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

28 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

  15. avatar hatsunemiku says:

    wow

  16. avatar Pete Lorenz San Jose says:

    Maybe I should update this
    (* As per my observation)
    (* Let’s say $1 = 50 )

    50 kikiam/100 fishballs
    1 men’s haircut
    5 Street Lumpia/ 1 fast food special lumpia
    5-7 malboro sticks
    1.5 liters of coke (actually that’s 55pesos)
    1 medium 711 coffee
    1 fast food halo halo
    25km Jeepney Ride (45pesos)
    1lt. Of purified water
    1gb of open internet access for 3days.

  17. avatar sven says:

    If you guys like colder climates and tourist spots in the philippines, you can try to visit baguio and if you like cities you can visit Manila and Cebu, Baguio City is also very recommended as ive been there myself if you like water falls, mountains or like natural stuff , you can visit Sagada and enjoy the mountains of Cordillera and if you like beaches, you can try visiting Palawan or Boracay these are the most recommended beaches so far in the philippines , also! try searching up Coron wich is another popular tourist spot in Palawan, and in the mountains of Cordillera you can see the 8th World Wonder in the Banaue Rice Terraces

  18. avatar Veje says:

    Well, I add this…

    HI, I’m a Filipino from Davao City… And a dollar here can get you.

    Street foods

    Fried hotdogs – 4 to 10 pieces(depends on the size)

    Isaw(fried chicken intestines) – 10 pieces

    Fish ball – β‚±10 or $0.20 for 7 pieces it used to be β‚±5 or $0.10 for 7 pieces

    PS. There’s actually a lot because almost all street foods(except Roxas night Market) from street food venders here cost about β‚±5 or $0.10…

    Concerning transportation…

    Taxis here have a starting fare of β‚±40 or β‚±.80.

    Taking the jeepney is a lot cheaper it cost about β‚±8 or $0.16 for a trip within 4kms and it may increase depending on how far you are going. But it’s β‚±10 now due to Covid.

    Accommodation here is….

    D’morvie – I think is β‚±250 or $5 for 12 hours
    Megiko – maybe the same as D’morvie and both of this are inns.

    Well, there are others hotels like the five star hotel which is Marco Polo and many more.

    Concerning exchanging money…

    You can go to SM ecoland in the grocery area there’s an exchange money station there.

    Or you can just go to a bank or pawnshop to exchange your money.

    Davao City is clean and safe play… You can search it on Google on how safe is Davao City.

    Well, I’d say food is a lot cheaper here in Mindanao than in Luzon because Mindanao is the agriculture capital of the Philippines but gadgets and technology here are more expensive.

  19. avatar Eubby says:

    Basically anything is cheap but high quality here in the Philippines. Some of the prices have been more higher due to the USD’s decreasing value. I’m not really sure if this applies to all currencies. It was originally well over P50 but now haircuts are like $1.03. Yes, this pist is old and people need to consider the fact that this post is rather old and not updated much. But great post nonetheless. I like it when people talk about my country and that’s why I came here. Would definitely recommend Palawan. Waters are so blue. β™₯

  20. avatar artemio says:

    there is no such thing as $1.00 (P50.00) for 9 days board in the Philippines. but you can have a meal with rice and 1 small plate recipe for $1.00.
    Riding a tricycle by yourself one way to market costs P45.00 now BUT only P0.15 if by yourself with other passengers.
    a Haircut can be had as low as P30.00 ($.60) and if you pay $1.00, next time you go, it comes with a much longer massage of the nape and back. you can have 2 san miguel beers with $1.00
    or 4 red horse beers.
    you can live comfortably with $500 per month with $100.00 going to rent for 1 month.

  21. avatar Ross McMahon says:

    Is the Philippines safe to visit?

  22. avatar josephine davis says:

    It Depends what part of the phil. you plan to visit. Avoid,the deep part of Mindanao, Sulu and Slammed area in Metro Manila. To prevent being mug, by other bad characters.

  23. avatar josephine davis says:

    But otherwise, Philippines are the best country to live. People, are very friendly and best hospitality and respected people.

  24. avatar Younes Aboutaleb says:

    What you guys think about sorsogon city I wanna give it a visit
    Tell me how much the hostels cost
    And the costs of vans from legazpi airport to sorsogon city

  25. avatar Eddy says:

    About 2,500 peso for one person by csb

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