5 Places in the Philippines You NEED to Visit & How to Get to Them All!

Is it more fun in the Philippines?? That’s the question right!?

Well, if you want to know what I think then you can check out my post Is it really more fun in the Philippines?? BUT, the thing is, when I went to the Philippines at the start of 2016 I didn’t visit that many places!

I went to Manila then Palawan Island to El Nido and Port Barton, back to Manila and then to Boracay. I loved my time there, I did a lot in the 2 weeks that I had and it was a great introduction to the beautiful country that is the Philippines but since then I have realised just how many more places the Philippines has to offer!

In particular, places that are no way ‘off the beaten track’ but they are certainly a lot lesser known!

I know this as my friend Sarah, who I met travelling in South East Asia in 2014 and then travelled South East Asia with again in 2015, has been to the Philippines 3 times for a total of about 3 months, so she has spent a lot of time travelling around its many many islands.

I was interested in where she went as her Instagram photos were incredible and I had never heard of the places she was visiting!

So Sarah has kindly given me some information on 5 places that she loved in the Philippines!

What I love is that these 5 places flow so easily from one to the next (well as easily as one can flow on travel days in the Philippines.. I’ll warn you now that the travel days there are long!) so there’s no reason why you can’t visit them all in a row! She has also included what she really thought of the places, what she did there and where she stayed whilst travelling on a backpacker budget.. handy hey? Lets go:


Getting there: Cebu city to Malapascau

Start in Cebu City which is a main city and has a major airport.

Catch the Ceres Bus from Cebu Bus Terminal to Maya Port. The 1st bus is at 3:00am.

Get a Boat from Maya Port to Malapascau. The 1st boat is at 7:00am and the last boat about 5:00/6:00pm.

Where to stay:

Budget Inn– Nice Accommodation. They play films every night & it’s a sociable place.


Day trip to Kalanggmann Island to visit Leyte and the Sand Bar. It’s a beautiful day trip with lunch included.

Incredible Diving

Enjoy the Beautiful Beaches

For more information check out:

This Wikitravel page. I love Wikitravel and its one of my go-to sites when in South East Asia. This page gives some really detailed information on how to get there and expands what I have said above!

Philippines guide Kalanggaman Island Leyte

Sarah’s Instagram from Kalanggaman Island, Leyte.


Getting there: Malapascau to Bohol

Catch the local boat from Malapascau back to Maya Port. Get the Ceres Bus again back to Cebu City Bus Terminal.

Take a taxi to the Ferry Terminal and the Ferry to Bohol.

Take a taxi/tricycle from Tagbilaran Port to Panglao on Panglao Island.

Where to stay:

Moonfools Hostel – It’s a popular choice in Bohol in a good location to the beach although slightly overpriced.


A Day trip to the Chocolate Hills is the most popular activity in Bohol.

Visit the Tarsier Monkey Sanctuary.

Take a lunch river cruise.

If you’re confident enough then hiring a scooter and exploring yourself is a good idea here.

Overall thought:

Not a fan of Panglao. It doesn’t live up to the instagram photos but the Chocolate Hills are good and worth visiting for!

For more information check out:

How to see the Chocolate Hills and Tarsiers on Bohol by We Travel to Live.

(Side note: Oslob which is a famous place for swimming with Whale Sharks is very close to Panglao however DO NOT do this. There are so many articles why, here’s one article by a Dive Centre in Bohol and here’s a video by Aly at Psycho Traveller which is a great, passionate video!)

Philippines guide chocolate Hills

Sarah’s Instagram from the Chocolate Hills!

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Getting there: Bohol to Siquijor

Take a taxi/tricycle back to Tagbilaran Port and Ferry Terminal.

Catch the Ferry to Siquijor. Note that these ferries are not regular. More info here.

Take a Tricycle from Siquijor Port to San Juan.

Where to stay:

Charisma Resort– Budget accommodation, fairly old in style but it’s on the beach and it has a swimming pool! It has one bog dorm room which means it’s very sociable. There are some private rooms available too.


Go Waterfall chasing! – There are lots of Waterfalls on Siquijor island that you can visit. The most popular are Cambagahay Falls. There’s also Lagaan Falls and Lugnason Falls too.

Zodiac Falls is a free Waterfall Adventure Ecopark in the jungle which has waterfalls for each zodiac sign which seems quite unique!

Visit Paliton Beach in San Juan at Sunset. Siquijor Island is known as the Island of Fire and it’s sunsets may be why!

Be a beach bum on its many incredible beaches: Salagdoong beach, Kagusuan beach.

Snorkelling in Coco Grove and pop into Coco Grove Beach Resort which is the best hotel on the island.

Siquijor is popular among locals for folk healing and its known to have many stories about witchcraft on the island so a visit to a Sharman is possible.

Go up Mount Bandilaan for Sunset.

Go Cliff jumping at Salagdoong Beach.

Where to spend your evenings:

Thursday night- Cecilia’s Guest House where there’s a live reggae band and disco.

Friday night- Czar’s Place

Saturday night- The Sylvia for a band night.

Sunday night- Baha Bar to chill.

Visit Dagsa in San Juan for dinner, it’s a bit pricey but delicious!

Overall Thought:


For more information check out:

Siquijor Travel Guide by The Pinay Solo Backpacker for a detailed blog post on how to get there from different places in the Philippines, how to get around, lots of accommodation options and how to do it on a budget!

phiippines guide Siquijor sunset

Sarah’s Instagram from Mount Bandilaan at Sunset!

Philippines guide Cambagahay Falls

Sarah’s picture from Cambagahay Falls!

Isla Gigantes

Getting there: Siquijor to Isla Gigantes

From San Juan take a tricycle back to Siquijor Port.

Take a Boat to Dumuagete. From there take the Ceres bus to Bacolod (be prepared for this to take a while).

Stay the night in Bacolod. The Hostelry is a good place to stay and contactable on Facebook here.

Sarah visited Isla Gigantes on a trip that she booked with Rye Art travel and tours (contactable on Facebook here) whilst in Bacolod and they organise travel from Bacolod.

What does the tour involve:

Boat transfers


Island hopping to 6-7 beautiful islands

Endless sea food (literally, endless!)

Karaoke and some drinks in the evening if you feel like it.

Overall thought: Amazing Tour! This trip is not touristy yet enough to survive.

For more information check out:

Islas de Gigantes: Travel Guide and Itinerary by Mike who focuses on Philippines Travel. He gives lots of tips and information in this post about how to visit, what to do and costs!

philippines guide isla gigantes

Sarah’s with the people she went on the tour with!


Getting there: Isla Gigantes to Boracay

Take the local Bus from Carles to Kalibo.

Catch a Minibus from Kalibo to Caticlan Pier.

Jump on the Boat to Boracay.

Take a Tricycle to where you’re staying in Boracay.

Where to stay:

Friendz Resort & Hostel. Sarah and I stayed here in 2016 when we visited and she has stayed here each time she’s been to Boracay.


There are soo many things to do on the island of Boracay!

Zip Lining

Riding an ATV around the island


Boat Trips to go Island hopping

Scuba Diving


Walking up and down Boracay’s Famous White Beach!

Watching the sunset from White Beach

Where to party:

Boracay is a good place to party, although it’s also good because if you don’t want to party then you can avoid it easily enough too! We loved – Our hostel Friendz Resort for pre drinks and then going onto Exit, Coco Mangas, Epic and Summerplace.

For more information check out:

The Island Hopping Tour in Boracay You Can’t Miss by Amy & Mike from A Nomadic Existence. This trip sounds so good and they have a few other posts on Boracay too! (And I trust them because mine and Amy’s paths crossed in Hoi Ann one time and we went for coffee!)

You can also check out my blog post from Boracay to see what I got up to! Hint, it involves a lot of rum, sunsets and paddle boarding!

philippines guide boracay

One of my snaps from Boracay!

philippines guide boracay white beach

And another!

philippines guide boracay girls

Sarah and I in Boracay in 2016! Good times!

From here: You can go to Manila or over to Palawan to visit El Nido and Port Barton.

Read my post on how to get from Boracay to El Nido which will help you get to Palawan, El Nido and to Manila as you need to go via Manila to get to Palawan!

If you’re not sure what to do in Manila and I would recommend spending a day with True Manila who run a slum tour. It’s a lot better than what it sounds and really gives back to the children of Manila who are living in poverty. You can read my experience here and check out their Facebook here!


*What do you think of this? Has it helped you? Writing this has certainly added all of these places to my bucket list! Let me know in the comments below or by tweeting me!*

If you’re travelling around South East Asia then click on the Country links below to see the posts I have written about each country!

Have fun!!










Philippines pin pinterest guide

Why not Pin this to refer back to later?




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