The Philippine archipelago comprises about 7,600 islands, of which only around 2,000 are inhabited, so imagine the time you would need to see half of them!
The choice of islands is not a hard one to make, especially if you are only going for ten days, like we did.
We decided on four destinations: Manila, a stop we had to make because we were flying in and out from there, El Nido, which is an absolute must if you ask me, Cebu, perfect for adventures and Boracay, a touristic place that receives positive feedback.
We arrived at Manila, spent one night there and we were ready to fly out to our next destination in the morning. For this domestic flight, check out Air Swift to fly directly from Manila to El Nido, instead of flying to Puerto Princesa and riding a bus or a car for six hours. It is a little more expensive, but definitely worth it as they treat you like royalty.
We stayed in the town of El Nido as everything was almost fully booked when we were reserving. If you are on your honeymoon and have a good budget, I would definitely recommend you to stay at any of El Nido Resorts that you can check out beforehand on their website. If you just want to stay in something simple and clean in town, check out the Sea Cocoon hotel.
We decided to spend our first day relaxing and went to Las Cabanas Beach by tok tok from the town, which was approximately a 15-20 minute ride. This serviced beach has incredible water, where you can get a massage by the shore or even go zip lining if you are feeling adventurous.
On the second day, we went to a beach called Nacptan, which is a must-see. The weather was not great that day so it did not look as beautiful as they say it is supposed to, but the water was still incredible. My only comment would be that it is not a serviced beach for those who like to be pampered, although there is a restaurant for anyone looking to have a meal there.
The highlight of El Nido though was definitely the Island Hopping Tours. We went on Tour A and C, which were both amazing experiences, but if we had to choose, it would be C. You get on a boat and the crew takes you to one island after the other, and while you are enjoying the view, they are cooking for you. At mid-day, you stop to get lunch on one of the islands. The crew sets up a table with the food and it is indescribable. Although the food is not the tastiest, the atmosphere makes it worth it.
Tour A’s highlights were the small lagoon, where you can rent a kayak and explore, and the big lagoon, where you can enjoy swimming. Do not forget to take pictures on your way in as the view is incredible.
Highlights of Tour C include the Star Beach, which was our absolute favorite. The water was clear and calm, and the experience was just out of this world!
Where to Eat
What I would recommend you try is Altrove, the best restaurant we had dinner at in El Nido, and probably in all of the Philippines. We also tried Mezzanine, which is good but not as great as Altrove.
Then there is Sava, where we only had drinks, but the food looked very tasty. They have a lovely outdoor seating area, and so I would recommend it for warm nights.
Regarding nightlife, do not expect much of El Nido if you are used to big cities as it is very primitive.
We then flew from El Nido to Cebu with Air Swift.
I chose Cebu because the canyoneering looked fun, and indeed it was.
Going from the airport to Moalboal is around a two hour ride, which may get a little boring if you are not with an energetic group.
We stayed at the Blue Orchid in Moalboal for one day and two nights, which is a superb boutique hotel that is very calm and the staff are extremely friendly and hospitable. It is a great place to relax and spend some time diving.
We dedicated one day to embark on the adventure of canyoneering. For those who might be scared, don’t be, as it is a once in a lifetime experience. You have the chance to jump off cliffs, walk in a forest and admire waterfalls.
Off we were to Boracay, this time with Cebu Pacific airlines.
Boracay is the most popular and touristic island in the Philippines.
Getting there is not very easy as there is no airport on the island itself, and so you have to fly to either Caticlan or Kalibo. We landed in Caticlan and took a bus to the port, then a boat to Boracay and finally a car or tok tok to the hotel.
As we booked last minute, we did not find rooms in any of the hotels, and so we stayed at the Ocean Club Boracay. The hotel is satisfactory, but their beach is amazing! As we walked through Boracay, we realized that our beach was one of the best as there was no seaweed at all compared to the rest.
I personally would not go again to Borocay as it is too touristic, and I have already seen what there is to see there. It is known to be the party island of the Philippines, though do not expect too much or you might end up being a little disappointed.
If you get the chance, I would recommend you stay at the Shangri-la. We went there for a massage and for dinner at their seafood restaurant, which was delicious!
Where to Eat
Definitely have breakfast at the Sunny Side Up Café as it is one of the best morning destinations in Boracay.
Try Pig Out for lunch or dinner. The name says it all!
For any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me and follow me on Instagram and Facebook at trannetatravels for more tips on more destinations!