Philippines: What a Dollar Can Buy You

There’s a reason why we haven’t encountered as many backpackers in the Philippines as we have in other parts of Asia. The island nation, caught between the developed and the developing world, can definitely break the bank especially if you want to engage in many of the activities the Philippines is so famous for: island hopping, caving, volcano trekking and, above all, scuba diving. If you want to have fun in the Philippines, you pay for it.

Generally, there are no super-great bargains to be had in the Philippines, and many other countries in Asia are a much better value for money, especially when it comes to accommodation. Having said that, we did find some special treats in the 2-3 dollar range. For this amount, you can see a movie, get a 1-hour massage or eat a Big Mac meal. But be warned, these little bargains add up quickly! If you happen to be on a tight budget, you had better stick to the $1 deals. And here’s what you can get for around a buck:

  • 45 kikiam (fried fish snacks)
  • 1 men’s hair cut
  • 9 lumpia (vegetable spring rolls)
  • 28 Marlboro cigarettes
  • 1 large freshly-brewed coffee at 7Eleven
  • 3 AA batteries
  • 2 fancy Halo Halo (shaved ice treat with cheese)
  • 2 hours of Internet access
  • 4 custard-filled donuts from Mr. Donut
  • 2 km taxi ride
  • 4 liters (1 gal.) of drinking water
  • 3 pounds of rice

17 responses to “Philippines: What a Dollar Can Buy You”

  1. avatar Jim says:

    … or a Grande San Miguel Pale! Can’t argue with that.

    OK, maybe just a small beer if you’re in a bar, but still not bad.

    • avatar Thomas says:

      A cold San Miguel Pale is definitely a worthy addition. I’ve certainly enjoyed a few of those.

      If my mother knew how cheap the cigarettes in the Philippines are, she would probably pack up, leave Germany for the Philippines, and never look back.

  2. avatar Joyceee says:

    you can buy a whole lotta things for just a dollar in the Philippines: a decent hawker-like meal, a pack of ciggies, etc.
    There are a whole lotta great places to go and see in the Philippines, problems are accessibility and accommodations, yeah. Sadly, the government and philippine tourism isn’t doing much. Should speed up their improvements, as we’re behind the rest of the south east asian countries.

  3. avatar Benjamin says:

    in Greece:
    7 bubble gums
    1 small chockolate bar
    1,5 bottles of water
    half an hour internet access

  4. avatar alexis says:

    I’m from the Philippines, and I can tell you that there are a lot of food you can buy for a dollar there! It’s definitely a fun place to go!

  5. avatar Kat says:

    But there are sooo many other (and BETTER) things you can get here for a dollar!

    – excellent beer (a bottle or two, depending on the brand)
    – four to eight sticks of deep-fried street food
    – souvenir items (shell accessories from the beach, woven handicrafts)
    – one rice meal
    – Starbucks bagel with cream cheese or jam
    – a burger from Jollibee
    – round-trip bus fare from Ayala Ave. to SM Megamall
    – around six jeepney rides
    – two Cornetto ice cream cones

    etc. etc.

  6. avatar Joachim says:

    Actually you can get approximately 9 days of accomodation in a boarding house with water and electricity and a shared bowl…. Quite the bargain if you ask me.

  7. avatar Tony says:

    Wow, Joachim – you win! Where did you get that? Most of the accommodation we saw in the Philippines was much more expensive than mainland Southeast Asia (with the exception of central Luzon). $1 for 9 days in a boarding house is quite a bargain.

  8. avatar Scott Pool says:

    I wanted to Philippine in the worst way in now I’m going to have a chance toπŸ‡΅πŸ‡­

  9. avatar Tanaka Bell says:

    Where. At what city

  10. avatar Jeffery says:

    Hi I’m trying to get to the phillipiens Any ideas to take a love one to show them a good time also how much is a plain ticket

  11. avatar Jose Troya says:

    Hi man

    I was readimg your post althought it is old I am interested about it. Can you explain me the best place to stay in Philippiness please?

    • avatar Thomas says:

      Hi Jose,

      I believe the Philippines – as well as many other countries around the world – has stopped foreigners and tourists coming in because of Covid-19, at least for the time being. The Philippines is a large country and it really depends on your interests where you want to visit. If you like rice fields and native peoples, you should go to central/northern Luzon; and if you like amazing karst landscapes, you should go to Palawan. πŸ™‚

  12. avatar RAMIL says:

    The best place in Philippines is in Bohol.

  13. avatar VINE says:

    TRY PALAWAN….BORACAY (BEACH) IS FAMOUS…(BANAUE RICE TERRACES)…BAGUIO (COLD WEATHER) MANILA (CITY) (CHEAP FOODS) WHERE YOU CAN BUY MANY FOODS FOR ONLY $1

    FOODS: TRY HALO-HALO (SWEET)..SINIGANG (SOUP)..IT CAN BE PORK …FISH… SHRIMP)….ADOBO(SQUID IS MY FAVORITE (ADOBONG PUSIT/SQUID BUT IT IS ORIGINALLY PORK ADOBONG BABOY/PORK….

    IF YOU WANT RIDES I MEAN ROLLER COASTERS ETC. YOU SHOULD GO TO ENCHANTED KINGDOM!!! (EXTREME TOWER IS …GOODBYE SOUL SEE YOU LATERπŸ˜‚ REALLY FUN)… (I’VE BEEN THER FOR HOW MANY TIMES BECAUSE OF OUR FIELDTRIP OR SCHOOL ACTIVITY)

    (MABUHAY)β€πŸ‡΅πŸ‡­ FAMOUS WORD IN OUR COUNTRY IT MEANS HOORAY!! VIVA!! ALIVE!! USES TO EXPRESS ENERGY SOMETHING LIKE THAT.. IT’S MORE FUN IN THE PHILIPPINES β€πŸ‡΅πŸ‡­

    BUT THERE’S ALOT I WANT TO SHARE BUT MAYBE YEAH BREAK IT DOWN YO HAHAHHAHHA THAT’S ENOUGH ❀.

  14. avatar Niel says:

    You need to know foreign exchange before you. Decide going anywhere outside the USA. The numbers do change every time for a real comparison among different countries! I’ve travelled the seven seas except Africa . even drove most countries where gasoline costs over Eight dollars a liter .theres a lot to consider before going !
    Bon voyage to Anyone not in time for coronavirus though

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