Philippines travel budget: our costs & expenses

by suitcasestoriesbe
Travel budget for the Philippines

Is it expensive to travel to the Philippines? How much money will I need for 2-4 weeks traveling through the Philippines? And what can you expect to pay for food, accommodation, transport, or activities? Knowing how much travel budget you’ll need to travel to a new destination is always useful, right? To help you answer these questions, we made a complete cost breakdown of all our expenses in the Philippines and to give you a better idea of what a trip to the Philippines will cost including how much travel budget you will need.

Read also: Philippines in 3-4 weeks: travel route + tips

Travel budget for the Philippines: good to know

The Philippines is a wonderful destination with many stunning islands to explore and lots of things to do. However, if we compare it to other Southeast Asian destinations, it’s somewhat more expensive but it’s more than worth it! The biggest cost in the Philippines is transportation to get to the other islands and the many fun activities that can be done. (like the famous island-hopping tours, diving trips or expeditions)

Last year we visited the Philippines twice, each time for a month (56 days to be exact) and made our total travel budget based on these two months. Most of our travel budget went to activities and food, but that’s typically how we are.

We made a complete cost breakdown of all our costs & expenses in the Philippines and divided it into 5 categories: accommodations, transport, food & drinks, excursions & others like SIM-cards, visas, and tips.

We tell for every category what we spent in total + what the average daily costs are. So whether you go to the Philippines for 2 weeks, 4 weeks, or 2 months, this article will give you a good cost indication for your own trip.

What’s not included in our travel budget for the Philippines

Our purchases such as flights, travel insurance and our backpacks are not included in the budget, as these costs are different for everyone and we had already bought this in advance.

Read also: Best websites to find the cheapest flights

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Accommodations in the Philippines – 56 days – $1401

(total for two persons)

In terms of accommodations in the Philippines, we chose to stay in charming, trendy, and budget-friendly accommodations. In the 56 days that we were in the Philippines, we spent an average of $25 on accommodations. Generally, accommodations in the Philippines are a bit more expensive than in other Southeast Asian countries, but you can make it as cheap or expensive as you want.

Money-saving tip: use this link to save up to $45 on your first booking on Airbnb

  • 12 nights in mid-range hotels – average $37/night
  • 2 nights in a guesthouse – average $ 28/night
  • 10 nights in hostels with a private room – average $24/night
  • 25 nights in hostels – average $21/night
  • 2 nights glamping – average $57/night
  • 2 nights overnight ferries – average $33/ferry
  • 3 nights camping in a tent on the beach, which was included in our Balabac Expedition

Read also: Best hotels & hostels in the Philippines

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Transport in the Philippines – 56 days – $1124

(total for two persons)

The costs of transportation in the Philippines can be really high. Depending on how many different islands you want to visit and whether you want to get around comfortably and quickly, costs can be reduce or increased. We visited a lot of places which quickly increased our total budget in the Philippines. That’s why we listed down the prices and types of transport we took.

Tip: buy your domestic flights in advance, as they get more expensive if you book last-minute.

  • 3 domestic flights – all booked with Skyscanner
      • Manila to Coron – $103 per person
      • Puerto Princesa to Cebu – $23 per person
      • Cebu to Siargao – $78 per person
      • Dumaguete to Manila – $68 per person
  • 2 overnight ferries
      • from Cebu to Surigao – PHP 850 per person ($17)
      • from Surigao to Cebu – PHP 850 per person ($17)
  • 7 fast boats and ferries
      • Coron to El Nido – PHP 1800 per person ($35)
      • Bohol to Siquijor – PHP 600 per person ($23)
      • Surigao To Siargao – PHP 220 per person ($4,3)
      • Siargao to Surigao – PHP 350  per person ($7)
  • Some buses & minivans
      • Puerto Princesa to El Nido – PHP 700 ($14)
      • El Nido to Port Barton – PHP 500 per person ($10)
      • Cebu City to Moalboal – PHP 150 per person ($3)
      • Cebu City to Maya (Malapascua) – PHP 250 per person($5)
  • Scooter/motorbike rentals – average rental prices are around PHP 350-500 per day ($7-10)
  • And we took a Grab taxi from Cebu City to Cebu Airport – PHP 250 ($5)

Did you notice we went to Siargao twice? The first time we had such bad weather why we couldn’t do anything so we decided to go back the second time.

Read also: El Nido Travel Guide: best things to do + tips

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Food and drinks in the Philippines – 56 days – $1624

(based on two persons)

Finding vegan food in the Philippines can be challenging. Luckily almost everywhere we came, we’re able to find a lot of great vegan restaurants. Prices were a bit higher than eating in a local restaurant, but we are happy to spend more on having a healthy filling meal. So depending on what you like to eat, you could reduce these costs. We also added some examples of the prices we paid for food, to make it clearer.

  • Eating out – $1438 or $25/day
      • Drinking water is free in most restaurants
      • Smoothie bowl around PHP 250 ($4,8)
      • Noodles with vegetables in a more popular restaurant around PHP 220 ($4)
      • Vegan burger in a more popular restaurant around PHP 280 ($5,4)
      • Filipino dish in a local restaurant around PHP 150 ($3)
      • Fresh juices around PHP 120 ($2,3)
      • Soft drink around PHP 30 ($0,5)
      • Local beer around PHP 60 ($1,2)
      • Rum & Coke around PHP 80 ($1,5)
      • Small bottle of local rum around PHP 50 ($1)
  • Groceries like water, snacks & fruit – $186 or $3/day

Money-saving tip: buy oats and fruits in the local markets and try to prepare your own breakfast. 

Read also: 9 x vegan-friendly restaurants in Siargao & 6 x vegan-friendly restaurants in El Nido

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Excursions & activities in the Philippines – 56 days – $1825

(based on two persons)

Even after visiting the Philippines for 3 times now, we still have that feeling, that we missed out on seeing places and doing things. That’s mainly also the reason why our expenses on activities are quite high. (kind of FOMO-problem?) Below we have listed the activities we did and their average prices. So depending on what you would like to do, it gives a good idea of the total budget you need to calculate for this category.

Read also: Coron Travel Guide: 7 x best things to do + tips & El Nido Travel Guide: best things to do + tips

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Other costs in the Philippines- 56 days – $329

(based on two persons)

Besides everything we have already mentioned, we, of course, had some other expenses too. For example, we bought sim cards to stay connected, needed to buy sunscreen, the petrol to fill up our scooters, we did the laundry several times and Mik went also to the hairdresser.

  • Visas – Our visa-on-arrival was free for 30 days

You can check visa costs for your own country here

  • We used 2 different SIM-cards & data packages because they cover different areas
      • GLOBE – ‘Go Surf package’ for PHP 1000 ($20) / 10GB for 30 days – worked a lot better in Palawan & in our opinion the better choice
      • SMART – ‘GIGA VIDEO’ package – PHP 500 / 8GB for 30 days – worked slightly better in Siargao en Bohol
  • Laundry – PHP 60 ($1)
  • Petrol – PHP 55 /liter ($0,9)
  • We bought new diving masks – $56
  • Sunscreen – PHP 600 ($12)
  • Haircut – PHP 150 ($3)
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Total expenses of our trip to the Philippines – 56 days – $6327 

(based on two persons)

We stayed 56 days to be exact and spent $6327 in total for both of us, which is an average daily budget of $56 per person. Food & excursions were the biggest costs but in our opinion, these are the things that made the trip so unforgettable. If you would skip more excursions and eat in the more local restaurants you can easily reduce your average daily budget.

Hopefully, you can use all this information yourself when planning your own trip to the Philippines. If any information is missing, please let us know in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!

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P.S. Are you leaving soon? Be sure to check out the following helpful websites for planning your trip.

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