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

11 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 to🇵🇭

  9. avatar Tanaka Bell says:

    Where. At what city

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