I visited the Philippines 3 times in 2015 spending about 3 months there in total. Here are my Itineraries. Several destinations below are linked to more detailed posts, and these are generally my favorites and most recommended. You will also find a list of things you should consider bringing with you as they will be difficult to find outside the large cities of the Philippines.
First, please read my post outlining a few things to take into consideration when planning travel to the Philippines.
February 2015, Cebu and nearby islands:
- Landed in Cebu city in Cebu Island in the evening of February 7. Spent one night
- Next day took a taxi to (4 hrs) south to Moalboal. Stayed 4 nights at Club Serena Dive Resort and took a free diving course.
- After 5 days took a bus back to Cebu City, spent one night.
- Took a bus to Dannbantayan (northern tip of Cebu Island) where I miraculously caught the last water taxi/ferry to Malapascau.
- Stayed 4 nights on this lovely Island. Main purpose to dive with thresher sharks, but loved the island so stayed longer.
- Back to Cebu the way I came, stayed one night.
- Took another bus south to Oslob to see whale sharks. One night in oslob, then on another bus to Lilo-An to catch a ferry to Dumagette, then another “ferry” (more like a cargo ship accepting passengers) to Siquior.
- Three nights on Siquior. Hardly any tourists. Caves, waterfalls, beaches and fireflies. Then back to Dumagette for 1 night to catch the ferry to Bohol the next day.
- Stayed 3 nights in Panglao (Bohol Island), then 2 nights in Anda, and one Loboc in a jungle-like setting. Bohol has the Tarzier Monkeys, Chocolate Hills, decent diving off the coast of Panglao (though crowded) and much, much more. Traveled around Bohol by motorbike (rented) and Jeepney and bus.
- Back to Cebu by ferry for one night then flew to Kalibo airport to get a van to a ferry to get to Boracay.
- Boracay for 6 nights, then back to Kalibo to catch a Tiger Air flight to Singapore
Late March 2015, Diving Apo Reef
- Arrived in Manila, stayed with a friend for one night
- Boarded a bus to Batangas to catch a ferry to the Island of Mindoro
- Landed in Balatero (Mindoro) to discover the only way to get to dive centers going to Apo Reef was a 12 hr bus (next day) or little fisherman’s boat, to a pier, to a bus (that never arrived)/ hired van, to another boat to Pandan Island resort.
- One night in Sablaya. One night at Pandan Island Dive Resort, then 2 nights on a live-aboard at Apo Reef
- Back to Pandan for one night.
- Van, ferry, bus back to Manila. One night in Manila, then to the airport to catch a flight to Indonesia.
April 2015, El Nido, Coron, Romblon, Manila
- Landed in Manila in the evening, stayed at the (very expensive) Marriot near the airport.
- Flew to Puerta Princessa Palawan the next day. Took a van (6 hours) to El Nido. Stayed with a friend for about 10 days. Lots of good diving, decent food and a good beach nearby – Las Cabanas.
- Ferry to Coron (see my Coron Busuanga post). Dived the Japanese wrecks from Sangat Island Resort, then travelled to a location near San Hose (30 minutes from the Busuanga Airport) to dive, and snorkel with manta and Dugongs (manatees).
- Car to the airport for a flight to Manila. One night in Manila, then a flight to Tablas Island to get miss a ferry and instead hitch a ride with a fisherman to Romblon Island. Four nights on Romblon, then a ferry back to Tablas to catch a flight back to Manila.
- One night in Manila.
- Flight to Japan the next day.