We spent two wonderful weeks in the gorgeous islands of the Philippines. While there’s so much we wanted to do and see in the Philippines, we’ve learned that we prefer taking our time to settle into each place rather than traveling quickly. After quite a bit of thought, we decided to divide our time into 3 main places: Malapascua, Boracay, and Coron, starting in Cebu and ending in Manila for one night each. Here’s an overview of how we spent our two weeks in the Philippines. (I linked to the posts for each place that provide more detail)
Cebu – 1 night
We kicked our adventure off by flying from Hong Kong to Cebu. Pete got us award tickets.
Accommodation: We stayed at the Radisson Blu Cebu for free (through Club Carlson)
Food: We ate dinner at the mall across the street from the hotel, which was actually pretty fun to explore. I’m not going to tell you where we ate, because I’m ashamed. ….okay fine. We ate at The Old Spaghetti House. I can feel your judgment, but their Asian Chicken Salad was really good.
Malapascua – 5 nights
We hadn’t heard of Malapascua until our dive guide in Palau recommended it. He told us we had to dive with the thresher sharks, which is an experience unique to this island. We spent our days here lounging on the beach, getting caught up on the blog (when it rained), eating some cheap and delicious food, and scuba diving with the famous sharks. Needless to say, we enjoyed the quiet island life.
Accommodation: We stayed at Malapascua Garden Resort for about $40/night, including breakfast.
Read more: Smiles and Sharks in Malapascua, Philippines
Boracay – 5 nights
Home to the most beautiful beach I’ve ever seen! Seriously, White Sand Beach is what dreams are made of. I was worried after having some bad experiences with other so-called “ideal beaches,” but this one lived up to the hype. The beach is flawless and very well-maintained, with strict laws against littering on the beach. The water is cool and clear.
Accommodation: We stayed at 812 Angol Boracay (the last hotel in Station 3) for about $30/night.
Coron – 5 nights
Flying over the gorgeous inlets and stepping off the plane in Coron felt like taking a huge gulp of fresh air. Boracay was a phenomenal beach, no doubt about that, but where it felt overly commercialized, lacking any culture or nature, Coron was quite the opposite.
We knew we wanted to go to Palawan, an island group famous for its natural beauty and clear waters. Since we only had time for one place within Palawan, we had to decide between El Nido and Coron. With the help of a few articles like this one, we ultimately chose Coron because of its affordability and its convenience.
Accommodation: We stayed at Divine Castle Travelers Inn, one of the least expensive options in Coron town. It was extremely basic (the bathroom was super small and the wifi was pretty bad), but it met our needs.
Read more: 5 Nights in Coron, Palawan
Manila – 1 night
Accommodation: Starlight Bed and Breakfast was exactly what we needed for our quick, transit stay. We’d stay there again in a heartbeat!
Food: Not feeling the need to explore Manila, we actually had dinner at our hotel and were not disappointed.
You need to have proof that you’re leaving the Philippines.
The woman at our flight check-in in Hong Kong wouldn’t give us our boarding passes because we hadn’t booked our flights from the Philippines. Luckily we had our laptops, because we had to buy our flights from the airport. It was a stressful situation we could’ve avoided. Don’t make our mistake!
Reserve a day for traveling between islands.
Traveling between islands in the Philippines can be quite painless, but it is definitely time consuming. You’ll want to set aside a day for each time you travel within the Philippines. Also, keep in mind that flights from the Philippines are frequently delayed or cancelled, so factor in some time for that.
Any suggestions for future visits to the Philippines? Any questions? Comment below!