The Philippines are a gorgeous archipelagic country in South East Asia, comprised of over 7600 islands. The sheer amount of islands makes it almost impossible to explore in-depth, but having spent a month in search for the most beautiful spots, I am happy to say 2 weeks in the Philippines is more than enough to explore the best of what this country has to offer. In this 2 week Philippines itinerary you will be able to plan your trip to Siargao, Coron and El Nido in detail. I’ve also included a convenient map with all my favourite islands, restaurants and beautiful spots.
Day 1: Cebu to Siargao
Cebu will be your outgoing point and if you don’t have a flight onward booked on the same day, then book a hotel near the airport. It is recommended to only do one big travel per day in the Philippines, as a lot of flights get cancelled there. If you arrive at Cebu early, then don’t hesitate to book a flight on the same day and you’ll arrive in Siargao on the same day.
Some facts about the Cebu airport:
- The airport is very fresh and modern.
- All ATM’s at the airport charge PHP 250 on every withdrawal and the maximum amount you can withdraw there is PHP 10,000 (roughly $200).
- You can buy a Smart SIM for 30 days at the airport, we paid PHP 1000 for 47GB – 16+1). There are two bigger companies in the Philippines and neither of them will have you covered in all of the islands. Internet is very bad in the Philippines, so be prepared to have maps and apps pre-downloaded. Hotels also have terrible Wifi.
- Download the app Grab (similar to Uber) to ride from the airport to the city. It cost us PHP 350.
We boarded our flight to Siargao with Philippine Airlines at 11.45 am. Make sure you book an early flight to Siargao, the airport is notorious for having issues and lots of flight cancellations, which usually happen in the afternoon. Domestic flights were super expensive, especially for us with heavier luggage. We paid PHP 5500 ($110) per person for a one-way journey from Cebu to Siargao.
Siargao airport is very small. After collecting our luggage, we took a van to the Airbnb, PHP 300 per person. I’d recommend checking out Airbnb in Siargao, there are plenty of nice places.
Day 2-4: Siargao
Siargao is a true paradise covered in palm trees. The vibe on this island is very surf-oriented and the restaurants and accommodations reminded me of those in Bali. This island is not yet very touristy, hence the WiFi and electricity being awful here and the ATM’s very unreliable. So, make sure you bring enough cash before you come to Siargao!
Getting around in Siargao:
Most of the roads are very broad and empty here and the only way to get around is by renting a motorbike. The cost of renting a motorbike is around PHP 350 per day. They could give you a discount if you rent for more days. Don’t forget to ask for the helmets – no one wears them here, but you don’t want to be an irresponsible tourist. Especially not on an island that has very poor medical coverage and most foreigners prefer to fly to Cebu City or Manila City for serious injuries.
Best things to do in Siargao:
- Ride your motorbike through palm tree covered roads
- Try surfing at Cloud 9
- Tayangban Cave Pool
- Maasin Bridge, where the famous palm swing is located
- Magpupungko Tidal Flats & Lagoon
- Pacifico Beach
- Guyam Island day trip
Where to Eat/Drink in Siargao:
- Mama’s Grill – very popular Filippino grill place
- Shaka Cafe – delicious smoothie bowls
- Kermit Siargao – pizza was yuuuum!
- Common Ground Pacifico – amazing lunches
- Bravo Beach Resort – if the electricity goes out, this place has good food and internet/power
Day 5: Siargao to Coron
Getting from Siargao to Coron is not the easiest task and not the cheapest either. It takes 2 domestic flights to get to Coron, but the trip to the other side of the Philippines is totally worth it. The views on the second flight were absolutely stunning though. The landscape in Coron was totally different from what we saw on the other side of the Philippines.
The flight from Siargao to Cebu cost PHP 3300 per person and the second flight PHP 5600 per person. These two flights are doable in one day, as long as you leave Siargao very early.
Day 6-8: Coron
Coron is a very touristy island and there is only one way to do your trip here right. Choose a private tour provider (we went with Red Carabao) and see the sights undisturbed by masses of drunk teenagers and boats filled with people. We did a Coron Castaway experience, where you sail around the islands with a small group of people and spend one or two nights on a private beach that the company owns. Really worth the price tag!
We paid PHP 8000 per person for a private 2D1N tour. We were only a handful of people on board and it was an experience I would definitely do again.
Best things to do in Coron:
- Private 2-day tour of the islands
- Hike Mt. Tapyas for sunset
- Go diving/snorkelling
- Visit the Maquint Hotsprings
- Paddle a kayak in Siete Pecados
Day 9: Coron to El Nido
This trip is not for the light-hearted! The ferry from Coron to El Nido was the worst from our trip, and also very expensive. We took the 12.00 Montenegro line and it cost us PHP 1790 per person. The ferry was very bad. Water leaked, the waves were horrible and it took about 4 hours to get to El Nido. If you tend to get seasick, I’d recommend you take a pill before boarding this ferry.
Day 10-12: El Nido
The best way to end this Philippines itinerary is in El Nido. El Nido is on the island Palawan, and even though Palawan has a lot of stunning locations, El Nido should definitely be the one you visit first. Again, to no surprise, the accommodation and the WiFi will be terrible here, but the restaurants and nature are so stunning, you’ll probably forget all about it.
The best way to do the island hopping tours here is to, once again, do a private tour. Doing a private tour in El Nido (more on the link) will mean that you can design your own itinerary and travel to otherwise super crowded islands totally undisturbed. We were 4 people on a private tour and had 2 islands completely to ourselves.
Best things to do in El Nido:
- Private boat tour of the islands
- Duli Beach
- Lio Beach
Where to Eat/Drink in El Nido:
- Frendz Hostel – has cheap specials every night on the rooftop and good food on ground floor restaurant
- Happiness Cafe – delicious falafel
Day 13: El Nido to Puerto Princessa
This drive will be a long and (probably) a painful one. The vans that usually travel between El Nido and Puerto Princessa are crammed and last around 6 hours. Bring water, food and snacks. There is generally one stop on the way and the restaurant is not too impressive. I ordered a mango smoothie and even that was a big fail. Try not to book any flights on this day as this trip could be very unpredictable.
Once you arrive at Puerto Princessa, stay in a hotel near the airport and relax before your next travel day.
Day 14: Fly to Manila
Wake up nice and rested and check out of the hotel in Puerto Princessa. This is the last day in the Philippines and you are most likely travelling to Manila to depart home or another destination. What an adventure it’s been eh? If you want to spend more than 2 weeks in the Philippines, then also check out my article on spending one month in the Philippines.
Philippines Travel Budget
While the Philippines are not an expensive country if you look at local prices, there is a big difference to the prices they have for tourists. Food, local transport and activities will cost you a lot more if you do it the Western Way. The best way to keep the costs down is to bargain hard, go to supermarkets with set prices and take public transport.
Domestic flights, hotel and private tours were our biggest expenses, but without them, we would only see a fraction of the Philippines and most probably a very crowded one.
We spent around $1500 for 2 weeks in the Philippines (two people). Throughout our travels, we booked average hotel rooms and Airbnb’s that cost around $60 per night and decided to allow more budget towards experiences. We saved a few $$ by buying lunch at a local bakery, instead of a restaurant. You can keep these costs even lower if you stay in shared accommodation, book in advance and take shared tours. Hope this 2 weeks in the Philippines itinerary and budget helped you plan for your future vacation!