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HOW MUCH DOES AIRFARE TO THE PHILIPPINES COST?

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Airfare to the Philippines can be quite costly. But because of the country’s geographical location, air travel is the best way to reach it. So how much does airfare to the Philippines cost?

On average, airfare to the Philippines costs around $1000US. It may cost a lot more if you’re traveling during peak season. The price may also depend on which airport you are flying from and into, and which airline you are traveling with. There are a lot of options available. Fortunately, you can find cheap airfare to the Philippines if you search well enough.

Finding low-cost airfare to the Philippines is not an easy task, especially if you plan to travel during the holidays or summer. While the internet offers easy access to many different sources, you can easily consume hours of your time and still not find the best deals. Read on for a list of tips and tricks for finding the cheapest airfare to the Philippines.

Booking Online

Searching online booking services such as Orbitz, Cheap Tickets, Expedia, and Travelocity usually returns with the same options and little variation in price. You can use a site like Booking Buddy or Kayak.com that combines sites but it only allows you to enter the destination and travel dates once. New browser windows open for each booking service you selected. So, it may save you a few minutes but it doesn’t necessarily save you any money. If you do choose to search this way, I recommend Trip.com. The sites searched are usually those that offer the best prices.

Some claim that dealing directly with the airlines can result in better deals. I did not find that to be the case when searching online. In fact, it was often difficult to find flights from major cities to Manila and, when they were found, prices tended to be higher.

However, regional and Philippines-based airlines like Cebu Pacific Air and Philippine Airlines may offer better deals. They hold periodic sales that offer up to 70% off of regular airfare prices.

Other Ways of Booking Tickets

Calling the airline directly may result in better deals. There are some things that online booking engines do not take into account. Some airlines offer discounts to special groups such as the military, students, and senior citizens. By calling, you request a special fare. You can also ask if there are currently any special, unadvertised discount rates. Booking months before travel will get you cheaper seats as well.

Another way to hunt for good deals on airfare to the Philippines is to contact a travel agent. According to the book Airfare Secrets Revealed, airline reps are trained to squeeze as much out of customers as possible. Therefore, they may not inform you of cheaper rates if you are willing to pay more. Agents, on the other hand, will bend over backward to find you the lowest fare to get a sale. They know that if they do not provide you with the lowest fare, you will find it somewhere else.

If you plan to travel to any city in the Philippines other than Manila, you may get a better price on domestic airfare through a local agency. Domestic flights sold separately from international tickets could save you a lot of money.

International Airports in the Philippines

Manila Airport © patrickroque01

There are currently 16 international airports in the Philippines so you actually have plenty of choices. The airport in Manila is the main hub and entry point to the country. Not all major airlines fly into these international airports; most of them only cater to local airlines.

Here’s a list of airports you can possibly fly into:

  • Ninoy Aquino International Airport (MNL)
  • Mactan-Cebu International Airport (CEB)
  • General Santos International Airport (GES)
  • Clark International Airport (CRK)
  • Francisco Bangoy International Airport (DVO)
  • Laoag International Airport (LAO)
  • Subic Bay International Airport (SFS)
  • Zamboanga International Airport (ZAM)
  • Puerto Princesa International Airport (PPS)
  • Bicol International Airport (LGP)
  • Bohol International Airport (TAG)
  • Iloilo International Airport (ILO)
  • Kalibo International Airport (KLO)
  • Laguindingan International Airport (CGY)
  • Bacolod-Silay International Airport (BCD)
  • Cagayan North International Airport (LLC)

Airfare to the Philippines may be higher if you fly into Clark and Manila compared to if you fly into Cebu or Davao. Let’s say you’re flying from Los Angeles, California. Here’s how much it will cost to fly economy class with Philippine Airlines into major cities in the Philippines:

  • LAX to MNL: $1900US
  • LAX to CRK: $1900US
  • LAX to CEB: $980US
  • LAX to DVO: $1200US

Having said that, airfare to the Philippines still depends on a number of factors, not just the airport you are flying into. Obviously, flying first or business class will cost way more than flying economy. It may also depend on the season and local activities. For example, you will pay premium for airfare to Kalibo (Boracay) during the summer months. Airfare to Cebu will also be expensive in January due to Sinulog Festival.

Domestic Air Travel

Iloilo Airport

The Philippines is made up of 7,000+ islands so it’s only wise to travel by air. Going by boat or taking a road trip can be a great adventure if you have a lot of time. But for most who only have a couple of weeks, flying is the best option.

Even domestic air travel can take a lot of time. For perspective, travel time from the Laoag to General Santos can take up to 20 hours with a couple of connections. On the other hand, it only takes 2 hours to travel from Manila to Davao and about 45 minutes from Cebu to Davao.

You have the option to book flights directly to your destination but it may be more prudent to fly into a main hub like Manila. There are plenty of local agencies in airports so you can book domestic travel and score a good deal. Alternatively, you can book directly through airline websites. Cebu Pacific Air periodically holds seat sales with base fares as low as P1.

Best Airports in the Philippines

Cebu Airport © weichen_kh

It was not so long ago when Ninoy Aquino International Airport (MNL) was named one of the worst airports in the world. The outdated facilities, inefficiency and overall quality of airport services contributed to the negative reputation. But all that changed in recent years when the government prioritized its rehabilitation.

International airports in the Philippines have become more modern and efficient in the last five years. In fact, some have been recognized as at par with some of the best airports in the world. In 2019, Mactan-Cebu and Iloilo International Airports were among the top 20 airports in Asia according to the Guide to Sleeping in Airports.

We’ve made a list of the top 5 airports in the Philippines based on traveler experience so you have an idea where to fly in:

  1. Mactan-Cebu International Airport
  2. Iloilo International Airport
  3. Bohol-Panglao International Airport
  4. Clark International Airport
  5. Francisco Bangoy International Airport

Best Destinations to Fly Into

Because of the abundance of airports, you can fly directly into the most popular destinations in the Philippines. The Philippine government has made sure that tourists have easy access to the best attractions. Here are some destinations that will make your airfare to the Philippines worth every buck:

Manila (MNL)

As the country’s capital and seat of power, Manila is undoubtedly one of the most intertesting destinations in the Philippines. The bustling metro is a mix of modern amenities and deep history. Exploring Manila is like exploring a sampler for the Philippine islands. You can find delicacies from all regions and shop for souvenirs from all over the country. in most malls.

Things to do in Manila:

  • Explore the walled city of Intramuros.
  • Try your luck in Resorts World or City of Dreams.
  • Hear mass or just check out the oldest church in the country, San Agustin Church.
  • Spend a day in Manila Ocean Park.
  • Binge on Filipino food in any of the restaurants in the metro.

Laoag (LAO)

Laoag Airport © Imee Marcos FB

The far north is a curious place to explore. For one thing, it is home to three UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Ilocos Region’s airport is located in Laoag, just an hour and a half flight from Manila. Ilocos has an interesting history as a Spanish stronghold and as the home of Ferdinand E. Marcos, the 10th President of the Philippines.

Things to do in Laoag:

  • Sample the delicious Ilocano cuisine.
  • Visit the Bangui Windmills.
  • Spend an afternoon in Vigan.
  • Visit Paoay Church.
  • Take a scenic drive through the Patapat Viaduct.

Bohol (TAG)

The idyllic province of Bohol offers everything a tourist comes to the Philippines for. The island offers tge best of food, beaches, nature and history. Bohol sits at the heart of the Visayas archipelago, with Negros and Cebu islands as neighbors. Not only is the island province a beautiful place to visit. It is also a retiree’s dream.

Things to do in Bohol:

  • Spend a day on Panglao Island.
  • Take a stand up paddle tour along the island’s rivers.
  • Visit the old churches.
  • Marvel at the Chocolate Hills.
  • Visit the famous tarsiers.

Kalibo (KLO)

Kalibo serves as the gateway to the best island in the world! If you fly into Kalibo Airport, you are just minutes away from Boracay Island. The famous has the finest white sand beaches, world-class hotels, amazing food and a vibrant nightlife. No visit to the Philippines is quite complete without spending a couple of nights in Boracay.

Things to do in Kalibo:

  • Experience Ati-Atihan Festival in January.
  • Indulge in the abundance of seafood.
  • Purchase an iconic Precious Moments doll at Sampaguita Gardens.
  • Try kite surfing in Bulabog Beach.
  • Spend a peaceful day by Puka Beach.

Davao (DVO)

Davao Airport © Lenon Ying-Dah Wong

Of course, I will include my city in this list! Davao is the main gateway to Mindanao so it’s only fitting that you fly into the city. Despite Mindanao’s notoriety, Davao is one of the most peaceful and liveable cities in the Philippines. In fact, it is poised to become the country’s main economic hub in the next decade.

Things to do in Davao

  • Feast on durian, mangosteen, pomelo and marang.
  • Enjoy a getaway in the highlands of Marilog (BUDA)
  • Escape to the beaches of Samal Island
  • Experience Kadayawan in August
  • Explore the virgin beaches of Davao Oriental

General Santos City (GES)

The Tuna Capital of the Philippines has the third largest international airport in the country. Consequently, General Santos City is quickly becoming a rich and bustling metropolis. This coastal city sits very close to popular regional attractions, too!

Things to do in General Santos City

  • Eat the freshest seafood at the tuna market.
  • Have a picnic at Plaza Heneral Santos.
  • Soak in the beauty of nearby Lake Sebu.
  • Conquer the challenging trip to Lake Holon.
  • Enjoy the beaches of Glan in Saranggani.

Airfare to the Philippines may not be cheap but it will always be worth every buck. As a result, tourists keep coming back! Some even decide to call the islands home because they have fallen in love with it. As long as you can score a fair deal and visit all the great places, fun is always guaranteed.

So I’ll see you around soon?