Budgeting a Month in the Philippines: Breaking Down the Basic Costs

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Let's talk cash money

Within a couple days, the Philippines captured a huge chunk of my heart. Gorgeous beaches, generous people and amazing grub: this country is an incredible travel destination. The standard free entry visa for tourists offers you 30 days, which is just about the exact length of time I spent travelling the islands. I've gotten a lot of questions from friends and other travellers about budget. Now that my month has come to an end, I've done the math and sorted out a breakdown of travel costs in the Philippines. 

To start: 40 Pesos (PHP) = 1 AUD or CAD, Much easier than working in 100,000's in Vietnam or Thailand

Here's a rundown of my costs in the Philippines to help you make moves and see the sights for yourself.

Food

The cost of food varies a ton based on whereabouts you’re visiting. Unfortunately, the size of the island can drive cost in either direction. Some of our least tourist-dense locations offered the cheapest and most delicious local foods, while others brought the highest prices due to their remote nature.

On the bright side, I was surprised to find a ton of healthy, fresh and veggie friendly meals at virtually every spot we visited! Of course, the more Westernized these options were, the higher the price tag.

Here’s a rough break down of what to expect to pay for some great grub in the Philippines

Restaurant Meals:

  • American style breakfast – 120P
  • Filipino breakfast – 100P
  • Western mains – 150-250P
  • Filipino mains – 100 – 150P

    Snacks:

  • Banana Chips – 50P
  • Vegetarian Chicharon – 40P
  • Cup of Noodles - 20P

Local Food:  

Could be as cheap as 25-50P from small market stalls / street eats

  • Rice dish 75P
  • Curry 75P
  • Sigsig (sizzling plates of meat or veg topped with a freshly cracked egg) 100P        
  • Adobo (tomato based meat/veg dish) - 100P

 


Drinks

Getting wasted in the Philippines is a very affordable task. Bar tenders have a heavy pour and bottles have a very light price tag. We regularly scooped up a bottle of rum for beach pre-drinks for the equivalent of 3 CAD. Even inside a bar, a bottle won’t set you back more than 10 bucks. Buying local is key to intoxicating affordably. Local spirits and beers will be a good 50% less than any brand name you recognize or crave.

Non-Alcoholic:

  • Fresh Whole Coconut – 70P
  • Fruit Shakes – 70-100P
  • Instant Coffee – 25P
  • Brewed Coffee - 30-50P
  • Espresso-based Coffee - 75 -100P
  • 1L Water – 40P

Beer

Local = 40 – 60P

  • Red Horse Beer – 7% delicious beer –
  • San Miguel Light – 4% (super tasty with mini limes called Calamansi)
  • San Miguel Flavoured (Apple or Lemon) – 3% Perfect for when you’re on the struggle train

Spirits  

local = 80p, Import =120

  • Tanduay – ALWAYS drink red over white, this stuff is STRONG but mixes pretty great with Sprite 
  • Local Gin – Ginebra San Miguel - Actually pretty tasty and comes in a really beautiful bottle

Wine – don’t even bother


Accommodation

  • Budget Hostels – 350P per night
  • Private Room – 800P per night
  • Lux Hostels / Hotel – 1000P per night

My total spending = $1763

Let my spending be a guide, but know that you could probably pull off a similar trip for $1500 if your budget is tight.

My spending includes

  • Travelling with three friends I hadn’t seen in a year and a half aka many “treat yourself” moments, countless nights out and many unnecessary ice-creams, rounds of shots and bottles of Tandoi
  • One flight from Cebu to Puerto Princesa 2400PHP ($60) 
  • One missed boat worth 1700PHP ($40) 
  • Primarily budget hostels ($8-12 per night) + 6 nights at a lux hostel in Coron ($20 per night)
  • A fair bit of healthy vegetarian food with a higher price tag than local meat dishes
  • 2 island hopping tours, 1 canyoneering tour, 1 bicycle rental, 1 motorbike rental
  • Includes A LOT of transportation costs which I'll be breaking down further in an upcoming post

Does not include – My initial or return flight from/ to Australia