A lot of people struggle to plan an effective route around the Philippines as there is a lot of travel involved. Our route around the Philippines changed 3 times in total due to weather conditions and cancellations. Here is the ultimate guide to planning your route around the Philippines.
Below is a diagram of how we travelled around the Philippines, using planes, cars/buses and ferries. Below I have explained in more detail costs, length of travel and how effective it was for us. Travelling in this way saved us a lot of time, and money!
Manilla –> Cebu –> Moalboal –> Oslob –> Siquijor Island –> Bohol –> Cebu Airport –> Puerto Princesa –> Coron –> El Nido –> Puerto Princesa Airport –> Boracay –> Cebu International Airport
We took a total of 4 flights, 5 ferries and 2 van journeys.
This is How We Travelled Around the Philippines
We flew into Cebu City Airport and took a bus to Moalboal from the local bus station. The bus costs 150 pesos and takes around 4 hours in total. From Moalboal we made our way down to Oslob. If you take the bus, you must change buses half way then get a tricycle to your hostel. We ended up getting a driver between the 4 of us and it was an hour straight ride to our hostel for 50 pesos more each. Oslob is famous for Swimming with Whale Sharks and visiting Sumillion Island.
After spending 2 nights in Oslob we got the boat over to Siquijor Island where we spent 3 nights. The boat costs 200 pesos and takes 2.5 hours. (if you wish to swim with Giant Turtles, make sure you do a de-tour through Dumaguete island to Apo island. Siquijor island is only a 50 minute boat ride from Dumaguete so it is very easy to get to after visiting Apo island).
Siquijor island is popular for the Cambugahay falls, which you may have seen pictures of all over Instagram. It is a few waterfalls with huge rope swings and is an extremely fun couple of hours. I would recommend visiting Siquijor island for 2 nights rather than 3 if you are short for time.
From Siquijor Island we went up to Bohol. The journey between the two was the most expensive ferry ride we took, costing 700 pesos. The company also charged another 80 pesos per suitcase and you must pay a terminal fee + environmental fee every time you leave a port in the Philippines. In total we paid over 900 pesos for this journey.
We stayed in Bohol for 2 nights before getting a ferry back to Cebu. The main things to do in Bohol are visit the chocolate hills, go see the tarsier monkeys and spend your afternoons at the beach.
Cebu was our last stop on the East side of the Philippines as we flew over to Puerto Princesa.
We didn’t stay the night in Cebu as we merely needed to fly from here. In Puerto Princesa we went to visit the Underground caves which are a must-visit! They are currently on the list of Seven World Wonders of Nature and are spectacular.
How to Plan Your Route Around the Philippines
From Puerto Princesa we took an overnight ferry up to Coron which saved us one night accommodation. We planned to stay in Coron for 4 nights but our ferry to El Nido was delayed by 24 hours due a typhoon out in the water. We ended up staying a total of 5 nights in Coron before moving onto El Nido.
Coron was 100% my favourite place in the Philippines. Just take a look at the photo below to see how truly stunning this place is.
The main things to do in Coron are the boat tours. They take you to visit many lagoons and hidden beaches around the surrounding small islands.
In the town of Coron, you can also visit the hot springs, climb up the mountain to see the sunrise and take a night time boat tour to see the glowing plankton.
We stayed in El Nido for 4 nights (originally we planned to stay for 5). El Nido is another spectacular place in the Philippines that is a must-visit. Similar to Coron, the main things to do are the boat tours which take you around the lagoons and beaches.
In El Nido itself, you can also visit Las Cabañas beach, Nacpan Beach and take a trip to see the local waterfalls.
We then took a van back down to Puerto Princesa. We went to the airport and flew over to Boracay for 3 nights. Boracay is a bit more upbeat than the rest of the islands with many bars.
It still has a stunning beach called ‘White beach’ where you can spend your days. It is a good place to end your time in the Philippines.
Our final stop was back in Cebu to fly out to Hong Kong.
TIP! Take note – when you fly internationally from Cebu airport, you have to pay a terminal fee of 750php ($18.5AUS, £10.2) before going through to your gate. Make sure you have money left over or you will be charged to use the ATM to get this money out.
The ultimate guide to planning your route around the Philippines.
There are many ways to plan your trip. I would suggest you go with the flow a little bit, because things change. However, maybe look into flights prior to leaving. Last minute deals don’t exist in the Philippines. Before you set off, read our 6 top tips for travelling the Philippines post for some helpful information.
Our route around the Philippines may sound a bit bizarre but this worked out to be the cheapest route. Flights to Boracay from other locations were working out to be double so we did a complete circle to save a lot of money. We still managed to see everything so it worked out fantastically.
Leave a comment if you have any questions! We would love to help you out 🙂