Once you've arrived, you will soon realize that the Philippines is an inexpensive and good-value destination compared to western countries.It is also on par with other Southeast Asian countries such as Indonesia and Thailand.
Accommodation is a bit more expensive than in the neighboring countries and the range to choose from is also smaller. In the major tourist destinations like Manila and Boracay, basic rooms start at 15 USD a day, while midrange accommodation with A/C cost between 30 to 50 USD a day. A splurge in four and five star hotels will set you back more then 100 USD a day and promotions are surprisingly absent. Prices in the province tend to be considerably cheaper and much better value, ranging from 1-5 USD per day for a double basic room to 10-20 USD per day for a double A/C midrange room.
Food and especially beer is remarkably cheap. A can of beer in the supermarket costs no more the 0,5 USD and a meal in a food court can go for as little as 1 USD. Local transportation is very good value. A jeepney ride in manila will cost around 0,20 USD while taxi flagdown rate is 1 USD and 0,1 USD for every 300 meter or 2 minutes waiting time. Expect to pay around 4 USD for an average taxi ride across town in Manila's heavy traffic. Long distance buses to the province have varying rates depending on the amenities and route and stops on the way. A ticket from Manila to Baguio costs between 5 and 15 USD and can take anywhere between 5 an 15 hours.
Since the introduction of budget airlines in the Philippines, flying has become an economical option if you plan ahead and don't have to follow a strict time table. Flights to popular destinations such as Coron can be booked for less then 20 USD for a return flight from Manila. Major budget airlines flying in the Philippines with online booking options are:
- Philippine Airlines or PAL: The nations flag carrier with an extensive network in- and outside The Philippines.
- Flypalexpress (formerly known as Airphilexpress) : Is Philippine Airlines budget counterpart that serves local destinations and also nearby international countries like Hongkong and Thailand.
- Cebu Pacific Air: Budget airline with good promos to local destinations as well as international flights.
- Air Asia (formerly Zest Air): Provides budget flights across the country and also the other countries within Asia like Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and India. Reasonably good deals and watch out for their All-In promo flights since it can be really cheap.
Shoestring travelers on a tight budget can get by on about 15 USD a day. Double that budget and you can travel in relative comfort, staying in midrange hotel, taking an occasional taxi and eating 3 meals a day in decent restaurants plus drinking a beer or two.
To give you an idea about the price level, below is list of average prices for some other everyday commodities:
- Bread (Pan de Sal): $1.00
- Empanada: $0.30
- Starbuck's coffee: $2.50
- Sim card: $1
- Soft drink: $0.30
- Import beer: $1.50
- Import wine (glass):$3.00
- Fresh fruit: $0.30-$1.50
- Bottled water (1 Liter): $0.10
Note: exchange rate used 1 USD = 43 PHP.