Since I am still working on a new BalikBayan Box article (I’m shipping a baby stroller!!) and other travel updates (I’m lazy editing the videos)
I decided that today Im doing an It’s Cheaper in the Philippines (Manila) Nov-2016 post
I always get flaked by US based friends and acquaintances on why I can afford to frequent the Philippines nearly every year. They always assume I have tons of money. My secret to that is careful and wise budgeting. I blogged before on how I crazily put away small stashes of cash for my vacation spending, including expenses for Taxi fares, parking fees, entrance fees, manicure etc.
As for my airfare, I schedule my flight and trip during non peak travel season. Which are between end January-mid May (Philippine Summer) or mid September-end November (Rainy Monsoon Season)
I don’t book via Philippine Airlines. On a regular off season fare the baseline fare is $850, lucky if you find a $650-750 deal on their flash sales. The only positive part about Philippine Airlines is that they are a direct flight.
I, however opt flying with either ANA-All Nippon, Delta, EVA, Asiana or Korean Air which have low fare economy for between $600-800 with a 1-2 hour stopover in either Tokyo, Japan or Seoul, Korea. Not bad really. And sometimes on a good sale day airfare can go as low as $580 (from Los Angeles) Almost $200 saving that goes to my pocket money.
In fact it’s cheaper to travel to another country rather than traveling within the US. A flight from San Diego to New York for me would cost around $450- 550 depending on date and airline. Yeeesh! only a couple dollars difference to fly back home (or go to Japan, Mexico or Hongkong)
Normally when I vacay to the Philippines I stay around 20-24 days- almost 3 weeks. Since I stay mostly at my parents old home- I don’t worry about paying for hotel fees and such. So I really just spend about $500-650 on pocket money if I don’t oversplurge.
The Philippines is such a great place to vacation & live due how cheap most local activities are. Plus you don’t feel too left out since places like Manila have many of the western comforts especially restaurants – Chillis, TGIF, Krispy Kreme, etc.. but sold at much lower rates that their US counterparts.
In fact according to Numbeo: Consumer Prices in United States are 112.40% higher than in Philippines
Restaurant Prices in United States are 246.81% higher than in Philippines
Groceries Prices in United States are 120.27% higher than in Philippines
A normal date night activity in Manila are significantly low priced. Here is a table comparing US-Philippine rates of items and activities we normally spend on. The conversion is based off exchange rates as of November 2016 $1.00= Php 48.00. Note that prices are subject to change
A HUGE JUMP from my article back in August 2014 on your Philippine Spending Guide.
|What Are They||Reg US $ Rate||Philippine Peso Rate||US Equivalent Nov 2016|
|Movie tickets||$15.00||Php 260.00||$5.42|
|Movie tickets Imax||$18.00||Php 300.00||$6.25|
|Movie Soda||$4.00||Php 30.00||$0.63|
|City or Mall parking||$5.00||Php 50.00|
|McDonalds Value Meal||$5.50||Php 120.00||$2.50|
|Uber Ride 12 Miles||$30.00||Php 150.00||$3.13|
|Pizza Medium||$13.00||Php 280.00||$5.83|
|Bus Fare Manila||$2.50||Php 8.50||$0.18|
|Taxi Fare 12 Miles||$25.00||Php 150.00||$3.13|
|Jeepney fare Manila||Php 7.00||$0.15|
|1 Hour Sweedish Massage||$75.00||Php 700.00||$14.58|
|1 Hour Premium Massage||$120.00||Php 1,500.00||$31.25|
|Haircut Regular||$30.00||Php 175.00||$3.65|
|Haircut Mid range||$75.00||Php 300.00||$6.25|
|Haircut w Stylist||$150.00||Php 500.00||$10.42|
|Manicure Regular||$17.00||Php 200.00||$4.17|
|Manicure/Pedi Deluxe||$30.00||Php 500.00||$10.42|
|Mani Pedi Spa Treatment||$50.00||Php 1,300.00||$27.08|
|Mid City Hotel||$80.00||Php 2,750.00||$57.29|
|Hotel Parking||$35.00||Php 100.00||$2.08|
|4 Star Hotel||$175.00||Php 5,500.00||$114.58|
|Facial w/ Mask||$100.00||Php 320.00||$6.67|
|Gel Manicure||$40.00||Php 680.00||$14.17|
|Breakfast Buffets Deluxe||$35.00||Php 900.00||$18.75|
|Round Cakes||$12.00||Php 300.00||$6.25|
|Bottle Shampoo||$3.50||Php 100.00||$2.08|
|RT Plane tickets 354 mil||$240.00||Php 4,678.00||$97.46|
My favorite comparison is how large the margin between a regular movie night here in the US compared to a typical day in Manila. Even with the luxury cinemas you still will spend a quarter of what you would with US Fares.
Also buying or building your own home (much recommended) is significantly cheaper. You can own a 4 Bedroom home with 4 bathroom located in a modest gated community for under $200,000. For groceries rates get cheaper as you go further into the provincial and countryside areas where everything are locally sourced and organic.
There are still things that are more affordable to buy in the US than the Philippines, especially branded US & UK items due to VAT tax imposed once they are sold in its branch stores in Asia. TV, Laptops and most US electronics are cheaper. However mailing them to the Philippines means you need to pay Philippine customs a certain tax fee that is nearly as expensive as the electronics themselves. Plus the voltage requirements between US and Philippines differ so it’s better to spend that extra difference for those Asia manufactured/sold brand than have your US bought appliance explode and fritz out on you.
Here’s a short table showing same rates where US products are cheaper or same as their Philippine counterpart.
|Cheaper/Same in the US||Reg US $ Rate||Philippine Peso Rate||US Equivalent Nov 2016|
|Beats Headphones Solo||$90.00||Php15,000.00||$312.50|
|Designer Bags (Coach/MK)||$250.00||Php18,000.00||$375.00|
|Honda 2017 Civic||$23,000.00||Php1,200,000.00||$25,000.00|
|3-4 Bedroom House||$600,000.00||Php9,000,000.00||$187,500.00|
|26″ Mountain Bike||$90-110||Php7,700.00||$160.42|
|Android Tablet 7″-8″||$49-60||Php2,700.00||$56.25|
That’s all I have for now. Till the next post!