If you have a foreigner friend asking you what to see in the Philippines for a few weeks? What do you tell them? The Philippines is an archipelago located in Southeast Asia. Unlike its popular neighboring countries that are easier to reach, you have to actually plan a trip to go here. It is a destination. It can’t be reached by land from the Asian mainland like most of Southeast Asia. In my opinion, it is special that way because it makes it less touristy or super crowded. It was my boyfriend’s first visit in the country and I wanted to make it memorable. We had a time frame of 3 weeks. It would be impossible to see everything in that short time.
PHILIPPINES 3 WEEKS ITINERARY
Our journey started off with the boyfriend’s arrival at Clark airport. We found an airfare that was less expensive if it arrived at Clark, funny thing is it had a stopover at Cebu but it was more expensive to land there which was weird. It was not like a small difference too. We just spent the night at Park Inn Clark and flew with Air Asia the following day to Bohol.
Day 02 – 08
For Bohol, we checked in at South Palms Resort which we loved. It was our favorite accommodation among all the places we stayed at. We did a lot of relaxing this part of the trip. Our tour of the Bohol Countryside tour was really enjoyable and we visited the Chocolate Hills, the manmade forest, the Butterfly garden, lunch on Loboc river, looked at some pythons and the old church. We also checked out Alona beach one afternoon and had ice cream at Buzz Cafe. My boyfriend and I considered doing a dolphin tour or seeing the whale sharks but decided against it. Except for the countryside tour, I didn’t really plan anything because we wanted to have the freedom to do what we want. We went to one of the malls in Tagbilaran to get our ferry ticket to Cebu. We also had a couple of dinners at Bohol Beach Club’s Agotata Restaurant.
Day 08 – 11
In Cebu, our original plan was to stay at Moalboal since it’s in between the city and where we can see the whale sharks in Oslob but we also scrapped this plan. Looking back, we should have opted to stay in Mactan instead of Cebu city. For this leg of the trip, we stayed at Best Western Hotel which was really good value for money. We went to see the old fort, Magellan’s cross and the old church. After that, we checked out the malls to buy a few things. We wasted a day here doing nothing when we could have gone to do some things.
PUERTO PRINCESA, PALAWAN
Day 11 – 12
We spent a night at Puerto Princesa Garden Resort as all the transports to El Nido are in the morning. We also left our big luggage here since we come back after and stay here a few days.
EL NIDO, PALAWAN
Day 12 – 15
El Nido we were hoping would be the highlight of this trip but we were a bit disappointed to be honest. It was very touristy and that was expected. However, the hotels were ridiculously expensive for what they are. Also, the town does not facilities to make it better than it could be. I guess we just see its potential but the town does not have structure. The place is very beautiful and it could be so much more. The 8 hour van ride does not help. It already takes a day from your trip. We stayed at Mahogany Hotel. The El Nido Tour A is the one we chose to do. We also visited Nacpan Beach and a local falls.
PUERTO PRINCESA, PALAWAN
Day 15 – 17
We went back to Princesa Garden Hotel to basically relax. Our dinner was at Ka Lui’s. We took our flight back to Manila on our last day.
DAY 18 – 20
I had to show him my home town so we spent a few days here to meet friends as well. We went to dinner at Isdaan, a floating seafood restaurant. I also took him karting at Kart City Tarlac. I also introduced him to some pampering, we got massages at Thai Odyssey and he had his first haircut that was inexpensive and he received great service.
DEPARTURE FOR BELGIUM
One of the reasons the airfare we had was inexpensive was because we also had a long 7 hour layover in Dubai. We considered staying in Dubai for a night and exploring it for a day or so but we were also paranoid because the country has very conservative rules. We just decided to stay at a lounge for a few hours to wait for our flight back to Belgium. All the lounges were full when we landed but we were glad that we found Lounge at B. It is probably the nicest priority pass lounge in the airport in my opinion.
This Philippine 3 weeks itinerary is admittedly not the best out there but if you are like us that exploring is equally as important as relaxing. This would be a good way to explore 2 or 3 places in the Philippines with good connections. On this trip, we only took 3 flights and one ferry ride. We stayed on budget and felt like we got the value for our money. I will do another post on our budget. 🙂