I fly into Manila in a couple weeks. I have a couple questions:
1. What currencies are accepted at immigration for visas? Should I get a bunch of Pesos before I arrive? Or will I need USD or other foreign currencies?
2. Is it easy to get from Manila to islands / beaches and travel around for a backpacker? Let's say, in comparison to Thailand. Where getting from A-B couldn't be easier.
3. Shall I book hostels for islands/beach resorts in advanced, or shall I just turn up and find somewhere? I'm not looking to spend more than $20 a day on accom, if I could halve that = great. Most of the online booking sites show few option below $20 a day, which seems strange for such a cheap country.
I have no return flight and no real plans. I kinda just want to wander around for a month.
I've looked into Cebu and Boracay - Boracay looks nice - but with the amount of Filipino islands and vast coastlines, I feel like I may be gravitating towards popular tourist areas.
Can anyone share info on some potentially hidden gems or some golden Philippines travel advice?
Maybe share a previous travel route that involved a few beaches, islands and didn't break the bank?
Arr so vague, sorry folks, but any input or advice would be greatly appreciated!
If you qualify for visa-free entry, I seem to recall there is no fee for that. So if you are staying for less than 30 days, you don't need to pay visa fees.
Booking in advance: Most of the time you can just pop up and ask for a room. The exception are if there is a long holiday like Holy Week. There are some popular destinations like Boracay where it is better to book ahead of time. During peak travel seasons at some destinations(the smaller towns) it is also a good idea to book ahead of time.
There will be cheaper options that cost less than $20, especially if you are willing to book a fan room.
Getting around: Most popular destinations are easy. Some places require buns of steel to endure a long bus trip.
Result, I didn't realise I could get in free (from UK). I was told by friends I needed to pay.
RE getting around and places to go, anywhere specific you can recommend?
Typically I fly everywhere but I'm thinking this time low and slow for a change - and possibly see more.
Is phili cheap? I heard its more expensive than thailand and hotel sites seem to indicate as such.
#4 LeonardCohen1 has been a member since 24/7/2012. Posts: 2,148
Leonard, there are some cheap hotels that don't book through the web. There are backpacking blogs by Filipinos and they tell you where to stay. Fan rooms can be as low as 250 pesos per night. It can be expensive especially at some beach resorts that are simply overpriced.
See here for example.
Adam, It depends what you want in a destination. Do you want a well-developed tourism infrastructure? Do you want something that is easy and convenient to go to? Do you want remote undeveloped places? We can meet in Manila and have a cup of coffee if you wish.
Is bohol good? It looks good.
Im sure there r cheap dumpy rooms but thailand has good beach bungalows for $30. Looking at booking.com.i cant see anything like that.
#6 LeonardCohen1 has been a member since 24/7/2012. Posts: 2,148
Thanks for the link @goonistik
The best value places I've stayed in in Thailand have been the ones I've found when I've just rolled into town.
I guess the same will apply in the Philippines. *hopes*
You are right it will be difficult to find a nice $30 beach bungalow in the Philippines. I estimate that at the more popular destinations, you can expect to pay upwards of $40 for a beach bungalow.
At Bohol, you need to get away from Panglao Island to find cheaper accommodation. Perhaps Anda beach?
The provincial government of Bohol has worked hard to develop their tourism industry and it is a safe bet for many tourists.
You are gravitating towards the more touristically popular areas. But I suppose you can look at the lesser known islands like Marinduque, Masbate, Romblon and see if anything piques your interest.
The nice thing about Cebu is that it is the transit hub for the Central Visayas so you can take ferries from there to the other islands.
I might go to Calaguas later this month. Those islands are undeveloped and you need to take camping gear with you. But I found a tour organizer/chef who will take of all that for me.
Perhaps you can try the Hong Kong - Cebu City flight, via Cebu Pacific (www.cebupacificair.com), if you plan to stay for a month. If you'll arrive (in the Philippines) later this month, the lowest fare you may get is 817.48 Hong Kong dollars, which is about 63 pounds.
As goonistik pointed out, Cebu City is close to the other tourist destinations in the Visayas, a cluster of islands in the central part of the Philippines. You have many options: the nearby island of Bohol, the isles off Cebu (e.g. Malapascua), Dumaguete (Negros Occidental) and Siquijor, Negros Occidental (old houses built during the Spanish period, volcano and hot springs), and Panay Island (old churches in Iloilo, cold spring in Antique, and the white sands of Boracay). You can have your own Robinson Crusoe moment in any beach, except Boracay. As for the other natural attractions, many are accessible.
You can spend your first night at Tune Hotel (at Cebu City). It's 1,088 Philippine pesos a night, slightly above 20 US dollars. You can check out the other hotels the day after your arrival. Hotel Stella (www.hotelstella.com.ph), located in the Capitol, can be another option. (Their deluxe room may be a bit too small, but I love their bed. Free breakfast too.)
When the time comes when the number of foreign tourists in the Philippines is the same as Thailand's, then there'll be more cheaper accommodations. I hope this helps.
"When the time comes when the number of foreign tourists in the Philippines is the same as Thailand's, then there'll be more cheaper accommodations. I hope this helps."
You're totally right. I never looked at it from the perspective of supply & demand.
I will be flying out of Kuala Lumpur and I need to go to Manila to meet a friend (colleague) and drop off a package.
From there I will make my way to Cebu
Increased demand will only push up prices. Basic economics.
#14 LeonardCohen1 has been a member since 24/7/2012. Posts: 2,148
Not unless supply increases more. Basic economics.
Philli already has decent supply. Its not like there are no hotels. So demand will increase prices as any basic supply demand chart says.
Having lots of islands increases costs of transport.
Thai islands r more expensive than mainland places too.
Islands only have so much space and good beaches and demand for the best spots pushes up prices.
All the popular islands in thailand are expensive.
Samui or phuket low season 2000 to 2500 baht for decent 4 star room. Krabi or chang can get same for 1000 to 1500 baht.
North east thailand can get decent 3 star aircon room for 600 baht. In bangkok its 1200 baht.
Strond demand always pushes up.prices.
#16 LeonardCohen1 has been a member since 24/7/2012. Posts: 2,148
More demand for hotels will result in more hotels being opened (competition) and more variety within the market.
Variety = more high and low end accommodation.
More competition amongst hotels will result in cheaper room rates, especially amongst budget (low end) accommodations.
Higher end accommodation doesn't need to compete primarily on price so it competes on amenities, but budget accommodation does, and the only way it can compete on price is by being cheaper.
Sure you can get 2,000 / 3,000 baht a night accom on Samui/ Phuket , but you can also get 150baht a night accom (on Phuket I am certain), because there's demand for it.
Likewise you can get 3,000 baht a night rooms up north too.
Umm go read an economics book.
Not seen it. Cheapest ghs cost.more.than that and 300 baht on phuket is way inferior to 300 baht in issan. Plus prices for bikes, food and tours cost more.
U only get lower prices when supply grows a lot more than demand and the gap widens in low season.
Every country with high tourist numbers.ends up more expensive.
Phuket hotel prices have doubled.in 7 yrs.
2000 baht isnt high end. Its mid range.
Hotels dont need to compete much on.price high season cause rooms r full.
The real competition comes in low season but constant flights means that comp is dropping.
There is little room left near the.main 3 beaches there and prices will keep rising.
#18 LeonardCohen1 has been a member since 24/7/2012. Posts: 2,148
Increased demand.means guesthouses dont have to compete on.price.
Why would they reduce prices with more tourists filling.their rooms? High school economics.
Prices go up.
Prices go down in.low season when demand falls.
I stay in 4 star rooms.for 1000 baht low season. They cost 2500.baht high season when demand rises.
#19 LeonardCohen1 has been a member since 24/7/2012. Posts: 2,148
Hua hin is a classic example. Demand from thais.has really jumped.in the past 10 years. Limited beachfront, demand has.pushed 1000 baht rooms up.to 3000 baht.
If more farangs went there it would only get worse.
Phi.phi is another. A 2000 baht room.there costs 1000 baht.on quieter lanta and 700 baht in issan.
Demand is the main driver of prices. Supply.is reactionary. First the numbers increase and then the developers invest but if demand keeps rising they cant keep.up and prices rise.
#20 LeonardCohen1 has been a member since 24/7/2012. Posts: 2,148
150baht on Phuket, stayed in it.
You're missing the point though. We're saying that with more tourists in the Philippines (more demand) there will be more (varied & cheaper) accommodation available (supply, variety).
Phi Phi et al are prime examples of where supply can longer increase, but demand is. Therefore prices only have one way to go.
The Philippines has lots of room for both demand & supply to increase.
Increased demand = increased supply
Increased supply = increased competition, lower prices
When supply cannot increase to match demand = higher prices
Thats nice but supply follows demand. It takes 2 years to build a resort and they build resorts in response to demand. In 2 years time inflation.pushes.prices up.not down.
In pai where.there is heaps of resorts now prices r higher than before. No shortage.of room.
Ksr more expensive
Koh pha ngan more expensive
Samui more expensive
Everywhere that becomes more popular prices rise across the board.
If u.looked at phuket in 1994 to 2004 to 2014.the.number.of 150 baht rooms would have fallen dramatically and quality.is less.
If a philli.island has 40 resorts and they build 5 more over the next 3 yrs that would be soaked.up and with inflation.prices go up.
Tell me which island on the.planet has become cheaper since 2000?
They are all more expensive.
Demand is driving.prices.
Its not like say food where supply can change a lot year to year due to weather. But if a cyclone did smash an island it would only reduce supply.
Year on year hotel supply.only.increases a lot if there is demand for it. Investors arent lining up to build cheap resorts and make losses.
#23 LeonardCohen1 has been a member since 24/7/2012. Posts: 2,148
The Philippines really has a lot of cheap hotels in fact cause i been there several times.
#25 ronaldbourne has been a member since 12/5/2014. Posts: 3
palawan philippines is also a nice place to visit. you can add to your itenerary. a place were very peaceful.
#26 winamp has been a member since 27/5/2014. Posts: 1
you might wanna try this place at calatagan batangas the beach is beautiful link : www.casaastillero.com it is really a nice place to go
#27 annalyn has been a member since 1/3/2015. Posts: 4
i don't think philippines is cheap. affordable maybe but definitely not cheap. look for places where you can have a great time. don't look for "cheap" places. lol. kidding aside, if you go to the philippines, i recommend that you go to "El Nido, Palawan". google it out.
#28 linusyanez has been a member since 23/3/2015. Posts: 7
This country is so terrible, where can I find a beautiful QUIET beach ? Everywhere where it's possible to sleep and eat it's overcrowded and the food is so expensive !
#29 stickmansucks has been a member since 10/6/2011. Posts: 22
There are so many undeveloped and untouched places in the Philippines, be the first one to discover them. Just take flight going to any part of the Philippines (mostly in Mindanao or Visayas area) and make your way there by just asking a simple tricycle driver or a boat man where is the most beautiful, but less touristy place in that area and you will surely be overwhelmed by the options that they will give you. Locals will be more than happy to chat and give you advise on where to go, since Filipinos are born hospitable.
Have a safe trip.
#30 AzookiTravel has been a member since 25/6/2015. Posts: 14
Undeveloped in Phils means no food and sleep with rats, thank you, I'll pass on it...
#31 stickmansucks has been a member since 10/6/2011. Posts: 22