Ultimate Philippines Itinerary for 10 Days, 2 Weeks or 3 Weeks

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The Philippines is a huge archipelago of over 7000 islands, so putting together the perfect Philippines itinerary means that you have a lot of different destinations to choose from.

Each island is different too, and while that means that there’s something for every type of traveler, it also means that it’s always a challenging crafting a Philippines itinerary. 

You need to factor in logistics, the time you have to explore, and whether you want to see beaches and palm trees, or smoking volcanoes and mountaintops.

We are here to help you sift through the overwhelm and share with you our thoughts and experience from several visits with a combined total of more than 3 months of traveling in the Philippines.

Without further ado, here’s our guide to planning the perfect Philippines itinerary, no matter the length of your trip. 

Don’t leave home without: Lonely Planet Philippines (Country Guide)


Ultimate Philippines Itinerary


Best Time to Visit the Philippines

Philippines Beach

The Philippines has a very tropical climate, and the year is predominantly split into a wet and a dry season. The climate varies of course, with mountainous regions enjoying a cooler climate, and the beaches having fiercely hot summers. 

The dry season is the best time to enjoy your Philippines itinerary. It falls between November and May, and you can expect clear skies, clear waters for snorkeling, and little chance of rain. 

The wet season sees huge storms hitting the Philippines, and these will often turn into large and potentially destructive typhoons. The wet season, between June and November, is not a good time to explore the Philippines. 

Read more Best Time to Visit the Philippines: Month by Month Breakdown

Getting Around in the Philippines

Lina Stock of Divergent Travelers in the Philippines

This is a huge country, and with over 7000 islands spread out across a vast stretch of ocean, you’ll need to factor in some logistics when you’re planning your Philippines itinerary. 

The islands are spread over, and if you’ve only got two weeks, then you’ll need to fly between the major destinations. You can use Cebu or Manila as hubs, as from these airports you can reach almost any other city and island with either Air Asia, Philippines Airlines or Cebu Pacific.

If you’ve got longer, then you can take ferries and travel overland. Every island is connected by ferries, although these will vary in speed and level of comfort.

On land, you can take buses or minibusses between cities, while within cities you’ll either want to hire a tricycle or if you’re feeling adventurous, jump on a Jeepney. In Manila and Cebu, you’re best using the ride-hailing app Grab to get around quickly and safely. 

Costs and Budgets

Luxury Resort in the Philippines

The Philippines can be an inexpensive country to travel around, especially if you stick to local transport and food, and stay in dorms or budget hotels.

You can get away with spending as little as USD 20 a day, plus the cost of activities such as island hopping or snorkeling. 

On the other end of the spectrum, in destinations such as Boracay and even Manila, you can spend much more, and splurge on luxurious hotels and gourmet restaurants. 

Read reviews and check prices with our Hotel Search Engine, which gives you the best hotel deals found on the web. Our search engine pulls results from all of the major booking places, including Expedia, Hotels, Booking and more. All the options, all the deals, all in one place and just for you.

Safety Tips in the Philippines

How Safe is the Philippines

The Philippines has a mixed reputation when it comes to safety because this is a country that often makes it into the news for its admittedly frequent natural disasters and internal conflicts. 

Yes, there are insurgencies in the south, and yes, there are active volcanoes and a fierce typhoon season. But plan well, and keep an eye on the weather and you’ll stay out of trouble. 

Filipinos are some of the friendliest and most hospitable people in the world, and you’ll soon find out why the country’s tourism slogan is ‘It’ s more fun in the Philippines’. 


Ideal 10 Day Philippines Itinerary


While these 10 days could be produced in more than a hundred varieties, I think it is important to note that we are building this route for first-time visitors to the Philippines.

This will include some of the most famous and popular places that you simply cannot miss when you come to the Philippines.

Of course, you’re free to substitute and head off to whatever places beckon to you, but no matter how you swing it, these places are a must.

10 Day Philippines Itinerary Overview:

10 day Philippines itinerary map
  • Day 1: Arrive in Manila – depending on time, do some afternoon sightseeing
  • Day 2: Fly to Coron in the morning – explore the area or book an afternoon tour
  • Day 3: Island Hopping tour around Coron Island
  • Day 4: Island Hopping tour around nearby islands
  • Day 5: Fly to Cebu in the morning
  • Day 6: Cebu – take a day trip to Kawasan Falls
  • Day 7: Fly to Caticlan and take the ferry to Boracay
  • Day 8: Boracay
  • Day 9: Fly to Manila in the morning – spend the day exploring the city and visiting its sites
  • Day 10: Depart the Philippines

With 7,000 islands, the options are literally endless. That said, we’ve been many times and this will give you a good taste of the best.

While at first glance the Philippines look easy and you may think that you can see a lot of areas in 10 days, this is not the case. Logistics are something most people overlook when planning a Philippines itinerary.

There are very few islands that are connected to each other by flights. This means that to change islands, in most cases, you will have to fly back to Manila and then onwards to the new place. This also has to be done as segments and you will not be able to book the flights on one reservation.

This requires a lot of planning and sadly, a lot of time spent in airports, especially if you have luggage. As you have to collect and recheck on each segment.

So the overview we provided above is one of the most seamless ways to see a few of the most famous areas in the Philippines without having to fly back to Manila. You’re welcome!


Manila: 1 to 2 Days


Intramuros historic area

Manila is the sprawling, chaotic and hectic capital of the Philippines, and while most travelers need to pass through here to get elsewhere, few actually hang around for too long. 

It’s not all traffic and smog though, and it’s well worth hanging around for at least a day or two to get under the skin of the Philippines’ largest city because this is where you’ll find history and heritage in abundance. 

Popular Things to See in Manila

INTRAMUROS

Intramuro Philippines

Visit the old Spanish colonial city, Intramuros, where you can see the stone bastions that defended Manila for centuries, and delve deep into the local heritage. 

Unravel the historical threads of Philippine culture as you stroll Manila’s 16th-century walled city, Intramuros, with a guide. Hear how Manila evolved through Malay, Spanish, American, and Japanese eras; learn about pre-colonization peoples and the national hero Dr. José Rizal.

MAKATI

Makati cityscape

The financial hub of Makati is Manila’s trendiest district. It’s a great place to stay, and a great place for fusion food and craft beers when the sun goes down. 

Discover historical information you may have missed, on a private half-day tour of Makati, a great introduction for first-time visitors. Check off highlights such as San Agustin Church and Museum, Rizal Park and Shrine, Fort Santiago and Intramuros, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

BINONDO

Binondo, Manila Philippines

No other district in Manila can beat Binondo when it comes to food. This is Manila’s Chinatown, and it’s an epic world of food, markets, and culture. 

Read more 15 Awesome Things to Do in Manila (Itinerary for First Time Visitors)


Coron: 3 to 4 Days


Drone Photo of Kayangan Lake, Coron Philippines

Travel to Coron to find one of the most spectacular places in the country. No Philippines itinerary is complete without at least 3 days in Coron, but to see everything, you’ll need to save as much as a week to explore. 

Coron is rapidly growing into a top destination, but it still remains beautifully rustic, and in many places, totally uncrowded too. There are towering limestone cliffs, clear freshwater lagoons, and remote, isolated islands

Popular Things to See in Coron

KAYANGAN LAKE

Drone Photo of Kayangan Lake, Coron Philippines

The most popular tourist attraction in Coron is Kayangan Lake. This beautiful, freshwater lake is steeped in local legend and is refreshingly clear and cool to swim in. 

Book this great full-day tour that takes in all the island’s highlights, including snorkeling at the Siete Pecados Marine Park and Coral Eden, a boat cruise around Kayangan Lake, and swimming at the Twin Lagoons, plus a delicious seafood lunch on Calachuchi Beach.

MOUNT TAPYAS

Sunset from Mount Tapyas in Coron, Philippines

For a view over the islands, then hike up the steps that lead from Coron Town to the summit of Mount Tapyas. It’s the best spot in Coron for sunset. 

PASS ISLAND

Pass Island Philippines

Head to Pass Island to find one of Coron’s most remote, yet spectacular destinations. Maroon yourself on Pass Island, where you can enjoy white sands and relaxed Island vibes. 

Read more Coron Palawan: Itinerary & Best Things to Do


Cebu: 2 to 3 Days


Cebu City Philippines

Cebu is home to the Philippines’ second city, Cebu City, but away from the metropolis, it’s a verdant, green paradise brimming with waterfalls and beaches. 

Popular Things to See in Cebu

MOAL BOAL

Moal Boal Sunset

If you’ve ever wanted to swim with shoals of hundreds of thousands of sardines, then take a trip to Moal Boal. Jump into the water off the beach and you’ll be immersed in the sardine runs. 

KAWASAN FALLS

Kawasan Falls Philippines

Head to Kawasan Falls, where you can find the most spectacular waterfall in the Philippines. You can swim in turquoise plunge pools, or jump from towering cliffs into the water far below. 

If you are looking for an adrenaline-filled tour, no trip to Cebu is complete without visiting the Kawasan Canyon. Explore the canyon in a safe and secure environment during a full-day excursion from Cebu in a small group.

Jump into pools from heights of up to 30 feet (9 meters) and swim through caves and rivers. Plus, you’ll hike through the forest and enjoy lunch at Kawasan Falls.


Boracay: 2 to 3 Days


Boracay Sunset

The most famous island in the Philippines is Boracay. This is the original tropical paradise, where you can find white sand beaches and fiery sunsets. 

But Boracay suffered from over-tourism and was forced to close for 6 months for a massive cleanup. It’s reopened though, and the future looks bright. 

Popular Things to See in Boracay

WHITE BEACH

Boracay White Beach Philippines

The most iconic place in Boracay is White Beach. This long stretch of sand is glorious, and one of the most famous beaches in the Philippines. 

D’MALL

D'Mall - Boracay Philippines

Head to D’Mall, just off the beach, where you can find Boracay’s best bars and restaurants. 

Island Hopping - Boracay Philippines

ISLAND HOPPING

Boracay has great beaches and is surrounded by great islands and snorkeling spots. The best way to explore is to join an island hopping tour. 

Read more 15 Essential Things to Do in Boracay


Ideal 2 Week Philippines Itinerary


Using the initial 10-day itinerary as our base from above, we are going to build on that for the 2 week Philippines itinerary.

Honestly, it won’t look a whole lot different, with the exception of adding additional destinations. As I’ve already mentioned, the biggest hurdle is logistics in the Philippines.

So you want to plan your itinerary in a way that minimizes your time on airplanes, in airports and instead maximizes your time out adventuring.

With that said, I want to show your two viable options to maximize your 2 week Philippines itinerary below. There is no right answer, it truly depends on your interests.

2 Week Philippines Itinerary Overview – OPTION A:

2 week Philippines itinerary map
  • Day 1: Arrive in Manila – depending on time, do some afternoon sightseeing
  • Day 2: Fly to Coron in the morning – explore the area or book an afternoon tour
  • Day 3: Island Hopping tour around Coron Island
  • Day 4: Island Hopping tour or start 5-day sea expedition to El Nido
  • Day 5: Fly to El Nido
  • Day 6: El Nido
  • Day 7: Travel overland to Puerto Princesa
  • Day 8: Puerto Princesa
  • Day 9: Fly to Cebu in the morning
  • Day 10: Cebu – take a day trip to Kawasan Falls
  • Day 11: Fly to Caticlan and take the ferry to Boracay
  • Day 12: Boracay
  • Day 13: Fly to Manila in the morning – spend the day exploring the city and visiting its sites
  • Day 14: Depart the Philippines

2 Week Philippines Itinerary Overview – OPTION B:

2 week Philippines itinerary map
  • Day 1: Arrive in Manila – depending on time, do some afternoon sightseeing
  • Day 2: Fly to Coron in the morning – explore the area or book an afternoon tour
  • Day 3: Island Hopping tour around Coron Island
  • Day 4: Island Hopping tour
  • Day 5: Fly to Bohol in the morning
  • Day 6: Bohol/ Panglao
  • Day 7: Bohol/ Panglao
  • Day 8: Ferry to Cebu
  • Day 9: Cebu – take a day trip to Kawasan Falls
  • Day 10: Cebu – island tour
  • Day 11: Fly to Caticlan and take the ferry to Boracay
  • Day 12: Boracay
  • Day 13: Fly to Manila in the morning – spend the day exploring the city and visiting its sites
  • Day 14: Depart the Philippines

As your Philippines itinerary gets longer, you’ll be required to navigate trickier logistics. With 2 weeks, though, you can still be pretty fluid and avoid going back to Manila between islands on both of the above itineraries.

Taking island hopping day tours and utilizing local ferries in each of these destinations will allow you to explore more of the area, as well.


Palawan 4 to 5 Days


LIna and David Stock America's Adventure Couple in Palawan Philippines

To the south of Coron, you can find Palawan, an island that’s often been called the Last Frontier of the Philippines. While many places here are far from untouched now, few places can match Palawan for raw beauty. 

Visit El Nido for parties and island hopping, head to Puerto Princesa for beaches and underground rivers, or travel far south to get really off the beaten track. 

Popular Things to See in Palawan

EL NIDO

David Stock Jr of Divergent Travelers Adventure Travel Blog Kayaking in Palawan Philippines

Located on the northern tip of Palawan, El Nido is a must-visit for any Philippines itinerary.

A sleepy little fishing village has grown into the number one backpacking spot in the Philippines, and once you start island hopping, you’ll soon understand why. 

Enjoy the beautiful coastline scenery on this full-day sightseeing cruise from El Nido. Relax onboard the boat while traveling around the islands and beaches of Bacuit Bay.

This includes 7 Commando Beach, Shimizu Island, and Secret Lagoon. Stop for swimming and snorkeling using the provided equipment, and refuel midday with a buffet lunch.

Read more Essential El Nido Palawan Guide

PUERTO PRINCESA UNDERGROUND RIVER

Palawan's Underground River

Close to Palawan’s largest city, you can find an unusual UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Underground River is a remarkable network of waterways that have carved a route through limestone rocks. 

Visit the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, and paddle down the Puerto Princesa Underground River on this 8-hour tour.

Board a boat at the mouth of the cave at Sabang Wharf, and stop at the Buenavista viewpoint for views of the Ulugan Bay.

BALALBAC

Lina Stock of Divergent Travelers on Balabac Beach in the Philippines

Located far south, Balabac is about as off the beaten track as you can go in Palawan. Think raw Island scenery and untouched beaches. 

Read more 15 Stunning Things to Do in Palawan, Philippines


Bohol: 2 to 3 Days


David Stock Jr from Divergent Travelers exploring the Chocolate Hills in the Philippines

Bohol is the perfect place to visit if you’re putting together your first Philippines itinerary. 

You can visit the famed Chocolate Hills, hang out on Alona Beach, and island-hop to beautiful natural spots. 

Popular Things to See in Bohol

CHOCOLATE HILLS

Chocolate Hills in the Philippines

One of the most famous places in the Philippines, no one should miss out on these legendary chocolate-colored hilltops. 

Enjoy a full-day tour of Bohol Island while traveling with an informative guide around the stunning island. Relax during a lunch cruise on the Loboc River.

Here you’ll have the opportunity to spot indigenous Philippine tarsiers, some of the smallest primates in the world, and then take in the Chocolate Hills from several vantage points.

ALONA BEACH

Lina Stock of Divergent Travelers Adventure Travel Blog on Alona Beach in the Philippines

Found on Panglao Island, Alona Beach is the best place to stay in Bohol. White sands, fiery sunsets, and great snorkeling and diving opportunities. 

Read more 24 Bohol Tourist Spots & Things to Do That You Cannot Miss


Ideal 3 Week Philippines Itinerary


Continuing to build off the above itineraries, we have an additional week to play with when we consider a 3 week Philippines itinerary. In my opinion, you still want to avoid routing back through Manila, if at all possible.

However, with a 3-week itinerary, you’re going to find yourself flying back through either Manila or Cebu to access some other places.

Unless, of course, you choose to use your additional week to extend your stays in Coron, El Nido/Palawan, Cebu, Boracay or Bohol. All of which are perfectly acceptable options.

If you want to know the truth, we’d happily spend 3 solid weeks just in Palawan! So each to their own, but there is still plenty to check out in the Philippines, so don’t be shy about island hopping either.

3 Week Philippines Itinerary Overview – OPTION A:

3 week Philippines itinerary map
  • Day 1: Arrive in Manila – depending on time, do some afternoon sightseeing
  • Day 2: Take Bus & Ferry to Puerto Galera
  • Day 3: Puerto Galera
  • Day 4: Puerto Galera – afternoon ferry/bus to Manila
  • Day 5: Fly to Coron in the morning – explore the area or book an afternoon tour
  • Day 6: Island Hopping tour around Coron Island
  • Day 7: Island Hopping tour or start 5-day sea expedition to El Nido
  • Day 8: Fly to El Nido
  • Day 9: El Nido
  • Day 10: Travel overland to Puerto Princesa
  • Day 11: Puerto Princesa
  • Day 12: Fly to Cebu in the morning
  • Day 13: Cebu – take a day trip to Kawasan Falls
  • Day 14: Fly to Siargao
  • Day 15: Siargao
  • Day 16: Siargao
  • Day 17: Fly to Cebu and overnight
  • Day 18: Fly to Caticlan and take the ferry to Boracay
  • Day 19: Boracay
  • Day 20: Fly to Manila in the morning – spend the day exploring the city and visiting its sites
  • Day 21: Depart the Philippines

3 Week Philippines Itinerary Overview – OPTION B:

3 week Philippines itinerary map
  • Day 1: Arrive in Manila – depending on time, do some afternoon sightseeing
  • Day 2: Fly to Coron in the morning – explore the area or book an afternoon tour
  • Day 3: Island Hopping tour around Coron Island
  • Day 4: Island Hopping tour
  • Day 5: Fly to Bohol in the morning
  • Day 6: Bohol/ Panglao
  • Day 7: Bohol/ Panglao
  • Day 8: Ferry to Cebu
  • Day 9: Cebu – take a day trip to Kawasan Falls
  • Day 10: Cebu – island tour
  • Day 11: Fly to Siargao
  • Day 12: Siargao
  • Day 13: Siargao
  • Day 14: Fly to Cebu and overnight
  • Day 15: Fly to Caticlan and take the ferry to Boracay
  • Day 16: Boracay
  • Day 17: Boracay
  • Day 18: Ferry to Caticlan and fly to Manila
  • Day 19: Manila – spend the day exploring the city and visiting its sites
  • Day 20: Manila – day trip to Taal Volcano
  • Day 21: Depart the Philippines

A 3-week Philippines itinerary, no doubt, will give you a solid amount of time to see some of the best areas of the Philippines. You’ll get into multiple provinces and regions while having a nice balance of beaches, islands and adventure.

It is possible to venture further afield, and of course, there are still plenty of places in the Philipines that are worth a visit, even though they are not mentioned above.


Puerto Galera: 2 to 3 Days


Puerto Galera Beach

Located just a short journey to the south of Manila, you can quickly escape the urban jungle with a trip to Puerto Galera.

Take a ferry from Batangas to the island of Mindoro, where you’ll find beautiful beaches, jungle-clad waterfalls, and excellent snorkeling and diving. 

Popular Things to See in Puerto Galera

WHITE BEACH

Puerto Galera Beach

The best beach in Puerto Galera is White Beach, known for its perfect white sands. 

WATERFALLS

Puerto Galera Waterfall

Head inland to explore the crashing, towering waterfalls of Puerto Galera. 

SNORKELING & DIVING

Lina and David Stock America's Adventure Couple Scuba Diving in Puerto Galera Philippines

Puerto Galera is surrounded by world-class reefs, and an unbelievable level of biodiversity is awaiting you beneath the waves. 

It is also a fantastic place to get your PADI scuba certification. So if you want to do some diving in the Philippines, or need a refresher course, Puerto Galera is a fantastic place to do this.

Read more Ultimate Puerto Galera Philippines Guide: Diving & Beaches


Siargao: 3 to 4 Days


Luxury Resort in Siargao Philippines

Siargao is the most up and coming island in the Philippines. Made famous by Instagrammers showing off the rustic jungles and glorious beaches, this is a place where tourism is only going to increase. 

It’s also well known for its surfing opportunities and laid back island vibe. This has made it a popular backpacker hangout, but even is that isn’t your style, you should still add it to your list.

Popular Things to See in Siargao 

SURFING

Surfing in Siargao Philippines

Siargao is the Philippines’ best-known surf spot, and there are plenty of great breaks to test your skills on. 

ISLAND HOPPING

Remote Island in Siargao Philippines

There’s not just one island here though, there are hundreds, and the best way to explore is on an island-hopping trip. 

Visit General Luna, Naked Island, Daku Island, and Guyam Island on a full-day tour of the Siargao Island area from Manila. Learn about the culture, history, and ecosystem of each distinct island through guided commentary as you travel.


Have More Time?

Check out Backpacking in the Philippines: 4 Week Recap & Travel Tips


Philippines Scuba Diving Itinerary


The Philippines is a scuba diving mecca, so I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention this aspect for building a Philippines itinerary. If it is the world-class scuba diving that you seek, then your itinerary is going to look a lot different.

This has a lot to do with the stipulations about flying after diving. So you have to be very thoughtful about how you layout your itinerary.

The best diving in the Philippines is found around Palawan and Cebu. This means you will want to plan your itinerary to maximize time under the water in these regions and utilize the ferry services that run to the various dive areas from the hubs of Coron and Cebu.

Overview of the Best Scuba Diving Locations:

best scuba diving in the Philippines map
  • Puerto Galera
  • Coron
  • Malapascua
  • Dumaguete
  • Panglao

Beginners or people that wish to get their PADI Open Water certification should look to places like Puerto Galera and Coron. Both places are also great options for getting your PADI Advanced Open Water certification.

Experienced divers will want to head to Coron to dive on WWII shipwrecks before heading to Cebu, where they can access world-famous dive sites in Malapascua, Dumaguete and Panglao, to name a few.

As you can see, the places mentioned vary a bit from those listed in the more standard itineraries above. Of course, if you’re scuba diving for fun, you’ll be able to find great diving almost anywhere in the country.


Putting it All Together


As I’ve said multiple times, there are hundreds of possible outcomes for building a Philippines itinerary that works for you. There is no right or wrong way to do it.

Where you go and what you do will have a lot to do with how much time you have and your budget. It is possible to experience the Philippines as a backpacker on a budget, in a high-end luxury way and everything in between.

Feel free to share your Philippines itinerary ideas and questions below!

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About Lina Stock

Lina is an award-winning photographer and writer that has been exploring the world since 2001. She has traveled to 100 countries on all 7 continents. Member: SATW, NATJA, ATTA, ITWA



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