Looking for the ultimate Philippines itinerary!?  Well, look no further, because spending one month in the Philippines was absolutely one of the best decisions I made during my travels throughout South-East Asia.  After my trip was over, I almost booked a return ticket, because to put it simply: 30 days in the Philippines is not enough!

Did you know that there are over 7,107 islands in the Philippines?  With the fantastic beaches, world-class diving, stunning landscapes, vibrant festivals, and friendly people — a trip to the Philippines will be something you’ll never forget.

Planning a trip the Philippines can be kind of intimidating because there’s so much you’ll want to see, so I’m here to help you out!  This is the Itinerary I used for my month exploring the Philippines.  I hope you find it useful, and if you ever have any questions — feel free to email me and I’d be happy to help out!

If you are heading to the Philippines, I always recommend picking up a copy of the Philippines Lonely Planet book!  It’s super helpful while you’re on the road.

Philippines Travel 2019

1) Fly Into Manila

You’ll most likely find the best deals flying into Manila. 

Manila - Trip to the Philippines

Honestly, Manila is one of those cities that backpackers love to hate. It’s busy, overcrowded, dirty, and there’s not much to see.  Apparently, there is some decent nightlife, but I never experienced it for myself!

Now I have met people who actually really love Manila, but I just didn’t find it all that appealing. Who knows though, maybe you’ll have a different experience and really enjoy your time there! With that being said, I would try and spend as little time as possible in the capital city, as this Philippines itinerary is jam-packed, and you’ll want to spend more time in other destinations around the county!

But take a read through my article 3 Days in Manila Itinerary | What to Explore in the Philippines Capital City, and that’ll give you tons of ideas on things to do, travel tips, and

Manila - Philippines Travel Blog

Where to Stay in Manila

  • City Garden Grand HotelBest Hotel. This award-winning 4-Star Hotel in Makati City includes an airport shuttle, AMAZING OUTDOOR POOL, and close to nearby malls and attractions. Great value for a luxury hotel! It’ll provide a super comfortable stay for your first couple of nights on this Philippines itinerary, but at an affordable price!  It’s got excellent reviews, and is one of the top picks in Manila!    
  • Z Hostel: Best Hostel for Backpackers. Great location, fantastic reviews, and an epic rooftop with views of the city!  It’s widely considered to be one of the best hostels in Manila, and I’ve never heard any backpackers say anything bad about it!!  It does fill up quickly though, so make sure you book in advance!

Manila - Travel Blog Philippines Itinerary

Manila Day Trips to Consider:

If there’s one must-do activity in Manila –  you have to go check out Intramuros quarter.  It’s the beautiful old Spanish section of the city, and really fun to explore by foot!

Manila Old and New: Sightseeing Tour Including Intramuros and Fort Santiago: “Discover the top sights of Manila on a 4-hour sightseeing tour by coach with an expert guide. Take in the City of Makati and Old Manila, including landmarks such as Nielson Tower, American Cemetery and Memorial and the old walled city of Intramuros. Walk through Intramuros to see UNESCO World Heritage sites including San Agustin Church and Fort Santiago, and learn about the nation’s history and heroes like Dr Jose Rizal. You’ll gain insight into the Philippine’s history, the Spanish colonial era and vibrant modern-day Manila.”

Philippines Itinerary 30 Days

2) Take the Overnight Ferry from Manila – Coron

This is always the cheapest option for getting to Coron. For some reason, all the flights to this island tend to be really expensive. If you happen to be able to find a cheap, then book it. But the overnight ferry option is a solid budget option.  

There is one main ferry company in The Phillippines – 2Go Travel. I’ve only used them for this route, but they also offer a ton of different routes around the country! 

For this Manila – Coron overnight ferryTHEY ONLY DEPART ONCE A WEEK ON FRIDAYS.  

Tip: When you are looking at flights to Manila, try to book a flight that arrives on a Wednesday or Thursday.  That way you can explore for one day, then get on the overnight ferry on Friday evening.

Definitely check for flights from Manila to Coron though, as it would be nice to save the overnight journey! 

Manila to Coron Ferries- Philippines Travel Itinerary

3) Coron, Palawan (3-5 Days)

Welcome to Palawan! This is is truly one of the most beautiful places in the world, and I completely fell in love with Coron! As a solo traveler, I was fortunate enough to meet some amazing people the very first night while watching the sunset on Mt. Tapyas, and we ended hanging out the entire time I was there.  

There are lots of fun things to do in Coron, the island hopping tours are unbelievable, the sunsets will leave you speechless, and it’s simply a relaxing area to spend a few days! 

Travel Tip: If you want to be really adventurous, you can hire a boat driver to drop you off on an empty island, and camp there for 2-3 nights.  Arrange a pick-up time, and you’ll be living a real Robinson Crusoe experience.  Make sure you bring enough food, water, and a good book or two!

Check out this fun Youtube video for a few must-visit places during your trip to Coron! 

Where To Stay in Coron

From private island luxury resorts to budget backpacker hostels, there’s a comfortable place to stay for people of all budgets! I’ve actually written a whole separate article for people to find the best place, so give this a quick read if you’re looking for a bit more detail: Where to Stay in Coron for a bit more detailed guide including photos and videos. 

  • HOP HOSTEL: CORON HOSTEL WITH THE BEST SOCIAL ATMOSPHERE.  Escape to a tropical paradise without sacrificing the comfort of home. “Nestled comfortably near Coron’s serene blue waters and the town proper, Hop Hostel is the perfect launch pad to the beautiful Calamian group of islands. Our space provides the comforts of a hotel—clean facilities, professional service, complete amenities–in a warm, fun environment that will immediately feel like home.  We are conveniently located in Coron town center. The main attractions are a boat ride away. Access to the boardwalk is 7 minutes away on foot, just enough to keep the noise of busy motor vehicles at bay!” 
  • CORON SOLEIL GARDEN RESORT: THE BEST OVERALL CORON HOTEL RESORT & VALUE FOR MONEY. Coron Soleil Garden Resort is a premium resort offering fine comforts with premium amenities and facilities for the luxurious, indulgent and leisure traveler who yearns for relaxing and worry-free travel. Your journey of indulgence starts here at your luxurious sanctuary. We delight in giving you a personalized guest experience and catering to your specific needs.
  • Club Paradise Resort PalawanMost Unique Luxury Coron Resort , and the Island Escape of your dreams.  

Coron Luxury Resort - Philippines Travel Blog

4) El Nido, Palawan (4-6 Days)

When you are in Coron, you’ll see tons of different signs for transportation to El Nido. Try to bargain them down to a cheaper price, because all the signs are much more expensive. If you go to where the boats leave in the morning, you can really actually snag a better deal (but it also might sell out depending on the season).  You could also look for flights from Coron to El Nido, but those tend to be expensive as well (so just depends on your travel budget).

El Nido is the crown jewel of Palawan, and is a must-see destination during your visit to the Philippines.

El Nido - Philippines Itinerary

It’s a much more lively area than Coron, with some amazing restaurants and fun bars to check out at night.  You can do some day-trips to nearby beaches, do some hiking, or just chill out on the beach.  But as you probably know by now, the most important thing you do while in El Nido is book one or two of the island hopping packages.

There are four main tours to choose from: Tour ATour B, Tour C, and Tour D.  

Now  I’d strongly recommend checking out both tours A & C. While all the tours are amazing, these two, in particular, are worth every penny. I had an amazing time on both of them, and can’t wait to get back to El Nido to do them again! lol.  Expect lots of scenic lagoons, pristine beaches, crystal clear water, and fantastic snorkeling that will blow your mind! 

  • EL NIDO ISLAND HOPPING A TOUR: Discover the clear waters of Miniloc Island, where you will find three breathtaking lagoons, relax on the white sand beaches of Shimizu island, and snorkel in the pristine waters of Seven Commando beach, and get a chance to see a few sea turtles!
  • EL NIDO ISLAND HOPPING B TOUR: Discover Snake Island, known for its unique sandbar in the middle of the sea! Swim and snorkel in beautiful Pinagbuyutan island and see its famous limestone formations. Visit the Cudugnon Cave, where locals used to hide from Japanese invaders during World War II
  • EL NIDO ISLAND HOPPING C TOUR: Visit the unique Helicopter Island, named for its limestone cliffs resemble that of a helicopter. Discover the Secret Beach’s hidden natural wonders. Get to hear the local stories and history behind the Matinloc Shrine.  Snorkel at Talisay beach, another fantastic spot to see the beauty of the coral reefs near the island

Where To Stay In El Nido

Happiness HostelBest HOSTEL in EL NIDO. One of the best selling and top-rated hostels in the Philippines! Everything from the location, staff, food, rooms, and much more will provide for a comfortable stay during your time in El Nido!

El Nido Resorts Lagen IslandBest RESORT in EL NIDO. Set in a cove bordered by thick forests, Lagen Island Resort includes on-site marine sports center offers activities like diving, kayaking and windsurfing, a beautiful outdoor pool, and luxuriously comfortable rooms.  

El Nido - Travel Blog Philippines

5) Port Barton and Puerto Princesa (2-3 Days)

Since you only have 30 days allowed in the Philippines, you’re not going to be able to see everything. After El Nido, you could hop down to Port Barton for a night or two.  I didn’t do this, but I’ve heard it’s a really amazing place with a chilled out vibe. There’s also supposed to be some amazing diving here.

Puerto Princesa is the main city in Palawan, and it’s also where you’ll be flying to your next destination. (There’s an international airport here too, so if you’re looking to return to Palawan you can fly here direct from Asia).  One of the main attractions in Puerto Princesa is visiting the famous “Underground River”.  I ended up not being able to do it during my visit, but I’ve heard people say it’s worth it: 

Puerto Princesa Underground River Day TourBESTSELLER: “Get to see the amazing Puerto Princesa Underground River and experience the beauty of nature in Palawan. This 8-hour guided trip will take you to the longest navigable underground river in the world. Lunch is included in this activity.”

Where to Stay in Puerto Princesa

Blue Lagoon Inn & SuitesTop pick in Puerto Princesa, outstanding reviews, close the airport, and excellent prices. This one is a no brainer, but it does sell out often, so make sure you book in advance!

Philippines Travel Itinerary

6.  Cebu City & Bohol (3-4 Days)

Book your flights well-in-advance from Puerto Princesa – Cebu with Cebu Pacific Airlines.  

When it comes to Cebu City, there are a few things to see in the actual city.  I actually didn’t do too much sight-seeing in the city itself, but used Cebu as a jumping-off point to explore the rest of the island or neighboring islands.  

I’d definitely recommend taking the ferry over to Bohol Island.  You can spend a day or two there, but it’s also a decent place just to take a day trip.

Read: Chocolate Hills & Tarsier Monkeys: Bohol Island, The Philippines

After you’ve spent a few days exploring the city and a day or two on Bohol Island, you’ll make your way down to check out some more of the highlights of The Philippines.

Best Place to Stay in Cebu

Best Western Plus Lex Hotel Cebu:  One of the best deals you’ll find for a 4* Hotel!  It’s a traveler’s favorite, fantastic amenities, and superb staff.  They’ve also got massive specials going on all the time.  


Cebu Day Tours To Consider

Cebu and Mactan: Twin City Culture and History Half-Day Tour: “See the top sights in both Cebu and Mactan: Magellan’s Cross, the Basilica Minore, Fort San Pedro and 2 museums are sights you will see in Cebu before heading to Mactan to visit a guitar factory, the Church of our Lady of the Rule, and the Liberty Shrine.”

Cebu Island Hopping with Lunch: “Take day to explore the beautiful islands of Cebu in this tour from Cebu City. Hop from island to island in our comfortable boat, with plenty of time to enjoy the beautiful landscape, clear waters, and delicious local food on offer.”

Cebu - Philippines Travel Itinerary

7) Moalboal & Oslob

Getting around Cebu Island is as easy as getting to the bus station.  They aren’t the most comfortable rides, but they get you from point A – point B for very cheap!

I’d recommend you check out Moalboal first.  There’s an incredible beach, and it will provide absolutely stunning sunsets.  Moalboal is also known for having some excellent diving if you are looking to dive.  

Absolute Must Visit:  Kawasan Waterfalls (about a 20 minute drive from Moalboal city)

Read: Chasing Waterfalls on Cebu Island, Phillippines

Oslob - Philippines Travel Blog 2019

After watching a sunset and checking out the amazing Kawasan falls, you’re ready to head down to Oslob to cross off a big bucket-list item:  SWIMMING WITH WHALE SHARKS!

This the main draw that brings people down to Oslob, and you really have to do it!  For the small cost of around $25 USD, you get to swim with massive whale sharks.  The entire experience was incredible, and it’s one of the highlights of my travels in South-East Asia.

Read:  Swimming with Whale Sharks:  Oslob, Cebu

8) Flight to Boracay

After you’ve explored the southern parts of Cebu Island, Bohol Island, and the city itself — it’s time to book your flight from Cebu City – Boracay.  

Boracay is the paradise island of your dreams — or so it used to be.  This beautiful island has become a major tourist destination, resulting it in to become the most over-developed part of The Philippines.

With that being said — is it still worth it to visit Boracay?  Absolutely yes.  The island is gorgeous, there’s plenty to do, and the nightlife is amazing.

Read: The 5 Best Party Islands in South-East Asia

Boracay- Philippines Travel Blog

If you’re going to Boracay, then you should definitely also check out Sabina’s incredible blogpost “Boracay On a Budget“.  She gives an incredible overview of the island, and was a great resource to have when planning my trip to Boracay.

Boracay has two airports (Caticlan & Kalibo).  You’ll most likely fly to Kalibo because flights are substantially cheaper.  Kalibo airport has international departures and is the perfect place to end your trip in The Philippines.

Where to Stay on Boracay

W Hostel Boracay: When it comes to mega luxury hotels, the “W” knows what they’re doing, but they’ve also recently opened a beautiful hostel, and it’s absolutely perfect!  There’s tons of hostels to check out, but I’d definitely recommend this one!

Boracay Uptown: Right on the beach, beautiful pool, and amazing specials if you book in advance.  This will make for a nice and luxurious visit on this idyllic island.

Philippines Itinerary Substitutions

Banaue Rice Terraces:   If you get into Manila, and don’t want to spend too many days there.  Look into taking the overnight bus up to the Rice Terraces.  I didn’t have time to explore it during my month, but it’s definitely highly recommended!

Skip Boracay:  Although it is a very beautiful island, and a great place to party — you might want to think about skipping Boracay.  The island is decently expensive, and can be a pain in the ass to get there.  Kalibo airport is 2 hours away.  So you have to take a van, a boat, and a taxi, just to get to your hostel.

Siquijor Island:  If you do skip Boracay island, that frees up time to explore some of the islands around Cebu.  While your down in Oslob, you could hop down to the beautiful and spiritual island of Siquijor. The island has a fascinating story, and is home to some of the best beaches and sunsets in the Philippines.

Siargio Island:  If you like to surf, then I’m sure you’ve heard about this island.  This is at the top of my list of places to see during my next visit to the Philippines, but unfortunately I didn’t have the time to get there.  There’s not much else to do on the island, but if you’re looking for a laid-back surfing hotspot, then you’ll definitely enjoy your time there.

Boracay - Philippines Itinerary

Traveling Long Term…? Get Insurance!

As a digital-nomad who travels pretty much full-time these days, I was absolutely stoked when I heard about this travel insurance company called SafetyWing!  It’s the world’s first International Travel Medical Insurance developed to meet the needs of entrepreneurs, long-term travelers, and remote workers traveling or living abroad worldwide.

Getting sick or injured abroad can be one of the scariest things in the world, and I’m happy that SafetyWing has finally affordable a reliable and affordable travel insurance package.

Personally, for me – it’s absolutely perfect!  It only costs $37*/ 4 weeks, which is 1/3rd price compared to the biggest competitor for similar coverage!  But it’s also completely reliable, as SafetyWing is a Y-Combinator company and the policy is administered by Tokio Marine, one of the largest insurance companies in the world. 

Southeast Asia can be a dangerous place, so please make sure you’re covered before you head out to the Philippines! 



Philippines Travel Tips

Book All Your Flights in Advance.  This country is not as easy to get around, and if you wait until the last minute — you will have to pay ridiculous amounts for flights.  This is the only country I really recommend that, because with 30 days, you will want to see as much as possible.

Meet and Travel with the Locals.  When are you are traveling the Philippines, you’ll realize that you’ll meet more young local backpackers than you would in any other country in South-East Asia.  The Filipino community really loves to travel!  They also are extremely friendly, welcoming, and typically speak amazing English!  

Research Festivals Before You Go:  The Philippines is known for having some amazing festivals.  As a starting point, check out this list of the Top Ten Festivals in The Philippines.  Just be careful, sometimes if you go during a big festival, accommodation prices can sky rocket.

Try out Couchsurfing.  As I mentioned above, Filipino people are really awesome, and they are very active when it comes to the popular travel community website Couchsurfing.  There are weekly meet-ups in the bigger cities, and it would be a really cool experience!

Don’t skip Palawan:  It’s definitely one of the most beautiful and picturesque places in the world!  It’s defintiely not as “off-the-beaten-path” as it used to be, but skipping it would be a mistake.

No matter where you go, or itinerary you customize for your trip, you will most definitely fall in love with the Philippines.  It’s one of the most beautiful countries I’ve ever visited, and I can’t wait to get back there myself.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you found this one-month itinerary for the Philippines useful!  Definitely check out my posts on the Philippines!

Safe Travels to the Philippines !!!

Philippines Travel Itinerary Guide

Planning a trip to Southeast Asia…?

I’ve written tons of helpful articles, destination guides, and travel itineraries about this amazing region of the world!  Check out a few of my favorites below for further trip planning:

Best Philippines Travel Blog


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74 replies
  1. Sarah says:

    Hi Jones!

    I am beginning to plan a 2 week trip to the Philippines with a friend for the very beginning of February! Thanks for such a great itinerary! I wish we had time to do all of it!

    How would you suggest we spend our 2 weeks? I know its probably impossible to cut down this itinerary, especially since you said you wish you had more time! However, would you suggest we do this itinerary but spend less time in each place or skip certain places?

    Thanks so much for any guidance you can give me!


    • Jones says:

      Hey Sarah! It really depends on travel time. Where do you land? Obviously, I think the #1 priority should be to visit Palawan! Coron + El Nido were absolutely amazing! If you could fly to Coron, you could knock it out in 2-3 days. From there you’ll have to take the boat to El Nido (Unfortunately it is quite a long journey. Around 7 hours from what I remember). In El Nido, you’ll want at least 3-4 days to explore Island Hopping Packages, nearby beaches, and other activities there. From there, cruise down to PP for your flight out of there. Now, this is where it really depends…Is your flight back to where you’re going out of Manila? If so, I would fly back to Manila, and do a couple days around there. I know there’s a few solid options for activities around Manila. If you have to fly in/out of Manila, you could always try to cruise up to the Banaue rice terraces ! I didn’t include those in this itinerary, but I’ve heard they’re incredible! Hope this helps! You’ve got some time to plan it all out!

  2. Jones says:

    No problem! Glad I could help out! When you’re in Coron, just ask around at different places, and they can organize a “robinson crusoe” type of set-up. You can rent a tent, bring a bunch of water, and they will drop you off at a rnandom island. It was not with a tour company, but I had a friend who just made friends with a local, and they organized everything. If you ask around, you won’t have any problems getting it all set up! Enjoy the Philippines! I’m dying to go back! Cheers.

  3. James says:

    Hey Jones, awesome post! Seriously looking forward to my trip more than ever now.

    You mention that quite a lot of planning of travel is needed, unfortunately I am flying into Manila on saturday and that is all I have planned. I will be in the country for about 6 weeks. Do you think I can get away with winging it or should I book up some flights ahead of time?
    Current plan is to head up to Sagada then head back to Manila to get the ferry to Coron as you suggest, then roughly follow your guide but taking it real slow as I have quite a bit of time. Do you have any idea where would be good to spend christmas/new years?

    Thanks again!

    • Jones says:

      Hey James,

      Glad you like the post, and really happy to hear you’re finding some use out of it. If you’re flying into Manila, I think you’re on the right track. You could head up to the rice fields in the north, and then cruise back down to Coron, and take the boat over to El Nido and explore the rest of Palawan. For Christmas + NYE, I would think the best place to be would either be El Nido or Boracay? But this is going to be a very busy time of the year in The Philippines. It’s a Christian country, and Christmas is definitely going to be hectic there for prices. I would assume that flights are going to be a little pricier than normal, so I would recommend buying tickets a little early, or else you’ll spend a bit more money on last minute purchases. You do have a relaxed schedule though for 6 weeks, so take your time, talk with other backpackers, and get a good feel. If you have any other questions, feel free to message me. Happy to help anyway I can. Safe travels, and Merry Christmas!

  4. Tom says:

    “Since you only have 30 days allowed in the Philippines,”
    This is not correct as you can extend your visa upto 36 months before having to leave. The first extension is for 29 days or now you can get a 6 month extension. So stay awhile.

  5. S spear says:

    Hi looks like a very good itinerary very helpful thank you , do you no if you book flights in advance can you change dates or is this not possible can’t wait to get there in Feb

    • Jones says:

      Hey what’s up! Glad you found it useful! I think with these budget airlines, there would be a decent fee to change the ticket, but I think you might be able to book a flexible ticket? But I’ve never done that because I try to save as much money as possible, haha. The Philippines is definitely one of those places I do recommend booking the major flights in advance, and sticked to the schedule. It’s hard though, because I definitely could have stayed in Palawan another week. But I guess it just gives me another reason to go back. :) Safe travels!

  6. Weng says:

    Hi Jones! Nice blog about my country. Try to visit Gigantes Islands the next time you visit Philippines. It’s just 4-5 hours drive from Caticlan. You should consider to include Kalanggaman Island in the Visayas in your itinerary too. Have you seen Malcapuya Island when you had your island hopping in Coron?

    • Jones says:

      Hey Weng! Thanks for liking the post, and thanks for the tips! I’m dying to get back to the Philippines for another month, and will be planning a trip with all new spots! I’m not entirely sure of Malcapuya island, it is possible – but for some reason I don’t think I did. Just another reason to go back. I’ve heard about Kalanggaman, and it looks amazing! Ugh, just thinking about it makes me desperate for another month in one of the most beautiful countries in the World! #ItsMoreFunInThePhilippines

  7. Rita says:

    What a great article Jones! gives exactly what backpackers need- clarity and a trails from point to point.
    My question would be, did you see people camping around philippines, as I’m taking my little tent with intention to cut some costs on accommodation. Useful to know if it would be possible at all.

  8. Carmen B says:

    Great post!
    There is so much to see in the Philippines, we spent 2 weeks there and it felt so short…
    For those more interested in hiking, I’d recommend the rice terraces in Banaue and Batad, and for those into diving, the Japanese wrecks in Coron are a must do.

    • Jones says:

      Thanks so much Carmen! Love the blog! I’m definitely sad I didnt have the time to make up north to the rice terraces. Definitely on the list for when I go back!

  9. SAmantHa says:

    Hi Jones, great article, really informative. I’m planning a month in the Philippines in August/September. I’m trying to do it on as much of a budget as possible. What sort of money would I be looking to spend? Do you have any tips on how to save money but still do all these amazing things? Thanks!

    • Jones says:

      Well, it really just depends on personal preference. If you want to eat as budget as possible, there are always ways to save money. There are cheap eat places, and avoid restaurants. You’ll also want to be careful on how much you go out and drink, which costs can definitely add up. For transportation, book the flights in advance to save money. All other transpo, try to bargain the prices down. I definitely saved money on the boat from Coron to El Nido than the other people on my boat. As far as daily budget, I would think around $30-$40 U.SD per day would suffice. You can easily do it cheaper, but it also depends on how much you actually do. Some of the activities can be expensive, like the island hopping tours for example. Hope all that helps! Cheers Samantha!

  10. Sam says:

    Hi Jones, awesome Itinerary! Me and a mate have planned a 28 day trip of the Philippines at the end of May. Pretty much exactly following your itinerary. Just wandering about Puerto Princesa. Is 2 nights sufficient time there? And how do we go about getting there from El Nino? Do we need to book in advance? We’re also considering just going straight from El nino to the Puerto Princesa aiport- would this be possible? There seems to be very limited info on-line about it.
    Cheers Sam

    • Jones says:

      Hey Sam, so happy I could help out! You are going to love the Philippines (and this itinerary kicks ass ;) . I think 2 nights in PP would be plenty. All there is do is to do is the underground river, but I believe there are some nice beaches around as well. There MIGHT be a direct bus from El Nido to the airport, but I kinda doubt it. With that being said, once you get to the PP bus station, it’d be super easy to just get a taxi to the airport. It’s not very big or far from the city center.

  11. RaqueL says:

    Hi Jones!

    Really enjoying your philippines posts.

    However, I’m wondering when did you go?

    I really wanted to go there this year, but it would have to be in july.

    As it’s wet season, I’m not sure I should. So I’m still trying to make my mind about it.

    • Jones says:

      Hey Raquel, so glad I could help out!! It’s awesome to hear people are finding my information useful :) I went in March, so it was great weather the entire time. I wouldnt be too worried though. I’ve traveled a lot during rainy season in Asia, and it’s not that big of a deal. Just occasional monsonons in the afternoon!

  12. Hollie says:

    Hi Jones, great post really helpful. Me and my two friends are currently planning our trip to the Philippines and have used your itinerary for a lot of it – so thank you. We were just wondering how you got around Manila. From the airport to your accom and then to the ferry terminal? Was the public transport ok? Also how much roughly were the hostels?

    Hollie :)

    • Jones says:

      Hey Hollie! So glad I’m helping out : ) When I was in Manila, I did mainly use the train lines, and to be honest – it was miserable. So cramped, loud, and uncomfortable. If you have multiple people, I would just take cabs, or you can hop in Jeepney’s. The problem is that you might not know where exactly you’re headed. I honestly didn’t do all that much in Manila, as I was working really hard on finishing my degree there. But I did take a taxi both from the airport, and from hostel – the ferry terminal. In Manila, I believe I paid around $10 per night for the hostel. There are tons of ones to choose from! Hope this helps. : ) Cheers!

      • Hollie says:

        Thanks for the quick response! Oh the trains don’t sound too nice then, maybe we will have a look at using the Jeepney’s! Were the taxis reasonable? Also do you know where the ferry terminal is? We are trying to find the address so we can look at hostels near by for our time there.

        Thanks again!

        • Jones says:

          No worries! Yeah, I had a bad experience traveling on the trains during rush hour. But that’s jsut there are wayyy too many people in Manila. Taxis are definitely reasonable. Comparable to the rest of South-East Asia, but maybe a tad bit more pricier. I don’t really remember where the ferry was. Just look up the information on 2GO ferries. I think they’ll have all the info you need. I wouldn’t worry too much about staying close by. If you’re traveling with a friend, then spltting the price of cab wouldn’t be a big deal. Safe travels! ! : )

  13. Abbey Salvador says:

    Hi Jones :) I’m an expert with Philippines. I’m a local and based in the country and have my travel company here.
    If you need help on your next visit, do let me know :)
    I’m just glad you like my country.
    Oh, and do add Banaue and Sagada on your next itinerary ;) Cheers!

  14. Gemma h says:


    I’m heading to the Philippines in a few weeks for a month and found your blog post really helpful!! Thanks!! I was really keen to read the post about Bohol and the chocolate hills & tarsiers but couldn’t seem to get the link to work – do you have any more info on these?


  15. Lauren says:

    Hi there,

    I see that the overnight ferry arrival time in Coron is 430am, what did you do from that time until check in at your hotel or hostel?

    Thank you

  16. Aaron says:

    Hi Jones, just doing a bit of research on South East Asia and i came across this page. Decent article, but i’m pretty sure i worked with you at Cubic (Opal) in Sydney! We all started in a group together in sept i think. Small world! Hope you’re well!

    • Jones says:

      Haha no way! What’s up man? Small world indeed! If you have any questions, feel free to message me about the Philippines. I love it out there! Cheers man! :-)

  17. Kai Vaja says:

    Hey Jonas,

    This was a great read ! I’m planning a trip to the Philippians and just need some help with the itinerary that I’ve put together ;

    Days Dates Location
    1 Friday 01/07/2016 Manila
    2 Saturday 02/07/2016 Manila
    3 Sunday 03/07/2016 Manila > Damunguette > Siquijor (FLIGHT -0700hrs FERRY – 1100hrs)
    4 Monday 04/07/2016 Siquijor
    5 Tuesday 05/07/2016 Siquiijor > Oslob
    6 Wednesday 06/07/2016 Oslob > Badian > Cebu
    7 Thursday 07/07/2016 Cebu > Boracay (FLIGHT)
    8 Friday 08/07/2016 Boracay
    9 Saturday 09/07/2016 Boracay
    10 Sunday 10/07/2016 Boracay > Puerto Princesa > El Nido (FLIGHT)
    11 Monday 11/07/2016 El Nido
    12 Tuesday 12/07/2016 El Nido
    13 Wednesday 13/07/2016 Elnido
    14 Thursday 14/07/2016 Elnido
    15 Friday 15/07/2016 Elnido
    16 Saturday 16/07/2016 Elnido > Manila (FLIGHT)
    17 Sunday 17/07/2016 Manila

    My biggest question is if it would be possible to swim with the whale sharks at 6am in Oslob and then have time to travel to Badian and do the canyoneering on the same day?

    So far i have only booked accommodation in manila and the domestic flight to Damunguette. would you recommend booking thing prior to flying out or book it as we go along?

    • Jones says:

      Well when it comes to flights around PH, it’s always best to book in advance. Cebu Air has great deals and specials when you book early. As far as your first question, I’m not entirely sure mate. I honestly think yes, but you never know when traveling around Asia. Things can take a bit longer than expected. I didn’t go to Badian, so I’m not too sure. That looks like a badass trip though! Enjoy man! You on IG, would love to follow along!

  18. Leah says:

    Hi there!

    This is such an awesome post! My friend and I are going in November this year – and I really want to add Siargio Island for some surfing. How would you recommend adding that to the trip?

    What are your must sees! If you have any tips with route options – that would be amazing!! :)


  19. Yem says:

    Hi!! Loved your post!! Very Helpful
    Ive got a question: is the visa only for 30 days? Isnt it possible to stay longer if I wanted to without leaving the country and coming back?

    Also, what time of the year did you go? Im thinking on going between april and june, somewhere in between. Is it a good idea?

    Thanks a lot!!

    • Dave Anderson says:

      Hi Yem, the visa on arrival was for 30 days, but I have heard there is an option to extend it for another 30 days. But from what I remember, the extension cost almost $100 U.S.D. I dont know though, maybe things have changed. I traveled during the month of March, and it was amazing weather. You’ll certainly have amazing weather as well when you go between april – june. Definitely a good idea! :-)

  20. Meghan says:

    Hey Jones,

    This post is amazing and unbelievably helpful! I’m headed to the Philippines for the month of November and your itinerary will make for great times I’m sure. I was interested in your link for the overnight bus trip to the rice terraces, but the link seems broken! Just wondering if you could help me out here. :)

    Thanks so much!

  21. Isaac Goh says:

    hi Dave!,

    was thinking of going philppines for a week. where will you suggest we go? We are coming from Singapore and should fly to Manila and most likely back.


    • Dave says:

      Hey Isaac. Hmm Tough question. If you only have a week, then you could head up to the rice terraces and do plenty of nearby day trips from Manila. Another option would be to fly to Boracay, or down to Cebu. It really just depends on what type of trip you’re looking for though. Enjoy though! I’m sure you’ll love it

  22. CHARLENE says:


    I am planning 3 whole weeks in philippines but don’t want to go always in Beaches OR BOAT TOURS. cAN YOU HELP ME IN WHAT things can I do like visiting rice terraces, volcanoes etc.


    • Dave says:

      I’d recommend checking out Banaue Rice Terraces in the North, and there’s also a couple really hikes to volcanos. BUt I don’t know too much. Cebu & Bohol have a lot going on!

  23. Dave says:

    Haha thanks man! WHen it comes to safety, I honestly never am concerned about that in the Philippines. THe only areas you are meant to avoid are in the south, other than that you’re all good. Palawan and Cebu were completely safe in my opinion. And Yeah, Manila was just awful, lol…

  24. Toni says:

    Hi! Love the blog post – I’m finding it so helpful as I’m planning a 1 month trip to the Phils.
    Was just wondering, how did you get El Nido from Coron? I’ve heard the ferry an be 7-10 hours and is pretty bad (I’m going from El Nido to Coron). How did you find it?

    • Dave says:

      That’s what I took. It was long, but wasn’t all that bad. You’ll be with other travelers, so just bring some beers and it’ll be fun. :-)

  25. oli M says:

    How many time would you recommend to stay in Cebu (island)? I’ve been told that you need at least 10 days to visit Moalboal, Oslob and Malapascua

    • Dave says:

      Hey Oli. Well my time was a little quick on Cebu, and I only had about 4-5 days. I did Moalboal & Oslob with only a day in each, and then a day trip over to Bohol. If you wanna add Malapascua it will take a bit more time, but I’ve heard it’s amazing. Safe travels!

  26. redgyn says:

    maybe u never heard of balabac islands. its a group of islands in the southmost part of palawan. (nearer to malaysia) most of the islands are still virgin and only the owner live in it. ull sleep in tent because there are no accomodation. you will stay overnight and leave the nxt morning to visit another islands and sandbars and thats what i did for 5days tour

  27. redgyn says:

    maybe u never heard of balabac islands. its a group of islands in the southmost part of palawan. (nearer to malaysia) most of the islands are still virgin and only the owner live in it. ull sleep in tent because theres no accomodation. you will stay overnight and leave the nxt morning to visit another islands and sandbars and thats what i did for 5days tour

  28. Aga says:

    I am planning my monthly trip to Philippines and for sure your blog will be one of my main sources for that! I hope the travel tips are still up to date! ;)

  29. Michael Corbett says:

    Hi I am going to the Philippines for a month I am stopping in a hotel I wantI want to know I want to know how many suitcases am I allowed to take with me and rucksack and backpack what is the weight of a suitcase and a rucksack

  30. Hannah Clarke says:

    Hey there! Thank you so much for this awesome Itinerary, It has been instrumental in making our plans for a 4-5 week trip to the Philippines next year! I hope this post is still active and that you can reply to me lol. I would love to get your opinion on what you think would be a reasonable budget for that length of time? We aren’t looking to do things ~extremely~ cheap but wont be living a life of luxury either!! Just enough to have a bit of comfort after travelling for long periods etc :) What would you recommend budget-wise? I really hope to hear back from you.


  31. mario says:

    this article is really useful, anyway i suggest you, according with my experience, to rent a motorbike or a scooter in order to move there smoothly and cheaply. you will like it

  32. David from travelscams.org says:

    This is awesome, thanks for sharing Dave! Indeed, even 30 days are not enough for Philippines, we will be back again too!

  33. Sheila Quest says:

    I am a filipina living in europe and take vacations in the ph every year. Just to add up some info about Siargao island. It is a lot of things to do in siargao and not just a laid back total relaxing place. It is actuall one of the fastest rising tourist place as if now that accomodations cant keep up woth influx of tourist. I personally like siargao if somebody has very limited vacation time i would recommend that island because its a large enough island and 1 week is good enough to spend. It offers an island life, surf capital of the phil, island hopping to wonderful islands similar to el nido, caves and islets and diff lagoons which is actually a full package of philippine experience or taste- the reason tourist goes for. it is laid back and has hippie vibe yes but it has alot of activities too.

  34. Sasha says:

    Jonesy! I’ll be traveling for a month in sept. My family will be there from August 30-oct 2nd… flying in to Cebu. What would you recommend for us to squeeze in 3 weeks? I say 3 weeks because I have to be back in Cebu for my grandmas 105th bday. Lol. I will also be traveling with my 6 & 12 yr old kids. Please help. Thanks a bunch!

  35. Ganesh says:

    An amazing piece of Information to Explore Philippines. Very useful . Recently I came across the below mentioned Guide which will add more flavours to your philippines trip. Explore the below link for more details

    https://bit.ly/2ZgXVm8 (philippines-travel-guide)

  36. Raiane De Assis says:

    Amazing post! How was the internet during your travel? I’m planning a trip to Philippines but as I’ll be working remotely I need to be connected all the time. I spent 6 months in Asia and didn’t have any problem, but I’m reading some bad stuff regarding philippines. Is that bad?

  37. Barry Simon says:

    Dave, I want to experience the Philippines in August which I think that is when you spent your 30 days there. Are there any concerns with the rainy season and your itinerary or transportation needs being delayed etc? Or everything even with the raining season went well. August is the only month I can go but would like to hear your prospective on this. BTW excellent post! great job and thank you for sharing to the traveling community!


  38. Dave says:

    You can extend your visa for another 30 days I believe, but it doest cost around $100. That’s what I had heard from other travelers, but you’d want to look into it yourself. It might just be easier to leave, and then fly back (perfectly legal and you can find R/T tickets to HK, Macau, or Malaysia for pretty cheap)


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  2. […] spent almost the entire month of March backpacking through the Philippines.  From island hopping in Palawan, finishing my Master’s degree, and exploring Cebu & […]

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