My 10 Day Philippines Itinerary | The Ultimate Guide

Heading to the Philippines and want to know how to spend your time there? With so many islands it can be a bit overwhelming and if you have limited time there’s no way you are going to be able to see everything! Enter my 10 Day Philippines Itinerary. It’ll help you plan the ultimate Philippines holiday and includes what I did, where I went and where I stayed.

In total, I was in the Philippines for about three weeks but I didn’t spend all my time travelling around, for the last week I was back working the digital nomad life. Sigh, holidays can never last forever! So I’ve shortened my itinerary down to 10 – 14 days for you, picking out the best bits.




10 Day Philippines Itinerary

Day 1 – 3: Nacpac Beach, El Nido

Day 4 – 5: El Nido town

Day 6 – 8: Coron

Day 8 – 10+: Siargao


Nacpan Beach

Arrive in Manilla and leave! If you are wanting to visit the Philippines for the amazing white sand beaches or the incredibly blue water you are not going to find any of this in Manilla so best to get out. I flew into Manilla and then caught a flight to Puerto Princessa then a bus to El Nido. This tends to be the way most travellers do it, but if you’ve got the money, by all means, fly directly into El Nido.

You don’t have to worry about booking a bus/van ahead of time, there are plenty of options at the airport. They usually wait for a few flights to come in so they have a full van before departing so if you have a choice between two vans, always chose the fuller one or you could be waiting a while! The journey was about 6 hours and cost around 500 pesos, you do make a stop for food at a local restaurant at about halfway.

You’ll get dropped at a station in El Nido town and from here you’ll need to get a tricycle to Nacpan beach. There are taxi vans as well but they are more expensive and travelling by tricycle is way more fun anyway. It’s a rather long and bumpy journey of about an hour. With our luggage on board, there were moments going uphill where I thought the engine was going to kark it and we would end up rolling back down the hill BUT it pulled through and we made it, luggage and all.

Arriving at Nacpan beach was breathtaking, the water was so blue and it felt like your own little piece of paradise. Sure there were plenty of other people around but it definitely has the whole secluded island vibe going on. The place to stay is Mad Monkey Hostel. Whether you are travelling solo, as a group or as a couple I would so recommend it! Its location is unbeatable being located right on the beach. Also not to mention they have a free open bar every night for half an hour – definitely make the most of that! The beds are comfy, the facilities are good and the atmosphere is very social.

For my other digital nomads out there, just be pre-warned that there is little to no wifi connection out here. I even bought a SIM card with data and couldn’t get a decent connection on that. So if you plan to do some work you might be a bit sh*t out of luck, like I was. However, it did force me to relax which was rather nice and basically do nothing for 3 days.

It was the perfect amount of time to spend here and a great way to kick off the holiday with a bit of downtime. Most of the days were spent swimming in the ocean and relaxing on the beach. You can also get away with wearing no shoes your entire stay, nothing beats walking around feeling the sand between your toes – not that I really had a choice in the matter, since my jandals got nicked and no way was I going to wear sneakers at the beach…

Oh and no matter what you do or how careful you are, you’re going to wind up with a ton of sand in your bed. It’s unavoidable, but all part of the beachfront experience aye!




El Nido Town

Heading back to El Nido town from the hostel is a bit easier than getting there as you can book a minivan for 200 pesos per person. They leave every hour, on the hour-plus hooray for air-con! Depending on where you’re staying, it’s likely the van is able to drop you at your accommodation too. We stayed at Outpost hostel which was a little out of the town but is another spot I would definitely recommend!

It was a really nice hostel, again beachfront with a killer view of the sunset. Being another party hostel it was also very social and I was able to get a decent wifi connection here! If you wanted to get into the town, it was super easy as there was always tricycles waiting on the side of the road ready to take you there. For three people it cost us 100 pesos each way.

By the time we arrived and got settled, it was after lunch so we made our way into the town in the afternoon and had a wander around the shops while keeping our eyes out for a great happy hour special. The local beer in the Philippines is Red Horse and at 6.9% they will certainly have you feeling a little fuzzy after a few. Great taste though so don’t let the strength put you off!

We settled for a drink at Scene Onsight Seafront as it was right on the beach and you get a good view if you sit upstairs. They had a great happy hour special on beer as well, I think it was around 80 pesos for two but don’t quote me on that!

For dinner, we went to a place called Big Bad Thai that was highly recommended and it definitely did not disappoint! It’s not the cheapest place but you are paying for a really good meal and after only 5 days out of Thailand, I was really missing my Thai food!!

Pukka bar is a fun spot to head afterwards if you feel like hitting up a reggae bar or there’s some upstairs seating with a view of the water if you feel like another chill drink.





Our second day here was full on because it was the day we did our island hopping tour! This was definitely one of the highlights of the trip, there was so much natural beauty it was insaneee. Also saw some of the most amazing corals I’d ever seen! I’m not a diver (although I’m warming up to the idea of giving it a go one day) so being able to see amazing corals like this while just floating on the surface was pretty damn awesome.

We didn’t book our tour through a tour company as a lot of people do. Instead, we booked through this lady who had a little burger stall on the side of the road. We got talking to her and she asked us about what tours we were planning on doing, we said we were looking into the possibility of hiring a private boat. That’s when she told us she had a boat and we could book through her.

It all worked out pretty perfectly and doesn’t actually work out to be too pricey if you’ve got a group of you and you just bring your own food. You do have the option of a tour guide and I would 100% take it. I think we would’ve been a bit lost without our guide, to be honest!

For the day it cost 6000 pesos which we paid directly to the guide at the end of the day. We were so fortunate to be able to do a combo of tours A & C. The structure of the day wasn’t fixed either and we tried to hit the spots in a different order to all the other tour boats so they weren’t too crowded. I don’t know whether we just got super lucky but basically, every spot we visited was empty which was so perfect. It allows you to truly appreciate the beauty of a place when it’s not overrun with people.

In regards to food for the day, before we met our guide at the docks, we stopped off at the local market and bought some fresh fruit and veggies. There was then space on board to be able to cook these up which our guide kindly cooked up for us.

The particular highlights from this day were the small lagoon and secret beach. Both are incredibly stunning places that you had to swim into.

By the end of the day we were exhausted and just had a quiet night ready for another early morning the next day. We had a 6am ferry to Coron to catch.






We woke up early and made our way to the ferry terminal in time for 6am. We were early but there was already quite a few people waiting around. It was a nice still morning despite a conversation we had with an American man the day prior about a typhoon hitting. Using our kiwi “she’ll be right attitude” of course we didn’t take much notice of this conversation. Oh but how we should of…another 10 minutes pass before the coast guard makes his way into the centre of the crowd and starts yelling that all ferries are cancelled. Great.

Not just all ferries were cancelled but all tours were cancelled as well. It was Christmas Eve and people’s holiday plans were pretty much screwed. There was no way we were leaving the island by boat, not today, and possibly for the next couple of days. This posed a real problem as we were supposed to be flying from Coron to Siargao on the 27th of December. The plan was to stay in Coron for three nights, the exact three nights the typhoon was supposed to hit – brilliant.

So we had to come up with plan b and fast. The weather was still good but no boats were running. We could chance it and wait till the following day, however, conditions were only supposed to get worse and that seemed like too much of a risk. We gave up on the idea of trying to get to Coron altogether which was so disappointing as I wish I was here writing all about how amazing it was but unfortunately we never made it.

I still wanted to include in this itinerary though as it was part of the original plan and seems like another incredible island worth exploring. I also heard it’s amazing for diving here if that’s your thing.

In the end, we managed to score ourselves a flight later on that day to Cebu. Our flight from Coron to Siargao was passing through Cebu so we thought if we could make it there then at least we could catch the second leg of our flight. Wow-what a drama it was trying to get this flight haha.

Usually, I love Christmas but this year, luck really was not on my side. First of all, we weren’t even sure if the flight was going to take off because of the wind so we didn’t want to buy tickets only to have the flight cancelled on us. So instead we decided to rock up to the airport and buy our tickets there once we knew the flight was going ahead.

Arrived at the airport all okay after a bit of a disagreement with our taxi driver on the price due to the language barrier, oops. Went up to the officials and asked for the ticket office but to our surprise, this wasn’t at the airport… So instead we get on our phones, try to get some kind of connection to buy the tickets online.

Finally manage to connect and I’m greeted with the message, sorry no tickets are available – ha. So we made the quick call that I would stay with the bags while my friends rushed to the ticket office to try and get us on this flight. We did not have a lot of time…but they managed to score us the tickets, success!

Soon after, I heard all of our names on the loudspeaker – “FINAL CALL FOR CHECK IN’“. My friends not being back yet I tried to see if I could get all of our bags through so I could make it to the check-in counter asap however security wouldn’t let me through without the others.

So here I was with all these bags, hearing our names being called but not being able to do anything until the others got back. Long story short – we made it on the plane much to all our disbelief. I think I actually laughed once I sat down cause I couldn’t believe we’d made it.

Arriving in Cebu City was a whole other world from what we had experienced on our holiday so far. No more beaches and even no more sun. The typhoon had hit here and it was nonstop rain. I hate big cities so I really wasn’t a fan of having to spend Christmas here. In my head, I was thinking this couldn’t get any worse, oh how wrong I was…

Literally, within about an hour of arriving in Cebu I had my handbag stolen by a guy on a motorbike which had my phone and wallet in it. I was devastated. I’ve never had anything of mine stolen before and it was a real shock. Not to mention I spend half of my life on my phone! A lot of my work is done from it when I’m on the go.

To top it off we had been to the ATM earlier so I had a fair amount of cash in my wallet. There was a little voice in my head saying I should move my cash into another bag but I ignored it because ‘we were only popping down the road to the 7/11 for water’. Lesson learnt – always listen to the little voice in your head. 9 times out of 10 it’s probably right.

I’m not going to go into too much detail but basically, Christmas Eve and Christmas morning was spent at the police station. After this, we were a bit too scared to go out anywhere in the evenings so Christmas really was a bit of a flop. Far from how I pictured it in my head where I expected to be on a beach somewhere in Coron sipping happy hour cocktails.

All in all, Cebu was not great, but we took a few days to relax and regroup before our flight on the 27th to Siargao.



Wow how happy I was to arrive in Siargao and be back on island time! This island was so crazy beautiful flying in, I’ve never seen so many palm trees in my life! Definitely grab a window seat on the plane if you can, it’s well worth it.

The first stop accommodation wise was Avocado hostel which was a cute budget hostel and the staff were lovely. The main reason we picked this place was so we could be close to the pier where the boats left in the morning. The plan was to get a private boat again and do a tour of Naked Island, Daku Island and Guyam Island. The process was a lot easier than expected.

In the morning you wish to do your tour, just head to the pier and there are some staff sitting at a table who will ask how many people you’ve got, charge you a set price based on that, then point you towards your driver. For up to 6 people it costs 1500 pesos for the boat so if you have a group of you it works out cheaper doing it this way as opposed to booking a tour and paying per person.

We went with the same plan of bringing our own food and conveniently the market is right next door to the pier so no need to make an extra stop on your way here.

Once we had our food, we were underway. The first stop was Naked Island and to be honest, it was a little underwhelming. It was basically just a sandbar, hence the name Naked Island, although I wouldn’t really classify a sandbar as an island. It was still a nice spot to grab a pic and go for a swim, the water was unbelievably blue, like everywhere else in the Philippines!


Next, it was onto Daku island where we ended up spending the most amount of time. There are little shacks on the beach you can hire so you’ve got some shade to give your skin a bit of a break from the sun when you aren’t in the water swimming. This is where you will have your lunch as there are grills the locals will cook it on for you.


Once you’re ready to move on you make you’re way to the final island, Guyam, which is again a great spot for a swim. There are some cute swings and hammocks around the island as well. The great thing about the private boat is that you can take your time and move on when you’re ready which is such a luxury. That’s the one thing I never like about tours, always being told you only have a certain amount of time there and a certain amount of time here.

Back to the hostel, it was and we were in need of some food. The good thing about the location of Avocado hostel was we could find some cheap places to eat pretty easily, cheaper than other meals on our trip. One of our favourite spots to head for dinner was this super local place down on the beach near where the pier is.

I can’t tell you the name of it cause I don’t think it had one but if you walk to the beach, turn left and walk a couple of blocks of stalls you will see it on the corner, sometimes you can just pick it by the smoke!

There are all these grills and you get to choose your meat and veggies or just veggies if you want vegetarian and they will cook it all up for you. So simple but oh my god so good!! Also while you’re here, you have to give karaoke a jam with some of the locals. The Philippines LOVE their karaoke and some of them are amazing at it too.

There are quite a few places to pick from along the beach and you can enjoy a nice cold beer while you sing your little heart out. Great song selection too, we jammed along to some Ed Sheran, Avril Lavinge and Maroon 5.

The next day we booked ourselves on another tour but this time it was a land and lagoon tour. It visits all the main spots to see on the island like Sugba Lagoon, the Magpupungko rock pools, the Maasin River bent palm tree with the swing and a few other key spots. There are a whole lot of different tours you can book that head to different spots so best to have a bit of a walk around and see which tour includes the most spots you want to visit. They all work out to be a similar price as well, usually between 1600 – 2000 pesos per person.

After another night at Avocado hostel we moved to Lampara boutique hostel where we would stay for a couple of nights and see in the new year. It was a super cute hostel in fact it really didn’t even feel like that much of a hostel, more like a cute little beach resort. It had direct access to the beach with hammocks you could lie in and in the communal area, there was a great place to relax upstairs with more hammocks, a rope hammock that was built into the floor and even a tv with Netflix. You also got free breakfast which was a score, I would totally travel back there for the mangos, so good!


Siargao is super famous for its surfing and a must-do is visiting cloud 9. From Lampara hostel we were able to walk here which was super handy. Even if you’re not a surfer you can still swim at the beach and have lunch at some good local cafes. We did end up hiring a surfboard one morning for an hour for about 200 pesos. You have the option to hire it for two hours at a better rate and honestly, you’re probably better off just doing one hour because we were exhausted by the end of it.

The current was pretty strong so I felt like I spent most of the time paddling haha but it was still lots of fun. Until I got stung by a jellyfish that is…the luck I was having on this trip really was spectacular lol. It was just a small sting and I was totally fine but wow it HURT. No, I didn’t have to pee on myself, or get anyone to pee on me – luckily there were some shacks that sold vinegar and the locals helped me deal with it pretty quickly so must happen quite a bit!

The nightlife in Siargao is also pretty fun! There’s a different spot to hit every night and you can pretty much guarantee it’ll be busy since everybody heads to the same place, depending on what night of the week it is. If you happen to be in Siargao over the weekend, 100% hit up Lamari on Sunday afternoon/evening for their pool party, such a fun time!

Bravo is also a super cool spot and has amazing food if you wanted to enjoy dinner here. I went on a Saturday night and there was a live band who were so incredibly talented, even the chef from the restaurant joined in for a few songs and wow, let’s just say the Filipinos know how to sing.

Other cool spots to hit for food or a drink are Shaka bowls, Loose Keys and Crepes. There is soo many good options though, you can’t really go wrong.

Another place I would 110% recommend you stay is Hiraya Surf Hostel. I stayed here after my friends went back to New Zealand and I honestly had such a fun time! There’s a pool which is awesome, the beds are comfy, the facilities are good, wifi is decent but the best thing is the awesome social atmosphere. I met some super cool people here and I totally could’ve seen myself staying for at least another week.

It is a little out of the way so it’s worthwhile hiring a scooter so you can get around a bit easier. If you aren’t super confident on driving one (like me lol), just make friends and jump on the back of somebody else’s, you’ll figure it out. If not, you can always get some exercise in and walk.

Or the locals can drop you to where you need to go for 20 pesos. If it’s dark then 30 pesos, if you’re drunk 100 pesos. Definitely got caught out on this one when we first arrived haha so keep in mind you shouldn’t be paying any more than 30 pesos unless you are looking to go somewhere outside of the area.

Okay well, I think that’s it for my 10 day Philippines itinerary! Surely if you’ve read this far you’ve had enough of me by now, didn’t expect this post to be such a long one.

There are so many other incredible places to visit in the Philippines that I wish I had time to see on this trip but that will have to wait until another day. Other travellers raved about Port Barton, Bohol, Oslob and Moalboal to name a few so will definitely be adding those into my list for next time!

Have you been to the Philippines before? Let me know in the comments below