Asia/ Philippines/ Travel

How much to budget for two weeks in the Philippines [2024]

Figuring out how much to budget for two weeks in the Philippines was unexpectedly tough so I’ve created this guide with everything I know to help you plan your trip.

As a popular backpacker destination in Asia, visions that spring to mind involve 50p noodles at the side of a road, scooters zooming through the streets to reach a hidden waterfall and long, long journeys between cities. The Philippines is absolutely all of that, but it’s also more expensive to travel than many of the surrounding countries. Don’t worry though – it’s worth it!

photo of boy swinging over body of water
Photo by Gerald Yambao on

In short: it’s possible to budget for two weeks in the Philippines – thousands of backpackers do it each year – but my experience unexpectedly turned out to be very different.

How my travel style affected my budget in the Philippines

As you browse Wander with Laura, you’ll find plenty of budget travel blogs that come from years of travelling on a shoestring but this trip was more flush than any I’ve ever taken. In 2018, I was lucky enough to win a trip of a lifetime (no, literally!) in tandem with a Best Budget Travel Blogger award.

If I had all the time in the world, I’d have taken that prize fund and stretched it out to cover months in the incredible archipelago but as us travel lovers know, annual leave is always in woefully short supply. My trip was condensed into a two week whistlestop tour of some Filipino hotspots I’ve been lusting after for years and when you travel faster, the amount of money you spend can rocket.

This guide is designed to help all types of traveller figure out how much to budget for two weeks in the Philippines. Use the approximate costs of getting around, food, transport and activities to compare with your budget and you’ll be on your way in no time!

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How much to budget for two weeks in the Philippines

How much does transport cost in the Philippines?

As a group of over 3,000 islands, getting around in the Philippines is harder than mainland South East Asia where frequent and cheap buses shuttle thousands of tourists between cities each day.

Ferry and plane are your main methods of getting between islands. The former are cheap but notoriously slow, while the latter is much quicker but far more expensive, with a greater environmental impact to consider too. We used both during our two weeks in the Philippines: let me break it down further for you.

Cost of internal flights in the Philippines: £427 | $550 per person

Internal flights bumped up the cost of transport significantly as travelling the Philippines in two weeks will involve flying to save time. However you’ll visit some of the smallest, cutest airports you’ll ever see this way too! Our itinerary included:

Manila – Boracay (Caticlan)
Boracay has two main airports: Caticlan and Kalibo. Caticlan is much closer with just a 30 minute transfer to Boracay (bus-boat-bus) vs a two hour transfer from Kalibo to Boracay. If you’re a budget traveller, compare the price of both airports – understandably, Kalibo is usually cheaper – but we paid extra to avoid adding even longer to our nearly day-long journey.

Boracay (Caticlan) – El Nido
To get to El Nido, many budget travellers will fly into Puerto Princesa in Palawan, then take a six hour van transfer to El Nido itself. However, Airswift, a domestic Philippino airline, offer direct flights to Lio Airport in El Nido from a number of destinations and this is the option we chose.

Airswift Philippines

El Nido – Cebu
We took another Airswift flight from El Nido to Cebu, before catching a ferry across to Panglao island to visit Bohol.

Cebu – Legazpi
We left the tourist trail to seek out an ethical whale shark experience in Donsol. It was a long journey, flying from Cebu to Legazpi airport, followed by a two hour van transfer to Donsol, but it was worth every second of the journey.

Read my guide to Donsol (and what it’s like to swim with whale sharks!) here.

Legazpi – Manila
My least favourite flight of the lot because this meant we were flying home!

Flight to Donsol
The incredible view above Legazpi

A two week itinerary will have you choosing speed and convenience over budget, unless you’re happy relaxing on just a couple of islands. While I won’t go through everything we spent, here’s what you can expect to pay for some of the most common journeys in the Philippines.

Cost of other transport in the Philippines: 5,470 Pisos | £83 | $106 per person

Transfer to/from Boracay: 300 – 700 Pisos | £4.50 – £10.50 | $7 – $15 per person

After a 4am alarm, three flights and barely two hours sleep sat upright in economy, we blearily booked our transfer at one of the offices in Caticlan airport. This includes a bus transfer to the jetty, a boat to Boracay and another bus to our hotel for 700 Pisos per person.

On our return journey, we arranged a tricycle and boat transfers ourselves which cost 300 Pisos per person – under half the price! Budget travellers take note – that’s an easy way to save!


Ferry from Cebu to Tagbilaran, Bohol: 500 – 600 Pisos | £7.50 – £9 | $9.50 – $11.50 per person

If you’re headed to Bohol (and I would highly recommend it!), the ferry is super easy to navigate. I’d highly recommend upgrading to an air conditioned boat as the cost is minimal – we did and it was worth it for the two hour journey.

We paid for our ferry tickets at the office outside the terminal on both occasions but be aware that this doesn’t include a ‘luggage fee’ of just over 100 Pisos per bag. To this day, I still don’t know whether this is legit or a scam but it’s something to bear in mind. Bohol ferry port also charge a terminal fee of 20 Pisos per person.

Van from Tagbilaran to Alona Beach, Panglao: 600 Pisos | £9.00 | $11.50 per car

Chat to people on the ferry if you want to share lifts – you’ll often find staying in the same area which can bring the cost down!

Bohol Chocolate Hills
Chocolate Hills, Bohol

Van from Legazpi to Donsol: 125 – 2,000 Pisos | £2 – £30 | $2.50 – $38 per car

When travelling in the Philippines, you’ll usually find that there’s a super cheap. long route or a fast, expensive option. If you’re on a budget or travelling with a group, take a tricycle to Legazpi terminal where you can catch a van to Donsol. This is a super cheap way of reaching Donsol as you’ll pay as little as 125 Pisos per person but you may be waiting for the van to fill up before it leaves.

As our flight arrived an hour before sunset, we didn’t want to risk being stuck in Legazpi for the night so we booked a 2,000 Piso car transfer via our hotel in Donsol.

As for any other transport costs, we only really took taxis or tricycles when we were in transit. Walking is my absolute favourite way to see a destination, not only because it’s more sustainable but also because you often spot things you might have missed otherwise.

How much does food cost in the Philippines?

Luna Rossa Vegetarian Italian Restaurant

One of my favourite things about travel is eating out and experiencing local cuisine. In all honesty, this was a little harder as a vegetarian in the Philippines – it’s not as veggie friendly as other countries in South East Asia – but we did come across some great foot spots!

Cost of eating out in the Philippines: 10,043 Pisos | £152 | $195 per person

Local delicacies in the Philippines are quite meat-based – for example, lechon, a roasted pig dish that Anthony Bourdain claimed ‘the best in the world’ in Cebu. Typically if you eat more local food, you’ll have cheaper meal costs than if you steer towards more Western options. Their most popular fast-food chain is Jollibee, kind of like the KFC of the Philippines!

  • Average lunch for two, including drinks: 618 Pisos | £9.50 | $12
  • Average dinner for two, including drinks: 927 | £14 | $18
  • Average snacks for two (e.g. ice cream or grab & go bits): 246 Pisos | £3.80 | $4.80
  • Average price of a cocktail: 150 Pisos | £2.30 | $2.90
Luna Rossa Vegetarian Italian Restaurant Bohol

How much do activities cost in the Philippines?

There are so many incredible things to do and see in the Philippines that it’d be possible to spend months there and barely scratch the surface. From hidden streets in sprawling cities to tiny islands with sand that almost glows in the sunlight, spending time here can cost as much or as little as you’d like.

Cost of activities in the Philippines: 12,275 Pisos | £187 | $238

Across our two weeks in the Philippines, we balanced our full days out doing tons of activities with some more relaxed days on the beach.

Let’s break down of what we did and how much you’ll need to budget for activities and things to do in the Philippines.

Big Lagoon kayaking El Nido

El Nido Island Hopping Tour A: 1,200 Pisos | £18 | $23 per person

You’ll find these tours everywhere in El Nido at a consistent price, including four – five stops and lunch. While the locations were unbelievably beautiful, it did feel super touristy to be shuttled from one beach or snorkelling spot to the next with many boats of others. Secret Beach and Secret Lagoon definitely aren’t so secret in 2024!

Full disclosure: while I’d factored this tour into our travel budget, it was kindly gifted to us as part of my work with the El Nido Tourist Office.

Check out my blog post about sustainable tourism in El Nido to learn more.

To get a more unique experience, my recommendation would be to pay for a private boat to stop exactly where you’d like – backpackers, you could group together with travellers from your hostel to split the cost.

This way, you can leave earlier than organised tours and have a more personalised experience seeing only the places you’re really passionate about visiting.

Chocolate Hills Bohols

Private tour of Bohol: 1,850 Pisos | £22.25 | $29 per person

After our tour of El Nido left us enthralled by the magical lagoons, but a little flattened by the generic ‘A, B, C or D’ tour style, we decided to do things a little differently in Bohol.

Full day 10-stop tours of Bohol are available for around 400 – 500 Pisos per person but a few travellers we chatted to sounded pretty disappointed with their experience.

This cemented our decision to splash out on a private driver for the day at 2,500 Pisos (£37.88), then paid the entrances to the attractions separately – I’ll break down in my article all about Bohol coming soon!

Bohol Manmade Forest

We loved every second of the tour: our driver Arnel was the kindest man, chatting to us for hours as we drove between attractions and taking endless photos whenever we asked. We drove past his mum walking down the road, explored the cave close to his house and he told us about how devastating it was to experience the earthquake that flattened many houses in Bohol back in 2013. It was a really personal experience that we just wouldn’t have got from a coach tour.

If you’re planning to visit Bohol and want to take a private tour, I’d highly recommend Arnel and can pass along his contact details. Otherwise, keep a lookout for a reputable private tour guide, or a group tour that doesn’t cram too much into one day.

Beginners dive in Panglao, Bohol: from 3,700 | £56 | $71 per person

I was so excited to scuba dive for the first time on this perfect trip. However when the time came, I really sadly had to sit it out.

However, for those of you who do want to dive in Bohol, I’d highly recommend Bohol Fun Divers. They’re a PADI five star centre with brilliant instructors who are kind, patient and highly experienced. Beginners dives include a three hour session, including an in-pool introduction and a 20 – 30 minute dive out at sea.

Kawasan Falls Philippines

Moalboal and Kawasan Falls trip from Cebu: 8,399 | £128 | $163 per car

I was absolutely desperate to see the Moalboal sardine run and the Kawasan Falls so when we headed back to Cebu after Bohol, I scoured the internet to find a tour that would take us on the long day trip. The journey is around three hours each way- something I didn’t realise when planning our route.

That being said, we had an amazing day on the private boat trip to snorkel at the sardine run – with the added bonus of seeing dolphins, turtles and a couple of dangerous jellyfish that had us swimming in the other direction very quickly!

The best way to see these attractions is by staying in Moalboal. This will save you a ton of money and you’ll also get to explore some of the area’s hidden gems by staying for longer. There are some great tour options out there that can get you from place to place!

Private whale shark tour: 3,000 Pisos | £46 | $59 per person

While we didn’t actually intend to book a private whale shark tour in Donsol, it turned out to be the best thing we did.

Whale shark on the sea bed

Donsol is well-known for being a more ethical destination to spot whale sharks but in reality, regulations stating ‘no more than six people to a whale shark’ are often not followed the daily snorkelling tours. After our boat got caught up in about six boatloads of people jumping in the water to catch a glimpse of one shark, we asked our captain to head off in a different direction entirely to try and seek out another of the majestic creatures away from the crowds.

Read my blog post about snorkelling with whale sharks in Donsol.

For travellers who want to make the most ethical choice, I’d urge you to group together with some like-minded people to hire out your own boat. We booked online through Donsol Eco Tours.

Firefly tour: 2,000 Pisos (£30.30) for two people

A firefly river tour was such a magical way to end our adventures through the Philippines. Floating down the river in complete darkness, we quickly realised that the stargazing is just as incredible as spotting the many fireflies hovering in the trees. Our guide was also fascinating with amazing English and tons of really cool facts about fireflies and different environmental initiatives taking place in the Philippines. I’d highly recommend this tour for one of your evenings in Bohol! Again, we booked through Donsol Eco Tours.

Kawasan Falls Cebu

Other: 1,710 Pisos | £26

Looking back, my smattering of extras were all pretty meaningful. There’s the bamboo straw I bought in a bid to leave behind plastic and the shampoo / conditioner bars I fell in love with from Bohol Bee Farm – I still miss these daily!

The usual gifts for family and friends, plus a few packs of my favourite Indomie Mi Goreng noodles (I’m reminded of backpacking every time I eat these!) made up the rest.

What is the cost of accommodation in the Philippines?

Hotel in Boracay

As I was lucky enough to have won this trip as a prize, I went pretty crazy with hotels, compared to my usual travel budget.

To give you an idea, when I was backpacking in Vietnam our guesthouse rooms averaged around £8.50 per night. Our travel budget in Cambodia was even cheaper at just under £6 per night.

If you’re on a Western budget, these are pretty insane prices so I’m able to see the immense contrast when I say that our hotels in the Philippines averaged at just over £100 per night. This cost was bumped up considerably by an unforgettable stay at Miniloc Island Resort – although if I had a lottery win, I’d go back in a heartbeat.

Read my hotel review of Miniloc Island, El Nido here

The Philippines has great budget accommodation options absolutely everywhere: you could bag a room for £8-15 per night.

I’ve written up a full post on everywhere I stayed in the Philippines and how much it cost. Read it here if you’re interested in learning more:

Where to stay in the Philippines and how much it costs

When searching for places to stay, I check prices on a few different websites but virtually always find my best deals on


If you’re still reading, congratulations for making it through this whopper of an article! I hope this information overload has helped you figure out how much to budget for two weeks in the Philippines.

So now, the big reveal! During two weeks in the Philippines, our spends totted up to:

Total spend for two people: 57,285 Pisos | £868 | $1,100
Total spend per person: 28,643 | £434 | $550
Average daily cost per person: 2,046 Pisos | £31 | $40

I’d love to hear your experiences of travelling in South East Asia so do get in touch and let me know how you found travelling in the Philippines.

Laura x

Read more on the Philippines

Where to stay in the Philippines and how much it costs
Guide to visiting Boracay
Is this El Nido’s most eco-friendly hotel?

A guide to whale sharks and fireflies in Donsol
Sustainable tourism in El Nido

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How much to budget for two weeks in the Philippines

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  • Reply
    May 23, 2019 at 2:05 pm

    It’s more fun in the Philippines!! Thanks for sharing this 🙂 I’m a Lifestyle Blogger from PH

    Check out my blog: Living Beyond Style (

  • Reply
    April 25, 2020 at 4:45 pm

    Amazing article, thank you. We’re thinking of going next April.

  • Reply
    Azzy Wazzy
    March 20, 2024 at 5:51 pm


    Is it best to fly in/out from the same airport? travelling from London

    Wanted to fly into Manilla and slowly head south and catch a flight home back to London from the southern part

    • Reply
      March 20, 2024 at 8:17 pm

      We flew to/from Manila just because it worked out much cheaper – even with having to catch internal flights to/from other areas. I’d compare prices for a return to Manila (including an internal flight back to Manila) or the London – Manila / South – London option, then decide based on price/timings.

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