With over 7,000 islands to choose from, you're spoiled for choice when it comes to planning your trip to the Philippines. From tropical beaches and vibrant cities to rainforests and volcanoes, this diverse country offers something for everyone.
To truly explore the whole country, you would need weeks if not months, but if you only have 10 days, don't worry - we've got you covered. We've put together three Philippines 10-day itineraries that will take you on an unforgettable journey through some of the country's most beautiful and fascinating destinations. Each itinerary focuses on a different region of the Philippines, so you can get a taste of the unique culture, cuisine, and scenery that each area has to offer.
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Things to Know about the Philippines Itineraries for 10 days
Even though you may not be able to travel to plenty of places in 10 days, here are itineraries that cover some of the most popular and beautiful destinations in the Philippines.
Please note that in each of these lists, there are destinations that will require you to take a plane, van, or bus to reach the area. To travel short distances, you may need to ride a tricycle.
Your first stop in the Philippines should be the vibrant city of Manila, the country's capital. A tour of this bustling metropolis is an excellent way to get acquainted with the local culture and history before venturing out into the countryside.
Manila is a city of contrasts, where towering skyscrapers stand alongside Spanish colonial architecture, and a mix of cultures and traditions coexist harmoniously. Visit the historic walled city of Intramuros, where you can explore ancient fortifications, museums, and churches that showcase the city's rich history.
Take a stroll along Manila Bay's scenic promenade, where you can catch a glimpse of the city's famous sunset. Be sure to sample some of the local cuisine, which is a blend of Spanish, Chinese, and Malay influences, and try your hand at haggling at one of the city's bustling markets.
As you explore these itineraries, you will be able to see many different buildings on your tour through the provinces including Catholic churches as well as commercial complexes. There are also many museums where you can learn more about Filipino history and culture or even see some artefacts from ancient times.
No trip to the Philippines would be complete without a visit to its world-famous beaches. When it comes to water activities, the Philippines offers a wealth of options for adventure seekers and beach lovers alike. The country is home to some of the best diving spots in the world. This is why swimming, diving, and snorkelling are a must-try when visiting this country.
If you're a nature enthusiast looking for an adventure, don't forget to pack your basic hiking gear for your trip to the Philippines. With its vast and diverse landscape, the country offers numerous opportunities for hiking, climbing, trekking, and camping.
1. The Ultimate Philippines 10-Day Itinerary
Manila, Pampanga, Palawan, and Cavite are all in Luzon while Cebu is in the Visayas Region. If you want to know more about the different cities in the Philippines, here’s an itinerary to take.
Day 1: Manila
Day 2: Clark, Pampanga
Day 3: Puerto Princesa, Palawan
Day 4: El Nido, Palawan
Day 5: Coron, Palawan
Day 6: Cebu City, Cebu
Day 7: Cebu City, Cebu
Day 8: Manila
Day 9: Tagaytay, Cavite
Day 10: Manila
2. The Philippines 10-Day Itinerary for Foodies
This alternative travel route takes you on a journey through the provinces of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao which are known for their unique and flavourful cuisine. Whether you're a food lover or simply looking to indulge in local delicacies, this itinerary promises to satisfy your taste buds and introduce you to a diverse range of regional specialities.
Day 1: Manila
Day 2: Ilocos Norte
Day 3: Ilocos Sur
Day 4: Manila - Davao
Day 5: Davao
Day 6: Davao
Day 7: Cebu City, Cebu
Day 8: Cebu City, Cebu
Day 9: Cebu City, Cebu - Manila
Day 10: Manila
3. The Philippines 10-Day Itinerary without Taking a Flight
This travel itinerary is specifically designed to showcase the breathtaking beauty and unique offerings of the northern region of the Philippines. From stunning landscapes to cultural attractions, this itinerary has it all, and the best part is that you won't even need to catch a flight to experience them. With just a bus or van ride, you can explore and discover the hidden gems of this picturesque region.
Day 1: Manila
Day 2: Baguio, Benguet
Day 3: Baguio, Benguet
Day 4: San Juan, La Union
Day 5: San Juan, La Union
Day 6: Clark, Pampanga
Day 7: Subic, Zambales
Day 8: San Antonio, Zambales
Day 9: Manila
Day 10: Manila
Overview of the Legs of These Itineraries in the Philippines
Metro Manila, NCR
Embark on your journey in the Philippines by immersing yourself in the bustling metropolis of Manila, the country's centre for business, finance, industry, education, and culture. Manila boasts a plethora of tourist attractions, including both historical and cultural sites such as Intramuros, Rizal Park, and Binondo. For those interested in the commercial side of the capital, Makati City and Bonifacio Global City in Taguig offer endless opportunities to explore and indulge. Plus, Makati City is one of the best and safest places to stay in Manila.
You can stay in Makati Diamond Residences, one of the best hotels in Makati and just a stone's throw from Greenbelt. I can personally attest to the exceptional quality of their breakfast options, which were a highlight of our stay.
Nestled in the heart of Central Luzon, Clark is a must-visit destination for those seeking an escape from the hustle and bustle of Manila. Accessible by bus in just two hours, this province boasts an array of world-class resorts, casinos, and golf courses.
Beyond these attractions, Clark is also home to several other noteworthy sites, including the thrilling Aqua Planet water park, the immersive Clark Museum, the expansive Fontana Leisure Park, the cultural Nayong Pilipino Park, and the dynamic Clark Freeport Zone - a premier shopping and entertainment destination.
Puerto Princesa City, Palawan
As the capital city of Palawan, Puerto Princesa is a true gem of the Philippines. Blessed with a plethora of stunning destinations, this untouched paradise features miles of pristine beaches and famous dive sites.
Beyond its natural beauty, Puerto Princesa is also a hub of vibrant culture and thrilling adventure. Be sure to explore the awe-inspiring Puerto Princesa Underground River, take a scenic island-hopping tour of Honda Bay, visit the Crocodile Farm, Butterfly Garden, and Tribal Village, or discover the fascinating history of the Iwahig Prison Farm.
El Nido, Palawan
El Nido is a true paradise for photographers, boasting awe-inspiring views of crystal-clear waters, towering limestone cliffs, and an abundance of exotic marine life.
The natural beauty of this area is truly breathtaking, making it an ideal destination for those seeking to capture unforgettable memories. In addition to its stunning scenery, El Nido also offers a range of exciting activities, including island hopping tours to the Big Lagoon, Hidden Beach, Small Lagoon, Secret Beach, Snake Island, and Shimizu Island. Boat rentals and private tours are readily available, providing a convenient and customisable way to explore this enchanting corner of the Philippines.
Best Island Hopping Tours in El Nido
El Nido: Island Hopping Tour A Lagoons and Beaches is a group tour which takes you to the Secret Lagoon, gorgeous beaches at Shimizu Island and Seven Commandos.
El Nido: Hidden Beaches and Lagoons Boat Hopping Tour D is a 7-hour tour that takes you to three stunning beaches and two beautiful lagoons.
El Nido Island Hopping Tour C: Hidden Beaches & Shrine is another 7-hour tour that takes you to some of the most beautiful spots of Hidden Beach, Secret Beach, Helicopter Island, and Tapiutan Beach.
No trip to Palawan would be complete without a visit to the stunning island of Coron. Known for its crystal-clear waters and world-famous dive sites, this destination is a must-visit for adventure seekers and nature enthusiasts alike.
The Wrecks of Coron are recognised as one of the best wreck diving destinations in the world. With 11 recognised WWII wreck dive sites within a short boat ride from Coron, scuba divers can explore the fascinating history and unique underwater landscapes of these incredible wrecks. In fact, we got certified as deep and wreck divers here in Coron and it was an incredible experience.
But that's not all, visitors can also take a dip in the tranquil waters of Kayangan Lake or the picturesque Barracuda Lake, paddle through the scenic Twin Lagoon on a kayak, soak up the sun on the idyllic Banana Island, or discover the vibrant underwater world of Malcapuya Island on a snorkelling excursion.
Cebu City, Cebu
Cebu City, also known as the "Queen City of the South," boasts a rich history as it was once the capital of the country during the Spanish regime. Today, it is one of the most highly urbanized cities in the Philippines and offers a wide range of attractions to explore. Immerse yourself in the local culture by visiting the Basilica del Santo Nino, Jumalon Butterfly Sanctuary, and Fort San Pedro.
For adventure seekers, Hilutungan Marine Sanctuary and Nalusuan Island Resort offer exceptional scuba diving experiences. Additionally, Cebu City has a variety of museums, parks, commercial centres, and shopping malls to explore. If you want to learn more about the best things to do in Cebu, check out my travel guide to Cebu.
After spending some time in the city of Manila, take a scenic drive to Tagaytay and marvel at the breathtaking views of the city and Taal Lake.
The lake is a sight to behold, surrounded by verdant forests and rolling hills, making it a perfect spot to unwind and relax. Don't forget to visit some of the stunning hotels and resorts that offer panoramic views of the lake. You'll surely enjoy the serenity of the place after a long day of exploring. The night is yours to savour and appreciate the beauty of nature!
The picturesque town of Ilocos Sur has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is known for its well-preserved Spanish-era architecture, cobblestone pavements, and historic urban layout.
Stroll through the town's streets and immerse yourself in its rich history and culture. Don't miss the chance to sample some of Vigan's famous delicacies, such as the savoury empanada, garlicky Longganisa, crispy Bagnet, traditional Bibingka, hearty Sinanglao, crunchy Okoy, and flavorful Pakbet. These local dishes are a true representation of the region's culinary heritage and are sure to delight your taste buds.
If you're a nature lover looking to explore the stunning beauty of Northern Luzon, Laoag City and Pagudpud are must-visit destinations. In Laoag, immerse yourself in the city's rich history and admire its well-preserved colonial architecture. Don't miss the chance to visit the local museum, which showcases a fascinating collection of artefacts from all over Northern Luzon.
For some thrilling outdoor adventures, head to La Paz Sand Dunes and try your hand at sandboarding or jump in a dune buggy with your friends for an adrenaline-pumping experience. And if you're looking for a more relaxed vibe, head to Maira-ira Beach in Pagudpud and soak up the sun at the blue lagoon, a perfect spot for swimming and snorkelling.
Davao City, Davao
Located on the island of Mindanao, Davao is a vibrant city in the Philippines that is renowned for its natural beauty, friendly locals, and delicious food. Known as the "Durian Capital of the Philippines," it's a must-visit destination for foodies looking to sample the unique and pungent durian fruit, as well as other delicious local fruits.
One of the best places to enjoy the sun, sea, and sand in Davao is Dahican Beach. Whether you're looking to relax and soak up the sun or prefer a more adventurous experience, Dahican Beach has something for everyone. You can even spend the night in a tent and wake up to the sounds of the waves crashing on the shore.
For an unforgettable island adventure, hop on a speedboat ride to Kopiat Island and enjoy some snorkelling or a picnic on the beach. Or head to Isla Reta Beach Resort, where you can meet other travellers.
Baguio City, Benguet
If you're looking for a refreshing escape from the heat of the lowlands, Baguio City in Benguet is the perfect destination. Known as the "City of Pines," Baguio boasts a cool and misty climate due to its location near the mountain ranges, providing a welcome respite from the tropical heat.
Aside from its pleasant climate, Baguio offers plenty of outdoor activities to keep you entertained. Hiking and biking are popular options, with many scenic trails and paths to explore in and around the city. You can also check out the famous Baguio Botanical Garden, home to a variety of plant species and landscaped gardens, or take a stroll along the picturesque Burnham Park.
San Juan, La Union
For avid surfers and beginners alike, a trip to San Juan, La Union is a must. As one of the top surf destinations in Luzon, San Juan offers a unique surfing experience with small and choppy waves that are perfect for beginners. With a variety of breaks to choose from, you can find one that suits your skill level and enjoy the thrill of catching a wave.
But San Juan isn't just about surfing. The town also offers a range of other outdoor activities, such as hiking, biking, and exploring the stunning coastline. You can also enjoy a delicious meal at one of the many excellent restaurants that serve mouth-watering Filipino food.
Zambales is a stunning province in the Philippines that is famous for its beautiful beaches, soaring mountains, and mysterious caves. Whether you're an outdoor enthusiast or simply looking for a relaxing getaway, Zambales has something to offer everyone.
One of the must-visit places in Zambales is Mount Pinatubo, a breathtaking volcano that offers stunning views and an unforgettable hiking experience. You can explore the surrounding landscape and hike to the crater for a truly unique adventure. Another popular destination is Subic Bay, a world-class diving and snorkelling destination that boasts clear waters and abundant marine life.
If you're looking for a more secluded beach experience, then head to Anawangin Cove, a hidden gem that boasts pristine white sand beaches and crystal-clear waters.
How to Get Around the Philippines
Getting around the Philippines can be quite an adventure in itself. The country is made up of thousands of islands and each island has its own culture and way of life. Because of this, transportation options vary greatly from island to island.
The easiest way to get around the Philippines is by plane. There are many domestic airlines that offer flights between major cities and smaller towns throughout the country. These flights can be quite expensive but they are often worth it if you want to see as much as possible during your trip.
If you don't want to splurge on airfare, there are also many buses that travel through the country. These buses generally leave at night and arrive at their destinations in the morning so you will have plenty of time to sleep on your journey.
Another option for getting around certain provinces in the Philippines is by boat. Most islands have ports where ships and boats come in from different parts of the island every day so getting from one place to another isn't difficult at all. Within cities, you can use buses, trains, taxis, and jeepneys to get around, although be prepared for longer commutes.
The Philippines is a huge country and you can’t visit all the beautiful places in the country in 10 days, but to help you plan your itinerary, we've put together sample 10-day itineraries for the Philippines that showcase the best of the country.
No matter where you go in the Philippines, you'll be greeted with warm weather, friendly locals, and stunning beaches. It's an ideal destination for travellers of all ages, and with a little planning, you can make the most of your trip and create unforgettable memories.