How Much It Costs To Travel In The Philippines For A Week

In today’s post, we would like to give you a brief overview of our expenses during a week of travels in the Philippines. The good news is that we managed to follow our $25 a day budget plan. The bad news is that we spent most of the time on local buses, bus stops and stations as well as on planes. The journey was exhausting and intense, but this is how we did it as we were short of time.

Philippine note
PHP100 note

 

Local currency in the Philippines is PHP (Philippine peso).

PHP1 = $0.02

Example of prices you might be expected to pay while in the Philippines:

  •  Apple – PHP27 = $0.60
  • A small basket of strawberries – PHP100 = $2.24
  • Jeepney ride – PHP8 = $0.18
  • Coffee – PHP5 = $0.11
  • A bottle of water (1,5L) – PHP20/25 = $0.45
  • A half of grilled chicken – PHP100 = $2.24
  • Street cookies – PHP2-10 = $0.04 $0.22
  • Grilled fish – PHP80 = $1.79
  • Hostel – PHP400 a person = $8.97
  • Bus tickets- between PHP450 and PHP814 depending on the distance = $10-$20
  • Ferry from Cebu to Bohol and back – PHP800 = $17.93
  • Single tricycle ride – PHP22-30 = $0.50 – $0.70
  • Cigarettes – PHP60 = $1.34
  • Toilet paper – PHP20 = $0.45
  • Souvenirs – PHP25-40 = $0.60 – $0.90


Hostel room in Banaue
Our hostel room in Banaue
Our room in Pagudpud
Our room in Pagudpud

Our expenses during week 1 (for two people):

  • Fruits = PHP357
  • Jeepney = PHP40
  • Tea = PHP204
  • Coffee = PHP244
  • Water = PHP389
  • Breakfast = PHP675
  • Lunch = PHP354
  • Dinner = PHP820
  • Hostels = PHP2,600
  • Bus tickets = PHP3,028
  • Toilet = PHP23
  • Snacks (cookies, buns, sweets, crisps) = PHP195
  • Tricycle = PHP53
  • Internet = PHP10
  • Cigarettes = PHP180
  • Attraction entrance fees = PHP121
  • Souvenirs = PHP25

 

In total: PHP9,318 = $209

$209 a week per two = $104 a week per person = $14.92 per person a day

On top of that we bought 2 flight tickets which costed £36 and £44 a person = £80 = $133 

A girl is sleeping at the bus stop in Laoag
Sleeping at the bus stop in Laoag
Doing shopping in one of Cebu supermarkets
Doing shopping in one of Cebu supermarkets
Fruits and veggies we always bought in local stores for long bus rides- some bananas, apples, papaya and carrots.
Fruits and veggies we always bought in local stores for long bus rides- some bananas, apples, papaya and carrots.

 

How did we manage to travel for less than $15 a day?

1. We walked a lot and avoided taking taxis/jeepneys/tricycles.

Strolling down the streets in Banaue
Strolling down the streets in Banaue

 

2. We rarely dined out in restaurants. Instead, we did food shopping in local supermarkets, visited fruit and veggies markets every morning and had quick snacks from the street.

Local pancakes in Cebu
Local pancakes from the street vendor
Pineapple juice from the street
Pineapple juice from the street vendor
SONY DSC
Typical shopping at 7 Eleven – nuts, apples, milk drink, crisps and veggies

 

3. We generally avoided touristic places and walked around local areas.

Fruit market in Banaue
Local fruit market in Banaue

Budget mistakes:

  • We definitely spent too much money at airports and bus stations in week 2. The coffee at the airport costed PHP120 ($2.70) which is a lot in comparison to coffee you can get in the street for only PHP5 ($0.11).
  • We have not booked our accommodation in advance hoping to bargain but as it turned out it would be cheaper for us to book a room online. Most of the time we arrived at hostels after midnight and the staff knew we had no other options around so they were not willing to haggle at all.

 

 

Pizza Alona beach
Pizza at Alona beach
sweet buns
Our snacks in Banaue

 

Things to be aware of:

  • There are always different prices for foreigners and locals.
  • Be patient. Sometimes Filipinos do not want to haggle.
  • Locals are very loyal. If you were quoted an ridiculously high price for an apple at one store, you will be quoted the same price at other stores nearby.
  • Prepare some change as locals ask foreigners to pay them for taking photos of them, street food, etc.
  • There are always some extra fees to pay at ferry stations and airport.

 

A boy is sleeping on the bus
Cez sleeping on the bus to Banaue

 

The Philippines turned out to be much cheaper than we though. We know if we stayed in one place for a longer period of time, we would be able to spend much less.

How expensive/inexpensive do you find the Philippines now?

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95 Comments

  • Php 600+ per day is wow. I didn’t know things could be that cheap… I’m from PH and I don’t travel around that much here as am more into international trips thus I don’t have an idea. I guesstimated it would be around Php 1k per day. Awesome.

      • May have been cheap for you but certainly not cheap for the locals where the “mandated” (read: not always the case or often not followed)minimum wage for a family of 4 is about P400-450/day. No, there are no different prices for locals and foreign tourists. However, since haggling is the way to go (as is the cae all over the world) initial prices will always be high. If you “walk away”, prices will drop dramatically. Apples are not native to the country so prices will always be “ridiculously high and most likely not subject to haggling. Black speckled skinned bananas are the preferred because it indicates ripeness. (In fact in a recent international health study, it was found that black speckled skinned bananas are actually healthier. While some locals may HINT at charging for taking a picture, it is not mandatory. While reading your blog about the local ood, I was actually laughing ‘cos it seems despite being a so called “seasoned traveller”, you come off as naive when it comes to dealing with locals and local culture.
        Ps that spot of the Great Wall where you had pictures taken IS a touristy area cleaned and maintained by the Chinese government for the benefit of mostly Western tourists and their first world/EU standards.

      • Hi Guys..nice to read about your travels…My effort was not to live so cheaply on 3 visits to the Philippines, but one thing for sure. A low priced room in Manila for P800 per night will get you a very nice 2 bedroom hut in a lovely resort with pool and lots of amenities outside of Manila in a place like Cagayan de Oro in Mindanao…the prices vary quite abit there…moreso than here in Canada. For P200 per night in Manila in 2003, it was pretty much like a jail cell, except hotter.

  • I’m from the Philippines and you give me a whole new level of appreciation for my country. Guess I should travel more often :)

    PS: There’s a Malasimbo festival happening this weekend, sayang that you missed it!

      • Hi. Just stumbled upon ur blog while researching ways on how to travel on a budget. How much would I approximately need if im gonna travel?? Sorry if im a bit off topic. How did u do it? Do u travel continously or u go home after traveling to one country to another? I dont think I can sleep on a bus stop though. Im from philippines and I must say that is not safe. Saw ur article also on filipino street food. Must say bravo to you guys but I for one would never eat in those places. People who eat in carinderias are mainly the one earning less than 3usd per day. I went home to manila few years back with my husband we had food poison in boracay. And I got salmonella in manila.

    • The one good thing about the airport here in Vancouver Canada is that they have Burger King and other fast food restaurants and the prices are the same as anywhere in Vancouver..Burger King has a sale on now…$.25 for coffee..

  • Your daily budget was incredibly low, well done to keep it even under your $25 a day budget plan, that’s incredible! It’s a shame it was very tiring but I guess when you are travelling at fast pace it has to be that way because you move a lot. We found that out by ourselves few times and felt absolutely exhausted afterwards. Time to recharge the batteries for your next adventure ;)

    • Thanks Franca. Yes, we were on a constant move. I guess if we stayed in one place for a longer period of time, we would spend less money.

  • Great point about arriving after midnight – there seems to be a haggling golden hour sometime in the late afternoon. If rooms aren’t already booked for the night, the owner wants to fill the room so sometimes you can find a cheaper price. But if you wait too long, all the rooms are booked or you’re stuck with the higher price they quote you. Have you found that in general booking in person is cheaper?

    • Yes, we have, but in Indonesia, for example, it worked just the opposite. Online booking was much cheaper and haggling was not always an option.

  • I love this post – very straight forward and informative.I find the Philippines more expensive than Thailand and Malaysia, but of course, high budget or low budget perceptions varies a lot form person to person.

    I would never pay to take a photo of a fruit stall or with a person and I really appreciate to know this situations can happen beforehand. Thank you for the info :)

  • This was so cool in how you broke everything down, Agness! I sure wouldn’t want to sleep on busses and at bus stops but I always admire your adventurous, won’t-let-it-get-us-down attitude! Fantastic job on sticking to your budget. Thank you for sharing as I’m always curious how you two pull it off! Cigarettes? :)

  • Thanks for breaking this down, Agness. Very helpful. Would love to go to Philippines in the nearest future. I would expect the food to be less expensive. Strawberries and grilled chicken cost as much as here in the states.
    Love the price on the Cigarettes – $1.34 :)

  • What a helpful post Agness. Thanks or those detailed information on travelling through the Philippines. That probably helps a lot of people. I hopefully remember this post when I will travel there one day :)

    • Thanks. This is what we have been doing all the time – showing people that “I don’t have money to travel” excuse sucks :)!!

    • Most of Asian countries are like that, but when you go out, dine out and party and do a lot of excursions, it’s gonna be much more expensive…

  • What a great breakdown of your expenses. One of the reasons many relatives keep going back to the Philippines is the cheap cost. Wonderful tips. Strawberries are expensive and I can’t get over how cheap your hostel is. Glad you had a cheap stay.

  • Great breakdown for the Philippines. I almost made it there during my trip through Asia but didn’t have quite enough time as I had to be back here in the states for a few road trips! At least now I’ve got a better idea of the costs, can’t wait to go see those chocolate hills!

    • Hey Ron. That’s a pitty you could not explore the Philippines. They are cheap and so beautiful. Will post some photos of the chocolate Hills later on!

  • I’m surprised they want money for you to take a photo of them. I always ask first in India to make sure they are ok and if not I won’t take the photo, but I don’t think I’d pay them. That’s such a shame :( Plus. when I travel in Asia (esp India) people take my photo all the time without asking!! Should I start charging 5 rupees !?

      • Agness,

        I respect you as a person but before you write something or go somewhere else DO SOME RESEARCH FIRST. A “smart and adventurous” person should be ready for anything. Apparently, you are an inexperienced one and you should check on your words before typing. To exaggerate is different from stating the facts. I hope that you wont’t go to other “third world countries” that are poorer than the Philippines because I’m scared of how you would belittle their culture especially the food. You haven’t eaten anything “authentic” as what your photos have shown because you didn’t even go to where “street foods” in the Philippines should be. Thank the Philippines because now a lot of people will read your trashy post. I hope that next time you won’t generalize and specify the place you’ve been to in a certain country. You haven’t seen anything because all you focused on are the negatives. And stop comparing the country to China. To be able to be credible you should be experienced enough. Your article is so disappointing and irresponsible. Please learn for it. Think first before typing. And if you are a fair bloggger, post my comment because as you said, you read and try to post every comment. I’ve been to a lot of countries too. It’s just funny how you found the worst thing that you think you can ever see or eat in the Philippines. It just goes to show how unprepared you were in travelling. Try to read what the other bloggers and writers have in their articles too. Looks like you just read your own. Good luck on your next journey. Hopefully you’ll find the “standard” and “good quality” food with your $25.

      • Pardon me but I don’t believe what you are saying. Give me your actual experience on this. Its sad that you made a sweeping generalization about the locals and made all of them look like extortionists and “prepare some change as locals ask foreigners to pay them for taking photos of them, street food, etc.”

    • Please don’t refer to her experience because that is so isolated. There are lot’s of articles that are far more credible than this. If you want to travel to the Philippines please read articles that will show photos, experiences and constructive criticisms that will truly show how a certain place is. Her article is very plain, one-sided and insensitive. When I go to certain country, I do a research first about their culture, food, religion and even the things that I’m not suppose to do when I am in their country. That is called “respect”.

    • Hai,
      I’m kranthi,nice to talk to u,u mentioned in ur comment that indians take ur pic without ur permission,.I’m Indian ..I laughed for a while on seeing ur comment..and it happens with some members only not with all..

  • This is such an informative post! Love that you also included your budget mistakes. But yeah, I’m also surprised that locals regularly asked for money for photos. Have had that happen on occasion, but I then usually just don’t take a photo.

  • Thanks for sharing this info, it’s particularly useful to hear about where you went wrong as well. Those pancakes look so tasty!

  • This is such a good post Agness – a great article to ‘bookmark’ for people (like me) that hope to travel there at some point. I’ve been loving your thoughts and feelings on the Philippines (whether they have been slightly negative or not) and look forward to testing our your budget ;)

  • Wow, you did a lot of traveling for cheap. Thanks for sharing everything. I am from the Philippines and somehow find it hard to travel cheap. My niece and nephew drove me around as I haven’t been home for quite some time. But your hostels for that price is surprisingly low. I will bet you can’t get it that cheap in Manila and vicinity. I really enjoyed reading about your travel adventure. Should you find yourself in San Diego, feel free to look me up. You won’t have to sleep at bus terminals or on the bus. You can bunk with me gratis! That is the Philippine way of being hospitable. I am glad you loved traveling there. I have never been to the places you’ve been to but will make it a point to go and visit next time I am on the island!☺

    • Hi Nenette,

      Thank you so much for such kind words. We really appreciate that. Yes, we did a lot of travelling on the cheap. This is what we like and enjoy. Travelling in the Philippines for less than $25 was not very challenging, but exhausting as we had to walk a lot, ask around, check out many different places, haggle, etc. It was worth it though. We will be sharing the budget travel tips from Manila/Banaue/Cebu and more soon!

      If we ever make it to San Diego, we will let you know. Thank you for the invitation!

      Love!

  • I do the same — I tend to shop locally as much as possible. And yes, trying to haggle with hoteliers rarely gets you anywhere. Not just for low end, but even when people haven’t booked a condo for months, they typically won’t lower their prices. It’s a country that’s all about undercutting the competition…except with accommodation.

    And you forgot to write the price of a beer. What’s up with that ;)

    Great post. Super informative!!

  • I’m glad I read this post. I’m thinking about options for places to stop off on my way back to the UK from Australia. The Philippines is definitely up there as one of the top contenders, and your tips are really useful!

  • Nice job guys! This budget info is super useful. The Philippines has been getting higher and higher on my travel wish list of late, and seeing as though you’ve shown it’s super affordable, might just have to get there sooner rather than later!

  • Asking money for their pic? AVOID those opportunists!

    This is a very clear and detailed post. I am surprised how both of you has managed to survive with that amount when travelling. I will definitely try travelling with low budget next time. I think it’s more fun and adventurous.

    Kudos to you both. :)

    • Hi Vhenn,

      Impossible is nothing. You can travel on a tight budget everywhere in the world. Hope you can try it in the future!

  • We spent a couple of weeks in the Philippines last year. I was surprised not just by how cheap it was, but what good value as well. We spent $125 a day (excluding Boracay, that was pricier), but that was for a family of four. Our kids were only turning 1 and 2, so we spent a bit more on transport than we needed to (generally bought them seats too) and needed to get porter help at times. We also stayed at good places that weren’t budget at all and generally ate out all of the time, so we could have easily spent less money. The domestic flight prices were ridiculously cheap.

    I remember us eating out easily for a $1 a meal each. I definitely want to go back!!

    • Hi Sharon, you did it on the cheap as well. :) I agree, the domestic flight prices were ridiculously cheap!

  • Seriously? The locals ask for payment to take pictures of them and their goods? That is ridiculous. Here in Iloilo, we’d be the one to ask the foreigner to have pictures with them for free! :)

  • Good day to all! If you want to travel in our country, I willing to assist / give you tips especially in budgeting and itinerary of the place you want to visit. Don’t worry, I don’t charge. If you have questions please feel free to email me at debbielyn_cabacungan@yahoo.com

    Have more fun in the Philippines.
    God Bless!

  • “Prepare some change as locals ask foreigners to pay them for taking photos of them, street food, etc”

    Dude! I can not belive this!! :O
    When I was in the Philippines nobody asked me for money for taking pictures of street food or markets, and about pictures with locals, I’m even more confused because they asked me to take pictures with them almost all the time!!! :O

  • Oh god, that last photo brings back memories of long distance buses with boxes crammed into the aisles and every available crevice. An ‘overnight’ bus between islands ended up taking 36 hours thanks to a delay with the ferry.

    The Philippines has taught me that sometimes it is worth spending more to take the flight (Air Asia, not Cebu Pacific. I’m not a complete masochist).

  • Interesting, there are other better restaurants worth covering that side stalls and vendors ~ they don’t really represent the cuisine that should be experienced here in the Philippines. :) We have a lot of talented chefs too that have built chains of restaurants that really represent the country’s pride and cuisine well. I encourage you to stretch your budget a bit :) Filipino cuisine is not that expensive and you can definitely eat below $25, and it will still be some good content for your blog! :)

  • Sorry for your bad experience, but let me tell you, Filipino food is good IF YOU KNOW WHERE TO GO. You should’ve befriended a local to tour you, or asked here in your blog if Filipinos have recommendations. I’m sure that if you asked where to get a taste of GOOD FOOD, they’d tell you where to go. Most carinderias are not good to try local food, as they’re made to satisfy (and not indulge) the hunger of Filipinos, and made as cheap as possible. Also, street food in the Philippines (especially in Manila) isn’t “authentic”. I really think you expected way too much from the street food.
    I’m quite surprised that you weren’t able to encounter balut. Most vendors of balut sell them at late afternoon, so I guess you never got out at that time..? Supermarkets and wet markets also sell smoked and dried fish and daing. So maybe you really didn’t know where to look.
    BTW, Filipino viands are ‘super’ “salty,” “sweet,” and “sour” as they’re supposed to ALWAYS be eaten with rice.
    You should’ve also tried meriendas (the ones that are not supposed to be eaten with rice, but a lot are made of rice flour) – halo-halo, biko, ginataang bilo-bilo.

  • I just came back from a week in the Philippines. I read your blog post prior to my arrival and did try to make an effort to stay within the $25 a day budget *at least for meals. I,however was given an extensive shopping list of things to get my family. I love to haggle in those discount shopping centers.. Never pay retail.. or at least what they quote you at first.

    Sadly I gave up the budget on the last 3 days of my trip and opted for the fun of eating at places recommended by other food bloggers and downloaded an app that gave me discounts and freebies. On a side note, I always get bloated and tired when eating from food stands and carts. (I don’t believe them when they say No MSG).

    • Thanks for sharing Gerry. Sticking to your budget is difficult at first, but then you will get much better at that and you will see it’s not that complicated!! :)

  • This article really is helpful to backpackers specially to those who are trying to spend less during their travels. Summarizing the possible expenses really helps backpackers and this article also helps promote the country, so I would like to thank the writer… Thank you… I hope blogs like this would increase the Philippine tourist visa applicants here in the Philippines to help the economy.

  • Just want to thank you. I came across your blog accidentally and found it to be extremely useful. Thank you so much! Very good tips, honest list of expenses etc. Very good!

  • In much of the third world, the locals have to pay for things we take for granted in the West.. There is no free schooling, in the PHP no free health care. whole families have to live on little more that ‘tips’ from foreign tourists.

    Pl bear this in mind on your future travels

  • Want to say thanks for explaining your budget program during your Philippines tour. I’m just researching the cost for my Philippines tour. Its helps me to prepare for the cost and do explains how to be a smarter traveller with your budgetary plans.

    I’ll definitely buy a coffee from the street shop.. Remember.

  • Awesome post, mate! I’m looking forward to go to the philippines in 2 weeks, your tips helps a lot!

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