Ultimate Philippines 2 Week Itinerary

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Philippines Itinerary

When we first started researching places we wanted to see in the Philippines, we had a list that would have taken nearly 3 months to get through.

The problem? Like many people, we only had two weeks off of work to make this trip to the Philippines happen. So as you can imagine, we had to cut a ton of places from our wish list.

Truthfully, two weeks isn’t much time in the Philippines. It is a country made up of islands, and therefore transportation can be (understandably) challenging. If you want to visit more than one island during your visit, you will likely need to devote an entire day to travel.

The itinerary below is an adaption of what we followed. We altered it a bit based on some things we would have changed, and came up with what we think is a pretty badass route for a first-time visit to the Philippines.

By following this itinerary, you will get to explore three islands, see jungles as well as beaches, and some spend time outside the typical “tourist” path. You will see a lot during these two weeks in the Philippines, but there are certainly days planned for (much needed) relaxation.


Before your trip:

Plan your trip with the weather in mind! We’ve put together a great resource for evaluating when’s the best time to visit the Philippines based on the weather as well as your travel style and preferences.

Prior to you packing your bags and booking your flights, don’t forget to do this… you’ll thank us later.

Also, if you’re strict on your travel time in the Philippines, we highly recommend to book your Philippines transportation online ahead of time. 12go.asia is a booking site we have used and have found some good deals on buses, ferries, trains and even flights. 

Powered by 12Go Asia system

Day 1: Travel day to Boracay

Most likely, you will be flying into Manila. Sure, there are direct flights to Boracay from many major cities now, but they are usually quite expensive.

There are several flights leaving each day from Manila to Caticlan (MPH) airport, so try to line the times up so you don’t have to leave the airport in Manila and deal with the city’s chaotic traffic.

You can also look at flying into Kalibo like we did. Often these are the cheapest flights, but be prepared for a roughly 2 and a half hour journey to Boracay.

Our advice would be to skip Manila. Most everyone we talked to advised us to do so. Yes, I’m sure there are things worth doing in Manila, but with only two weeks, you just can’t see everything.

Knowing that, Manila was the first to be cut from our list of places to see. The only reason to stay in Manila to use it as a hub to go to the Banaue Rice Terraces.

Where to Stay in Boracay Island

Once you get to Boracay, get settled into your hotel and relax. 

Luxury Hotels: Henann Crystal Sands Resort – Station 2 Beach front 5-star resort with fantastic views with three pools and a pool-side bar. Complete luxury throughout entire hotel including on-site restaurant and room service. 

Couple Stay/Mid-range: Hue Hotels and Resorts Boracay – Beautifully designed hotel in the Station 2 area and only 300 meters from the beach. This hotel has a fitness room, outdoor pool, pool-side bar, and on-site restaurants. 

Budget Friendly/Social Atmosphere: CHILLAX Flashpackers Boracay – Located in the Diniwid area of Boracay Island, this fun backpacker hotel has private rooms as well as dorms. There is a game room and an outdoor common area with WiFi in all the rooms. 

Everything you need to pack for the Philippines

Southeast Asia Packing List | Two Wandering Soles

Day 2 – 4: Beach days in Boracay

Philippines umbrellas
Sunset Boracay Philippines

Relax on the beach with a drink in your hand, and be sure not to miss the sunsets!

These relaxing days should help you adjust to the new time zone and power through jet lag.

Check out our tips on where to stay and eat while in Boracay. Make sure you visit Spider Bar (information in the link). It is an absolute must!

Day 5: Travel day to Bohol

This one’s a doozy, but by evening, you will be in a completely different side of the Philippines than what you see in Boracay. You will be away from the crowds and will experience a piece of the country that few get to see.  

The cheapest way we found to get to Bohol was to fly to Cebu City, then take a 2 hour ferry to Tagbilaran. From there, hire a tricycle (or van) bound for Nuts Huts in Loboc. Most of the drivers we spoke to knew where this guesthouse is located.

The ride should take roughly 50 minutes by trike (shorter by van). Local bus is another option and is much less expensive (50 PHP, versus 500 PHP for a tricycle), but considering the other modes of transportation you’ll be taking today, hiring your own transport is the easier option.

Note: Nuts Huts seemed to be the only guesthouse in the Loboc area. Be sure to make reservations ahead of time because it is a popular place and is usually fully booked. Read more about our stay at Nuts Huts and our adventures in the jungle.

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Day 6: Relax in the Jungle

Nuts Huts Bohol

Grab a hammock and just relax! After a day of travel, you’ll be needing the rest. If you are feeling up to it, a local man offers a guided tour to bat caves high up in the hills. It is pretty cool and a place that most tourists never see, but be prepared for a little work out. Make sure you reserve your “cave trek” the night before.

We tried lots of food on the menu at Nuts Huts, but there were two sure winners

Day 7: Tarsiers and Chocolate Hills

Philippines Tarsier Sanctuary
Philippines Chocolate Hills

Rent a motorbike and head first to the Tarsier Sanctuary near Corella, about 30-40 minutes from the small town of Loboc. Next, head back on the same road toward the Chocolate Hills (about 35 km).

Take in the scenery around you and wave at the passing schoolchildren – they will make your day! Stop at any small restaurant along the way for an authentic lunch.

If you have time, stop in Loboc before returning to Nuts Huts. One of the oldest churches in the Philippines stands in the center of town. It was badly damaged in a recent typhoon, but definitely worth a look.

Read more about our adventures exploring Bohol by motorbike.

Note: We cut Alona Beach from this itinerary because we weren’t overly impressed by it. You will be seeing many beaches on this trip that are far superior, but if you do end up staying on Panglao Island, check out Kayakasia’s Firefly Kayak Tour. It was pretty incredible!

Day 8: Travel day to Palawan

Wake up early and wait on the highway near Nuts Huts for the local bus headed to Tagbilaran. Take a late morning flight to Puerto Princesa. (You may have to fly to Manila first before getting another flight to the island of Palawan.) 

Once you land, you will have no trouble finding a van outside the airport bound for El Nido. But if you want piece of mind and don’t want to haggle a driver, book your van trip to El Nido ahead of time online. I’m sure it will be more comfortable than our ride. 

We bargained and got seats for 500 PHP per person. We had a rough trip – broken seats and a driver who stopped to pick up his friends, making our trip take longer than usual. Considering the higher-end vans don’t cost much more, we would have opted for the more comfortable ride.

Some things to note: I believe the last vans leave around 6:30 pm. The trip should take between 5 and 6 hours. Most vans and buses will drop you off at the bus station about 1 km from the town of El Nido. You will have to grab a tricycle from there and it should cost no more than 50 PHP.

If you don’t want to do so much jumping around by air and land, you can book a popular liveaboard trip on Liveaboard.com. They have collections of the best tours and scuba trips that will bring you to prime spots only locals know about. Be sure to check out their tours in the Philippines.

Where to stay in El Nido:

Spin Designer Hostel – El Nido: With some of the highest reviews in all of El Nido, this laid back hostel is the perfect place to relax after a long day of island hopping. They have dorm rooms and private rooms at great prices. And with only 600 meters to the beach, what’s not to love!

Find other affordable and fun hotels and hostels in El Nido

Day 9: Relax in El Nido

El Nido Philippines

Get acquainted with El Nido. If you are feeling up to it, grab some drinks at Reggae Bar in the evening. Tables are hard to come by, so if you want a seat to listen to the live reggae band, come early. The real party starts after the band is done playing at midnight.

Day 10: Island Hopping in El Nido

Philippines Island Hopping

Do an island hopping tour through one of the many tour companies in town. We would recommend either tour A or C.

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Day 11: Nacpan Beach Adventure

Nacpan Beach Philippines

Hire a tricycle to drive you to Nacpan Beach for the day – it’s an adventure, but totally worth it! Be sure to walk to the viewpoint at the far left end of the beach. Enjoy fresh seafood and a fruit shake for lunch with an ocean view at one of the beach’s two restaurants.

Want more? Read about our crazy journey getting there in our Palawan blog post.

Day 12: Scuba Diving or Free Day

Go Scuba diving (or try freediving) with Palawan Divers. Check out our review on free diving.

If you’re not one for diving, go on another island hopping tour or just have a relaxing day in town!

Day 13: Relax and Travel to Puerto Princesa

Palo Alto Philippines

When you are ready, catch a van back to Puerto Princesa. The last vans leave at 6:30 p.m., so you can do a tour during day if you are feeling up to it. We went diving on our last day, but were a bit rushed trying to get to the van. Book your ride back to Puerto Princesa ahead of time so you’ll know you have a seat

There isn’t much to do in Puerto Princesa. We spent most of the day hanging around the infinity pool at our beautiful hotel.

The main attraction near Puerto Princesa is the Underground River. We heard mixed reviews – both good and bad – and in the end decided not to dot this tour. If you’d like to add this to your itinerary, you’ll need to cut one day from El Nido and arrive to Puerto Princesa earlier, as this tour takes a full day.

Find other nice places to stay in Puerto Princesa here.

Day 14: Travel Home & Say Goodbye to the Philippines!

Philippines Flight

If you’re anything like us, you won’t want to leave. But… work… bills… we can’t all be beach bums.

Take a morning flight to Manila, and catch your international flight home. Again, if you can align your flights so that you don’t need to leave the airport, that is best. Just know that flights are often delayed in the Philippines, so be sure to have plenty of time between each as a buffer.

Also, it’s important to note that the domestic and international terminals are separate buildings. You will have to take a shuttle (infrequent but 20 PHP per person, or a taxi 150-200 PHP). It is about a ten minute trip between the two.

For more information about planning your own trip, read in-depth accounts of our experiences in Boracay, Bohol and Palawan. Still need more convincing that you to visit the Philippines? Find out why you need to go now!

Are you planning a trip to the Philippines?

We have TONS of resources on travel in the Philippines and destinations throughout the country. Check out our Ultimate Philippines Travel Guide for all the answers to your most burning questions, or read some of our favorite articles below.

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Perfect Philippines 2 Week Vacation
Ultimate Philippines 2 Week Itinerary

We want to hear from you!

Is there anything you would change about our itinerary? Places you would cut or add? Comment below!

Comments (93) on “Ultimate Philippines 2 Week Itinerary

  1. naumanrahim@gmail.com says:

    Hi Katie,

    First of all, great blog. Well written, enough detail to have a perfect idea what to expect from certain destination. Great works.

    We along with two 5years kids are planning to visit the Philippines in mid-november 2017 (10-11 days) and most likely to follow the aforementioned itinerary. I would like to know if the same itinerary would be good along with kids? Also I noticed that you have missed few recommended places such as mayon volcano (Bicol), Arials Point (Boracay), Hikong Bente Falls (Cebu), Banaue Rice Terrace etc. Did you intentionally choose other destinations/attractions over these? Would you recommend the best place you have crossed for Snorkelling, free jumping from the hill into rivers?

    • ktdieder@gmail.com says:

      Hi Nauman,

      Glad you’re planning a trip to the Philippines! We only had 17 days, so we had to pick and choose – with more than 7,000 islands, there’s just no way we could see everything in the country. The Banaue terraces were high on our list, but it would have taken at least 3 more days – with transportation there and back and one day to explore – and one thing we can’t stand when traveling is feeling rushed.

      (We didn’t spend any time in Cebu, and Ariel’s Point is not on the island of Boracay – it’s on the adjoining island.)

      Remember that transportation in the Philippines can sometimes take an entire day to get from place to place. With only 10 days and 2 children, I would be sure to keep that in mind when planning your trip. I think you’ll certainly have to pick and choose, and leave some places for next time 🙂

      If you need to leave a place out, I might suggest Bohol. Most of the stuff we did there was more adventure-based (jungle trekking, motorbiking, etc.) so it might not be as good of a place for young kids if you need to cut one.

      We went diving and snorkeling in El Nido and would recommend it – but I think anywhere in the Philippines is a good bet 🙂 Spider House on Boracay has a place to jump into the water and a floating dock.

      Hope that helps. Happy planning!

  2. clint.maart@btinternet.com says:

    Hi Katie,

    Thank you for sharing, that was very insightful. We are planning a two week trip from the middle of May. I am not keen to spend a lot of time travelling between Islands. My plan is to go to Boracay for 3 days, then on to Bohol. How did you do this? Ferry? Flights? Duration?. Then to spend a fair time in Bohol, based in Panglao initially. We aim to do some boat trips and possibly diving for 4-5 days. Then finish with a relaxing time at a beach resort in Anda, with day trips to the Tarsiers and Choc Hills and the adventure park? Does Bohol have enough attractions for this sort of holiday? Or should we think of spending getting to Palawan, given the time constraints? Best wishes, Clint

    • ktdieder@gmail.com says:

      Hey Clint, glad you found us! We’re jealous that you’ll be headed there soon. I’ll try my best to answer your questions:

      We did go from Boracay to Bohol. We were on a pretty tight budget, so we flew from Kalibo (near Boracay, but not the closest airport) to Cebu City, then took a 2-3 hour ferry to Tagbilaran. (If I remember correctly, the flights to Tagbilaran are more expensive and less frequent. We didn’t book far in advance though, so maybe this isn’t always the case.) It was a LONG day on transportation, that’s for sure (probably not what you’re wanting to do). There is probably a faster way of doing this – but the thing we found in the Philippines is that direct flights between the islands are not super common. (Many of them have a layover in Manila, making your travel day even longer.) Again, we were not booking very far in advance, so this could have had something to do with it.

      Honestly, if you don’t want to spend a ton of time on transportation, I think I’d leave Palawan out of your itinerary. From Tagbilaran, it will be pretty time consuming to get there, as I don’t think there are any direct flights from Tag. (Option #1: Take the ferry to Cebu, then a direct flight to El Nido, where you’d probably want to be based. Option #2: Fly Tagbilaran to Puerto Princesa, then a 5-6 hour van ride to El Nido.) I will say that Palawan was our favorite island of the 3 we visited (Boracay, Bohol and Palawan), but with 17 days, we felt like we were pushing it a bit. With 2 weeks, it would be pretty tight, especially if you don’t like the idea of spending a lot of time on transport.

      There is lots to do in Bohol – from beaches (though the ones in Boracay are better in my opinion) to jungles, to motorbike rides, firefly kayaking, Tarsiers and diving (that sounds like it’s pretty good!), I think you’ll find plenty to do!

      Hope this helps! Have an amazing time and let us know how it goes.

  3. Tom Jon says:

    Oh, man! I can’t wait to go! I’m leaving for the Philippines in May! I’ve been reading all about it. I just read this article, too and it seems so amazing!

      • beebaroni@gmail.com says:

        Hi Katie,

        I have 2 weeks to spend with my boyfriend in the Philippines. We like to mix beaches with jungle, activities like snorkeling (not diving), and things we don’t do back home. We also like spending time with local people and villages, etc. We don’t want to hop around every 2 days, so where would you say are the top 2 or 3 places that are good to allocate our 2 weeks time at? Which islands have all or most of the above?
        Looking forward to hearing from you!

      • bwzweber@gmail.com says:

        Hi Roni, We had 16 days and we hopped around to 3 different places: Boracay, Bohol, and El Nido. I think all three of those places would have all you are looking for in a Philippines trip. We have articles on each of those locations so feel free to browse around our site. Happy planning!

  4. susan.romana@gmail.com says:

    Hi Katie,

    Thank you for sharing such an insightful and fun post. I’ve been doing some intensive research on the Philippines for a while now because me and a friend of mine want to go there last week of April. Your post was one of the most helpful I’ve read so far. Can you please help me a little bit further? 🙂

    We’re supposed to arrive in Manila in the evening of the 21st of April and leave on the 1st of May. I wanted to explore several places, but I think spending a day in Manila (just to get a feel of the city and maybe getting some souvenirs) and the rest of the week in Palawan (Palawan beaches, Puerto Princesca, El Nido and maybe Coron) would be just enough and not too hectic.

    The problem is planning Palawan; where to go, transportation, accommodation and so on. So any suggestions/tips/ideas for the Palawan itinerary? Thank youu. 🙂

    • ktdieder@gmail.com says:

      Hey Susan, You’ll love the Philippines! Palawan was probably our favorite island we visited while we were there, so I think it’s a great choice. We have a whole itinerary for Palawan if you search our site.

      I agree that just a day in Manila would be sufficient, and honestly if you’re feeling really tight on time, you could always skip it. We actually never left the airport. It would be nice to explore if we have lots of time during our next trip to the Philippines, but there is so much more to the country than this big city, and what we really wanted to see were the smaller towns and beaches.

      Corn looks amazing, and originally we wanted to go there as well. But we have heard getting there can take a full day and we just didn’t have the time. The hardest part about traveling in the Philippines is transportation because it takes a long time to get from place to place. Just getting from Puerto Princesa to El Nido is a 6 hour journey which takes the better part of one day.

      To give you an idea about timing, we spent 4 whole days in El Nido and wish we had longer – there is lots to do in that area and so much beauty. We also heard good things about Port Barton, which is between Puerto Princesa and El Nido, and could make a nice stop between the two.

      I hope this helps! Best of luck 🙂

  5. Sara says:

    This information has been really helpful for me as I am currently planning our honeymoon to the Philippines and am feeling a little lost. We have about 15 nights are were wondering what you think about this rough itinerary as we don’t want to feel like we are moving around too much?
    1 night Manila to break up the flight
    Fly from Manila to Boracay – 3 nights
    Fly back from Boracay to Manila and then fly down to Palawan
    Stay 7 nights in Puerto Princessa then bus to El Nido
    Stay 5 nights in El Nido
    Not sure if we would have to catch the bus back to Puerto Princessa and then fly back to Manila from there or if there is a flight from El Nido to Manila?

    Any suggestions? Was thinking about cutting out the Boracay stop if this is too much in the time we have?

  6. kenna says:

    Hi Katie,
    Thank you for sharing us your travel adventures. My husband and I just get married and plans a vacation for our honeymoon. Your Philippine post is appealing to me. I guess we will go there. I’m browsing for the flights, but they’re quite expensive. Around 1500 bucks for a round trip. I saw your budget and you only spend around 600 bucks. How did you do it? What airline did you get on for your flight from US? i will really appreciate your response.
    Thank you,

    • ktdieder@gmail.com says:

      Hey Kenna, that’s a great question. The Philippines is such a good choice for your honeymoon! (If we were going to go on a second honeymoon, it would be there!)

      You’re right, though, flights there are not cheap. We traveled to the Philippines when we were living in Korea, so we weren’t flying from very far. You’ll notice there’s a note on our budget that says, "Note: international airfare to and from South Korea is not included."

      We did include $354 for the flights BETWEEN the islands (and you’ll definitely want to budget for those if you’ll be doing some hopping between islands. Those flights aren’t very expensive if you go through the budget airlines (like AirAsia, etc.), but they can add up if you’re planning to hop to a few islands.

      All that said, once you get there, the Philippines doesn’t have to be very expensive, so if budget is a concern, it does really even out (if you try to stick to a budget). Let us know if you have any other questions while planning. We think you’ll love the Philippines 🙂

  7. Andy says:

    Hi Katie,

    Really great post thank you very much! I’m going there with a friend in 2 weeks. We’re pretty much going to the same route as ye did. Really looking forward it! Can you recommend an app that would be helpful with the navigating side of things?


    • ktdieder@gmail.com says:

      Hey Andy, That’s super exciting that you’ll be in the Philippines so soon (a bit jealous haha!). The apps that we love when traveling (anywhere!) are:

      Navigation apps we use:
      -Google Maps: load the islands you’ll be going to by zooming in as far as you can through the places you’ll be going. Make sure your GPS is turned on, and even when you don’t have wifi, you’ll be able to see your current location and zoom in to view the streets
      -CityMaps2Go: Another great map app – download a country before you get there, and you’ll have a full map on your phone (never have to worry about being in wifi)

      Other great apps:
      -Trail Wallet: to stay on budget
      -Google Translate: works wonders in countries where English is not widely spoken (in the Philippines you may only need to use it a few times because many people speak English)
      -Convert: shows conversions between currency, temperature, distances, etc.
      -Viber/WhatsApp: to call/text other travels you meet or hotels, etc. when you don’t have phone service (just wifi)

      I hope this helps! Have an amazing time 🙂

  8. gustavowoltmann5@gmail.com says:

    Hi Katlie,

    Thank you for the great post. I like reading your blog and I plan to visit that place someday.

    • Gustavo Woltmann
  9. carolinesnoel@gmail.com says:

    Hi Katie,

    Thanks so much for your post – it’s really helpful and my friend and i are actually following a similar itinerary!

    One questions, did you take a backpack or a suitcase? Would you recommend one over the other?


    • ktdieder@gmail.com says:

      Hey Caroline, I’m so glad this post is helpful. You’ll love the Philippines! That’s a great question, and honestly I think the type of luggage you bring is very personal. That said, I almost always prefer a backpack. You’ll be packing mostly lightweight clothes (since it’s a tropical country), so you really won’t need much. I just brought a small backpack for our 17-day trip and I was fine. I loved not having to roll a suitcase behind me over sand or anything. I hope that answers your question. Have a fantastic trip!

  10. Immy says:

    Hi Katie,

    Loved reading your blog. Looking to go to the Philippines next year, end of August early September time. Would you recommend that time of year, what time of year were you there? Also having to think about the boring stuff – money. How much did you end up roughly spending for the 2 weeks? My boyfriend and I would like to do the travelling comfortably and not have to say no, to things like scuba diving or boat tours, but will need to be on a bit of a budget. Any advise would be great.



    • ktdieder@gmail.com says:

      Hi Immy, The rainy season for the Philippines typically spans from July to mid-September, so it might get a little wet during that time. Although, I have read that the rainy season doesn’t necessarily ruin your holiday, you just have to adjust the activities you do. We went in January and we had great weather.

      We actually have a whole post about how much we spent in the Philippines (Under $50 per day per person) and you can find that by searching our site.

  11. natkuz21@gmail.com says:

    Hi Katie,

    My boyfriend and I are going to the Philippines Dec 28 – Jan 11, going to Boracay (for New Years), Palawan and Cebu. As of now, all we have booked are our flights, and we are trying to figure out exactly where to go and what to do! I’m wondering if you would recommend booking hotels in advanced? I went to Thailand 2 years ago and found that the hotels I booked in advance were far more expensive (like American standard prices), and once I arrived I saw that there were tons of hotels (that maybe did not have online presence or capability to book in advance) that were much less expensive, and still quite nice! So my question for you is… I know it’s a popular time to travel there– Would you recommend booking all our hotels in advance?

    Also, with 5 days in the Palawan (flying into Puerto Princessa, but I’ve been eying El Nido), where would you go with that time?

    Thank you so much!

    • ktdieder@gmail.com says:

      Hi Natalia, There is plenty of accommodation in Boracay, and just like Thailand there are some cheaper places that do not advertise online. It might be good to book your first night online somewhere so you won’t have to lug your bags around. And then search around for cheaper places later. But that is a busy time of year in the Philippines, so showing up without hotel or hostels booked might be a little risky.
      With 5 days in Palawan, I would recommend doing exactly what we did in the itinerary above. Fly into Puerto Princesa and get the 6 hour van up to El Nido, 1 or 2 days island hopping, and 1 day at Twin Beach. Then head back to Puerto Princesa and maybe swing by the underground river if there is time.

  12. jlwilde90@gmail.com says:

    just booked my trip for January, doing 16 days! Can’t wait, me and my wife was supposed to be going to Bali for our honeymoon….but we got that drunk the night before we missed our flight!! ?? so we are using this as a belated honeymoon, really enjoy reading your blog, wish we could do what you guys did and just travel the world! Keep up the the good work ????

    • ktdieder@gmail.com says:

      Hi James, hahahaha that is a crazy story about your honeymoon! I bet in the moment you weren’t laughing, but it’ll be a story you’ll tell for years to come 🙂 I hope you have an amazing trip, the Philippines is a perfect honeymoon destination. Let us know how you like it! (Oh, and congrats and happy honeymoon <3)

    • ktdieder@gmail.com says:

      Hi G, We took the Ocean Jet ferry from Cebu to Tagbilaran. It was a good ferry, nothing too special, but I think the other companies are similar.

  13. Carol says:


    love this article!

    Me and my boyfriend are going for 2 weeks in November.
    we are flying to Cebu and are trying to work out a route.

    We have thought straight out of Cebu to Oslob for the whale sharking. A trip to Apo Island and possibly Dumaguete. Then from Cebu to Coron or else Busuanga (opinion)?

    Then 4days in El Nido. we only have a very rough idea currently so any advice on this idea would be great!


    • ktdieder@gmail.com says:

      Hi Carol! How exciting – you guys will love the Philippines!

      Of the places you’ve mentioned, we only went to El Nido. And I think 4 days is a good amount of time there.

      To be honest, I can’t recommend the Whale Shark encounters. I was very interested in swimming with the whale sharks as well, but after doing lots of research we found that this tourist activity is very bad for the sharks. We decided that we don’t want to contribute to companies that are harmful for the animals involved. I’m not telling you that you shouldn’t do it (everyone has their own opinion on these matters), but I would suggest doing a little research and seeing if it is still something you want to support. From another perspective, we’ve talked to a few people who’ve done it – some have had fun and liked the pictures, but others said it is a tourist trap and it is a pain to get there just to stand in line and be in the water for a short amount of time. Just another thing to think about.

      We haven’t been to Apo, but heard really good things about the diving there. We weren’t certified scuba divers at the time and from the little research we did, it seemed that most of the accommodation was in a package with diving. Since we are certified now, we can’t wait to get to Apo because we’ve heard it’s some of the best diving in the Philippines. If you’re a diver I would recommend getting there 😉

      We’ve heard good things about Coron and Busuanga, but just make sure you have the times for transportation figured into your itinerary. It takes a long time to travel between the islands in the Philippines — way more than you may expect. Traveling between Coron and El Nido may seem like an easy thing to do, but it will either take a flight to Puerto Princesa and then a 5-6 hr van ride, or an 8-hour+ boat ride. So that will pretty much take up an entire day. We chose to only visit El Nido because with 17 days in the Philippines we didn’t want to be too rushed. But again, it comes down to personal travel style and how much time you feel comfortable spending on transportation.

      I hope these thoughts help you as you start planning. Don’t hesitate to ask if you have any more questions!

      Best of luck!

  14. katrinakannunziello@gmail.com says:

    Thanks for sharing of you travels in the Philippines! 🙂 My husband and I are planning a 2 week trip in February. This is what I’m thinking so far: Cebu (2 days), Apo Island (2 days), Puerto Princesa (2 days), El Nido (5 days). A couple of questions…
    – any recommendations for Cebu? Good shopping? Good restaurants? Waterfalls?
    – is Apo Island worth it? I just really want to swim with sea turtles!!
    – should we explore elsewhere on Palawan?

    Thank you so much. Appreciate your advise!

    • ktdieder@gmail.com says:

      Hi Katrina! So jealous that you’re planning a trip to the Philippines soon! We can’t wait to get back there!

      I think your plan sounds pretty good. (I like that you have allotted 5 days to El Nido – it definitely deserves lots of time!) As far as other places in Palawan, we have heard good things about Port Barton, but we didn’t get there because we didn’t want to be rushed. I think your plan for Palawan is solid. (And be sure to take a day trip to Nacpan Beach from El Nido!)

      I haven’t been to Apo Island, but have only heard great things. The thing to consider is that it does take some time to get there, and I remember that when we were researching it, it seemed that most of the accommodation was combined with Scuba diving. We weren’t certified at the time, so we decided it wouldn’t be worth it for us. That said, we are now certified and can’t wait to get to Apo someday. I’ve heard it’s some of the best diving in the Philippines. So I guess it just depends on if you’re certified and how important swimming with turtles is to you.

      We didn’t really spend any time in Cebu (just took a taxi from the airport to the ferry on our way to Bohol), so I can’t give you much advice. I have heard mixed things about the waterfalls on Cebu – that they take a while to get to and are quite crowded with tourists, but they do look beautiful. And we didn’t do much shopping on our trip so I’m afraid I can’t answer that either, though I’ve heard Cebu is known for it. Our short time in Cebu City wasn’t that great – super crowded and kind of dirty (at least in the parts that we saw). I’m not sure what your plan is with 2 days, but that might be kind of short if you want to get out of the city.

      I hope this helps. Don’t hesitate to ask if you have any more questions!

  15. Simran kapoor says:

    I have only 9 days in PhilippinesCan you suggest what all I should do and what I can skip ?My main attractions are:BoracayCebu/BoholPalawan

    • ktdieder@gmail.com says:

      Hi Simran! To hit all three islands you want to see in 9 days, you will have to travel a bit fast. I would recommend to basically follow the itinerary above, but just shorten the amount of days in each area. Maybe spend 2 days in Boracay, 3 days in Bohol, and 4 days in Palawan, with most of your time spent in El Nido. Or you can take out one of the three, but I would definitely keep Palawan on your list. Hope this helps!

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