You are planning a Philippines Round Trip and you are looking for the best route and itinerary to cover the most amazing things to do and highlights? Jackpot! The paradisiacal island state has so much to offer that one could easily spend several months here! In this ultimate Philippines Travel Guide you will get advice how to make the best of your time and how your itinerary can look like. With this route you can still admire many sights and experience the best things to do and must-see places on some of the more than 7,000 islands.
During 21 days in the Philippines you can expect an enormous variety of nature and palm-lined dream beaches. Whether under water or on land, the Philippines have breathtaking landscapes to offer that you will not forget so quickly. Join us for an exotic island hopping adventure and see for yourself!
What do you learn in this article?
Philippines 3 weeks itinerary and Highlights
How to experience the best things to do in the Philippines in 21 days?
The Philippines are an island paradise with uncountable options and must-see places. Here is how you make the most out of 3 weeks:
- El Nido
- El Nido
- El Nido / Coron
- El Nido / Coron
- Manila & Heimreise
Map for the best route of your Philippines round trip
Of course you can also take the route in reverse order.
Before you start: Check here whether you need a visa for the Philippines with your passport.
What are the BIG5 highlights of this Philippines itinerary?
- Visit the famous Chocolate Hills in Bohol
- Dive with turtles at Balicasag Reef in Bohol
- Grab a surfboard and learn to surf in Siargao
- Marvel at breathtaking lagoons and limestone cliffs in El Nido, Palawan
- Rest your soul on White Beach in Boracay
Philippines Itinerary & Route – Links & Resources
For an additional overview, check out the most beautiful places in the Philippines
For a handy local travel guide, I recommend the Lonely Planet for the Philippines:
You can pre-book many great tours for your round trip if you don’t want to worry about all the planning in the Philippines and dream islands like Cebu:
How does the 3 weeks Philippines itinerary run in detail?
Philippines itinerary Day 1: Start in Manila
It is best to book your flight so that you arrive in Manila at night or early in the morning to take full advantage of the day. Unfortunately you can’t avoid jet lag, but hey, we are in the Philippines – so let’s go on an adventure!
Manila is a metropolis that has many different facets. On the one hand, there is poverty, which you should be aware of when travelling to the Philippines, but on the other hand the city also has some nice corners to offer. The baroque church San Augustin is definitely worth a visit. Here you can see various exhibitions and stay in the beautiful garden of the church.
Take a walk through the crowded and noisy streets of Manila and get a first impression of the capital founded by Spaniards. Culturally and historically interesting here are the Spanish old town Intramuros and the Fort Santiago. In the green Rizal-Park you can take a deep breath and relax while sunbathing. At the harbour you can enjoy a drink or two.
Philippines round trip day 2: Cebu
Nearly all domestic flights pass through the province of Cebu. It makes absolute sense to stay here for a few days – there are some great spots to explore.
About 1 1/2 hours flight time from Manila you will land in the capital Cebu City. The city resembles Manila in many ways. It is loud, full of traffic, but still varied and exciting. Here you can stroll through the streets after your arrival and let yourself drift.
Definitely worth a visit and for those who want to escape the noisy city life for a short time, the Sirao Flower Garden of Cebu City is the place to be. You can reach it within 30 minutes by taxi for little money. The garden reminds a little bit of Alice in Wonderland and even offers a “Little Amsterdam”. Here you can relax and come down a bit, but also take cool pictures.
The route to the garden is also quite interesting, because you pass some small settlements and get to know how people live and live outside the city.
This article was created for you in collaboration with my friend & travel enthusiast Lena. For more travel pictures from all over the world, follow her on Instagram!
View this post on Instagram
Sirao Flower Garden 🌼🌸🌺 📍 Cebu City, Philippines 🇵🇭 . Etwa eine Stunde hat der Weg aus der Stadt raus zu diesem wunderschönen Garten gedauert & es hat sich gelohnt 😊 Es war dort oben wackeliger als es aussieht, aber der Ausblick war gigantisch 😄👍 . . . #cebu #cebucity #sirao #siraoflowergarden #philippines #littleamsterdam #sunflower #siraopictorialgarden #girlpowertravel #travelust #comeseeph #siraogarden #explorerph #travelthephilippines #visitcebu #gophilippines #traversephilippines
Philippines route day 3: Cebu
The province of Cebu has a lot to offer outside the capital. You can make some day trips from Cebu City.
In the south of Cebu there are some waterfalls to which you can book different tours. Very famous are the Kawasan Falls.
On the internet there are many providers for such tours. You will be picked up in the night or early in the morning at your accommodation and brought back in the evening. You can also combine different waterfalls within your tour or book a kayak tour. Here adventurers definitely do not miss out.
Looking for the best Cebu Beach Resorts? Check out Catalin’s overview!
Philippines itinerary days 4 & 5: Bohol
From Cebu City you can easily reach Bohol by ferry within 3 hours. The landing place is Tagbilaran.
Bohol is a beautiful island with unbelievable nature and has a lot to offer. Here it makes sense to rent a scooter and explore the island on your own, as the routes are not too busy and you can always make a stop in between and thus get to see a lot.
Touristic hotspot here is definitely the Alona Beach on the adjacent island Panglao in the southwest of Bohol, where there are many accommodations, restaurants and bars and where one can relax. Here you can relax after your arrival and have a good time on the beach or just stroll around.
This is also a popular place to go out in the evening, there are some bars with live music among other things.
Between the accommodations and Alona Beach there are several tricycles – motorbike taxis. In the Philippines tricycles are part of the normal road scene and you can get from A to B on short distances for little money – even if not that comfortable 😀
Philippines route day 6: Bohol
Undisputedly, the famous Chocolate Hills are a MUST-DO in Bohol. The actually greenish formations get a brown colour in the dry season, which is why they live up to their name.
If you have accommodation near Alona Beach on Panglao, you can take a day trip to the hills on your own by scooter. The distance is quite long, but it’s beautiful, as you ride through the forests of Bohol and cross half of the island.
On the way to the Chocolate Hills it is recommendable to visit a Tarsier Sanctuary, as it is practically on the way. Tarsiers are tiny primates, which are unfortunately threatened with extinction and are not very common. On Bohol there are several sanctuaries which you can visit. On the way to the Chocolate Hills there is the Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary – for small money a visit to these cute little animals is worthwhile.
Arrived at the Chocolate Hills you can admire the countless hills up to the horizon from a lookout point and enjoy an amazing panorama. The hills are immersed in fog due to the humidity and create a mystical scenery. Here you also have the possibility to have something to eat or drink.
Philippines round trip day 7: Bohol
Yesterday adventure and nature were the order of the day, today it’s off to the cool waters: Bohol is a great diving and snorkeling spot. The Balicasag Reef invites you to a breathtaking underwater world. Here you can book different trips to the protected island Balicasag and among other things snorkel with turtles and marvel at beautiful corals. Watch the short Youtube video about snorkeling with a turtle, who doesn’t want to travel after?
The island is about 30 minutes away by boat.
Snorkelling is also great on Panglao at Alona Beach.
Philippines itinerary day 8: Bohol
Get an adrenaline kick on your last day in Bohol by ziplining at Eco Adventure Park Loboc and fly over the rapids of the Loboc River. Watch the short Youtube video about this adventure.
Here you can get there again wonderfully by scooter. You can cross the valley either with the zipline or with a cable car.
Afterwards, take a river trip across the Loboc River and relax with live music. Not far from the Adventure Park is the landing stage where various river trips (for example with lunch or dinner) are offered.
In the evening you can end your stay in Bohol at Alona Beach.
You can conveniently book great tours online in advance and then take it easy when you get there. How about these activities on Bohol Island:
Philippines round trip day 9: Siargao
Siargao! The surfer island radiates a vibe that cannot be described in this way. You have to be there to understand it. The island radiates peace and contentment and reminds a little bit of the idea of Hawaii. Here, one has the feeling to live without stress and worries into the day and this is also the way the islanders appear.
From Bohol you have to take the ferry back to Cebu City, from where you can reach Siargao within 1 1/2 hours by domestic flight. The approach over the island lets you already imagine the paradise. From the plane you can admire millions of palm trees.
Tourist hotspot is the city General Luna, where there are many accommodations, restaurants and bars. In the evening there are many possibilities to go out and celebrate. There are some open air clubs or events. From this place you can reach almost all the sights of Siargao perfectly by scooter (and here really EVERY scooter rides).
On the day of arrival you can go on a discovery tour in General Luna and relax with a drink or two. There are also some small clothes or souvenir shops.
Philippines itinerary day 10: Siargao
Palm trees as far as the eye can see
iargao is perfect to rent a scooter for the whole stay for small money. The routes are absolutely amazing, the scooter rides alone are an experience.
On the second day in Siargao it is worthwhile to do a “land tour” on your own with the scooter and get an impression of the island. The final destination of the tour is the Magpupungko Pool – a natural pool. On the way there, there are also some adventurous highlights, this is why one can spend the whole day this way.
The Palmtree Road: From General Luna, a wonderful scooter track leads in direction to the Magpupungko Pool. The track leads right through a huge sea of palm trees – this alone is already insane. Along this palm tree road one passes a view point from which one has a breathtaking view over the countless coconut palms and can take wonderful pictures.
Another highlight of the route is the Palm Tree Swing above the Maasin River. This palm tree is so special because it is the only one of the countless palm trees that juts out across the Maasin River and from the palm tree one can take one or two jumps into the cool water. The inhabitants show some stunts and tricks here. There are also some small souvenir shops and snacks. The spot can be recognized by a red bridge, which you cross by scooter.
Siargao Highlights: Natural pools at the beach and cave
Also on the side of the track is Tayangban Cave. A so-called cave pool that can be crossed with a guide. The tour takes about 15 minutes and is quite cheap. One swims and climbs through the cave with a guide and is partly completely in the dark and can watch bats. At the end of the tour one can jump from a cliff into a natural pool and cool down. Definitely something for adventurers!
The last stop on the route is the famous Magpupungko Pool, which is a natural pool. Arriving by scooter, you will first find yourself on a beautiful, spacious beach where you can relax and enjoy a variety of snacks and drinks. From here you can walk to the pool. It is important to know that Magpupungko depends on the tides, which you should be aware of. Here one can relax and unwind in the crystal clear water.
Philippines round trip day 11: Siargao
A MUST-DO, if you are already on Siargao, is to take at least one surf lesson. There are different spots, whether beginner or advanced. The main spot in General Luna is Cloud 9, famous for surfers, where the pros surf and sometimes competitions take place. Here you can spend some hours watching the pros surf from a jetty.
Right next to Cloud 9 there are two beginner spots where the waves are calmer. You can book a surf instructor directly at the jetty and off you go!
After surfing you can relax on the beach and rest the rest of the day.
View this post on Instagram
A natural pool with crystal clear water – 📍Magpupungko – The rock pools are tidal pools so you have to regard low tides and high tide 🌊 Magpupungko is one of the most popular activity to do when you are in Siargao and you can easily reach the location with a scooter 🛵💦🍃🌴 . . #magpupungko #magpupungkopools #tidalpool #naturalpool #siargao #throwbackthursday #thephilippines #savesiargao #backpacking #explorethephilippines
Philippines itinerary day 12: Siargao
Another highlight on Siargao is the Three-Island Hopping Tour. A day trip to three different spots, which is offered by some providers. Booking possibilities are available at many corners in General Luna – drinks and lunch are included.
On the tour you pass three different small islands: Guyam, Naked and Daku. Here you will find dream beaches that invite you to relax and sunbathe. Snorkeling is also possible here. Here you can also meet some other travellers. The guides are in a super cool mood and make sure you are in a good mood.
On the last island a traditional lunch with fresh fruit is served. In the late afternoon we go back to General Luna by boat.
Philippines route day 13: Siargao
On the last day in Siargao you can relax and unwind. Perfect for exploring some of the island’s quieter beaches once again.
The so-called Secret Beach invites you to lazy and relax. As the name says, the beach is really not so easy to find, but you can reach it from General Luna relatively easy and in a short time by scooter. If you are lucky, you can really use this beautiful little beach all to yourself and enjoy the paradisiacal atmosphere.
The Alegria Beach as also the Pacifico Beach are further beaches that are located in the north of the island and therewith, they are a little more complex to get to. Here, one finds long sand beaches, tropical palms and crystal clear water.
Alternatively, you can spend your last day with another popular day trip to the so-called Sugba Lagoon. The tours start from General Luna. Here you will find a bay of almost green water, surrounded by rocks that are reflected in the water. Here you can swim, snorkel or try out stand-up paddling.
In the evening you can enjoy a drink or two in General Luna and finish your stay in Siargao paradise before you continue on to Palawan the next day.
Philippines itinerary day 14: El Nido, Palawan
The next stop is the Palawan, which is characteristic for the Philippines and is located in the western part of the Philippines. Here you will find the impressive limestone cliffs and dreamlike lagoons and bays. This part of the Philippines is completely different from Bohol or Siargao, but no less breathtaking.
However, the way is adventurous and you should plan about one day for the journey to El Nido. From Siargao you can take a domestic flight via Cebu to Puerto Princessa, the capital, which is located approximately in the center of Palawan. From here you have to travel another 5-6 hours further north with a bus transport to finally reach El Nido. Thus, one should assume that one loses one day due to the arrival.
In El Nido there are numerous possibilities to have something to eat and drink in the evening or to have a stroll through the streets that are crowded with tourists.
Philippines day 15: El Nido, Palawan
El Nido is the tourist hotspot of Palawan and is perfect for different tours. A MUST-DO here are the lagoon tours, which are offered numerously. There are a total of 4 fixed tours (A, B, C, D), which can be booked. Each tour goes to different lagoons and bays (the routes can be viewed in advance on the Internet).
Depending on how long one stays in El Nido, it is worthwhile to do at least 1-2 of the tours. You go out with the boat in the morning and come back in the afternoon. A traditional lunch is included. The landscapes you will see here are indescribable and breathtaking. Worth seeing are especially the Small- and the Big Lagoon, where you can rent a kayak and explore the lagoons almost on your own.
But each tour has its own charm. One gets some snorkeling spots and hidden bays and beaches that are otherwise only known from movies like Jurassic Park. Every scenery is framed by the gigantic limestone formations and offers a breathtaking panorama.
Philippines route day 16-17: El Nido or Coron
For the next 2 days there are now 2 options: Firstly, you can continue to spend the next days in El Nido and explore the area by scooter. There are some beaches in the area that are definitely worth a visit. At Lio Beach you can relax, shop and laze around, at Las Cabañas Beach/ Vanilla Beach you can rent a kayak and enjoy a drink or two and at Corong Corong Beach you can watch beautiful sunsets.
Especially recommendable and within 20 km by scooter is the Nacpan Beach, which is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the country. The wide beach stretches 4 kilometers with few crowds and many palm trees. On the wide beach you can take great walks and also enjoy the sunset in the evening.
The second option for those who want to see more of Palawan is Coron. From El Nido you have the possibility to take the ferry to Coron. But here you should plan at least another 4 hours with the fast ferry.
Coron is the counterpart to El Nido – just as beautiful with breathtaking landscapes, but less touristy. Coron offers similar scenery to El Nido, but with fewer people. Here, as in El Nido, one has the possibility to make different tours to lonely lagoons and bays.
Philippines itinerary Day 18-20: Boracay
Alternatives for the journey to Boracay
The last stop of the Philippines round trip is the island Boracay. Here you can enjoy your last days in the sun to the fullest, review the impressions of the last weeks and switch off before you go home.
For the journey to Boracay you have different alternatives: From El Nido you either have to return to Puerto Princessa by bus and then by domestic flight back to Cebu for the further journey to Boracay or you take a direct flight from El Nido to Caticlan and take the ferry to Boracay. However, there are few direct flights, which are only offered by one airline (AirSwift) and are not very cheap. However, this way you avoid the problem of losing a whole day due to the long journey via Cebu and are only 2-3 hours away by direct flight and ferry from El Nido to Boracay. As a third option you can take the ferry from El Nido to Boracay – but here you will be on the road for about 16-20 hours.
In 2018 the island of Boracay was closed for half a year due to the heavy tourist masses and pollution. Meanwhile, there is a visitor limit, waste disposal and protection of the environment.
Hightlight on Boracay: White Beach
Boracay is an island on which there is also a lot to see, but where you can use the time to have a good time. The White Beach is a long beach section that is divided into three areas. Here, one can fully enjoy the sun hours or do some dives. There are numerous shopping possibilities alongside the boardwalk. There are also plenty of restaurants and bars nearby. The nightlife at the White Beach is very popular with the tourists. 1-2 times a week there is the so called Boracay Pub Crawl, in which different nationalities participate.
One of the sights on Boracay is the Willy’s Rock, which is also located on White Beach. Here you can find rocks rising from the sea with a statue of the holy Mary on it. The view is in any case worth a visit
Philippines itinerary day 21: Boracay – Manila – journey home
The stay in the paradisiacal Philippines is now slowly coming to an end.
From Boracay you can take the ferry back to Caticlan and from there by plane to Manila (about 3 hours). From here it goes then back home.
Depending on the time of your return flight you can optionally spend a few last hours in Manila.
What are the costs for the 21 days Philippines itinerary?
In any case, the Philippines is one of the more expensive Asian travel destinations. Here you see the cost estimate for your Philippines trip summarized:
Local means of transport
Since the Philippines consist of several islands and you have to cover extremely long distances, there is no way around covering some distances by domestic flight. Here the prices vary a lot, depending on the season and the season. Also your luggage plays an important role – if you only travel with hand luggage you will definitely get away cheaper.
Included in this route proposal are local flights, ferries, scooter rental and possible van/taxi rides. You should expect at least 500 Euro.
If you want to rent a scooter, you can bargain very well here! Sometimes you can get a scooter for about 5-7 Euro per day.
Cost for Hotels & Accommodation
Here it depends on whether you want to stay in dormitories or single/double rooms.
There are places in the dormitory for 5-7 Euro per night. Good rooms in nice accommodations are sometimes available for 10-15 euros a night. If you are looking for something more upscale near the beach, you should reckon with about 30 euros a night.
Cost for Food & Drink in the Philippines
You should plan on around 10-20 euros per day for food and drink. Eating out is definitely more expensive here than in other Asian countries. If you get something on your hand or go to a snack bar or a cookshop, you will get away for much less than in a restaurant (there you often pay similar prices for a meal as in Western Europe).
Excursions / Day Tours
Here, one should calculate with approximately 15-30 euros (per excursion) for island hopping, lagoon tours or a snorkeling trip (often already food and equipment included).
About 5-10 Euro for a SIM card and data volume
Shopping & Souvenirs
… are, of course, entirely in your hands.
Conclusion: Total costs 21 days Philippines round trip
With the average costs you have to reckon with a total of about 1200-1500 Euros for the 21-day round trip in the Philippines, excluding the approach. Here it depends on how economical you are with accommodation and food and how many excursions you take.
The prices for transportation, internet etc. change quickly, so I can only give a rough indication here, but the effort is too big to keep every price up to date every day. Be lenient with me 🙂
This article was created for you in collaboration with my friend & travel enthusiast Lena. For more travel pictures from all over the world, follow her on Instagram!
Conclusion for 21 days Philippines itinerary
21 days in the Philippines will give you a great insight into the breathtaking island state and make you want more! Because of the long flight and the distances within the country you will lose about 2 days of travel time, you should definitely calculate with 21 days or (if you have less time) leave out 1-2 stops.
The long distances and partly costly journeys from island to island can be exhausting, but you will be compensated 100% with unforgettable experiences and paradisiacal landscapes. Here, nature lovers and adventurers definitely do not miss out and the countless dream beaches make this trip an unforgettable experience!
Are you looking for more exciting travel destinations in Asia? Then we have some inspiration for you on JOURNICATION! Check it out here:
- The best Things to do in Sri Lanka + Travel Tips
- Things to do in PENANG for your perfect day
- Japan Tour – compact route & tips for 10 days
- … or check out Laura’s post about the cheapest Asian countries
Leaving soon for the Philippines?
We use these resources ourselves for our travel planning:
- Compare for the cheapest flights to the Philippines run on Skyscanner
- Great hotels and accommodation for all needs can be found on Booking.com
- The best car rental comparison you have at DiscoverCars
- Excursions & tours we book comfortably in advance at Get your Guide
- Receive a SIM card for Sri Lanka from Holafly in advance and have internet available immediately after landing
- For a handy local travel guide, I recommend the Lonely Planet for the Philippines:
If you find JOURNICATION’s tips and summaries helpful, we would be very happy about bookings through our affiliate links. You won’t have to worry about any additional costs by doing so, but we will receive a small commission and can continue to run the website. THANK YOU VERY MUCHFOR YOUR SUPPORT 💙🤗
Pin the article for later on Pinterest: