Philippine Travel Itinerary

Planning your next trip to the Philippines but not sure where to go or in what order? We have you covered!
The Philippines is made up of over 7000 islands, this can make seeing everything challenging if you are on a time limit. Wether you prefer parties and beaches or rice fields and history, the Philippines will definitely have something to offer you.

I would recommend anything between 3-5 weeks in the Philippines. This will enable you to take a slow pace around the country and enjoy it to the fullest! 

Below I will outline roughly the top tourist attractions for each area I have visited. As well as both of my own personal itineraries. I would recommend factoring in a single day for travel to each new destination, some hotels will only let you check in around 2pm or public transport can be unreliable and you are in the Philippines after all. 

Processed with VSCO with m3 preset

For an in-depth guide on each area click on the titles below.

Manilla – The capital city, mainly used as a hub to fly to other islands or to get to the Banaur Rice Terraces in the north of the island. 

Cebu – This for us, is our adventure island. With lots of waterfalls and physical activity here it is a must see for active people! On the south of this  island you will find Oslob where lots of people swim with the whale sharks. To the West of the island you will find Moalboal which is famous for the sardine run, snorkelling and turtle swimming. Kawasan Falls and lots more waterfalls are in this area too. 

Bohol – Accessable from Cebu city by ferry. Bohol is famous for the chocolate hills and the tarsier monkeys. Tagbilaran is the most popular area for tourists and it is where you can plan most of your trips around the islandThere is a lot more to Bohol than just the chocolate hills, you can visit the other side of the island. Check out this guide for more info on that –>Click here.

Siquior – This island is very slow paced and relaxing with lots to explore and see. Instagram worthy waterfalls such as Lugnason Falls, Cambugahay Falls and Lagaan Falls can be found here, as well as Mt Malabahoc and Cantabon Cave.

Siargao– Want to try surfing? Siargao offers some of the best surfing around! Cloud 9 is world famous for surfers as well as the beautiful beaches.

Boracay – You want to party on one of the whitest beaches? This place is for you! You have 2 options, fly to Caticlan which is expensive, then get a 10 minute boat from Caticlan port over to Boracay or you can fly to Kalibo, which is cheaper, and take a 3 hour taxi & ferry to Boracay. The party island of the Philippines which is probably the most western island in the Philippines.

Palawan – Beaches and topping up the tan more your thing? Palawan is home to island hopping, limestone cliffs and crystal clear water. Flying to Puerto Princesa which is the main airport. This island is home to Port Barton, The Underground River and El Nido. There is also an airport in El Nido if you didn’t want to stop in at Port Barton. From El Nido you can catch a boat to Coron. Both El Nido and Coron offer island hopping tours, crystal clear waters and great snorkelling. El Nido has a few beaches on land where as Coron doesn’t and to access the beaches you will need ot take a boat trip. Coron is home to several Japanese ship wrecks from WW2, making this island very good for new or experienced divers.

DCIM100MEDIADJI_0080.JPG

Screen Shot 2018-05-29 at 12.20.56

My first trip to the Philippines 

Manila – Boracay – Cebu – Oslob – Moalboal – Cebu – Puerto Princesa – El Nido – Manila

This was an intense 2 weeks with not a lot of time for resting. I got very ill after this trip as I squeezed too much into two weeks. We did manage to see all of our top bucket list items but I would recommend taking an extra week to do this trip.

Day 1 Manila – Boracay. Flight from Manila to Kalibo, then a Taxi (2 hours) to the port, then a boat (10 minutes) to Boracay.

Day 2-4 Boracay

Day 4 – Cebu – Travel dayLeave Boracay and get to Kalibo airport, to fly to Cebu.

Day 5 – CebuFerry from Cebu for a day trip to Bohol

Day 6 – Cebu, Oslob and Moalboal. Taxi to Oslob to swim with the Whale Sharks, then another taxi onto MoalBoal

Day 7 – Moalboal. Sardine swim, turtle spotting & Kawasan Falls canyoning. 

Day 8 – Moalboal – Cebu – Travel Day. Taxi back to Cebu and explore the city.

Day 9 – Cebu – Manila – Puerto Princesa – Travel Day. Flight from Cebu to Manila, changing and catching a flight to Palawan. Staying over a night in Puerto Princesa.

Day 10 – Puerto Princesa – El Nido. 4 Hour drive to the Subterranean River, a few hours there and then another 3 hour drive to El Nido.

Day 11 – El Nido – Island Hopping

Day 12 – El Nido –  Las Cabanas Beach 

Day 13 – El Nido – Nacpan Beach 

Day 14 – El Nido – Manila -Travel Day – Manilla. 6 hour drive to Puerto Princesa, flight to Manila.

 Screen Shot 2018-05-29 at 12.20.25

Second trip in the Philippines 

Manila – Cebu – Oslob – Moalboal – Siquijor – Kanbankalan – Bohol – Cebu – Puerto Princesa – Port Barton – El Nido – Coron – Manila.

This time I had learnt from my mistakes of my first trip. I had given my self more time to explore, be spontaneous and chill out. This route is one I would highly recommend, it had us starting out exploring waterfalls and doing lots of activities and ending up on beaches to relax and soak up the sun. This way round, we kept doing new activities, seeing new sights and it felt like each day was getting better. Some parts were spontanious and unplanned which is why we stayed in some areas longer than you would need to. 

Day 1-2  – Manila

Day 3 – Manila – Cebu. Flight to Cebu and taxi to Oslob.

Day 4-6 – Oslob – Swimming with Whale Sharks, Tumalog Falls, Aguinid Falls 

Day 6 – Travel Day – Local bus to Moalboal

Day 7-9 – Moalboal – Swimming with Sardines, Turtles, Kawasan Falls, White beach.

Day 9 Travel Day – Local bus from Moalboal to Liloan, ferry to Sibulan, tricyle to Dumaguete, ferry to Siquijor.

Day 10-13 – Siquijor – Lugnason Falls, Cambugahay Falls, Lagaan Falls, Mt Malabahoc, Cantabon Cave. 

Day 14 – Travel Day -Siquijor to Kabankalan.

Day 15-16 – Kabankalan.

Day 17 – Travel Day – Kabankalan – Dumaguette – Bohol.

Day 18-20 – Bohol, Tagbilaran. Dolphine watching, snorkelling, Viring Island and Balicasag Island. 

Day 20-21 – Bohol, Guindulman. Can- Umatad Falls & Eleuterio rice Terrace

Day 21 – Travel Day – Local bus back to Tagbilaran, 2 hour ferry to Cebu, Taxi to hostel.

Day 22 – Travel Day – 1 hour flight from Cebu to Puerto Princesa, 3 hour taxi to Port Barton.

Day 23-26 – Port Barton – Island hopping, beaches, relaxing.

Day 26 – Travel day – Port Barton- El Nido. 3 Hour taxi to El Nido.

Day 27-31 – El Nido – Island hopping, Las Casbanas beach, relaxing. 

Day 31 – El Nido – Coron – Travel Day – 5 hour ferry to Coron

Day 32-37 – Coron – Island Hopping, boat trips, relaxing.

Day 37 – Coron – Manila – Travel Day – Over night 15 hour ferry back to Manila.

Stay tuned for my Getting around the Philippines blog post coming soon!

Advertisements

El Nido – The Travel Guide

Things to knowThere is 1 main ATM in El Nido but we did manage to find 2 smaller ones but these ones don’t always work.

Everything is more expensive in El Nido. After travelling this country for 6 weeks, El Nido is by far the most expensive.

El Nido has blown up in the past few years so make sure to book accommodation as far in advance as possible. Everything has been sold out for a few weeks and we had to change hotels twice due to double booking or no availability.

Wifi is limited but you can find it in lots of restaurants.

Screen Shot 2018-08-03 at 19.20.31There is an airport in El Nido now which is the easiest way of getting here.

You can get a van from Puerto Princesa airport which takes roughly 6 hours. The last van leaving is around 1am so if you land at an awkward time, I suggest staying a night in Puerto Princesa. 

The drive is rough, take travel sickness tablets if you can and prepare for the worst.

Standard van 14-16 people –700 peso

Private Van –6000 peso*highly recommended*

Accommodation

 

BackpackerThe Outpost Hostel

The Outpost Hostel, El Nido, Palawan

 

Budget– Den’Gi Inn

Den'Gi Inn, El Nido, Palawan

 

Slightly more luxury– Sea Cocoon Hotel 

Sea Cocoon Hotel, El Nido, Palawan

 

Places to Eat

Breakfast and Coffee

Botanica– Great Coffee

Glow Juice Box( near Peak Gym) – if Smoothie bowls are your thing, then you will love this place!

Lunch/Dinner

Happiness– When I first went here it had just opened and was a small cute bar with some swings. Fast forward a year and a half and it has expanded and become the number 1 restaurant in El Nido!

Happiness 2017

Happiness 2018

 

Big Bad Thai– Beautiful Pai Thai!

big bad thai

 

Art Cafe– Great food and wifi, they will also help you book trips, ferry to Coron and flights.

Art cafe

 

Outpost– This has some great western food with a great atmosphere. 

Lucky Alofa– BEST BURGER IN TOWN! 

Altrove– The best Italian in town but there is always a queue it is that good! Worth it though

Drinks

Sava Bar– Right on the beach of El Nido

Outpost Hostel– Down near Las Cabanas beach but not visible from the road. This is a party hostel which is very new and cool.

 

Beaches

Las Cabanas Beach– 10 minute tricycle ride from town, shouldn’t be more than 50-100 peso. Lovely beach to relax on, zipline from one island to another, grab some lunch and drinks and watch the sunset. 

Las Cabanas Beach

Nacpan Beach– 40 minute tricyle ride but its worth it. An extremely long stretch of beach you will be able to find a quite spot to take the perfect instagram photos and relax. Accomadation near Nacpan Beach is Mad Monkey Hostel is one of the best hostels around the beach with great reviews.

Places to visit

Island Hopping

If you are short of time I would recommend combining tour A & C as they are the best tours El Nido offers.

Tour A (the most popular)-Small Lagoon, Big Lagoon, Secret Lagoon, Shimizu island and 7 commando beach. Roughly 1200 peso per person. 

Tour B– Snake Island, Pinagbuyutan Island, Entalula Beach and Cudugnon Cave. 1300 peso per person.

Tour C-Helicopter Island, Matinloc Shrine. Secret Beach, Star Beach and Hidden Beach. 1400 peso per person. 

Tour D-Ipil Beach, Cadlao Lagoon, Paradise Beach, Pasandigan Beach, Natnat Beach and Bukal Beach. 1200 Peso per person.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

El Nido – Our Journey

El Nido Text - Our Journey

My favourite place in the world is El Nido and I am finally back! As soon as we get closer to somewhere I recognised I instantly am in awe of how much El Nido has changed. I was thinking maybe my minds playing tricks on me and I don’t remember as much as I used to. We arrive at the hotel and I want to go and explore to see if I am right and again I am shocked how much everything has changed. There are so many more hotels, restaurants and generally more western looking shops. I was only here a year and a half ago, how could it of changed this much in that time?!

El Nido  - Our Journey

That evening we met up with Sasha and Simon and headed to the Outpost hostel for some food and drinks and to book our trip for the next day. This place is amazing, brand new, great food and cheap trips! I was beginning to think that change was a good thing for El Nido. Unfortunately the next day it rained all day and we postponed our island hopping trip but as we had a private boat we didn’t loose any money. We spent the day in bed, watching films and updating the blog and doing ‘Life admin’. 

 

Island hopping day!! First stop was to the Big Lagoon, which our boat literally drove in and drove out as it was very busy. We then went to Shimizu Island for some snorkelling but the current was so strong I thought I was going to drown!

El Nido  - Our Journey

Our highlight of the day was the secret  lagoon, we arrived here later than we expected and we were the only ones here. Me and Olly became the dream team and kayaked though the cave to reach it. We stopped paddling and just floated around, amazed at how clear the water was and how blue it was. It was amazing!!!

El Nido  - Our Journey

 

We kayaked over to a secluded beach and of course a photo shoot broke out. This boat trip was amazing and I was reminded why I loved this beautiful place so much. 

El Nido - Our Journey

The next day I demanded a beach day to top up the tan, we headed to Las Cabanas beach which was the closest one to El Nido and spent the day chilling and swimming and not really doing much. As the sun was setting we headed to Beach bar to grab a bean bag and a few drinks and this is where we met Ali, Mo and Patricia. These guys had a drone and drone wars took place which was cute to watch as Olly and Mo were teaching each other about their drones. I didn’t care too much as I found two puppies and instantly my day was made.

 

We figured out that we were all on the same ferry to Coron together and planned to see them there. The ferry was a 5 hour fast boat at 7:45 am which I wasn’t too happy about but once we got on board it actually wasn’t bad. I couldn’t even feel the fact I was on boat and passed out while Olly took photos of me 🙃

El Nido  - Our Journey

El Nido is so beautiful, but I can already see how it will slowly lose some of this beauty. The amount of tourists they put on boat trips, the amount of new hotels going up and the amount of money things are costing, not to mention they now have a functioning airport. It’s loosing it’s untouched feel already and it is 100% due to how much the Philippines has blown up on social media and bloggers promoting it. This place is still as popular as ever, the hotels are still booked up weeks in advance and it’s still people’s number one place to see here in the Philippines. Not all of it is bad, every restaurant is adamant on not using plastic straws and reducing their waste. This can only mean good things and hopefully the government won’t have to close it like they have Boracay.  

El Nido  - Our Journey

 

Coron is the last island we are visiting before we head back to Manila to catch our flight to Sydney. We tried to look for flights to Siargao as Olly really wanted to go surfing here, but Boracay has closed and everything has sky rocketed in price. Coron is also another island neither of us have visited. I enjoy going to new places much more as I don’t have any expectations or anything to compare it too. So far every place we have moved on too has seemed to top the last place. Hopefully Coron doesn’t disappoint and tops what El Nido has to offer. 

Processed with VSCO with p5 preset