When I prepare for any of the trips I always try to find out what are the real costs in places where I’m planning to go. If you do the same thing you most probably agree that it is hard to find up-to-date and at the same time full information about prices.
What I always try to find are as I call them “simple costs”. For example how much is a cup of coffee, a beer, a nice dinner in high-end restaurant comparing to a simple bar or a fast-food place. Also, how much is it to see a movie in cinema, go to a club, get pack of cigarettes, buying bottle of beer in a shop comparing to a bar and all such things.
Metro Manila is a huge metropolitan city. It became so huge basically connecting 10-12 smaller cities into one giant. You will notice this as soon as you start traveling from one district, for example as Global City to Eastwood or Cubao. All the time you will take long, wide and extremely polluted highways.
This means that in most cases you will have to take a taxi. There is also possibility to use Jeepneys, old US Jeeps from 50-60s which were adjusted to other needs and became public transport. They do not have windows and air-conditioning. They are good for a short ride 2-3 times just for experience. They are very cheap, around 15 pesos for a ride.
Taxi costs from 50-60 pesos for a very short ride, let’s say from a close shop to your place up to 300 pesos if you want to get to Mall of Asia, one of the biggest shopping malls in Asia let’ say from Eastwood. This is easily 40-60 min ride depending on traffic.
Average taxi ride is 100-150 pesos for 15 min. It also depends on the traffic, an average 120 peso ride can end up to 250 peso for same distance on Friday evening and if it is raining.
Coffee in Starbucks can get up to 150 peso for tall, tea in same place 90 pesos for tall.
Prices for drinks depend on the district; a bucket of local San Miguel (5 bottles) on average costs 300-350 pesos, for example in Eastwood. Same bucket will cost 500 pesos in Global city.
Beer in a shop (San Miguel) will cost around 20-25 pesos for a bottle.
Cigarettes, for example local Marlboro is cheap comparing to Europe, it costs 40-50 pesos per pack. If you want imported ones, let’s say from Germany (they have different taste) be prepared to pay around 140 pesos for a pack. Such imported cigarettes are sold in special kiosks in big shops, they are not sold in 7 Eleven or similar. Some local brands cost as low as 20 pesos for a pack.
Dinner in some Italian place will be around 600-700 pesos, main dish, drink, desert, coffee. If you want stake be prepared to pay 1000+ in same Italian place or even higher in proper Stake House.
Average restaurant, more local style, will cost you 300-400 pesos with same food and drink setup.
Good hotels, 4 star, Western style will cost 3000+ pesos a night, high-end places, such as Shangri-La will cost 10 000+ pesos a night.
Night at good hostel with breakfast in the morning will cost 600 pesos and up. If you are on a tight budget hostel can be a great option for you to save money! In most cases they are clean, but a tip for Manila trip or any other place in the Philippines; in case of hostel take the one that has one of the highest reviews as they might get very dirty, full of cockroaches, bugs, etc.
Renting apartment can be a good option if you are planning to stay for some months in Manila. Be prepared to pay around 600 to 900 USD +utilities for a good place in a nice district.
Average T-shirt in a usual shopping mall, such as Market-Market in Global city without a discount is around 300-400 pesos up to 800 pesos. Local brands can be good quality and very price competitive!
Pirated DVD will be from 20 to 50 pesos depending on the place where you buy it and the amount. My usual price was 30 in Market-Market mall.
Average shopping cart (groceries, some meat, some drinks) can be around 1000 pesos, this should be enough for one person to eat for 3-5 days or more, depends how much you eat and what kind of products you prefer.
Electronics, any kind of it costs more than in most places in Europe and definitely more than in the US. Not a very good investment I must say. I can save up to 10-15% if you are lucky enough to get a good offer. If you stay for a longer period it can be a good idea to get a cheap flight to Hong Kong for 3-4 days and get some stuff there.