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My 3-week Itinerary in The Philippines

With its crystal clear water, its white sand beach, its magnificent waterfalls in the middle of the jungle, its fascinating creatures and its welcoming people, this country won me over.

The Philippines is an archipelago composed of more than seven thousand islands and it would take a lifetime to explore, which wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world if you ask me. Unfortunately, I only had 3 weeks in the Philippines, so I had to make some tough choices. Here is my 3-week itinerary in this amazing country.



I must admit I didn’t really know what to expect when I arrived in Cebu. A lot of people had expressed some doubts concerning the safety of traveling in the Philippines at the moment. I was also concern about the weather since the month of September was usually one of the rainiest month of the year and the peak season for Typhoon. Nevertheless, I couldn’t help feeling like the Philippines was a great idea!

I’m not gonna lie, when we finally arrived in Cebu after a very very long layover and a delayed flight in Manila, I was getting a little impatient. To make it even worst, it’s started pouring the minute we landed and it took us ages to get to our homestay. To be fair, we were heading to Allegria, which is a small town on the opposite side of the island, but for some reason, we were told that the town was only an hour away from Cebu city. After our first day, we quickly understood that the country’s transportation wasn’t very reliable and that we might have to be conciliant with it. It wasn’t a perfect start, but when we woke up the next morning and look out the window of our hostel to find a breathtaking view of the ocean, the last day was fast forgotten.

Unfortunately, we had a short time on the island of Cebu so we didn’t have time to see much. My friend and I had done some research beforehand, so we already knew the two places we wanted to see. On the first day, we made our way to Badian, the village next to Allegria, to go see the Kawasan falls. The popular way to get to the falls is by Canyoneering. I wasn’t convinced about this one at first, but it was a blast and I’m so happy we did it. From the beginning of the canyon, it took us 3 hours to get to the Kawasan fall, the highlight, which you know it already, was way too crowded. In my opinion, the best part of the journey was definitely the first three falls. There was 7 jump in total ( the highest being 40 feet!) and it cost us 1200 ph each ( about 30$ Cad). After the canyoneering, we hopped on a local bus (3$ Cad) and made our way to Oslob.

The next day, our plan was to wake up at the crack of dawn to start our journey to Bohol. When we arrived at our hotel, they gave us a warm welcome and once again, the view from our room was ridiculously beautiful. Our host invited us to join them for some drinks in the evening. I was very surprised to learn that the majority of the Filipinos are Catholic which makes their culture quite similar to ours. Filipinos love to drink, eat, sing, dance and party. Even better, they love to play basketball and I swear they’d be thrilled if you joined their game.

Other activities to do in Cebu include swimming with the sardines in Moalboal and taking a ferry to Malapascua for a chance to dive with Tresher sharks.

Panglao, Bohol


After a pretty sketchy journey on a boat from Oslob, we made it to Panglao which is a very popular place to base yourself while exploring Bohol. We had heard that Alona beach, the main tourist town on the island, could get insanely busy in the high season and that booking in advance might be a must, but in low season, we found a number of affordable options. In fact, it didn’t take us long to find a lovely little bungalow only one hundred meters from the beach. After settling in, we were pretty tired from our early start, so we enjoyed the beach for the rest of the day.

Our second day, we had planned to rent a scooter and explore Bohol including a visit to the Chocolate Hills, the Tarsier sanctuary and the Loboc river.


The above are the typical tourist attraction on Bohol, but when we hopped on the scooter to try it out, we soon realized learning on the go wouldn’t cut it for the day we had planned. You see, my friend and I had never driven a scooter before and frankly, we didn’t seem to be naturals. My friend had to catch a boat back to Bohol in the evening so we decided to hire a car and push back our scooter lessons to another day.

Even though theys were quite busy, I highly recommend visiting the Chocolate Hills and the Tarsier sanctuary as they are both unique places. As for the Loboc river, the tour on the river was pretty expensive and not very authentic so I would recommend visiting the equally beautiful, but less known rivers on Bohol instead. At the end of the day, I said goodbye to my friend and I was back on my own. The next day I would be starting my 3 days diving course to be an open water certified diver and I couldn’t be more excited.


I took my SSI Open water Course with Scotty’s diver in Doljo beach and it was the best money I’ve ever spent. Yes, it wasn’t the cheapest course in the Philippines (380$), but Scotty’s diver is a very professional company that will guarantee your safety and that’s something you want when you first start to dive. I had the chance to have a one on one course with a very knowledgeable instructor and to dive at beautiful dive sites like Doljo wall and Balicasag island. After 3 days, I was a certified diver and was ready to go back in the water for some more diving. My dive certification in Bohol was most certainly the highlight of my trip to the Philippines and it was definitely worth to splurge on my backpacker budget for once.

For my last day on the island, I was excited to go and explore secret spots on Bohol. During my stay in Alona beach, I stayed at Alona hammocks which is one of the best hostels I stayed in Asia. Salvador was an amazing host and friend, he cooked us dinner every night and provided great recommendations for things to do. Even better, Salvador showed me around the island and brought me to amazing local spots. Some of my favorite places were Camugao fall and Kawasan fall.

Other things to do in Bohol that I didn't get a chance to do include hiking to see the sunrise in Danao and explore the east side and freshen up at Can-Umantad falls.



What brought me to Siquijor is the reason why traveling is the best thing in the world.

Two years ago, I went to Kauai, Hawaii on a 2-week camping trip with my best friend and we decided to hitchhike our way around the island. One of the local that picked us up grew up in the Philippines and had moved to Hawaii for work. He showed us around the island for a week and brought us to amazing secret beaches. Now you probably know where I’m going with this. Iben lived in the Philippines for more than half his life and his cousins were still living in Siquijor. When Iben learn I was going to travel in the Philippines, he contacted his family right away and they invited me to visit them in Siquijor.

I had heard amazing things about this little island between Bohol and Negros and I was pretty thrill to be host by locals, so after a week in Panglao, I was ready to hop on a ferry to Larena, Siquijor. The journey took me around 1 hour and a half and cost me 700 Php (18$CAD) which is pretty much what I paid for other short distance ferries like this in the Philippines.

When I arrive in Larena, Mary Ann and her family were waiting for me at the port. They brought me to their house and we had a big feast for lunch. Staying with Mary Ann’s family was an incredible experience and the best way to get a taste of the Filipino culture. Mary Ann and her husband were sharing their house with their two daughters, their sons-in-law and their grandchildren. No need to say that the house was buzzing with action.

On my first real day on Siquijor, Mary Ann brought me to a little beach not far away from their house in Siquijor, Siquijor. I had the whole beach to myself which was hard to believe considering how beautiful the place was. In the afternoon, I decided to visit San Juan on the south shore of the island which was supposed to be the touristic part of the island. Well, let me tell you that I was still pretty much on my own over there. I spent the rest of the day sunbathing and reading my book on the beach.

The next morning I got up early for a morning dive with Kiwi dive resort. Kiwi dive has the cheapest price on the island for certified divers (1200 php per dive/30$CAD) and I have to say that I got what I paid for. The dive site was beautiful, we swam with 2 turtles for a little while and the dive master found really cool animals underwater. That being said, I was very glad I had had a good instructor for my course since the safety check and the guidelines were a little bit on the sketchy side with this company. After a great dive, I spent the rest of my day exploring the island on a scooter and those were my favorite spots: Salagdoong beach, Cambugahay falls, Kagusuan beach and the Century Old Balete Tree. The next day, I made my way back to Cebu as I would be flying to the island of Palawan for my last week in the Philippines.

If I had more time on Siquijor, I would of liked to take a ferry to Apo island for some of the best diving in the Philipines.



El Nido, Palawan, best know as one of the Philippines jewel was my final destination. I had been waiting for this moment since I started planning my trip to South-East Asia and here I was, about to see this so called paradise.

There are many ways to reach El Nido from the Visayas, but the cheapest way is definitely to fly into Puerto Princessa, Palawan (32$, YES, flights in the Philippines are THAT cheap) and to take a van from there all the way up to El Nido (Northern tip of the island) which usually cost around 15$CAD depending on the company you choose. If you happen to choose that option, I highly recommend you to request the seat behind the driver’s seat as it is a very long trip (7h) and the company tends to overbook the van for a very uncomfortable ride. You can also reach El Nido by direct flight as they recently opened a small airport, but the flights are a lot more expensive (170$ one way from Cebu). Your last option, if you are already in Coron or planning to visit Palawan’s second most popular destination is to take the Coron-El Nido seven-hour ferry ride (1400 php, 35$CAD).

I chose the cheapest option which really wasn’t that bad. The entire car ride is actually pretty scenic, but you might have a hard time enjoying it if you’re like me and you don’t particularly like reckless drivers. Fortunately, I did make it there alive, and boy was the journey worth it. As you get closer to the town, you start seeing those imposing steep karst cliffs that El Nido is so famour for.

A few days before I arrived in El Nido, I booked my hostel for the following week which I think should be a requirement for anyone that would like to stay at the best hostels. Even in low season, hostels are booked out ridiculously fast and I must add that they’re not cheap. El Nido, in general, compared to the rest of the Philippines is on the expensive side (activities, transport, food, alcohol and accommodation).

I decided to stay at Outpost which is a hostel a little outside of the town but directly on the beach. This hostel is definitely my favorite so far in all of South-East Asia and I can’t recommend it enough, but once again, it comes with a price (15$ low season – 25$ high season for a dorm bed). Our melting pot and Hakuna Matata are two other hostels that were recommended to me and are a little bit more budget friendly. Food wise, El Nido has a ton of overpriced restaurant and cafe and it’s not always easy to find budget-friendly meals, but look well and you will find some.

As for the activities, I doubt you will ever get bored in El Nido, but watch out for the scams and shop around before making a decision. If you ever heard about El Nido, you probably heard about the Tour A, B, C and D. Every company will try to sell you the same tours, but sometimes the places visited in each tour varies a little bit so make sure you go with a company that will bring you where you want. Prices between companies can vary a lot, personally, the cheapest company I found sold their tour at 20$CAD plus 5$CAD for the environmental fee that is good for 10 days.The most popular tours are usually A and C, but I’m sure B and D must be amazing as well. There is also one company that sells a Tour Z that is supposedly awesome since they don’t follow the other boat.

To be honest, I personally think the best tour was the one we made on our own, my friend and I. We rented a Kayak from El Nido main beach and visited Paradise beach, Pasandigan cove and made it all the way to Cadlao Lagoon ( 2 hours each way ). As much as I loved Tour A, I found that it was hard to appreciate the beautiful scenery because the beaches and lagoon were so crowded with people. When you go on your own you can go before or after the boat and you have the place to yourself.

If you would like to take a day to just relax, they’re also some great beaches you can visit around El Nido without having to get on a boat such as Las Cabanas and Napcan beach. If you go to Las Cabanas, don’t miss the floating bar!

Even though El Nido is a more pricey/touristy destination compared to other destinations in the Philippines, it's well worth it. The Bacuit archipelago is truly special and even with some high expectations, El Nido did not disappoint.

Other things to do on Palawan include, taking a ferry to Coron for world-class wreck diving, chilling on the beach in Port Barton, and hiking to Taraw cliff for sunrise

I’ve only seen a fraction of what the Philippines has to offer, but it’s no secret that I fell in love with this beautiful country.

Till next time!




Best Dive: Malapascua

Best Hike: Bohol Chocolate Hills

Sustainable activity: Kayaking and beach clean up in El Nido


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