16 days in the Philippines: Budget Breakdown

We’ll be honest: we had zero expectations when we arrived in the Philippines. We thought it would just be a relaxing stop on our world trip, perfect for chilling and sunbathing. Oh how wrong we were! The Philippines blew us away with its stunning scenery, beautiful beaches, magical sunsets, and super friendly people. It quickly became one of our favorite countries! Now, you might be wondering if it’s also affordable. Since we celebrated Kelvin’s birthday there, we splurged on a nice hotel and a fancy dinner, which meant we didn’t stick to our budget as much as we’d hoped. Find out how much we spent during our 16 days in the Philippines in this budget breakdown, and get our tips so you can do better than us. 😉

How much did our trip to the Philippines in May 2024 cost? Here’s our budget breakdown for 16 days in the Philippines:


We started our trip to the Philippines in Moalboal, Cebu. To get there from Ho Chi Minh City, we booked flights with Cebu Pacific Air about 3 months in advance. We had a layover in Manila, arriving around 2 AM and catching our next flight to Cebu at 5:25 AM, which saved us the cost of an overnight stay. The total cost for both of us, including checked baggage and seat selection, was € 314,50.

Total cost of flights: € 314,50


We booked 14 nights of accommodations in advance because we had a night flight from Dumaguete to Coron, so that saved us 1 overnight stay. Unfortunately, this flight got canceled at 11 PM which messed up our plans quite a bit. We had to spend a night in Dumaguete, travel to Cebu the next day, and spend another night there. This unplanned situation meant we’d lose one night in either Coron or El Nido. We decided to keep our four nights in Coron since we had a nice hotel for Kelvin’s birthday, and shorten our stay in El Nido by one night. We didn’t mind this at all, since our El Nido room had a bunk bed. Yes, we opted for a room with a bunk bed because it was a lot cheaper! 😂

Now onto the cost of our accommodations. Finding accommodation in the Philippines was trickier than anticipated. We mainly searched for hostels, but we found they were quite pricey! Luckily, we found some great (dare we say, budget) alternatives.

In Moalboal, we stayed at D’Gecko Hotel for € 12 per person per night. In Manila, we spent a night at Lub d Philippines Makati, which cost only € 15 per person for a really nice room! Our most unique stay was in Siquijor, where we spent two nights in a treehouse at Mandala Tribe Treehouses for € 30 per person per night. It was an unforgettable experience! Oh by the way, all these accommodations were double rooms with a private bathroom so we didn’t have to give up any comfort.

For Kelvin’s birthday, we opted for a bit more luxury. We stayed four nights at Venus Royale Hotel in Coron for € 36 per person per night. It was totally worth it for the spacious room, balcony, and lovely bathroom. The hotel also had a swimming pool, perfect for relaxing after a long day of celebrating. 😉

In total, we spent € 721,25 for 15 nights, which averages to € 48 per night for both of us, or € 24 per person per night. We think that’s not bad, especially since we stayed in some really nice places! We really thought our accommodation costs in the Philippines would’ve been much higher, to be honest.

Total cost of accommodation for 15 nights: € 721,25


Apart from accommodation, our next biggest expense was transportation. We spent a total of € 645,09, averaging € 40,32 per day for both of us. We were quite surprised by this! After looking into it, we found that the biggest costs were our two domestic flights. Flying from El Nido to Manila cost € 194 for both of us, and our flight from Cebu to Coron was € 163 in total. That’s already more than half of all our expenses for transportation! The ferry from Coron to El Nido was also pricey at € 91 for both. Overall, we can say that island hopping in the Philippines is quite expensive!

Total cost of transportation: € 645,09


Food in the Philippines

We were surprised by how affordable restaurants were in the Philippines. We often ate at international places with dishes like burgers, pasta, and smoothie bowls. Most meals cost between € 10 and € 15 for both of us, including two dishes and two drinks, which is quite reasonable! Our most expensive dinner was for Kelvin’s birthday at Castizo, a cozy tapas bar in Coron. We spent € 45 there, but we had a carafe of sangria and six sharing dishes, which explains the price. Local places were even cheaper, about € 8 for both of us. In total, we spent € 366,87 on food, averaging € 22,93 per day or € 11,50 per person per day. We went out for both lunch and dinner every day.

Total cost of food: € 366,87


Since it was Kelvin’s birthday in the Philippines, we decided to celebrate. We enjoyed rum-pineapple cocktails during our Coron Island tour, and in the evening, we went to Sunburn Rooftop Lounge to watch the sunset with cocktails in hand. They even gave us free shots for Kelvin’s birthday, which was so thoughtful! We also met a sweet German girl in Coron and had cocktails on the beach with her during sunset one night. Another evening, we enjoyed cocktails with a lovely Dutch couple we met along the way. In total, we spent € 76,97 on drinks, which isn’t bad considering we had more drinks than usual! 😉

Total cost of drinks: € 76,97


16 days of sightseeing in the Philippines

We never skimp on experiences. We booked private tours on Coron and El Nido and did the Kawasan Falls Canyoneering tour in Moalboal. For the private tour on El Nido, we paid € 138 for both of us and chose Tour A. The Kawasan Falls Canyoneering tour, which we booked through our hotel, cost € 68 plus an extra € 19 for the zipline. In Coron, we only spent € 50 for a private Coron Island tour, thanks to a collaboration with GetYourGuide, and an additional € 40 for entrance fees. Other expenses included small beach fees, but these were never more than € 1. For all the tours we went on, we think our total of € 346,14 for both of us is actually pretty good!

Total cost of sightseeing: € 346,14


The Philippines was the first country where we didn’t need to buy a visa, yay! This meant we didn’t spend much on miscellaneous expenses. We paid € 14 for a sim card, € 23 for two laundry sessions, and € 28 in tips for our tour guides, which they totally deserved. Other expenses included supermarket snacks and drinks, and Kelvin got a haircut for just € 3,25! It was definitely the cheapest haircut he’s ever had, and they did a pretty good job. If you’re looking for an affordable barber in Coron, Sharkys Tipsy Barber and Salon is the place to go. 😉

Total cost of other expenses: € 109,92

Total of our 16 days in the Philippines

Here is our budget breakdown for 16 days in the Philippines in May 2024:

Total per category for the two of us

✈️ Flights: € 314,50
🛏️ Accommodation: € 721,25 (€ 48,08 per night)
⛴️ Transportation: € 645,09 (€ 40,32 per day)
🍔 Food: € 366,87 (€ 22,93 per day)
🍹 Drinks: € 76,97 (€ 4,81 per day)
🌊 Sightseeing: € 346,14 (€ 21,63 per day)
🛒 Other: € 109,92 (€ 6,87 per day)

💰 Total excluding flights: € 2 266,24 | € 141,64 per day for 2 | € 70,82 per day per person
💰 Total including flights: € 2 580,74

Excluding our flight costs, we averaged € 141,64 per day for both of us, or € 70,82 each. We had set a daily budget of € 150 for the Philippines, so we’re proud we stayed within that! Our biggest expenses were accommodation and transportation. Private tours can also add up quickly, but we definitely felt they were worth every penny.

For budget travelers in the Philippines, a reasonable daily budget per person is between € 40 to € 50. This covers food, accommodation, transport, and other expenses. It means opting for simple accommodations, group tours, local meals, and just a few drinks.

The Philippines quickly became one of our favorite destinations. We never expected to fall in love with a country so deeply! The stunning scenery, beautiful beaches, incredible sunsets, and friendly people made everything perfect. Leaving was really tough. We had an amazing time exploring the islands and also found plenty of time to relax. We met so many wonderful people, making it even harder to say goodbye. Philippines, we’ll definitely be back!

Tips and tricks for saving money in the Philippines

We already mentioned we didn’t stick to our budget as much as usual, especially since it was Kelvin’s birthday. We stayed in nice accommodations, did lots of tours, and went out for dinner and drinks often. That said, we still believe you can visit the Philippines on a budget! Here are some tips and tricks we learned from our own experience to help you explore the Philippines without breaking the bank.

1. Accommodation

In the Philippines, hostels can sometimes be pricier than regular hotels, especially if you want a private room. So, don’t rule out hotels! Also, it’s a good idea to book your hotels in advance, especially in popular spots like El Nido and Coron. The longer you wait, the fewer choices you’ll have, and prices will go up!

2. Transportation

If you want to visit the Philippines on a budget, try to limit the number of islands you visit. It’s cheaper to stay longer on one island since getting around on a single island is much less expensive than traveling between islands. Ferries and domestic flights can add up quickly!

3. Sightseeing

We think the best way to explore the islands in the Philippines is by taking a private tour. Sure, they’re more expensive than group tours, but here’s a tip: the more people you have, the cheaper the tour gets! So, make some friends along the way and split the cost. This way, you can enjoy the perks of a private tour without breaking the bank!

Here’s another tip: don’t book your tour at the first office you see. On El Nido, we checked out at least 15 offices, and private tour prices ranged from 8,500 to 13,000 pesos. That’s a big difference! Also, make sure to ask what’s included. Look for tours where entrance fees, hotel pickup, and dropoff are included. This way, you won’t end up paying more than you expected.

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