Three months traveling the Philippines – Budget, Costs and Tips.

Posted by on July 6, 2014

Budget Philippines Recently people have been asking me about the costs of my three months journey across the Philippines. A little poll on my Facebook Page also showed that there seems to be quite an interest in this topic. And because I never went much into detail in terms of budget and numbers, I would like to give you all a rough overview about what I spent and how I calculated beforehand. First of all it needs to be mentioned that this is very personal and might change a lot depending on how you like to travel individually and what kind of things you are after when on a holiday. Of course, if you are after luxury and maximum comfort, then you will end up spending more than someone who is more a backpacker kind of traveler. The activities you do while on holiday can also make a big difference. Diving can be expensive and so can longer guided tours for example. All of these factors make budgeting for such a trip in the Philippines a very subjective matter, but let’s start with some of my own numbers:

Backpacking-Philippines-El Nido

I like the backpacker style of traveling. Here somewhere around El Nido, Palawan

 

1| Average Costs

Overall I spent about 800 EUR per month which equals 1.100 USD and around 47.500 PHP. This included all the transport in the Philippines, all the accommodation, all the food and all the activities we did. I didn’t include extraordinary expenses like hospital bills (after I almost broke my ankle on Mt. Bulusan), medication, visa fees and such. However, I need to mention that I was able to save quite a big chunk on accommodation costs since I was invited into friends’ houses and also camped outside at the beach for about a week. That made a big difference.

2| Accomodation

For the paid accommodation I calculated an average amount of 6,30 EUR (8,60 USD / 375 PHP). For most of the time I was traveling with two friends I had met in Laos before. That way we were often able to share costs. And this would also be my first tip for you guys. Try to team up with friends or find travel partners online. You will be able to save on accommodation costs and you will generally have better arguments when bargaining for better offers. Our type of accommodation was usually simple, yet nice and comfortable. Clean, cozy and definitely not the cheapest flea pit in town. We stayed in guesthouses, hostels, regular hotels and resorts.  It often helped that we usually didn’t book in advance but checked out several places when we arrived at our destination. That way we were able to compare and even bargain for better prices. You have to be careful though, during the peak of high season this might not work out as places like El Nido tend to become pretty crowded. If you stay longer at a place, I would say three days and more, you have a good argument for getting a better quote as well. Try it, all they can say to you is no.

Camiguin-Seascape Resort

View from our little bungalow at Seascape Resort on Camiguin Island.

Villa-Amor-Biri Island

Villa Amor on Biri Island. Super nice place.

Villa Amor-Biri Island-Rooftop

Villa Amor, Biri Island. The view from the rooftop terrace.

3| Food

I usually ate local at Carenderias and other local food joints. It not offers the cheapest food but for me, coming from abroad, it also makes for the most authentic experience. I of course want to sample the local cuisine and taste the traditional dishes. Even if it means giving a go at Balut; and as you know, I just loved my Tapsilog for breakfast. I spent about 9,50 EUR on food per day (12,90 USD / 560 PHP). This also includes drinks, snacks and the random sunset beer by the beach. It is worth to mention that I do like my beers but I tend not to party a lot and get drunk often. It not only gives me the worst hangovers but it also tends to tear a huge hole in your budget. In every country I visited, alcohol and partying was by far the most expensive activity. I am sure that the Filipinos among you could probably get by with even less money since you know places better and also don’t need the regular fix with western food as we had to do it. Make sure to treat yourself every once in a while with a nice dinner, that of course belongs to traveling just as well.

Local food-Philippines

Having some local food with our Tricy Driver.

 

4| Activities

Activities can really make a huge difference. It really depends what you are after and what you want to do. Relaxing at a nice beach is cheaper than diving for a whole day or doing an island hopping tour. But I can recommend you one thing here. Try not to be too cheap here, meaning that these activities make your holiday enjoyable and the highlight you want it to be. If you really want to do that island hopping tour, then do it, if yo really want to climb that moutain, then do it. Who knows when you will be back there again. Try to save on some other positions instead, like accommodation, food or transportation. Over the course of my journey I spent about 6,00 EUR (8,00 USD / 350 PHP) per day on activities. As this is a rather pointless calculation as you don’t do special activities every single day, I want to list a few examples of things I did along the way:

Trekking Mt. Pinatubo: 2.400 PHP

4 by 4 riding at Mt. Pinatubo

Part of the Pinatubo adventure is done by 4×4 Jeep.

Mt. Bulusan-Trek & Guide Fee: 460 PHP (we were a group of 7)

Mt. Buluan-peak-Philippines

Arrived at the peak of Bulusan Volcano. Strenous hike!

Puerto Princessa Underground River, Sabang: 410 PHP

Puerto Princesa Underground River

The magnificent Underground River in Sabang.

Motorbike Rental: 350 – 600 PHP (El Nido was the most expensive)

Motorbike-El Nido-Nacpan Beach

Renting was most expensive in El Nido. But riding down Nacpan Beach was worth every penny.

Diving in Coron: 3.000 PHP

Wreck Diving-Coron

Wreck diving in Coron

Island Hopping Tour El Nido: 900 PHP

Island Hopping in El Nido, Palawan.

Island Hopping in El Nido, Palawan.

Island Hopping Matnog: 500 PHP

Matnog-Island Hopping

Island Hopping around Matnog. Not too expensive and very nice. We had proper Banka though ;)

Butanding snorkeling Donsol: 880 PHP

Donsol sunset. Unfortunately I have no pic of the Butanding I swam with.

Donsol sunset. Unfortunately I have no pic of the Butanding I swam with.

Boat to White Island, Camiguin: 160 PHP

White Island-Camiguin

Beautiful Island just off the shore of Camiguin. Nice day trip.

These are just a few examples to give you a rough guide on how much things cost. But prices in the tourism industry change very quickly, hence please don’t take these numbers as set in stone. They might have changed already. Always confirm prices beforehand to avoid getting surprised. I also recommend you to calculate expenses for activities a bit more thoroughly if you are on a tight budget. It will save you from overspending. For example renting a motorbike is one thing, but you will also need to buy gas. Things like that can easily add up.

5| Transport

I almost exclusively traveled overland which means that I heavily relied on buses, mini vans and also ferries. I only took one domestic flight and that was from Cebu to Puerto Princessa, Palawan. And to be honest, if I would have had the time, I would have taken the ferry which goes via Cuyo. Using the local types of transportation again makes for a much more authentic experience for a foreigner and of course, it will usually be cheaper. But… I could only do it this way because I had the luxury of time. If you have only one or two weeks, you understandably want to make the most of the time you have. Hence taking a quick flight might be the better alternative in this case. I personally like the local transportation and it always got me where I wanted to go. It was also part of the adventure, figuring out how to get from one place to another, asking for connections, riding topload and sometimes getting lost. A flight won’t offer that.

Tricycle in the Philippines

Overloaded Tricycle on the way to Mt. Pinatubo. Still worked.

On average I spent 5,50 EUR (7,50 USD / 325 PHP) on transport per day.  Here are a few examples for different types of transportation and their prices:

Bus Manila – Baguio: 460 PHP

Bus Manila – Naga: 1.000 PHP

Minivan Lagazpi – Sorsogon: 85 PHP

Tricycles: 15 – 100 PHP

Banka charter Gubat – Biri (Samar): 2.000 PHP (500 PHP per person with 4 people)

Ferry Cebu – Bohol: 400 PHP

Ferry Bohol – Camiguin: 350 PHP

6| General considerations:

It all really depends on your own personal travel style and also the amount of time you have. Traveling in style, staying in resorts all the time and partying the night away will cost you more than taking the backpacker path. I found that a mix both can make for a great experience. Go cheap but also treat yourself. Do these activities you always wanted to do and do go out and have a few drinks every now and then.

Time is an issue. You will certainly be able to travel cheaper if you have more time. You will be able to take cheaper transport, you don’t necessarily need to book beforehand giving you more opportunity to compare prices at your destination and you will be able to negotiate prices when you stay longer than just a day or two.

Always keep an eye on your budget. Write things down, even that odd coffee you may drink in the morning. Buy a small notpad for it or use one of the many budgeting apps out there. Don’t worry, you are not considered cheap if you do so, it will just help you to keep an overview and to not overspend. This is especially important for longer journeys.

If you have a tight budget and are planning for a rather short getaway, research prices beforehand and calculate. This way you will avoid bad surprises that might break your budget. Shorter travels will also require a bit more planing ahead and as mentioned above, maybe taking a more expensive means of transportation to save on time.

Haggle for deals, especially during low season. If you are in a group, you have an advantage. I found that you can haggle for almost everything. I am not too good at it but it is always worth a try. Booking things at the location will give you more of an edge as well.

You don’t necessarily have to make reservations beforehand. We almost never did and we never had any problems … well maybe this one time in El Nido where we ended up in a place pretty far away… But only for one night. Booking accommodation at the spot usually leaves you with more choice and you can compare prices.

If you are really low on dough, consider camping. It i an experience in itself and it will save you heaps of money.

Last thoughts…

What I did, traveling the Philippines for three months straight, was probably rather exceptional. And please my friends, you don’t have to do it like this to have a great time. You don’t have to see all of these places all at once or in one journey. I saved up a long time for this trip which overall lasted a year. You don’t need to travel for such an extended period of time. Just do what is in your budget and what your schedule allows. Don’t feel bad if it means to only go away for a week or even an extended weekend. In the end it’s all just about going out there, seeing something new, meeting new people and broadening your horizon. And for that, you often don’t even need to venture far or spend heaps of money. Adventure might just be around the corner. Just get out there and have fun. The Philippines has truly more than enough to offer and to explore.

Adventure may just wait around the next corner. Go find it.

Adventure may just wait around the corner. Go find it.

Come and join the ESCapology tribe

133 Responses to Three months traveling the Philippines – Budget, Costs and Tips.

  1. Aben Garlan

    Wonderful Philippine exploration my friend! Whew! 3months straight. Very lovely.
    Enjoy your next abenture.
    Greetings from My Abenture Philippines (MAP)

  2. richlovelock

    Great write up, thank, interesting to compare your costs and realise what an expensive way I did things!

    • Phil D.

      Long term travel is different than a regular vacation..and the almost one month of staying with friends for free made a huge difference as well…. Cheers Rich and thanks for getting in touch via FB. Really appreciate it …

  3. backpackerlee

    Great advice. I am heading there soon, so this is invaluable!

  4. AJ

    Thanks for the itemized expense. It help a lot of people doing the backpacking path. And people like me who has only few weeks to spare.

    • Phil D.

      Sure thing AJ, hope you can go out and travel a bit soon. I will be in the same situation as you soon, having only a few weeks to spare …

  5. Bijit Dutta

    amazing

  6. angelocrux

    Reblogged this on Never Nothing Going On and commented:
    Phil, the amazing blogger behind Escapology.eu, wrote this great roundup of the most important details about his recent trip to the Philippines. This is very informative and helpful! (Thanks Phil!) As they say, it’s more fun in the Philippines! 😉

  7. Phil D.

    Hi Angel, thanks for reblogging and spreading the word. I appreciate it. Glad it was of help for ya. Take care!

  8. 2ticketstoWonderland

    Your photos amaze me every time. I want o go there right now! :)

    • Phil D.

      Hehe, I want to go back as well when I look at the pics. Happy you like them. Cheers, Philipp

  9. lordge

    This is what I’ve been waiting for and it’s worth the wait. Glad how u sum up everything. U don’t know how happy I am and it only mean 1 thing, I’m ready for my Phil’s adventure.a million thanks to you.

    • Phil D.

      HI Lordge, no problem, I am happy it was use for you. Let me know how your travels go. All the best!

  10. Christina

    i am a filipino who loves to travel but i haven’t traveled the philippines as much as you did. i love your blogs about my country. looks like you enjoyed yourself very much. i am definitely gonna travel again once i get back home..you make me miss the philippines more.

    ps. i noticed you haven’t explored places in mindanao yet. i am from davao, by the way..there might be some safety issues around that area, but i can tell you there are still a lot of safe and really good places to explore in there. i hope you can visit mindanao next time! :)

    • Phil D.

      Hi Christina, Mindanao is high up on my list for future trips to the Philippines. I heard a lot of great things about the region and it makes me want to visit it. Really, next time I will check it out ….. Thanks for the tip and also thanks stopping by.. Cheers, Philipp

      • karen t.

        You should visit Mindanao Philipp. There a lot more to see here. Try to trek Phil. highest peak Mt. Apo, visit the 7 falls in South Cotabato, water rafting in Cagayan de oro, surfing in Surigao Plus a lot more lakes and beaches to see that were not too congested and much affordable.

        • Phil D.

          Hi Karen, yes MIndanao is definitely on my list for my next time. I was actually supposed to go there but didn’t have the time anymore. Climbing Mt. Apo would be a great challenge and of course surfing the Cloud 9 break in Siargao would be great, Hopefully I can come back soon… Thanks for stopping by Karen! Philipp

  11. jollyprincess

    Great blog! Keep posting

  12. Sampag1ta

    I would like to go to the underground river but it seems most tickets which I believe are 220 pesos are sold to a cartel of travel agents who then organise tours ranging from 1500 pesos to $129 for cruise ship passengers. 100 pesos in a van each way seems what it should be. How easy was it for you to get the ticket at the correct price and again how easy to get a seat ( or should I say 3/4 of a seat) in a van from PP ?

    • Phil D.

      The van was really easy to book…we did it right on the spot in Puerta Princessa and did not encounter any problems. The ticketing at the river is a bit strange since every hotel or guesthouse has their own contingencies of ticket slots. You first have to check in with a hotel or guesthouse. They give you a note that you will have to bring to the official underground river ticket office at the little harbor. Then they will put you on a boat and let you know at which time to be there. That was how it worked for us … I wouldn’t go with these overly expensive agencies ….

  13. peter montgomery

    great article Phil . the most important point as u say is time . the philippines is not like thailand , vietnam etc . where all travel is basically done in one piece of real estate . each fil island is unique and takes time to get to .
    i first came to the pi for sightseeing and travel , finally i realized that its the filipino people who are the main attraction ? now i am not being naive here , every filipino is a born hustler , u have to be to survive . they have been dealt a bad hand [ corrupt political set up , police , bureaucracy and everything else ] but still they come up with a smile and a ” hey joe ” .

    talking about ” hey joe ” , ted learner has a book out by this name , beg , borrow or steal to get a read . ted use to hang in the same joint as me in manila ” jasmin lodge ” aquiza street ” i think .

    • Phil D.

      Thanks Peter, some more wise words from a pioneer backpacker. Really appreciate to have you on here. I find it inspiring every time. You have been to the Phils long before the masses set foot on the islands. I will sure try to get that book..probably hard to find but I will try. What was the Jasmin Lodge? Sounds kind of shady haha. All the best Peter!

  14. Pie Rivera

    Hi Philipp! I’ve only seen your travel blog early this month, since your post about the Philippines went viral and it really warms the heart to know more and more travelers from other countries get to appreciate the beauty of our country. A country that is often misunderstood – especially the region of Mindanao which I truly adore. I’m from Manila but my heart constantly misses Mindanao (Davao City and Samal Island in particular). I’m glad you were able to visit Camiguin and hope if you return to the Philippines, you’ll get to consider Davao region – Davao City, Samal Island, Mati in Davao Oriental. Absolute natural beauty with warm and honest people (most of those I meet). Thank you for sharing your wonderful experiences in the Philippines! :)

    • Phil D.

      Hi Pie, we were supposed to visit Mindanao and see places like Davao and CDO. But in the end we didn’t have the time anymore. Even three months is not enough time to see everything. But since I have received a lot of recommendations, Mindanao is high up on top of my list for my next visit. I will definitely have to go……

  15. Pia Mater (@mater_pia)

    Very nice article about the Philippines,..even though you had already your 3-month Philippine taste I want to say to you again ”Wilkommen auf den Philippinen”,…I and my german husband try as much as possible to visit every unknown paradise of this part of Asia,..and even though I am a filipino, I am still fascinated by the beauty of my country. Last February 2014, we had just visited 8 provinces in a month trying every kind of transportation, doing all the bargaining and going local….By the way, I saw one of your pictures is Sambawan, Island in Biliran if I am right…I am from there and if I would be ask where in the world I would like to settle, I won’t exchange my hometown for anything else (Undiscovered Paradise). You should watch the documentation bei ProSieben Maxx about a Florida man who settle in the Philippine jungle with his wife and three boys…very interesting story! (but I don’t know if they have Wiederholung)

    • Phil D.

      Hi Pia, you live in Germany right now? If so, I would have liked to swap since I really would like to move to Pinas. But yeah, I guess it will have to wait a while. Great that you also got to travel around a bit. It’s a great place to explore and discover on your own. I loved it. Biliran and Sambawan was really nice since there weren’t many tourists at all. Really authentic and that’s what I like when I travel abroad. I’ll make sure to look for that doku. Thanks for the tip. Machs gut!

  16. Nikolas

    Interesting that you went the Bohol-Camiguin route. It saved you the headache of the rude drivers and traffic problems of CDO, which is the most common gateway to Camiguin. And btw, since you’ve been into Camiguin, technically you’ve been in Mindanao! =D

    • Phil D.

      Hi Nikolas, yeah we did because we came from Cebu at that time. Unfortunately we didn’t have time for the real Mindanao. But next time I will surely check it out. Thanks for stopping by my friend ..

  17. Louie Dela Vega

    Great day Mr. Phil D!

    Glad you enjoyed your stay in the country. You’re one among the many reasons why it’s truly more fun in the Philippines. And I hope you tag along more friends when you decide to come back again. There are more to explore, to experience, to learn.

    Also, may I ask permission to grab an excerpt of your article to be put on our newspaper, called Focus Weekly, anchored on the spheres of Food, Investment, Technology, and Tourism (FITT). It is widely distributed in most parts of Northern Luzon.

    Thank you, and keep rocking!

    • Phil D.

      Hello Louie,
      thanks for getting in touch with me and reading my article. I sure had a great time in Pinas and as you said, there is still so much more to see, do and explore. Hence I will definitely have to come back…maybe even for good one day..who knows.
      You can publish an excerpt of my article, that is no problem. What I would need though, is a PDF of the page with article on it or a scan. That would be good for my own documentation and that I can see what you guys made of it. But then, it would be absolutely ok. Thanks a lot, Philipp

  18. Tigu Wang

    Hi, Phil!

    Indeed, you already had gone part of Mindanao, and that’s in Camiguin.

    If you’re planning to go to Siargao, Cloud 9 specifically, surely you’d have great time when you visit the place. The clear waters, the fine white beaches, and the surrounding islets await you there. The big waves are awesomely perfect. Been to the place, surfed, and almost died (literally). ’twas my first time surfing and one big wave engulfed me. Still I’ll try again next visit.

    Great photos though. Cheers!

    • Phil D.

      Hi Tigu, I am very tempted to go to Siargao and surf Cloud 9. I heard too many good things about the island and its waves. Must be amazing. Good thing you didn’t die my friend. But I also had these kind of situations..pretty scare, right? Thaks Tigu, for stopping by my friend. Philipp

      • Tigu Wang

        The thought of dying is scary indeed; our adrenaline rush however is worth to feel the thrill blowing us away to a more extreme adventure rather than thinking of being on the verge of death.;)

        If you’re planning to visit Siargao, have it within September and November. International surfing competition often takes place in either of these months.

        Cheers!

    • Phil D.

      Hi Tigu, it is definitely a thrill and I bet surfing Cloud 9 is as well. So yes, I will try to make it there but not sure if I will be able to make it for the comp. But I suppose it is pretty busy during that time anyways… so maybe even better to come after it is over….

  19. ronnel

    awesome blog … astig !! 😉
    hope you visit my province “marinduque” and write a blog about it?
    cheers …

    • Phil D.

      Hi Ronnel,
      thanks a lot for your feedback and getting in touch. I hope I can see Marinduque one day…. Thanks! Philipp

  20. Lou

    Loved your write up…it inspired me…shared it in Facebook :)

  21. louiseosuyos

    Hello what camera ipare you using? And what lens? Your ahots and photoquality is excellent :)

  22. louiseosuyos

    Hi phill what camera are you using? And what lens? Your shots are excellent

    • Phil D.

      Hi Louise, during this trip I used a Canon Eos 600D DSLR camera. With it I used a 50mm 1.8 lens and a 18-135 zoom lens…both made by Canon. I also had some filters in use but didn’t use all too often …. Hope that helps..Cheers!

      • louiseosuyosLouiseosuyos

        I plan to do some travel blogs too someday i will be using eos 700d with 55-250mm will that be good do you think?

      • louiseosuyos

        I plan to do some travel blogs i will use canon 700d 55-200mm will that be good?

        • Phil D.

          Yes, I am sure it would work out. But remember, it is not the camery which takes the picture but the person behind it. So it needs practice and more practice. Try to also buy a 50mm fixed lens… the 1.8 by Canon is really cheap and works like a charm. Cheers

  23. manny

    maraming salamat phil !!

  24. Genia Lavado Ferro

    I really enjoyed reading your blog. I have been living here in Portugal now for straight 6 years and missing home. So reading blogs this eases a bit of the home sickness. Compared to other SE Asian countries, I could say that the amount you spent in the Philippines is worth every penny. The pictures are awesome. Thank you for showing and sharing parts of my beloved Philippines.

    P.S My best friend here is German. And I love her to pieces 😀

    • Phil D.

      Hi Genia, what are you doing in Portugal..also a nice place to live. Good surfing there as well….. Thanks for complimenting on my pics..that is really good feedback. Cheers and say Hallo to your German friend 😉

  25. Pepe Samson

    Your blog is amazing!! Can’t believe I discovered it only recently.

  26. jbdanventures

    Reblogged this on DANVENTURES and commented:
    Definitely NOTED! Gonna save up for this trip 😀

  27. Jacki Casey

    Dude – I’m half philo/half aussie and have travelled to a couple of places you went and after reading your stuff (the round up blog filled my mum’s entire Philippino group of friends with such joy by the way), I’ve been filled with the hugest need to get back to the Philippines and go on a nice, cheap, rough adventure. Booking flights this week actually. Thank you for this :) also – your English is perfect and wonderful to read.

    • Phil D.

      Hi Jacki, thanks for that great feedback. That’s great to hear that you and your family and friends like the article. Biggest compliment I can get. Lucky you that you’wll book flights this week. I wish I could join you. Any idea where you want to go to this time and for how long you will be staying? Sounds like an awesome trip. I have also been extensively traveling AUS and I can say it is also a really nice place…. just sooo far away from Europe hehe

  28. Mel Roberto

    I just chanced upon your blog link on Yahoo Philippines.

    The curious me wants to check what the foreigner will say about my country :)

    Thanks for posting this. Glad you enjoyed Philippines! Its just a pity that I myself haven’t explored my country yet! haha I’ve been to some places you’ve been, but I know I still have alot of places to discover..

    Hope you’ll come back soon! :)

    • Phil D.

      Hi Mel, thanks for stopping by my blog. I am glad you liked it …. You still have time to go exploring..one place at a time… no need to hurry. In the end, you are there already unless me who is back home, far away from beautiful Pinas…. But I hope to be back soon 😉 Philipp

  29. Jean Dumrique

    Proud Filipino here! So happy to see you and your friends enjoyed the Philippines. More adventures to come! :)

    • Phil D.

      Hi Jean….. we sure enjoyed your country..best times. I hope that there are more adventures to come… Take care

  30. Mitch Trinidad

    it was a pleasure from our Filipinos that you like our country. We are continuing exploring our own country as of now. hope you will be back here. btw, we are planning to go in Vietnam early next year any tips and suggestions? coz i read your blog about Vietnam and someone stolen your camera there. thank you and hope to meet you here in Manila when you get back.

    • Phil D.

      HI Mitch, my acam got stolen in Saigon. You better be cautious there because lots of crime going on. Theft and camera snatches etc. Besides that, it is a cool place to travel ….

  31. najhctim

    It was our pleasure Filipinos that you enjoyed your stayed here. Hope we will meet you when you go back here in Manila. we are still exploring more our countries will have our trip by December at Bohol and Cebu. Btw, we are planning to go in Vietnam by early next year any tips or suggestions? coz i saw in your blog that your camera was stolen in that country? Thank you and Take Care

  32. Loise Navarro

    Hi Phil, I enjoyed you’re article. It’s just amazing and really appricative. Hope you can find your way someday around “Pampanga”. It may not offer you a lot but will serve you good foods.

    • Phil D.

      Hi Loise, thanks for the advice. A lot of people have told me about the good food in Pampanga. Where can I buy good food? Only in expensive restaurants or also something not too pricey?

      • Loise Navarro

        Hi Phil,

        You can buy good food almost anywhere here from small restaurants and eateries. You must try Sisig and Pampanga’s Halo-Halo.

  33. Phil D.

    Ah ok, thanks a lot. I will try it, especially the Halo Halo hehe

  34. jack

    You must try to go to my place also ILOCOS.. so much thing to do there and beautiful beaches awaits you..thanks for appreciating Philippines.

    • Phil D.

      Hi Jack, yeah I would really like to tour Ilocos a little bit. Especially Ilocos Norte …. I will see if I will be able to make it :)

  35. Tan

    Just sharing my best experience traveling my own country. That was when my friends and I went for a trek to Palaui Island. What makes it the best for me, is the trekking experience going to the island. The view of the breath taking sceneries you’ll pass by, and all will be worth it once you see the untouched beauty of Palaui Island.

    • Phil D.

      Hi Jon, that sounds like a great experience. I have neve been to Palaui but your comment sure makes me wanna go 😉

  36. gerrard

    Hi Phillip, I posted a comment on your page about the wedding!! Let me know if you are keen as Im so happy to invite you for my wedding on the 11th of January 2015..haha..cheers

    • Phil D.

      Hi Gerrard, I think I replied, no? In any case..I haven’t finalized my trip hence still need to book flights and all that. But generally I would be up for it. Where do you live or where will the wedding take place? CHees and thanks so much for the invite.

      • gerrard

        yeah! you did!! haha..I just read on your page that you are planning to go back to Philippines in December or January, so I was thinking that you might attend our wedding since you will be there for a holiday! ^_^ Our wedding will be in Cavite. After that, we will be flying to Palawan (staying for 3 days) then the family will be heading to our hometown which is Kalibo Aklan. . You are so much welcome to visit our town and experience the Ati-Atihan festival ^_^

    • Phil D.

      Hi Gerrard, that sounds great. If I won’t be able to make it to the wedding, I would love to stop by in Kalibo for the Ati-Atihan. That festival must be really nice.. I heard so much about it. Let’s keep in touch..maybe we can make it work …

      • Gerrard

        Hi Phil,

        Thats absolutely fine!! let me know when are you going back to the Philippines so we can work out our itinerary! ^_^. Its a privilege to meet you as I became an avid fan of yours!! nyahaha!! It would be an honour (you to attend the wedding) to be one of our guests in our wedding day!!!

        Ati-atihan is a 9 day festival, check out this site bro: http://www.kaliboatiatihan.ph/

        Keep in touch and yeah, stay humble and friendly as always!!! ^_^

        P.S – any thoughts of visiting us here in NZ??? haha

        Gerrard

    • Phil D.

      H Gerrard, wow – I didn’t even know you guys are living in NZ… That would also be great as I have never been there. But for now, let’s see if we can make it happen for the wedding. Can’t promise anything yet as I have nothing precisely planned yet. But we will see… Thanks again for your invitation – that is far too kind …. Cheers and all the best, Philipp

  37. krispa10

    Hi Phil,

    Have you been to Sagada in Mountain Province? That’s my best place when it comes to nature exploration here. And of course when it comes to beaches, El Nido is the best, been there twice already, hehe. Maybe you’re one of the foreigners I saw drinking beer along the Bacuit Bay hehe. Anyway, I like your blog, and I’m planning to create a travel blog too as I mostly explore Philippines already from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao :) Goodluck on your explorations, please visit Philippines again :)

    • Phil D.

      Hi Kirsteen, I have both been to Sagada and El Nido. They are nice place and very different. I really liked Sagada I have to say but I heard the place is getting crowded these days. Good luck with starting up your travel blog..let me know how it goes … Cheers, Phil

  38. Mina

    Hi Phil, thank you so much for your beautiful write to my home country – Philippines. I am planning to go to Cebu and Coron island with my family. As you did some island hopping, how long does it take from
    Puerto Princessa to go to Coron Island?

    • Phil D.

      Hi there Mina, thanks for stopping by and getting in touch. It was my pleasure to write about Pinas as this is the place where I had an amazing time. So concerning your question. Going from PP to Coron is not really an island hopping trip. You would first have to travel up to El Nido which is about 5-6 hours by bus or minivan. From El Nido you would have to take a boat which takes 7 hours. So it is quite a long trip. Alternatively you can probably from PP to Coron as well. Hope that helps a bit… Cheers

      • Mina

        Thank you very much for your reply, this is very much of a help. Although I am still torn and having a difficulty to decide if I should go to Coron and miss out on Puerto Princessa or the other way around due to time travel restriction……I’m sure you know what I mean.

        Thank you again for your reply.

        • Phil D.

          Hi Mina, in my opinion there is not much to see and do in PP itself. The good stuff is out of town…like the Underground River, San Vicente or El Nido. Usually people just arrive in PP and then move on. Since you have time constraints, I would probably head to PP and then explore some of the attractions on that part of Palawan. It offers a bit more variety I think … But just my thoughts ….

  39. rosemarie

    very amazing photos and video 😀

  40. Danielle

    I’m glad you enjoyed your stay in my country. Great blog and awesome photos..

    • Phil D.

      Hi Jessie, thanks a lot for stopping by. It’s good to hear that you like my photos and stories. I really appreciate your feedback. All the best, Philipp

  41. julius llena pongco

    Pipoy i must admire you on your 3months escapade in the Philippines on a modest but frugal budget. I am sure have learned a lot exploring this unique interesting and beautiful island to explore. I understand you have developed a friendly relationships with the local people. I also aware you have plan to revisit the country. Have you met people there who became your friends? If so hsve you noticed how hospitable and acommodating they are? I almost certain they loved you as their. Beleive it or not that’s quite their nature especially when they have foreign guests. I used to visit Philippines since it was my place of birth. When i was growing traveling around the country were some of my usual activities. My family used to live in the province of Nueva Ecija about 90 kms north of Manila. Our family moved to Europe in Germany Austria UK since my father was in US air force. My father was stationed in Japan and Philippines. Finally when he retired from the service we finally settled here in California USA. I finished my college degree and Masteral here in US. I have some relatives all over In the island so i have quite lot of benefactors so they would rather love me to stay with them. I rarely spend a lot of money because it seems like i could always find relatives on all different places of interest to visit like in Palawan Bohol Bicol province with different towns to visit like Naga city Legaspi camarines sur cebu dsvao boracay negros iloilo camiguin and many more esp in Luzon like Baguio ilocos provinces etc. In Mindano davao and cagayan de oro but some places there i have to stay away due to the terrorist elements in the south.i plan to retire in my country of origin since its more convenience and cheaper to live. I hope someday we’ll cross our path anf meet you in person and i would love to invite you in my place and accommodate you on my expense. I will do that because you are my guest. By the way i was in Paris France.. i just visited friends there also Germany in Dresden and some neighboring places there. So when do you plan to visit Philippines? Try to visit during jsnuary to February. Pope Francis will visit the country by januaru 19 for five days in case you are interested.well till here my friend keep me posted on all your travel blog iam just like you who loves traveling. Ciao till next time.

    • Phil D.

      Ji Julius, thanks a lot for stopping by and sending that message of yours. It’s good to hear that you also got to travel the country and that you have relatives who can accomodate you. That’s really great. I myself am actually planning to come back to Pinas and I am hoping to make it in january. I heard about the visit of the pope but I reckon it will be very busy anywhere near the place he will visit. So I think I would skip it since I also always have the chance to go to Rome and see him there hehe. I don’t like crowds too much I have to say.
      So thanks for inviting me, that is far too kind. Maybe one day our paths will cross as you said and then we can see. Who knows, the world is small these days. OK Julius, take care and thanks again for stopping by. Cheers, Philipp

  42. Godwin Sie

    Hi phil, i’d like your input because i am planning to go to el nido this coming jan. As i have time constraints i cannot travel around like you do but i’d love to someday. I am planning to go to el nido for 5 days. If i want to go see the underground river, do i have to stay a night in pp before leaving to go to el nido? Any suggestions on how i should go about planning my trip? Also, should i take all the tours in el nido because i was thinking of exploring on my own if the tours weren’t necessary.
    Wish i can travel around like you someday..

    • Phil D.

      Hi, I would recommend staying overnight in Sabang for the Underground River. It is quite a ways from PP to Sabang and then you still have to wait a while for getting into the cave. The drive to El Nido from there is also long. So yes, I recommend an overnight stay there. Note the Underground River is NOT in PP as the name might indicate. It is in Sabang.
      You don’t have to take all the tours in El Nido. I would take one ISland Hopping tour, then tour the area on your own. Perfect if you can ride a motorbike or scooter. And then, if you will feel like it, you can even do another island hopping tour. That’s up to you. So this would be my advice…hope it helps …

  43. JONtotheworld

    I think I’ve found another great travel blog to follow.

    Whew! I hope I can also travel my own country for three months straight. Thank you for writing such a candid experience of the Philippines.

    I also love eating at carinderias. It’s cheap, delicious and can easily make you full :)

    • Phil D.

      Hi Jon, thanks a lot for stopping by. That’s great to hear that you enjoyed reading my post about Pinas. And yeah, eating at the Carinderia is the best …. prefer it over some restaurants … I like Bicol Express but not Dinuguan hehe

  44. ljubica

    awesome blog, thank you so much! I’ve been to Philippines 7 years ago and it is my fav in SE Asai. Going to Palawan in 6 days. I will get 1 month visa and want to focus on beaches chilling this time (was dicing last time). Can you give me some highlights? …like Camiguin type :-)
    Btw, am looking for someone to share costs, guys, anybody around, let me know

    • Phil D.

      Hi Ljubica, 7 years ago? Those must have been the time then. Probably way lesse developed and less tourists than nowadays. I wonder if you will notice a lot of changes. Definitely keep me postes, would be interesting to hear. So concerning tips, Camiguin is really cool. Apart from that I liked the island of Siquijor and Malapascua at the tip of Cebu was great for diving.
      If you like, add me on Facebook and Like my page. I can then post a request there and ask if people are around wanting to share costs. Lemme know… Cheers!

      • ljubica tomic

        Hey Phil!!

        Reporting from TayTay :-)
        Been to Palawan for over 2 weeks now. I managed to get a spot on Tao from El Nido to Coron and am sooo excited! After Coron heading to Visayas. Will land in Kalibo, then just 3 days Boracay, then hopefully to some other remote island…was thinking Carabao, Romblon. Can you recommend anything in that area? Any tips? Am not sure i will manage to visit Cebu area as I have been there before….

        • Philipp Dukatz

          Hey Brother, good to hear from you. Your report and your plans sound sweet. Let me know how the Tao trip was. I just took the regular boat over to Coron..was way cheaper though haha. I haven’t been around the Visayas all too much I have to say. Cebu area, Bohol and Siquijor …. But I have a friend who is based in Romblon and she likes it. I am sure it is untouristy same as Carabao. Would sure be a nice trip. Let me know if you end up going there.

          Cheers brother….

  45. iamcathytoots

    Super nice pictures! They make me all giddy-excited! I want to explore my country too (before exploring other countries). Hopefully me and the boyfriend will come up with our own travel (food/ lifestyle/ techno) blog in the future.

    • Phil D.

      Hi Cathy, thanks for stopping by. I am happy that you like my pictures. Good to hear that you also wanna explore your country….maybe first focus on traveling around before thinking about the blogging…. It’s an exhausting thing these days since there is already so much out there. Better enjoy the moment and go see the world 😉

  46. Kavimani

    Hey Phil,

    Amazing write-up and wonderful pics. i have been planning to go on a three week trip next year by feb-mar. Any suggestions on places for safe-camping?

    • Philipp Dukatz

      Hi Kavi, do you wanna camp every night? I can’t really give you too much advice as I have only been camping out in one place which is Gubat, Sorsogon Province. But I am sure there heaps of places where u can do it. First before anything else you should decide where you wanna go and what to see. Then you can think about the camping issue. Keep in mind that transport days will take some time…mostly a whole day …. so don’t rush …

  47. Brian

    Hallo Christian,

    tolle Seite mit wunderschönen Bildern. Deine Reisen werden auch in den philippinischen online Medien publik gemacht, so bin ich auf dich gestoßen. Besonders dein Bild in El Nido, Palawan, wo du auf dem Boot stehst und im Hintergrund diese unglaublich krassen Farben leuchten, sticht schon sehr heraus.

    Wir fliegen heute nach Bangkok und dann anschließend auf die Philippinen.
    Für meinen Mitreisenden ist es das erste Mal und daher lassen wir es langsam angehen.
    Boracay, Mayon Vulkan und am Ende Walhaie in Donsol. Am Ende gibt es dann aber doch etwas wilderes und “off the beaten track”: Caramoan Islands. Wir sind gespannt.

    Dir weiterhin tolle Reisen und schau mal auf meiner Page vorbei. Wir beide scheinen wohl “oft” Fernweh zu haben :-)

    Mabuhay,
    Brian

    • Philipp Dukatz

      Hi Brian,
      schön von dir zu hören und freut mich, dass dir meine Seite und meine Bilder gefallen. Cool dass ihr heute aufbrecht..das wird bestimmt ein schöner Trip. Du bist dann also viel in der Region Bicol unterwegs … das ist sehr cool da ich auch lange dort war. Auf den Mayon wollte ich klettern aber zu der Zeit ist er gerade ausgebrochen. Seit dem kann man auch glaube ich gar nicht mehr bis zum Krater hoch… Donsol Butanding ist auch sehr gut…hoffentlich habt ihr Glück und seht welche. Kommst du ursprünglich von den Philippinen oder deine Eltern? Viele Grüße ud viel Spaß, Philipp

  48. Pam / Hey, Miss Adventures!

    Hey, Phil.

    Great article you have here.

    The partner and I are hoping to travel the country more (and longer) so we are trying to save up for that and also finding ways to sustain such lifestyle like maybe finding a location-independent job. In the meantime, we take short trips and weekend getaways – the latter mostly around Cebu – just to escape work. Haha! We also take our toddler with us. :)

    • Philipp Dukatz

      Hi Pam, so where are you based right now and what are you doing. Sounds like are you already near to Cebu which is already a nice asset. Cebu is very cool asI have just returned from it. Toured a huge chunk of the island by motorbike and loved it. What kind of job would you be looking for there as I am also thinking of ways to make a living there haha. Best , Philipp

  49. net connelly

    hey! Phil! beautiful pictures! Thanks for sharing! I was in Siargao last October. Awesome place, even learned to surf the first time. We arrived after the surfing competition and it was not crowded. Enjoyed reading your blog. Take care!

    • Philipp Dukatz

      Hi Net, thanks for stopping by mate. I have never been to Siargao, it must be ace – especially the surfing there. Heard lots of good things but also that it can crowded there. So I guess you got lucky. Very nice. Thanks for your kind feedback…take care

  50. Franz

    Hi Phil!

    You should visit Malapascua Island when you come back to the Philippines. It’s near Bantayan. Around 45-60 mins away from Hagnaya Port to Maya Port. There’s a beach house there owned by a German which I’m sure you’ll love!

    Would be glad to share you the details in case you decided to go :)

    Thanks for visiting the Philippines!

    • Philipp Dukatz

      Hi Franz,

      I have been to Malapascua already and did quite a bit of diving there. I didn’t see the beach house by the German though hehe. It is sure a nice place, especially for divers …. Cheers and thanks for the tips

  51. Michael

    Hello Philipp! I just want to ask if which is better. Is it better to change the currency in my country or change it when I arrive at the philippines? I’m from Evora, by the way.

    • Philipp Dukatz

      Hi Michael, it is usually better to get cash in the country you will be visiting. I usually don’t even bother getting any cash in my country but hit the first ATM at the airport and that will get me going. But yeah, that is just the way I do it …. Cheers

  52. Anne

    wow! Your fish eye photo with blue water at your back is such a nice picture, really beautiful. I’m so inlove with it.

  53. Shay

    I loved this post. Im about to head back to the Philipines and Bali for a couple months so its got me quite excited!
    Also loved the way you were humble in your experience and the way you worded this whole piece.
    Lovely words.

    • Philipp Dukatz

      Hi Shay, thanks for stopping by and your kind feedback. I really appreciate it a lot. Stuff like that keeps me going. So for how long will you stay in Bali and for how ong in the Philippines. Can’t go wrong with these two places I would say. Do you wanna surf as well? Cheers

  54. fleurmaries

    lovely summary, thank you for that! wanna go to myanmar with me?

  55. Emmanuel Capid

    Good Job Philipp! Your thoughts and travel perspectives were exactly the same with mine. Cheers to more adventures! #YOLO 👍🐒

    • Philipp Dukatz

      Hi Emmanuel, thanks for your message. I am happy to hear that you also had a great experience in the Philippines…. More adventure to you as well.. take it easy 😉

  56. Stephanie Barreto

    Hey Phiil,

    Ran across your site when searching up a good budget for traveling to the PI. I was born there and moved to Cali when I was 9. I’m planning on doing a solo trip there for a month during the next coming holidays. Your post made me super excited! Philippines has always felt like home to me. Also, hope you’ve tried isaw (pig intestines), it’s my absolute favorite streetfood in the PI. Lol I remember last time I visited with my family, I bought the rest of what the boy was selling on the street thinking my stomach would totally be okay after devouring a ton of the isaw… Haha, I was wrong. Anyway, enjoy your travels, will definitely follow your travel journey! Tried to find your on ig as I am more active on there but couldn’t find ya, hope you make one since you’re also into photography!

    Cheers,
    Steph

    • Philipp Dukatz

      Hi Stepahnie, thaks for your kind message. Lucky you to go on that trip soon. I am sure you will have an awesome time over in the PI. Any idea whereabouts you will go? I am on IG, just look for escapologyblog. Gotta keep on updating though… was slacking a bit. Oh yeah, and I tried the Isaw several time.. it is okay but not really my all time favorite food in the PI. There is others that I like more… for examplethe Balut ….. lol

  57. Frencis Joy

    Wow.. That is amazing,, i am wondering what kind of visa you got to stay for 3 momths? My fiancé plan to stay in the Philippines for more than 3 months and he wants to know that visa he needs. He is from Romania. Did you have an onward ticket booked for 3 months?

    • Philipp Dukatz

      Yep, u need an onward ticket. Only 2 months visa on arrical, then I extended at the bureau of immigration while still in the country … Cheers and good luck with your fiancé from Romania

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