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. 

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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.

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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.

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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!

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Manila – The Travel Guide

Manila

Manilla doesn’t come across as the safest place in the Philippines. Just like any main city, there is a lot more crime here. As long as you are not an idiot, you will be fine!

On the plane or airport they are likely to give you a free SIM card. This can be extremely handy as you can load your phone with 90 peso worth of credit (£1.30) and get 2gb of data a week which can help with getting around and booking accommodation. 

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You are a pale newbie to the Philippines and the taxi drivers know it. This is where people get ripped off the most as they know you are unfamiliar with the currency and how much things should cost.

Walk out of the arrivals, turn right, cross the road to the taxi rank. The taxi’s are white and on a meter and there is a marshal who will help you. We were quoted 3000 peso for a 5 minute journey right outside the airport doors. A metered taxi cost us 300 peso.

Failing that, download Grab – the Asian equivalent to Uber.

 

Accomodation - Bondi the Travel Guide

Makati is the main area which is good for tourists to stay and eat out.

Lub D Hostel – Huge rooms, great beds and clean rooms. Showers are very clean with straighteners and hair dryers for ladies. Wifi is great and they have a Netflix chill room if you just want to chill. We equally have been here to just chill every time we are in Manila if we have time to kill before a flight.

Lub d Hostel, Manils

 

Z Hostel  – Every single person we have met in the Philippines has stayed here

Z Hostel, Manila

 

Knightsbridge Residence – Why not rent an apartment in a fancy residential building ? At £22 a night for two of us you can’t go wrong. It also has a pool, gym, sauna and steam room for you to use.

Knightsbridge Residence, Manila

 

 

Night Life in Manila

The Penthouse

1920’S themed bar over looking the whole of Manila.

Location : 8747 Paseo de Roxas, Makati, Luzon 1223, Philippines

SECRET BARS IN MANILA 

 

The Bunk

This is a secret bar hidden in a storage of a 7/11 store . You just find the secret door the with bouncer, he looks you up and down and decided whether you’re let in or not! Dress code is pretty strict, no open toes or flip-flops.

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Location: Ground Floor, RCBC Savings Bank Corporate Center, 26th and 25th Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City.

 

ABV

ABV stands for Alcohol by Volume and is an underground bar inspired by the infamous speakeasies of America’s 1920’s. The venue is located behind a large wooden door inside the hole-in-the-wall fast food restaurant Lazy Bastard, and the entrance looks like an antique elevator shaft. You’ll only get in if you know the password (we won’t tell you, of course), but once you’re inside, a warm and cozy set up with moody interiors awaits you. With classic and signature craft cocktails and music from the 1920’s – this place brings you back to the golden era of Prohibition. ABV got voted #14 of Asia’s 50 Best Bars

 

ABV

Location:  Basement Floor, 22 Jupiter Corner Galaxy Street, Bel-Air, Makati City.

The Curator

Hidden in the backdoor of Cyrano Wine Bar in Legazpi Village, The Curator serves delicious handcrafted coffee during the day and high quality cocktails during the night. The interior design is kept quite minimalistic–concrete walls with warm lights, artworks, wooden furniture and a few plants, as The Curator focuses on the quality of drinks rather than a pompous design. Definitely a great place to visit, and the service is excellent as well! The Curator got voted #16 of Asia’s 50 Best Bars

The Curator

Location: 134 Legazpi St. corner C. Palanca St., Makati, 1229

 

Ocean’s Telephone Company

This place can only be entered by an old British phone booth, which is located on the upper floor of the American-Italian restaurant Frank & Dean in the Forbes Town Center area of BGC. Once you’re inside, you’ll find a cozy and dimly lit set up, with leather seats and red lights. Imported beers, wine and spirits, and a small selection of food including Frank & Dean’s Pizza.

Ocean's Telephone Company

 

Location: Inside Frank & Dean, Forbestown Rd. cor 26th St., Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.

 

Exit Bar

This bar lies behind an exit door of the Plaza Cafe in the Corinthian Plaza building. Cozy set up with quilted leather couches, dark interiors and dim lights, Exit Bar creates a perfect mysterious and speakeasy atmosphere. The menu offers a wide selection of imported beers and whiskies, and a few selected signature cocktails.

EXIT BAR

Location: Corinthian Plaza, 121 Paseo De Roxas, Legaspi Village, Makati.

 

Blind Pig

One of the very first speakeasy bars in Manila, Blind Pig opened its doors for the first time in 2011 and has kept its secret vibe ever since. Once you’ll spot the small braille sign that marks the entrance of Blind Pig, you’ll have to knock on the door for a sliding peephole to open up, and a staff will allow you to enter (or not). The place bursts with a romantic, dark and intimate ambiance–luxurious interiors, dark wood furniture, a dimly lit chandelier and scores of fantastic cocktails. If you are not sure what to drink, just share your current mood with one of the bartenders and he will prepare the perfect drink for you! FYI, flash photos and loud conversations are not allowed in this place!

 

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Location: 227 Salcedo St., Legazpi Village, Makati

 

Travelling Take Two

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We flew into Manila which is the capital of the Philippines and only stayed one night as we had our flight booked to Cebu the next day but after a 14 hour direct flight from Heathrow we needed one night to recover.

There isn’t too much to do here, most people only use Manila as a stopping over place but we did book into Lub D Makati. The Lub D hostels are a chain throughout Thailand and some have been voted the best hostels in South East Asia so we thought this was perfect for our first night getting used to being a backpacker again. The rooms are huge, the beds are comfortable and the wi-fi is great. Not to mention the clean bathrooms with hairdryer and straightener on the side for everyone to use. This hostel was great and it is very safe here. The staff are also super friendly and helped us get a ‘Grab’ (Philippines equivalent to Uber).

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As I was only here for one night we went out for one drink in Penthouse, a fancy 1920’s bar that looks out over the most of Manila. The bar is on the 24th floor and the entrance on the ground floor looks residential, so just walked in and ask the guard for the bar. The first thing we see is the ‘no guns’ sign. 

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The first night here I did wake Olly up at 2am thinking we had slept in till the afternoon and started to panic but he told me to shut up and go back to sleep. We managed to sleep until 7am and we were wide awake which was so annoying. Somehow we managed to get back to sleep..and woke up at 1pm! Just in time for lunch! God how I have missed being able to sleep as much as I want. Olly doesn’t share this love and wants to get up and go and explore straight away. Lets see how long this lasts..

Our next post will be about the island of Cebu and everything this amazing place has to offer.