The Philippines are made up of over 7,600 islands. You can spend months here, and there will still be something new to see. Unfortunately, sometimes our work only allows us the luxury of taking a week off for travel. With that in mind, Feetpin Travel brings to you our recommended 07 Day itineraries series. This particular itinerary focuses on Underground River, Bioluminescent Plankton, Fireflies, Zipline, Las Cabanas, in-depth exploration of Lagoons and beaches in El Nido, Palawan and Manila Shopping!
Land in Manila. Sort out necessary practicalities i.e. SIM card, etc. Check into hotel, rest. Explore Manila nightlife.
Take the first flight (6 – 7 am) to Puerto Princessa (PP). Reach around 9 am. Do the Underground River Tour (UNESCO Site) during the day. Return to hotel and rest.
Check out the Bioluminescent Plankton and Fireflies tour as well – tour pick up is usually at 6 pm from your hotel and the tour ends at 10 p.m. Rest well at night because it will be a long day tomorrow.
Start for El Nido the earliest you can – ask your hotel to arrange transport – private vans usually sell their seats for 400-600 pesos person. It is a 5 hour journey. Reach El Nido around lunchtime.
Check into hotel, have lunch and then grab a tricycle to the El Nido Zipline point. Enjoy the Zipline (ensure you are physically fit as you have to trek up to the Zipline Point). We recommend just to do the Zipline one-way (price in January 2018 was 500 pesos).
Once you reach the other island by zipline, make your way down the stairs and walk back to the mainland through a shallow strip of sand to get to Las Cabanas. Watch the famous sunset here while resting on hammocks with smoothies or cocktails.
Have a relaxed dinner here and then head back to hotel and rest.
Do El Nido Island Hopping Tour A. Destinations include: Small Lagoon, Big Lagoon, Secret Lagoon, Seven Commandos Beach and Shimizu Island.
Do El Nido Island Hopping Tour B. Destinations include Snake Island, Cathedral Cave, Cudugnon Cave, Entalula Island, etc.
Do El Nido Island Hopping Tour C. Destinations include Star Beach, Hidden Beach, Secret Beach, Helicopter Island, Talisay Beach.
Start early for your 5 hour journey back to Puerto Princessa. Catch your flight from PP to Manila.
Once in Mania, check into any hotel – but do that in the Makati area (Mania traffic is insane!). Leave your luggage, freshen up, and then gear up for some shopping! The Malls here are insane – visit GreenBelt 1,2,3,4 & 5, Landmark Mall, Glorietta, etc. My personal favorite was SM Mall here. All of the above have excellent quality and designer originals at a fraction of the regular prices.
If you’re looking for designer replicas, skip the above and head to Greenhills Mall, which is an hour’s Uber ride away (thanks to Manila traffic!).
Shop to your heart’s content – the Malls are open till p.m. and then grab a late dinner and head back to the hotel. Get a good night’s sleep.
Bid goodbye to the Philippines and catch your flight back home.
PRO-TIP: Book your El Nido Tours from TSPOT or TeaSpot (same place). They give you a Free Bubble Tea (worth up to 200 pesos) for each tour booked through them and also access to their wifi.
For El Nido – any of the beachside restaurants or within the town streets. Ask locals for recommendations or explore till you find something you like.
The days have been broken down into easy segments, so feel free to omit any of the days and adjust accordingly if you have fewer days available in the Philippines. Also – keep in touch regularly with your tour operators – adjust and be prepared for “island time” i.e. pick up from hotel at 8.30 am even though they said 8 am sharp, etc. It’s a vacation – Enjoy it!