It would take multiple lifetimes to see the 7,000+ Philippines islands that comprise the beautiful country of The Philippines. While one could dream of years of enough vacation time to explore the serene Southeast Asian country, most trips for Americans need to be broken into one to two week increments. But fear not, you can enjoy a magnificent and magical vacation to the Philippines in just a week. Whether it’s your honeymoon in the Philippines, an anniversary in the Philippines, searching for the best Philippines beaches, or just a holiday in the Philippines, we’ve got you covered on this 7-day itinerary of the best places to visit in Philippines!

Fast Facts on The Philippines

  • Best Places to Visit in Philippines: El Nido Palawan, Amanpulo, Siargao, Cebu
  • Best Time to Visit Philippines: November – April (dry season)
  • Language: Filipino
  • Currency: Philippine Peso
  • Number of Islands: 7,107
  • Who Should Visit: Beach Lovers

With over 7,000 islands in the Philippines, it’s hard to know where to visit first, but we’ve got you covered on the best places to visit in Philippines.



Almost all international flights to the Philippines land in the capital of Manila. While most people skip this city and go straight onwards to the islands, we chose to stay one full day in Manila Philippines. To be completely transparent, we could have skipped the city because in our honest opinion – it paled in comparison to the islands. However, if you do choose to stay in Manila we recommend visiting:

    • Salcedo Market: This market is only open on Saturday’s so as long as your layover or day in Manila coincides with this market, it’s worth a visit. Support local businesses and shop from the street vendors in this local Makati neighborhood outdoor farmers market.
  • Fely J’s: This is an authentic Filipino restaurant located in the Greenbelt. We highly recommend ordered the pork sisig and an ice cold San Miguel.
  • High Tea at the Peninsula: The Peninsula Manila is one of the best hotels in the capital city. Located in the upscale Makati district, you can visit during the afternoon for traditional High Tea served with a side of champagne.
  • Where to stay in Manila: We stayed at the Peninsula Manila because it had always been a dream of ours to stay at a Peninsula Hotel. While it was lovely, it didn’t live up to the Peninsula brand. However, it is still a lovely option for a trip to Manila. Other five-star hotels in the area include Raffles Manila and The Makati Shangri-La Manila.


Head to the domestic terminal at Manila International Airport to take your AirSwift flight to Lio Airport in El Nido, Palawan. There are two airports in El Nido (Puerto Princesa and Lio), but Lio airport is much closer to the islands that you’ll want to visit. El Nido Palawan is definitely one of the best places to visit in the Philippines.

Once you arrive in El Nido Palawan, a representative will greet you at the airport from your resort to whisk you away to the island hotel. While in El Nido, we stayed at the Cauayan Island Resort, one of the best resorts in the Philippines. This resort was extremely remote and it was the only hotel on the island. The pros are that it caters to an upscale, younger clientele. It also has beachfront bungalows and lagoon bungalows. It’s very remote and has no cellular service or WiFi (despite promising internet connection), so it’s only worth a visit if you can completely unplug for your time in El Nido. While it claims to be five-star, the service was lacking so we’d have to give it an honest four-star, but it was indeed lovely.



If you’re visiting El Nido, a boat tour is an absolute must as it’s the best way to see the multitude of magical islands in the Palawan region. While there are group tours to the islands, the private tours are economical enough (~$330 USD for two people for a full day), that we chose to book a private boat. You can book a speedboat where you’ll be able to see more islands and beaches in less time or you can book a traditional outrigger boat. We chose the outrigger boat since they’re it’s more authentically Filipino, but you can’t go wrong either way. We booked our boat through our resort, Cauayan Island Resort, and the boat picked us up directly from the dock of the resort. Tip: Try to leave earlier than they recommend so that you can have some solitude on the beaches!


The Beaches we Visited:

  • Hidden Beach
  • Secret Beach
  • Matinloc Reef
  • Helicopter Island
  • Cadlao Island

Cadlao Island was by far our favorite because it was the least touristy!



Amanpulo is not just one of the best resorts in the Philippines, it’s the number one hotel in the Philippines. If your budget allows, it is well worth the trip because this island resort was by far the favorite part of our trip to the Philippines and in our opinion: one of the best places to visit in the Philippines. Click here to book a trip to Amanpulo – you won’t regret it!

There are two ways to get to Amanpulo on Pamalican Island. Since Amanpulo is in the same region as El Nido (Palawan), one could technically take a private jet, seaplane, or helicopter from the El Nido region directly to Amanpulo. However, this is very expensive and not a viable option for most. The more practicable financial option would be to fly back to Manila airport and take the Amanpulo private plane directly to the resort. This option will cost approximately $495/pp roundtrip to Manila.

Once you arrive at Amanpulo, take the day to relax in the serene surroundings on the Sulu Sea.



Scuba Diving / Kite Surfing: The reefs around Amanpulo are famous for their crystal clear waters and sea life, especially the sea turtles. If you’re not a scuba diver, have no fear – another Amanpulo activity is here: kite surfing! Vacations were made for new experiences and getting outside of your comfort zone so try your hand and kitesurfing at Amanpulo – it’s the perfect place to learn a new sport.

Breakfast: After your zen yoga session, head over to the clubhouse for a delicious breakfast complete with green smoothies and golden lattes.


Beach: Head to the pristine beach at Amanpulo to enjoy the white sand beach and crystal clear waters of the Sulu Sea. Try your hand at snorkeling directly from the sandy beaches, soak in the sun, and relax with a cocktail.

Cauayan Bar: Book a private reservation at the Cauayan bar for sunset. This floating bamboo bar, set about 200 yards from the shores of Amanpulo is the perfect place to enjoy some sundowners while watching the sunset over the Sulu Sea. A reservation at the Cauayan bar includes a custom cocktail, snacks, and your own private bartender.



Yoga: Start your day off with a relaxing and refreshing yoga class at the spa.

Boating Excursion: Head out for a day trip to nearby Manamoc Island with the Amanpulo Sandbar excursion. A private Amanpulo speedboat will pick you up and whisk you away to Manamoc where you’ll be able to walk through the village and meet local people from the island before heading out to your own private sandbar on the other side of the island. Once at the sandbar, the incredible team at Amanpulo will set up a private picnic for you complete with cocktails. Enjoy a walk around the sandbar and a swim in the Sulu Sea before heading back to Amanpulo.

Dinner at Nama: Depending on your dining package, most of your dinners will be included at Amanpulo, except for Nama. We highly recommend “splurging” and dining at this delicious sushi restaurant. The sushi chef trained in Japan and it was by far our favorite meal on the island.



Cry because it’s your last day at this idyllic island resort. Kidding….kind of. Before heading out for your flight to Manila, book a treatment at:

The Spa: Aman Resorts are known for their spas and the spa at Amanpulo is an absolute must visit while on the island. Book a signature treatment overlooking the Sulu Sea and soak in the last moments of relaxation before jetting off for your next adventure.