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Philippines Travel Guide

The Philippines, an archipelagic country in South East Asia prides itself on amazing beaches, beautiful nature and interesting wildlife. It is a country comprised of over 7600 islands and is so diverse; it is impossible to only create one truth or travel guide which applies to all islands.

During our month of travels in the Philippines we visited Cebu, Siquijor, Bohol, Siargao, Coron and Palawan. I’ve created lots of Philippines itinerary posts, things to do on each island and even highlighted my favourite things on them. This Philippines travel guide is a mix of Philippines facts in general and the travels from these 6 (very popular) islands.

Things to See and Do in Philippines

  • See tarsiers in Bohol
  • Cambugahay Falls
  • Coron private tour
  • El Nido boat tour
  • Pinagbuyutan Island
  • Siargao palm swing
  • Rent a motorbike and drive out of towns
  • Swim with whale sharks in Donsol

Typical Costs When Travelling

Accommodation – the Philippines offer something for every budget, but you will want to spend more for comfort here. A hotel room with no working toilet, leaking room and ant swarms could cost you $40 USD a night. Accommodation in the Philippines, in general, is by far the worst we have experienced, so bear this in mind when booking and splurge a little more if you can. Wifi will be abysmal, breakfast will be questionable and cleanliness will be very poor. This is how it is and it is better to accept it before travelling to avoid disappointment. Good accommodation will start at around $80 USD for a hotel room. We received tips for Airbnb’s being better than hotels though.

Food – A meal in a mid-range restaurant will cost you around $7 USD per person. Falafel on the street in a tourist area is around $5 USD. When it comes to drinking, you can do it on the cheap with local rum or making sure you go to bars when Happy Hour is still on. Cocktails (during happy hour, 2-4-1) were around $5 and a bottle of Coke around $1 USD. If you go to a local bakery you will spend around $0,1 USD for a bun or something sweet.

Transportation – This was so varied even in the six islands we visited. While a 3-hour bus ride might cost you a mere $2 USD per person, a 10-minute ride from the bus station to your hotel with a tuk-tuk will be $5 USD. The transportation costs are island-specific and the prices for those we visited will be in each separate related articles.

Philippines illustrated map

Suggested daily budget

$40-100 USD. Note: This is a suggested budget assuming you’re staying in a mid-range hotel, eating out a little and using the local transportation. Using the budget tips below, you can always lower this number. However, if you stay in fancier accommodation, take a lot of flights or eat out more often, expect this to be higher!

Money-Saving Tips

1. Rent a motorbike  While public transportation is very cheap, getting around as a non-Filipino in tourist places will cost you if you take tuk-tuks everywhere. Renting a motorbike is a better option if you have plenty to see!

2. Learn to LOVE rice  If you skip western meals in the Philippines, you can definitely save a pretty penny. The price difference is huge, so if you are on a budget – rice is your go-to food.

3. Sleep on the beach  If there is one thing we learned in the Philippines it’s that camping on the beach is totally normal. Make sure you don’t leave any trash behind though!

4. Ferries  While some islands are only accessible by planes, you could save a lot of money by taking ferries instead of flights for some of them. It will take you much, much longer though. Domestic flights are very expensive here and make sure you book far in advance if you want to fly and still save a little.

When to visit the Philippines

The Philippines span over a large area and it differs very much on where to travel when. The guys here did a good job covering all of it month by month. Although people mostly recommend visiting in January/February, we visited in April/May and had similar weather everywhere. Some rain, a lot of heat, but none of it ruined our plans too much.

Philippines articles