Philippines 1 Week ItineraryThe amazing Boracay island, the great metropolis of Manila and the mesmerizing rice terraces in Banaue
Check out this Philippines itinerary 1 week trip that we did back in February 2009! This will give you a pretty good overview of what you can do in the Philippines in 6 days.
Flying from Singapore, we landed in Manila and directly (well, at least we thought!) took another flight to go to Boracay. Spending a few days on the paradisiac island, we the went back to Manila to explore the capital and its colonial past. We then travelled by bus from Manila to Banaue to finally visit the UNESCO World Heritage site with the world-famous rice terraces… Amazing!
Read on and start planning your trip! Don’t hesitate to leave a comment if you need further details.
Step by step
Days 1-3: Boracay, a dream made island
Shortly after landing in Manila, we took another flight with Zest Air directly to Boracay (1 hour flight). To be more precise, we landed in Caticlan on the "mainland" of Panay island. Then a short boat trip brought us to Boracay, where we found an nice accommodation on the longest beach: the White Beach. This beach is well-known for its white color and the amazing transparency of the water. It is divided in 3 stations that have different kind of accommodations / activities. Station 1 has all the best (and most expensive) hotels, station 2 is the center of the beach and has nice hotels, great restaurants and some interesting places dedicated to nightlife, and station 3 has cheaper options. We stayed in a nice hotel in station 3, and I would definitely recommend it.
From this location, we were able to enjoy the paradisiac landscapes and environment of the island. Here is what I recommend:
Regarding activities, we really enjoyed snorkeling around the Crocodile Island. We joined a group of divers, as this location is usually not for snorkeling but for scuba diving. You have to be careful as currents can be strong, but this is definitely worth it! There are tons of fishes. However, I found the corals not so great in comparison to previous snorkeling sessions in Bali, Indonesia.
Day 4: THE BAYSIDE CAPITAL: MANILA
Our Philippines trip then took us back in the capital, Manila. A lot is being said about tourism in Manila and let me say it clearly: you SHOULD visit this city if you intend to go in the Philippines! You'll read that it is dangerous, dodgy, or all kind of alarming things, but no way you miss it if you want to feel the pulse of the country! Manila is a crowded, noisy and colorful Asian metropolis, which hides a lot of great locations, monuments, and sightseeings. We really appreciated the Intramuros fortified area and the Rizal Park at the end of the afternoon. People go there to walk, discuss and play; a peaceful atmosphere will surround you and give you some rest in comparison to the other parts of the city
Days 5-6: THE AMAZING RICE TERRACES IN BANAUE
We took a night bus leaving at 10pm from Manila and arriving in 7am in Banaue. Most of the people come in Banaue to visit the amazing rice terraces, which are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and considered as the "Eighth Wonder of the World"! We dedicated 2 full days to it and we never regretted this decision! I would even say that you need 3 to 4 days if you want to do everything well without rushing.
We stayed at the B&B Banaue Homestay, where we really had a very good time: friendly people, good rooms and great guiding services! We spent the first day visiting the little town and enjoying the peaceful atmosphere of our B&B, when we were not dreaming while looking at the great landscapes surrounding us. This is really mesmerizing... We had lunch at the Sanafe Lodge & Restaurant, where you eat in a wide veranda with great views over the town and the rice terraces. Don't miss it!
On the second day, our B&B had organized us a full day trek around Banaue, in the rice terraces. We had an amazing time and our guide was able to share with us a great depth of details about their construction and their use. We had good hiking shoes that are definitely needed when you walk along the terraces.