What is the cost of accommodation in the Philippines ?
Are you wondering how much is the common pricing or cost of accomodations in the Philippines?
At the time of writing this post, I just returned from my 13th trip in the Philippines and have already booked my next trip back this coming December. During my previous trips, I experienced a lot in various places where I stayed. Some places were really good, while some were not so good, but so far nothing outstanding bad tho. But still very good if I take in account how much it actually cost. Selection and availability of accommodation depends mostly on the purpose of your travel, with who you travel, what you prefer, what is your budget and many other factors. The variety of accommodation in the Philippines is really huge. Everyone can find affordable options even in overpriced locations like Boracay. However, in such locations, you need to lower down your expectations a little bit and set your preferences right.
During my earliest trips to the Philippine islands, I was using the Agoda website to browse and book hotels, or other places to stay. From my own experience, sometimes, it is worth to look on the website of the hotel directly because you can get same place for a little bit cheaper. However small hotels in Philippines do not usually accept online payments. Therefore you must send booking fee in advance via remittance service like Western Union or World Remit. Sometimes you may find a promo, called "insider deals" in Agoda. It can be quite much cheaper than booking directly with hotel, or you can have included some extras like breakfast. The common catch in Agoda website, even I don't think those people who work for Agoda are aware of it, is the big discount on some usually more expensive hotels. It happened a couple of years ago, I booked a room in Best Western hotel in Makati. The usual price was $130 but promo price was $50 or so. The room was absolutely worthless, they were renovating rooms, and those which were before renovation were for cheaper price. The air conditioner sounded like some heavy machinery, view from balcony was directly to terrace of the opposite building which was approximately 3-4 meters away (understandable since it is in the middle of the city), furniture looked like second hand or bought from a bargain shop (old, scratched and some even broken), TV was not even flat screen (tried to tolerate it) and cable was in general useless as picture was unclear. For that money, I could easily get much better place, better furnished and mainly better equipped. Anyway I've learned a lesson and I know what to be aware of.
During my latest visits, I started using Air BNB. I must say, that I feel much more comfortable renting a fully furnished condo, apartment, cottage or house, than some small hotel room. The problem with hotels is, that I find it quite annoying when they are waiting until I leave the room so they can do their room service. Fully furnished condominium gives you advantage to prepare some quick food even at night when all is already closed, or you can bring food with you and just heat it in the microwave when you want it later. It gives you closer contact with hosts, local people who are always willing to give you advices where to eat, where and how to go, what to see or what to do in the area.
Air BNB offers more privacy and ultimately gives you bigger range of locations to choose from. These private rentals are usually better located to amenities than large hotels and are much more cheaper. Someone may also find a satisfying fact that renting a place from a private host counts as support of the local economy instead of paying for an overpriced hotel room owned by some multinational corporation.
But back to the prices. In general, the prices of the accommodation in the Philippines are very cheap in comparison to North America, Europe or Australia, if you do proper search. There are places where you can get cottage directly on the beach starting at $20-30 per night and can accommodate 2 persons, but you can also get a room for $300 per night in Shangri-La with private beach. The normal price I usually pay is between $35-$50 per night but it also depends on the location. In Manila, places are more expensive. But out in the provinces, you can rent a 2 bedroom house for $200 per month, or if in the big city like Cebu, you can rent a condominium unit from $400 per month. The next factor for prices is the development of tourism in the area. Places in Bantayan Island or Siquijor Island are cheaper than prices in Boracay, Palawan or Camiguin since there are much less tourists. But even in those tourists overcrowded places, it is still possible to find a really cheap place, but availability might be an issue. In the past, I was renting in Boracay for $50 per night, just a few steps away from the beach, or $60 per night in Puerto Princesa, Palawan, close to the beach (Hartman Beach) which is full of mud. In Cebu, I was lucky enough to find a condo (City Scape Hotel) for $20-$30 per night, same as I booked for $40 per night in General Luna, Siargao, approximately 10 meters away from a beautiful almost deserted beach.
To make a conclusion, selection and availability is really huge. If you are not particularly seeking for a rich night life or for a prestige tourist locations, you can make your vacation incredibly cheap by searching private rentals on AirBnB. It is almost guaranteed you will find a place that will suit your needs the best and at a very affordable price. With a bit of luck and enough time in advance before your holidays, you can find a real jewel that will make you feel like you were in an all time paradise stay during your time in the Philippines.