Are you looking for the ultimate Philippines itinerary to make your Southeast Asian getaway one to remember?
Spending one month in the Philippines was simply one of the best decisions I made during my Southeast Asia travels. And honestly, it’s one of the best decisions you can make too! After my trip, I almost booked a return ticket because if you had to ask me, a 30-day Philippines itinerary is not enough!
With 7,640 islands to explore, you can understand why I say a month is barely enough, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. With beautiful beaches, world-class diving, stunning landscapes, vibrant music and cultural festivals, and friendly people — a trip to the Philippines will be something you’ll never forget.
Let’s just say there’s plenty to see and do in the Philippines, so it can be a bit intimidating. But never fear, for I am here. I’ll cover everything in my one month Philippines itinerary, from where to stay and what to see. I hope you find it useful, and if you have any questions, feel free to email me; I’d be happy to help!
Before heading to the Philippines, I recommend picking up a copy of the Philippines Lonely Planet book! It’s super helpful while you’re on the road.
Are you ready to dive into this in-depth 1 month in the Philippines itinerary? I know I am!
One Month in Philippines Itinerary Breakdown
Before we dive into the exact travel itinerary, here’s a quick breakdown of what to expect in this article. I truly believe it’s the best way to spend a month in the Philippines, as it covers the majority of highlights and attractions!
- Manila (2-3 Days)
- Coron (4-5 Days)
- El Nido (5-7 Days)
- Port Barton and Puerto Princesa (2-3 Days)
- Cebu City & Bohol (3-4 Days)
- Moalboal & Oslob (2 Days)
- Boracay (4-5 Days)
Now the days can vary depending on travel times/flight prices, and it just depends on your travel style. But this is an excellent route for a Philippines 4 week itinerary, and it will be an experience you’ll never forget!
4 Week Philippines Itinerary Travel Insurance
If you’re planning on spending 1 month in the Philippines, then you’ll definitely want to be covered!
Southeast Asia can seem very safe to travel to, but you’ll soon hear some horror stories from other travelers you meet. Anything can happen, from scooter accidents to water damage and items going missing. So, please ensure you’re covered before heading out to the Philippines by taking out a travel insurance policy.
Getting sick or having items stolen while traveling is rare, but when it does happen, it can be an absolute nightmare. Buying travel insurance (which is essential for visas in some countries) will give you the peace of mind that if anything does happen, you are covered.
I highly recommend HeyMondo due to their extensive range of cover for all situations and trip lengths, their handy app, and fair pricing. The app allows you to manage any claims and access free assistance online. So you don’t need to rack up an expensive phone bill while abroad!
Still planning your trip? You can always get a no-commitment travel insurance quote with HeyMondo, so you know how much extra to budget for your vacation!
Philippines 1 Month Itinerary
Okay, now let’s dive into my full Philippines travel guide! It’s very detailed and goes over everything you’ll need for a top-notch experience! I hope you’re ready for an adventure.
1. Fly Into Manila (2-3 Days)
You’ll most likely find the best deals flying into Manila.
Honestly, Manila is one of those cities that backpackers love to hate. It’s busy, overcrowded, and 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!
Despite its flaws, Manila is the best place to fly into the Philippines for cheap international flights. Here are the best airlines worth considering for your flight:
- Philippines Airlines — Offers great prices for direct flights.
- Cebu Pacific — Easily the best for domestic flights, but they also offer some international options.
- AirAsia Philippines — They are rated in the top 20 safest low-cost airlines in 2023, so they are also worth a look at.
- Emirates — It’s an ever-reliable airline that flies to the Philippines with one stop along the way.
Although Manila is great to fly into, I would try and spend as little time as possible in the capital city. This Philippines itinerary in 4 weeks is jam-packed, and you’ll want to spend more time in other destinations around the county!
But if you want some inspiration for your time in the capital, read my three days in Manila itinerary. It’ll give you tons of ideas on things to do, from exploring Intramuros to wandering through Rizal Park.
Where to Stay in Manila
Whether looking to save a few bucks or go all out during your time in Manila, here are some great options worth checking out:
- City Garden Grand Hotel: Best Hotel. This award-winning 4-Star Hotel in Makati City includes an airport shuttle, AMAZING OUTDOOR POOL, and is close to nearby malls and attractions. Great value for a luxury hotel! It provides a super comfortable stay for your first couple of nights on this epic Philippines itinerary, all at an affordable price! It’s got excellent reviews and is one of the top picks in Manila!
- Manila-Z-Hostel: Best Hostel for Backpackers. Great location, fantastic reviews, and an epic rooftop with breathtaking city views! I’ve never heard any backpackers say anything bad about it!! It does fill up quickly, though, so make sure you book in advance!
Alternatively, you can read up on all the best Airbnbs in Manila for a more personal touch to your stay.
Manila Day Activity 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 on foot!
You’ll see some glorious sights in this majestic part of town, from Manila Cathedral to the historically significant Fort Santiago. While those are the top attractions in the region, you can’t miss out on the infamous bastion, Baluarte de San Diego, and UNESCO Site San Agustin Church.
Other iconic destinations in Intramuros include the colonial masterpiece Casa Manila, while history is very much on the menu at the Silahis Center. Speaking of menus, I highly recommend visiting Barbara’s Heritage Restaurant for a unique fusion of Filipino and Spanish cuisine.
If this sounds just a bit too much to cram into one day, it’s worth joining this Manila sightseeing tour. You’ll see everything this magical city offers on a 4-hour tour by a coach with an expert guide.
Of course, you’ll pass through Intramuros, but other top attractions include Old Manila and the City of Makati. It’s a jam-packed day of fun in the city that you’ll surely never forget.
2. Book A Flight or Overnight Ferry from Manila to Coron Island
The overnight ferry is always the cheapest option for getting to Coron. For some reason, all the flights to this island tend to be quite expensive. If you are able to find a cheap one, then absolutely book it (but if you’re a budget traveler – the overnight ferry option is a solid budget option).
There is one main ferry company in The Philippines – 2Go Travel. I’ve only used them for this route, but they also offer a ton of different routes around the country!
Note: This Manila – Coron overnight ferry only departs 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!
3. Coron, Palawan (4-5 Days)
Welcome to Coron, Palawan! This 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. We actually ended up 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!
Here are some of the top things to do in Coron that you’ll absolutely love:
- Coron Bay — This is a breathtaking area with towering lush islands and a tapestry of blues in the ocean. With many shipwrecks within the bay, you can imagine the diving opportunities or off the charts.
- Island Hopping — With 1,769 islands making up Palawan, you can imagine there’s plenty to discover. I recommend joining this Coron off-bay island hopping tour for an epic experience of some majestic Filipino scenery.
- Underwater Mountains — You heard that right. There are some magical underwater mountains worth exploring in Barracuda Lake. It’s a fantastic snorkeling destination, so be ready for a jaw-dropping underwater world.
Adventure Travel Tip: If you want to be really adventurous, you can hire a boat driver to drop you off on one of the remote islands and camp there for 2-3 nights. Arrange a pick-up time, and you’ll live a real Robinson Crusoe experience with untouched beaches and space galore. Make sure you bring enough food, water, and a good book or two!
Check out this fun Youtube video for a few more 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 read about where to stay in Coron for a bit more detail.
But for the lowdown, here are the top hotels and hostels you can book:
- Hop Hostel: CORON HOSTEL WITH THE BEST SOCIAL ATMOSPHERE. Escape to a tropical paradise without sacrificing the comfort of home. It’s the perfect launch pad for a breathtaking time in the Calamian islands with the spacious comforts of a hotel at the price of a hostel. It’s conveniently located in the Coron city center, so all the main island attracts are a stone’s throw away.
- Coron Soleil Garden Resort: THE BEST OVERALL CORON HOTEL RESORT & VALUE FOR MONEY. If it’s an indulgent and luxurious stay you seek, look no further than this worry-free resort. They cater to all your potential needs and wants, so you can expect everything, including meals, to be ready for you.
- Club Paradise Resort Palawan: THE MOST UNIQUE LUXURY CORON RESORT. I highly recommend this dream destination for an effortless escape to a 4-star resort.
4. El Nido, Palawan (5-7 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 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 it 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.
It’s a more lively area than Coron, with some fantastic restaurants and fun bars to check out at night. You can do some day trips to nearby islands, 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 to book an island hopping tour or two.
Here are the three main tours I recommend you choose from:
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 a fantastic time on both of them, and I can’t wait to return to El Nido to do them again!
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. You’ll find three breathtaking lagoons, relax on the white sand beaches of Shimizu island, and snorkel in the pristine waters of Seven Commando beach. Also, you’ll 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 at the 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 resembling 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
Like all the other destinations on this 1 month itinerary in the Philippines, you can expect a range of budget-friendly and uber-luxurious stays:
- Happiness Hostel: Best 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 a comfortable stay in El Nido!
- El Nido Resorts Lagen Island: Best RESORT in EL NIDO. Set in a cove bordered by thick forests, Lagen Island Resort includes an on-site marine sports center, which offers activities like diving, kayaking, and windsurfing, a beautiful outdoor pool, and luxuriously comfortable rooms.
5. Port Barton and Puerto Princesa (2-3 Days)
Since you only have a 4 weeks Philippines itinerary, you won’t 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 is also where you’ll be flying to as your next destination. It may be a major city in the Philippines, but it’s actually more of a diver’s paradise. Snorkeling spots surround Princesa’s bay, and it’s pretty common to see long-nosed dolphins, stingrays, and turtles swimming among the local boatmen.
Tip: There’s an international airport here too, so if you want to return to Palawan, you can fly here directly from Asia.
One of the main attractions in Puerto Princesa is visiting the famous Underground River. I was unable to do it during my visit, but I’ve heard people say it’s worth it.
You can enjoy this magical landmark by joining this epic day trip:
Puerto Princesa Underground River Tour: This is the bestseller in the region, and for a reason! You’ll experience the beauty of the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park. It’s an 8-hour guided tour, so expect it to take up a large chunk of your time in Puerto Princesa. You can enjoy the delicious complimentary lunch when you’re not exploring the longest navigable underground river in the world.
Where to Stay in Puerto Princesa
Take a look at these lovely accommodation options to stay at between your epic island hopping trip:
- Blue Lagoon Inn & Suites: Top pick in Puerto Princesa with outstanding reviews. It’s close to the airport and offers excellent prices. This one is a no-brainer, but it does sell out often, so make sure you book in advance!
- Green Turtle Backpackers Guesthouse: One of the best and cheapest hostels for backpackers in the area (there aren’t a ton to choose from). There’s a great vibe here, with friendly staff and excellent reviews to back up that claim!
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 didn’t do much sightseeing in the city 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.
Alternatively, you can spend the day on Bohol Island exploring Chocolate Hills and seeing Tarsier monkeys jumping through the forest. This was one of the highlights of Bohol Island!
Read: Discover what makes Chocolate Hills and the Tarsier Monkeys so intriguing.
After you’ve spent a few days exploring the city and a day or two on Bohol Island, make your way down to some more of the highlights of The Philippines, like Mactan.
Best Place to Stay in Cebu
There aren’t many options for where to stay in Cebu, so I’ll just recommend the ones that really stood out:
- Best Western Plus Lex Hotel Cebu: One of the best deals you’ll find for a 4-star Hotel! It’s a traveler’s favorite, with fantastic amenities and superb staff. They’ve also got massive specials going on all the time, so keep an eye out for those.
- Nacho Hostel Cebu: Easily the best hostel option in Cebu, this accommodation is small but really well kept. The prices are crazy good, while the amenities are all top–notch. PS. The pool is a great place to meet new people.
Cebu Day Tours To Consider
- Twin City Culture and History Tour: Discover the beautiful mysteries of both Cebu and Mactan on this half-day tour. Explore sights like the Magellan’s Cross, For San Pedro, Basilica Minore, and much more in Cebu. Mactan offers unique spaces like a guitar factory and the Liberty Shrine, making it a memorable tour.
- Cebu Island Hopping with Lunch: Visit some glorious islands around Cebu with some tasty treats along the way. You’ll visit the beautiful Gilutongan Marine Sanctuary and have the chance to explore the island of Sulpa.
7. Moalboal & Oslob (2 Days)
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 to 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. It’s also known for having some excellent diving spots if you are looking to dive.
Absolute Must Visit: Kawasan Waterfalls is about a 20-minute drive from Moalboal city and one of the most majestic places in the world.
Read: If you’re a water enthusiast much like myself, learn what it takes to chase waterfalls on Cebu Island.
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 main draw 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: Check out this post for a more in-depth look into swimming with whale sharks in Oslob.
8. Flight to Boracay (4-5 Days)
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, so it’s now the most over-developed part of The Philippines.
With that being said – is it still worth visiting Boracay? Absolutely yes! The island is gorgeous, there’s plenty to do, and the nightlife is amazing. Whether you choose to chill on White Beach or spend the day cliff diving at Ariel’s Point, you’re bound to have an unforgettable time in Boracay.
Read: Its nightlife is so enigmatic that it’s made it onto my list of the best party islands in Southeast Asia.
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
You won’t be spending all that much time at your accommodation, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have the best of the rest:
- 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 are tons of hostels to check out, but I’d definitely recommend this one for a lavish yet affordable stay!
- Boracay Uptown: Find your amazing spot at Boracay Uptown. It’s right on the beach with a beautiful pool and offers fantastic specials if you book in advance. This will make for a pleasant and luxurious visit to this idyllic island.
1 Month Philippines Itinerary Substitutions
Okay, some places I visited may not be your cup of tea, but don’t worry. Here are some fantastic alternatives to consider:
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 skip Boracay. The island is fairly pricey as far as Philippines destinations go, and getting there can be a pain. Kalibo airport is 2 hours away. So you have to take a van, a boat, and a taxi, just to get to your lodging.
Siquijor Island: If you skip Boracay island, that frees up time to explore some of the islands around Cebu. While you’re down in Oslob, you could hop over 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.
Siargao Island: If you like to surf, then I’m sure you’ve heard about this island. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the time to get there, but it’s at the top of my list of places to see during my next visit to the Philippines. 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.
Philippines Travel Tips
Book All Your Flights in Advance: This country isn’t as easy to get around as you may think, 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 booking in advance because you’ll want to see as much as possible during your Philippines itinerary in 1 month.
Meet and Travel with the Locals: When traveling in the Philippines, you’ll realize that you’ll meet more young local backpackers than in any other country in Southeast Asia. The Filipino community really loves to travel! They also are extremely friendly, welcoming, and typically speak excellent English!
Research Festivals Before You Go: The Philippines is known for having some insane festivals. Just be careful, sometimes if you go during a big festival, accommodation prices can skyrocket.
Try out Couchsurfing: As I mentioned above, Filipino people are really awesome and are very active on the popular travel community website Couchsurfing. It’s a great way to travel the country on a super cheap budget. 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 also not as “off-the-beaten-path” as it used to be, so skipping it would be a mistake.
Did I Forget Anything on This Philippines One Month Itinerary?
No matter where you go or what itinerary you customize for your trip, you will 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.
So, will you explore Palawan and venture through the vibey town of Boracay? Or is visiting the quiet Banaue Rice Terraces and discovering the hidden island of Siargao more your style? Whatever the case, your Philippines itinerary in 4 weeks is bound to capture your imagination.
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 !!!
Planning a Trip to Southeast Asia…?
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