How much does it cost to travel in The Philippines? During my trip in the Philippines, I wrote down every expense. In this article, I’ll share the costs of transportation, accommodation, food, and activities.
This article is also available in Dutch.
There are thousands of islands in The Philippines, and many of the islands have an airport. You can fly to another island for less than €30 with airlines like AirAsia, Cebu Pacific or Philippine Airlines. Check Skyscanner for the best prices.
You can also take a ferry to lots of the islands, which is cheaper than flying, but it will take you way longer, and it’s not the safest way of transportation. For example, a one way trip from Manilla to Coron will cost you about €16 and takes 12 hours. A great resource of checking the prices and routes of the ferries is 2Go Travel.
On the islands, there are several ways of transportation. I mostly used minivans to go from one place to another. For a 6-hour ride, I paid about €10. You can get cheaper rides if you take the local jeepneys (they look awesome), but those take longer and are less comfortable. You can book a spot in one of the minivans pretty much everywhere.
A tricycle is a sidecar motorcycle with a roof, and you will see them driving around all the time. It’s your best option to use these for short rides (less than an hour) and a ride usually doesn’t cost you more than €1.
In a big city like Manila, it’s better to use taxi’s (for example from the airport to Makati), they are pretty cheap. It’s even better to install an app like Uber or Grab on your phone because those services are even cheaper. For a ride from the airport to Makati, I only had to pay €3,50.
You can get accommodation for every price in The Philippines, it just depends on how much you enjoy having some luxury items, like air-conditioning.
Dorm in a hostel
Your cheapest option will probably be staying at a hostel in a dorm. In some hostels, you can sleep for less than €5. I only slept in a hostel once during my trip in The Philippines, and it was really expensive (€17 a night), but also the most luxury place I’ve stayed in during my trip. Hot showers, fantastic beds, air conditioning, big lockers, nice people, and a great breakfast. Check out Spin Designer Hostel in El Nido if you’d like the same experience.
Staying in a private room can also be cheap, but I noticed prices differ a lot depending on the location you’re staying. In Manila (Makati), I paid about €45 a night for a nice and comfortable room in a luxury hotel. And in Port Barton (Palawan) I had my own (wooden) beach hut for €24 a night. Breakfast was included most of the time.
Read more: Perfect 2-week itinerary Philippines
It’s well-known that food in Southeast Asia is cheap. However, before I went on my trip to The Philippines, I read that the food in The Philippines can be pretty expensive. I thought it was fine, it just depends on what you want to eat. For a local dish, including drinks, I usually paid €3-€5. If you’d like pizza or a burger, you can double the price, and it doesn’t taste as good as the Philippino dishes.
With all the tropical islands, you should at least book a snorkeling tour when you’re in The Philippines. The best place to book a tour is El Nido, in the beautiful Bacuit Archipel. The tours will cost you about €20 including snorkeling equipment and lunch. You can also book similar tours in Port Barton, where they are about €12. Unfortunately, I had to skip those day tours, because of a tropical storm and a typhoon.
However, one of the best tours in The Philippines is a multi-day tour from El Nido to Coron (or the other way around). This is also one of the most expensive tours you can take. For 5 days, 4 nights, including snorkel gear, food, drinks, guide and sleeping on remote islands, you pay about €360.
You can book this tour (or a similar one) with Buhay Isla (the company I used) or Tao. A big advantage of taking a tour like this is that you barely meet any other tourists. And the sunsets you’ll see are spectacular.
A local SIM card
Wifi in The Philippines is pretty bad, so if you’d like to keep in touch with your friends and family, I suggest you’re buying a local SIM card. You can buy these when you arrive at the airport (you’ll see many stalls of Smart and Globe) and they even install it for you, so you can use it straight away. For 10 GB data (valid for a month) you’ll pay about €17.
My total costs of a 2-week trip in The Philippines
How much did it cost to travel in The Philippines during my two-week trip? I spent €1095.05 in total.
Accommodation: €320.92 (11 nights, 8 nights in private rooms with my own bathroom and 3 of them in a 4-bed dorm).
Food: € 185.05
Excursions: € 367.68 (Buhay Isla)
Transportations: €191.17 (2 domestic flights, 3 taxi’s, 2 tricycles, and 3 minivans)
Miscellaneous: €30.23 (SIM card, laundry, and tips)
During this trip I did everything I wanted to do and picked some more expensive food (and cocktails) and accommodation. Especially the tour with Buhay Isla was really expensive, but it was definitely worth it. If you skip this one and do day tours instead, you’ll probably have a cheaper trip.
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