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Accomodation & hostels in the Philippines?

Travel Forums Asia Accomodation & hostels in the Philippines?

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1. Posted by Seany (Respected Member 268 posts) 7y

Im gonna heading to the Philippines come March time. Im also visting Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. Unsure of what order yet but will be over the course of 3 and a half months.

As im on a tight budget I gota watch the pennies! But from what I have read and been told the Philippines seem quite expensive (in comparison to other SE Asian countries). Hotels certainly seem so and the food too. Does anyone know of any decent and cheap hostels they can recomend in Manila or any other part in the Philippines?
I was thinking of renting an apartment if thats possible, as that could be a cheaper idea. Anyone else done this?

Also I hear the Philippines is rife with scams aimed at tourists, and the last thing I need is getting ripped off!

Thanks for any tips on hostels and scams I should watch out for.

Cheers gang

2. Posted by bwiiian (Travel Guru 768 posts) 7y

Who told you the Philippines was expensive????? Its very cheap to stay and eat and drink there. I can't say about Manila as I never go there, but in the Western Visayers you can get a double room either on the beach or in a city for about 5 quid a night. A beer is about 35p for a bottle of San Miguel. A meal in a cheap restaurant will be about a quid. There are expensive places to stay. especially in Boracay, but you can have a good time in Philippines for very little money, even if you drink a lot of beer. If you get to know the locals and learn how to use their confusing Jeepneys to get around you will also save a lot as most journeys are about 10p or less.
I have never been scammed there either, apart from the usual taxis trying to charge more than they should, but as long as you make sure the meter is on then they cant overcharge you.
I am also flying out to the Philippines in March, are you flying from the UK straight there?

3. Posted by Seany (Respected Member 268 posts) 7y

Hiya Bwiiian

Its good to hear some news that its cheap there! I dont wana be going hungry now...
£5 seems very good to me for a nights stay in a double room too!From what I have read its more than that for just a hostel (lonely planet). In terms of beer, I like to drink nearly everyday so at 35p for a San Miguel is sounding better! Even tho its no my prefered beer I think I will manage!

Im flying from London to Singapore via Dubai. After a few nights in Singapore I may fly into Cebu and travel up to Manila then onto Indonesia and Bali and fly to KL (or boat if possible) and work my way back down to Singapore.

If your around maybe we can meet up for a beer or so, I plan to be there around the 23rd of March...

Thanks for the info mate

4. Posted by karazyal (Travel Guru 1594 posts) 7y

Quoting Seany

Im gonna heading to the Philippines come March time. Im also visting Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. Unsure of what order yet but will be over the course of 3 and a half months.

As im on a tight budget I gota watch the pennies! But from what I have read and been told the Philippines seem quite expensive (in comparison to other SE Asian countries). Hotels certainly seem so and the food too. Does anyone know of any decent and cheap hostels they can recomend in Manila or any other part in the Philippines?
I was thinking of renting an apartment if thats possible, as that could be a cheaper idea. Anyone else done this?

Also I hear the Philippines is rife with scams aimed at tourists, and the last thing I need is getting ripped off!

Thanks for any tips on hostels and scams I should watch out for.

Cheers gang

I have been in and out of the Philippines many times over the past 12-13 years. For me, the hotels are slightly more expensive than Thailand, if the rooms are the same price you will get a better room in Thailand. Beer, my opinion, is usually cheaper in bars and with frequent happy hour pricing. You can find cheap food if you look for it. McDonalds will be cheaper than what you have back home, there are lots of little restaurants with special prices for some meals as low as 30 pisos. Lots of rice available of course. But you can find Western/European meals pretty easy too. Filipinos for some reason like canned spam and corned beef pretty often. The PI is the only place I have ever found spam on a breakfast plate that was not connected to a military chow hall!

As far as safety goes, I would avoid some places down where there is some problems with Muslim terrorists. There are travel advisories from different countries, like this sample. Never-the-less some travelers do visit and return safely.
http://www.iligan.gov.ph/forum/index.php?topic=333.0

You will run across the normal amount of pests selling watches and belts, for Manila there are several Silver Dollar salesmen, especially in the Ermita area. Plus the Viagra salesmen and "come see this Go-Go bar" guys. Stick to well lit places and streets after dark. If you feel funny about an area or place - leave! Don't be alarmed when you see armed guards outside Seven Eleven stores, hotels, malls and bars. There have been guards outside these places for years!

Here is a couple places that have both air conditioned rooms and cheap fan only rooms too!
Stone House B&b, 1529 A. Mabini Street, Ermita, Manila.
http://www.innsite.com/inns/B012226.html

Just down from the Stone House B&B is the Mabini Pension, 1337 A. Mabini Street.
http://www.mabinipension.com/contact.html

Ermita is an area of Manila that is popular with tourists and other travelers. This area is between Roxas Boulevard and the Robinson Mall. Short walk to MRT, casinos, supermarkets, travel agencies and a few bars.
Map of Ermita:
http://www.agoda.com/asia/philippines/manila/maps/ermita_intramuros.html
http://www.hoteltravel.com/philippines/manila/hotels.htm#map

You will find hotels in Manila cheaper than Singapore, Hong Kong, Kalua Lumpur and Japan of course.

Good luck.

5. Posted by loubylou (Travel Guru 664 posts) 7y

There aren't really hostels as such in the Philippines, it's mostly hotels and as karazyal says they are more expensive than Thailand...bargaining in Philippines doesn't really work either, every time I try and bargain hotels have not budged on the price (even if they are empty!). Watch out for hidden charges too...for example some hotels we stayed at charged extra to use their pool even though we were paying to stay at the hotel or charged for pool towels.

According to Bwiiian, you can get a room for £5...we haven't experienced much of this. Accommodation rates have been higher than what we expected for a far inferior room to the rest of Asia. I think you will be looking more like £8 (500 pesos) for a room and that's at quieter beaches with just a fan and cold water, go to a busier place like Alona beach in Bohol or Boracay and you are looking at £15 (1000 pesos) for a fan room with cold water. We have travelled in the Philippines for a total of 9-10 months now on and off and this is based on our experiences or rooms at beach resorts all around the Philippines. Renting an apartment would mean you have to stay in one place and even that isn't an economical option as deposits and minimum letting periods are usually required.

Filipino food, in my (and my boyfriend's) opinion is the worst in SE Asia - usually if you order a chicken dish the 'chicken' is bones, wobbly skin and not a lot of meat at all. The European/Western dishes we have experienced have been just as bad tasting. Filipinos have told us they have far different taste buds to us and like things quite bland and sweet. Yes, McD's are everywhere and are around 100 pesos for a value meal, there is also the Jolibee chain which is the Filipino version of McD's and isn't good! But you probably aren't going to be wanting to eat McD's. The problem is wiht being on a tight budget, if you have a bad meal you can't stretch to buying another one, but supermarkets sell instant noodles for emergencies.

Travelling around in the Philippines is definitely not as easy as Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia, there is no real set backpacker route in the Philippines, so most travel is by public, non-air con bus. Good fun but it can be very uncomfortable for us longer legged foreigners on the buses and a lot of travel is a combination of bus, trike, jeepney and ferry which can be exhausting, so travel slowly and don't try and cram too much in - a lot of people make this mistake. As you only have 3 and a half months over Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia you aren't going to be seeing much of the Philippines and it's a HUGE country and travelling overland will take up a lot of your time.

Because we have spent a lot of time in the Philippines and often meet travellers who are disappointed by what they find there, they expected it to have a 'scene' like Thailand, when in reality most of the beaches (with a couple of notable exceptions) are very quite affairs with bars that close at 10pm.

The last thing for you to consider about the Philippines is the exchange rate...it has plummetted to 67 pesos to £1, making everything a lot more expensive (this time last year it was 85 pesos to £1), Indonesia's exchange rate hasn't been affected really, Malaysia and Singapore's have dropped a little but not much. So a 35 peso San Miguel is now 55p or so, instead of 44p...all those extra 10 pences can add up if on a tight budget.

6. Posted by bwiiian (Travel Guru 768 posts) 7y

The exchange rate now is very bad and perhaps i didn't take this into consideration. when i first went to the Philippines, as loubylou says, it was 85 peso to the pound and it has dropped a lot now to an incredibly bad 66 pesos to the pound!! But I can tell you exact prices for things in Bacolod on Negros Occidental in the Western Visayas next to Cebu. Beer in locals bar = 27 pesos. Single room at Pension Bacolod = 295 pesos. Jeepney ride to anywhere in the city = 8 pesos. Meal in Chow King (Filipino Chinese fast food joint) around 100 pesos. Chicken and rice in locals bar = 40 pesos for the chicken and 10 pesos for the rice. A hut on the beach with 2 beds, toilet, shower, sink, fan, hammock, table and chairs in Sipalay (south of the island, amazing beach) = 500 pesos. 5 hour bus journey = 160 pesos. Manila will be more expensive though. Also, as loubylou says, do not expect it to be anything like Thailand, there are hardly any foreign tourists there, it is very laid back and hard to travel around. But I think this makes it a better place to visit. See the real SE Asia. In the Philippines you really have to throw yourself in at the deep end, you wont find any English parties to tag on to, you have to expect a total culture change.
The Philippines isn't renowned for its food but it is still very nice! Lots of rice and fish and I love rice and fish!!!! Also English is spoken widely which helps. If you decide to go to Negros then let me know and we can meet for a beer.

7. Posted by karazyal (Travel Guru 1594 posts) 7y

One thing I don't care for in the Philippines is sweet tasting pizzas- bleh! Also, when you go to a supermarket bakery a lot of the bread also is sweet! Sliced spam on sweet tasting bread - oom oom good!

If you stop in a supermarket you can get some fixings to make sandwiches, instant soups and noodles.

Good luck.

8. Posted by bwiiian (Travel Guru 768 posts) 7y

Quoting karazyal

Also, when you go to a supermarket bakery a lot of the bread also is sweet!

Monggo Bread!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Its lovely!

9. Posted by Seany (Respected Member 268 posts) 7y

Thanks alot for all the info guys and gals. I checked exhange rates today which are just getting worse and worse! 63pesos for a £1. Why now! I worked out the figure I will have to take away with me, which I thought would be enough but if the pounds keeps getting weaker by the time I leave in March I could be in a spot of bother! Grrr

I guess somehow I will need to raise some extra cash to get back on budget. Anyway I must remain possitive, will soon see how all unfolds

10. Posted by bwiiian (Travel Guru 768 posts) 7y

If you use an ATM in the Philippines you will get the best rate so to save a bit wait til you get there before you get your pesos. For example you will get 63 to the pound today at a bureu de change, but 66 at an ATM in Philippines.