At the end of my WHV in New Zealand I had 3 weeks to “fill” before coming back for a Vipassana meditation retreat. I chose the Philippines, the nearest destination and therefore the cheapest from NZ.
To get to the Philippines I took a ticket with China Southern Airlines. Little wrong note on the way, my flight Auckland-Guangzhou was canceled and they put me on the flight after. Regardless of the fact that it was impossible to have my Guangzhou-Manila flight! I had to contact them to have the flight before instead. So I had a long stopover in China. No problem of visa during a simple stopover in this city. And to stop for more than 8h the company pays a hotel room (you have to make the request). So I was able to rest.
I made sure to have as few domestic flights as I read that they were often postponed / canceled. To know that it can be complicated in boat too because no traffic in case of typhoon warning. In the end I had no problem!
– Day 1 : Manila arrival night I had booked Rappricondotel (1200 per night with breakfast). I read a lot of comments saying that the taxi did not find hotels (in fact it is in an apartment so no street signage). So I opted for a hotel with shuttle.
– Day 8/9/10 : Bohol, I booked at Open Doors heaven, the worst hotel of my life! 475 at night. Do not trust the positive comments, I do not really know where they come from (they tried to cancel my trip to cancel my negative comment on booking…).
– Day 11/12/13/14 : Siquijor,I indulge myself with a room reserved in a resort. At 5800 per night (oops) but it was so relaxing to be in a good bed in a spacious room! And enjoy every night a great sunset 😍
– Day 18 : night at Dumaguete, at U feel fun, best quality hostel and nice place of the city. 500 at night.
– Day 20 : flight back
Transports in Philippines
Well then I’ll tell you now, you need to take your time 😅.
For domestic flights several airlines share the market. I personally used Cebu Pacific air and Philippines airlines. Note that some years ago some of them were blacklisted but this is no longer the case at present. Be aware that delays and cancellations are common. Personally my flights have all been changed but a few minutes so it did not cause much disruption. But think about going back to take your international flight. I advise you to return to Manila (or Cebu) the day before.
I was very satisfied with Cebu Pacific Air but not really with Philippine Airlines (unfortunately only company that operated Coron-Cebu directly). The last one is much more expensive and in addition you will have the right to 10kg included in the hold only (it is written in their conditions still need to know what type of plane you will have!). For the over weight you will need to pay 200PHP / kg. Many tourists make the vases communicating with their cabin luggage at the airport, it’s a bit of a mess…
The train is not at all a common mode of transportation in the Philippines.
The bus is a fairly cheap means of transportation. For long distances they often have AC (but not necessarily all so do not hesitate to ask if the bus that you will take have the AC, it may be only the following).
The jeepne is the local mini bus very borrowed by the Filipinos because very cheap. The comfort is rather basic but personally I really liked taking it! If you want to be immersed in Filipino culture I advise you at least once!
In the Philippines, it’s not the tuk-tuk that rules but the tricycle! It’s a motorcycle to which is added on the side a cabin that can accommodate passengers. You will find it everywhere. It is preferable only for short trips (more expensive than the jeepne or bus).
In the Philippines electrical plugs are those found in China. There are two rods like in Europe but they are flat! An adapter will be essential.
ATMs are found everywhere except on some very small islands. They take almost all around 250PHP fees for each withdrawal.
Budget for 3 weeks in Philippines
Be careful my budget takes into account the resorts in which I have been so you can of course get by for much cheaper accommodation level.
Accomodation: 32417,79PHP so 548,24E
Transport : 14737,96PHP so 249,24E (without international flight)
Excursions : 11630PHP so 197,09E
Souvenirs : 279PHP so 4,72E
Food/drink : 9775,5 so 165,65E
Other (withdrawal fees + laundry) : 1677PHP so 28,43E
A total of 70517,25 so 1193,37E. so 3525,86PHP/day so 59,67E/jour. Once again the budget is a little inflated by the resort 😉
For the next time
What I will do again with pleasure :
– Bohol but another part of the island
What I won’t do again :
– Apo Island (one time is enough)
What to do in addition :
– Banau rice terraces
– Discover Palawan (trying to find places not too touristy)
– Go to see pink beaches!
– Better inform myself to find beaches of fine white sand
– More discover the underwater world