Are you looking for a 1 week in Philippines itinerary?
Lucky you! The Philippines is a fabulous country to visit and while a week in the Philippines will never allow you to explore the whole country, you can have a great taste – especially with a fabulous Philippines itinerary: 7 days!
However coming up with the perfect 7 day itinerary Philippines can be hard with so many great choices. That’s why I have done the hard work for you!
Below, you will find our four best options for the best 1 week Philippines itinerary. You simply need to decide which destinations sound the most interesting for you and then you can follow that exact itinerary.
Whether your perfect one week in the Philippines itinerary includes beaches, jungles, culture, rice terraces, wildlife or a mixture of this, you can find your best option for one week in Philippines below.
If you have slightly less time and are looking for a Philippines itinerary 5 days, we also include some suggestions on how to edit the 7 day ones to be perfect for a Philippines 5 day itinerary or less time.
Visiting for longer? Find our 10 day itinerary here, our 2 week itinerary here or our full 3 weeks to 1 month Philippines itinerary here.
Philippines Itinerary 1 Week: Rice Terraces And Hanging Coffins In Luzon
The main island of the Philippines, Luzon is bounded by the Philippine Sea in the east, the Sibuyan Sea in the south and the South China Sea in the west, giving a dramatic coastline that stretches for over 3,000 miles (5,000km). The interior is a vast mix of rice terraces, valleys, lush jungles, cave systems, mist-filled mountains and the dramatic pine forests of the Cordillera Region. Luzon is also home to the bustling metropolis of the national capital Manila, Spanish colonial towns such as Vigan, and the almost perfect stratovolcano, Mayon.
On this wonderful one week Philippines itinerary, discover the northern mountainous interior at Sagad, the “Eighth Wonder of the World” Banaue Rice Terraces – home to indigenous hill tribes – and the capital city of Manila.
Taking a one-way route from Tuguegarao to Manila, from where you can easily extend your stay flying on to any other domestic destinations, this is perhaps the best itinerary for Philippines exploration within 7 days. Let’s get started!
Day 1 Tuguegarao
Capital of the province of Cagayan, in the northeastern part of Luzon, Tuguegarao City is well serviced with flights from Manila and other Philippine domestic airports.
If you have time after arrival, take a trip to the Callao Caves in the nearby town of Penablanca, or stay within Tuguegarao City and admire the Buntun Bridge, Horno Ruins, San Jacinto Church and Tuguegarao Cathedral. …before enjoying some of the local culinary delights.
The birthplace of pancit batil patong – a stir-fried noodle dish topped with carabeef, crushed pork, liver, veggies, poached egg and eaten with a side dish of garnished garlic and egg-drop soup – you won’t go hungry here! Delicious.
Days 2-4 Banaue
An early start today, with a bus ride to Banaue taking around 5 hours (200km). Soak in the views along the route and wave at the friendly Filipino as you pass through villages. …and finally, you’re ready to hit the rice terraces!
Spend your days hiking and admiring the dramatic world-renowned scenery of the Banaue Rice Terraces, carved into the mountains of Banaue, Ifugao. Built approx 2000-6000 years ago, most likely by hand, it is said that if all the terraces were built end-to-end they would cover half the world!
For your first afternoon, we recommend taking a tricycle up to Banaue Viewpoint and trekking 3-4 hours back down the trail.
On day 3, head to Batad where the scenery is miraculously even better! Aim for Batad Saddle, approx. 40 minutes by tricycle, and the ideal place to start your hike. Trek through the town and head out to the 230ft high Tappiya Waterfall, all the while carefully balancing on (sometimes slippery!) rice terraces and enjoying the remoteness of this outstanding area.
Days 4-6 Sagada
Start your trip to Sagada with a 4-hour bus or van ride – timetables can be checked here.
Set in the Cordillera Mountains around 5,000ft above sea level, Sagada is known for its scenic and calming mountain valleys, rice fields, limestone caves, waterfalls, and cliffs that seem to poke out of a sea of clouds. Cool mountain-temperatures make this an ideal spot for hiking and the town is famous for its Hanging Coffins either inside caves or on the face of cliffs at Echo Valley.
A 30 minute hike from the town, visiting the Hanging Coffins is an excellent way to spend your first afternoon in Sagada.
On day 5, you have many options with stunning hikes:
- Marlboro Hill to Blue Soil trek
- Sumaguing Cave
- Lumiang Burial Cave
- Marlboro Hills
- Danum Lake
Or choose from any number of activities such as Spelunking at Sumaguing Cave, visit Mt Kiltepan – one of the highest peaks in Sagada – to catch the sunrise, swim at Bomod-ok Falls or learn more about Sagada at the Ganduyan Museum, right in the centre of town proper.
Please note that it is mandatory to have a guide at many of the Sagada attractions; thus it is best to go straight to the tourist office on arrival to arrange everything.
Day 6 and you are now heading to Manila by bus, which is usually quite the adventure in itself! Approximately 12 hours, you can find timetables and prices here.
Day 7 Manila
The final stop on this Luzon itinerary is at the capital, Manila. Perhaps not having the best reputation, the city definitely has its worthwhile attractions and offers another side to this great nation.
We recommend visiting and exploring Intramuros (“within the walls”). Founded in 1571 by the Spanish, this historic walled area was once the entire City of Manila. Today, discover the existing Gates, Fort Santigao and its surrounding park, San Agustin Church and the Manila Cathedral. Drop by the Rizal Museum, near to the Fort, to learn of the local history and the national hero, Jose Rizal.
With wonderful Spanish influences, cobblestone streets, plazas and churches, you’ll feel transported from Asia to perhaps Latin America! Click here to buy discounted tour tickets now.
That’s it, your Luzon one week itinerary Philippines is over. If you have time to extend your stay perhaps jump on a quick flight to the beaches of Palawan and Coron…
7 Day Itinerary Philippines: Stunning Coastlines In Gorgeous Palawan
Considered one of the world’s most beautiful islands, Palawan is a dream destination. If you have seen stunning photos of the Philippines coastline, most likely you were looking at Palawan! A long thin island, set off in the west of the country surrounded by the South China Sea, the list of reasons to visit Palawan are endless… stunning beaches, the UNESCO Underground River, epic snorkelling and scuba diving, friendly local people, fresh seafood, one-after-another of sun-soaked desert islands, and the world famous archipelago of Bacuit Bay, El Nido.
The best Philippines 1 week itinerary for beach lovers and underwater enthusiasts and also a favourite backpacking Philippines itinerary, you will delve into the northern part of Palawan and up to Coron, on Busuanga Island.
Get your camera and swimwear at the ready as there’s a lot to fit into this week!
Days 1-2 Puerto Princesa
Arrive into Puerto Princesa, the capital of Palawan, by flying into the town’s International Airport. Only 1h30m from Manila and less from Cebu, the city is very accessible. Check into your accommodation and after a short relax, head out to discover this cleanest-and-greenest city of the Philippines.
Join a half day City Heritage Tour or self discover Palawan’s rich history by dropping into the World War II Museum, Plaza Cuartel and the nearby Palawan Heritage Center. End your first day either on an organised trip for dinner and Fireflies Watching, or head to the Puerto Princesa City Baywalk Park for grilled seafood with friendly locals.
On day 2, take a day tour to the spectacular UNESCO Puerto Princesa Underground River. Flowing through a limestone karst cave system, the river passes jaw-dropping stalagmites and stalactites, and rock formations. Keep an eye out for various wildlife, such as bats, birds and reptiles!
Days 3-5 El Nido
Early morning, grab a shuttle to El Nido, with the aim of reaching Bacuit Bay by lunchtime. Taking approximately 5 hours, you can find prices, times and tickets here. There is also a cheaper public bus, but it is far from comfortable and takes an hour longer, thus best to avoid!
The gateway to the stunning limestone karsts of Bacuit Bay, El Nido is a gorgeous coastal town that still retains a “local” feel, unspoiled as yet by tourism. Check into your hotel and relax after your long journey.
Choose from any number of activities for your first afternoon, such as…
- Swim at the local beaches – almost all world class, with epic sunsets
- Go kayaking
- Hike to a waterfall: Nagkalit-Kalit or Bulalacao
- Ride the Las Cabanas Beach Zipline
- Head up the El Nido Canopy Walk for splendid town and bay views
End your day with a well-earned massage!
On day 4 it’s time to get out on the water, selecting from the four official tours of Bacuit Bay, labelled simply A, B, C and D. Choose from different boats (pump boats or speed boats) and consider to save money by joining a group trip or splurge on a private arrangement. Feel free to barter your way to a good deal with the operators!
Departing from El Nido beach, tour options include:
- Tour A: Take a trip around the beautiful islands of Bacuit Bay, including the famed El Nido Lagoons.
- Tour B: Swim and snorkel at Snake Island, Pinagbuyutan Island and Cudugnon Cave. Here’s a luxury wooden boat option.
- Tour C: Enjoy Helicopter Island, Tapiutan Island, Secret Beach and Hidden Beach. Here’s a luxury speedboat option.
- Tour D: Visit hidden beaches and lagoons such as Cadlao Lagoon and Pasandigan Beach. Here’s an option for a luxury catamaran.
Days 6-7 Coron and Surrounding Islands
Sadly, it’s time to leave behind El Nido and head to the equally famous destination of Coron Town. Located on the island of Busuanga, Coron Town is often confused with the nearby island of Coron, so ensure you’re heading to the right place!
With similar scenery to El Nido, Coron Town is more chilled, with fewer crowds and an even stronger local Filipino feel. …and in our opinion, you’ll find the best snorkelling and diving here.
Depart from El Nido on an early ferry to maximise your time in Coron. It’s a four hour fast boat that takes you past the remote and stunning islands of the Linapancan municipality- noted by many magazines as having the clearest waters in the world. Therefore, this is perhaps the best boat ride in the world! You can find schedules and prices here.
Stay directly in Coron Town, where the ferry drops you, surrounded by tour operators for ease of arranging island-hopping tours. Alternatively, choose to stay at one of the nearby islands – definitely more beautiful but will involve more travel and they can sometimes feel a little remote. It depends on what you enjoy!
Choose from any of the following activities:
- Visit Kayangan Lake
- Island hopping trip
You can find more information and tour options here.
Book your flight out of Coron for late afternoon on day 7 as this is one destination you won’t be happy to leave!
…or extend your stay, and follow another of our Philippines suggested itinerary, such as hitting up the jungle and beaches of Bohol and Cebu!
1 Week Philippines Itinerary: Tarsiers, Jungle And Beaches In Bohol And Cebu
A popular Philippines one week itinerary, here you split your time between charming Cebu and beautiful Bohol, taking you on an epic travel itinerary for Philippines discovery!
An island in the Central Visayas region of the Philippines, Cebu is another long, narrow island that is home to the port capital, Cebu City known as “Queen City of the South”. One of the oldest cities in the Philippines, Cebu City still retains the roots of its 16th-century Spanish colonial past.
Famous for its lechon (roasted pork), magazine-worthy picturesque white beaches, sparkling waters with rich coral reefs, and friendly people that are famed for their singing, guitar-playing and dancing skills, it’s no wonder Cebu City is a major tourist destination.
Bohol, only 90 minutes by ferry from the Cebu Port, is also noted for its spectacular beaches – especially at Panglao – and rich sea life, with an interior of jungle forests and the unique Chocolate Hills, home to the world’s smallest primate, tarsiers.
Day 1-2 – Cebu City
Arrive into the Queen City of The South by flight, landing at the recently remodelled International Airport – just an hour’s flight from Manila or 1h25m from El Nido.
Fly in early so that you have the whole day to explore the city. From the airport head directly to Tops Lookout, approximately 40 minutes, for a dramatic view across the city and on a clear day far out to Bohol and other islands. Take a stop at Temple of Leah on your way back down to the city.
Next, discover the local history at Magellan’s Cross, marking the spot where Portuguese and Spanish explorers first landed in the Philippines in 1521. Take in more of this Spanish heritage at the adjacent Basilica Minore del Santo Nino and Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral. Also explore the nearby ruins of Fort San Pedro.
The easiest way to get around is via taxi, just always ensure the driver clicks on his meter and don’t take no for an answer!
In the evening, head to one of the city’s Malls for shopping and try the region’s famous pork Lechon for dinner.
Day 2 and it’s time for a day trip to discover the south of Cebu island, choosing from any of the below locations…
- Visit Kawasan Falls, 2 hours, 30 minutes from Cebu.
- Enjoy a trio of picturesque waterfalls, accessible via jungle trails. Take a dip in the icy waters and balance on a thrilling bamboo lagoon ride under the cascading falls.
- Spend the day at Moalboal, three hours from Cebu City.
- Grab snorkel and fins and check out some of the country’s best reefs. Look out for the spectacular sardine-run, a year-round natural phenomenon, which you can reach simply by walking out from the shore at Panagsama Beach. Only 15km from Kawasan Falls, with an early start and a lengthy day’s touring, it is possible to combine both trips.
- Enjoy the spectacular views and countryside of Osmena Peak, 3 hours from Cebu City.
- One of the highest mountains in Cebu, part of a cluster of green jagged hills that hug the shorelines of Badian, Osmena Peak has an easy 30 minutes trail. Explore remote villages inhabited by vegetable farmers – often at work ploughing their fields using cows or large ox – and to a background of crowing roosters, enjoy the easy hike to the summit. Foggy in the morning, it’s usually best to schedule your hike in the afternoon.
Day 3-5 – Bohol
Time to catch the fast ferry to Bohol, less than 2 hours sail from Cebu City port. Ferries run a regular service and you can find more information here, or read our full guide to travelling in Bohol here.
Hire a driver-with-van or barter a good deal with a local taxi driver, and spend the afternoon on day 3 and all day on day 4 discovering the wonderful sites of Bohol…
- Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary
- Chocolate Hills
- Sagbayan Peak
- Loboc zipline and chairlift at Loboc Eco Adventure Park
- Loboc river cruise
- Firefly watching
- Sipatan Twin Hanging Bridges/Bamboo Hanging Bridges
To really explore Bohol’s jungle interior, we recommend staying at the Loboc River Resort – with many jungle activities right on site and magical fireflies in the evening!
You can read our full guide on where to stay in Bohol here.
Day 6-7 – Alona Beach, Panglao
Time to leave the jungle interior behind and cross a short bridge to the adjacent island of Panglao, a quick 30 minutes drive. Mainly renowned for the busy area of Alona Beach, the small island of Panglao is your gateway to long stretches of white sandy beaches, coral reefs, turtles, dolphins and sometimes pilot whales!
Check into your hotel, ideally right on the beach, and relax, island-hop, snorkel, dive or swim!
Day 7 and it is sadly time to depart. Fly out from Panglao’s new airport (known as Bohol International Airport) or from the longer-established Tagbilaran Airport near the Bohol port. Alternatively, catch a ferry back to Cebu and fly out from Cebu International Airport.
But, ideally extend your Philippines 7 day itinerary as there’s still much more to discover in this Asian paradise!
One Week In Philippines: Gorgeous Beaches And Local Culture In Boracay And Panay
Panay, the westernmost of the Visayan Islands, is surrounded by the Sibuyan, Visayan and Sulu seas. A rugged, almost unpopulated mountain range runs parallel to its western coast. Split into four provinces, Panay is famed for its empty beaches and unspoilt coastlines.
Antique, Capiz and Aklan are growing destinations, especially popular with backpackers or those happy to travel a little further to discover idyllic beaches. The exception to the rule is Boracay, located just off northern Panay, one of the best-known and more heavily developed beach resort areas in the country. Famed for amazing sunsets – breathtaking day-after-day – and a long uninterrupted stretch of beach, Boracay offers great watersports, sunset cruises and possibly the widest selection of cuisines in the Philippines!
Day 1-3 – Roxas City
Fly into Roxas City, the capital of Capiz province on Panay. This low-key city is known as the “Seafood Capital of the Philippines”, with fresh sea-to-table offerings. Check into your hotel, ideally at the beach, and relax… and eat… for two days!
If feeling active, visit the ancestral house of Capiz’ famed son – Manuel Acuna Roxas, the last President of the Commonwealth and the 1st President of the Philippines. Roxas Cathedral, the centre of the city, is a beautiful stone church dating from 1876 and there are some pretty bridges and fountains to also discover around the city. And don’t forget to pick up some souvenirs as this is the home of the locally-crafted Capiz shell, with many products sold around the city.
On day 3, to reach Boracay, catch a bus to Caticlan (possibly changing in Kalibo) and then hop on the next boat for the easy 10 minute crossing to Boracay. …and let the fun begin!
Day 4-7 – Boracay
Almost all the hotels open onto the splendid long beach of Boracay, that stretches as far as the eye can see. With hundreds of palm trees reaching practically down to the shore, it’s not surprising this beach is regularly mentioned as one of the world’s best.
Spend your days swimming, trying your hand at SUP or riding fun water-bikes. Head out just before sunset on a spectacular Paraw sail, good for 1-3 people. A small canoe-type boat with beautiful sails, these make for amazing sunset shots for those left behind on the beach as tens or hundreds set off altogether!
Dine at an almost unimaginable amount of restaurants for one small island! Thai, Chinese, European, fast-food and local restaurants keep you more than sustained. And, though not as busy as years gone by, you’ll find along the beach some lively bars for after dinner drinks and a sprinkling of nightclubs.
With some of the best accommodation in the country, wonderful beachside family hotels with pools and endless backpacker options, Boracay has something for everyone and all budgets.
Have fun before you start the long journey home!
This ends your 1 week itinerary Philippines, Panay and Boracay, but stay longer and check out another of our travel itinerary for Philippines.
Philippines Itinerary 5 Days Suggestions (And Other Lengths Of Time)
If you have less time to stay in the Philippines, you can easily shorten our suggested itineraries to 5 days. For Luzon, drop Sagada and travel directly from Banaue to Manila. In Palawan, follow our recommendations for Puerto Princesa and El Nido, departing on Day 5 from El Nido – removing Coron from the week’s itinerary.
A 5 day itinerary Philippines for Bohol and Cebu is possible by heading over to Bohol on Day 2 and moving on to Panglao on Day 4. For Panay (Roxas City and Boracay) simply reduce one day at both destinations.
All the itineraries can be adjusted to fit your length of stay, whether you have 3 days in Philippines or 6 days in Philippines. Even a Philippines 4 days itinerary is possible. Just remove the day(s) that sound least interesting or involve the longer travel, sticking to one or two places that are the most easily reachable.
It’s impossible to see everything in the Philippines in a week! So, if you have more than 7 days, check out our article here on the best 10 day itineraries.
The Philippines hums to the sound of crowing chickens, the constant purr of motorbikes, the wind in the palm trees and the waves lapping on the beach, with karaoke songs and music constantly drifting on the warm evening air. And everywhere you go, you’re surrounded by smiling, happy Filipinos …ensuring you can’t help but smile too!
Without a doubt, whichever 7 days itinerary in Philippines you select, your days will be filled with stunning scenery and unique activities, ensuring a lifetime of memories.
We hope you found this itinerary Philippines 1 week options useful! Another beautiful island to spend a week is Bantayan Island, you can find out more about it here. You can also find all our guides to planning your Philippines adventure here.