Carabao – Philippines – GRANDPAcking Costs

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MARCH 2016:



My costs start in Santa Fe, Tablas Island, Romblon and include:

  • Transport from Santa Fe, Tablas to Port Said, Carabao Island
  • 1 night in a GRANDPAcking Standard Fan Room on Hambil Beach
  • 7 nights in a BELOW GRANDPAcking Standard Fan Room on Hambil Beach
  • 1 day Moto Driver hire plus petrol and attraction entry fees
  • Food & Drink
  • Mobile Data / Communications
  • Visa cost apportionment
  • Transport from Hambil Beach, Carabao to Boracay Island


For more detail, read about Carabao – Philippines – Information.

Click here to read about Retirement Locations in this country.

Click here for detailed Travel Information and more Travel Budgets in this country.

Read About – GRANDPAcking Costs if you don’t know how to interpret my figures.



Cost Of Existence (COE):

Accommodation: My accommodation was 1 night in a ‘GRANDPAcking Standard’ Double Fan Room with Cold Water Ensuite (breakfast excluded) followed by another 7 nights in a BELOW ‘GRANDPAcking Standard’ Double Fan Room with Cold Water Bathroom ‘cubicle’ (breakfast excluded). The cost of the latter was discounted due to water supply problems.

Transport: I rented a Moto Driver for a day at PHP500. Petrol cost an additional PHP100. There was no other need for transport.

Communications & Fees: In Manila Airport, I purchased a 1 month Globe SIMcard with ‘unlimited’ data and no texts nor calls; I had to top this up for another month whilst in Coron. It was still ‘active’ during my stay in Carabao.

Food: I averaged PHP339 / day. I, mainly, ate Breakfast and Lunch in a local ‘tin-pot’ cafe but in a decent restaurant (like the Republic) at night.

My ‘Cost of Existing / Day’ was PHP894 / NZ$30 / US$20 / €18 / £14.

This put a ‘flashpacker’ roof over my head, gave me necessary transport & other basic necessities, fed me 3 times each day, and paid for my refreshments.


My available ‘LIVING Funds’ each day were PHP1514 / NZ$50 / US$33 / €30 / £23.

Visa: The Philippines Visa isn’t cheap, so I have apportioned the Visa costs against my nights in Tablas Island. It comes out at just over US$1 / day.

Getting There: It cost me PHP100 to get from Santa Fe, Tablas Island to Carabao Island on a pump boat. The ‘official’ route to Boracay is to catch the 6am ‘commuter’ boat from Hambil Beach (or Lanas Beach) to Caticlan (PHP100), pay PHP175 in Port & Environment Fees, followed by a PHP25 boat to Boracay. Read my post about getting from Carabao to Boracay Island to find out how this went.

Drink / Partying: A small Red Horse costs PHP40 (which is very good) but I am becoming a bit partial to the local rum and coke (which I bought at village shops). I averaged PHP108 / night on drinks. I, also, had a couple of party nights with the locals.

Personal: None.

Entertainment / Trips: Cigarettes.

Shopping: None.

Other / Gifts: I tended to ’round up’ the price of my meals in my favourite ‘tin-pot’ cafe.

My actual GRANDPAcking costs came in at PHP1172 / NZ$39 / US$26 / €23 / £18 per day. This was 49% of my total budget… I still had 51% left to play with. But this was only because I had a cheap room and there was nothing to do.


Cost Of Existence (COE):

Accommodation: As usual for The Philippines, it is hard to find a decent ‘GRANDPAcking Standard’ Double Fan Room with Ensuite for less than PHP1000 / night. In Carabao, this is usually a cold water ensuite. For a long term stay, you should be able to negotiate a room for PHP800 / night (or, at somewhere like Ate Luzvie’s, for PHP700)

Transport: You can hire a scooter at the Republic for PHP1000 / day but it isn’t worth it. I have budgeted for a Moto each once a week to take a day trip to Lanas Beach.

Communications: I have included a prepaid 1 Month Globe ‘unlimited’ data package with no texts and no talk time.

Food: I have budgeted for you to have a Filipino breakfast or Two Eggs & Rice (PHP40) with a coffee back at your hotel (PHP20). Lunch is a Filipino ‘tin-pot’ meal like Mami or Pancit with a fruit drink from that cafe or a local shop. Dinner is something from the lower quartile of the Republic menu or a BBQ meal at the Reggae Bar.

The ‘Cost Of Existence’ of 2 GRANDPAckers is about PHP1705 / NZ$57 / US$38 / €34 / £26 per day.


This is about PHP703 per day to LIVE on (i.e. 29% of your GRANDPAcking budget).

With that amount of LIVING funds available you could:

  • Buy 9 litres of Golden Eagle or 7 Tequila Sunrises at the Reggae Bar
  • Buy 6 (750ml) bottles of Tanduay Rum with 1.5L bottles of coke
  • Upgrade your Lunch to something nice from the Republic menu (and still have over PHP350 left)
  • Upgrade you Dinner to something from the upper quartile of the Republic menu (and still have over PHP450 left)


If you like ‘chilling out’, Carabao Island is worth a visit… but, again (like Coron and Tablas), it is more of a ‘GRANDPAcker holiday’ location than a GRANDPAcker ‘destination’.

Personally, I think that after 1 week you will have had enough of the place and will want to move on. You can only sunbathe and read books for so long…

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