Philippines Guide

Where is the road calling you?

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Philippines Guide

Tips and Tricks for The Philippines (As Of *)

Cagayan de Oro (2016):

Getting There- We flew from Manila, a cab into town cost 110P.

Staying- New Dawn Pension was a great place to stay.  A very nice double room cost 1,080P.

Camiguin (2016):

Getting There- (from CDO) Cab to Agora was 70P, 120P per person to Balingoan.  Ferry to Camiguin cost 170P per person.  We spent 23P per person on a Jeeney and 12P per person on a jumbo to reach Medano Resort.

Staying- Medano resort is not a place we would stay again but we got caught coming in on the weekend without a reservation…not a good idea!  A double will run you 1,800P per night.  Casa Esperanza was much more to our liking, costing 800P per night and staying with a friendly family just down the road.

Eating– Rotisserie chicken and rice became a staple for us, easy to find for 200P.

Getting around- A motorbike rental for more than one day will run around 400P per day for a decent bike, cheaper if you want a very basic bike.

Banaue (2016):

Getting There– We took the Oyami bus for 450P per person.  Once arriving, we opted to walk downhill into town, a good choice.

Staying- Querencia was a great place to stay.  The rooms may have been basic but the staff was very friendly and the owner is amazing!  A double room with private bathroom cost 500P per night.

Eating– More often than not we ate at Querencia.  The food was good and the portions were huge!  Other options in town tended to disappoint us more often than not.

Getting Around– We lucked out and rented a proper dirt bike only because the traveler who left the guesthouse we stayed at had already done the leg work.  It was difficult to find a place to rent a bike, and we paid a whopping 1,000P per day for the bike we had, although we had to admit it was well worth it for the beautiful exploring we did.

Sabang (2011):

Getting There – From El Nido, (at the time we were there) there was a bus that ran 4 times a day at 6 or 7am, 9am, 11am, and 1 (depending on the time of year), costing 320 Php per person. The bus doesn’t take you all the way to Sabang so you’ll be dropped off at the “fork” in the road which heads to Sabang instead of back to PP. From the fork, you can grab a passing jeepney if you’re lucky or hop a ride from one of the many passing full size vPuans traveling from Sabang. The van cost us 200 Php each.

Staying – We stayed at Blue Bungalows and paid 700 Php for a really nice 3 person room, but a double only costs you 300 Php.

Eating – You don’t really have many options here as far as places to eat since it’s a pretty small town. There were probably 5 or 6 places to eat at outside of a few hotels, but you’ll be paying pretty inflated tourist prices due to the amount of underground river tours here. Instead, most of our meals were cooked over an open fire behind the main kitchen area.

Getting Around – You really don’t have any need for transportation in Sabang at all. Use those trusty ‘ole feet!

Puerto Princesa (2011):

Getting There – From Sabang, you can take a jeepney for 200 Php each. The tricycle ride was 50 Php for all 3 of us to get to Dallas Inn from the terminal. TIP—Walk out of the bus terminal and head down the road until you find someone willing to give u a better price.

Staying – We HIGHLY recommend staying at Dallas Inn for 450 Php for a room with private bathroom and a double bed. The owner here is pretty much impossible not to love! If you do stay here and you think of it, PLEASE tell Oring that Nate and Jessica say hi! We already miss her a LOT.

Eating – There’s a fairly large restaurant on the main road called Balinsasayaw Chicken Grill where they serve really good set meals for 70 Php, and you get chicken (your choice how you want it made) and rice. The fresh lumpia is really good here, too. It actually wasn’t even available our last night because it was so popular. There are many other restaurants to choose from.

Getting Around – Almost everywhere in town is walk-able. If you’re headed to the airport, a tricycle ride will run you 30 Php.

***side note*** There is airport tax to pay in the Philippines. It will cost you 40 Php for a domestic flight and be prepared to pay 750 Php EACH for an international flight.

El Nido (2011):

Getting There – Once in PP you will have to take a tricycle to the terminal for 50Php. There is a 5am bus and an 8am bus that will cost 380Php per person for the fun 7-9 hour ride to El Nido.

Staying – We stayed at Rovic Pension House for 800Php a night for 3 beds, an en suite bathroom and free wifi. There are a few cheaper options but Rovic was very clean and comfortable. The staff even cleaned our room and changed the linens for us. We would highly recommend it.

Eating – There are tons of different options to eat at in El Nido, many serving Western food. The Mexican place is called Lonesome Carabao Lounge, Squidos is more of a sports bar with good, cheap eats, the Curry House is a must try too.

Getting Around – The only transportation you’ll need is if you want to do some island hopping. Pretty much every tour company in town is offering the same combinations for the same price. We just happened to go the place right down the road from where we were staying. The trips run from 700-900Php for approx. 8 hours with lunch included.

Manila (2011/2016):

Getting There – A Ro-Ro combo from Catlican to Manila should run you around 900Php per person, it actually works out cheaper to get the combo ticket. Take it from the locals, they are all doing the same thing.  (2016)  The fare from the airport to Makati cost about 210P.  From Banaue- We took the Dangwa/Florida bus for 530P per person.

Staying – Chill Out Guest House is an okay option in Manila. The price was high for the dorm we stayed in, 350 Php each.  (2016)  We opted to stay in Makati at MNL Hostel.  A private room cost 1500P per night.

Eating – Just head to Robinson’s mall, tons of choices. The Shawarma Snack Center close to the mall has AMAZING food, we ate there two times and loved it both times.  (2016)  In Makati, we could stop eating at Beni’s falafel just down the road.  If you love falafel, it’s a must!

Getting Around – A taxi from the Pasay terminal to Ermita cost us 190Php. A taxi to the airport cost us 120Php (As of 2016 with insane traffic due to road construction the fare to the airport was 400P from Makati).

Boracay (2011):

Getting There – From Caticlan you’ll take a quick 20 minute ferry ride for 155Php per person. A tricycle ride into town will run you a steep 100 Php.

Staying – If you’re visiting in low season, you can get some great deals on rooms. Just be sure to stick around station 3 instead of being closer to all the resorts and the shopping. It wasn’t hard to find a room with a double bed, cable TV, private shower and fridge for as little as 400 Php per night. Even a nicer room with wifi inside can be found for 600 Php.

Eating – If you’re lucky, the place you stay at will have a small kitchen you can cook your own food at. Not like this is true of every place, but there were plenty of people who complained about getting sick from the fish barbecues in front of many of the resorts. We tried the Greek restaurant in D Mall and were not impressed. If you’re looking for a reasonably priced, fresh meal you can go to Migak which is close to D Mall on the main street it also serves Indian food. Another good bet, although more expensive, is eating at Cowboys at station 3. We had talked to people who said that everything was good here, and from what we experienced we’d have to agree with them. It really was worth the little extra money that we don’t usually spend. Otherwise, there’s always Andok’s chicken and rice. A full chicken and rice for 2 can be had for under 300 Php including a drink.

Getting Around – Boracay is another place where you can pretty much walk anywhere you need to go unless exploring other parts of the island besides the incredible beach area. A tricycle ride will cost you 100 Php from the pier, but you might be able to find a hawker promoting a guesthouse who will pay a little bit of it for you if you check out their place. Typically you’ll pay the same to get back to the pier, but we found a guy who was willing to take us for 80 Php instead.

Sipilay and Sugar Beach (2011):

Getting There – From Dumaguete, there isn’t a bus that goes straight there until the afternoon so you’ll have to book 3 separate tickets if you want to get there during daylight (good idea!), Dumaguete to Bayawan, Bayawan to Hinoba-an, and Hinoba-an to Montilla. 60Php-77Php-32Php. You can get off in Montilla then head towards the village of Nauhang, a tricycle should be about 50 Php to get to the river on the way to Sugar Beach. The small crossing costs locals 5Php per trip, but you’ll most likely pay at least 20Php.

Staying – Sugar Beach- Here we spent our nights at Driftwood where we had a double bed with shared bath in a small nipa hut for 400Php.

Eating – The food at Driftwood is really good, but pretty expensive figuratively speaking. Many of the meals will run you about 200-300Php per person.

Getting Around – As we said before, a tricycle ride from Montilla will cost you 50Php if you are smart enough to walk past all the guys trying to overcharge you at the main crossing where you get dropped off. With it pouring so hard on the way back, we ended up having to pay 100Php

Dumaguete (2011/2016):

Staying – We stayed at Harold’s where we had a double fan room with private bath, TV and wifi for 600Php.  (2016) We paid 800 for the same room.  Ildesefa is just down the road and a double room cost us 700P for a double, very basic room.

Eating – We’re really not much help here since we were just looking for the cheapest possible options. There is a pretty decent supermarket in the main part of town if you don’t feel like eating out.  Chin Long was our place of choice after determining our healthiest options.

Getting Around – You don’t really need to worry about a tricycle here until you need to get to the bus station, which will cost you 20Php per person.

Bacolod (2011):

Getting There – From Montilla outside of Sipilay, the bus will cost you 170Php
Bacolod to Ilioilo City- The ferry costs 325Php per person
Iloilo to Catlican-There is a direct Ceres bus for 335Php from Iloilo to Catlican, but you will need to get a tricycle to the bus terminal first

Staying – At Bacolod Pension, you can get a room with double bed, TV and bathroom with AC for 625Php per night. They also have wifi in the cafeteria area. There fan rooms are around 250Php, a much better option if you are dry!

Eating – We had food at our pension, which was pretty cheap. You can get most items for under 100Php. If you’re craving western food, there are plenty of places to eat if you turn right as you leave Bacolod Pension and go left at the main road.

Getting Around – A tricycle from the bus station to Bacolod Pension cost us 40Php. To get to the main bus station if you’re heading north, you’ll pay at least 100Php. We actually gave our guy an extra 20Php just because it was so far away, about a 30 minute ride.

Cebu (2011/2016):

Getting There – We flew in from Singapore on Cebu Pacific. You are able to buy a flight less than 24 from departure on their website. We paid well under $100 USD each.

Staying – We stayed at Cebu Century Hotel for 700 PHP per night for a double room with private bathroom and wifi.  (2016)  Express Inn in a much better area of the city is a great choice!  A double will run you 1,380P, but it’s worth the extra money!

Eating – The mall nearby might be your best bet.

Getting Around – A cab from the airport to downtown will cost you 275 PHP. If you’re staying where we were you can walk to the pier easily, but you can take a cab for about 60 PHP.

Bohol (2011/2016):

Getting There – You can take the fast ferries if you like for a lot more money, but we opted for Lite Shipping. We got basic economy tickets with beds for 220 PHP per person from Cebu City to Tagbiliran on Bohol. You can pay slightly less for a wooden bench, which we learned after getting on the boat.  (From Camiguin) We were forced to pay 100P straight to the port early in the morning and took the Super Ferry for 425P per person.  Another 50P got us a trike into the city.

Staying – In Tagbiliran we stayed at Casa Juana for 600 pesos, we wouldn’t recommend it. In Panglao, we stayed at Bohol Dive Resort and paid 600 PHP for the room but were able to use the pool which was awesome since the ocean was pretty churned up. It was nothing special but was also the cheapest place we could find. (2016) Nisa Traveler’s Inn was an expensive option after being forced to book their most expenive option with nothing else in town available.  We paid 1,800P after not booking ahead…a nice room, but OUCH to our backpacking budget.

Eating – While in Panglao, we ate at Powder Keg. There really aren’t any cheap options as far as food goes here, but at least this restaurant had good portions for the money and some pretty tasty pizza.

Getting Around – When we got to Tagbiliran, we walked into town from the pier instead of taking a tricycle. You can take a jeepney to and from Panglao for only 25 PHP each. A motorbike rental in Tagbiliran will run you 500 PHP per day. We would end up walking again to get to the pier when we left.

Bantayan (2016):

Getting There- (From Tagbiliran) 40P tricycle to port, 350P Weesam ferry to Cebu plus 100P baggage fee, 100P cab ride to northern bus terminal, Ceres bus to Hagnaya for 160P, 170P ferry to Bantayan plus 10P terminal fee, 10P to get to Sante Fe on Bantayan from terminal

Staying- Pre-book of you’re arriving on the weekend!  Locals have begun traveling here every weekend so just be safe and do yourself a favor here.  We love staying at Nordic and have stayed there before.  We were able to negotiate a longer term stay of almost 2 weeks for 800P per night for a double room.  We had to spend one night searching for a room on a busy weekend having not pre-booked and spent a night at Onde only a five minute walk from Nordic and paid 700P per night for a very basic, grungy room in comparison.

Eating- Sante Fe has received a food court with many options.  This is a great place to go for tourists, but the gyro spot was by FAR our favorite…a Greek chef and amazing staff kept us coming back.

Getting Around– Renting a motorbike is the best way by far, especially during super hot days.  We rented a bike during our entire stay for 250P per day.

Siquijor (2016):

Getting There- Ferry from Dumaguette 210P, 15P terminal fee, 70P baggage fee.  200P for a tricycle to The Sylvia.

Staying- We stayed at the Sylvia, opting for an in room kitchen and paying 800P per night for about 2 weeks.  Saturday night the main building turns into a club.

Eating- Food at the Sylvia was a good option but we also did a lot of cooking.  Siquijor is changing quickly so rest-assured there are PLENTY of food options around.

Getting Around– We rented a motorbike here as well for 250P per day.  A ride back to the port to get to Dumaguette cost us 250P.


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