I am a unique traveler to say the least. If you decide to come to the Philippines by all means do NOT reserve a room from the internet. How can you buy something without looking at it or comparing prices?
Hotels are relatively inexpensive. You can get an airconditioned room for 1,000 pesos ($20)most places and let me tell you, that is way too much to spend. If you are here for a short while and if you are here to see a lady and you want to send the wrong signals to her and her family then by all means take the most expensive room in town. That’s where they will steer you. When ever I travel the locals always want to send me to the “resort”. It is not that they are in league with the devil or that they want to see me spend all my hard earned cash, they think that is what I want. They KNOW all foreigners are rich. They also know foreigners hate rice and fish and only want to eat bread and meat. Imagine the signals you send to the locals when you only stay at the best places.
Of course that is not the only reason to seek a “better” place to stay. I admit it. I’m cheap. When I am in the Philippines I no longer think in dollars, I think in pesos. I am renting a 2 bedroom house now in the countryside. The house is complete with tiled bath, tiled kitchen, concrete floor and built in shelves and storage places. It also came with some furniture like a bed and kitchen table. What does all this cost me? 500 pesos ($10) per month. Use this as a rule of thumb when looking for a place to stay and you will get a bargain. My rental is by no means the best place I have had for this price. For the same price I had a completely furnished house on the water in Cebu and again on one of the small islands here. Imagine, in Northern Cebu I had nothing less then a furnished mansion right on the beach for less then the cost of a hotel room for one night.
Now I admit that it is more difficult in the city, but even in Manila there are ways….
Ok, here’s my secret by way of an example. The last time I arrived in Manila I went outside the airport to get a taxi. Now there I was with 5 bags of luggage weighing in at more then 200 pounds. I got in the taxi and we drove to a quiet neighborhood near the airport and I started to look for the signs, and you will see then all over the place, “Bed Spacer” or “Room for Rent”. I do this over and over again. A room outside the airport is at least 1000 pesos. What I do is look for one of these rooms and when you look you will see that there are lots and the variety is quite substantial. The owners are seeking monthly rentals. I am seeking a nightly or a for a few nights only. You have to be smart. There is a vacancy. I offer the owner immediate occupancy and I also offer a higher rate then they could get. They are renting by the month, let’s say for example the going rate is 3000 Pesos in Manila for a room for a month. That breaks down to 100 pesos per day. I point that out to the landlord and then offer 200 pesos per day on a daily basis. Think about it, makes sense all around. Immediate occupancy for twice the price. I have found some wonderful rooms this way. Last time in Cagayan de Oro I had a wonderful furnished room for 100 pesos per day. In Cebu it was the same. Now when I travel I have it down to a science. I leave my bags some place secure, often a restaurant. Then I am more mobile and will merely walk around and ask everyone or take a motor and do it that way. I must admit, I have seen some horrible, rat infested rooms this way. I have also had
wonderful times and stayed with families this way. There are other benefits to this mode of travel. When I go to any kind of hotel, once I close my door I am alone and lonely. When I stay in a neighborhood all kinds of interactions are possible. There will certainly be local and cheap restaurants. You will see the same people every day and be able to make friends that way. It is a much more pleasurable way to travel and unique.