Should you visit Manila or Cebu?
Which city is more affordable and which is best for your travel style? If you're trying to figure out where to go next, comparing the travel costs between Manila and Cebu can help you decide which place is right for you.
A sprawling metropolis that is home to more than 12 million people, Manila is one huge, misunderstood concrete jungle, full of diverse cultures, traffic, pollution, restaurants, shopping malls, noise and nightlife. If you're looking to soak in culture and feel the vibe of a place rather than seeking a city that specifically caters to tourists, Manila is the place to be. Capital of the Philippines, Manila is also the center for education, business, and transportation.
Cebu Island is an important island in the Visayas region of the Philippines, characterized by its main port at Cebu City as well as many natural features. The most-visited areas include islands of Mactan, Bantayan, Badian, Malapascua and Camotes, all which have resorts and hotels. Scuba diving and snorkeling are common activities along the shoreline, while hiking the mountainous spine of the island is popular inland.
Which city is cheaper, Cebu or Manila?
These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.
The average daily cost (per person) in Manila is $85, while the average daily cost in Cebu is $58. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each city. Below is a breakdown of travel costs for Manila and Cebu in more detail.
Manila's average price for two people sharing a typical double-occupancy hotel room is $90. A typical place to stay for one person, per day is $45.
If you're traveling alone, you may be able to find a budget hotel or hostel for around $22. But for two people in a standard two-person hotel room in Cebu the cost is $44 on average.
Manila food costs typically run travelers around $16 per day. Eating every meal in a nicer restaurant will drive the cost up, and grabbing fast food or casual meals will help you save money.
On average, meal and food prices in Cebu cost around $19 per person, per day. While this price can vary widely by location, the type of restaurant, and the amount of food ordered, a typical meal often costs around $7.60.
Meals for one day
Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Manila
Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Manila.
Private Filipino cooking class in a local Manila Home:
Hands-on Cooking Lesson in Learn to Cook in a Local Home:
Private Market Tour and Filipino Cooking Class in Manila with Isi:
Private Filipino Dinner with a Historically-Minded Local Host in Quezon City:
Manila Cultural Dinner Show (Shared Tour):
While taxis and private drivers typically cost much more than public transportation, people usually spend around $21 per day to get around in Manila.
The cost of a taxi ride in Cebu is significantly more than public transportation. On average, past travelers have spent $23 per person, per day, on local transportation in Cebu.
Hired Cars and Shuttles in Manila
Some specific examples of transportation prices in Manila:
Private Departure Transfer from Manila City to Manila Airport:
Private Departure Airport Transfer in Manila Bay and Makati Area:
Private Departure Transfer: Manila Hotel to Ninoy Aquino International Airport:
Private Manila Airport - Manila City Round-Trip Transfer:
Hotel/Port/City Private Transfer in Manila via Motorcycle for Solo Travelers:
Private Arrival Transfer: Ninoy Aquino International Airport to Manila:
Private Departure Transfer: Manila City Area to Ninoy Aquino International Airport:
Tagaytay-Intramuros one day tour (with** transfers):
Discovery Scuba Diving with transfer from Manila:
Private Transfer: Manila to Ninoy Aquino International Airport (MNL):
Hired Cars and Shuttles in Cebu
Some specific examples of transportation prices in Cebu:
Cebu Departure Transfer from Mandaue city to Mactan Cebu Airport (CEB):
Is it cheaper to fly into Manila or Cebu?
Prices for flights to both Cebu and Manila change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.
Activities, things to do, and other forms of entertainment usually cost around $18 per person, per day in Manila. This cost includes the price of admission tickets to attractions and museums as well as daily tours.
Entertainment and activities in Cebu typically cost an average of $15 per person, per day. This includes fees paid for admission tickets to museums and attractions, day tours, and other sightseeing expenses.
Tours and Activities in Manila
Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Manila are as follows:
Guided Tour of the Historic San Sebastian Basilica (Manila):
Virtual Tour: History at the Walled City [Intramuros, Manila]:
National Museum of Fine Arts | Manila Museum Tours:
Manila Intramuros Historical Walking Tour:
Private Tour Guide:
Intramuros: History of Old Manila | Manila Walking Tours:
Quiapo Muslim Town and Culture Immersion tour:
Quiapo: Market of Downtown Manila | Manila Walking Tours:
Old Manila Tour:
Old Manila Half Day Tour (Local Snacks & Bottled Water Included):
TAAL VOLCANO Tour:
Tours and Activities in Cebu
Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Cebu are as follows:
Cebu City Tour with Uphills Spots:
Cebu Safari Adventure:
Kawasan Falls Canyoneering & Cliff Jump Private Tour:
Moalboal Pescador Island Hopping Day Tour:
The average person spends about $9.02 on alcoholic beverages in Manila per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.
The average person spends about $13 on alcoholic beverages in Cebu per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.
When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Manila and Cebu, we can see that Manila is more expensive. And not only is Cebu much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Cebu would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Cebu and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Manila would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Manila than you might in Cebu.
Related Articles for Manila
Related Articles for Cebu