Friday, August 19, 2011

Survivor Manila: The Php 1500 Challenge

Three days prior my trip to Manila, my mom told me that she didn’t have enough money; she can only give me Php 1,500.


I was a bit worried because I might run out of cash in the middle of my trip. But, being an adventurous and a risk taker, I took it as a challenge.

Sit back and relax as I reveal how far I traveled Manila, armed with only Php 1,500.

I. Aboard 5J 962 Bound for Manila
Money left: Php 1,500

I woke up at around 3:20 AM and cooked two eggs and two cheesedogs. It was a heavy breakfast because I do not have any plans of purchasing meals at the airport because one, it’s very expensive and two, airport meals are not THAT delicious.

Since I was on a tight budget, dad offered me a free ride to the airport (thank God for supportive parents). Check-in was a breeze and I paid Php 200 for the exorbitant terminal fee.

II. Touchdown Manila
Money left: Php 1,300


From NAIA 3, we hailed a shuttle bus that would ferry us near LRT 1 EDSA Station for only Php 20. The airport shuttle bus was air-conditioned and the ride was comfortable. We made our way to the ticket booth of LRT 1 and paid Php 15 for the one-way fare to UN Avenue Station.

From UN Avenue Station, we walked a few hundred meters before reaching Luneta Park. Took some photos and walked a few hundred meters again to Intramuros. Since it was raining hard, we decided to seek refuge to the nearest mall (Robinsons). We hailed a jeep plying that route and paid for the minimum fare (Php 8).

Because we weren’t familiar with the place, we got lost but eventually found our way to Harrison Plaza, Manila’s premier shopping destination in the early 70s. Because both of us were uncomfortable of staying inside Harrison Plaza, we decided to go to Robinsons and eat lunch. We paid Php 8 for the jeepney fare. Good thing was, manong driver led us to the right way.

III. Lunch Time
Money left: Php 1,249

We ate lunch at an Asian restaurant stall near the grocery area of Robinsons. Since they do not have value meals, I decided not to buy soft drinks. The meal costs Php 79. It was delicious though I was tempted to order another meal. So sad.

We rode a jeep (Php 8) to Pedro Gil and visited UP Manila. Apparently, members of VYLH (Volunteer Youth Leaders for Health) were conducting their monthly meeting. It was really nice to see my co-volunteers again. Anyway because our gastronomic needs weren’t satisfied at Robinsons, we decided to eat again at 7-Eleven. I ordered a medium-sized Slurpee for Php 17 while waiting for Lloyd who would accompany us to Friendly Guest House at Adriatico St., Malate.

IV. The Innards of Manila
Money left: Php 1,145


Lloyd accompanied us to Friendly’s Guesthouse, a cheap backpacker’s inn located at Adriatico St., Malate, Manila. Since it was only two blocks away from Pedro Gil, we just walked. We chose to stay at an air-conditioned dormitory type of room and paid Php 375 at the front desk. Since both of us were tired from the trip, we slept for at least two hours before heading back to UP Manila.

Shane and I ate merienda at 7-Eleven. For only Php 49, I was already full (Sisig rice meal plus root beer). After that, we met up with Tin and decided to explore the innards of Manila. From Pedro Gil, we rode the train to the Central Station (Php 15). Because we were a bit hungry, we tried different street foods along Taft Avenue near Universidad de Manila. We tried Manila’s kwek-kwek, deep fried isaw, calamares and buko juice. I only spent Php 25 and boy, we were all satisfied.

We went inside SM Manila to window shop. 6:30 PM. Rush hour. We went back to the Central Station of LRT 1. The train was jam-packed but we managed to squeeze in inside it (one way fare – Php 15). We stopped by at Gil Puyat Station and waited for Lloyd.

V. Party Like a Rock Star
Money left: Php 666


We were invited by Angel’s Krispy Kreme party. We met at Petron Treats in Makati Ave., Makati City. After Angel’s KK Party, we partied at a KTV Bar somewhere in Makati. KKB. Php 190. Spent the rest of the night with the Bagets at Starbucks. Kuya Ian treated me Mocha Frappuccino (thank you so much).

VI. Homebound
Money left: Php 476


Check-out at Friendly’s Guesthouse around 10 AM, boarded the train and alighted at Gil Puyat Station (Php 12). Rode a multicab jeep to MOA (Php 8). Walked around MOA for a while and ate lunch together with Tin at the Food Court. I ordered Beef Tapa sizzling for only Php 79 (I also ordered Coke for Php 20). Then we walked inside this gargantuan mall of Pasay City. Shane treated us Krispy Kreme and by 3PM, we bid farewell to Tin and hailed a taxi to NAIA Terminal 3. Total fare was Php 140. Shane gave me Php 90 pesos thus I paid the remaining amount for only Php 50.

While rummaging my wallet, I found an extra $5 bill. I used it to pay the exorbitant terminal fee of NAIA 3 before entering predeparture area. I was planning not to eat dinner inside the airport but because our flight was delayed for an hour, I was forced to eat dinner (2 coke in can, pork siomai and one large Supreme Batchoy cup noodles). My ‘dinner’ cost Php 164. Ugh, so expensive!

VII. A Few Coins Left
Money left: Php 143

It was a good thing though that I still had my $5 bill to pay my terminal fee in NAIA 3, because if not, I’d be force NOT to eat anything inside NAIA 3. Despite the delay, our flight, AirPhil Express 2P 987 was one of the smoothest I’ve ever experienced.

Well, at least I still have money when I went back to Davao. I learned how to budget. It’s an acquired skill, you know! Despite my limited budget, I still partied with the Bagets, toured Luneta and Intramuros and explored the chaotic urban jungle of Manila.

I should have saved more if we opted to eat at 7-Eleven. Oooh, I just love 7-Eleven, one of the most convenient convenience stores in the Philippines. 7-Eleven offers almost anything you need or want. 

Affordable pa!

I am thinking doing a Php 7,500 challenge in Singapore. Yes, in SINGAPORE. Two days only. ;-)

Mission accomplished.


  1. Wow! I've been leaving in Manila all my life and I havt to say that was impressive. Didn't know there were cheap options around this area.=)

  2. Sayang nga ur friend went back sa room nyo agad... itong s ivan n shyness pa ata... nxt time ivan kaw naman treat ko ng kofi hehe.... nxt time ulit ....

  3. ayos! kaya yang 7500 sa SG. malaki na nga yan e

  4. nice padaan po ah... ang galing...

  5. Oh God this is pure genius! I never thought someone would survive with just a few bucks in his pocket! haha :) But then again, it depends on how you budget it right? Awesome!

  6. Ang galing mo lang mag budget! I think I need to learn some budgeting lessons from you! haha

  7. wow that as impressive..i wish i can do that too..hahaha. :)

  8. Hi Kuya!
    You could walk from Robinson to UP-M to Pedro Gil to UN :)) I mean seriously. And there are loads of cheap food chains at Taft Avenue. (That's based from experience after all I would be living at the streets of Taft Avenue for quite a while because I study there.) :) When did you go to Manila? I've been an avid fan of your blog :D :))

  9. Wowww. I wish I can do what you did:)

  10. @Crumpylicious Blog - May mga cheap inns pala rito in Manila. Matiyaga lang talaga ako maghanap eh. ;)

    @Ian - Yep, kulang kasi tulog ng kasama ko kaya ayun. Pag uwi niya nagpamassage pa yun eh! Taray!

  11. @Journeying James - Hello James! Sigurado ka ba? Php7500 is enough na in Singapore? Ilang days din? Hahaha. Baka one day lang din yan ha!

  12. @indigorocketeer @jude @kringles

    Thank you! Grabe talaga ang pagbubudget ko. Once enough lang pera mo, machachallenge ka na agad sa pagbubudget eh. Terminal fee pa lang, wala na. Hahaha!

    @Anonymous - Hello anon! Sus, kung wala akong kasama, nilakad ko na ang kahabaan ng Pedro Gil pero yung kasama ko, di siya mahilig sa paglalakad eh. Ayun, napilitang mag jeep. Pero ang init nung time na yun, I didn't bring my payong. Anyway, I went there last Aug 13-14. :D

    @Nica - Go go go!

  13. Nice, you really can enjoy the city while only spending less than 1500 :)

    Good luck in Singapore.

  14. i'll be looking forward for your Singapore trip :)

  15. But first I have to get my passport. ;-)

  16. sayang i didn't know you were in Manila. Sagot ko na isang bucket ng beer sana! he he Grabe sa budget, nakakabilib!

  17. this is such a commendable post! :)kung ako siguro yan, super kabado na ako kasi fail talaga ako mag-budget. I'll be visiting Davao in two weeks, and if ever i'd only have 1.5k in my wallet, sana mag-survive ako dun! :) Five stars and a happy face for this blog entry! ^_^

  18. I must say, you're a pure thrift traveler. I've been living here in the metro ever since and been spending more than I should in a day. Thank you, you've opened my mind that I should save.

  19. Huwow, this is so inspiring! Will the same budget do if I spend a two-day trip to Davao? Haha, guess not.


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