Looking for a romantic island getaway on a budget?
If so, the Philippines needs to be at the top of your list.
Now, the Philippines is pretty cheap to begin with, so you you’re unlikely to break the bank no matter which destination you choose.
But some destinations are definitely more budget-friendly than others…
And why spend more when you don’t have to?
In the spirit of saving money, I decided to round up some budget travel gurus to share their top recommendations for cheap places to visit in the Philippines for couples (as well as insider tips to make them even CHEAPER).
So find a pen, grab your partner, and let’s plan an unforgettable island getaway!
Got your Philippines packing list ready yet? If not, I got you covered…
Click here for a list of all the things you should (and SHOULDN’T) take with you…plus a free downloadable checklist.
Also, don’t make the same mistakes I did during my trip, check out this list of Philippines travel tips to avoid having to learn them the hard way.
#1 – Coron
Colgate-colored water, incredible coral reefs and white sand beaches that look too good to be true. That’s Coron for you – one of the world’s most beautiful islands as well as the most northern tip of the Palawan Province.
Just an hour’s flight from the country’s capital, Manila, or a quick ferry ride from El Nido, Coron is a once in a lifetime destination, particularly if you’re a couple who prefers adventure over luxury.
Coron boasts a plethora of beautiful, almost untouched islands reached from the mainland through a longtail boat – you can swim in bright blue waters, snorkel down to wrecks and just laze on the bow of the boat as your captain cooks you and your loved one a seafood lunch.
What makes Coron a great option for couples on a budget is that, while it offers you Maldives-level beauty, it doesn’t come with a hefty price tag…
Even taking a private boat out for you both for the day costs only 2,200 PHP (33 GBP / 43 USD), and is totally negotiable! You can cut corners by only choosing a selected number of stops or you can save a few bucks by choosing your own uncooked food at the nearby market in the morning, for the crew to cook at no extra charge.
And while the Philippines might not be quite as cheap as, for instance, nearby Vietnam or Laos, Coron can give you great accommodation if you take the time to look for it. We stayed at the Blue Waters Inn which was entirely affordable and a relatively new property at the time, with a super convenient location.
Wanting to do something extra special for the two of you? Well, other than hiring that private boat (how much more incredible could that get?!), you could spend the evening lazing at the Hot Springs, before taking in a quiet dinner at one of the many high-end restaurants on the island.
~James, The Travel Scribes
#2 – Siargao Island
If you’re looking for a perfect off the beaten path escape in the Philippines with your significant other, then Siargao Island needs to be at the top of your bucket list. This small island shaped like a teardrop is located in the province of Surigao del Norte.
Siargao is far from being touristy or overdeveloped and overall the island is super cheap – money lasts a long time here. It’s the perfect escape with plenty of things to do and see!
The most romantic thing to do on the island is to escape to Secret Beach. You’ll have to drive just 15 minutes to find the tropical paradise and follow the small sign nailed to the palm tree letting you know you made it.
After walking another 15 minutes through the palm jungle, you’ll arrive at the breathtaking beach. It’s the perfect place to relax and enjoy the scenic beauty all around you. It’s also a great spot for the sunset. There are a ton of amazing beaches on Siargao, but nothing quite like Secret Beach.
Other things to do on the island include surfing at Cloud 9, visiting the Sugba Lagoon, checking out the islands of Kawhagan and Guyam exploring the island by motorbike. We hope you check out Siargao – you won’t regret it!
~Hannah & Adam Lukaszewicz, Getting Stamped
#3 – Antipolo
The capital of Rizal province, Antipolo City is one of the famous getaways from Manila. With its elevated topography, it’s a cool road trip destination for couples, literally and figuratively.
Who needs to fly for extra bucks when this neighboring town offers stunning natural landscapes as well? A refreshing escape from the hustle and bustle of the metro, Antipolo also offers a panoramic view of the city that is beautiful both day and night.
From rustic garden cafes to cozy resorts, there are many things that couples can enjoy here that are budget-friendly. One of these is the cozy, Luljetta’s Hanging Gardens Spa—a hidden gem in Antipolo.
Slow down – this is what guests will experience at Luljetta’s. Couples can get here the pampering and relaxation they deserve. There are affordable packages to choose from. A day tour package roughly costs USD 20 per person.
Since Luljetta is also a favorite romantic destination, the place offers special packages for couples like spa treatments and fancy dinner for two. And that’s not all! With its location, couples can watch a mesmerizing sunset that will make them fall in love all over again.
~Arrianne Guzman, Travel Habeat
#4 – Vigan
Located in Northern Luzon, visiting the Spanish colonial city of Vigan is like stepping back in time. Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Vigan is generally recognized as the most beautiful colonial city in Asia.
Settled by the Spaniards in 1572, it was also an important trading post for Chinese merchants. It’s this mix of Spanish and Asian culture that makes Vigan truly unique. In the mestizo district, you’ll find homes built by Chinese traders using a combination of Spanish and Asian architectural styles.
Although it looks romantic, resist the temptation to ride one of the horse-drawn carriages known as calesa, as the horses are treated quite poorly.
Instead, enjoy strolling the cobblestone streets on your own, taking the time to window shop at the many antique shops along Calle Crisologo. If your feet get tired, you can always flag down a tricycle, which should cost about the same as a calesa.
For those traveling on a budget, consider staying at one of the many “transient rooms” on Liberation Boulevard. Transient rooms are generally budget-friendly, no-frills accommodation that offers the same kinds of services you would expect in a hotel. You’ll find the best deals past the river in the San Julian Sur neighborhood.
~Wendy Werneth, The Nomadic Vegan
#5 – Legazpi
The underrated city of Legazpi is in the Bicol region of the Philippines.
Fairly unknown to foreign tourists but popular with Filipinos, Legazpi’s most famous attraction, Mount Mayon, is actually featured on the 100 peso bill. Mayon is a 20 million-year-old active volcano, and most of the activities in Legazpi revolve around it.
Legazpi is a wonderful place for couples due to its off-the-beaten-track nature. There are plenty of things to do as a pair—one of my favorite is Sumlang Lake. This tranquil spot is situated near Cagasawa ruins, and not only does it have a fantastic view of Mount Mayon, but there are ample opportunities to get out onto the water for a romantic paddle on one of the specially designed wooden rafts.
If rafting isn’t for you, aqua bikes and kayaking are also available.
Sumlang Lake is also home to handicraft stalls and has an authentic Bicolano cuisine restaurant, so it’s easy to spend a few hours here enjoying a relaxing but authentic day.
Legazpi city is still fairly inexpensive as only local tourists visit the area, and where Sumlang does charge a small entry fee, it’s still by far one of the top cheap places to go in the Philippines.
~Roshni, The Wanderlust Within
#6 – Catanduanes
Catanduanes is a great destination for couples, especially those who love backpacking and adventure. My boyfriend and I went here on a multi-day trip and it’s one of the best experiences we’ve had in the Philippines — not to mention the cheapest too!
It’s an island province in Luzon. Most of the province is composed of land-locked mountains, and communities can be found on the coastal areas. It’s accessible by direct flight to Virac Airport or ferry from neighboring ports.
One of the best things to do in Catandanues is to stay in one of the beach resorts in Virac, where you can have a laid-back time together.
You can also explore the mountainside and pastoral hills in Catanduanes, such as Cagnipa Rolling Hills and Binurong Point. You can island hop in Palumbanes Islands or visit the 2-3 tidal pools that can be found in the region.
Lastly, Catanduanes is also known for surfing — just head to Puraran where you can rent a surfboard and/or local instructor.
Catanduanes isn’t overly developed yet, which is probably why the rates here are budget-friendly. Hotels and resorts can be booked for P500-1200 overnight. Public transport is limited but you can always rent a motorbike or hire a local guide tour you around in a motorbike or tricycle with reasonable fees.
~Katherine Cortes, Tara Lets Anywhere
#7 – San Juan, Siquijor
Siquijor is a mysterious island located just a ferry ride away from the more popular Philippine islands of Cebu and Bohol.
To locals, Siquijor is supposedly filled with black magic and voodoo… For travelers, it’s just another beautiful Philippines Island.
Siquijor is a great budget destination for couples traveling the Philippines because it’s a newer tourist destination that’s still developing. While neighboring Cebu and Bohol have been open to tourists for decades, Siquijor only recently became more accessible, so the cost of accommodation and eating out is still low.
Many visitors to Siquijor stay in San Juan, a town that’s spread out along the western coast of the island. San Juan is the best place to stay in Siquijor because of a romantic experience it offers day after day: incredible sunsets.
Countless great accommodation options line the coastline, and each is guaranteed to have a patio, a few hammocks, a pool, or picnic tables out near the water. It’s the perfect place to unwind every evening with your loved one, disconnect for a while, and admire the view.
During the other hours of the day, Siquijor is best explored by motorbike. Couple up, and rent one for cheap to visit the many waterfalls in the middle of the island, or the beautiful beaches along all coastlines as well. It takes about a full day to circle all of Siquijor, so stay a few days to see all that the island has to offer.
If you’re planning a romantic, budget getaway to the Philippines, be sure to include San Juan, Siquijor on your list.
~Erika, Erika’s Travelventures
#8 – Biliran Province
The island province of Biliran in the Eastern Visayas Region is one of the smallest and newest provinces in the country. Small yet full of wonders, this off-the-beaten destination is home to amazing islands, waterfalls, beaches, and mountain views.
Biliran doesn’t receive as many tourists as other popular destinations due to its remoteness. It has always been an almost secret place, making it a perfect retreat for couples who seek an intimate and quiet time together.
Biliran is also a great island hopping spot in the Philippines (and what better way to have a romantic experience than to hop from one beautiful island to another?).
Imagine being on an island with your partner sharing the scenic views with no obstruction or noise pollution.
One of the smaller islands in Biliran is Sambawan Island—a very unique island with pristine white sandy shores and crystal clear waters. A short hike will lead you to the watchtower on top of the hill where you will witness the unfiltered beauty of the island, its surrounding waters, and the dormant volcano island of Maripipi in the distance.
Sambawan is also a known nesting ground for sea turtles—that’s how untouched and rarely visited it is.
Due to its unspoiled and uncommercialized shape, this destination is very cheap. There are also budget-friendly accommodations and restaurants available within the area. The nearest airport is Daniel Z. Romualdez Airport in Tacloban which is a roughly 3-hour drive from Biliran. The long travel will be instantly paid off once you experience all the beauty, peace, and tranquility this province offers.
~Dea Mariano, How She Wanders
#9 – Alona Beach, Panglao Island (Bohol)
Alona beach is one of the best tourist spots in Bohol and is a perfect place for couples. There’s plenty to do together both during the day and in the evening, with an incredible beach that looks like it’s been taken straight from a postcard, to diving alongside sea turtles and other incredible marine life.
There’s also plenty of affordable restaurants covering a range of different cuisines, alongside many different bars and clubs perfect for dancing the night away.
One of my favorite romantic activities here is sharing an ice cream at Nicole’s Ice Cream Shop on the beachfront.
If you’re looking for a slightly bigger adventure and can fit it in your budget, consider going on a fun-dive together – you don’t need to be certified and will have an instructor with you at all times.
Unlike some of the other beaches on Panglao Island, Alona Beach is slightly more crowded due to the number of places to stay. However, it’s this supply and demand which equates to comfortable, affordable accommodation, and with so many restaurants in such a small area, you’ll find a number of them offering discounts.
This same principle applies to the restaurants and bars in the area who run frequent promotions to encourage you to visit and make your romantic stay more affordable.
~Cora, Inside Our Suitcase
#10 – Batangas
Batangas, located on the south-western part of Luzon in the Calabrazon region, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Philippines for couples.
Due to its proximity to Manila, Batangas offers something that many places in the country cannot. It is possible to enjoy a spontaneous getaway featuring natural scenery, beautiful beaches, great weather, and a romantic vibe without having to book a flight or plan far in advance.
All of this in just over an hour from Metro Manila and at a price that is much less than other similar destinations in the country.
Other activities for couples to enjoy include a visit to Twin Lakes and the Nurture Wellness Village.
The province is home to mountains that are ideal for both the amateur and seasoned mountaineers. The region is also most well known for having excellent diving spots including Anilao in Mabini, and Sombrero Island in Tingloy.
Due to its popularity, there are plenty of budget accommodation options and I would recommend staying at one of the many beach resorts in Batangas.
~Rai , Araio Flight
#11 – Cebu City
The Philippines has more than 7000 islands, so you can imagine that visiting some of the islands is not very easy or convenient. But the situation is different in Cebu. The Mactan-Cebu International Airport not far from Cebu city makes this part of the country accessible for international visitors.
There are various types of accommodation in Cebu City, the hotels with a rooftop swimming pool are not expensive and also breakfast is usually included. Try to be in the swimming pool or next to it when the sun is setting down. We have watched some of the most romantic sunsets in Cebu.
Spending time in Sirao Flower Garden, packed full of colorful flowers, is a must for couples that visit Cebu. This garden is very picturesque with its treehouse, colorful umbrellas and hats. Best of all, the entrance fee is 50 pesos (less than £1). You can spend a couple of hours here and then head to Tops Lookout to watch the sunset. Here is where you will have a panorama view of Cebu City. The admission fee is only 100 pesos (less than £2).
You can also take a day trip from Cebu City to Bohol island or to Kawasan waterfalls where you can have fun and some adventure.
~Mansoureh Farahani, Travel With Mansoureh
#12 – Panglao Island, Bohol
Panglao Island in Bohol is an amazing budget destination for couples, having been there myself with my husband.
The beachfront restaurants and hotels put out all the stops for you to create the right romantic ambiance – we went to Bohol Bee Farm and had lunch overlooking the ocean. The restaurant is known for their famous flower salad, which was literally edible flowers tossed into a salad, pretty colorful and unique.
After lunch you can stroll along the beautiful beach with your loved one, explore the Hinagdanan Cave, then top off your romantic day with a beachside candlelit dinner by the water with twinkly lights on top.
The breeze from the water is super refreshing, and it felt amazing to catch some fresh air while enjoying the delicious seafood.
Expect to pay less than $100 for beachfront hotels if booking early, and your romantic beachside dinner can cost less than $40 for two…what a steal!
TLDR: Cheap Places to Visit in the Philippines for Couples
Too lazy to read all that? Here’s a quick summary of all the most romantic Philippines destinations we went over:
- Siargao Island
- San Juan, Siquijor
- Biliran Province
- Alona Beach, Panglao Island
- Cebu City
As you can see, there’s absolutely NO reason you need to break the bank to have an amazingly romantic getaway with your loved one.
Now buy that ticket, pack your bags, and enjoy!
Need a hit of romance before your trip rolls around? Check out these fun couple’s staycation ideas to hold you over until you get to the islands.
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Mitch is your typical nomadic backpacker. Or at least, he was. But after stopping in Colombia to take “one week” of salsa lessons, his life took a sharp left turn. He met a cute Colombian girl in dance class, fell in love, and got married. Over half a decade has passed since he left his career to travel the world as a digital nomad, and he’s never looked back.
Nowadays, he’s the blogger behind Project Untethered—where he runs an awesome email newsletter and Youtube channel teaching adventure-craved wanderlusters how to escape the rat race, earn money from anywhere, and build an “untethered life”.
Mitch's Travel Recommendations:
Safetywing Insurance - This cheap travel insurance has saved me over $15,000 in medical bills.
Booking.com - Book accommodation without adding your credit card (in case you need to cancel).
Skyscanner - Find cheap flights.
Trusted House Sitters - Take care of pets in exchange for free (sometimes luxury) accommodation.
Flexjobs - Find remote jobs without having to sift through crappy ones.
Skillshare - Free trial to take unlimited classes that teach digital nomad skills.
Anytime Mailbox - Virtual mail service that can handle your mail while you’re away.
Wise - Send and receive money abroad cheaply (great for freelancers).