What Does it Cost to Live in Boracay Island, Philippines for a Month?

This post is by Paul Fournier, a Dutch digital nomad who lives in Boracay, Philippines. Paul is the author of BoracayCompass which is a detailed guide to the island, and he also manages JourneyCompass, where he writes about other travel destinations. You can follow him on Facebook.

I often see Boracay being mentioned as expensive by people online. But they’re they’re mostly misinformed. Because yes, you can spend a lot if you want, but the island doesn’t have to be expensive at all – Boracay caters to every budget. And to prove it I’ll show how I’m living comfortably off of $1000 per month (actually about $800 a month if you don’t include health insurance and Internet subscriptions), and how you can too…

Accommodation

My Apartment in Boracay

My Apartment in Boracay

I live in a small studio apartment; just a 3 minutes walk from the center of Boracay. White and Bulabog Beach are also just minutes away. My monthly rent is $280, including water and electricity.

The gas I use for cooking costs me about $20 every three months when I cook every day. But I’m not cooking much anymore these days – I’ll mention why later on.

The internet speed and reliability used to be poor on the island, but it has been improving fast. I’m still on a DSL landline connection, and although slow (1Mbps), it has been very responsive and reliable for me. It costs me $40 per month.

The local Wi-Fi sim cards & dongles used to be unreliable and not suitable for work, but they’ve made huge strides in recent years so that I might switch to that soon. They’re faster too (~3Mbps), and cheaper.

Tip: when looking for an apartment to live in Boracay it’s best to stay in a hotel for the first couple of days at least, so you can find something locally. Because apartment prices online are inflated, and without seeing the place in person you never know what you’re getting…

A beautiful looking apartment might be located right next to a cock farm, for example, picture many sleepless nights 🙂

Getting Around

Walking on Boracay White Beach at Sunset

Walking on Boracay White Beach at Sunset

Ahh, that’s one of the things I love about Boracay, getting around is so easy. The island is very compact, which means you can walk anywhere. That’s why I don’t own any mode of transport. No motorcycle and not even a bicycle.

When I want to go somewhere on the island a bit further away I just hail a tricycle or motorcycle driver. I may buy my own motorcycle in the future because it’s still convenient to have, but it’s far from a necessity. You can find a decent used motorcycle for about $600.

Eating Out & Groceries

Filipina Restaurant on Boracay Island, Philippines

Filipina Restaurant on Boracay Island, Philippines

Going out to eat is one of my favorite activities in Boracay. I love that it’s so affordable compared to Western standards and that there’s a lot of different international cuisines available. I eat out almost every day, often multiple times.

You can eat cheap local food at carinderias for about $1.50, or you can visit some of the more fancy restaurants and spend anything from $3 to $100. There’s a huge price range and cuisine variety spectrum, making it easy to find something for every budget, taste, and mood.

Cooking my own dinner actually doesn’t lead to much savings. Supermarkets are on average a bit more expensive here than in my home country, and there’s less choice.

When I do groceries I usually buy most of my food in the local markets, the prices there are about average compared to my home country, though some things cost less and some more. Apples are relatively expensive for example, but you can buy huge watermelons for relatively cheap.

Things To Do

Kalinga Bar on Boracay Island, Philippines

Kalinga Bar on Boracay Island, Philippines

For my entertainment, I do three things basically, eat out, relax on the beach, and enjoy the nightlife. I already talked about how much food costs, but didn’t mention anything about drinks yet… In beachfront bars a local San Miguel beer costs about $1.3 on average, in clubs, it’s more expensive, but still affordable.

I also like to play sports, I have a private boxing teacher who costs me $5 per one-hour training session, and I regularly play beach volleyball which is free.

Shopping

Electronics are relatively expensive in Boracay (in all of the Philippines actually), and the choice of good quality clothing in Boracay is very limited. That’s why I always tend to buy these things when I’m visiting my home country.

Conclusion

The Author Paul Fournier on Bulabog Beach

The Author Paul Fournier on Bulabog Beach

All in all, living in Boracay can be very affordable. Especially considering that you have many beautiful beaches and a world class nightlife plus restaurant scene just minutes from your doorstep. The quality of living is definitely a huge step up from what I was used to in my home country.

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Author: Jonathan Look

In 2011 Jonathan Look decided to change his life and pursue adventures instead of comfort and possessions. His goal is to travel the world solo; one country at a time, one year at a time. To accomplish this he got rid of most of his possessions, packed up what little he saw as necessities and headed out. His goal is to spend ten years discovering new places, meeting new people and taking the time to learn about them, their values and their place on this tiny planet. He embraces the philosophy that says a person is the sum of their experiences and rejects the fraud of modern consumerism that makes people into slaves of their consumption. He doesn’t intend to be modern day ascetic, just more mindful of his place in the world and to make decisions according to that new standard.

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