THE PHILIPPINES ON A BUDGET: What to Do in the Philippines
There is no way a traveller would not love a country with more than seven thousand islands, adorned with serene and unspoiled beaches, warm locals, and cheap beers, because really, that’s practically all you need for a vacation, right? The Philippines is continuously becoming a top destination in Southeast Asia because it has all of that and a whole lot more.
Its beaches are one of the best in the world and visitors always end up captivated by the piece of paradise they experience in the country. And the further you explore the magnificence of the Philippines, the more you realize that there’s so much amassed beauty and allure to discover in this tiny archipelago in the south-east.
If you only have a few weeks in the Philippines, check this 2-week itinerary while if it's your first time here, check this Philippines travel tips. If you are going to go backpacking in Southeast Asia, here is an ultimate Southeast Asia travel budget.
- Do you need a visa to travel to the Philippines?
- Affordable destinations outside the Philippines
- Why visit the North of the Philippines?
It is undeniable that the Philippines is popular among travellers because of its breathtaking coastlines and lush greeneries. More so, apart from being known for being warm and inviting, Filipinos are able to speak and understand English, hence, foreign travellers grow fond of the country because it makes their experience more convenient.
They also love the country for its inexpensive cost of living. Budget travellers and backpackers appreciate the low-priced flight options, inexpensive hostels and lodging as well as food and transportation. Tour options in the country are also competitively priced to make sure you enjoy the Philippines even on a budget.
Here are some tours you might want to consider when planning a trip to the Philippines:
The Philippines on a Budget
To help you have an idea about travelling in the Philippines, here are some tips:
- Sim card with mobile data: Globe and Smart - $1 (sim card only) $20 (sim card with " GB for 30 days) - ask a local to help you get the best deals (since it changes very often) and how to register
- Budget airlines: Cebu Pacific, Air Asia (always check in online before your flight)
- Ferry: 2Go Travel
- Street food: $.50-$1 - if you are a foodie, check these best food to eat in the Philippines
- Hostel dorm: $$7
- Private room: $10
ACCOMMODATION BOOKING SITES
RECOMMENDED AFFORDABLE TOURS
FOR TRANSPORTATION AROUND SOUTHEAST ASIA
IN AND AROUND MANILA
The Philippines was under the Spanish regime for hundreds of years and the influence of Spain is clearly depicted all throughout the metropolitan Manila. Considered as the world’s most densely populated city, it is the pride of its national parks, world-class architecture, sumptuous local food, and more. You can find premier skyscrapers in the city of Makati, the country’s business centre. Lifestyle communities with numerous shopping malls, public parks, and restaurants are also must-visits when in Manila. At the very heart of the city, you can take a step into Rizal Park, and the famous walled city, Intramuros. Because of the predominant Spanish influence, Catholic churches are of hundred years old are also all around Manila.
One of the many waterfalls in the country, the Pagsanjan Falls is a popular destination in the province of Laguna, only two and a half hours away from Metro Manila. It is a three-drop waterfall that can be reached via a dugout canoe that follows upstream ravines and greeneries. The Pagsanjan Falls invites you to swim in its cool waters or hop on a bamboo raft and explore its beauty.
Have you heard of a volcano island? Taal Volcano is one. Yes, a volcano in the middle of a lake that has another lake on its crater. The crater lake also has a volcano island on it. Sounds confusing, right? But to be honest you do not have to understand that to enjoy the amazing view that is Taal. Only about two hours away from Manila, you can hike to the crater of the volcano and appreciate this is a unique volcano island.
The Philippines is known for its tropical weather, which means that the weather can be hot all year round. However, with only about a two-hour drive from the metro, the city of Tagaytay is elevated enough to have a cool and cosy climate ideal for outdoor picnics or a day at the amusement park. The city has lots of well-known restaurants that serve signature Filipino dishes while also offering a majestic view of the Taal Volcano. Visitors and locals alike enjoy Tagaytay City because of its accessibility, the sumptuous food, and the various activities the city offers.
LAS CASAS FILIPINAS de ACUZAR
If you want to see more Spanish influences in the Philippines, the Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar will show you just that. You will see historical mansions of high-profile Filipinos restored and rebuilt into architectural gems while still preserving their rich legacy.
One of the most significant war grounds during the World War II, Corregidor depicts the heroism of the Filipino and American soldiers as they defend the country against the forces of Japan. The island houses the Spanish Lighthouse, the Pacific War Memorial, and the Filipino-American Friendship Park.
Located in the Visayas region, Bohol is famous for the magnificent Chocolate Hills, which is composed of more than 1,700 hills in an area of about 50 square kilometres. The name Chocolate Hills is derived from the fact the whilst the hills are covered by greeneries, they turn to chocolate brown colour or during the dry season. Apart from the incredible view of the Chocolate Hills, the province of Bohol also is home to some of the country’s oldest stone churches and relics. Travelers also enjoy the Loboc river cruise over lunch. Thirty minutes away from the city is the island of Panglao with its serene white sand beaches and snorkelling sites.
Cebu City is the oldest city in the Philippines and is considered as the centre of economy and education in the Visayas region. The Magellan’s Cross, which was erected in 1521 when Ferdinand Magellan, a Spanish explorer, arrived in the city, is a major landmark and tourist destination in Cebu. Apart from this, there are several churches, museums, and galleries around the city that you can visit on foot. From the city, you can explore the neighbouring islands such as Mactan, which prides on its beautiful beaches and coral reefs. The beaches in Mactan are also ideal for snorkelling, diving, or sailing.
You’ve most likely heard of the Boracay island before you even knew anything else about the Philippines. This little island in the province of Aklan in Visayas and is known all over the world for having the finest and whitest sand of all. The stretch of the white sand beach is several kilometres long and is filled with a budget to high-end hotels, restaurants, bars, and shopping areas.
In Boracay, you literally can live on the beach. It has been ranked as the best island in the world by different travel magazines and websites and it is not difficult to see why. Boracay is one of the most visited islands in the Philippines all throughout the year. Many head to Boracay for amazing water activities, although if its too crowded for you, you might want to check out Siargao, here is a Siargao travel guide for outdoor and sports activity.
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Think of lagoons, blue waters, hidden beaches, and unspoiled islands – that’s what El Nido is. Located in the province of Palawan, El Nido has become one of the most visited islands in the country for the past years. Travelers are enchanted with the beauty and rawness of the island, offering scenic beaches, mountains, waterfalls, diverse wildlife, and more. El Nido is also a popular diving site because limestone cliffs and white sand beaches adorn the whole of the island. You may check this itinerary for El Nido and Coron.
Palawan is also famous for being a honeymoon destination, you can have a romantic and perfect honeymoon her eeasily, check out how to do it on this Palawan honeymoon guide. If you like water adventures, Palawan is the place to go, head to Puerto Princesa and experience the underground river.
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Enjoying the Philippines on a budget is not impossible because, for the most part, everything in the country is inexpensive, from food to transportation to tour options. The Philippines is loved by travellers and backpackers because of this. But most importantly, there is just so much to see and discover in the Philippines that travellers keep coming back.