Philippines in 3-4 weeks: travel route + tips

by suitcasestoriesbe
Philippines in 3-4 weeks travel itinerary tips

Tropical beaches, crystal clear waters, hidden lagoons, amazing waterfalls, and beautiful local smiles. The Philippines is a piece of paradise on earth, at least we think so! With more than 7000 islands, it can be hard to decide what to do or where to go in the Philippines. In this complete guide, we share the ultimate travel route for the Philippines in 3-4 weeks including the best things to do, our favorite places to stayrecommendations on where to eat, and tips on how to get around. To help you visualize our route we’ve put it together on a map as well. P.s. feel free to use our guide to make your own travel route in the Philippines!

Read also: Best hotels & hostels in the Philippines

Tip: if you are traveling solo or would like to join an organized trip, definitely check the tours of Tourradar here. They have amazing island-hopping trips in the Philippines!

The Philippines in 3-4 weeks: an overview of our travel route

START Manila | END Cebu

DURATION 28 days

METHOD OF TRANSPORT Plane, bus + boat

BEST TIME OF YEAR December-May

WHEN DID WE GO June & November-December 2019

HIGHLIGHTS Coron, El Nido, Port Barton, Puerto Princesa, Siargao, Cebu, Bohol, Siquijor, Dumaguete

Philippines in 3-4 weeks travel route + tips

Manila

It’s likely that you’ll begin your journey in the big, busy capital of Manila. And also for this travel route, it’s our first stop in the Philippines. Flights are not only cheap to Manila, but you also have a lot of choice of connecting flights to different islands. We stayed in Makati, which is also our favorite area to stay. There’s a great atmosphere, lots of trendy restaurants and you’re close to many shopping malls. Perfect to recover from your (maybe long) international flight.

Recommended stay

  • 1-2 day (depending on your arrival or departure)

Where to stay in Manila

Things to do in Manila

Where to eat in Manila

  • Hummus Elijah (located in trendy Makati, wonderful vegan/vegetarian menu, most helpful service, our favorite picks: falafel, vegan shakshuka, pita bread, and hummus)

How to get in Manila

  • By plane, Manila Airport (Ninoy Aquino International Airport) is the main gateway for everyone traveling to the Philippines. There are daily flights to every continent which makes it very easy to travel to.

Book your flights to Manila here

  • From Manila Airport to city center or your hotel, best by Grab taxi which is the most convenient and safest way, prices are around PHP 300-400 per car/one-way ($5-7)

Coron

We started our trip in Coron, where you find the most photographed islands and beaches of the Philippines. Coron is a super laidback town located at the northern tip of Palawan. Besides the many amazing island-hopping tours, it’s very famous among divers. In the ocean around Coron lies some of the most impressive wrecks of WWII. And for a once in a lifetime experience, you should definitely consider joining a multi-day expedition boat tour to experience the real island life of the Philippines.

Recommended stay

  • 3 – 5 days

Where to stay in Coron

Things to do in Coron

Where to eat in Coron

All the mentioned places are vegetarian/vegan-friendly.

  • Altrove Pizzeria (delicious oven-baked pizzas, romantic cozy setting, wonderful service, go before 7 pm to avoid long waiting lines, our fav picks: Meditteranean pizza with extra veggies PHP 480)
  • Full Lotus (a cozy place with a cute interior and great WiFi, our fav picks: the Bangkok bowl, veggies with hummus, veggie sandwich, and the yummy mango cheesecake)
  • Falafel (best falafel place in Coron, try the falafel wrap or the falafel pita bread, so good!)
  • Ala-e Hippie House (cozy setting with lots of good vegan options like the coconut tofu or vegetable noodles)
  • Summer Café (great breakfast or brunch spot, yummy plant-based food, juices, smoothie bowls, and salads)

How to get in Coron

  • From Manila Domestic Airport, by plane, multiple flights a day, the journey takes around 40 minutes, between $25-$100/one-way

Check prices and schedules for flights to Coron here

El Nido

El Nido is by far our most favorite place in Palawan. It’s getting more crowded and developed every year but it still retains its authentic and relaxed atmosphere. From beautiful beaches where you can relax, cozy beach bars, to beautiful nature and amazing island-hopping tours. We personally could stay here for a week without getting bored! Besides, all types of plastic are banned on boats and island tours which made El Nido plastic-free since 2017. A big plus for us!

Recommended stay

  • 3-5 days

Where to stay in El Nido

Things to do in El Nido

Where to eat in El Nido

All the mentioned places are vegetarian/vegan-friendly.

  • Taste (delicious smoothie bowls, all plant-based food, great spot to work on your laptop)
  • The Cavern (all plant-based food, sister-restaurant of Taste in El Nido Town, lovely interior, our fav picks: eggplant lasagna or vegan pizza)
  • Glow (one in El Nido Town and one in the new POPS district at Corong-Corong Beach, wonderful vegetarian/vegan spot, smoothie bowls, cold-pressed juices, cruelty-free burgers)
  • Beach Shack (favorite spot to hang out during the day, lots of good food, vegetarian/vegan-friendly)
  • Altrove Pizzeria (same as in Coron, delicious oven-baked pizzas, cozy setting)
  • Maremegmeg Beach Bar Restaurant (more fancy spot, romantic atmosphere, lots of delicious vegetarian/vegan food)

How to get in El Nido

  • From Coron, by plane, multiple flights a day, the journey takes around 40 minutes, between $100-$200/one-way

Check here for flights to El Nido

  • Another option is by ferry, the journey takes around 3h 30 minutes, prices around $35/one-way

Check the schedules and different options here

Port Barton

Port Barton is a lovely sleepy fishing village in the Philippines that many people skip, but which you absolutely need to add on your travel itinerary. This small village is quieter, smaller, and more laid-back than El Nido and has beautiful beaches to relax on. It’s located in the northwestern part of Palawan only 3 hours from El Nido, which makes it a perfect stop before heading to Puerto Princesa. Join one of the more remoted island-hopping tours, enjoy cocktails on the beach, and admire stunning sunset views every evening.

Recommended stay

  • 2-3 days

Where to stay in Port Barton

Things to do in Port Barton

  • Spend your days island-hopping and visit the more unspoiled islands and snorkeling spots (we highly recommend the Port Barton DIY Island-hopping tour where you can mix and match you favorite places)
  • Ask a local to bring you to White Beach, which is only a short boat ride away from Port Barton
  • Enjoy cocktails on the beach ( our favorite beach bar was Reggae Bar)
  • Rent a scooter to explore the nearby waterfalls (PHP 500/day)

Where to eat in Port Barton

All the mentioned places are vegetarian/vegan-friendly.

  • Gorgonzola Pizza (amazing vegan Italian food, lovely concept to create your own pizza, the best and biggest pizza’s we ever ate, our fav pick: pizza with vegan cheese and vegetables + coconut tiramisu)
  • Lunazul (a lovely place to have breakfast or lunch, great WiFi and amazing local food, Spanish atmosphere and lovely tapas, our fav picks: patatas bravas, veggie sandwich, Lunazul salad + fruit salad with granola)
  • Mabuti (cozy restaurant with great vegan options like the tasty vegan burger, also great WiFi here)

How to get in Port Barton

  • From El Nido, by minivan/bus, 3-hour drive, prices around $10 per person

Puerto Princesa

Puerto Princesa is the perfect stop before you start or continue your trip to other islands in the Philippines. The International Airport easily connects Palawan with the Visayas islands such as Cebu, Borocay or Siargao. We stayed 1 night in Puerto Princesa, to catch our domestic flight to Siargao the next day. So depending on the time of your flight you can either stay here or not. If you stay here a bit longer, be sure to visit the Underground River, which is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. (we didn’t have the time but did hear many good comments about this place)

Recommended stay

  • 1 day

Where to stay in Puerto Princesa

Things to do in Puerto Princesa

Where to eat in Puerto Princesa

How to get in Puerto Princesa

  • From Port Barton, by minivan/bus, 4-hour drive, prices around $7

Siargao

Together with the island of Palawan, Siargao is one of our most favorite islands in the Philippines! Why? The atmosphere, the amazing beaches, the healthy food spots, the friendly people and the beautiful unspoiled nature. We stayed in General Luna where you find all the best restaurants and cute shops. From here you can rent a scooter and fill your days with surfing at Cloud 9, swimming in lagoons or joining one of the great island-hopping tours. We bet you’ll love this place too!

Recommended stay

  • 3 – 5 days

Where to stay in Siargao

Things to do in Siargao

  • Visit the Magpupungko Rock Pools (be sure to go when it’s low tide, PHP 50 pp entrance fee + PHP 20 parking, also check the other side of the rock where you find a small private beach)
  • Relax at Pacifico Beach, a beautiful stretch of beach located in the north (not for beginner surfers)
  • Hang with the locals at Alegria Beach
  • Try out the secret palm tree swing at the Maasin River (PHP 20 per person entrance fee, PHP 50 pp to take pictures on the bamboo raft or PHP 500 for the kayak)
  • Surf at the world-famous Cloud 9 or watch pros practicing their skills (Jacking Horse and Quicksilver on the left of the deck are best for beginner surfers, Cloud 9 at the right is exclusively for advanced surfers)
  • Take a day trip to Sugba Lagoon, a quiet and stunning blue lagoon surrounded by wonderful scenery (PHP 300 pp to use paddle boards or kayaks)
  • Grab a healthy smoothie bowl at Shaka
  • Rent a scooter, drive around the whole island and be sure to stop at the Coconut Tree Farm viewpoint (PHP 300-450 per day)
  • Discover Sohoton Cove in Bucas Grande National Park, our most favorite day trip from Siargao. This Sohoton Cove Tour includes also a visit to the tree closest islands to Siargao (Daku, Guyam and Naked Island)
  • Go on an island-hopping trip and visit the beautiful Daku, Guyam and Naked Island
  • A day trip which we highly recommend and where you visit 10 highlights on Siargao Island, is this Siargao Land Tour (beaches, palm-tree swings, lagoons, rock-pools and lots of viewpoints all in one day)

Where to eat in Siargao

How to get in Siargao

  • From Puerto Princesa (Palawan), by plane, one stopover in Cebu/no direct flight possible, the journey takes around 4h 20 min, between $120-200 per person (check carefully if you have enough transit time between the two flights)

Check flight schedules & prices here

  • Another option (and also how we did it) is to fly to Cebu first (1h 15 min, around $40 per person) and then take the ferry to Surigao (8 hours, leaves twice a day, around $23 per person for an economy bed) and change ferry to Siargao (3 hours, three times a day, around $10 per person in tourist class)
  • From Siargao airport, you can take a van to General Luna (PHP 600) or a tricycle (PHP 400). From Dapa where the ferries arrive, it’s around PHP 250/tricycle

Cebu

This is one of the islands you definitely need to add on your travel route of the Philippines because it’s a very large island with countless beautiful waterfalls and lots of amazing things to do. We personally like to stay around Moalboal, which is a paradise for divers. Here you can go diving with whale sharks or witness every day millions of sardines. In Moalboal you’ll find lots of great restaurants and you’re super close to the most beautiful waterfalls in Cebu.

Recommended stay

  • 3-4 days

Where to stay in Cebu

Things to do in Cebu

Where to eat in Cebu

How to get in Cebu City/Moalboal

  • From Siargao, by plane, direct flight, the journey takes only 1 hour, prices are around $80 per person

Check flight schedules and prices here

  • Then from the airport to Cebu City, by white taxi (around PHP 250/one-way)
  • Or from the airport to Moalboal, by bus (PHP 160 per person, 3-4 hours, leaving at South Bus Terminal)
  • A cheaper option instead of flying from Siargao (and also how we did it last time) is to take the ferry to Surigao (3 hours, 5 times a day, around $10 per person in tourist class) and then change ferry to Cebu (8 hours, night ferry at 8 pm, around $23 per person for an economy bed)

Bohol

Another lovely island on this travel route is Bohol. Bohol is where you can meet the smallest primates in the world and visit the famous Chocolate Hills. It’s only an hour boat ride away from Cebu, which makes it easy to travel to. We personally prefer to stay on Panglao Island, which is connected to Bohol’s main island. Here you find a beautiful beach, called Alona Beach and many great restaurants. And if you’re into diving like us, this is also the place to be!

Recommended stay

  • 3-5 days

Where to stay in Bohol

Things to do in Bohol

Where to eat in Bohol

All the mentioned places are vegetarian/vegan-friendly and are located on Panglao Island, which is the most popular place in Bohol.

  • Aluna Beach Lounge (relaxed place to have a cocktail right at Alona beach)
  • Genesis Divers (cheap and local place located right in front of Alona beach, try their delicious vegetable curry)
  • Shaka (our favorite breakfast & lunch spot, definitely try their orange clock burger and their power bowls or salads)

How to get in Bohol (Panglao Island)

  • From Cebu City, by ferry (take the boat to Tagbilaran Pier), takes around 1,5 hour, prices between $8-24/one-way,

check the schedules and different options here

  • Then from Tagbilaran  Pier, you take the bus to Alona Beach, 30-minute drive, PHP 40 per person

Siquijor

If you like Tarzan swings, cliff jumping and beautiful beaches, you definitely need to add Siquijor onto your travel route. This small, laid-back island has stunning white-powdery beaches, great restaurants, and beautiful waterfalls. Above all, you’ll admire an epic sunset literally every day. We loved renting a scooter, driving around all day and enjoying all the stunning places.

Recommended stay 

  • 3-4 days

Where to stay in Siquijor

Things to do in Siquijor

Where to eat in Siquijor

All the mentioned places are vegetarian/vegan-friendly.

  • Baha Bar (amazing place with a lovely atmosphere, great for dinner, wide menu with lots of healthy food, western & European style, shared platters and great dessert)
  • Monkey Business (a lovely place to hang out for breakfast or dinner, great vibes and lots of good healthy food, try the vegetable noodles or the mango coconut pancakes)
  • Luca Loko Restaurant (cozy and cute little restaurant with lots of delicious veggie options, try the couscous salad and the loko potatoes)
  • Dolce Amor Restaurant (new modern Italian restaurant with a beautiful interior, great menu with delicious pizzas and pasta, possible to create a personalized veggie pizza)
  • Sunset Restaurant (part of Coconut Grove Resort but open to everyone, more expensive menu but worth the views, most beautiful place to enjoy the sunset while having a romantic dinner on the beach, every Thursday BBQ with acoustic band & fire dancers)

How to get in Siquijor

  • From Bohol, by ferry, the journey takes around 1h 20 minutes, prices around $18/one-way per person
  • From Larena Pier in Siquijor, you take a jeepney or minivan for around PHP400/one-way (which can be shared)

Dumaguete

Finally, our last stop is the surprisingly beautiful Dumaguete. Dumaguete is located on the island of Negros where you can discover many amazing hidden gems. Since it’s a less popular island, you usually have all the best spots for yourself. Rent a scooter and drive through the beautiful sceneries to visit the stunning Casaroro waterfalls and the Twin Crater Lakes. Above all, a diving trip to Apo Island is much cheaper from Dumaguete than from Siquijor.

Recommended stay

  • 2-3 days

Where to stay in Dumaguete

Things to do in Dumaguete

  • Rent a scooter to explore all the unspoiled highlights on Dumaguete (PHP 300-500/day) And don’t forget to enjoy all the amazing viewpoints along the way!
  • Visit the stunning Casaroro Falls (PHP 30 per person + small donation for parking)
  • Take an outdoor bath and enjoy the fun waterslides at the tropical Forest Camp (PHP 80 per person)
  • Visit the beautiful Twin Lakes of Balinsasayao & Danao (PHP 100 entrance fee + PHP 12/scooter, PHP 250 per person to rent a kayak or hop on a boat to cross the lake where you can climb up to the view tower)
  • Join a snorkel trip to Apo Island from Dumaguete

Where to eat in Dumaguete

  • Ciao Bella Cafe (a lovely traditional Italian restaurant with great pizzas)
  • Alima Cafe (our favorite place in Dumaguete for breakfast, lunch, and dinner! lots of vegetarian/vegan options, try the quinoa burger and chickpea salad)

How to get in Dumaguete

  • From Siquijor, by ferry, the journey takes around 50 minutes, prices around $9/one-way per person
  • When you arrive at the pier of Dumaguete, you can either walk or take a tuk-tuk. (around PHP70/one-way to Flying Fish Hostel)
  • After your last days, you can easily fly to Cebu or Manila to return home or continue jour journey elsewhere. We booked flights to Manila and paid $78/one-way per person.

 Book your flights here

P.S. Are you leaving soon? Be sure to check out the following helpful websites for planning your trip.

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2 comments

Kim & Rapha March 3, 2020 - 12:45 pm

We will definitely use this guide when we visit the Philippines! Good job guys 🙂
Love,
Kim & Rapha

Reply
suitcasestoriesbe March 3, 2020 - 12:48 pm

Hi guys, thank you so much for checking out our blog and this Philippines travel guide. Means a lot to us ♥️

If there’s anything missing or you have more questions as soon as you go, we’re here to guide you 😘

Cheers,
Valerie & Mik

Reply

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