Islands & Destinations in the Philippines Perfect for Remote Work

From El Nido to Boracay, These Philippine Islands Are Perfect for Working Remotely

Proof that the Philippines is a no-frills choice for digital nomads.

I’ve been working remotely for practically my entire “adult” life. While most of it was spent at home in Manila, Philippines, the rest I was privileged to enjoy in some of the best Philippine destinations for remote workers. Within that time, I’ve learned to embrace the ups and downs of such a lifestyle as I take in the undisputed beauty of this archipelago I call home. In the end, it was always the former that prevailed.

remote work destinations philippines

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Home to breathtaking islands that you really have to see to believe, the Philippines is a no-frills choice for digital nomads like myself. From remote work-friendly accommodations to affordable access to natural wonders at any given time, this Southeast Asian paradise can be your future work-from-home hub, too. Of course, the question of exactly where to do it is all on you, but some digital nomad-ready Philippine islands are worth highlighting.

Siargao — experience ultimate co-living in paradise

remote work destinations philippines: siargao

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Since it gained prominence as one of the top surfing and island hopping capitals of the Philippines, Siargao practically never saw a time where it didn’t have tourists. Even during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, local and international travellers who shifted to work-from-home setups had Siargao as a top-choice destination. If you don’t mind having this crowd around, then the island is an ideal place for you to be in.

Siargao has it all — fresh island cuisine, white sand beaches, lush greenery, affordable and luxurious accommodations, picturesque restaurants, and genuinely friendly locals. But as to what has made it a top option for working remotely in the Philippines? Other than for its relatively fast internet by a remote island’s standards, Siargao hosts an array of digital nomad-friendly working locations. The most logical choice would be to rent an apartment or long-stay rentals. Beachfront villas and roadside cafes are not a bad choice either.

Furthermore, if you need to get somewhere during a day-off or even for a quick bite in between working, you can easily get a motorbike rental in Siargao. If not, bicycles are another option. For the full two weeks I was there in 2018, I rented one for no more than ₱200 (S$5) per day. Plus, it’s sustainable, too! Meanwhile, Siargao’s famed outlying islands are quickly reachable by boat for budget-friendly rates.

Where to stay in Siargao

If you’re looking for a place to call home as you work remotely, look no further than the ambient Inara Siargao, a secluded villa that offers a true respite from the hustle and bustle of city life. A winner of the 2023 Travel Excellence Awards by TripZilla — Boutique Star, Inara Siargao offers a holistic stay, punctuated by comfy rooms and a multitude of onsite leisure activities to relax and unwind after a day of work.

Be it for leisure or business, the homey abode of Inara Siargao is the perfect complement to a stay on the beautiful island of Siargao!

Palawan — practicality in paradise

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The beauty of El Nido doesn’t just lie in the fact that it has some of the country’s most stunning limestone cliffs, lagoons, and beaches, but that they are incredibly close to where you’ll hopefully be based once you’ve stepped foot in this highly acclaimed town in Palawan.

In 2020, El Nido was one of the first places in the Philippines to reopen at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country. Prior to this, the town has stepped up its efforts to boost its reputation as a work-from-home destination by partnering with one of the biggest telecom companies in the country. With this, remote workers could enjoy faster internet access that allows them to work beyond their hotel or resort in El Nido. Some days, you might even find yourself hustling from Palawan’s finest beaches!

With Puerto Princesa and Coron — another must-visit destination in Palawan — a quick bus and boat ride away, choosing El Nido to work remotely in the Philippines is practical. This way, you can opt to visit other attractions in the island while supporting local transportation.

Boracay — where style and convenience meet

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Whether short or long-term, what would your visit to the Philippines be without seeing Boracay? Among the smaller holiday islands in the country, Boracay mostly caters to travellers seeking a quick getaway. In fact, it’s not uncommon for visits here to be as short as two days, which is sometimes enough to see its iconic beach that boasts a long stretch of white sand and its top food spots.

Lately, Boracay has been striving to rebrand itself from a weekend destination to an eco-forward haven where long-term visitors can thrive. For one, a number of hotels and resorts on the island now offer affordable monthly rental packages, with some being beachfront accommodations. This allows you to access the island’s famous white sands and clear waters literally a few steps from your bedroom.

With Boracay’s more compact environment, you can focus on relaxing and immersing yourself in a select number of activities at your own pace. As a remote worker, this is obviously an advantage because you can concentrate on your work without ever worrying about running out of time to explore.

Cebu — a tried and tested base for digital nomads

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As the former capital of the country serving as the midway point between Luzon and Mindanao, Cebu is an important economic hub of the Philippines. It’s for this reason that the island province has always been a competitive base for those with an innovative and entrepreneurial spirit.

Whether it’s in the cities of Cebu, Mandaue, or Lapu-Lapu, digital nomads have found a home in many of the coworking spaces in the central Philippines province. Although each has something different to offer, their commonalities include having fast internet connectivity and an overall hospitable environment. Not to mention, you’ll be within reach from the provinces’ top culinary and adventure spots, from the foodie favourite Sugbo Mercado in Cebu City to the epic diving sites of Moalboal.

Indeed, Cebu makes a great choice for those who want to take advantage of the conveniences of urban life, while having ease of access to places where remote workers can relax for a few days. It truly is the best of both worlds!

Also read: Top 20 Things to Do in Cebu for First Time Visitors

Bohol — work remotely in solitude

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If it were a battle of travel diversity, Bohol would make for a great temporary home away from home. The reason is that the province offers an array of activities that can appeal to almost every kind of individual, from wildlife and nature lovers to luxury holidaymakers and photographers.

Bohol is not generally known for having the most modern facilities for remote workers, including ample shared offices and stable internet access. However, if your type of work only requires you to use them from time to time — say, you’re a freelancer with flexible schedules and deadlines — the province otherwise delivers. In addition, there is a smaller island in the province called Panglao. A more expensive option than working from cafes or coworking amenities, they offer WiFi-equipped resorts and a peaceful environment conducive for working remotely.

When not working, the best way to explore Bohol is by renting a motorbike, which costs around ₱500 (S$13) for 24 hours use, exclusive of gas. This is regardless of which part of the province you are located in. To get to the main island, you can take a connecting flight to Bohol’s Tagbilaran Airport or a direct overseas flight to Bohol-Panglao International Airport.

Also read: From Tattoos to Textiles: Travel for These Cultural Activities in the Philippines

Negros Island — a rustic take on working from anywhere

In 2018, Dumaguete City in Negros Island was voted the best place to retire in the Philippines for foreigners. Among the factors studied were its low cost of living, the hospitality of the locals, and peace and order, which can unofficially be said about nearby cities and towns on the island, too. If these things are your priority as a remote worker, then come to Negros Island.

Along with Dumaguete, Negros’ Bacolod City rustic and history-filled corners make it suitable for those who prefer a more modest way to make a living digitally. Even then, both cities have seen a rise of a few coworking spaces that provide safe, contemporary, and reliable facilities for professionals working alone or in groups. Moreover, food is almost never an issue, as both locations are dotted with highly raved restaurants and food brands that let you savour authentic Filipino cuisine even when you’re on a limited budget.

Whether you decide to stay in Dumaguete or Bacolod, you’ll be within easy reach of Negros Island attractions that never disappoint. For example, there’s Apo Island for diving enthusiasts and The Ruins for culture buffs!

Iloilo — workcation in the heart of the Philippines

remote work destinations philippines: iloilo

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Manila may be its official capital, but Iloilo City in Panay Island takes pride in being the “heart” of the Philippines. Located in the middle of the Philippine archipelago, Iloilo combines the modernity of cities like Cebu, Davao, and Manila while taking pride in the rich heritage sites and natural wonders of Panay Island.

Once the centre of trade in the Visayas, Iloilo isn’t new to foreign nationals coming in for a quick visit for work purposes. It’s no wonder the city has taken it upon itself to develop facilities that most people living outside the city could only dream of. On top of its high-speed internet connectivity and presence of meeting spaces, Iloilo is currently one of the most bike-friendly cities in the Philippines — even boasting a scenic bicycle lane that spans at least 11 kilometres. Thus, it offers residents a truly attainable balance of work and a healthy lifestyle.

As one of the bigger islands in the Visayas region, Panay likewise provides Iloilo-based workers ample options to destress when it counts. Stop by important historical landmarks like the Belfry Tower and Jaro Cathedral to learn more about Iloilo. On weekends, take a trip to the nearby Gigantes Islands or Guimaras Island for a fantastic tropical vacation!

Hustle away at top Philippine destinations for remote workers

remote work destinations philippines

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The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly put a spotlight on the benefits of working remotely. It is safe, convenient, and most importantly, cost-efficient — at least when you choose to be based in a place like the Philippines. With its generous mix of culture, nature, and innovation, the country is the perfect location for remote workers longing for a change of scenery.

Of course, the Philippines hosts a selection of other work and travel destinations usually found in centres such as Manila. However, these Philippine islands for remote workers provide a great opportunity to embrace all that the country has to offer without the added pressures of typical city life. With that being said, is it truly more fun to work remotely in the Philippines? From one digital nomad to another, my answer would be a resounding yes!

About Author

Joser Ferreras
Joser Ferreras

Joser is a senior writer for TripZilla based in Manila, Philippines. He mostly covers travel, people, and business.