Visiting The Philippines is something we have always wanted to do. Our travel itinerary changed a bit over the last few months, but nothing was going to stop us finding paradise. We heard so many good things and over the past few years it’s getting more and more touristy. So this was the perfect time to go.
We sort of new what places we wanted to visit and things we wanted to see, but we didn’t have an exact route. Our first step was flying to Manila and then after that, we kind of made it up along the way. We travelled The Philippines in 4 weeks, unfortunately only how long our visa would let us. We wish we had longer but I think considering the time we had, we did a lot and really made the most of the beautiful country.
If you’re struggling to think of route or not sure what to do with the time you have. Check out where we went & the route we took. We wish we had longer and time definitely flew by, but we definitely did a lot there. We can give you an idea of where to go and roughly how long to spend there then you can alternate the route to what suits you.
We were told not to stay in Manila for longer than we had to, which they were right about. We arrived in Manila late at night, so we didn’t really want to rush off the following day.
Note; When arriving at the airport, take a white taxi not yellow. The yellow taxi’s are far more expensive!
We chose to stay 2 nights, mainly to get some sleep and recharge with our jet lag from our long flight. There isn’t a huge amount to do in Manila, so we chose to shop! There are some pretty big shopping malls with loads of shops & restaurants. So we spent most of our day mooching around. Although we also wanted to use this time to plan our Philippines route as much as we could.
Puerto Princesa is mainly known for the underwater cave. After doing some research it actually looks pretty incredible and we really would have loved to go. However, it needs to be booked a good few weeks in advance to be able to get a good time slot to go in. If you go late, you could be waiting for hours. We only had a month here, so instead of staying just a night and possibly not getting the best experience of the cave, we chose not to go. If you do plan going to Puerto Princesa and want to do the underwater cave, book it now so you’re ready to go and don’t feel disappointed.
Our plan was to go from Puerto Princesa straight up the El Nido, which would be a long 6-8 hour minivan journey. Once you do one journey in these vans, you’ll know why were so glad we didn’t do this. So instead we stopped off along the way.
When you arrive at Puerto Princesa airport, you can take a tricycle outside the airport to the bus terminal. This will cost you 150 peso’s. There prices are fixed so no point trying to haggle. At the bus terminal, head over to Lexus Bus Company. The buses leave at 10:30am & 1pm and cost 200 peso’s to get to Sabang.
Sabang is really small but really beautiful. As it is only 2 hours from Puerto Princesa, it was a really nice stop over. The beach there is nice, but the hidden beach is even better. If you are facing the beach, walk all the way down to the right hand side. Then climb over some rocks and you’ll find yourself and probably no-one else, on a beautiful white beach.
There are various types of accommodation in Sabang really ranging from budget to luxury so it completely depends on what you want. We had a mix up with the bus when leaving Sabang so we asked to leave our bags in The Sheridan Resort & got to use their pool for the afternoon, so bare that in mind 🙂 We stayed for just one night and left for Port Barton.
Sabang to Port Barton- 600 Peso’s
Port Barton, what a place! Everyone we speak to have said how much they love it, so if your visiting Palawan, make this is one of your stop over’s. This place is becoming more popular and touristy, but it still feels like a chilled, small little town. The food there is delicious with a wide range of cuisine’s and prices and you’ll find the best bar’s on the beach. You can watch the sun set with a cocktail in your hand, what more could you want. We stayed in Port Barton for 3 nights, we could definitely have stayed longer.
If you want to know more of what you can do in Port Barton & where to stay, click the link below.
Port Barton to El Nido- 600 Peso’s
El Nido is probably one of the most popular places in Palawan, but to be honest, i’m not too sure why. We would recommend not staying in El Nido town as it is quite pricey for food & accomodation and then just generally more busy & noisey. Stay just outside in Corong-Corong town. It is a 10 minute tricycle journey away and will cost you 50 peso’s per person. There are also some really nice bars to watch the sunset here and if you want a bit more social, head to Outpost Hostel for a bit of a party!
We did tour C in El Nido. We were told that tour A & C were the best one’s to do because they were all day. But to be honest, after experiencing a great tour in Port Barton, we were a little disappointed with this one. Probably because it was high season, but it was just really busy, boats queuing up to get onto islands, paradise being filled with crowds of people and secret lagoon definitely not a secret. If you want paradise and finding the best empty spots, I would probably wait and you wouldn’t regret it.
El Nido to Coron approx 1,800 Pesos
One of our favourites! We decided to not stay in Coron, again because it was quite touristy. When we arrived in Coron, we headed straight to the bus terminal to Q transport. The bus cost 150 Peso’s per person and leaves pretty much when the bus is full, so you’ll have to be patient. Busuanga is about 30 mins from Coron and here you will genuinely find absolutely paradise! We were only meant to stay a few days and ended up extending to over a week. It is absolutely beautiful and instead of doing the same tours from Coron, you can do different one’s or get there way before anyone else does. We decided to do our scuba diving course there and we were able to dive around WW2 shipwrecks which was incredible! There is so much to do in Busuanga and your still not far from Coron if you need to head back to town for anything.
Check out my blog below for more information about Busuanga…
We then flew from Coron over to Cebu with Philippine Airlines.
We only stayed in Cebu for one night as we were keen to explore more of the island down South. Although it was quite refreshing being back in the city, having some different wifi and a comfy hotel bed for the night. The next day we headed straight to Moalboal.
Head to the South bus terminal and find a yellow bus going to Moalboal. you’ll find so people asking where you’re going and they genuinely want to help so just tell them where you’re going and they will get you on the bus. We arrived when our bus was literally just leaving. The locals helped us on the bus while it was beginning to move, grabbed our bags for us and gave us seats. It was actually so nice to have helpful people rather than just ignoring us.
Cebu to Moalboal- 115 Peso’s each approx 3 hours.
For us Moalboal was all about the waterfalls. Not only is there the magnificent Kawasan Falls, there are also so many other’s people don’t even bother visiting. Kawasan Falls is incredible and genuinely as blue as the photos show. We would definitely reccomend canyoneering, it was probably one of the highlights of our time here. We had a group of 4 of us and it cost us 1,500 Peso’s. Try to go as early as you can as it becomes quite busy in the afternoon. Also, if you want some pictures just on your own at the falls, head over around 7am as it is completely empty!
So not only do you have Kawasan Falls, there is Binalyan Hidden waterfalls, Inambakan, Dau & Anguid. All so beautiful and for just 45-60 Peso’s entrance fee, it’s definitely worth going to them all. Rent a scooter for the day and get exploring! We were in Moalboal for 3 nights.
Moalboal to Siquijor- approx £5 all together.
Getting to Siquijor isn’t the simplest but it is cheap. Just give yourself a day to get there! Buses, tricyles & boats but you will get there eventually. Our boat was late but it took us around 6 hours.
Bato- Lilion Port
Lilion Port- Dumaguette
We loved Siquijor, we spent about 5 nights here! It was a great place to chill but another place to find some beautiful waterfalls. We visited Lugnason Falls & Cambugahay Falls. Both really beautiful but again, if you want the place to yourselves, you’re going to have to get their early. We also decided to visit Apo Island from Siquijor. It’s about a 1.30 boat journey and it costs us about 1,900 Peso’s each including snacks, water & lunch. Apo island is place helping to rehabilitate turtles so there are loads of them in shallow water for you to snorkel with. We were lucky enough to swim alongside them and capture such a great photo!
Siquijor to Bohol- 700 peso’s plus 17 terminal fee plus 45 baggage fee.
We stayed in Bohol for 2 nights. We had heard really nice things about Bohol, especially about the chocolate hills. I think staying in Panglao is a better location to stay in Bohol, but we didn’t really have a clue before we got there. If your visiting Bohol, do some research about where you want to go and what you want to do. We stayed in Tagbilaran town so we were about 2 hours from Chocolate hills which was a bit of a trek on a scooter. Anyway, chocolate hills for us was a little disappointing. Maybe we should have gone earlier but from all the hype we had heard about them, when we got there, it was just a viewing platform literally over looking hills. I mean it was a beautiful landscape but we had just driven 2 hours to get there so we cant really say we were thrilled about it. The journey and the landscapes on the way were beautiful and great photo opportunities.
Then back to Cebu to fly out the following day.
Visiting The Philippines
We absolutely loved The Philippines! Although considering how underdeveloped it is, it is still pretty touristy and pricey. It isn’t the easiest place to transport to different areas on the island so be patient and try to plan in advance when you can. Our advise is also to find hidden gems and go off the beaten track a bit. Don’t necessarily go places just because everyone else does. It’s highly likely it will be crowded and you won’t get the paradise you were looking for.
Our route was perfect for us. We experienced as much of The Philippines as we could in the time we had. If we had longer we would have loved to spend more time there, but unfortunately our visa only gives us 4 weeks. If you have any questions or want some more information about the places we went, leave a comment or feel free to email us.
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