*These are indicative prices and are subject to change over times*
WHAT ABOUT THE PHILIPPINES
Largest City: Quezon City
Official language: Filipino and English
Population: Over 101 millions as of 2016
Political system: Constitutional republic
Currency: Philippine peso
Time zone: UTC+8
WHAT ABOUT TRAVELING THE PHILIPPINES
Wet season: June to October
Best season to travel: November to May
Visa: It depends on your nationality. There is a 1-month exempt visa for most nationalities. Make sure to check out the latest info on the Immigration Website.
Hotel: Usually as cheap as 4€ to 10€ (5$ to 12$ USD) for a bed in a dorm or a single room. In Nothern Luzon, dormitories are non-existent outside of Manila. Pretty much all budget accomodations are not available online. Be aware that it can take some time to hunt for a cheap accomodation in some areas.
Food: Usually as cheap as 0.50€ to 3€ (0.75$ to 3.5$ USD) for a basic streetfood meal (Fried rice, fried noodles and cheap food specials). The range is huge. Knowing that the Philippines is not a topnotch country for food, you might want to get western food more than local food.
Food specials: Chicken adobo, Balut, Kare Kare, Kinilaw, Sinigang, Paksiw, Tapsilog and many more!
Transportation: Buses are usually as cheap as 1.5€ to 8€ (2$ to 10$ USD). There is no train in Northern Luzon. Be aware that transportation is extremely slow … a hundred kilometers is worth 3 to 6 hours and you have to take up to 4 different kinds of transportation to complete a few hundred kilometers.
Bargaining: As long as you feel you are not paying the right price, you need to bargain. Use your common sense! Filiponos are so honest and nice people that outside of the classic multiple days hotel bargaining, you won’t have to bargain for bus fares or anything else. Some trishaw and minivan drivers might try to overquote you but that’s the same anywhere in Asia.
Budget: From 500€ to 600€ for a month in Northern Luzon (600$ to 730$ USD). Your travel budget for the Philippines can vary a lot lot depending on your travel itinerary. The Southern Islands of the Philippines are obviously more touristy therefore more expensive to travel.
Thank you: Salamat
These are Tagalog basics. While the Philippines have a number of languages spoken across the whole country, it is one of the top 15 countries worldwide with the best non-native English speakers. You won’t have any problem speaking English in the Philippines.
TRAVEL APPS AND WEBSITES
GPS: An amazing offline GPS application that highlights hostel, food and even the tiniest hiking paths in your area (Maps.me )
Hostels: Use filters to sort out the cheapest price of the day. There is usually no need to book in advance. You might find cheaper accomodations on-site. In some remote areas, these are not advertised online. (Booking, Agoda, Hostelworld)
Meeting people: Couchsurfing integrate a new ‘people around me’ feature. You will usually meet plenty of people at your hostel but it does happen sometines that you are the only one there. Tinder is not ‘only’ what you think! More and more people use it to meet locals or travelers to explore a destination (Couchsurfing, Tinder)
Money sharing: If traveling by group, Tricount is an amazing application for organizing group expenses (Tricount)
Backpack: Pack as light as you can. Ten kilos should be a maximum. You won’t need these 15 tshirts and 5 pairs of shoes, will you? Remember that you will carry all this weight on your shoulders. There is one more thing. Checking in with a carry-on luggage only is way cheaper!
Cash: Always keep a 50€ or 50$ USD banknote in your wallet. You never now what might happen. It can be really helful in case your credit card get blocked for a few days. Never ever wait to run out of cash before withdrawing in a local currency! Before leaving a country, try to get rid of coins and small banknotes. You won’t be able to exchange them later!
Toilet paper: Yeah, you can laugh at this one. However, be aware that most Asian countries do not use any. You better get one roll in your backpack!