Philippines don’t have internet connection. Also, once a week you have to wash your clothes, and a new pair of flip-flops is a must for every traveller.

The other ? 9,760 were spent on things related to a nomadic travel lifestyle. I decided to put them here to show how important it is to have some extra savings and to be always prepared. Our first day in Boracay was a little disaster!

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We arrived in Boracay late at night, I wasn’t feeling good, and in the other day I got worst. For the first time in almost one year traveling I went to see a doctor. After an appointment and 2 injections I was fine, but we needed to cash out ? 2,100 . It was cheaper than to use our travel insurance. This incident taught us a lesson: never travel without an insurance! The doctor wasn’t expensive, but if I needed to be removed for a hospital outside the island that would cost us a lot.

In the same day I got sick, my computer charger exploded...unbelievable!! We used our savings to buy a new one and medicines for me. After some scary moments-- being sick and the fear brought by a big storm that hit us while sailing to Balicasag Island, Bohol-- we decided to pamper ourselves with beauty products and books. These are the type of expenses you have in a nomadic life, when once a while you have to buy anti-wrinkle creams and study.

Talking about books, I bought a really nice one: Travel Writing (Lonely Planet) by Don George. A good read for all travel bloggers, writer and journalists that like me want to improve some skills,

Even with all the extra expenses like books, doctors and buying a pair of fake flip-flops  (the famous Brazilian brand), we manage to stay under our travel budget. In the beginning of Love and Road Project we decided that we could spend only $50 usd per day per person, and so we did!

How Much does it Cost to Travel in The Philippines? Only ? 61,920.00!

This amount was for two people, during a 20 days trip in January 2015 (high season), which means we spent ? 30,960.00 per person.

Per Person / Per day – $ 35.14 usd

We enjoyed the paradise for less than a $50 usd per day, that’s awesome! I’m gonna say it again: you can travel on a budget and have tons of fun. What you need is to travel wisely, find the right ways to book accommodation, flights and keep track of your expenses. No miracle, no tricks, just planning!

Now that you discovered how much it costs you to travel in the Philippines, be inspired by some of these stunning photos from Boracay and Bohol. I’m sure they will cause severe wanderlust and you will find yourself planning your next holiday to Philippines. 

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Flights, hotels, food… For sure you will need money for all these expenses. But after organizing all the figures of all our travel expenses in the Philippines,  I've come up with a very important conclusion:

Fun, amazing nature and great experience with different people are the top attractions in the Philippines and they are for free! Don’t you agree with me??

 


(This article was previously published as "How Much Does It Cost to Travel The Philippines?," April 14, 2015 on loveandroad.com.)  

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