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The Perfect 3 Week Philippines Itinerary (Luzon, Palawan & Bohol)

With more than 7000 islands to choose from, the Philippines are a dream destination for many people, myself included.

The country offers some of the most beautiful beaches in the world and spectacular diving opportunities. Furthermore, there are ancient rice terraces to be explored, lovely little villages, and the famous Chocolate Hills.

Altogether, our 3 week Philippines itinerary included several of the most beautiful places we visited during our 5 month trip around the world.

The perfect 3 week Philippines itinerary

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Alona beach, Panglao Bohol

Which islands to visit in the Philippines?

I did a lot of research before my trip to the Philippines. Why?

Because it seemed impossible to choose which of the many beautiful islands we should visit. Every Philippines picture I found was more beautiful than the last one.

I spent several weeks researching gorgeous islands. My preferred source of information was blogs of people living in the Philippines for a year or longer.

Beautiful sunset in El Nido

Because if these experts, who had traveled to more than 20 islands, recommended a specific one, that island secured itself a spot on my shortlist.

Research and recommendations combined led to my personal ‘Most Beautiful Islands In The Philippines Top 3‘ which formed the basis of my trip itinerary.

We visited Luzon, Palawan, and Bohol and they were each spectacular in their own way.

3 weeks in the Philippines: map

Philippines itinerary map

Click here for the interactive map.

On the map of the Philippines you can find the itinerary we followed during our 3 weeks in the Philippines.

I've also included our Philippines accommodation and all the highlights we visited in Luzon, Palawan, and Bohol.

If you want to know more about the costs of our Philippines travel itinerary, be sure to check out my Philippines budget post.

Philippines 3-week itinerary

  • Day 1: from Manila to Banaue
  • Day 2-4: hiking in Banaue
  • Day 5: from Banaue to Palawan
  • Day 6: Puerto Princesa to El Nido
  • Day 7-12: El Nido
  • Day 13: from El Nido to Puerto Princesa
  • Day 14: from Palawan to Cebu
  • Day 15: from Cebu to Bohol
  • Day 16: Loboc (Bohol)
  • Day 17-18: Panglao (Bohol)
  • Day 19: Tagbilaran (Bohol)
  • Day 20: from Bohol to Manila
Weird shaped rock near El Nido, Palawan, the Philippines

Where to stay in the Philippines

In the table below you can find the places I stayed at (only the ones I recommend), you can find more details about the accommodation further down in the post.

LocationHotel RatingPrice per nightBook
BatadHillside Inn Batad7.5€11,50/$12,50Agoda
Cebu CitySkypark Pensionne7.4€16,5/$18,15Agoda
LobocFox & Firefly Cottages9€28/$31Agoda | Booking
PanglaoAnanda Resort7.9€25/$27,5Agoda | Booking
Puerto PrincesaPalawan Village Hotel7.6€14/$15,40Agoda
Puerto PrincesaTia Mers Guesthouse7.7€11,40/$12,65Agoda
El NidoCamp Talusi Hills9.2€18/$20Agoda | Booking

Note: Prices for these hotels depend on the time of year and how far in advance you book. Therefore, the prices mentioned above are a rough indication of the price per night to help you compare the different options. Check the latest prices on Agoda and Booking and book ahead to get the best deal.

Fox & Firefly Cottages, Bohol

Important things to know when traveling to the Philippines

What language is spoken in the Philippines?

The official languages of the Philippines are Tagalog and English (the Philippines were under American rule for quite a while).

That being said because the Philippines consists of so many different islands there are over 180 different languages and dialects!

Which currency is used in the Philippines?

The currency of the Philippines is the Philippine peso. When we traveled to the Philippines the exchange rate was approximately 50php for €1 and 45php for $1. On this website, you can find the current exchange rates.

When is the best time to visit the Philippines?

While you can travel to the Philippines year-round, the best time to go is during the dry season which runs from December until April.

We visited during February, which was perfect as it wasn't too hot yet (March and April usually are).

How to get to the Philippines (and save money on flights)

You can look for a cheap flight to the Philippines on websites like Try different travel dates and see how this affects the price of your flight.

Generally, the cheapest days to fly are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday. Airlines often offer discounted fares on these days, so it's worth checking the booking sites and comparing prices on different days of the week.

You’ll get a better deal by booking your flight in advance. For domestic flights 1-3 months before your trip is ideal.

I booked our ticket from Luzon to El Nido and from El Nido to Bohol a few months in advance and got a great deal (around $25 per person including luggage). Reputable low-cost airlines in the Philippines are Cebu Pacific and Air Asia.

For international flights, it’s best to book 2-8 months in advance. Tickets to Manila are pretty much always the cheapest option but keep an eye open for tickets to Mactan Cebu International Airport (the second-largest airport in the Philippines).

Lastly, you may be able to find cheaper flights if you're willing to be flexible with your departure and arrival times.

Sure, it’s not ideal to arrive in the middle of the night, but if it saves you hundreds of dollars it’s worth losing one night of good sleep.

Plan your Southeast Asia trip like a pro with these tools:
✈️ Find the best flight deals on
? Book your transport tickets (train, bus, ferry, minivan, and more) via 12Go.Asia
?️ Find your dream accommodation on or Agoda.
? Book the best tours with Klook and Get Your Guide.
? Plan your journey with the Lonely Planet.
?️ Travel safely and get reliable travel insurance from Safety Wing.

El Nido Big Lagoon

The ultimate Philippines itinerary 3 weeks

Day 1: how to get from Manila to Banaue (by night bus)

How to travel from Manila to Banaue by bus

We arrived at Manila airport in the afternoon and since we planned on continuing to the Batad and Banaue rice terraces the same day, we did not have time to explore the city.

I personally didn't feel 100% safe in Manila, therefore, we took a cab straight from the airport to the Ohayami bus terminal where the bus to Banaue would depart at 10 pm.

After buying a ticket we left our bags at the bus terminal and walked around to get something to eat and waited until it was time for the night bus to leave.

Must have attributes on the bus:

  • Warm clothes because of the freezing air-conditioning (like a warm hoodie or down jacket)
  • Earplugs and eye mask
  • Patience and being ok with not sleeping much that night since you are sitting straight up and the road is very bumpy. But hey, that's travel;-)

The travel time to Banaue is about nine hours and we stopped three times along the way. Two of the stops were at a rest station that had a public toilet, and one of the stops was in the middle of nowhere with no facilities around.

We arrived early in the morning at Banaue bus station, where everybody got off the bus and was shuffled into jeepneys. Our jeepney took us to Uyami's Green View Lodge where we had breakfast and arranged our tour.

There were many people selling tours walking around the restaurant so for us, not arranging a hiking tour beforehand worked out fine.

We teamed up with four French travelers to arrange a good group deal and after packing everything we needed into our day pack we were off for a three-day hike through the famous rice terraces of Banaue, Cambulo, and Batad!

Day 2 – 4: Hiking in Banaue!

View hiking Banaue

We spent days 2-4 of our Philippines 3 weeks itinerary hiking through the rice terraces, which was absolutely amazing!

I had never seen anything like it before in my life, and we were very lucky with the weather and our fun group. You read all the nitty-gritty details of our Banaue and Batad rice terrace hike here.

Important: there is no ATM in Banaue (or Cambulo or Batad). Make sure you bring enough cash to pay for all your expenses during your time in the rice terraces!

Batad rice terraces Philippines

Day 4 and 5: how to get from Banaue to Palawan (via Manila)

How to travel from Banaue to Palawan (via Manila)

The bus from Banaue to Manila left at 7 pm and was pretty much the same as the way there. We arrived at the Ohayami bus terminal in the middle of the night (around 4 am) and took a cab to the airport.

How to travel from Manila to Palawan?

You have to take a flight. As Palawan is another island the only way to get there is by plane. Actually, that's not entirely true: there is a ferry as well, which runs once a week and takes 11 hours.

However, the fastest way to get to Palawan is by plane. Flights leave several times a day and take just over an hour.

If you are willing to spend (a lot) more, there are domestic flights directly from Manila to El Nido.

Air Swift is the only company offering direct flights, prices are usually between 7000-9000php per person. Whereas we paid 2239php for a flight from Manila to Puerto Princiessa for the two of us!

Pro: it saves you a lot of time
Con: it will cost you a lot of money

Click here to find the best plane ticket deals

Where to stay in Puerto Princesa: Tia Mers Guesthouse

I booked Tia Mers Guesthouse just a few hours before we arrived in Palawan.

As such, the very friendly hostel owner did not see my booking until late, which is why we did not get a complimentary pick-up from the airport.

After apologizing profusely for ‘failing’ to pick us up (not a problem at all, there are plenty of tuk-tuks which will take you to the hotel for 100php and probably even less if you are better at bargaining than I am), the owner gave us an upgrade to a huge, comfy and clean room with air conditioning.

Click here to book

Day 6: how to get from Puerto Princesa to El Nido (by bus)

how to travel from Puerto Princesa to El Nido (by bus)

From Puerto Princesa the journey to El Nido, my long-awaited tropical paradise continued. With Roro bus…

Oh Roro bus, we could have been such good friends… I had done the research and to say my expectations were high would be an understatement.

The bus would be air-conditioned!

It was not…

The bus would be modern!

It most definitely was not…

The bus would leave on time!

It was three hours late…

The bus would take five hours!

It took eight hours to get to El Nido… (not including the three hours of waiting)

The bus wouldn't stop to pick up people along the way!

It stopped everywhere. And I mean everywhere. Be it a bunch of school children that rode along for a couple of kilometers, a shop owner that needed a 50kg bag of rice delivered in the next town, or an old lady going who knows where. Hence the eight hours.

No, the Roro bus ride was not what I expected it to be:-). And yet it's one of my fondest travel memories.

Because who cares that it was not what I expected? And that I was six hours late. Late for what? I didn't have to be anywhere.

At that moment I learned that to travel is to go with the flow. And to enjoy these little moments instead of getting upset or annoyed.

These moments will be among your fondest memories once you're back in your ‘normal' life.

Where people get really upset if you are three hours late, heck, they get annoyed if you're five minutes late. Anyway, enough rambling, back to our Philippines three-week itinerary.

Day 7-12: El Nido

El Nido beach

El Nido is one of the most beautiful places in the Philippines and we thoroughly enjoyed our time here.

With crystal clear water, palm trees, white sand beaches, and a stunning underwater world for scuba divers it's a great spot to spend at least a couple of days.

Getting around El Nido town is very easy, there are tuk-tuks everywhere, and the center is tiny so you can walk almost anywhere.

We did two boat trips, tour A and tour C, a scuba diving PADI course, and most of all: we relaxed and enjoyed the stunning surroundings!

Some of the best places to visit and best things to do in El Nido are:

  • Hiking the Canopy Walk (Taraw Cliff)
  • Relaxing on Nacpan beach and Las Cabanas Beach
  • Renting a kayak and explore the small islands

Also read my complete guide to El Nido

Where to stay in El Nido: Camp Talusi Hills

With basic but clean rooms, beautiful views, and a very affordable price tag, Camp Talusi Hills is one of the best budget hotels in El Nido.

The friendly owner Armstrong goes out of his way to accommodate his guests. If you're looking for a simple eco-lodge away from the downtown noise this is a really good place to stay!

Book via Agoda | Book via Booking

Important: we arrived in El Nido shortly after Chinese New Year and a lot of places were fully booked.

If you're planning to travel in Peak Season (including special holidays like the Chinese New Year) I highly recommend booking your accommodation as soon as possible.

Day 13: how to get from El Nido to Puerto Princesa (by minivan)

how to travel from El Nido to Puerto Princesa (by minivan)

One ride on the Roro bus was enough for the return trip from El Nido to Puerto Princesa so we took a minivan. The minivan departed on time, then stopped 5km later and waited for an hour for no apparent reason.

It turned out we had to pick up another passenger, a Philippine woman who looked like she had just showered and done her hair and makeup while we were sweating in the minivan waiting for her.


Along the way, more people were picked up, at one moment there were 15 people in the van while it was actually fit for about 10.

It came to the point where the driver was sharing his seat with another passenger! Nevertheless, just six hours later we arrived safely at Palawan Village Hotel.

Where to stay in Puerto Princesa: Palawan Village Hotel

Unfortunately, Tia Mers Guesthouse (where we had previously stayed) was fully booked on the day we came back to Puerto Princesa after our stay in El Nido.

I booked a room at Palawan Village Hotel instead and we had a good stay. The staff was friendly and let us store our bags behind the reception desk after check-out so we did not have to carry everything around while exploring Puerto Princesa.

The included breakfast was ok but nothing special, the free Wi-Fi was very slow and only available in the lobby. But the room was clean and the bed was good.

Close to the airport, but you need a tuk-tuk to get to the city center of PP. We paid €14 (700php) for one night including breakfast.

Click here for the latest prices

Day 14: how to get from Palawan to Cebu

how to travel from Palawan to Cebu

After a morning of sightseeing in Puerto Princesa, we took a tuk-tuk to the airport for our flight to our next destination: Cebu.

At tiny Puerto Princesa Airport, we discovered the existence of a terminal fee, which doesn’t actually buy you anything but is something you need to pay before being allowed into the terminal.

A clever invention to make you pay more money (a mere 150php per person, but still).

Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Puerto Princesa
Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Puerto Princesa

Another fun flight with Cebu Pacific brought us to Mactan-Cebu International Airport. Mind you, as soon as you step out of the terminal, the usual taxi touts will try to sell you an expensive ride to the city center.

Official taxi: instead of hopping into the first available taxi, just cross the street, take a right and walk to the official taxi stand.

Here an airport employee will direct you to a taxi and hand you a piece of paper with the number of the taxi you are getting into and phone number of airport taxi service.

If something happens, they will know which cab you were in and you know which number to call to report the problem.

During rush hour it can take up to an hour to travel from the airport to the city center.

Where to stay in Cebu City: Skypark Pensionne

I did not actually mean to go to Cebu city, but we ended up there one night because flying from Palawan to Cebu and crossing by boat to Bohol on the same day proved a bit too ambitious.

That's why we spent the night at Skypark Pensionne.

The shower was good and the bed was comfortable. The hotel was nothing special, but definitely fine for a night. Breakfast wasn't included but there is a small and cheap bakery next door.

Click here to book

Day 15: how to get from Cebu to Bohol (by boat)

how to get from Cebu to Bohol (by boat)

Thinking back to this day, it still amazes me how everything worked out so perfectly. We hadn’t booked anything; the only plan was to get to Bohol that day.

After a short walk to the Cebu pier, we found a seat on a boat from Weesam Express where we ended up sitting next to a friendly Philippine gentleman.

We started talking about all sorts of things and found out he lived in Bohol. When we mentioned that we were planning to go to Loboc he broke into a wide smile and proudly declared that he lived there.

And immediately offered us a ride!

So instead of trying to get from Tubigon to Loboc by bus or tuk-tuk or taxi or a combination of these; we got out of the boat, followed the friendly gentlemen to a white jeep with a driver, got in, and arrived in Loboc within an hour after stepping off the boat.

Lucky us🙂

Panglao Beach on Bohol

Where to stay in Loboc: Fox & Firefly Cottages

Two of my favorite accommodations during our trip to the Philippines were in Bohol. I had not booked anything so the day we arrived in Loboc I had no clue where to go.

I remembered reading something about Nipa huts so we asked for directions and started walking there. It was far! And it was… depressing.

The pictures on Agoda must have been taken more than 10 years ago because it looked nothing like it.

Fortunately, we had passed another accommodation on the way to Nipa huts, so we decided to try our luck there. I am so glad we did!

The Fox & Firefly Cottages was one of the nicest and prettiest places we stayed during our five-month trip.

We enjoyed speaking Dutch with the owner as well as relaxing in the hammocks on the veranda. The little cottage was so cute and the food and homemade bread were delicious (breakfast is not included).

I highly recommend staying here, we were very sorry we had to leave after one night.

Book via Agoda | Book via Booking

Day 16: sightseeing on a scooter

The next morning we decided to take a sightseeing day trip and rented a scooter to check out some of the many things to do in Bohol.

We drove from the Fox & Firefly Cottages to the Chocolate Hills, the most popular destination in Bohol and one of the most impressive natural wonders in the Philippines.

Along the way, we came across several other interesting sites. These are all located along this road, you can't miss them! Check the map for more information.

Click here for the interactive map

Exploring the area on a scooter was a great experience and while all the stops were interesting, what I loved most was seeing how people lived in the little villages we passed.

In the picture below you can see a beautiful handpainted bus stop sign, with all households of the village carefully mapped out. So much work and care have gone into creating this piece of art!

A beautiful hand-painted map of a village at the bus stop in Bohol

The Tarsier Sanctuary & Conservation Area

These weird monkeys are among the smallest of their kind and look like they came straight out of a comic book.

Their eyes look way too big for their skull (did you know that their eyes are larger than their brain!) and they have tiny clawlike hands.

What I liked about the sanctuary is that there are one or more caretakers for each Tarsier, urging every approaching visitor to be very silent and not to take photos with a flash.

When stressed out, Tarsiers have a tendency to commit suicide… It's true, read it on Wiki. Curious little creatures!

Butterfly Conservation Center

Before reaching the Chocolate Hills we passed the Butterflies Conservation Center. I'm not sure how I feel about visiting the Tarsier Sanctuary and the Butterfly Sanctuary.

I mean, if I were a butterfly I probably wouldn't enjoy being put on someone's nose 100 times a day. And with the Tarsiers so sensitive to stress, being constantly gawked at by tourists (including myself) cannot be good for them.

But… these sanctuaries do provide local people with jobs and an income.

And allows for a Tarsier Sanctuary to exist at all, which sadly is very much needed since they are an endangered species. So I am a bit torn about these main attractions.

The Chocolate Hills

Chocolate Hills in Bohol, the Philippines

These crazy hills are a real mystery, read some of the best legends about them. There are hundreds of them, stretching as far as the eye can see.

How to get from Loboc to Panglao (Bohol)

how to travel from Loboc to Panglao

Our streak of transportation luck continued our entire week on Bohol. The next day, after a fun sightseeing tour on a scooter, we walked from our cute cottage to the main road and within 5 minutes a bus passed.

We learned from our bus trip from Puerto Princesa to El Nido that there are no such things as bus stops in the Philippines so we put our hands up and sure enough: the bus stopped!

We got in, bought a ticket to Tagbilaran, and arrived 30 minutes later.

At the Tagbilaran bus terminal we ask a jeepney driver how to get to our hotel on Panglao and after showing him the address he quickly points us to the right jeepney.

Do not ask the tuk-tuk drivers, they will tell you it’s not possible to get to Panglao in a jeepney. Or that you’ll have to wait very long for a jeepney to depart.

Or that the jeepney ride will take a very long time. Whatever they think gets you in their tuk-tuk.

The jeepney filled up quickly and just when we thought there was no way more people could be crammed in, the driver produced three tiny wooden benches which he put in the middle path of the jeepney and suddenly there were six more seats available.

With around 20 people in the jeepney and 5 hanging off the back, we took off.

The picture was complete when a rooster I didn’t even know was on board because he was hidden in a large aluminum can crowed. Thinking back about it brings a huge smile to my face, it was so much fun…

You cannot really see anything from inside a jeepney, particularly not if it’s completely filled with people and the only thing you see is friendly smiling faces from locals who are wondering what the heck these crazy tourists are doing in a local jeepney.

Anyway, after a ride via who knows where the jeepney stopped and the driver declared that we had arrived at our destination.

Looking around and not seeing anything that even remotely resembled a hotel, we worried for a brief moment that the driver might not have entirely understood us correctly.

We decided to walk towards the ocean anyway because in the hotel pictures we had seen rooms with an ocean view.

And sure enough, after just 10 minutes of walking, we arrived at Ananda Resort. Thank you mister jeepney driver!

Where to stay in Panglao: Ananda Resort

At Panglao, we stayed at Ananda Resort, the other accommodation in Bohol I really liked.

The view from our room was great, we could see the ocean from our comfy bed! Everything was clean and the private shower was hot.

The best thing about our stay, however, was the staff, they were so friendly and accommodating! They drove us to Alona beach and picked us up again for 100php a day.

Breakfast was very tasty and included in the price. Definitely recommended, but please note that if you want to be able to walk to Alona beach this is not the place for you (it's an 8km drive).

Book via Agoda | Book via Booking

Day 17 and 18: Panglao, Bohol

Beautiful white sand beach on Bohol

For two relaxing days, our routine was:

  • Get out of bed and admire the gorgeous view from our room
  • Enjoy a delicious breakfast
  • Hop on the back of a scooter (I was squished between the friendly hotel employee and my husband) and drive to Alona beach.
  • Relax all day before being picked up by the scooter again to go back to our hotel

Alona beach was very pretty, though not as pretty as El Nido with its impressive limestone formations or a picture-perfect Boracay.

But the ocean was a beautiful blue, the atmosphere was very laid-back and we ate the best food of our Philippine trip at Oasis Beach resort.

As we already went diving in El Nido, we choose not to do so at Alona Beach. However, there are definitely great diving and snorkeling here!

Day 19: how to get from Panglao to Tagbilaran (Bohol)

how to travel from Panglao to Tagbilaran

A little sad to leave another perfect paradise behind, we left for Tagbilaran.

Walking to the corner where we were dropped off on the outward journey we started wondering whether this was actually part of the normal jeepney route or if the friendly driver had made an exception for us.

But before we could worry too much about it our lucky Bohol transportation charm kicked in again and a jeep stopped in front of us asking if we needed a ride.

Sure, that would be great! Dropped off in the center of Tagbilaran within 15 minutes we couldn’t believe our luck! Again! A short tuk-tuk ride later we arrived at our hotel.

Looking for more travel inspiration? Check out my Southeast Asia island guide!


Where not to stay in Tagbilaran

On our final night in the Philippines, we stayed at Casa Rey Francis Pension House which was not one of my favorites, to say the least. The room smelled terrible, very moldy and damp.

The toilet did not have a seat and the air conditioning was very noisy. All in all definitely not the best stay we had in Bohol. We paid €15 (750php) for a night, the average Agoda rating is 6,1.

My advice: find another place to stay (Gomez Guesthouse is lovely, check it out here).

Day 20: how to get from Bohol to Manila

how to travel from Bohol to Manila

Our last day in the Philippines… We sure made it count, transportation wise;)

Early in the morning we left our hotel and took a tuk-tuk to Tagbilaran Pier. Here we encountered another example of Philippine bureaucracy/touristocracy.

The day before, we had already bought our tickets so we headed straight for the ferry terminal.

That was a mistake.

We had to get a seat number first. Which they assigned at the ticket office located at the beginning of the pier.

Ok, no problem.

So we headed to the SuperCat office, got our seat number written on our ticket, and walked back to the terminal.

There we had to hand over our large backpacks and pay 100php per bag; they would be put in the luggage room of the boat.

Ok, no big deal, just go with it.

We then entered the terminal, where, how could we not have seen this coming… a terminal fee was levied.

Anyway, the Supercat catamaran was more modern and comfortable than the Weesam boat (which looked more like a submarine) we had taken to Tubigon on our way to Bohol.

After a comfortable 2-hour journey we arrived at Cebu Pier. Our big backpacks were right next to the exit, which apparently counted as the luggage room worth 100php a bag.

On the plus side, this made getting off the boat quick and easy; we were on our way to the airport in a taxi within minutes.

A word of advice: don’t take the first cab you are offered by the ever present taxi touts.

We walked for about 100 meters and found a friendly, non obtrusive taxi driver who drove us to the airport within half an hour (no rush hour this time).

After some waiting we boarded our plane to Manila, and from there we left the beautiful Philippines and flew to Hanoi.

But not before paying another terminal fee of 1100php a person. Ah well, the Philippines were phenomenal and totally worth the ‘hassle’.

View hiking Banaue

3 weeks Philippines itinerary: in conclusion

I hope this Philippines travel guide will help you plan the best Philippines itinerary. I'm sure you'll have a great time in this beautiful country.

The beaches are the best I have ever seen and there are so many great things to see and do. Each place we visited was so different and beautiful in its own way. I would love to go back and visit more of the 7000 islands…

Planning a trip to the Philippines? Download the itinerary below. If you've got any questions, leave a comment below or send me a message. Happy travels!

This post was updated in February 2023.

Detailed 3 week travel itinerary for the Philippines. Everything you need to know about getting from A to B on Luzon, Palawan and Bohol. #Philippines #itinerary #Luzon #ElNido #Bohol
Detailed 3 week travel itinerary for the Philippines. Everything you need to know about getting from A to B on Luzon, Palawan and Bohol. #Philippines #itinerary #Luzon #ElNido #Bohol


Friday 18th of October 2019

We also had a great experienced visiting the places and spots you have mentioned in this article. I enjoyed reading this since I love traveling and exploring some undiscovered spots in the Philippines.


Saturday 19th of October 2019

Happy to hear that Jona!


Thursday 19th of April 2018

Hi Lotte! I am from the Philippines. Raised and born in Cebu ? you should include a Cebu tour in your itinerary next time. You'll definitely love this island. Fingers-crossed! ?


Wednesday 25th of April 2018

Hi Vera,

Thanks for reading and I would love to visit Cebu! I have only visited Cebu city but that was just one day... There is so much more to see:-)

All the best! Lotte


Thursday 5th of April 2018

I loved reading the story! :)

The air conditioning (aircon as they call it) is too cold everywhere they installed it. And even more so in the public busses. I even used the super cheap and less comfortable busses without aircon because I don’t like the cold. And always brought a coat or a sweater with me. Also don’t consider going to the movie theaters without warm clothes. The Filipinos love the cold.

Really recognized the remark about the tricycle drivers pretending they were to only transport to panglau. And the fact that you always need to bring cash. Money in the Philippines is very important. Maybe it comes from the Americans that were stationed there for many years. The American culture is embedded deeply in the Philippines. Materialism is very important. Asking for Christmas presents (pasko) or asking for a travel souvenir (pasalubong) is very common.

As for your story about going from one terminal to another. Too bad you didn’t know about Uber. This service you can link to your credit card and you wouldn’t have needed cash. Just download the app, set it up and the driver will pick you up. The taxi service is suffering in the Philippines because the cars are better, the drivers of Uber more polite and there is no discussion about the change/tip.

My compliments for your planning skills though. Because it seems to me you took the best route all the time. Most tourists would use more comfortable transportation and missed out on some weird memorable stuff like the rooster :)

Too bad you didn’t have a chance to go to Siargao island. It’s still undiscovered and pure. It’s part of Mindanao which is considered dangerous but that is not the case for the North Eastern part of it. It’s really very safe.

Great article! Curious about the other ones! :)


Saturday 7th of April 2018

Hi Herman,

Thank you for your extensive comment and for explaining a bit about the culture, since you have lived there I'm sure you know a lot more about it!

Uber would have been a great solution for my airport situation, too bad I didn't have the app yet (technology laggard;-).

I would love to visit Siargao, it sounds like paradise. Perhaps next year... Thanks for reading!



Thursday 29th of March 2018

This is awesome, thanks for the post. We are going in October!


Saturday 31st of March 2018

Have a great trip:-)


Monday 15th of January 2018

Im glad it worked out for you but I think you spent WAY to much money IMO. I go to Philippines 2-4x a year if possible. I travel alone all the time and have never felt unsafe, even late at night but then there is the saying, if you look for trouble you will find trouble.

Good idea to always have money but you could have just asked a taxi driver to take you to another ATM. They dont ask for payment until after the ride. The free shuttle ride should not have been a problem or big deal. I use it all the time and have found most everyone to be very accommodation especially if you dont act like an entitled uppity tourist.

The biggest issue I have seen is most tourist think they are better than the locals. I have gone home with taxi drivers to have dinner when I was invited. I have stayed in houses smaller than my bathroom back home and never looked down on anyone. I'm not saying you did.

I think most of the people in the Philippines are amazing but just like anywhere there are those who want to take advantage of you because they think you are rich. I find a simple conversation usually straightens things out.

I have not been to all the places you mentioned yet but plan on hitting a couple more this April. Do yourself a favor and get to know a family and stay with them in a province in the mountains sometime for a few days. The simple life is amazing and better to experience 1st hand instead of in a group.

I hope you will go back and get to know more about the people and culture. Enjoy


Monday 15th of January 2018

Hi Paul,

Thank you taking the time to write such an extensive reply, however, I do have to say I find your comment a bit condescending and presumptuous. You don't know me at all, because if you did you would know that I NEVER look down on anyone. Nor do I act like an entitled uppity tourist.

I travel with local transport whenever I can and often stayed at accommodation without (private) bathrooms, water and any luxuries. I ALWAYS respect people, their culture, their religion and way of life. In fact, learning about other peoples lives is one of my favorite things about travel.

Furthermore, my brother in law is from the Philippines and he shares a lot with my family about his culture. Also, I think my stay in Cambulo and Banaue as well as in El Nido (with a local family) is very representative how a large percentage of the Filipinos live. I enjoyed all these stays, even if there was no shower or running water. Or when the power was cut every hour.

I would love to return to the Philippines one day, it's a beautiful country with wonderful people. Lotte