Image 01 Image 01 Image 01 Image 01 Image 01 Image 01

Once upon a time, I wrote a Budget Breakdown post for my trip to Honduras — one I cobbled together from data diligently recorded on the back of an envelope containing my lempiras. I intended to do so frequently along my travels, but it didn’t really work out. Most of my trips just aren’t suited to helpful budget posts — my months of expat life in Thailand wouldn’t reflect the spending of a typical traveler, and my whirlwind trip to Vegas consisted of a hotel suite I won at TBEX and activities comped for freelancing assignments. My six weeks in Indonesia were spent sleeping in a cheap room with a mattress on the floor completing a grant-subsidized Divemaster program, and I wasn’t the one signing the receipts on my mom-sponsored family trip to Iceland. So while I’ve been recording my daily travel spending using Trail Wallet ever since picking up the iPhone, I haven’t gotten much of a chance to use it. My whirlwind three weeks traveling with the lovely Heather through the Philippines finally gave me an excuse to flex those Excel muscles once again!

I hope this spending breakdown will serve as both a resource to future travelers and an outlet for all of you to laugh at my overspending. But truly, I always appreciate when another blogger shares their number crunching for the voyeuristic audiences out there (Globetrotter Girls do great budget posts!), and I want to return the favor when possible.

Notes: Prices are in USD using the Philippine Peso conversion rate as of March 2013. In order to be transparent, in these Budget Breakdown posts I will note the rare occasions in which I was comped something as part of a partnership or sponsorship.

In total, for a 21 day trip through the Philippines, I spent $72 per day including flights, $50 per day without. How did it all break down?

Philippines Travel Budget


Cost of Flights in the Philippines / $461

My flight into the Philippines from Bangkok was $202. Not bad, right? But flights were my primary budget buster once in the Philippines as well. Inter-country flights included a $59 fare on a flight from Manila to Legazpi (avoiding a twelve hour bus ride and a twelve hour connection), $100 on a flight from Legazpi to Cebu (avoiding a twenty four hour long ferry only departing three times a week) and another $100 on a flight from Cebu to Manila (avoiding another twenty four hour long ferry). I rarely take domestic flights — I’ve taken one in all my time in Thailand! — but the Philippines was an exception. Travel is painfully time consuming here. As I mentioned above, those three short flights saved us about five days of travel time — no exaggeration. And with my limited time in the country and Heather’s limited travel time altogether, this major budget buster was just a necessary evil.

I don’t regret these flights as they allowed me to see diverse parts of the country in a limited time. However, they did make my wallet weep and had I been staying twice the time I would have eliminated the final two flights and gone for much cheaper ferries. But I admit that I have reached the point in my travels where if I can avoid a 12 hour bus ride (which would have immediately followed another previous, unavoidable 12 hour bus ride) with a $59 flight — by God, I’m going to do it.

Cost of Flights in the Philippines

Cost of Entertainment in the Philippines / $341

After flights entertainment was my biggest expense in the Philippines — which will come as no surprise to any divers out there. While diving in the Philippines is relatively cheap compared to the rest of the world it is pricey compared to, say, sitting in a hammock and contemplating the state of your pedicure. I did seven dives and one snorkeling trip — I paid $73 for two dives at Gato Island and $65 for two thresher shark dives in Malapascua, $86 for a three dive trip off Donsol, and $22 for a whale shark snorkeling trip in Donsol. I received small discounts for having my own dive gear.

Out of the water activities are shockingly cheap. I paid $1.22 each to enter the Chocolate Hills and the Tarsier Sanctuatry in Bohol, and parted with a mere $10 for my half of a private cave tour in Sagada. Batad was the best value of all — I paid just $16 for my share of the fees for a hiking guide for two days.

While I include alcohol consumed at meals to be a part of the food category, I put “nights out” and cocktails sipped apart from dinner or lunchtime to be entertainment. This was not a party destination for me — I maybe had sunset cocktails once and two big nights out, the biggest setting me back $18 (note that I drink cocktails and not beers, which doesn’t help the budget.) Activities and entertainment are my favorite categories to throw money at — at around $16 a day I don’t regret a single peso.

Note: I went on a comped day trip from Manila in order to complete a freelance writing assignment.

Cost of Entertainment in the Philippines

Cost of Food in the Philippines / $264

From a 12 cent bakery-bought breakfast to an indulgent $12 dinner, the prices I paid for food in the Philippines were all over the place. It didn’t help that we didn’t really love Filipino food, so we went to a lot of pricier foreign restaurants. Not to mention that once we got to the islands I was desperate for wifi and often splurged on lunch at fancy hotels just to mooch off the internet all day.

On a budget? Bakeries are by far the cheapest way to eat in the Philippines. Bring a Steripen to avoid paying obscene amounts for water. Looking to splurge? Head to Bohol Bee Farm, where we had the best meal of our trip. I averaged $12 a day on food and drink.

Cost of Food in the Philippines

Cost of Transportation in the Philippines / $177

While flights warranted their own category, this one is made up of cabs, buses, trikes, jeepneys and ferries. Local transportation in the Philippines was reasonably priced, though it didn’t help that we were on the move so often. The overnight bus from Manila to Banaue was a reasonable $12, a jeepney from Banaue to Bagiou was just $5, and a ferry from Cebu to Bohol was a fair $10. Unfortunately on my first day I was swindled out of $30 by a taxi driver, which added over a dollar a day to my $8 daily transportation cost.

Cost of Transportation in the Philippines

Cost of Accommodation in the Philippines / $156

In the Cordilleras I spent as little as under $5 a night on a room share. Once I reached the beach, however, I was paying just over $13 a night for my share in a room — Heather offered to pay a higher percentage for nicer places than my budget allowed (and I was happy and grateful to accept!) My accommodation costs averaged $7 a night, which is pricey considering I had several nights of free lodging in Manila and shared rooms every other night of the trip but one. Often we were staying at the cheapest or near cheapest we could find — there wasn’t much flexibility traveling in peak season!

Note: I received a free stay at the Pink Hostel in Manila as part of my partnership with Hostelworld.

Cost of Accommodation in the Philippines

Cost of Miscellaneous Expenses / $92

This catch-all category includes a $20 departure tax, an $11 airport tax, a $10 Skype recharge, and various tips, laundry, and postage (I sent my older sister a gift I had bought her in Thailand, which cost over $10 to mail!) I also made one souvenir purchase… a pair of sunglasses for less than $4.

Cost of the Spa in the Philippines / $27

Being the spa addict that I am, I made this a new budget category for my Southeast Asia travels. This total includes three massages and a pedicure at budget spas in Manila and Donsol and on the beach in Malapascua.

Philippines Travel Budget

Bottom Line / Holy crap I spent a lot!

You can do it lot cheaper than I did. Either cover less ground or stay for longer, and your transportation costs will shrink. Travel during the shoulder season to avoid being shut out of cheaper accommodation and paying premiums for flights. Eat at cheaper local restaurants (but God help you if you need WiFi.) Stay away from the beach — Manila, Banaue, Batad, and Sagada were some of the cheapest destinations I’ve ever been to, easily averaging under $20 a day. Take a look at the budget of Tony and Steph at 20 Years Hence, who spent way under what I did at $38 a day.

I made this splurge of a trip work as it was just that — a splurge. I worked less — I actually had no choice in the matter, there simply was not a decent internet connection in most places — and had fun more. This was a deviation from my usual slow, overland travel in which I spend most days chilling with my laptop. For more information on how I afford to travel, read my So, How Do You Afford This post — update coming soon, I promise.

Grand Total for Three Weeks in Philippines:
$1,518 with flights / $1,056 without

3-devide-lines
YOU MIGHT ALSO ENJOY
104 Comments...
  • Lily
    July 31 2013

    Thank you so much for this post – super helpful as were a planning a trip to the Philippines next spring 🙂
    Lily recently posted..Sweet as Strawberries

  • Shaun
    July 31 2013

    Luvin how big a piece of that pie is entertainment! 🙂

    • Alex
      July 31 2013

      It’s definitely the most fun thing to spend money on, right?!

  • Morgan Barsi
    July 31 2013

    I love these kinds of posts, because they show how little it can cost to travel and see parts of the world. When I went to SE Asia last summer, I had so many people tell me that they wish they had the money to do it. The sad thing is that they do have the money, but so often we choose to waste it on things that we don’t really need and maybe don’t end up using that much. Experiences are much more valuable. Glad to see you’re doing well.

    • Alex
      July 31 2013

      Thanks Morgan! I often get the same comment, and I remind the person how much they probably spend on rent, car payments, new clothes, etc. I’m sure it typically adds up to more than this! A life of travel can be extremely affordable. Of course having a source of income you can take on the road helps!

  • Anna Li
    July 31 2013

    I’m sorry you got ripped off by a cab driver when you were here in Manila. Some people just don’t value honesty anymore.

    Your premium flights are very expensive @_@ Oh well, that’s understandable since you came here at a peak season. And I would absolutely do what you did in order to save time.

    My friends and I are planning to visit Ilocos Norte this year and I can’t convince them to take a 1hour flight instead of a 12-hour bus ride to save 11 hours of our time. T.T I’m all lost at what to do.

    Anyways, you did spend a lot when you stayed here. Hehe. =) But then again, I believe that money spent cannot compare to the memories we acquire on every trip.
    Anna Li recently posted..Blight Group Exhibit @ Cubao Expo

    • Alex
      July 31 2013

      Yeah, I’m jealous of the cheap flights I have read of others taking! I guess that’s what we get for buying flights at the last minute as well 🙂 And I agree, the memories are usually worth the price tag!

  • Such a dream destination for me! This will definitely help me in the future.
    Andi of My Beautiful Adventures recently posted..Miami, Florida: Day 1-2

    • Alex
      July 31 2013

      I’m so glad to hear that Andi! I think you and Lucas would love the Philippines.

  • Maddy
    July 31 2013

    Love this! Like you said, it’s always fun to see what the real breakdown is for dif trips and experiences. ESP when I’m doing the traveling mainly through my computer! 🙂
    Maddy recently posted..One Two Three: Summer Style

    • Alex
      July 31 2013

      Nothing is more helpful to me when planning a trip than budget posts! Which is why I need to stop being lazy and do more of them 🙂

  • Aunt Linda
    July 31 2013

    Love the “spa” category.

    • Alex
      July 31 2013

      Just keeping it real 🙂 Cheap massages are on of my favorite parts of Southeast Asia… you don’t want to know how big that piece of the pie would be in Thailand!

  • Annie of TravelShus
    July 31 2013

    now you’ve got me considering the Philippines for my fall trip back to Asia….

    • Alex
      July 31 2013

      Oooh! Coming back to Asia, nice! Definitely slot the Philippines in there 🙂

  • Carl Parkes
    July 31 2013

    Before I wrote Philippines Handbook from Moon Publications, I went to the Philippines DOT here in San Francisco and got an official letter of introduction. Then visited the DOT in Rizal Park, and faxed hundreds of fine hotels, requesting complimentary accommodations for 3 nights. With my letter of rec, most hotels were happy to host me. Also, I got a free round trip air ticket from the Philippines Airline office in S

    • Alex
      July 31 2013

      Your comment cut off there, but it sounds like you worked the system well! Must have been a great experience writing a guidebook.

  • Melanie Fontaine
    July 31 2013

    This was such a helpful post, so thank you Alex! 🙂 My friend and me have already decided that we’re going to head to the Philippines next year and this gave me a better idea about what to expect financially! 🙂

    xx
    Melanie Fontaine recently posted..Update: On The Road

    • Alex
      July 31 2013

      Sounds like a fun trip Melanie… so glad I could help!

  • Diane
    July 31 2013

    I love that you made time for the spa. I’d do the same thing! And I like how this wasn’t a focus on how you lived on like $10/day and are a penny pincher 100% of the time. That’s not for everyone on every trip. You lived a little and enjoyed yourself — what travel should be. Thanks for keepin’ it real!
    Diane recently posted..Ask Tom Tuesdays: Differences between American and French women

    • Alex
      July 31 2013

      Sigh, I am such a bad penny pincher 🙂 I only seem to ever save money by accident, like when I’m working on something and don’t really leave the bungalow for a week… money saved! But when I have a little holiday, I really do have a little holiday 🙂

  • memographer
    July 31 2013

    Thanks for the info, Alex! Helpful. Ha-a! Bad taxi drivers are everywhere 🙂
    memographer recently posted..Stranger Portraits from Archived Thailand

    • Alex
      July 31 2013

      They really are. What a frustrating travel mistake!

  • Dad
    July 31 2013

    Alex, I think this kind of post from time to time, especially with the pie chart for us visual communication advocates, is value added for anyone following your travels and wondering why they are not living your life.

    • Alex
      July 31 2013

      Thanks Dad 🙂 Next time I need to do one in a really cheap country, so you all can be impressed by my frugality!

  • Jeff
    July 31 2013

    Flights in The Philippines are so expensive! I found it much cheaper flying around Indonesia, though airlines like Merpati and Garuda aren’t exactly the safest…
    Jeff recently posted..Rockin the Vote in Cambodia: Cambodia Election 2013

    • Alex
      July 31 2013

      I try not to even think about airline safety records or I’d go crazy! Eeek!

  • Thanks for the link, Alex, and it was great seeing your own numbers (I’m such a geek that even after I’ve been to a destination, I like to see other people’s budgets!).

    I definitely think that two of the biggest factors that helped us keep our costs low was that we were in the Philippines during shoulder season, meaning we could really haggle on accommodation and take advantage of more budget-style lodging, and also that with 2 months at our disposal, we could go slow and help absorb some of those transport costs. You’re right that getting around the Philippines is really time-consuming, so we even wound up taking a bunch of flights, but we were lucky enough to benefit from an AirPhilExpress sale, so we rarely paid more than $25pp for each flight we took.

    Also, because we didn’t learn to dive until almost the 1 month mark of our time there, our activities budget was much lower than it would otherwise have been! That said, the Philippines offers some of the cheapest diving I have seen anywhere, so while it’s definitely pricier than lolling about on the beach, it’s such a good value! It really spoiled us, and when we hit the Andaman coast of Thailand, we couldn’t deal with the dive prices!
    Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) recently posted..What We Ate: Tainan

    • Alex
      July 31 2013

      Wow! $25pp for flights is fantastic. We were buying flights a day or two ahead of time so we didn’t have much flexibility, and it was peak season. So that definitely hurt us. I agree that slow travel is best for so many reasons, a major one being that is really, really helps the budget in so many ways (spreading out entertainment costs, slowing down transport costs, giving you negotiating power with accommodation.) You guys did great, kudos!

  • RON
    August 1 2013

    great post…thanks for your tweet #travellinronzky

    • Alex
      August 3 2013

      Thanks Ron! And thanks for following me on Twitter!

  • john bourke
    August 1 2013

    Alex,The key to Expenses is to realistically anticipate, and plan budget; but in your situations and your age, never feel guilty about going over the budget. The key is to take advantage of every opportunity that you feel is worth while. You are enjoying life ,at the age when you really can enjoy life.Beg, Borrow, or figure out a way.You got”guts”so enjoy the adventures in wanderland. Don’t let a few bucks stand in the way.The education, and world experience is priceless. One thing though…BE SAFE, take no chances on flight, ferries etc…Good luck. looks like a great job to me.John

    • Alex
      August 3 2013

      I agree, I never want to look back later and think, “if only I had gone diving in the Philippines…” Only live once!

      • krish
        July 8 2014

        I have 7 6 days time to spend in Philippines. I want to get sea beach fun , night market visit etc. What is the best way to have entertainment.

        • krish
          July 8 2014

          I have only 6 days for Philippines trip.

          • Alex
            July 9 2014

            It’s really hard to make recommendations for other travelers based on only a little bit of info, because I would hate to lead someone astray 🙂 I’d recommend checking out my in depth posts about the various destinations I went to — they should give you a good idea of whether you’d enjoy them or not! Bon voyage!

  • TammyOnTheMove
    August 2 2013

    I really love these kind of posts. They are so helpful to get a good idea of actual costs. Costs listed in Lonely Planet are often really outdated!
    TammyOnTheMove recently posted..Flashback Friday: How not to haggle at Otavalo Market

    • Alex
      August 3 2013

      Actually, the Philippines Lonely Planet was the most wildly inaccurate one I have ever used. Sometimes the prices were double, sometimes they were half! It was so bizarre.

  • Sab
    August 4 2013

    Thanks for this helpful write up!
    I used to go every year to the Philippines and usually spend around 500 – 600 EUR per months there. Being said, I don’t do diving or surfing, thats saves a lot. Local food and alcohol is very cheap there. But yeah, not everybody likes the local food 😉

    I’m glad you had a great time in the Philippines. You took some beautiful photos! Ohh… I love this country with all my heart. 😉
    Sab recently posted..I WANT TO TRAVEL FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE – 15 TRAVEL BLOGGERS TELL HOW TO DO IT

    • Alex
      August 4 2013

      Thanks Sab! Good to hear from someone who did it much cheaper as well. Diving definitely eats the budget, but I don’t think anyone who does it would say it is money wasted!

  • Amy
    August 7 2013

    It’s interesting to see your costs as our 21-day trip to the Philippines is ending tomorrow. We haven’t done a full budget break down yet but a quick look at Trail Wallet (we love that app!) shows us that we spent $550 dollars per person, so $26 per day – similar to Steph and Tony. Our costs were much cheaper than yours I think because we don’t dive. We also found Batad, Banaue and Sagada the cheapest places we’ve been so far and probably the most beautiful.
    Amy recently posted..Video: Six Weeks in Indonesia

    • Alex
      August 7 2013

      Yup, diving is the number one budget killer in Southeast Asia travel! I was averaging safely under $20 a day when I was in Manila, Batad, Banaue and Sagada. Should have stayed up there 🙂

  • Yannie
    August 8 2013

    I’m happy to have come across your blog! I am glad you had a great time in the Philippines 😀 It is rare for me to find travelers blogging about my country.

    • Alex
      August 9 2013

      It’s true, Philippines don’t get much blog love! But maybe that helps keep them a little bit secret and special 🙂

      • Yannie
        August 9 2013

        I’ll be traveling in your home country next month any tips? 😀

        • Alex
          August 10 2013

          It’s a pretty huge country 🙂 Where are you headed?

          • Yannie
            August 12 2013

            New york! 😀

  • Laura
    August 9 2013

    I never thought that visit to the Philippines could cost that much and sad that you had to pay more to cab.Anyways very useful for information.I am glad that you had fun visiting it.

    • Alex
      August 9 2013

      Laura, it was definitely worth the money! It was a more expensive trip than I expected but I guess that’s what comes of traveling in peak season!

  • bernie
    August 9 2013

    yeah i went a few years go, liked but found the hotels pretty dear!1 about 1500p a night.. Thailand is alot better for getting cheap rooms bu i would like to go back one day as its a nice place and people!

    • Alex
      August 9 2013

      I found accommodation to be a bit pricey as well but I think that is because I was traveling in peak season. I think the shoulder and low seasons can bring a lot more flexibility in price.

  • jake
    August 11 2013

    you’re such a little nerd, alex. 😀 and also, living nicely. congrats.

    i diverted from asian bits after four months of vietnam, with a quick two month paragliding detour in nepal, and finally to europe. still, i’m kinda spending less money than you. even though i don’t have the fancy graphs to back it up.

    oh and .. 50 comments! your readers are way better participants than mine.
    jake recently posted..the peril of redeeming qualities

    • Alex
      August 12 2013

      Well, not that it’s a competition, but this is the single most expensive three week period I’ve had in my years in Southeast Asia. I should probably do one based on my spending in Thailand that would show how cheap it can be, though I don’t think people would be as interested to see the data from a month where I basically spend every day working in front of a computer and then eating Thai food and getting cheap massages every night!

  • Wade
    August 12 2013

    I absolutely love posts like these!! I was an Accounting and Finance major in college…so budget and finance posts always make me happy! Thanks for being so in-depth…really helpful!
    Wade recently posted..Why Visit Germany? A Guest Post by Anna Tillman of Anemina

    • Alex
      August 14 2013

      Glad you liked it Wade! I’m hoping I can do as diligent a round up for my upcoming trip to Peru!

  • apol
    August 31 2013

    definitely want the Trail Wallet app! 🙂

    You covered even Batad!!! True that travel here in the country is time consuming… esp. that there are many islands. Hehehe!!

    I hope your time here was memorable
    apol recently posted..Penang Street Art | Works of Ernest Zacharevic

    • Alex
      September 5 2013

      Batad was my absolute highlight of the Philippines! (Well, tied with Malapascua :)) And yes, definitely download Trail Wallet!

  • Lynne Valenciano
    January 25 2014

    Oh you’ve been to the philippines. You should come back and visit another location, the trip will totally be a new experience from your previous one. The people and places are as diverse as any country that has seven thousand islands!

    • Alex
      January 26 2014

      I absolutely plan to return to the Philippines someday, Lynne! Three weeks was just not enough.

  • Robert
    February 15 2014

    When flying to the Philippines check destinations over other Asian countries to Clark International Philippines. Its a smaller international Airport about 70 miles north of Manila. You can avoid much of the Manila stress and save on flights.
    Is also a good tip if you plan to visit other countries after your Philippines trip.
    Robert recently posted..Mount Pinatubo

    • Alex
      February 16 2014

      I actually flew in and out of Clark 🙂 However, if you have to go in or out of Manila by bus for example, I actually found it very stressful to get there!

  • Robert
    February 16 2014

    When was that?
    Bus to Manila is (if traffic is good) a 2 hour ride at about around PHP160, even with WIFI on the Bus! 😉
    Robert recently posted..Mount Pinatubo

    • Alex
      February 16 2014

      It was April of 2013. That bus was definitely not available at 2am. And cheap as it may be, I’m not a huge fan of a two hour commute just to get to an airport 🙂

  • Chicty
    March 12 2014

    You might want to visit Batanes too when you came back.

    • Alex
      March 12 2014

      Three weeks was definitely not enough 🙂 I have a lot more to explore when I return someday!

  • spencer
    April 13 2014

    Thanks for the help in planning a trip.
    How much do you figure you Could have comfortably lived on? I am thinking about going out for 3 weeks with about 1000$. not sure if its enough.

    • Alex
      April 15 2014

      Hey Spencer, I’d love to help but I’m not sure how much more info I can give you than what is in this post! As you can see, without flights I spent right around $1000 for three weeks. In my opinion I lived quite comfortably — you can read through all my Philippines posts to see what that got me. Hope that puts your mind at ease.

  • Carina
    July 19 2014

    Hi Alex, Thanks for this great post! When my boyfriend and I were living in the Philippines, we paid significantly more rent than in Thailand. For two weeks in Manila, Makati and two weeks in Boracay we paid $900 for rent. So, at the end of the month, we paid $450 per person compared to Thailand where we only spend $310 p.p. on rent. You can find a list of our monthly expenses in the Philippines
    on my site.

    • Alex
      July 19 2014

      It’s pretty hard to beat Thailand prices 🙂 Thanks for sharing, Carina!

  • jill medina
    August 10 2014

    Hi! I stumbled upon your blog just today 🙂 I am a Filipino and I want to let you know that you can actually haggle especially when it comes to transportations (tricycles), entrance fees and souvenirs. Also some people take advantage of the fact that someone is a tourist (I believe this also happens at times in Thailand and Cambodia) so just act like you know you can get it for a cheap price. Or act like you are staying long enough for you to know that prices can be offered cheap here. 🙂 Good food can be found anywhere though I agree if you need wifi, you must go to fancier restaurants. If ever you come back I’ll be glad to help!

    Regards,
    Jill

    • Alex
      August 12 2014

      Thank you Jill! You are showing the wonderful Filipino hospitality I loves so much 🙂 Thanks for reading!

  • calasiao
    September 25 2014

    Fantastic info. I’m planning on being in the Philippines in December, staying with friends. Not doing anything touristy. Still tho have a limited budget. You made it 3 weeks on 1k. I have 1k for 4 weeks. But No hotel fees for me, and just a $9 bus ride from Manila To Calasiao, Pangasinan. Think I can pull it off?

    • Alex
      September 26 2014

      For sure! Without accommodation and if you’re planning to stay in one plane (ie. cutting out expensive travel days) you can absolutely make that budget work, and still have plenty of room for fun 🙂 Best of luck, enjoy the trip!

  • Francis
    October 30 2014

    I do agree on doing flights rather than going for a land transportation considering the time. My family (Mama, Papa and 2 siblings) and I are planning to visit our place (Bicol Region which includes Albay [Legazpi] and Sorsogon [Donsol]) for Christmas 2015. I am a Filipino but I struggle with budgeting. When I searched for budgeting tips, your site was one of the first on the list.

    Thank you for visiting our place and sharing your experience. We are just near Donsol but in my 19 years of stay in the Philippines, I haven’t snorkeled nor visited the diving spots where the whale sharks are. I am envious. Never take tricycles & taxis (unless the need arises). They are tricky with their costs and since you are a tourist, they usually bump up the price. (sad to say).

    Aside from visiting friends and family, we are planning to go to Albay, Camarines Sur, Sorsogon, Cebu, Bohol, Davao, Baguio & Manila. There are lots of all you can eat restaurants in Legazpi, Albay which are good food with good prices. Spas are cheap too (well, comparing to Canada) We are also planning to take the same flight (Cebu – Legazpi v.v.) It saves us time to do that.

    Thanks again for sharing these. Sorry for the lengthy comment.

    Francis

    • Alex
      November 1 2014

      Thanks for all the tips and info, Francis! That sounds like a great trip you have planned. Definitely get to those Donsol dive sites when you have a chance — they’re magical! Happy travels!

  • Marah Howles
    November 10 2014

    Well-informed! Your spending breakdown about post is a great help for me to meet my budget when I go back to Philippines for a vacation.

    • Alex
      November 13 2014

      So glad to hear that Marah! Enjoy the Philippines, what a beautiful country…

  • aly
    January 18 2015

    Thanks for this! I am looking to be in the country for a little mini retreat for about 20 days and looking for a site (with space, nature & privacy) to stay put at for self study. Would you have any recommendations?Beaches would be heavenly but definitely looking at this budget.. or less 🙂

    • Alex
      January 18 2015

      Hey Aly, you might want to check out Malapascua. I don’t have any specific accommodation recommendations, but it was my favorite island and where I’d base myself if I was going back for a while! Hope that helps.

  • Rory Nicolaides
    February 17 2015

    Hi Alex,

    My name is Rory and I am currently trying to plan a 3-4 week trip to the Phillipines in April as a celebration of graduating medical school. I am a little overwhelmed by all the online options out there for travel planning, and am trying to figure out where exactly to start. This post is extremely helpful, thank you for taking the time to be so detailed and share such useful information. I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind giving a few tips or chatting about how to start devising a schedule and transportation. Any help would be appreciated- thank you!

    Rory 🙂

    • Alex
      February 24 2015

      Hey Rory! Congrats on your upcoming graduation. You might also check out my full archive of Philippines posts, including a monthly roundup where I outline my itinerary. I’m happy to answer quick basic questions via email if I have the answers and for more in depth assistance with itineraries and other planning needs I offer my services through Plansify. Happy planning 🙂

  • Liz
    April 13 2015

    Hi Alex

    Great post on cost breakdown during your trip. I’m planning on heading to the Philippines with my boyfriend and his family, wondering if you had any suggestions on cheap spas and the nightlife entertainment

    Thanks
    Liz

    • Alex
      April 14 2015

      Hey Liz! All my best tips for the Philippines can be found here 🙂 Honestly I had a pretty nightlife free trip — in three weeks we only had one night out, in Alona Beach, and frankly it wasn’t really the highlight of the trip. Enjoy your trip! Sounds fantastic!

  • Karel Linapacan
    May 13 2015

    hi Alex, nice site you have. I find costs can be quite less when you get off the beaten track. I usually pay about 200 pesos a night for accommodation, and the people are so much sweeter in rural areas too. I’m helping some boat operator friends north of Palawan between El Nido and Coron. So many beautiful and undeveloped beach paradise islands here.

    • Alex
      May 16 2015

      I’m sure that is all true! Because I need wifi for work I typically end up paying much more than the lowest available, but I’m sure there are great bargains for those that can go without.

  • Ellie
    June 9 2015

    Heading to the Philippines within the next week so this was very useful! Very excited to dive over there 🙂
    Ellie recently posted..My Mui Ne itinerary

    • Alex
      June 9 2015

      Have an amazing time, Ellie! Some of my favorite dive sites in the whole world!

  • Michael Dormer
    June 26 2015

    The pie graph was such a helpful info Alex. Thank you for taking time making it. I’m Mike by the way, I’ll be travelling with my kids two weeks from now. HAHAHA! I hope you can feel my excitement from there. 🙂
    Michael Dormer recently posted..Things to Do and Places to Visit in CDO – Is It in Your Itinerary?

    • Alex
      June 28 2015

      You’re a brave man 🙂 Enjoy — your kids will thank you for it later!

  • Michael Conroy
    July 7 2015

    I love this post. I rent out a vacation condo in Manila, Philippines and first time guests are always asking the cost of various things throughout the country, I will definitely add your blog to my guest welcome information. Once again, thank you!

    • Alex
      July 8 2015

      Awesome, glad that will be helpful to them! Thanks for sharing!

  • Freddy Palander
    October 24 2015

    I am planning my first solo travel trip for next year and I am beyond terrified about pretty much everything so this post really made me think about some of the things I can do to chill myself out before I leave.

    • Alex
      October 25 2015

      Getting an idea of what you’ll spend and how to budget definitely has a way of making you feel more in control 🙂 Best of luck planning your trip!

  • Gary Spillane
    April 26 2016

    So if I have paid for everything in advance (room, flights) then 800usd should last for 10 days for food and entertainment

    • Alex
      April 27 2016

      More than enough, Gary! I spent a very small fraction of that and ate very well and had a blast.

  • Sheldon Fisher
    May 30 2016

    real good read and insight thanks

    • Alex
      May 30 2016

      You’re so welcome Sheldon! Thanks for reading!

  • Jon Espina
    July 8 2016

    Wow that was a well spent time in the Philippines.

    Being a traveler in my country, Batad is also my favorite because its cheap and I just love Cordillera region.

    Diving is something I havent explored yet in my country. What a shame. Hehe but Malapascua and Donsol are now on my list.

    This is great help for someone who wants to have a better pucture of how much to spend in the Philippines.this is even a huge help for Filipinos like me, I’m converting dollars to peso right now. Theres not much difference in the exchange rate and prices in 3 years. ?
    Jon Espina recently posted..Buntot Palos Falls: Adventure in Pangil, Laguna

    • Alex
      July 10 2016

      That’s good to know about the exchange rate and prices, Jon! Batad was my favorite too — that and Malapascua are what I remember the most three years later. What a beautiful country you call home!

  • AlanPage
    August 15 2016

    Hi! I just came across your blog. I am from Manila of Filipino Origin and I would like to thank you for sharing your experiences within your stay in The Philippines whether good or bad. As a local, we, also want to hear different experiences from foreign travelers about our country. So sorry for the inconveniences you have encountered especially the transportation system. We also find it very inconvenient to travel since The PH is an archipelago and the fastest mode of of transportation here is via AIR. Do not worry guys, the current administration of our country is doing its very best and one of its project is to connect our islands via RAIL system with 24/7 construction and rest assured your next visit here will be worth-spending, worth-staying and efficient. Also, please feel safe during your next stay, our national crime rate went down drastically in the first 2 months of new Administration. Thank you so much and we’d love to hear again from you soon. 🙂

    Alan Page

    • Alex
      August 17 2016

      Hey Alan! I had an overall great time in the Philippines and I’d love to visit again. The country’s greatest asset is lovely people like you 🙂

Join the conversation…

CommentLuv badge