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Two weeks in Philippines - what should I do?

My boyfriend and I are going to the Philippines for two weeks in January. Where should we stay? We want beautiful beaches, fun parting, and CHEAP accomodation- what should we expect to pay?
We really loved Koh Phagnan party island in Thailand (good nightlife, lovely beaches during the day, cheap guesthouses, fun tours, lots of other backpackers).
What places in the Philippines would you recommend? Any specific guesthouses?
Also, what should our daily budget be? We were thinking about bringing 600.00 USD each for the whole two weeks, that would include motels, food, drinks, souveniers, etc. Is that enough to have fun and be comfortable?

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the blue wavier
You can explore the beauty and peace in the Philippines!
Feel the fresh air and feel the heat in the Boracay Island, Chocolate Hills, Hundred Islands and many more. You can explore the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan. You can buy souvenirs uniquely made of proud Filipinos.

I hope that I can help.

Cheap doesn't exist during January. 600 dollars during January will only last you less than a week. You'll atleast need afew grand to be safe and to guarantee a good time. The Philippines is cheap in alot of regards but during January everything goes up and the tourist places will be packed thus they will charge more. Take it from someone who goes there alot bring alot more than 600 dollars because you'll find out the hard way that it won't last that long. Nothing worse than being in the philippines with no money.

Take a tour of Corregidor, Spend a few days in Makati, its like little america Be sure to go to the Hard Rock cafe and get a few shirts, the food there is nothing to write home about. For good food go to Tony Roma's, Chili's, or Outback. Try some Filipino food it is very good, but make sure it is in a restaurant, I have seen many unsanitary street vendors selling food. If you want to pamper yourself before you leave spend a night at the Shangri-la hotel and go shopping in the Mall there, but don't get lost, its easier to do than you think. I would stay away from the Aloha hotel not worth the money and the rooms are crap A/C don't work and no hot water. Century Citadel hotel is in a bad area of town don't make that mistake. Boracay is nice, the beaches are beautiful, lots of people from everywhere. Palawan is really nice, not too many people, also not a lot of modern conveniences, if you want modern convenience go to Makati. Baguio is awesome, a good reprieve from the oppressive heat of the Philippines. I would recommend the Ridgewood Hotel in Baguio. If you are into hiking you might like to go to Banaue and Sagada be sure to see the rice terraces they are really impressive. I would stay away from Angeles nothing but trouble there. I would have $3000 availiable in case of emergencies, unexpected expenses and such. You will probably spend around $1000-1500 in total not including airfare but don't cut it too close. Remember that there is a 550 peso departure tax.

Yak Rider
Your budget is way, way too low.

The fact that everyone jumps in and says, right away, Boracay, should tell you that's NOT the place to go.... especially with your budget.

15 years ago Boracay was exactly what you're looking for, not these days.

Pick a place you can visit without needing a domestic flight. There are still plenty of places to stay for $20 to $30 a night near the old US base at Subic Bay. These places are OFF the old base, not on it (way over priced).

The bay is very clean and there's great snorkeling. Start looking for a place in Barrio Barretto and work your way up the National Highway through Baloy Beach, Subic City, San Antonio, San Narciso, San Felipe all the way up to Iba.

You'll find plenty of retired Americans, and places like the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) where they'll be happy to recommend places to stay.

This area is a 2 to 3 hour bus ride from Manila.

For that small amount of money you are limited as the Philippines is a big country made up of many islands.
If you want to stay in one place I would recommend that you rent a house wherever you stay ($500 for 2 weeks depending on where you are and how good you are with negotiating). There are pension houses, but I don't find hotels to be particularly cheap as in cheap.
Manila to me is hell on earth but if you prefer clubbing and shopping malls then that would be a good base. Get recommendations from a taxi driver about where to go and ask if you can hire him for a whole day to do a tourist trip.
Filipinos are friendly, the country is beautiful and if you get a western sea view the sunsets are the best in the world.
I am not sure if 600 each is enough though our usual spend is 1200 USD each, but we travel around a lot.

Dizzy Dame
$1200 for 2 weeks of accommodations, meals, transportation and partying is not enough, not even at dirt-cheap backpacker hostels. Maybe double that amount. Another way would be to stay with friends for a week and just contribute to their household expenses. Then the other week, you can be traveling around to other places.

I agree with Nobody, 1200 USD is not enough.

pasacao beach in camarines sur.

Fidel Joseph A
Although Boracay is reasonably cheap if you have dollars on hand however, your backpacker budget needs to have a contingency budget such as your visa or mastercard handy. Just be aware that when your dollar converted to peso the purchasing power becomes too low. Hence, you budget wouldn't be enough but depends on how much you spend away. This place may have the kind of nightlife you're after fairly cheap as well. From Manila or Cebu you need to fly to Boracay in other words this will dent your budget. I suggest try to organize your trip schedules before going to Boracay hence, it must be prepaid. Just be aware flight schedules in the Phils can be unpredictable particularly in typhoon season (june to nov). Situations like this will also affect your budget. If you don't like the idea of flying inter island from Manila you can catch a bus going south like Batangas area and you can also catch a boat ride going to Puerto Gelera in Mindoro. Another better option is Cebu. From the airport you can catch a cab going to the bus terminals either north and south. Going north places like Bantayan or take a boat ride to Malapascua. Malapascua is a better option than Boracay less commercialize beautiful beach nice people but cheap resorts. If you opt going south try Moalboal or argao.
If you go for A list resorts you can check it out in the web away and find out reputable resorts. Food budget between $2 to $3 per head per meal. Backpacker accommodation between $50 to $60 nightly fairly same as in Thailand. You might want to check this out in google earth/map however, many places/beaches in the Phils can't be seen clearly though.
Have fun and good luck.
p.s. be extra careful you know what i mean.....

It's not enough. Better go back to Thailand. It's really tough to get a dollars worth of service for a nickel. Even in The Philippines.

I don't think 1200 USD is enough for 2 weeks with what you are planning to do (even if you do it "backpacker" style). 3000 USD would be a safer bet.

Beautiful beaches, fun partying, cheap accomodation + food, drinks, and souvenirs, hmmm... sounds like Boracay island.

With a budget like that it is definitely not enough for two weeks evan at the cheapest native resorts.

The cheapest native eco resort I have found on the small island of Guimeras costs P800 a night for a fan room. You can expect to pay at least P400 a day each for food at the native bbq places and calderetas.

Boracay and Palawan are definitely out of the question.

You'd need to at least double your budget to stay in the cheapest resorts, eat native food and drink the local rum.

That's a little less than 100 dollars a day, or 5000 pesos a day for expenses, including room and board, as well as fun money. It really depends on your adverterousness. But getting a room between 30-50 a day isn't too too hard. For that kind of money I might recommend going to the local favorite resort island of Boracay Island where you should be able to laze about for two weeks comfortably for that much. If you really don't want to leave Luzon Island then you can head to the beaches in Batangas, about an hour or so south of the airport in manila city. Batangas has a lot of colonial charm, a small volcano (Taal) inside a lake, and a amusment park (enchanted kingdom). The problem you'll run into is being over charged or misdirected by locals. Big problem for us in the PI even with a local girl. I'd recommend getting a room for a couple nights where you like and then looking for a cheaper room, or even going to a local travel agent at a local mall and asking them to help with a less expensive room. For your budget you will not be staying in high end hotels at all. If you really want to enjoy manila for a couple nights you can go to ermita and get a hotel room across from the us embassy or at cherry blossoms near the robinsons place mall for about 40-50 a night.

go island hopping.

You can never go wrong with Boracay. but Palawan is great!

boracay island...there are so many choices with regards to accomodation...pick a place at station 2 of you want to be in the thick of things...of course, this means, it's crowded too.

Borakay is the most famous. Also Bohol is nice and only a 2 hour fast ferry ride from Cebu.

Borakay has many discounted hotels online, you can go there with out spending a lot of money.

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