4 Weeks in the Philippines – The Ultimate Philippines Itinerary 2023
A month long trip to the Philippines is the right way to do it! The country is full of beauty, adventure, and culture, and 4 weeks will give you enough time to truly appreciate everything it has to offer. Well, maybe not everything. After all, there are over 7,000 islands in the Philippines, but as long as you have the right travel guide, you won’t miss out on the must-have experiences.
In this article, we whipped up the ultimate 4-week Philippines itinerary. After extensively traveling the country, we know the area like the backs of our hands. We made sure to include all the top attractions and hidden gems off the beaten path. So, follow this itinerary for the full Philippines experience!
Cebu – (Travel time: 10 Days)
Start your trip off in North Cebu. The island is the perfect jump-off point for dozens of smaller islands and is home to its own stunning scenery. The north and south of Cebu have different vibes and attractions, so you’ll want to make sure to travel both sides! Here are our recommendations.
Just off the northern tip of Cebu is Bantayan Island. You’ll want to put aside a couple of days to spend there. You can rent a bike or a scooter and experience the white sand beaches, Mangrove Eco Park, and drool-worthy cuisine. Visiting the Virgin Island, 30 minutes from Bantayan’s shores, can’t be missed! Check out our ultimate Bantayan Island travel guide for everything you need to know prior visiting the island.
Malapascua Island: Dive with Thresher Sharks
Shark diving, anyone? Malapascua Island has some of the best dive sites for a chance to get to swim with quirky-looking Thresher sharks. Before you spit out your drink, know that it’s a safe activity. The sharks are timid and aren’t interested in interacting with their human observers. Visiting the island can be done from Bantayan or Cebu for just a day trip or an overnight stay!
Head over to one of the most picturesque locations in the Philippines: Kalanggaman Island. It’s made up of just a sliver of sand, so get ready for some epic beach activities. Grab a snorkel, kayak, or aqua bike and relish the crystal-clear water. The island is excellent for a day trip, but there is a hotel on the island if you don’t want to feel rushed. If North Cebu really interests you, check out our Ultimate Travel Guide on how to get there, best places to eat, getting around and more.
After ending your northern Cebu trip at this gem of an island, it's time to head down south.
Moalboal: School of Sardines
When heading down south Cebu, be sure to stop at the town of Moalboal. It’s teeming with marine life, and if you’re up for a once-in-a-lifetime snorkeling experience, we have the killer recommendation for you. Sign up for a snorkeling tour that will take you to an area with vast schools of sardines. You can hop off the boat, strap on goggles, and swim through the schools. It’s one of the most exciting things to do in the Philippines and should be a priority on your to-do list!
Oslob: Whale Shark Watching
When you’re in Cebu, you’ll have the chance to go whale shark watching. Locals of the small fishing town of Oslob will take you out in a boat and lure in the sharks with bait. You can watch as the sharks feed or even get in the water and swim alongside them–yep, that’s right! These big bold harmless creatures only have a throat size of around 2.5cm, so with a wide mouth and small throat, plankton is their main prey. Swimming with these beauties is definitely an Instagram-worthy experience!
Once you have completed the south, it's time to make your way up to Cebu city's ferry port. From here you will catch a quick ferry ride to Bohol.
Bohol – (Travel time: 7 Days)
Welcome to Bohol! The island is packed with natural attractions that will keep you busy for at least a week. You’ll have your choice of hotels on the water or immersed in the greenery. Let’s check out some of the top things to do on the island!
Bohol is most famous for the Chocolate Hills that go as far as you can see. It might take a bit of time to convince you that they’re not manmade, but their unique mound shape is a natural occurrence. Exploring the area is a great way to spend the day.
Head to the Tarsier Conservation Area to see the smallest primate on Earth. Tarsiers are funky creatures with saucer-sized eyes and long tails. Without the conservatory, it’s possible they would have gone extinct. Money brought in by tourism helps the organisation take care of the little critters.
Make your way to the south of Bohol, where you can drive across a short bridge that will take you to Panglao Island. The beaches are drop-dead gorgeous, and there are plenty of beach bars to get a couple of cocktails. Panglao has great snorkeling and diving, so sign up for one of the many boat tours. At the end of your day, have yourself a nice seafood dinner of locally caught fish.
Virgin Island (Pungtud Island)
Pungtud Island, also known as Virgin Island, is just off the coast of Panglao. It’s a small islet with a big sandbar. Take a boat there and soak in its stunning beauty. Some vendors set up in the shallow water and serve up fresh seafood!
For everything you need to know about Bohol, be sure to check out our Bohol, Philippines Ultimate Travel Guide.
Once you are satisfied with your experience on Bohol Island, it's time to head over to one of the lesser known and serene islands in the Philippines, Siquijor!!!
Siquijor (Travel time: 4 Days)
Siquijor is a must-see island south of Bohol. It has beautiful waterfalls that cascade throughout the jungle and, of course, lovely beaches. 4 days should be enough time, but we can promise that you’ll be sad when it’s time to go.
Check out Cambugahay Falls and cool off in the swimming hole. It’s a popular spot, but unlike other islands, you won’t be drowned by crowds of people. Spark your adrenaline and try out the rope swings at different heights, depending on how brave you are. On the same day, you can also head to Lugnason Falls for another stunning sight to experience on the island.
At Salagdoong Beach, you can have one of the best cliff-jumping experiences of your life. There are two epic jumps, a waterslide, and great places to sit in the sand and soak up the sun. Whichever activity you choose, you’ll be surrounded by bright turquoise water.
Dinner and Drinks with a View
The island has top-notch restaurant options. We recommend if you want a nice meal out, to dine at Cockatoo Restaurant. You’re guaranteed to have some of the best food of your trip. Before the sun sets, grab a drink at one of the beachfront bars and cherish the country’s beauty.
Honestly, Siquijor Island was our favourite place to be in the Philippines. It has so many mini gems to explore and still remains untouched. Find out more on 6 MUST EXPERIENCES in Siquijor.
As your Philippines getaway starts to draw closer to the end, why not end off the trip in one of the most beautiful places in the Philippines - Palawan. To get there will require some effort from Siquijor, but we really highly recommend it to complete your ultimate trip to the Philippines.
To head there from Siquijor Island, you will require to catch a ferry to Dumaguete and then catch a flight to Coron Island which transits via Manila. it's worth it, don't worry!
Coron Island (Travel time: 6 Days)
Your trip wouldn’t be complete without visiting Coron Island! Once you arrive, you’ll be greeted by limestone cliffs, colourful lagoons, and 24/7 adventure. Plan for about 6 days to fit in everything since Coron has some of the most memorable things to do in the Philippines.
Diving in Barracuda Lake
Barracuda lake is tucked behind stunning limestone faces and offers a unique diving experience. The lake is made up of salt and fresh water, which causes a strange and enjoyable effect on the water temperature. The deeper you swim, the warmer the water gets–if only all places were like that! In town or online, you can book amazing scuba or free diving excursions! It’s a must-have activity on your Philippines itinerary.
Maquinit Hot Spring
When hot springs are in the picture, visiting them is a no-brainer. The Maquinit Hot Spring is one of the only saltwater hot springs in the world–now you have to go, right? It’s a popular spot, and if you don’t plan accordingly, it’s safe to say that you will be sharing it with other people. But not to worry! Just make sure to get an early start so you can have the best experience!
Coron is surrounded by breathtaking islands, and it’s only right to go on an island-hopping tour. There are a number of all-day tours to choose from that will take you to places like Twin Lagoon, Kayangan Lake, and Skeleton Shipwreck. By the end of the day, you’ll understand why Coron is one of the most visited locations.
Manila (Travel time: 3 Days)
To finish off your trip, take a direct flight from Coron Island to Manila – the country’s capital. After 3 and a half weeks of traveling through serene nature, don’t be surprised if it takes a day to adjust to the city. But the adventure is not over yet!
Check Out the City
Manila is the second largest city in the Philippines, so you’ll get a great perspective on what life is like for most people. To learn a bit about the city’s history, join the Intramuros Bambike Tour, where a guide will take you around on bamboo-made bikes to historical sites.
You’ll want to chow down at Manila’s unbelievable restaurants like Bistro Remedios and Tutong’s Laksa. Don’t forget to hit one of the many spas in the area. You’ve been doing a lot of traveling and deserve an afternoon of relaxation.
Day Trip to Mount Pinatubo
Just because you’re in the city doesn’t mean there aren’t great adventures nearby! Only a 2 hour car ride north of Manila you are greeted by Mount Pinatubo. If you really want to have an adventurous experience, you can sign up for an ATV tour which ill take you close to the crater and it's surroundings. It’s the best way to see as much of the region as possible, and you're guaranteed to have a killer time.
Final Travel Advice
The Philippines is a country everyone should visit at least once. If you’re going to go, do it right and stay for at least four weeks to live the full experience. You could spend a lifetime jumping islands and trekking through jungles and not run out of unforgettable things to do in the Philippines.
If you are interested in the camera gear and equipment we use to create beautiful pictures, videos and memories, all are listed below. Each product has its own use for the different type of content we create. PS: we highly recommend the Sandisk SSD drives - game changers for transferring content from the camera to our laptops.
CAMERAS & LENSES
Canon EOS R (Camera body) (Professional)
Canon RF 35mm lens (Good for close up videos and photos)
Canon RF 70-200 (Crystal clear images from a distance)
Canon RF 15-35mm (Versatile lens, amazing for wide angle shots)
Go Pro Hero 10 (Under water shots)
iPhone 13 PRO (Quick videos and for vlogging)
DJI Mavic Air 2 (Aerial drone photography and videos)
LAPTOP & HARDWARE
MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2021), Apple M1 Max chip with 10‑core CPU and 32‑core GPU, 32GB RAM, 1TB SSD
Sandisk SSD (Small, compact, super fast transfer speed)
Yeti Panga 100% Waterproof bag (Submersible backpack)
Thanks for this beautiful article
We are going there for 17 days and we are wondering what is the best itinerary
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