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Top 10 Cheapest Island Staycations in the Philippines

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Cheapest Island Staycations in the Philippines

Island Dreams on a Dime: Your Cheapest Island Staycations in the Philippines Awaits!

Dreaming of paradise but your wallet is whispering “staycation”? Look no further than the stunning archipelago of the Philippines! With over 7,000 islands, the Philippines is a treasure trove of tropical bliss with options for every budget-conscious traveler. While Boracay and Palawan steal the spotlight, there’s a plethora of under-the-radar locales where the sun kisses the sea without burning a hole in your pocket. So grab your sunnies and flip-flops, as we take you through the ultimate list of cheap island staycations in the Philippines, where budget meets beauty for a vacation to remember!

1. Island Hop in Siargao Without Breaking the Bank

Beautiful view of crystal-clear water from the boat on the Siargao Island

Siargao, situated in the northeastern part of Mindanao in the Philippines, garnered fame among surfers across the globe for its Cloud 9 surf break, a perfect barreling right-hand reef wave that puts Siargao firmly on the map. Not just a surfers’ paradise, Siargao has a rich history as a fishing community, with influences from the Spanish colonial period to American occupation, which have left a blend of cultural heritages on the island.

Facts

  1. Siargao gained international attention after being featured in the 1993 surf documentary, “Surfing Hollow Days,” which showcased the massive potential of its waves.
  2. The island comprises 48 smaller islets, perfect for island hopping, snorkeling, and enjoying the sun at an affordable price.
  3. Siargao was declared a protected landscape and seascape in 1996, ensuring the natural beauty of the area is preserved for visitors and future generations.

2. Siquijor: Mystic Island with Down-to-Earth Prices

Tourists enjoy swimming on the Cambugahay waterfalls in Siquijor Island

Siquijor, often referred to as the Mystic Island due to its association with folklore, such as witches and healing rituals, is a serene destination in the Central Visayas region of the Philippines. The Spanish colonizers called it “Isla del Fuego” (Island of Fire) because of the swarm of fireflies that once inhabited the island. Its tranquil beaches, waterfalls, and colonial-era churches are a testament to its multi-layered history.

Facts

  1. Siquijor is famous for its traditional healing practices and herbal medicine, which draw tourists fascinated by the local culture.
  2. The majestic Lazi Church, also known as San Isidro Labrador Parish Church, is a National Historical Landmark, built by Filipino artisans during the Spanish era.
  3. Siquijor offers affordable accommodation, dining, and transportation options, making its cultural heritage and natural attractions accessible to budget travelers.

3. Camiguin Island: Pocket-Friendly Natural Wonders

White sand beach with crystal clear water and breathtaking view of the mountain on Camiguin Island

Camiguin Island, also known as the “Island Born of Fire,” holds the distinction of having the greatest number of volcanoes per square kilometer than any other island on Earth. Rich in Spanish colonial history, as evidenced by its old ruins and historical artifacts, Camiguin has transformed from a land of old-world charm to an adventure-seekers haven with hot springs, waterfalls, and stunning ocean life, all within affordable reach.

Facts

  1. The island boasts the sunken cemetery, a unique underwater site marked by a large cross, which is a remnant of the volcanic eruptions that shaped Camiguin’s topography.
  2. With more than 20 dive sites, Camiguin is perfect for diving enthusiasts, offering rich marine biodiversity at competitive rates.
  3. It is home to the Lanzones Festival, an annual celebration that honors the sweet, tropical Lanzones fruit, one of Camiguin’s major agricultural products.

4. Bantayan Island: A Low-Cost Gem in the Visayas

Beautiful Bantayan Island

Located in the northern part of Cebu province, Bantayan Island is a peaceful retreat with a history palpable in its old Spanish-era church and laid-back traditional fishing villages. The island played a significant role during World War II as a base for Filipino guerrilla forces due to its strategic location. Today, Bantayan is a haven for beach lovers, offering expansive shores without the crowds or the inflated tourist prices.

Facts

  1. Bantayan Island’s St. Peter and Paul Church is one of the oldest in the Visayas region, dating back to 1580.
  2. The island is known for its unique Holy Week traditions, which include the solemn Good Friday procession and the festive Easter Sunday celebration.
  3. Bantayan is also famous for its thriving seafood industry, allowing tourists to enjoy fresh, mouth-watering seafood at very affordable prices.

5. Experience Bohol’s Charms on a Shoestring

The little cute Tarsier is one of the famous tourists' attractions in Bohol Island

Bohol is an island province located in the Central Visayas, with a rich historical backdrop evidenced by ancient churches, watchtowers, and the Blood Compact site, where the first treaty of friendship between Europeans and Filipinos was signed. Bohol is not only known for its “Chocolate Hills,” but also for its indigenous tarsier primates and its people’s resilience after the 2013 earthquake that led to the restoration and strengthening of its heritage sites.

Facts

  1. The Chocolate Hills, one of Bohol’s main attractions, is an unusual geological formation with at least 1,268 individual mounds across an area of more than 50 square kilometers.
  2. The Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary in Corella allows visitors to see one of the world’s smallest primates in their natural habitat at a minimal fee.
  3. Bohol offers a range of budget-friendly accommodations and excursion options, making its historical and natural landmarks accessible to every type of traveler.

6. Malapascua Island: Dive into Savings

Island hopping at Malapascua Island with beautiful rock formations and crystal clear sea.

Off the northernmost tip of Cebu in the Philippines lies Malapascua Island, a gem for diving aficionados and budget-conscious travelers. Renowned for its vibrant coral gardens and the rare thresher sharks that can be seen at Monad Shoal, Malapascua offers an affordable diving experience without skimping on the underwater spectacle. The island is small and can be wandered around in a couple of hours, boasting pristine white-sand beaches and crystal-clear waters.

Facts

  1. Malapascua Island became famous for its thresher shark sightings, which are a main attraction for divers, especially at the cleaning station known as Monad Shoal.
  2. The island was severely hit by Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, but thanks to resilient local communities, it has been rebuilt and is once again a top destination for tourists.
  3. Besides diving, Malapascua offers other inexpensive activities such as snorkeling, beach-hopping, and island excursions, making it a perfect spot for a budget-friendly getaway.

7. Offbeat Stays in Tablas Island

Serene beach on the Tablas Island

Tablas Island, the largest of the Romblon Province islands in the Philippines, offers travelers a unique and offbeat lodging experience. Away from mainstream tourist paths, Tablas presents various quaint accommodations from budget-friendly beach cottages to more immersive stay options like local homestays and farm resorts. Here, visitors can enjoy untouched landscapes, serene beaches, and rich cultural encounters, all while supporting sustainable tourism and community initiatives.

Facts

  1. Tablas Island is known for its rolling hills, extensive coastlines, and a diverse range of ecosystems, including mangroves, coral reefs, and forests.
  2. The island’s relative obscurity means fewer crowds and a more genuine experience of the local way of life compared to more commercialized destinations.
  3. Agri-tourism is becoming popular on Tablas, with visitors getting involved in organic farming and learning about sustainable practices, making it an ideal stay for eco-conscious travelers.

8. Romblon: The Underrated Budget Traveler’s Retreat

Joannerfabregas, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Romblon province, an archipelago composed of three main islands (Romblon, Sibuyan, and Tablas), is a budget-friendly destination in the Philippines with much to offer. From the charming stone houses and historical Fort San Andres in Romblon Town to the untouched natural beauty of Sibuyan Island, Romblon is a delight for nature lovers and culture enthusiasts alike. With affordable accommodations, low-cost local cuisine, and a multitude of free outdoor activities, it’s an ideal location for budget travelers.

Facts

  1. Romblon is known as the “Marble Capital of the Philippines,” due to its rich deposits of high-quality marble, comparable to that of Italy’s Carrara.
  2. Mount Guiting-Guiting on Sibuyan Island is a must-visit for hikers, offering challenging trails and spectacular views. It’s also one of the most biodiverse areas in the world, with several endemic species.
  3. The Blue Hole, a collapsed underwater cave system, is a unique diving spot for divers seeking something different than the usual coral dives.

9. Caramoan Peninsula: ‘Survivor’ Adventure on a Budget

Tuderna, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The remote Caramoan Peninsula in the Camarines Sur province of the Philippines gained international fame as a filming location for the reality TV show ‘Survivor.’ The region offers stunning and varied landscapes, from jagged cliffs and secret lagoons to long stretches of white sandy beaches and secluded islands. Budget travelers can revel in a ‘Survivor’-themed adventure with affordable island hopping tours, camping options, and low-cost accommodations in mainland towns.

Facts

  1. The Caramoan Peninsula’s dramatic geography and isolation have made it a top choice for numerous editions of ‘Survivor’ from around the world.
  2. Matukad Island, one of the most visited in Caramoan, is known for its powdery white sands and the mysterious lagoon hidden within it.
  3. Opportunities abound for affordable adventures, including kayaking, rock climbing, spelunking, and snorkeling in rich marine sanctuaries.

10. Antique: Rustic Charms with Coastal Savings

Peter Martin, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

On the western side of Panay Island in the Philippines lies Antique, a province that blends cultural heritage with natural attractions, all within a traveler’s budget. Antique features rustic landscapes, from the rice terraces of Patnongon to the therapeutic baths of Sibalom Natural Park. It’s a coastal paradise with less-commercialized beaches and a multitude of low-cost, yet authentic, accommodations and eateries that showcase the local flavors and hospitality.

Facts

  1. The Kawa hot bath is a unique attraction in Antique where visitors can relax in a giant cauldron heated over an open flame, once used for cooking sugar syrup but now repurposed for a spa-like experience.
  2. Antique is home to the highest peak in Panay, Mount Madja-as, which is famous for its mystical stories and diverse wildlife.
  3. The province has a rich history of weaving, with the antique tradition of patadyong-making, where local weavers create colorful, checkered cloth, offering an insight into the region’s cultural fabric.

Conclusion

Your tropical dream doesn’t have to be just a daydream. The Philippines, with its endless white beaches, crystal clear waters, and lush landscapes, offers an array of the cheapest island staycations in the Philippines. From the surf-worthy waves of Siargao to the enigmatic allure of Siquijor, affordability meets paradise on these splendid shores. No need to break the bank – your budget-friendly island oasis is just a booking away.

Embrace the charm and affordability of a Philippine island staycation. With these insider tips, you’re all set to explore an exotic locale without the exotic expenses. So pack your adventure spirit and prepare for a holiday that promises to be both rejuvenating and economical. See you in the Philippines – where the sunsets are always part of the budget-friendly package.

Remember, it’s not about how much you spend, but how well you spend it, and with the Philippines’ wealth of wallet-friendly wonders, the value is as rich as the views!

FAQs about the Cheapest Island Staycations in the Philippines

1. What kind of budget should I prepare for a cheap island staycation?

A budget staycation in the Philippines can range from PHP 1,000 to PHP 3,000 per day for modest accommodations, local meals, and minimal activities. This budget can stretch further if you are willing to cook your meals, stay in shared rooms, or engage in free activities like beach lounging and hiking.

2. Are there all-inclusive resorts or packages for cheap island staycations in the Philippines?

Yes, but all-inclusive resorts are generally more expensive. However, you can find some affordable package deals during low seasons or through online promotions.

3. Is it safe to travel to these islands on a budget?

Yes, generally it is safe. However, travelers should always be vigilant, particularly when it comes to personal belongings, and should check for local travel advisories.

4. Can I still enjoy a cheap staycation if I don’t want to stay in a hostel or homestay?

Yes, there are budget hotels and resorts that offer affordable rates without sacrificing comfort or security.

Picture of Lester A

Lester A

Lester is the owner of Hanapph Online. Since 2023, Lester started writing and blogging about the Philippines to give locals and foreigners an idea of what makes this country unique. His goal is to be your guide and to show you the beautiful islands of the Philippines.
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