Budgeting a Month in the Philippines: Breaking Down the Basic Costs
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.
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
- American style breakfast – 120P
- Filipino breakfast – 100P
- Western mains – 150-250P
- Filipino mains – 100 – 150P
- Banana Chips – 50P
- Vegetarian Chicharon – 40P
- Cup of Noodles - 20P
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
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.
- Fresh Whole Coconut – 70P
- Fruit Shakes – 70-100P
- Instant Coffee – 25P
- Brewed Coffee - 30-50P
- Espresso-based Coffee - 75 -100P
- 1L Water – 40P
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
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
- 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