5 One-Week Itineraries in the Philippines for Your Ultimate Vacation

5 Perfect One-Week Itineraries for Your Ultimate Vacation in the Philippines

From city tours to beach-hopping and food-tripping — you’ll surely get a taste of the Philippine’s best features with these thoughtfully crafted itineraries. Get ready for seven days in paradise!

With more than 7,000 islands literally sitting pretty in its vast waters, the Philippine archipelago is a sight to behold from every port by sea or air.

The country is a fun treasure trove filled with vibrant cultures, exciting cities, majestic peaks to conquer, and the most mysterious depths to dive into. So where do you begin and how do you ever end your tropical holiday?

Also read: 10 World-Class Islands in the Philippines Travellers Rave About

itineraries philippines

Seven Commandos Beach, El Nido, Palawan | Image credit: Cris Tagupa

If you’re stuck with this conundrum, look no further. From 7,000+ islands, we give you five perfect itineraries in five dream destinations for an ultimate vacation in the Philippines. Your adventure starts here.

Planning the ultimate vacation begins with an airline you can count on for year-round low airfares. Cebu Pacific offers exactly this, plus inter-island connectivity to boot. With Cebu Pacific, you can also fly directly from select international destinations like Bangkok (Thailand), Beijing/Shanghai/Guangzhou/Xiamen (China), Brunei, Dubai, Hong Kong, Incheon (Korea), Jakarta/Bali (Indonesia), Melbourne/Sydney (Australia), Fukuoka/Osaka/Nagoya/Narita (Japan), Siem Reap (Cambodia), Singapore, Taipei (Taiwan), and more!

BOOK YOUR FLIGHTS TO THE PHILIPPINES HERE!

1. Cebu itinerary

Cebu itinerary

Sumilon Island, Cebu | Image credit: Psalm Ramos

In Cebu, tourists have the best of both worlds. Its bustling metropolis is a city centre that’s comparable to modern Manila, the Philippines’ capital. On the other hand, a few hours away from Cebu City, countless mountains and beaches will enchant any nature lover.

Fun Flight Tip: We booked a flight with Cebu Pacific during a recent trip to Cebu and we weren’t disappointed. Even from securing our flights, we felt that our convenience was top priority. Cebu Pacific has a mobile app that allowed us to do everything — from booking flights to online payment and mobile check-in — using just one application. With a single log-in, the ever-handy CEB Mobile App also let us avail of other add-ons easily. True story: We were checked-in in a matter of seconds! Plus, we didn’t have to wait in line at the airport anymore. After mobile app check-in, simply proceed to bag drop and present a clear screenshot of your boarding pass, which should have a scannable QR code. That already serves as your entry for boarding. Don’t forget your ID, of course.

Day 1-3: Bantayan Island

From the Mactan International Airport, make your way up north to see Cebu’s best-kept secret. What awaits at Bantayan Island? Azure seas and seemingly endless stretches of fine, white sand perfect for those fun jump shots.

Day 4-5: Downtown Cebu

It’s time to head back to the city and walk along the storied streets of downtown Cebu. There are many heritage structures you can tour in the area, such as Casa Gorordo, Jesuit House, Magellan’s Cross, and Fort San Pedro — the oldest and smallest bastion fort in the country. In the city’s cooler, more elevated areas, you can visit the Taoist Temple, Sirao Flower Farm, and Temple of Leah. Cebu City is also home to a venerated image of the Child Christ, which you can see at the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño de Cebu.

Tour Tip: For utmost comfort and convenience, book a stay at One Central Hotel, downtown Cebu’s newest deluxe getaway. It’s just a few minutes’ ride away from the major tourist spots and has everything you need for a staycation.

Day 6-7: Sumilon Island

Spend your last two days in Cebu farther down south in Sumilon Island, where you can enjoy clear waters and lush greenery. A day trip allows you to experience the wide grounds of Bluewater Sumilon and even snorkel in its coral reef. If you have the budget and time to spare, stay overnight for more fun the next day!

START YOUR EXCITING GETAWAY TO CEBU!

2. Manila itinerary

Manila itinerary

The City of Manila set against the famous Manila Bay sunset

Welcome to Manila, the Philippines’ capital and busiest centre. Here, the cityscape is ever-kinetic and dominated by high-rise buildings and business districts. There are pockets of Manila, though, that will show remnants of its past.

Fun Flight Tip: The Philippines is known for filling, home-cooked meals. So why not start enjoying Filipino dishes even before you land in Manila? With CEB Meals, you’re assured of well-prepared specialities that are Halal-certified, so everyone can have a taste of the flavourful fun! All dishes served by Cebu Pacific also come with utensils made of sustainable materials so you can enjoy your food while helping limit our waste. Don’t hesitate to ask your flight attendants for other recommendations, too. You may want to have some baked goodies, or maybe an in-flight cocktail? Cebu Pacific’s Fun Cafe has that covered.

Day 1: Museums and Manila Bay

Although there are many museums in other provinces, the main National Museum buildings are all in Manila. The best part? Visiting these hallowed halls will cost you nothing because the entrance is free. After museum-hopping, watch the famous Manila Bay sunset at the Baywalk along Roxas Boulevard.

Day 2: Intramuros and Poblacion

It is common knowledge that Intramuros is the “walled city” the Spanish built shortly after they arrived in the archipelago and named it Las Islas Filipinas. But not a lot know that, aside from being Metro Manila’s hippest artist’s-slash-hipster’s haven and watering hole, Poblacion was actually Makati’s first settlement during the time of the Spaniards.

Intramuros offers ancient bastions and centuries-old structures — well-preserved remnants of Manila’s past. You can tour these aged buildings early in the day and even visit the unique shops at Fort Santiago and near Casa Manila for souvenirs. Our top recommendation would be The Manila Collectible Co., where you can buy weaves and accessories made by the Philippines’ indigenous people. Don’t forget to have a drink in the oldest distillery in the Philippines, Distileria Limtuaco, which also houses a museum. Afterwards, ride a ferry to Poblacion in Makati along the historic Pasig River. There, you can party the night away or just treat yourself to some good food and coffee.

Tour Tip: Join one of Intramuros’ unique guided tours if you’re not keen on a DIY excursion on foot. Tuklas Pilipinas Society’s “Manila Archeotrail” will take you from Fort Santiago and Casa Manila to the National Museum of Anthropology, and unveil the city layer by layer through an archaeologist’s perspective. Yes, you’ll be guided by actual archaeologists!

Day 3: Manila Chinese Cemetery and Escolta

The LRT 1’s R. Papa station is your gateway to two of Manila’s most interesting sights. Your first stop should be the Manila Chinese Cemetery, which is filled with hauntingly beautiful mausoleums and intricately carved tombstones; one can only imagine the stories they hold! Head to the historic street of Escolta afterward for some drinks and good grub. You might also score some quirky and vintage finds at First United Building.

Tour Tip: Take a walking tour with “Old Manila Walks”. They do a food tour around Manila’s Chinatown, Binondo, and a very intriguing walking tour inside the Chinese Cemetery.

Day 4: Binondo

Manila’s very own Chinatown is popular for two things: food and thrift shopping! The best way to experience this area is to go on a walking food trip. For cheap thrills and the best bulk deals, head to 168 and 999 shopping malls, and put your bargaining powers to the test!

Tour Tip: Dress down and dress comfortably in these areas. You’ll have to contend with the heat (or rain!) and very thick crowds.

Day 5-6: Day trips from Manila

It’s time to take a break from the city and venture past Manila. Technically, this is already beyond the Metro, but it is how most Manileños escape the city even just for a bit.

Also read: 17 Best Day Trips From Manila if You Need a Break From the City

For volcano trekking and an overnight stay in a heritage town, go to Taal in Batangas. Historical tours await in Corregidor. Breathtaking landscapes and creative nature trails will greet you at Masungi Georeserve in Baras, Rizal. Another volcano trek you can check out is Mt. Pinatubo. Waterbabies, visit Anilao or Laiya in Batangas for beaches and diving.

Fun Flight Tip: With CEB Prepaid Baggage, money-smart budget travellers can pay only for what they need. Customise your flight experience and select additional baggage allowance as one of your flight add-ons. In this case, do secure luggage allowance for any mountaineering equipment you might be bringing for a quick excursion in the peaks near Manila.

Day 7: Makati Central Business District and Bonifacio Global City

Return to the city refreshed and ready to take two more business and entertainment hubs in Metro Manila! There’s the central business district in Makati and Bonifacio Global City (BGC) in Taguig. Both areas will allow you to hop from one mall to another so this is where you can take care of some last-minute shopping.

3. Palawan itinerary

Palawan itinerary

Small Lagoon, El Nido, Palawan | Image credit: Fabio Achilli

Ahhh, the tropical paradise that is Palawan. First and foremost, this province is known to be breathtaking from its summits to its seas. But not a lot of people know there’s also much to explore in the city. Here’s the best way to experience Palawan in its full glory.

Fun Flight Tip: We used Cebu Pacific’s Seat Selector for our last flight, and it was very convenient. You might want to select your seat in advance to make sure you get a window seat. That way, you’re treated to a better aerial view of Palawan’s world-famous islands! The Philippines’ topography is one of its most interesting features and you can fully enjoy the views that will greet you if you’re seated by the window. That’s one way of milking your flight; start sightseeing right there and then!

Day 1-4: Coron or El Nido

There are two paradises in Palawan that make jaws drop without fail, and you can choose to stay in one of them during your first four days in the province. Get lost in the ethereal land-and-seascapes of Coron or give in to the ultimate island staycation in El Nido.

Fun Flight Tip: Heading to El Nido has never been this easy — if you’re flying with Cebu Pacific, that is. If you avail the services of CEB Transfers, they’ll take care of your travel to El Nido from Puerto Princesa. All you have to do is book that flight and Cebu Pacific will do the rest.

Day 5-7: Puerto Princesa

We know we said there’s much to see and do in the city, but believe us, three days is already plenty of time to do just that. Here’s a three-day Puerto Princesa guide for easy planning.

GRAB AFFORDABLE FLIGHTS TO PALAWAN HERE!

4. Siargao itinerary

Siargao itinerary

Surfing in Siargao | Image credit: HopeHill

Among the surfer paradises in the Philippines, Siargao is probably this season’s hottest spot. What will you see in this part of Surigao del Norte? The sea, of course — and lots of it!

Fun Flight Tip: Did you know that you can actually have Cebu Pacific take care of specialty check-in items such as sports equipment and surfboards? We only found out during our last flight! Simply click on CEB Surfboard to know how you can bring your own board to Siargao for the most affordable rates possible!

Day 1: Beach

No particular beach…just wherever you’re staying. If you’ll have your surfboard with you, the first day should be dedicated to getting settled at wherever you’re staying and just lounging by the shore. And the best part about Siargao is it’s an island completely surrounded by the mesmerising blues and greens of the ocean.

Day 2-6: Siargao’s popular spots, for surfers and non-surfers alike

It’s true, Siargao makes for an unforgettable surfer’s retreat, but that doesn’t mean surfing’s all you can do on the island. In fact, there are caves, rock pools, and neighbouring islands open to visitors all year round. Here’s how you get the most of this paradise in five days.

Day 7: Cloud 9

Cloud 9 is a popular surfing spot where the waves are gnarly and absolutely satisfying. A day should be enough if you’re just a beginner looking to master the basics. But more serious surfers who want to catch one wave after another might have the desire to come back.

Tour Tip: If you have extra funds and time to spare, we highly recommend a side trip to Surigao del Sur. Click here to know why you should take the chance while you’re already so nearby!

5. Boracay itinerary

Boracay itinerary

White Beach, Boracay | Image credit: Rabby Calicdan

Boracay was probably the most controversial tourist spot of 2018 in the Philippines because it was shut down for six months to make way for its rehabilitation. Hopefully, visitors will now be more mindful of what they do on the island, which is known for immaculate, white-sand beaches.

Fun Flight Tip: Cebu Pacific acknowledges that tourism may take its toll on destinations, especially when it goes unchecked. To make a stand against unsustainable tourism practices and to combat further environmental damage, Cebu Pacific invites adventurers from all over the world to join their pro-environment movement called The Juan Effect. Make a pledge before you fly; bring your own water bottle and eco-bag, or promise to throw your trash in designated bins. Contribute to a big change today, and remember to be more eco-conscious as you travel!

Day 1-4: Stations One, Two, and Three

You have seven days in Boracay, so why not go hotel-hopping? By doing this, you’ll get to have a taste of all its stations and decide which you like best. That way, you know where you’ll stay the next time you visit!

Day 5: Ariel’s Point

A day trip to Ariel’s Point is well worth it if you need a break from lazing around and digging your toes in Boracay’s white sand. Here, you can engage in all sorts of heart-racing recreational activities such as cliff diving, kayaking, and paddleboarding!

Day 6: Puka Beach, Magic Island, and Crystal Cove

Most people just experience one beach when they visit Boracay because it’s so beautiful that guests can’t get enough of it! But you should know that you can also go island-hopping to experience other nearby locations such as Puka Beach, Magic Island, and Crystal Cove.

Day 7: Markets and shopping stalls

From island-hopping to island-shopping real quick! We’re quite sure you’ve seen Boracay’s shopping scene by now. You’ve had six days to get a glimpse of it, after all. But dedicate this day to truly going through all shopping stalls and markets for the best deals. Now is the time to shop for all those souvenirs you’ll be bringing home to your friends and loved ones. Did anyone say extra baggage allowance?

Tour tip: Staying longer? Imagine the countless adventures you’ll have if you’re able to pull off more than one itinerary from this list. Make multi-city bookings with Cebu Pacific and double (or even triple!) the fun.

Finally, you’re all set for your ultimate vacation in the Philippines! But before you decide on your itinerary, we’ll let you in on a little secret: The cherry on top of your dream tropical getaway is the people. Above all, Filipinos will welcome you to each province and metropolis with incomparable warmth and hospitality. We promise you an enjoyable adventure, but we’ll also make you feel at home.

So what are you waiting for? Book that flight and tick all those convenient add-ons, and #FlyToMoreFun in the Philippines!

CHECK LOW AIRFARES TO THE PHILIPPINES HERE!

For more information, please visit Cebu Pacific’s official website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Youtube.


Brought to you by Cebu Pacific Air.

About Author

Alyosha Robillos
Alyosha Robillos

In Russia, Alyosha is a boy's name popularized by literary greats Dostoevsky and Tolstoy—but this particular Alyosha is neither Russian nor a boy. She is a writer from the Philippines who loves exploring the world as much as she likes staying at home. Her life's mission is to pet every friendly critter there is. When she isn't busy doing that, she sniffs out stories and scribbles away on the backs of old receipts. She is an advocate of many things: culture and heritage, the environment, skincare and snacking, to name a few. She will work for lifetime supplies of french fries and coffee. Or yogurt. Or cheese, preferably Brie.

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