A Two-Week Philippines Itinerary
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A Two-Week Philippines Itinerary—Beaches to Mountains

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UPDATED: 6/2018

If only a two-week Philippines itinerary was good enough…

It’s not nearly enough time and you likely won’t want to leave.

The Philippines is moving on up on the places to visit in Southeast Asia, but trust me, it’s not there yet. It’s still a bit under the radar compared to its neighbors. Fortunately, this means it’s a great time to visit.

The Philippines is definitely on my favorites list and on my repeat list. I spent nearly two months here over two visits and it wasn’t nearly enough, I think a year wouldn’t be enough! But a two-week itinerary for the Philippines is better than no weeks!

Don’t worry, if you have more time, I have more add-on options for you at the end.

I know most have short holidays, so if you’re planning on coming here for a couple of weeks and don’t want to be spending it on buses, boats, and planes the entire time try focusing on the two areas I’ll be mentioning below.

I would spend one week at each.

It gives you a good look at the mountain life and island life. The perfect blend for your 2 week Philippines itinerary. Promise!

Both have different feels and it would be cool to see both sides while backpacking the Philippines with your limited time.

You’ll also get a lot out of staying in these areas, don’t think you’ll be low on things to do!

At the same time, you won’t be rushed around like you’re on a psycho whirlwind tour—because that’s not much of a vacation, is it?

If you’re backpacking the Philippines, I promise, this will be your best route!

Don’t forget! I have TONS of other resources for the Philippines:

The Best Two-Week Philippines Itinerary

As most backpackers in the Philippines are ready to flock to the beach, I couldn’t NOT mention this first. And it’s pretty obvious why the Philippines is known for its beaches.

The Ultimate travel guide to 2 weeks in the Philippines - kayaking around El Nido!
Kayaking or boating around El Nido is a must during your 2 weeks in the Philippines!

They are simply paradise. You’ve never seen beaches like this. It’s hard to describe the beauty that the aged black limestone and cerulean colored sea make.

The marine life is teeming, there are hidden coves and beaches to boat or kayak to, and the island life vibes here are unprecedented. The best place to get a piece of this paradise is undoubtedly, Palawan.

Philippines Itinerary—Palawan for a Week

This is one of the most popular islands in the archipelago and for good reason. It just so happens to be one of the most beautiful islands on earth! When you visit Palawan, you may never want to leave…

Resources for Your Trip:

Don’t forget insurance!

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Where to Stay?

How to Get Free Accommodation Anywhere!

Check my top 3 (legit) ways to get free stays!

The Subterranean River—1 Day

This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and part of the New Seven Wonders of Nature.

A magnificent cave is carved into the ancient limestone forming a huge underground waterway that runs for 24 kilometers.

You can take a boat tour through the water here and admire some of the cave structures and rock formations.

Subterranean River in the Philippines
The entrance to the Subterranean River | Photo credit by Jimaggro via CC

It’s certainly quite humbling to be in a cave this large but unfortunately, you can’t swim in it or take a boat all the way through.

It’s one of the most popular things to see while backpacking the Philippines because if it’s UNESCO status, however, most people skip right over everything else in the area…

Philippines Itinerary Add-On: Sabang Beach. It’s really easy to skip when there’s a massive popular cave calling your name but there are actually some great things to do in the area like ziplining, chilling on the empty beaches, and even ATV rides. You could get totally lost here…if you have the time.

Honda Bay—1 Day

A beautiful day, set on the sea, popping around to a few different islands for a spectacular look at some pieces of paradise would sound like a badass day to all backpackers in the Philippines… Because it is.

Starfish Island was the highlight, in my opinion, with coral colored starfish covering the ocean floor! Tropical fish whizzing by and clear blue water for miles makes this spot a wonderful choice for a day trip!

The boat tours will make you a delicious seafood feast to keep your pumped and energized for the rest of the day.

Read more about the Underground River and Honda Bay here.

El Nido—4 Days

The best for last!  El Nido is a tropical slice of heaven. The scenery here is unprecedented and the islands are simply incredible.

The water is every shade of blue you can think of, clear, teeming with marine life, and the surrounding areas are studded with majestic limestone rocks jutting out of the water all around you.

The actual town is quite cute and surprisingly underdeveloped considering the amount of tourism that’s flooded through here yearly.

The town’s beach isn’t that great but there are cute bars along the shore to at least have that novelty ‘beer on a beach’ thing going for it.

Hop over to Corong Corong which is just a few minutes drive down the road for a gorgeous and quiet beach to bask on all day or you can keep yourself busy with island hopping tours.

I went on two and would have been happy to go on more!

I got lost in El Nido for a whole week! Oops! Read more about El Nido here and about the best tours from El Nido here.

Recommended Philippines tours:

Philippines Itinerary—North Luzon for a Week

Despite being a professional beach bum, I do love the mountain scenery as well so that’s why your next week on your Philippine itinerary is going to give you a totally different feel…

Cordillera Region

Get ready for a bit of cold weather and a very different vibe than Palawan, up in North Luzon. This will be a good way to switch up the scenery on your two-week itinerary for the Philippines.

A Two-Week itinerary for the philippines ,philippines itinerary travel to sagada and palwan itinerary
2 weeks in the Philippines? I could have spent 2 weeks just here!

Banaue—2 Days

This is a charming town that is simply gorgeous. You are surrounded by lush greenery and the rice terraces are already in view the moment you arrive.

The people are calm and helpful, it’s a great spot to chill for a night or two. It’s a sleepy town, so don’t expect much at night.

The viewpoints around the town are certainly worth a look at. You can catch a trike ride to any of them for not much money.

The clean mountain air will fill your lungs and feed your mountain-loving soul but I would suggest spending more time in Sagada which has all of that but a bit more life to the town.

Batad—1 Day

With 2 weeks in the Philippines you should go see these rice terraces in north Luzon.
You have to see the terraces during your 2 weeks in the Philippines!

This is where the UNESCO World Heritage rice terraces are located that the Ifugao have kept alive for centuries far before colonial times.

The terraces are a legacy that has been passed down as a way of farming rice and it’s still used today.

It, of course, also makes for an incredible sight. They are truly breathtaking and getting to wander around them is humbling.

Meander the skinny pathways through the rice terraces and make your way to Tappiya Waterfall in the middle of the fields. Take an invigorating dip in the water in preparation for your long hike back.

The water is cold and refreshing which definitely helps to wash away the sweat you’ve accumulated during your hike!

Check out more about Banaue and Batad here.

Sagada—3 Days

A super chill and laid-back town, this is a  place where you can get lost for a while.  The weather is still cool, the town is adorable, and the scenery is beautiful.

There are waterfalls to explore, mountains to hike, and viewpoints to admire the jaw-dropping beauty.

The famous hanging coffins are here on display, a creepy, yet intriguing site to see after a brief walk through a forested valley.

The cave system is spectacular as well as adventurous if you explore the long cave connection with a  guide. This was the most adrenaline pumping activity I did in the country and I highly recommend it.

You will be climbing through rock holes, swimming in cave lakes, and making your way through stalactites and stalagmites as you are guided with only a gas lamp in your guide’s hand. How many times do you get to explore and hike through a large cave? Never.

Note: Don’t try this without a guide! This cave is MASSIVE and you will totally get lost. The holes we had to go down and things we climbed over are not obvious and a person who doesn’t know the trail will 100% get lost. If you want to go alone, I hear the short cave connection is fine but not adventurous at all.

So the point of the story – do the long cave connection with a guide. Get 3 people in your group to make it cheaper. I met two girls and invited myself. It was awesome!

We signed up to do the cave tour with Saagas. They were great!

Read more about Sagada here!

More Information for Your Two-Week Philippines Itinerary

Transport info: To maximize your time, you’ll need to take a flight from Manila to Puerto Princesa and then back again.

Considering it’s very likely that you will be flying into Manila to start, it would make more sense to just buy a round-trip flight from Manila to Puerta Princessa and then back to Manila to explore North Luzon.

Views in Sagada Philippines are amazing!
Sagada is truly breathtaking.

Honestly, with over 7,000 islands, it’s hard to go wrong. But if I had to recommend a two-week itinerary for the Philippines, this would be it!

It’s giving you a taste of two sides of the Philippines, and again, you won’t be rushing around like a maniac. If you’re looking to splash out a bit more and want to party, Boracay is the hot spot in the Philippines for that.

TIP: 12go.asia is the best way to book ferries, buses, and trains ahead of time in the Philippines!

I chose not to go because it’s more expensive and the flights there were ridiculous at the time I was there, which was shoulder season! I wouldn’t even consider it during high season.

So Why Is This the Best Two-Week Philippines Itinerary?

Becuase I spent a month here (UPDATE: I went back! Total time spent in the country—six weeks) and these were (still are) my two absolutely favorite places the Philippines offers.

I want to explore more islands and I will! Again, if you’re going for a short time, this is the best Philippines itinerary to get the best of both worlds without rushing too much!

I seriously fell in love with the country. I can’t wait to go back again.

Sagada Philippines rice terrances
Incredible views around Sagada

What Else Can I Explore in the Philippines?

I explored Bohol and went off the grid on Panglao, I hunted for witches on Siquijor, I danced my ass off at the Neverland EDM concert in Manila, and I nearly got deported.

On my second visit, I went to Manila, visited one of the most incredible sandbars in the world at Kalanggaman Island, and visited Leyte and Samar, some of the worst-hit islands during Super Typhoon Yolanda.

I’ve hooked you up with some tips on the Philippines too. Sooo…Have you booked a flight yet? You probably should.

Where will you go after the Philippines?

Laos | Malaysia | Singapore | Indonesia | Thailand | Cambodia | Vietnam

What do you think of this two-week itinerary for the Philippines? Does this sound like ultimate Philippines Itinerary to you? What are you most excited about?


Guide to Backpacking Philippines

How to Get to El Nido From Puerto Princesa (Palawan, Philippines)

Where to Stay in El Nido: Hostels, Hotels and Resorts

Things to Do in El Nido: A Guide to 3-5 Days in the Philippine Paradise

13+ Day Trips and Tours to Take in Manila, Philippines

Your Intro to Palawan, Philippines: 9 Things to Do in Puerto Princesa

Years After a Super Typhoon: What Traveling Leyte and Samar Are Like Now (Philippines)

A Guide to Kalanggaman Island: Basking on One of the Best Sandbars in the Philippines

2-Day Sagada Itinerary in a Blissful Sleepy Town in the Mountains of the Philippines

Exploring the Rice Terraces of Banaue and Batad

Siquijor Island: Crazy Bike Rides and a Witch Hunt

A One Day Bohol Itinerary – Jungle Huts, Tiny Monkeys, and Chocolate Hills

Cebu City- Boo / Neverland Manila Festival- Yay!

Welcome to the Philippines! Not

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  1. I am going to Cebu Island for 5 days and was wondering, what was the best method of transportation around the island?

  2. I’d say it’s definitely possible but you’d be spending more money and spending more time on modes of transport. So if it were me, I’d leave it out. Have a great time!

  3. Hi Nina. Thanks for getting back to me. I was just wondering if you thought it was too ambitious trying to fit in Cebu into my itinerary.

  4. Hi Mustansar, if you’re there for 14 days, which is two weeks, then yes my TWO WEEK itinerary would work. But it seems like you have other things planned already. Not really sure what you’re asking of me. Enjoy your time!

  5. Hi Nana. Fantastic article! My wife and I are planning a 14-da day trip there for next month.

    Flying from Manilla to Cebu. We plan to stay in Cebu for 3 days. Fly to El Nido on the 4th day. Then fly to Coron on the 9th day. We will end our trip by flying to Puerto Princesa on day 12.

    Do you think this itinerary could work?

  6. Hey Jess, luckily you can book thing ahead of time here now so when you want to get to places a bit further, you don’t need to walk up to the bus station to do it. While you’re in the city, just walk or take tricycles. For flights, if you want to get a decent price, book ahead, if you don’t mind paying a bit more for the flexiblity, book on the fly.This will also help.

  7. Hi, Great itinerary just what I was looking for.
    I plan on going to the Philippines in February with my partner.
    I think i will do north Luzon first before Palawan.
    Would you recommend booking all the flights before we go?
    Also what is the best way to get to and around north Luzon and Palawan?



  8. These are really great photos! I’m amazed with the photos, they look extraordinary! I love all of them. As for the itinerary, I am amazed with how many beautiful places you have been to within two weeks. I wish I could do the same thing. Anyways, thanks for sharing your itinerary! Great blog!

  9. Hey Stephanie, I remember EVERYONE telling me that bus sells out! I couldn’t find any way to book it at a tour company or a way to book it online – not unless I did some sketchy money transfer that took days to go through! It was crazy, but luckily this was many years ago, and now, I found this place to book online and it looks like they have some more options. When I booked mine in advanced, I had to go to the bus station, which is kinda crazy to get to in the middle of Manila, and hope they still had a seat… They did but I grabbed like one of the last seats. Crazy. I don’t know if it’s still this way but if I went back, I’d just book ahead. Transport in the Philippines is a bit messy, esp when Manila is involved!

  10. Hi Nina,
    which bus companys did you use for your travels and would you recommend to book the tickets online in advance?
    I already figured out that the bus company Ohayami Trans has some good offers, but from Sagada to Manila they only offer one bus tour per day.
    Many thanks for your help!
    Xx Stefanie

  11. Thanks for your reply Nina! 🙂
    I figuered that the bus company ohayami trans has one bus per day going from Sagada to Manila. But are there any other bus conpanys for this area? Would you recommend to book the bus rides online in advance?

    Xx Stefanie

  12. Hi Nina,
    me and a friend are just planning our travels to the Phillipines and it’s hard to decide where we wanna go! We were wondering how you were getting around in North Luzon?
    Thanks, Stefanie

  13. I went last year and was supposed to go to North Luzon but ended up in Palawan instead, I wish I had time for both! I was there for a month and spent the first two weeks on Malapascua and Bantayan, which were fantastic!

  14. Thanks for this beautiful Nina! Im planning my travels for Philippines and this has come in handy! xx