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The following is a breakdown of our daily costs in the Philippines.
Although our aim is to travel cheaply, on what folks call a shoestring budget, we are not necessarily frugal folks! We eat local most of the time, travel using public transportation whenever possible, and stay in budget-value fan rooms. The brunt of our daily budget in the Philippines went towards accommodation, transportation, and tourist activities. We rented motorbikes frequently, and participated in tours more often than we ever did before.
Overall, we spent about 800€/$1080 per month, NOT including domestic flights.
Definitely possible to do it for less, but also quite easy to exceed the budget if not careful!
Most totals quoted are expenditures for two people unless otherwise stated.
Average amount spent per day: 1750php/30€/$40
The most we spent in one day: 55€/$74 in Donsol—includes fees for swimming with whale sharks, and snorkel/fin rentals
Lowest: 15€/$20 in Bacon Beach; 15€ in Port Barton
Accommodation (per night)
Most expensive: 1000php/17€/$24 in Donsol for a “dorm room”
Cheapest: 300php/5€/$7 in Bacon Beach
Our average: 600php/10€/$14 for rooms with double bed, fan, window and private bathroom.
Room values vary greatly depending on the town. Accommodation in Sagada has great value for the peso, Manila does not. Rates are definitely easier to negotiate if you are staying more than 1 or 2 nights.
Transportation (per person)
Public bus: usually 60php per hour
Jeepney: 8 to 10php inside town limits
Trike: varies depending on the distance, how touristy the town and how corrupted the driver is
Motorcycle rentals: about 400php for a day
Gas per liter: about 60php per liter
Eating out (per person)
Local eateries: meals range from 30 to 70php
Restaurants: starts at 100php, averages around 130 for individual dishes
(Check out our post about food culture in the Philippines)
1.5L water bottle: 30php
1 packet of shampoo: 5php
San Miguel bottle of beer: 30 to 50php
Sodas in glass bottles: 10php
Bakery items: 2 to 10php
Mangoes: 40php per kilo
Beard cuts: 40 php
Pedicure: 60php (including tip)
Laundry: 60php per kilo
Toilet paper and towels were usually provided by the hotels/homestays
We traveled with ipad/ipod/laptop so we never needed to visit an internet cafe. Wifi is common enough in most tourist destinations (if not at your hotel, find it at a restaurant), but internet speed is a total tossup.
Popular tourist activities
Butanding with Whale Sharks in Donsol: (per person) 500 php for the boat, 350 for the admission fee, another 300 for snorkel gear rental
Visiting the rice terraces of Batad: 700php for a trike, roundtrip; 50php admission fee (per person)
Island hopping in Palawan: (per person) Ranges from 650php in Coron Town to 1,500 in El Nido
Underground River in Puerto Princesa: (per person) 250php cave fee; 120 roundtrip boat ride
Choco hills of Bohol: 50php (per person) for admission fee
Manila: we spent approx 35 euros per day (includes drinking “real” coffee, eating salads at Robinson’s)
PHP: Philippine pesos
$: US Dollars