1 Week Itinerary for the Philippines

The Philippines is one of the best places in the world if you are looking for a tropical island getaway escape. Aside from being home to hundreds of beautiful beaches, it is also a cheap destination and a safe place for solo travellers. 

Nestled in the heart of Southeast Asia, this archipelago comprises three major islands, Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, and a thousand smaller islands. If you are determining how to plan a trip to the Philippines, I will share everything you need to know —  things to do, tours to try and where to stay in the Philippines from a local! 

In this 1 week in Philippines itinerary, you will explore the country’s different regions, from one island to another. In Luzon, you will visit the City of Manila, where the famous Manila Cathedral, Manila Bay and Fort Santiago are situated. 

Tropical solitude - white sandy beaches of Philippines, El Nido

You will also fly to the Visayas to explore Cebu City and Bohol and go on an island-hopping tour around Palawan. These islands and cities are a must-visit, especially if you want to make the most of your one week trip. 

Although to enjoy and have the best week in the Philippines, it’s best to avoid the country’s rainy season. So, if you plan to visit the beaches, it’s best to come between December and May. Meanwhile, for a convenient experience, you can consider staying in each city or island’s central neighbourhood.

Here, you’ll find plenty of hotels that cater to all the services you’ll need. Staying near transportation hubs or the airport would be great too. 

This is just a gist of your 1 week Philippines itinerary. There’s so much more to look forward to in the country, so just continue reading this comprehensive guide. 

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Overview of 1 Week Itinerary for the Philippines

Without further ado, here’s a glance at what you’ll see and do during your 1-week stay in the Philippines:

Day 1: (Manila) 
Roam around Luneta Park 
Ride a Tricylce going to Intramuros
Ride a Horse Carriage 
See the Manila Cathedral 
Visit Fort Santiago
Day 2: (Manila and Palawan)
Visit the National Museum of the Philippines 
Flight to Puerto Princesa Palawan
Explore local markets
Day 3: (Palawan) 
Tour the Puerto-Princesa Subterranean River National Park
Travel to El Nido 
Explore the El Nido Night Market
Day 4:  (Palawan) 
Catch the morning Ferry going to Coron Palawan 
Rent a Scooter and explore the Island
Hike Mount Tapyas and enjoy the sunset
Day 5: (Palawan and Bohol) 
Morning Coron Island Hopping Tour 
Flight to Bohol
Explore Downtown
Day 6: (Bohol and Cebu) 
Visit the Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary
Visit Bohol’s Famous Chocolate Hills
Take photos at the Man-Made Mahogany Forest before your flight
Visit the Basilica del Sto.Nino and Magellan’s Cross
Day 7: (Cebu) 
Enjoy the Sardines Run in Panagsama Beach
Snorkel and swim with Pawikans (Huge Sea Turtles) 
Chill and Relax at Movenpick Cebu Beach Resort 

Day 1 in the Philippines 

Breakfast at Jollibee 

The Philippines is most famous for its biggest fast-food chain, Jollibee, and a visit to the country will only be complete with a taste of their famous Jollibee Fried Chicken. A classic Filipino breakfast is the best way to start your day in Manila. 

Roam around Luneta Park 

After a hearty breakfast, head to Rizal Park, locally known as Luneta Park. This historical and scenic park is a great place to take a stroll and one of Manila’s most visited tourist spots. 

Luneta Park is where you’ll find the iconic Rizal Monument, a symbol of Philippine independence. Vast green spaces surround the park, an ideal setting for leisurely walks, picnics and relaxation amidst the busy streets and bustling city. 

MANILA, PH - Chinese Garden inside Rizal Park in Roxas Boulevard, Manila. Rizal Park is one of the major tourist attractions and favorite leisure spot of Manila.

Ride a Tricylce going to Intramuros

To continue your Manila adventure, ride in a tricycle to the historic walled city of Intramuros. This is a must-ride in Manila and is one of the most convenient ways to navigate the city’s narrow streets and bustling traffic. 

Intramuros is also one of the most visited tourist spots that offers a blend of history, culture and architectural beauty. Here, you’ll find famous historical destinations.

One is Fort Santiago, a well-preserved Spanish-era fort with historical significance, where Dr. Jose Rizal, the Philippines’ national hero, was imprisoned before his execution. 

Lunch at La Cathedral Cafe 

Before strolling inside Intramuros, head to La Cathedral Cafe to recharge with lunch. This charming restaurant offers a blend of Filipino and Spanish cuisine. Chicken Adobo, Pork Sinigang and Pancit Bihon are some must-try dishes to order. 

Ride a Horse Carriage 

Intramuros is quite huge in area size to stroll around walking, so you either rent a bicycle or ride a horse carriage. For this itinerary, we highly suggest you ride a carriage to immerse yourself in Intramuros’s colonial atmosphere. 

As you trot along the cobblestone streets, you’ll pass by centuries-old churches, forts, and ancient city walls, all while learning about the city’s rich history. The kutsero, or the carriage driver, will also act as your tour guide.

Tour Pick
Horse Drawn Carriage parking in front of Malate church , this historical church is located in Intramuros the oldest district and historic core of Manila Philippines

Private Half-Day Makati

  • 4-5 hours 
  • Private tour
  • Local guide

See the Manila Cathedral

You will likely stop at the Manila Cathedral during your tour around Intramuros. If you still need to, let your tour guide know that you would want to stop here. 

The Manila Cathedral, also known as the Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Concepcion, is a stunning church that boasts intricate architecture and plays a significant role in Philippine religious history. You can look around if it’s open and observe how Filipinos adopted Catholicism from the Spanish. 

MANILA, PHILIPPINES - Minor Basilica and Metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate or Manila Cathedral in Intramuros district of Manila, Philippines.

Visit Fort Santiago

After your carriage adventure, continue your historical journey at Fort Santiago, where you can explore dungeons, ruins, and beautiful gardens. As mentioned, it holds historical significance as Dr. Jose Rizal, the Philippines’ national hero, was imprisoned before his execution. 

You can spend the rest of your afternoon looking around and checking out the dungeons here. Additionally, you can even wait till sunset and experience the “spooky-ness” of the area. 

Dinner at Binondo (hilippine China Town)

In the evening, head to Binondo, the world’s oldest Chinatown. This is the best place to enjoy a food trip in Manila, where you can indulge in authentic Chinese-Filipino cuisine. Some must-try dishes here include dim sum, noodles, fried siopao and much more. Don’t forget to get dessert after dinner too!

Day 2 in the Philippines 

Breakfast at Cafe Ilang-Ilang 

The Philippines is known for breakfast buffets, and Cafe Ilang-Ilang of Manila Hotel is one of the most acclaimed and luxurious ones in Manila. 

The restaurant offers an array of international and Filipino dishes in a grand setting. Here, you can feast on a buffet of Filipino delicacies, fresh fruits, and pastries while enjoying views of Manila Bay. It’s the perfect way to fuel up for a day of exploration!

Visit the National Museum of the Philippines 

Another must-visit in the capital of the Philippines is the National Museum of the Philippines. Here, you’ll have the chance to learn more about the rich culture and history of the Philippines.

It houses an impressive collection of art, historical artefacts, and treasures that provide insights into the country’s past. Inside the museum, explore exhibitions on archaeology, fine arts, and natural history to gain a deeper understanding of Filipino heritage.

Pambansang Museo in Manila Philippines. Pambansang is a National Museum of the Philippines. Its a very popular tourist destination in Manila

Have lunch at Dampa Seafood Grill

Before your afternoon flight to Palawan, head to Dampa Seafood Grill for a taste of authentic Filipino seafood. This unique dining experience allows you to choose fresh seafood from the market and have it cooked to your preference. 

It’s a favourite among locals and foreigners, where you can enjoy dishes like grilled prawns, buttered crab, and sinigang na hipon (shrimp sour soup) in a lively and communal atmosphere.

Flight to Puerto Princesa Palawan

To reach the next destination, you’ll need to catch a flight from Manila to the capital of Palawan, Puerto Princesa. Palawan is known for its stunning natural beauty, so you’ll spend at least three days here. 

The first stop you’ll be making will be at Puerto Princesa, where you’ll find the UNESCO-listed Underground River. This tropical paradise also offers pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and lush jungles, making it a must-visit destination during a  week in the Philippines.

Explore local markets

Upon arrival in Puerto Princesa and checking in at your accommodation, you can now take some time to explore local markets such as the Puerto Princesa City Baywalk. This is a great time to sample street food, shop for souvenirs, and immerse yourself in the island’s laid-back atmosphere. 

There is also a local delicacy, tamilok (woodworm), that you can only try here. However, make sure your stomach is ready for this exotic food!

city landscape with tricycle and simple building of Chinese market. Filipino town travel and everyday life. Pedicab for passenger transportation.

Have dinner at Kalui Restaurant

Ending the day, head to Kalui Restaurant in Puerto Princesa for a unique dining experience.  This restaurant is famous for its fresh seafood and locally sourced ingredients, where you can enjoy a feast of Palawan-inspired dishes and local beer –  a perfect way to end your day in this paradise.

Day 3 in the Philippines

Breakfast at the Hotel Buffet 

By now, you already know how much Filipinos love breakfast buffets. Many hotels offer diverse international and Filipino breakfast options. So, enjoy good food and start your day with a hearty breakfast at your hotel’s buffet. 

Tour the Puerto-Princesa Subterranean River National Park

After breakfast, your first adventure awaits at the Puerto-Princesa Subterranean River National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. One of the highlights of the National Park is the mesmerising underground river. 

Along with other tourists and visitors, you will take a guided boat tour into the caves surrounded by limestone formations. You will also encounter unique rock formations with names like Cathedral and Cave of Many Bats. 

Tour Pick
Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Philippines - : Filipino boat on azure coast waiting tourists near the entrance Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park. Popular attraction.

UNESCO Underground River Day Tour

  • 6-9 hours 
  • Max of 6 people 
  • Local lunch
Palawan, Philippines - A boat with tourists at the entrance to the underground river in Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park

Travel to El Nido 

In the afternoon, you’ll need to move cities and embark on a scenic journey to El Nido, another paradise in Palawan known for its breathtaking limestone cliffs, crystal-clear waters, and hidden lagoons. 

You can take a van or bus ride from Puerto Princesa to El Nido. Travel time will take at least 4 to 5 hours. You can still enjoy the rest of Palawan’s picturesque landscapes on the way, an adventure.

Explore the El Nido Night Market

Upon arrival in El Nido, you can stroll through the El Nido Night Market. This bustling market comes alive in the evenings, which is just in time when you arrive. 

The night market offers a variety of local street food, handicrafts, and souvenirs. It’s a great place to immerse yourself in the local culture and pick up unique gifts.

Fruit and vegetables at a local food market place in El Nido, Philippines. Traditional food markets are still important in developing towns of Philippines.

Day 4 in the Philippines 

Breakfast and early shopping at El Nido Boutique Art cafe

One of El Nido’s most famous breakfast places is the El Nido Boutique Art cafe. You’ll probably see the spot in every tourist picture, as it is also a place for good food and a convenient shopping area. Get coffee, fresh juice and some sandwiches, and you’re good to go!

Catch the morning Ferry going to Coron Palawan

After having a hearty Filipino breakfast, catch the morning ferry to Coron, Palawan. Coron can only be reached by ferry or aeroplane; only two ferry rides come from El Nido to Coron daily. 

The ferry ride is an adventure, offering breathtaking views of the sea and surrounding islands. The travel will take around 4 to 5 hours, but once you arrive in Coron, you’ll know the long journey will be worthwhile. 

Palawan Philippines - Ferries at the pier in Palawan Philippines. There are many stunning places to see in Palawan and Coron is one of the most popular destinations.

Have a Filipino Style Boodle Lunch at Kawayanan Grill

After your ferry ride, head to Kawayanan Grill Coron for a delicious Filipino-style boodle fight lunch. This communal dining experience involves grilled meats, seafood, vegetables, and rice on banana leaves. 

Getting to experience this is a delightful culinary experience and a fun and interactive way to enjoy local cuisine. 

Rent a Scooter and explore the Island

Renting a scooter in Coron is an excellent way to explore the island at your own pace. Since you’re short on time, it might be difficult for you to join full-day tours, so this is a great alternative. 

You can venture off the beaten path, discover hidden beaches, and visit viewpoints that offer stunning vistas of the surrounding landscapes. Just remember, you’ll still need a license to rent one!

Hike Mount Tapyas and enjoy the sunset

When in Coron, it’s a must to hike Mount Tapyas, and the best time to do it is in the late afternoon. Mount Tapyas is known for its iconic giant cross and panoramic views of Coron Town and the surrounding islands. 

The hike can be challenging, but the reward is breathtaking sunset views that make the effort worthwhile. It’s a popular spot for locals and tourists to capture the beauty of the Philippines.

backview of girl, sitting on the earth and observing sunset in Coron city view point with sea and sky on the background in Philippines, Palawan

Dinner at Get Real Bar & Restaurant

You can enjoy your night with a relaxing dinner at Get Real Bar & restaurant, known for its atmosphere, live music and diverse local and international dishes. To perfectly wrap up your first day at Coron, get a drink or two and don’t be shy to dance the night away! 

Day 5 in the Philippines 

Early breakfast at Epic Island Cafe Coron 

On your third day in Palawan, have breakfast at one of Coron’s famous restaurants, Epic Island Cafe. Before joining your Coron day tour, you must wake up early to enjoy a hearty meal here. Enjoy sipping on fresh local coffee while enjoying the stunning views of the surrounding islands.

Morning Coron Island Hopping Tour 

Coron is most famous for its mesmerising islands, hidden lakes and crystal-clear lagoons. There will be various kinds of tours that you can choose from, so you can join one that includes your preferred destination.

During the Coron Island Hopping Tour, you’ll visit hidden lakes, crystal-clear lagoons, and vibrant coral gardens.

Suppose you feel lost on which tour to join and places to visit. In that case, Coron’s highlights and most famous spots include Kayangan Lake, Twin Lagoon, and the enchanting Barracuda Lake, each offering unique underwater landscapes and photo opportunities.

Tour Pick
A traditional boat runs on Kayangan Lake in Coron Island Philippines. Coron has been described as one of the best spots in the World for Wreck diving.

Snorkeling & Island Hopping Tour

  • 9 hours 
  • Private tour
  • Picnic lunch
CORON ISLAND, PHILIPPINES - Blue lagoon tropical landscape at the Coron island bay in Palawan province Philippines

Flight to Bohol

After your island adventure, you must catch another flight to your next destination – Bohol. Bohol is an island province known for its natural beauty and rich cultural heritage. Upon arrival, you can check into your accommodation and rest for the day ahead.

Explore Downtown

After settling down, you can head downtown and take a quick stroll. Begin your exploration by visiting the historic Blood Compact Site in Tagbilaran City. This monument commemorates the treaty of friendship between a Spanish explorer and a Filipino- Bohol’s chieftain, sealed with a blood compact. 

If you still have time, you can also stop at the Baclayon Church, one of the oldest churches in the Philippines. Its centuries-old architecture and religious significance make it a captivating historical site.

City of Tagbilaran is close to the sea, with a dense development and buildings. The capital of Bohol province, Tagbilaran city, Philippines.

Dinner at Payag Restaurant 

Conclude your day with a delightful dinner at one of Bohol’s most popular dining places, Payag Restaurant. This restaurant is known for its authentic Boholano cuisine, where you can savour dishes like kare-kare (oxtail stew) and kalamay (sticky rice cake) or peanut kisses (a sweet peanut snack) for dessert.

Day 6 in the Philippines 

Get Breakfast at Chido Cafe

Kickstart your day in Bohol with an early, delicious breakfast at Chido Cafe. The cafe is located in the heart of Bohol and offers a variety of breakfast options, from hearty Filipino dishes to international favourites, all served with a friendly Boholano charm. 

Visit the Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary

Bohol is famous for being home to the favourite and now nearly endangered species, the Tarsiers. This is why it’s a must that you visit the famous Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary. 

You can discover the fascinating world of the tarsiers at the Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary. It is one of the world’s smallest primates, and this conservation centre offers a chance to observe these adorable creatures in their natural habitat. Please do not participate in tours or activities where you touch these animals – this is not ethical!

Tour Pick
River in the rainforest in a mountain canyon. Loboc River in the green jungle. Bohol, Philippines.

Bohol Highlights Tour

  • 8 hours 
  • Small group tour
  • Lunch cruise
Tropical Philippino Tarsier from Bohol in the Philippines

Have lunch at the Loboc River Floating Restaurant 

It’s a long way, and you’ll probably be hungry immediately. So, to recharge, head over to the Loboc River and experience a unique lunch at a Floating Restaurant in Bohol. The Loboc River is a famous tourist spot and a favourite dining place where you can enjoy a buffet of local cuisine while cruising along the serene Loboc River. 

Visit Bohol’s Famous Chocolate Hills

Of course, one must-visit in Bohol is the iconic Chocolate Hills. This is one of the Philippines’ most famous natural wonders, where you’ll get to see cone-shaped hills turn brown during the dry season, resembling chocolate kisses, hence their name. 

Climb to the viewpoint for a breathtaking panoramic view of this extraordinary landscape. Of course, be ready with great poses to capture the moment!

Take photos at the Man-Made Mahogany Forest before your flight

On your way to the airport for your flight to Cebu, you must stop at the Man-Made Mahogany Forest in Bilar, Bohol. This enchanting stretch of mahogany trees creates a captivating tunnel-like canopy, perfect for photography and a quick stroll.

Afterwards, catch a short flight to your next destination – Cebu, one of the Philippines’ most vibrant and historic cities. Upon arrival, check into your hotel and get ready to explore this bustling metropolis.

Road through Bilar Man-Made Forest on Bohol island, Philippines

Visit the Basilica del Sto. Nino and Magellan’s Cross

Begin your exploration of Cebu with a visit to the Basilica del Sto. Niño is one of the oldest Christian churches in the Philippines. This iconic religious site is home to the revered Santo Niño de Cebu, a centuries-old image of the child Jesus.

Another famous tourist destination and landmark in Cebu is the Magellan’s Cross. This is just a short walk from the basilica. It is a historical monument that marks where Magellan planted a cross when he arrived in Cebu, and also symbolises the Philippines’ Christianization.

Try different local foods at Sugbu Mercado for Dinner

Head to the famous Sugbu Mercado in Cebu to wrap up your day. This is the best place to indulge in Cebuano cuisine. Sugbu Mercado is a famous food market offering many local dishes and street food. Some local delicacies must include lechon (roast pig), spring rolls, and Cebu’s famous dried mangoes.

Day 7 in the Philippines 

Enjoy the Sardines Run in Panagsama Beach

The first agenda for your Cebu tour is to head to Panagsama Beach in Moalboal, Cebu, for a thrilling underwater experience. Here, you’ll witness the mesmerising Sardines Run, where countless sardines form massive schools that move in unison. 

This is also a beginner-friendly activity, so you don’t have to worry about not knowing how to dive. As long as you can swim, you can snorkel alongside this natural spectacle, an unforgettable experience for divers and non-divers alike.

Free diving with a massive school of sardines in the shallow reef of Moalboal, Cebu, Philippines.

Snorkel and swim with Pawikans (Huge Sea Turtles) 

After the Sardines Run, take the opportunity to snorkel and swim with pawikans, the giant sea turtles that frequent the waters around Moalboal. In Cebu, this is one of the most booked activities, and it’s a must for you to try! 

Pawikans are gentle creatures and are a sight to behold, and swimming with them is a magical experience. A professional guide will also be joining you along the way. 

Have lunch at Moalboal’s White Beach 

After swimming the whole morning, satisfy your hunger with a beachfront lunch at Moalboal’s White Beach.

This stretch of powdery white sand offers a serene setting to enjoy local Filipino dishes and fresh seafood while enjoying the beautiful coastal scenery. There will be a lot of different stalls, so pick a place that offers the lowest but also quality food!

Chill and Relax at Movenpick Cebu Beach Resort 

After a long morning, head to one of Cebu’s most significant and famous resorts, the Movenpick. This is the best place to take it slow, relax and have a luxurious time, whether by the pool or at the beach. 

This upscale resort offers a pristine beach, stunning infinity pools, and world-class amenities. You can also enter the spa even if you are not checked in as a guest, as long as you avail a day tour package from them.

An alternative activity to this is visiting the Mactan Shrine. It is the site of one of the defining moments in the Philippines’ history – the Battle of Mactan.

Lapu Lapu Shrine in Mactan Island, Cebu, Philippines. The Lapu Lapu shrine is a 20 meter bronze memorial statue erected on Mactan Island, Cebu, Philippines.

Dine and Drink at Ibiza at Movenpick

Lastly, before you catch your late-night flight, either back to Manila for a connecting one or directly to your hometime, spend your dinner at Ibiza Movenpick. You can enjoy a vibrant dinner here and drink at their Beach Club while enjoying a live entertainment, delicious international cuisine, and signature cocktails.

1 week Itinerary for Philippines Wrap-up

There you have it – a week in the Philippines! With this comprehensive travel guide, you’ll be able to enjoy what the Philippines has to offer. It’s all here: history, culture, food delicacies, and the best beaches! All you have left to do is pack your bags, and you’re in for a tropical treat in the Philippines. 


  • Angelica Peralta

    Meet Angelica, who at 22, boldly pivoted from a legal career to pursue her passions in travel and writing. With a focus on sustainable travel, she has explored Asia and Europe, emphasizing local cultural engagement along the way | Specializing in digital nomad travel, crafting comprehensive itineraries, identifying top tour guides, sharing regional insights on Asia, The Americas, and Europe, and advising on eco-friendly travel practices.

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