The Ultimate 1 Month Philippines Itinerary
The Philippines is a place of true natural beauty. Think remote islands, some of the most beautiful beaches on the planet, waterfalls, lagoons and turquoise waters teeming with coral reefs. And although you could spend a lot longer discovering all of The Philippines archipelago (it’s made up of over 7000 islands!) 1 month is definitely enough to see it’s highlights. Read on to discover the best of what the country has to offer with this 1 month Philippines itinerary.
Table of Contents
Day 1 – 4 Cebu (Cebu City & Moalboal)
The first stop on your 1 month Philippines itinerary is the island of Cebu. It’s coral reefs, sparkling waterfalls and white beaches make it the ideal place to start your Philippines adventure. The main hub of the island is Cebu City. It has a well connected international airport so is the easiest place to fly to. However there isn’t too much to see in Cebu City itself, so after arriving, catch the bus to the beach town of Moalboal, 85km south of the city.
Top things to do in Moalboal
Kawasan Falls – These beautiful turquoise waterfalls nestled in the jungle are one of the highlights of the area. Hike and swim around the falls at your leisure. Or if you’re looking for some adventure try the canyoneering experience here is a must.
Panagsama Beach – Home to the most amazing coral reefs and an abundance of marine life including the famous Sardine Run. Don a snorkel, mask and fins and swim just 10m from shore to explore it all.
White Beach – Head here for a lazy beach day. Blue clear water and white sand make it the perfect place to go swimming or just lie back and relax with a book.
Pescador Island – A marine park offshore famous for its colourful coral and world-class dive sites. If diving isn’t your thing there are lots of snorkelling diving tours you can do here too.
Where is the best area to stay in Moalboal?
The best area to stay in Moalboal is Panagsama Beach. This area lies 5km west of Moalboal town and is made up of a single road lined with dive shops, restaurants, cafes and bars that leads down to the beach.
Day 5 – 8 Siquijor Island
Siquijor Island is the next destination on your 1 month Philippines itinerary. Locally it’s known as the island of witchcraft and superstition, but the only thing magical about Siquijor is its enchanting beauty. It’s an island of white-sand beaches, mystical landmarks, and lush jungle waterfalls. Yet what I loved most about Siquijor was its authentic laid back vibe. So if you’re looking for a less crowded and more chilled island to spend a few days make sure to add Siquijor to your list.
Top things to do on Siquijor Island
Cambugahay Falls – Discover lush turquoise waterfalls hidden in the jungle complete with bamboo rafts, rope swings and jump points. It’s the ultimate adventure playground.
Paliton Beach – This small undeveloped beach and it’s calm waters make it perfect for kayaking, paddleboarding and magical sunsets.
Salagdoong Beach – This beach is developed in comparison to other Siquijor beaches but is the most fun. Here you can snorkel, kayak, paddleboard, float about on giant unicorn inflatables or even do some cliff jumping.
Old Enchanted Balete Tree – Believed to have magical properties, this 500-year-old tree is home to a freshwater spring and relaxing foot spa.
Where is the best area to stay on Siquijor Island?
The best area to stay on Siquijor Island is San Juan on the island’s west side. It’s the most central in relation to the beaches and attractions. Plus there are a lot of cafes, bars and restaurants here and a more lively vibe at night.
Day 9 – 12 Bohol
Whilst many destinations in the Philippines are a match made in heaven for beach lovers. Bohol is that for nature enthusiasts. Home to the world’s smallest primate, dense jungles, pristine rivers and the famous chocolate hills, this flourishing island has so much to explore. And if you do want to spend at least some of your time on a white sandy beach, Bohol has got a few of those up its sleeve too.
Top things to do on Bohol
Alona Beach – A gorgeous white sandy beach with shallow calm waters and a long line of beachfront bars to watch the sunset from. Alona Beach is the tourist centre of Bohol and also has a strip behind the beach of restaurants, bars and cafes.
Hinagdanan Cave – Panglao Island’s top highlight. An underground cave with beautiful rock formations and a warm blue lagoon you can swim in.
Chocolate Hills – Named after their brown hue, this unusual landscape of hundreds of hills in the centre of Bohol is one of the island’s best attractions.
Tarsier sanctuary – Observe and learn about the world’s smallest primate, the endangered (and rather cute) Bohol Tarsier at this conservation project.
Loboc River Cruise – Take a trip up the deeply scenic Loboc River to the Busay Falls. Most cruises include a buffet lunch and traditional Filipino singing and dancing too.
Where is the best area to stay on Bohol?
The best area to stay on Bohol is at Alona Beach on Panglao Island. It’s where most of the bars, restaurants, cafes and accommodation is on the island and has a lively buzz both day and night. It’s also easily accessible from Tagbilaran City which you’ll most likely arrive in to.
Day 13 – 16 Siargao Island
The next destination on your 1 month Philippines itinerary is Siargao Island. This remote island is considered one of the most beautiful in Southeast Asia. Imagine a landscape of coconut trees, white beaches and hidden rivers, surrounded by crystal clear waters. It’s a paradise for both surfers and adventurers with a slight hipster vibe in its main tourist town: General Luna.
Top things to do on Siargao Island
Maasin Secret River Ropeswing – Just outside of Maasin village you’ll find this Insta-famous river rope swing. It’s attached to a palm tree that leans across the turquoise waters of the Maasin River. You can also hire a paddleboat and take it up the river to take in the beautiful views.
Magpupungko Rock Pools – A 45-minute drive from General Luna, these crystal clear blue rock pools can only be seen at low tide. It’s the perfect place for swimming, cliff jumping and exploring the nearby coves.
Surf at Cloud 9 – Siargao is the surf capital of The Philippines, so where else better to go and catch some waves. Just off Cloud 9 beach is the best surfing area on the island, with plenty of surf shops nearby where you can rent a board or book a lesson.
3 Island Tour – Exploring the 3 smaller islands that surround Siargao is another popular activity for travellers. All tours are a full day and include visits to Guyam Island, Daku Island, and Naked Island as well as lunch.
Sugba Lagoon – Another popular day trip to do from Siargao Island is to Sugba Lagoon. This picture-perfect spot boasts a blue lagoon hidden in the jungle ideal for swimming, snorkelling and kayaking.
Where is the best area to stay on Siargao Island?
The best area to stay in Siargao Island is General Luna. This is where most travellers stay with the best choice of shops, restaurants and cafes. It’s also home to many tour operators you can easily book day trips and is just around the corner from the famous Cloud 9 beach.
Day 17 – 19 Boracay
The tiny 7km island of Boracay is the most well-known destination in The Philippines. Due to overtourism, the island was closed to visitors for 6 months in 2018 in order to add vital infrastructure and bring it back to its former glory. However, I visited Boracay 6 months after it reopened and was extremely underwhelmed by it. Yes, the beaches are stunning, but no more so than the other islands in this itinerary. It was also a little too over commercialised for more liking.
So why have I added Boracay into this 1 month Philippines itinerary? If you want to visit somewhere developed, like to party or just see the famous Boracay for yourself, it’s still worth spending a couple of days on the island.
If not then I would seriously consider spending these extra days in Cebu, Siargao or El Nido, or even add in another destination!
Top things to do in Boracay
Wander around D Mall – Located at Station 2 next to White Beach, D Mall is a collection of restaurants, cafes, shops and bars.
White Beach – This 4km stretch of pristine white sand and surrounding waters are perfect for relaxing and swimming.
Bulabog Beach – A famous kitesurfing area with rentals and lessons available from the beachfront.
Paraw Sunset Sailing – Sail into the sunset from White Beach on your own traditional boat.
Where is the best place to stay in Boracay?
The best area to stay in Boracay is either Station 1, 2 or 3. Station 2 is in the most convenient and busy area and has plenty of mid-budget accommodation. Whilst Station 1 and Station 3 are quieter. Station 1 is home to high-end luxury resorts and Station 3 a cheaper option for budget travellers.
Day 20 – 23 Palawan, El Nido (Fly from Boracay)
The next destination on your 1 month Philippines itinerary is El Nido. Lying on the beautiful island of Palawan, this hippy style town is renowned for its towering limestone cliffs, bay of isolated islands and some of the best beaches in the world.
Top things to do in El Nido
Island Hopping – An island hopping tour is one of the best ways to see all that El Nido has to offer. There are 4 main tours to choose from where you can explore the stunning natural landmarks, beaches and caves on the islands out in Bacuit Bay
Nacpan Beach – Voted one of the best beaches in the world, Nacpan Beach is a relaxing paradise just 40 minutes from El Nido town, where you can sunbathe and swim all day.
Taraw Cliff climb – Safely climb El Nido’s highest peak with a company called El Nido Taraw Via Ferrata and their Canopy Walk. The climb takes you along bridges and stairs bolted into the rock and has the most spectacular view of the bay from the top.
Corang Corang Beach & Las Cabanas Beach – Both these beaches are within a walkable distance of El Nido town and are renowned for their beautiful sunsets.
Where is the best area to stay in El Nido?
El Nido Town is definitely the best area to stay in the El Nido region. It’s a central location to book tours and activities or pick up a tricycle driver to explore further afield. Naturally, it’s also quite a lively place with lots of shops, restaurants, bars and cafes as well as hostels and guesthouses.
Day 24 – 27 Coron
Coron is El Nido’s equally stunning neighbour. Both part of the Palawan archipelago, towering limestone formations, jade hued lakes and beautiful beaches make up this collection of islands.
Top things to do in Coron
Island hopping Tour – An island hopping tour is the easiest way to see Coron’s top highlights. All tours include visits to the famous Kayangan and Barracuda lakes as well as the Twin Lagoon.
Shipwreck diving – Home to several Japanese WW2 shipwrecks, Coron is perfect for countless diving adventures.
Mount Tapyas – If you’re looking for an activity that doesn’t involve a boat, hike up Mount Tapyas which has amazing views of Coron Town and the other islands from the top.
Maquinit Hot Springs – Spend an evening relaxing in these warm natural hot springs, they are especially good for sunset.
Where is the best area to stay in Coron?
The best place to stay in Coron is Coron Town. There are a lot of restaurants, bars and cafes here as well as accommodation for all budgets. It’s also really easy to book tours here and access the other islands.
Day 28 – 30 Manila
The final stop on your 1 month Philippines itinerary is the capital, Manila. Manila is a beast of a megacity, composed of 16 large sprawling districts which make up the metro area. It’s a place where old meets new. Where historic churches and ancient city walls lie amongst modern shopping malls and skyscrapers and colourful jeepneys screech and trundle between them all.
Top things to do in Manila
The Walled City – The walled remains of the old city of Intramuros are now one of Manila’s top attractions. Here visitors can learn all about the country’s complex history.
San Agustin Church – Set within the old city walls, San Agustin is the oldest church in The Philippines with beautiful intricate architectural features that are well worth seeing.
Manila Baywalk – This 2km coastal walkway is popular for its array of cafes, street food vendors and spectacular sunset views.
Binondo (Manila’s Chinatown) – Take a wander around the oldest Chinatown in the world! With affordable authentic Chinese eateries on every corner, Binondo is a popular spot amongst both locals and travellers for foodie delights to tempt your tastebuds with.
Where is the best area to stay in Manila?
The best area to stay in Manila is Makati or Poblacion. Makati is the high-end business district of the city so it is packed full of restaurants, bars, cafes and shops. It’s also a very clean and safe area of Manila that’s not too far away from its historic attractions and Manila Bay. Or if you’re on more of a budget, the lively Poblacion area within Makati has plenty of hostels and affordable hotels as well as lots of hipster pubs and bars.