Ultimate Philippines Itinerary: 3 Weeks To One Month Exploring This Great Country

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Spending three weeks or more in the Philippines? Lucky you!

You definitely don’t have to worry about getting bored or running out of things to do. The Philippines is a diverse country with many different things (and islands!) to do.

A 3 weeks Philippines itinerary is perfect for getting a great overview of this country and to hit all the hot spots. With one month, you can either take the following Philippines itinerary 3 weeks a bit slower or add in an additional week that I will describe below.

Note that this Philippines 3 weeks itinerary does follow quite a quick pace. While it’s easily doable, if you are someone who likes to take it nice and slow, consider taking out a couple of spots that sound the least interesting for you.

For everyone else, you’ll love the combination of jungle, mountains and gorgeous beaches. Follow this Philippines travel itinerary 3 weeks and you are sure you have the best trip ever!

If you only have 1 week – click here for 4 different itinerary suggestions. Another option is our 2 week itinerary here.

Ultimate Philippines Itinerary: 3 Weeks

I’ll first give you an overview of each week of the 3 week Philippines itinerary and then break it down day by day so you can just print it and get ready for an awesome time!

I also recommend hotels at each spot and some transportation recommendations to make it all extra easy to plan a trip to the Philippines. Simply click and book for your dates and you are set to go.

If you are looking for a Philippines island hopping itinerary and still want to see the Philippines in 3 weeks then I recommend you switch week 3 in Luzon with the bonus week below. This will give you a 3 weeks in Philippines itinerary full of island hopping adventures!

This works well as a backpacking Philippines itinerary or people who like more luxury. You can pick your accommodation and transport to suit your budget.

Map Of 3 Weeks Philippines Itinerary

3 Weeks Philippines Itinerary map
Click the Map to open in Google Maps. You can then access directions to each of the locations discussed in this article.

Week 1: Exploring Bohol and Cebu

This week, you’ll get a taste of Cebu and Bohol – my personal favourite part of the travel Philippines itinerary.

Cebu is the most densely populated island in this country and Cebu City is the second economic hub after Manila. But don’t worry. There are still gorgeous beaches and everything you probably picture when you think of the Philippines can be found here!

Bohol is a smaller island a short ferry ride from Cebu and is my idea of heaven! With great natural attractions with beaches, jungle and the Chocolate Hills, you’ll also get the opportunity to meet a tarsier or two.

You’ll also get the chance to explore Panglao Island – a small island attached to Bohol by a bridge. This island is where most people visit beaches when they come to Bohol.

Chocolate Hills, Bohol - Philippines backpacking 3 weeks
Chocolate Hills, Bohol

Day 1: Cebu City

Fly to Cebu City. This city is well hooked up to the rest of the Philippines and this won’t be hard.

If you don’t arrive late, explore Cebu! I recommend starting at Tops Lookout where you can have views over the city and beyond. In fact, on a clear day you can see parts of Bohol as well. You can stop at Temple of Leah on the way back down.

Next, take a walk around the downtown area and visit Magellan’s Cross, Basilica Minore del Santo Niño and Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral. With extra time, visit Fort San Pedro.

The easiest way to get around is via taxi. Make sure they put on the meter.

Best Accommodation: Radisson Blu Cebu 

Budget Accommodation:  La Gloria Residence Inn

Day 2-5: Bohol

Take a ferry to Bohol in the morning. This runs regularly and takes about two hours. Find more information here or our full guide to travelling to Bohol here.

Get ready to spend the next couple of days exploring Bohol.

I recommend you visit/do the following:

  • 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

And explore Bohol’s jungle interior.

You can hire a taxi for a day or do a tour. Here is a suggested tour.

Both accommodation options below are in the jungle and will help you explore this part of Bohol more.

Best Accommodation: Loboc River Resort – I can’t recommend this place enough! There are many jungle activities you can do right on site and they have fireflies in the evening.

Budget Accommodation:  Water to Forest Ecolodge Bohol

You can read our full guide to where to stay in Bohol here.

Floating buffet restaurant cruise on Loboc River
Exploring Loboc River

Day 5-7: Alona

It’s time to leave the jungle interior for the beaches of Alona on the small island of Panglao which you can reach by taxi in about 40 minutes.

Check into a hotel near the beach, relax and go for a swim!

On day 6, consider a diving or snorkelling trip like this one.

Day 7, it’s time to head back to Cebu for your onward journey to Palawan and Coron. Take the ferry back and then a flight.

Best Accommodation: Henann Resort

Budget Accommodation: Mithi Resort and Spa

Week 2: Exploring Palawan and Coron

If you have seen stunningly breathtaking photos of the Philippines coastline, it’s possible it was Palawan you were looking at! This long island to the east of the country is well known for stunning beaches and was off the beaten track until recently when it became a backpacking hub.

This is the part of this Philippines trip itinerary that the beach lovers will absolutely love!

In this week of your Philippines backpacking itinerary, you’ll get to explore the northern part of Palawan as well as Coron. I hope you got some rest during your time in Bohol as there is a lot to do here!

El Nido bay with boats on the beach and Cadlao island, Palawan, Philippines
El Nido Bay and Cadlao Island

Day 7-8: Puerto Princesa

This the capital and transport hub of Palawan and you should be able to fly direct here from Cebu City.

After the journey from Bohol, you can relax. In the evening, head to Bay Walk Park.

On Day 8, take a day tour to the Puerto Princesa Underground River. This river flows through a limestone karst cave system and is crazy beautiful. It’s also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Best Accommodation: Best Western Plus The Ivywall Hotel

Budget Accommodation:  Hostel Privado

Day 9-12: El Nido

This morning, take a shuttle on to El Nido.

I recommend taking an early morning one so you can get to El Nido by lunch (journey is about 5 hours).

You can find prices, times and tickets here.

There is also a slightly cheaper public bus but it is far less comfortable and takes an hour longer so I don’t recommend it.

El Nido is a gorgeous coastal town with great coastline including  limestone karsts sticking out of the water. There are four official tours here labelled A, B, C and D as well as other things to do. The official tours can vary with some being more budget oriented and some more luxury. Try to do at least one!

On arrival and over the next couple of days, you can do the following in El Nido:

Best Accommodation: Cauayan Island Resort

Budget Accommodation: Amakan Bed | Bunk | Breakfast

Find our full guide to the best places to stay in El Nido here.

Kayangan Lake in Coron Island
Kayangan Lake in Coron Island

Day 12-14: Coron and surrounding islands

On day 12, it’s time to rip yourself away from El Nido to take a boat to Coron. There is both an area and an island called Coron right next to each other which can be confusing. Head to the island or Coron Town.

The scenery is similar to El Nido but it’s easier to get away from the crowds.

There is a five hour fast boat. You can see the schedules and prices here.

I recommend going early so you have more time to enjoy Coron!

You can stay in Coron Town, where the ferry will take you and there are many services and tours or on one of the nearby islands. The islands are much more beautiful but then it is easier in town. Up to you!

While you are here, you can choose from the following:

I recommend visiting the hot springs on your arrival afternoon and then doing a full day tour on the water for day 13. You can find tour options here.

Best Accommodation: Two Seasons Coron Island Resort & Spa

Budget Accommodation: Treetop Suites

Find our full guide to the best places to stay in Coron here.

On day 14, it’s time to fly to Manila from Busuanga airport and then on to Tuguegarao for the final part of your backpacking Philippines 3 weeks journey.

Week 3: Exploring Luzon

Luzon is the Philippines’ main island and where Manila is located. It has a huge amount of variety and is the perfect place to explore the Philippines beyond beaches and its coastline.

This week, you will explore the northern mountainous interior, rice terraces and hill tribes after a day in Manila. You’ll take a one way route from Tuguegarao to Manila ready for the journey home (or on to Panay if you are lucky enough to be following the 4 week Philippines itinerary).

Get ready! This might be your favourite part of the three week itinerary Philippines!

Batad village (Banaue area) - Philippines backpacking itinerary 3 weeks
Batad village (Banaue area)

Day 14: Tuguegarao 

If you have time after arrival, you can take photos of Buntun Bridge and visit Tuguegarao Cathedral.

Best Accommodation: Radlett Residences – Tuguegarao

Budget Accommodation: Mango Suites

Day 15-17: Banaue 

Take a bus to Banaue in the morning ready to hit up the rice terraces!

This is the place to hike and soak in the scenery. For your first afternoon, I recommend a tricycle up to Banaue Viewpoint and then taking the 3-4 hour trek down.

On day 16, head to nearby Batad where the scenery gets even better! It’s 40 minutes away by tricycle and the best place to start hiking is at Batad Saddle. Trek through the town and make your way to Tappiya waterfall.

Best Accommodation: Banaue Hotel

Budget Accommodation: Batad View Inn and Restaurant

Hanging Coffins in Sagada
Hanging Coffins in Sagada

Day 17-19 Sagada

It’s about a 4 hour bus or van trip from Banaue to Sagada. You can see bus timetables here.

Sagada is a relaxing and different stop in this 3 weeks in the Philippines itinerary. The cool temperatures make it another great spot for hiking and it’s famous for its hanging coffins on the side of cliffs at Echo Valley.

This is a 30 minute hike from the town and a great way to spend your first afternoon in Sagada.

On day 18, it’s time for more hiking. Some suggestions are:

  • Marlboro Hill to Blue Soil trek
  • Sumaguing Cave
  • Lumiang Burial Cave
  • Marlboro Hills
  • Danum Lake

Note that it’s mandatory to have a guide at many attractions in Sagada. It is best to go straight to the tourist office on arrival to sort everything out.

Best Accommodation: Kanip Aw Pines View Lodge

Budget Accommodation: Isabelo’s Inn and Cafe

You can also find our full guide to where to stay in Sagada here.

Day 19, it’s time to bus it all the way to Manila which takes about 12 hours. Find the timetables and prices here.

Intramuros Manila
Cuartel de Santa Lucia ruins facade at Intramuros

Day 20-21: Finish in Manila

The final stop on this route for 3 weeks in Philippines is the capital, Manila.

This city does have a bad reputation but it is worth visiting a few attractions here before leaving the country. It is another side to this great nation.

I recommend visiting and exploring Intramuros which was founded in 1571 by the Spanish. This walled city is like a different world compared to the rest of Manila. I felt more like I was in Latin America than Spain, and it’s worth taking your time to explore the cobblestone streets, plazas, churches and buildings.

Best Accommodation: Raffles Makati Hotel

Budget Accommodation: Maine City Residences

That’s it, your 3 week Philippines holiday itinerary is over. If you have a bit longer or want more beach time, I recommend you keep reading for week 4!

Best Philippines Itinerary: 4 Weeks – Bonus Week!

For the Philippines 4 week itinerary, do everything above and then add an extra week finishing up in Panay and beautiful Boracay.

Famous Boracay is the perfect way to finish your perfect one month Philippines itinerary.

Of course, if you are looking for a Philippines 3 week itinerary and this sounds very good, you can also substitute a week from the 3 week itinerary for this – up to you!

As stated earlier, if you are someone who likes to take it slow, I recommend extending the 3 week itinerary Philippines instead to cover a month with longer stops at the places you most enjoy.

Map Of Philippines One Month Itinerary Bonus Week

Philippines One Month Itinerary map
Click the Map above to open it in Google Maps.

Bonus Week: Panay and Boracay

Panay is the main island next to Boracay. It is well hooked up with transportation and is a great place to start your journey to Boracay.

White Beach, Boracay Philippines travel route 3 weeks
White Beach, Boracay

Day 21-23: Roxas City

Start this Philippines suggested itinerary by flying to Roxas on the island of Panay. This low key city is known as the “Seafood Capital of the Philippines” which makes it a great place for anyone who loves seafood!

Check in to a hotel by the beach and relax and eat for two days. You deserve it after all the travel you have done so far! The best food is at the seafood shacks lining the beach.

To get to Boracay, catch a bus to Caticlan (you may have to change in Kalibo) and then hop on the next boat across to Boracay.

Best Accommodation: Espacio Verde Resort

Budget Accommodation: Pete’s inn

Day 23-28: Boracay

After the fabulous three and a bit weeks you have already spent travelling around the Philippines you deserve to finish up with 5 days of heaven on Boracay! This gorgeous place will keep you occupied with its beach, water sports, boat trips and day spas. There’s also shopping opportunities and it’s just a lovely place to hang out with some of the best accommodation in the country.

Spoil yourself and enjoy before the long journey home!

Best Accommodation: Movenpick Resort & Spa Boracay

Budget Accommodation: Fat Jimmy’s Hotel Boracay

You can also find our full guide to where to stay in Boracay here.

Final Words About Your Philippines 3 Weeks Itinerary

Exploring Palawan
Exploring Palawan

I hope you have found this 3 week Philippines itinerary helpful. Remember, you can always switch around the weeks if the bonus week seems better or if you were looking for an island hopping Philippines itinerary then swapping week 3 with week 4 is recommended.

As someone who has travelled to the Philippines multiple times with kids, I think this itinerary would also work well with children EXCEPT I would slow it down. There is a fair bit of overland travel in weeks 2 and 3 so I would cut that back. It would be easier to switch out either week 2 or 3 with week 4 if you are looking for a Philippines 3 week itinerary with kids.

Otherwise, go to the Philippines and enjoy! You won’t regret it!

I hope you enjoyed this article about how to travel the Philippines in 3 weeks or 4 and that you have a fabulous trip. Ask any questions below and find all our Philippines planning articles here including articles such as the best resorts in Pampanga.

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By Sarah Gibson

Sarah first fell in love with the Philippines back in 2013 when she spent her son's first birthday on the beach in Boracay. Since then, she has visited many times and loves sharing her love of the Philippines here so you can enjoy it too. Sarah also has a Bachelor of Arts in Asian Studies and a Certificate III in International Travel Sales. Sarah especially loves island hopping through the Philippines - it's so gorgeous and easy. Through this site, she'll help you have the perfect trip to the Philippines!