Are you planning a vacation in the Philippines and don’t know where to start? Here’s a suggested 2 weeks itinerary in the Philippines which covers some of the best spots in the country (Palawan, Cebu, and Bohol).
Useful facts about the Philippines
Here are some useful facts about the Philippines:
- Visa. Over 150 countries can enter the Philippines without a visa. You can check your visa eligibility here.
- Currency. Philippine Peso is the only currency used.
- Language. Filipino is the national language, but English is also widely spoken.
- Weather. The Philippines is a tropical country with 2 seasons: dry season (November to May) and rainy season (June to October). The dry season is the best time to visit this country. In particular, December to February are cool months with few rainfall so these are the best months to book your ticket.
- Modes of transportation. Public transport is highly available and includes motorbikes, tricycles, jeepneys, buses, and taxis. Grab is also used.
For more information, read our other guides:
Things to keep in mind
When planning your itinerary, here are some things to take in mind.
- The Philippines is an archipelago made up of over 7000 islands. This means you will need to take flights or ferries to travel between provinces. In some cases, you’ll need to allocate a day for commuting alone.
- Be flexible in your itinerary. Flights may get postponed; in fact, local flights are often delayed especially from afternoon to early night. You will need to have some buffer time. Ferries also may get delayed or cancelled depending on the weather.
- It’s best to book your flights in advance to get them cheaper. Budget airlines include Cebu Pacific and Air Asia.
- 2 weeks isn’t a lot of time but it’s still doable. You can still have a great time if you plan your schedule well. I highly recommend staying only in 2-3 places to make the most of your experience.
This 2 weeks itinerary in the Philippines covers Palawan, Cebu, and Bohol.
The first leg is Palawan. Palawan is the best destination in the country and it’s pretty established so it makes for an easy & great start. There are 3 main destinations in Palawan: Puerto Princesa City, El Nido, and Coron.
El Nido and Coron are fantastic places for island hopping. However, on a limited schedule it’s best to pick only one. I’ve chosen El Nido because of its exotic spots, especially the Small Lagoon and Big Lagoon.
The second leg is Cebu. Cebu has numerous beaches, as well as snorkel & dive spots. It’ll take over a week to explore Cebu, so for this itinerary I’ve chosen the southern area. This includes the towns of Moalboal, Badian, and Oslob & Samboan. Alternatively, you can also visit the northern area where you can find Bantayan Island and Malapascua Island.
The last leg is Bohol. Bohol has a little bit of everything — from interesting landscapes to historic sites, diverse wildlife, and numerous islands for snorkeling and diving. Here you can find the famous Chocolate Hills and Tarsier Sanctuary.
For reference, here is a short summary of this itinerary:
|Day 1||Fly into Puerto Princesa Airport|
|Day 2||Puerto Princesa Underground River|
|Day 3||Travel to El Nido|
|Days 4-6||Island hopping in El Nido|
|Day 7||Nacpan Beach|
|Day 8||Travel back to Puerto Princesa City|
Take a local flight to Cebu City
|Day 9||Oslob and Samboan|
|Day 11||Kawasan Falls|
Head back to Cebu City
|Day 12||Take ferry to Bohol|
Sightseeing tour in Bohol
|Day 13||Panglao Island|
|Day 14||Take flight back home|
Day 1 – Arrival / Fly into Palawan
Most tourists fly into Manila (via Ninoy Aquino International Airport). From there, it is easy to take connecting local flights to the rest of the places in the country.
I don’t recommend staying in Manila. It has a few interesting sights but it’s crowded and the traffic is bad. If you commute, there’s a high chance you’ll find yourself stuck in traffic. That saying, if you have a whole-day layover and you still want to explore this capital, you can check out our Guide to Manila.
From Manila, take a flight to Puerto Princesa Airport in Palawan. Puerto Princesa also has an international airport so you can check if there are direct flights from where you’re coming from.
From the airport, there are tricycles that will take you to your accommodation in the city.
Where to stay in Puerto Princesa
Here are some recommended hotels and resorts in Puerto Princesa:
- White Breeze Palawan Boutique Hotel: Agoda
- Marina de Bay Resort and Spa: Agoda
- Daluyon Beach and Mountain Resort: Agoda
Day 2 – Puerto Princesa Underground River
I highly recommend staying a day in Puerto Princesa City to visit the underground river.
The Puerto Princesa Underground River is a must-see. It’s a UNESCO Heritage Site and one of the longest underground rivers in the world. The underground river can be found under a mountain range in the municipality of Sabang, about 2 hours away from Puerto Princesa City.
The easiest way to visit the PPS Underground River is by booking a tour. This tour is offered by all travel agencies, as well as hotels & resorts in the city. It’s possible to also do the tour DIY, but it’s a lot more hassle than it’s worth (i.e., you need to secure your own permit in advance).
The tour includes the 45-minute cruise in the underground river where you can see interesting stalactites and stalagmites. The cruise covers the initial 1-kilometer of the river. There is also a side trip in Sabang where you can do activities such as mangrove boat tour. Also included is a buffet lunch at a local restaurant.
The Puerto Princesa Underground River takes a whole day.
After the tour, you can visit the seaside boulevard in Puerto Princesa City for cheap and delicious seafood dinner.
Day 3 – Travel to El Nido
Traveling to El Nido takes half a day (5-7 hours), so you need to allocate a whole day for transit alone.
To get there, head to San Jose Terminal and then ride a bus to El Nido. Once you get in El Nido, there will be tricycles to take you to your accommodation.
Spend this day relaxing in your resort or strolling along the beachside where you can find bars and restaurants.
Where to stay in El Nido
Here are some of the recommended resorts in El Nido:
Days 4-6 – Island hopping in El Nido
El Nido has over 40 islands where you can find white-sand beaches, lagoons surrounded by karst formations, and snorkeling & dive spots. The presence of karsts suggests that it has once been underwater.
The main activity in El Nido is island hopping. It’s easy to do this because there are standardized tours (Tours A-E).
Tours A-D are island hopping tours while Tour E is a land tour which includes Nacpan Beach and lesser-visited beaches.
The best package is Tour A, where you can see the Big Lagoon. This is one of the most famous spots in El Nido. Other recommended tours are Tour C which includes good snorkeling spots such as Matinloc Shrine and Tour C which includes the Small Lagoon.
There are other things to do here as well. You can charter a boat to head to a remote beach or rent a kayak to get to nearby islands. You can book dives and visit the over 30 dive spots in Bacuit Bay. For the adventurous, it’s possible to get to the top of Taraw Cliff, which offers a nice panoramic view of the town.
Day 7 – Nacpan Beach
Spend your last day in El Nido at Nacpan Beach. To get here, you can rent a motorbike or charter a tricycle to take you. (Alternatively, you may also book Tour E which includes Nacpan Beach.)
Nacpan Beach is a beautiful beach with fine sand and clear water. I suggest going here early so you can enjoy the place for yourself. There are also eateries here where you can buy seafood for lunch.
Day 8 – Travel to Cebu
Head back to Puerto Princesa City. From there, take a flight to Cebu (via Mactan Airport).
Book an overnight hotel in Cebu City, before checking out the next morning to head to the southern part of the province.
Where to stay in Cebu City
Here are some of the most recommended hotels in Cebu City:
Day 9 – Oslob and Samboan
Wake up early in the morning. Head to South Cebu Terminal and then ride a bus to Bato via Lilo-an. Ask the driver to let you off in Oslob. The journey will take 2-3 hours.
Note: The easiest way to explore South Cebu is by renting a motorbike. If you’re uncomfortable driving or don’t have a driver’s license, you can also charter a motorbike/habal-habal guide for a reasonable rate. Public transport is also available.
Oslob is a coastal town located in Southern Cebu. It’s mostly popular for its whale shark activity. However, I don’t recommend this as it’s not ethical or sustainable. You can read more about Whale Shark Watching in Oslob (Cebu).
Go to the beachside area and rent a boat to Sumilon Island, a private island which is known for its white sand bar. Spend the morning relaxing here.
Head back to the mainland for lunch. Afterwards, head to Tumalog Falls which is several minutes away from the beach.
Next, head to Samboan to visit its 3 waterfalls (Aguinid Falls, Dao Falls, and Binalayan Falls).
This itinerary is jam-packed but it’s doable especially if you manage your time well. You may find a lot of people in Tumalog Falls but fewer on the rest of the waterfalls, so you might consider staying in those longer.
Where to stay in South Cebu
There are more resorts in Moalboal so it’s easier to book an accommodation there. From Moalboal, it’s easy to get to other places in South Cebu.
Here are some of the recommended resorts in Moalboal:
Day 10 – Moalboal
Moalboal is one of the best places in the Philippines for diving. The most interesting sites here are Pescador Island which is surrounded by house reefs and the sardine area across Panagsama Beach.
For the day, you can book a fun dive in the many dive resorts along Panagsama Beach. You don’t necessarily have to go diving to see the famed sardine run. In fact, you can just snorkel right across Chili Bar in Panagsama Beach and you will find the schools of sardines and take great pictures underwater.
For non-divers, boat tours are available at the port. The tour takes half a day and includes Pescador Island, Panagsama Beach, and Turtle Spot. This is ideal for those who’d just like to swim or snorkel.
After the water activities, spend your day chilling in one of the bars in Panagsama Beach.
Day 11 – Kawasan Falls
Kawasan Falls is a multi-layered waterfall in Badian, just a few minutes from Moalboal. Undoubtedly you’ve already seen it online — it’s one of the most recognizable waterfalls in the Philippines.
One thing that I would like to point out is that Kawasan Falls is one of the most commercial tourist spots in this province. So don’t expect trekking in the jungles to get there. There are lots of commercial stalls surrounding the waterfall which you wouldn’t know about if you just based your research on photos.
That saying, Kawasan Falls is popular because it has lots of IG-worthy spots and it offers canyoneering experience.
The canyoneering activity involves trekking and jumping over a series of waterfalls along Alegria River in Alegria. The final stop is Kawasan Falls in Badian. Canyoneering is fun & exciting and there will be guides to assist you all the way. It takes around 5 hours to complete.
After the activity, you can relax, swim, and wash up in Kawasan Falls.
After the visit to Kawasan Falls, head back to Cebu City for an overnight stay before proceeding to Bohol the morning after.
Day 12 – Cebu to Bohol / Sightseeing tour in Bohol
From Cebu City, head to the port where you can take a fast craft to Tagbilaran Port in Bohol. The journey takes around 2 hours.
Spend the first day sightseeing in Bohol.
The easiest way to do this is by renting a motorbike. This way, you can choose where to go and avoid the “tourist stops”. You can also charter a tricycle, which is a cheap option especially if you are in a small group.
Another way to go sightseeing is by booking the Countryside Tour. This is a standard tour offered by agencies covering the main attractions in Bohol, including Chocolate Hills, Baclayon Church, Tarsier Sanctuary, Loboc River cruise and lunch, and other minor spots. The sightseeing tour is a bit on the touristy side, but it’s easy and convenient.
End the day with a firefly kayaking tour along Abatan River, where you can see thousands of fireflies in mangroves along the river.
Where to stay in Bohol
You can stay in the capital of Tabiglaran or head to Panglao Island where you can find beachside resorts.
- (Tagbilaran) Belian Hotel: Agoda
- (Panglao) Pyramid Beach Resort: Agoda
- (Panglao) Mithi Resort and Spa: Agoda
Day 13 – Panglao Island
Spend your last day in Alona Beach in Panglao Island. Alona Beach has white sand and rocky cliffs — a perfect place to relax, swim, and get a massage. It’s also located near a house reef where you can snorkel to see colorful reef fishes.
Celebrate the last day on a beachside eatery eating seafood or grilled dishes and a cold drink.
Day 14 – Flight home
Good bye Philippines!
This 2 weeks itinerary in the Philippines covers the must-see spots in Palawan, Cebu, and Bohol. This is a good route especially if it’s your first time visiting the Philippines. I didn’t include Boracay simply because it may feel “too mainstream” or touristy. Personally, I like Boracay but I also agree that there are quieter beach destinations elsewhere in the country.
If you’re looking for lesser-visited places, I’ve written a separate guide on Off-Beaten-Path Destinations in the Philippines.
Here’s an estimate of expenses, including updated rates on activities.
|Accommodation||Homestays cost as cheap as P500-700|
Regular hotel standard room is around P700-1200
|Food||P60-150 per meal|
– Puerto Princesa Underground River Tour: P2000 per person
– El Nido island hopping tours: P1200 – P1400 per person
– Oslob: Boat rental to Sumilon: P1500 (you may join other people to share costs with)
– Moalboal: Fun dive – P1100-1300 per person / island hopping tour – P1000-1500 per person
– Kawasan Falls: Canyoneering – P1500 per person
– Countryside tour: around P1300 per person
– Firefly kayaking tour: P2300 per person
|Miscellaneous||Public transport is cheap.|
Motorbike rental is usually around P400-600 per day, depending on location.
|TOTAL BUDGET||For 2 people, a safe budget would be P30,000 each ($600 each).|
Has this suggested 2 weeks itinerary in the Philippines been helpful in your planning? If you have comments or questions, let me know in the comment section below!
What to read next:
Planning a trip to the Philippines? Check out these guides!
- First-Timers Guide to the Philippines
- Best Places to Visit in the Philippines
- Things You Need to Know Before Visiting the Philippines
- Is the Philippines Safe to Visit?
- Off-the-Beaten-Track Destinations in the Philippines
- Suggested 2 Weeks Itinerary in the Philippines
- Suggested 3 Weeks Itinerary in the Philippines
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