Philippines is beautiful and famous for its countless sea and island paradise. The Philippines is a great destination with interesting destinations, from Manila to Cebu or Palawan Island. Are you planning to travel to the Philippines and do not know where to go, what to do, what to eat, pocket tips? Read now our share through 9 days trip exploring the Philippines. So, what to do in 9 days in Philippines perfectly? Let’s check out our suggested Philippines itinerary 9 days on how to spend 9 days in Philippines to explore the three famous destinations Coron – El Nido – Cebu (The Queen City of the South in the Philippines) to find out the answer! Let’s start with Living Nomads!
- Cebu travel blog — The fullest Cebu island travel guide for a great trip on a budget to Cebu for the first-timers
- Boracay trip blog — The fullest guide for a budget trip to Boracay, Philippines
- What to do in Boracay? — 15 exciting activities to do in Boracay, Philippines
- Siargao blog — The fullest Siargao travel guide & suggested Siargao itinerary 5 days 4 nights for first-timers
- Coron itinerary 3 days — How to spend 3 days in Coron & what to do in Coron for 3 days perfectly?
Philippines itinerary 9 days — Day 1: Landing at Manila, and getting to Palawan & take the bus to El Nido
I didn’t choose to explore Manila, but booked two flights from Saigon-Manila and Manila-Palawan (Puerto Princesa) about 2 hours apart. I arrive at Puerto Princeca airport at noon, get out of the arrival hall, immediately see my name on a board of Klook partner is waiting for. I book a motorbike in advance via Klook and plan to go to some beaches and wandering around the city.
From the airport to the city center is also quite close, I find a place for lunch and then go to Mitra’s Ranch to drink coffee, as well as play Zipline. This is a very beautiful hill with green grass & with the view overlooking the sea as well as the city far away. At the top of the hill is a beautiful wooden house displaying many furnishings & selling coffee. Below is the Zipline play area along with some other games. Zipline ticket is 500 peso for 3 tracks. Not really attractive compared to some ziplines I’ve ever played.
Then I go to the bus station to catch the bus from Puerto Princesa to El Nido, I booked the car at 3pm, but it was not run until 4:30pm after get full of passengers. If you choose to getting to El Nido from Puerto Princesa, consider the time. Alternatively, you can ask the hotel to book for you, or go to the bus station to buy directly.
9 days in Philippines — Day 2: Discover El Nido with Tour C
In El Nido, there are many tours to explore the islands such as: Tour A, C, Z, .. like the tour 4 island, tour 3 island… in Nha Trang, or island hopping tours in the South of Phu Quoc Island. Each tour will go from morning to afternoon, including lunch and visit 4-5 places to visit, bath, snorkeling, diving to see coral.
Because I traveling alone, so I buy a combined island hopping tour through Klook in advance and choose Tour C tour with the price of 1.250 peso, with pick up service at my hostel. In addition to the tour price, it will costs an additional 200 peso environmental fee and 100 peso rent shoes. This shoe is very convenient for exploring beach, not getting cutting foot by rock or coral… I will definitely buy a pair to bring back to Vietnam to use. Because of combined tour, so it’s including about 20 people. This Tour C goes through several points such as Helicopter island, Matinloc island (the island with the old church), hidden beach & secret beach… and one site to watch the beautiful coral.
The sea here is clear blue, with many small sandy beaches intersecting with the steep rocky cliffs. The islands here are created from rock like rocks in Ha Giang: jagged and thorny. The sea has coral so the water near the shore has very eye-catching turquoise color. Among the places I visited, the best place is the coral reefs site: so many fish & coral, even just snorkeling you can see its beauty. And on Matinloc Island, I mostly like the top view from above.
Lunch in the tour I found quite delicious, especially many fruits. The meal include chicken, pork, grilled fish and grilled eggplant… grilled fish is so delicious.
8 days in Philippines — Day 3: Discover El Nido by motorbike, the most beautiful beaches of El Nido
I drove around the island, reach to the beaches far from the center, visit the village of the indigenous people, watching the children of the fishing village have fun and try local cuisine.
Duli Beach: A beautiful beach but very difficult to reach, even I get lost in a fishing village here because the road to the fishing village is less bad. The road is steep and dusty, like the dirty roads in dry season in my homeland of Central Highlands.
This beach is very beautiful and pristine, deserted tourists and is a very long golden sand beach. It offers SUP with price of 300 peso/hour and some restaurants to eat and drink. Who wants to private can come here to rent a room to stay, enjoy the sea …
Twin Beaches (Nacpan and Calitang Beach): El Nido’s best rated beach and it’s really beautiful! Twin Beaches when looking at the photos, I think of Hon Yen (Salangane Island) in Nha Trang, 2 beaches of Nacpan and Calitang Beach on both sides. Nacpan beach is very crowded, the bar I sit on is Ranchos, the sea and the sun are very beautiful, you can lie in the sun, read books on the beach.
If you like beautiful beaches, I think you should stay in hotels near Coron Coron, Vanilla, Nanpac beach… and if you want to stay a place to take the tour A, B, C, D conveniently or near the pier… you should stay in El Nido Town. Or if you want to be quiet, separate the world, then let choose Duli Beach, or the Erlittop Garden Eco Lodge.
Philippines itinerary 9 days — Day 4: Take a boat to Coron Island, try parasailing activity for the first time
Although I’m not afraid of heights, but this is the first time I was “flying” above the sea despite I having that idea in my trips to Nha Trang before.
From the pier in Coron Town, you can take the boat to getting to Royal Island Resort and Watersports to take this parasailing tour, which is also a new activity recently launched in Coron. I booked this tour on Klook for 1.800 peso, including pickup by a boat in Coron, joining paragliding tour and kayaking.
After a few instructions and registration information, you can wear a life jacket, a parachute with one end secured firmly to the canoe and be dragged upward gradually to an altitude of more than 100m. Although it’s not like my imagination when seeing this activity in Nha Trang is dragged away, then immersed in water, then pulled up again… here is only pulled up high to admire the scenery and catch the wind.
Saying that does not mean dissatisfied, I were also feeling very good when flying for the first time :))) feeling hovering in the sky, must be a few hundred meters above sea level, extremely wonderful. From here I see the whole island area from afar, but the Coron sea is super beautiful, and there are many small islands around. The Royal Island Resort and Watersports also offers Jet Ski Riding, Banana Boat Riding and Kayaking and especially Parasailing.
8 days in Philippines — Day 5: Scuba diving to see shipwreck in Coron
One of the things I want to experience the most in the Philippines this time is diving to see shipwrecks. Shipwrecks in Coron Island, Palawan are Japanese military warships sunk during World War II, and have been here for more than 80 years. And this also makes a slight attraction, the feature of this sea for diving lovers, especially scuba diving.
Scuba diving activity to see shipwreck also has a lot of choices, there are shipwrecks that can dive and see by snorkeling, but there are shipwrecks that are under a few dozen meters deep in the sea, you must use scuba diving service, I choose the tour with 3 diving times in a day, including 2 diving times to dive to watch shipwreck and 1 diving time to see coral.
The first shipwreck I saw about 40m long, and sank to a depth of 5 to more than 15m. The second shipwreck is a giant one with a length of 120m, the deepest spot is 25m, out of my ability (with Open Water I can only dive up to 18m), the ship has 3 compartments and it is sunk with a large hole on the hull.
This area also the site I saw many shoal or school of fish for the first time, also the first time when diving and saw many fish without having to go to the night market to see them. Here I caught some huge nemo, probably larger than several times that I saw in Vietnam. I bought a diving tour at Coron Divers Dive Center (Address: Coron – Busuanga Rd, Coron Town Proper, Coron, Palawan, Philippines / Hours: 7AM–9PM / Phone: +63 920 945 7637), priced at 3.200 peso for the 3 diving times as above, including lunch.
Philippines itinerary 9 days — Day 6: Surprising on the paradise of Pass Island
In Coron Island’s tour system from A -> D, depending on your preference, you should not miss the one-day tour to this beautiful sea. I choose tour D, a fairly hot tour that many people choose.
The first spot that the boat docks calling Tulong shipwreck, which is also one of the 12 Japanese shipwrecks located in this Coron area but located quite close to the surface water, just using snorkel diving goggles can be viewed. The ship is also small, so I just snorkeling a little. At this point I was a little annoyed because my guides didn’t prepare enough glasses and breathing tubes for our group. I was so kind but when I saw these guys being so careless that I first quarreled with them.
After leaving Tulong, we stop by the coral garden to snorkel for more … it is true that after scuba diving, snorkeling feels not too attractive anymore. I just diving one around and swim back to the boat. However, the coral reefs here are beautiful and still very much alive. Mainly hard corals & some round like human brain. There are also quite a few fish … But generally not attractive as scuba diving tour.
Around noon, the boat arrives at Pass island, the highlight of the tour and paradise here. From a distance, this island is tiny and surrounded by white sand. The sea is not deep, clear water, the bottom is the white sand is the cause to have a beach with such super beautiful watercolor, pale blue lasting, very cool eyes. The sand stretches half of the island. On the island, there are Bugalow houses interspersed with coconut tree lines, this is also a place to set tables for lunch and hammocks for guests to rest.
Lunch of this Tour D is like the previous tour of El Nido, with braised chicken, rice, grilled fish … and no shortage of fruit.
Return to Coron in the afternoon and end of the tour at 5pm, then I go to Mount Tapyas to watch sunset. Goodbye and still impressed to the white sands of Pass Island and the feeling of swaying in the hammock under the coconut trees. Coron probably has many beautiful islands but you should not miss Pass island.
9 days in Philippines — Day 7: Hello Cebu, experience local cuisine.
Cebu has rich local cuisine, and I have dedicated the whole day to this special thing, you can refer to our blog here: Cebu travel blog — The fullest Cebu island travel guide for a great trip on a budget to Cebu for the first-timers.
Philippines itinerary 9 days — Day 8: Swimming with whale sharks in Oslob, Cebu
For scuba dive lovers like me, swimming with whale sharks like this will bring a lot of indescribable feelings. On this trip to Philippines, I also spent time to Cebu, and chose a tour to Oslob, about 120km from the city of Cebu.
My experience is that you should go from very early because of the long distance, I choose the Klook tour starting at 3am in the center of Cebu city, about 6am will arrive in Oslob, while waiting for the boat to get to the whale shark area, I take advantage of time to have breakfast nearby.
The tour costs $42 including pickup service, entrance ticket, lunch and visit the nearby Tumalog waterfall.
Note that you should not swim too close or touch whalesharks, and although there is much conflicting information about whaleshark farming & serving tourism will affect their natural behavior, however with In the case of capture fisheries in many countries, sometimes this approach may even help in better conservation.