Where to go in the Philippines - Which island to choose? (2022)

For your next trip to the most beautiful beaches inAsia, you do not know where to go in the philippines, which island to choose ? To help you, here is a guide that tells you on which islands are the most beautiful beaches in the Philippines and the most beautiful landscapes.

If, like me, you are considering a trip that combines tourism and a seaside stay, here is the information that I have gathered to prepare for my 2-week trip to the Philippines.

Thus, I was able to check if the period I chose is favorable to enjoy the sun and avoid the rainy season. And above all, I was able to choose the island in the Philippines that best matches to my expectations: Most beautiful beaches, activities and tourist sites to discover.

But the Philippines is an archipelago of more than 7000 islands with an exuberant nature, hundreds of heavenly beaches, typical small villages, rice terraces, mountains covered with jungle and many tourist sites to visit.

So, when you only have 10, 12 or 15 days, it's complicated to choose a single island to stay in the Philippines!

Monsoons in the Philippines

Monsoons are very important rainfall events in Asia. So, if there is one season to avoid for a trip to the Philippines, it is the monsoon period!

Yet the monsoon period in the Philippines starts in May and lasts until October. During the monsoon season, the temperature can vary between 20ºC and 30ºC but the rains are numerous, abundant and frequent.

So, to avoid the rainy season in the Philippines, it is better to go there from the end of November and the end of April. This is the best time to go to the Philippines and therefore also the most touristy. Indeed, leaving at this time, you will have dry weather with average temperatures of 29 to 34°C.

Philippines paradise islands

To better locate and understand how the Philippines is made up, we must distinguish 5 main parts:

  • Luzon or Luzon : Located North of the Archipelago, it is the main island where the capital of the Philippines is Manila.
  • The Visayas :Located In the center of the archipelago, the Visayas has a hundred islands, the best known of which are the islands of Negros, Bohol, Panay, Samar, Cebu, Leyte and Masbate.
  • Mindanao : Located South, this large island in the Philippines is not recommended for tourists due to local political and social issues.
  • Sulu Islands:Small archipelago located at South West Mindanao therefore quite remote but where there are magnificent beaches.
  • Palawan:Situated west of the Philippines, Palawan is a province with approximately 1 islands. Nearly 700 km long, Palawan conceals wonders and has been voted the most beautiful island in the world for several years!

Where to go in the Philippines?

If you want to go to the Philippines for a week or two, be careful not to choose just any island. Indeed, even though the Philippines is considered safe for tourists, there are islands and areas to avoid in the Philippines.

Indeed, in 2022, many governments (French, Canadian, Belgian, American) recommend that travelers avoid certain islands and places in the Philippines due to crime, terrorism and kidnappings. See my post: Places to avoid in the Philippines

Where to go in the Philippines for a short stay?

When you only have 10, 12 or 15 days to go to the Philippines, it may not be a good idea to go on an island hopping tour. Indeed, transport times are long and domestic flight schedules are not very flexible and restrictive. So, it's silly to waste such precious time changing hotels, airports, ferries, transfers, etc...

Indeed, if we choose (for example) to visit 3 islands, taking into account the days of transport and transfers, we only spend 2 or 3 days on each island, which is not enough to be able to enjoy it on the spot.

My priority for a short trip is to choose only one island where I can enjoy the sun, beautiful landscapes, sightseeing excursions and the best beaches in the Philippines.

On the other hand, for those who have 3 or 4 weeks on site, it is more interesting to make a circuit from islands to islands.

Which island to choose in the Philippines?

When I compared the most beautiful islands in the Philippines, it is thepalawan island which I chose for my 2 week trip. Indeed, there are many islands or small paradise islands in the Philippines but Palawan is the island that has the most tourist interest and is easily accessible from Manila (see info below).

By staying in Palawan, you can enjoy sensational landscapes (jungle, waterfalls, small villages), the most beautiful beaches, especially in El Nido, and incredible spots for diving and snorkeling.

What is the most beautiful island in the Philippines?

For several years, Palawan is ranked among the most beautiful islands in the world by travel specialists Edreams.co.uk, travelandleisure.com, Tourscanner.com or the American magazine Condé Nast Traveler.

In fact, in Palawan and all around the island are the most beautiful sites in the Philippines: A El Nido, on the islands Northern Palawan, on theBacuit Archipelago and on the splendid coron island.

Know that there is a tour of Palawan and the most beautiful islands around Palawan which is done in 10 days from Manila:

Why choose the island of Palawan in the Philippines?

With its tropical jungle, steep limestone cliffs, mangroves, turquoise lagoons and dream beaches, Palawan is a real little paradise!

And Palawan is ideal for a short stay of 10, 12 or 15 days in the Philippines because you won't get bored there. There are many activities to do, beautiful sites to discover, beautiful hikes or sea trips.

This is what we are going to discover in more detail by listing all the assets of this island in the Philippines.

Where to go in the Philippines - Which island to choose? (1)

Where to go in the Philippines – Palawan Island for the most beautiful beaches

It is by staying in Palawan that you will have access to paradisiacal beaches, that you will swim in a turquoise sea, in crystal clear waters with a setting of wild and preserved nature.

Indeed, the dreamy and portal-map beaches of the Philippines are found throughout Northern Palawan, El Nido, on theBacuit Archipelago right next to El Nido and on thecoron island.

THEBacuit Archipelago andcoron island are easily discovered from El Nido island hopping (boat trip from island to island). In the city of El Nido, many agencies will offer day or multi-day excursions.

Otherwise, you can also book them in advance and enjoy beaches such as Hidden Beach, Talisay Island, Secret Beach or Helicopter Island.

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Where to go in the Philippines – Palawan Island for its landscapes

Indeed, in addition to the magnificent beaches Palawan offers incredible landscapes that can be explored during the day. There are places on the island of Palawan that you can discover "off the beaten track" and away from mass tourism!

Indeed, in Palawan, you can do many hikes to enjoy the beauty of its jungle, waterfalls falling from jagged peaks like the Estrella waterfall in southern Palawan and its 64 levels!

You will be able to meet many animals such as giant monitor lizards, monkeys, binturongs endemic to Palawan or fruit bats. Ornithologists come here from all over the world to admire rare species such as the twining Palawan hornbill or cockatoo from the Philippines...

You will finally be able to discover in Palawan one of the most astonishing natural wonders of the Philippines: underground river 8,2 km is the longest navigable underground river in the world. In fact, the Puerto Princesa Underground River meanders under a mountain range, through St. Paul's Underground River Cave, and empties into the South China Sea. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature!

Underground River Tour

By going to Coron, you can discover the Kayangan lakeconsidered the lake with the clearest water in all of the Philippines. You can also admire the famousTwin Lagoons or CYC Beach which is one of the most beautiful beaches surrounded by mangroves.

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Where to go in the Philippines – Palawan Island for diving and snorkeling

The coasts around Palawan offer divers a magnificent underwater setting with great biodiversity. The best spot is at Tubbataha Reefs National Park accessible only by cruise ship from Palawan. It is a partly submerged atoll in the middle of the Sulu Sea, also called the Jolo Sea.

Between late March and mid June, you can see hammerhead sharks, dolphins, turtles and manta rays. Tubbataha Reefs are said to be home to the most beautiful coral reefs in the world. He is considered the best dive spot in the philippines.

In addition, the clear waters around Palawan offer a magical spectacle that you can enjoy even while swimming with mask, flippers and snorkel.

How to get to Palawan?

To go from Manila (airport where you will land with your international flight) to the island of Palawan, you must book a domestic flight in advance Manila – Puerto Princesa with the companies Air Asia,Cebu Pacific Airou Philippine Airlines.

How to get to El Nido?

If you took a domestic flight Manila – Puerto Princesa which is the main city of Palawan, you can take Puerto Princesa a bus or taxi to El Nido (5 to 6 hours drive).

But the quickest solution is to take a direct flight to El Nido from Manila. Indeed, there is a small airport called Lio Airport 4 km from El Nido. But there is only one company serving this airport with 3 daily rotations: Air Swift. The flights take 1h30 but are often delayed. In addition, travelers are limited in luggage as they are only allowed 12 kg of luggage.

The coolest solution is to take a boat between Manila and Coron, then another boat that will take you from Coron to Palawan. If you have time, the boat is ideal for enjoying an exceptional setting on all the islands and islets of the archipelago. However, it takes 2 days of travel.

Where to choose your hotel in the Philippines?

For my trip to the Philippines, of course I chose my hotel in Palawan, in the northwest of the island.

I wanted it to be facing a dream beach but also not too far from the city center and the El Nido Jeepney ferry terminal (for sea excursions) and close to the city center (for restaurants and entertainment).

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Which hotel in Palawan?

So this is the hotel Cadlao Resort and Restaurant which I finally chose and which I recommend to you. Indeed, it has an ideal location to discover the island of Palawan, enjoy the beautiful beaches of El Nido and the entertainment but above all its location allows you to go out to sea without having to plan for transport!

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Other destinations for a change of scenery and exoticism?

Discover Martinique, French Polynesia, San Blas Islands in Panama, or the small island of mucura en Colombia.

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