Philippines Backpacking Guide 2019

The Best Places To Visit in The Philippines

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Philippines Backpacking Guide 2019 {Best Places To Visit In The Philippines}


There are two types of people in this world, and they both are in desperate need of a Philippines Backpacking Adventure, even if some of you just don’t know it yet!

The best islands in the Philippines have too many pristine white sandy beaches to count, and with this incomparable country offering more than 7000 islands to explore, what more could you ask for on your Philippines backpacking escapade?




Add in the fact that The Philippines doesn’t see nearly as much traffic as it should, thanks to its rather undeveloped infrastructure and you have basically discovered the “El Dorado” of tropical backpacking getaways!

I don’t know about you, but that undeniably inspires my wanderlust!

philippines backpacking 2

Although The Philippines Backpacking journey is greatly underappreciated and often overlooked by novice travelers for some of Southeast Asia’s more established destinations like Thailand, Vietnam, and Bali, don’t let yourself make the same mistake.

As backpackers, the quest for the unexplored runs in our blood, so to make the mistake of not exploring one the worlds most exotic and adrenaline-charged destinations, will become a regret not soon forgotten.

After several expeditions to this tropical paradise, we have yet been able to quench our thirst for The Philippines.




When To Travel To The Philippines

Typhoon Season (September – October)

Expect some extreme weather fluctuations, heavy rain and increased risk for typhoons when backpacking the Philippines during this season.

Pro Tip
If you are considering backpacking Philippines during this season, definitely prepare for some unexpected trip delays.

Dry Season (November – May)

This is the warmest and most predictable climate in the Philippines bringing loads of sunshine, warm weather and an influx of tourists.

Pro Tip
Although you will experience an increase of tourists, this is our preferred time to visit. Just be sure to wake up a bit earlier for popular attractions like Kayangan Lake, whale shark swimming, and Kawasan Falls.

Wet Season (June – August) 

The wet season isn’t as bad as it sounds. Although there is a higher amount of rainfall, similar to Florida weather it only rains for a few hours or so, then dries up again.

How To Pack When Backpacking Philippines

Bag

Like we mentioned earlier, The Philippines is definitely considered off the beaten track so be sure to leave those hefty suitcases at home.

A backpack will come in handy especially if you plan on island hopping during your Philippines backpacking adventure.

If you don’t already have a reliable one, this is our go-to backpack. 

Clothing

Less is more when it comes to The Philippines, therefore bikinis and swim trunks will be your go-to choice for much of your adventure.

The Philippines is less conservative than some other surrounding countries in Southeast Asia so don’t feel awkward about gallivanting around in that new two-piece bikini that you can’t wait to wear.

Footwear

Most of your Philippines backpacking activities will be focused around the beach or hiking so don’t forget to bring a reliable pair of flip-flops and sneakers.

Drone

The Philippines is one of the most drone-friendly countries we have ever visited and also one of the most exciting places to fly a drone so don’t miss the opportunity to capture all of those once in a lifetime aerial shots your heart desires!

This is an obvious one, but just make sure you don’t break any obvious rules like flying over an airport and you’ll be fine!




How To Budget For A Philippines Backpacking Adventure

One of the best parts about a Philippines backpacking adventure is the price!

You can find hostel beds for under 10 USD/night and even 5-star hotels for under 80 USD/night. You’ll find some options of where to stay in the Philippines at the end of this blog!

In Coron, we managed to rent a private boat that comes complete with a driver and two additional boat crew who will even cook you a delicious seafood lunch, all for around 2700 PHP!

Just to reiterate that’s around 50 USD for your own private boat excursion around “The Most Beautiful Island In The World!

If you are in need of a holiday and you happen to be on a budget, The Philippines is your savior!

On a one month Philippines backpacking holiday I spent a total of $1476 USD including flight.


That equals out to be $49.20 USD/day!


And not once did I feel like I was on a budget.

Arriving Into The Philippines

The main flight hub of the Philippines is in the capital city of Manila named Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

This is where most people begin their Philippines backpacking journey, but don’t spend more than a few nights here. Manila is a basic city and there are so many other tourist spots in the Philippines you’d much rather spend your time at!

Manila serves as a great base to fly into, and luckily for every traveler thinking of backpacking Philippines, flights to The Philippines are becoming cheaper and cheaper each day.

Pro Tip
Try to buy your flights on Tuesday mornings. We snagged our roundtrip flight from New York for around 600 USD!




Traveling Around The Philippines

philippines backpacking

Getting around the Philippines is by far my least favorite thing to do.

Although not a particularly difficult experience, this is where you will begin to notice the lacking infrastructural organization of The Philippines.

Plane

The quickest and most common route of traveling around the islands is by air, however, be prepared for significant flight delays and last minute schedule changes.

Boat

An easier but longer option of traveling to your favorite Philippines destination is by boat. The low budget ferries are not particularly comfortable and lack air con so if you have the money, upgrade to the speed ferry.

Also be sure to book ferries at least a day in advance during the high season, as they tend to sell out. Especially when traveling from Coron To El Nido.

Bus

Most backpackers choose to travel throughout the Philippines by bus. With a wide network of bus lines and connections to navigate from city to city, this is one of the easiest and most affordable ways.


OTHER PHILIPPINES BLOGS:

EL NIDO VS CORON PALAWAN [ THE ULTIMATE PHILIPPINES BATTLE ]

EL NIDO TOUR GUIDE 101 | ISLAND HOPPING IN PARADISE

THE EL NIDO PALAWAN PHOTO GALLERY THAT WILL INSPIRE YOUR NEXT JOURNEY

BEST THINGS TO DO IN EL NIDO PALAWAN {THE ULTIMATE TRAVEL GUIDE}

15 BEAUTIFUL PLACES IN THE PHILIPPINES TO FEED YOUR WANDERLUST





Best Places To Visit In The Philippines

In a country riddled with so many remarkable places to visit, wonderful people to meet, and an endless stream of unforgettable adventures, deciding the best places to go in the Philippines will definitely be the hardest decision of your upcoming trip.

Backpacking Philippines off the beaten track is not a difficult task at all. All the best tourist spots in the Philippines aren’t even that touristy as compared to other countries.

Obviously, you want to explore every inch of this insanely beautiful country… I can’t imagine the Philippines having even a single island that is not worth seeing.

Unfortunately, your visa will run out well before you get to step foot on even half the utopias of the Philippines, so choose your destinations wisely.


Boracay

BEST FOR: PARTYING AND BEACH DAYS


tropical island

With Boracay being The Philippines’ party capital, you’ll want to spend your days recovering under the sun on the most popular beach on the Island.

It won’t take very long to figure out how Boracay made it to our list of one of the best places to visit in The Philippines.

On that note, be sure to bring your sunglasses with you because this beach has sand so white it could legally blind you.

La Boracay Festival

If you want to experience the Philippines’ version of Koh Phangan’s Full Moon Party, then you better head to Boracay during Labor Day weekend for La Boracay Festival.

Related: The Ultimate Boracay Philippines Backpackers Party Guide

All we can say is that it’s complete gloriousness and madness all at the same time.

Who doesn’t want to party the night away on the beach where alcohol is cheap and rules are non-existent?

Must Read: Boracay Nightlife Guide {The Philippines Wildest Party Island}.


Coron Palawan

BEST FOR: INCREDIBLE SCENERY


Coron is still an up and coming tourist spot that people started exploring in the more recent years.

You can definitely see the lack of infrastructure and development here as compared to other tourist spots in the Philippines; however, don’t let this scare you away from exploring Coron.

With all the best scenery only explored by boat, you’ll experience some of nature’s most raw and exotic locations that are yet to be tainted by mankind.

Coron one of the best islands in the Philippines and what I like to call an undeveloped paradise, one that you most definitely should not overlook.

Read: Best Things To Do In Coron Palawan {The Ultimate Travel Guide}

Kayangan Lake

Coron is undoubtedly one of the best islands in the Philippines and is home to Kayangan Lake, which is one of those tourist spots in the Philippines you will regret if you don’t see it.

Once you see Kayangan Lake for yourself, you’ll very likely be flustered by its alluring beauty.

Related: Kayangan Lake Coron Palawan {The Ultimate Expert Guide}


El Nido Palawan

BEST FOR: PARTYING, SCENERY, BACKPACKER VIBES


There are a lot of reasons why El Nido is one of the best places to visit in the Philippines, and some of them are of course mentioned in this list.

This is one of those Philippines destinations you just can’t miss. El Nido is packed with some of the most favorited tourist spots in the Philippines, which makes visiting El Nido an absolute MUST.

The only thing El Nido lacks is a solid Wi-Fi connection, but that is definitely not an issue because with all there is to do on this island, there is simply no time for Wi-Fi.

Related: Best Things To Do In El Nido Palawan {The Ultimate Travel Guide}

Big Lagoon

best things to do in el nido palawan

There’s no wonder why Big Lagoon is what we consider one of the best places to visit in the Philippines. Big Lagoon is nothing but a dream come true!

This popular tourist spot in the Philippines will have you in bewilderment over the beauty that is unlike anywhere else in the world.

Kayak your way through the path of paradise, where the water transforms from vibrant turquoise to a deep emerald hue the deeper it gets.

Big Lagoon is one of the most awe-inspiring destinations on the El Nido boat tours, so be sure to do tour A to ensure you visit this mystical place!

To find out more, read our El Nido Tour Guide 101 | Island Hopping In Paradise

While the heavens were sprinkling magic all over the Philippines, they must’ve accidentally spilled a generous amount over El Nido where Big Lagoon is located. It’s THAT stunning.

Nacpan Beach

best things to do in el nido palawan

Miles and miles of untouched beach lined with nothing but palm trees. Sound enticing? Get yourself to Nacpan Beach where you will find yourself doing nothing except sipping on coconuts and turning over every 30 minutes for an even suntan!

Hire a motorbike or take a tricycle to one of El Nido’s most gorgeous, yet uncrowded beaches.

The beauty of Nacpan is that its so big, tourists will never overrun it! This beach is truly one of the most beautiful and best places to visit in the Philippines.

Nacpan is only one half of ‘Twin Beach’, with its other half being Calitang Beach. The odd shape of Twin Beach is something you won’t see anywhere else in the world.

Snake Island

best things to do in el nido palawan

Snake Island is the part of the Philippines that looks like Bora Bora! Which is obviously the reason why it made it to our list of the best places to visit in the Philippines.

It’s completely different from every other sight in El Nido or any of the stunning Philippines destinations for that matter, which may literally be one of the most beautiful sights to stay embedded in your memory forever.

Snake Island reserves all rights to be your desktop screensaver as it pretty much defines tropical paradise.

Once you get to Snake Island, you can hike up to the top of the island’s mountain peak for an unbeatable aerial view of the sandbar as well as the iconic beauty of the Philippines.

Snake island is part of El Nido’s boat tour, which you can read more about in our El Nido Tour Guide 101 | Island Hopping In Paradise.


Cebu

BEST FOR: WHALE SHARK SWIMMING


If we had to choose just one reason as to why we love spending our days in Cebu, it’s because you can swim with whale sharks!

To swim with these giants of the sea you’ll need to go to Oslob, and it’s probably best to find accommodation in Oslob, if not somewhere toward the south of the island.

Whale Sharks

Location: Oslob, Cebu

If taking a dip with the worlds largest fish who could literally swallow you whole with one massive gulp is not on the top of your to-do list in the Philippines then what are you even doing!?

Being up close and personal with the largest fish in the world is an incredibly surreal experience. It is truly a unique experience and that is why Cebu is one of the best islands in the Philippines.

Although they are gigantic marine animals, they are friendly towards humans (if we are friendly to them).




BEST PLACES TO STAY IN THE PHILIPPINES

Although backpacking Philippines may not be the priciest holiday you could take, we backpackers still love to save as many pennies as we can and would prefer to stay at an inexpensive hotel.

Here are some of the best places to stay in the Philippines on a budget!


WHERE TO STAY IN BORACAY


Frendz Hostel

Near Boat Station 1 Balabag main Beach, White Beach Path, Boracay (Aklan), 2002, Philippines


Frendz Hostel has got to be the liveliest backpackers hostel in Boracay, featuring parties every night, daily boat parties and prime location.

Click Here For HostelWorld Prices


WHERE TO STAY IN EL NIDO


outpost philippines backpacking

Outpost Beach Hostel

CORORNG-CORONG, EL NIDO, 5313 PALAWAN, PHILIPPINES


Outpost Beach Hostel is in a league of its own when it comes to Philippines backpacking accommodation. There’s nothing bad to say here!

Click Here For HostelWorld Prices

Click Here For Agoda Prices


WHERE TO STAY IN CORON


coron hotel philippines backpacking

Micasa Lodge

Coron – Busuanga Rd, Coron Town Proper, Coron, Palawan, Philippines


While Coron is not as party-friendly as Boracay and El Nido, you won’t find a fun backpackers hostel hosting parties every day. Micasa Lodge is a cheap yet clean and comfortable place to stay in Coron.

Click Here For Agoda Prices


WHERE TO STAY IN CEBU


cebu philippines backpacking

Ging-Ging Hotel & Resort in Oslob

Oslob, Cebu, Philippines


I’ll be honest here, Oslob doesn’t have the most amazing selection of hotels to stay at, but let’s remember you’re not here to enjoy the room.. You’re here to enjoy Cebu and swim with whale sharks!

If you’re not planning to swim with whale sharks, I recommend staying elsewhere in Cebu such as Bohol or Mactan Island.

Click Here For Agoda Prices


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OTHER PHILIPPINES BLOGS:

BORACAY NIGHTLIFE GUIDE [ THE PHILIPPINES WILDEST PARTY ISLAND! ]

LA BORACAY BEACH PARTY | THE WILDLY RECKLESS PHILIPPINES MUSIC FESTIVAL

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