Photo: A boat with your name on it, Coron, Busuanga Island.

Philippines forum

3 Weeks in the Philippines - Itinerary Advice

Posted by StephJayne165 on 10/9/2013 at 05:06

Hey Guys,

I'm hoping someone will be able to have a look over this itinerary and give some advice on a couple of questions I have.

For some background information; I'm meeting my parents in the Philippines after a year of being away from home (I'm in Aus at the moment, from the UK). I spent 8 months in Asia before coming here so consider myself quite a seasoned traveller/backpacker, my parents however, are not, so we'll need some level of comfort while travelling, airconed busses at a minimum, and a bit of peace of mind in our travel plan. My dad and brother both have their PADI certs, so we're looking to hit up a few good dive spots, the rest of us are happy with some decent snorkelling and good beaches.

So here goes (apologies in advance for my horrible spelling):
Day 1: Arrive Manila
Day 2: Fly to Puerto Princessa
Day 3: Puerto Princessa - Underground River/Honda Bay
Day 4: Puerto Princessa - Underground River/Honda Bay
Day 5: Bus to El Nido
Day 6: El Nido - Baucit Archipelago/Caticlan Beach *Any advice on boat trips around here with costs etc would be great :) also how long do we need to spend in the archipelago?
Day 7: El Nido - Bacuit Archipelago/Caticlan Beach
Day 8: El Nido - Bacuit Archipelago/Caticlan Beach
Day 9: El Nido - Bacuit Archipelago/Caticlan Beach
Day 10: Bus back to Puerto Princessa
Day 11: Fly to Coron *Is the boat from El Nido to Coron as bad as the internet leads me to believe?
Day 12: Coron - Diving/Snorkelling/Beach time *Any recommendations on the best beaches/places to stay here would be great - I'm stuck (5 people around 100USD a night, minimum of 2 rooms)
Day 13: Coron- Diving/Snorkelling/Beach time
Day 14: Coron- Diving/Snorkelling/Beach time
Day 15: Fly to Cebu & Bus straight down to Oslob
Day 16: Oslob - Whale Shark snorkelling morning - Ferry to Dumagete - Ferry to Apo Island
Day 17: Apo Island - Snorkelling/Beach time
Day 18: Apo Island - Snorkelling/Beach time
Day 19: Apo Island - Snorkelling/Beach time
Day 20: Ferry to Bohol *Direct ferry? How long?
Day 21: Bohol (Anda) - Chocolate Hills/Tarsier Sanctuary
Day 22: Bohol (Anda) - Chocolate Hills/Tarsier Sanctuary
Day 23: Fly Tagbilaran to Manila, Manila to home

So as well as the above the main questions I have are:
* Is this too much for more of a vacation than a backpacking trip? It needs to be at least semi relaxing and not feel too
* Can we potentially skip a day in Apo so we can spend the last 3 days in Bohol relaxing a bit more?
* Are there any problems with the above travel plans that you can see?

As always, thanks for your help, it is very much appreciated!!

#1 StephJayne165 has been a member since 27/9/2011. Posts: 14
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Posted by goonistik on 11/9/2013 at 01:05

I can't recommend Oslob because of the hand-feeding of the whale sharks that disrupts their migratory patterns. I don't know if the situation has changed.

Because the whale sharks pass though certain areas during their migrations, you need to check with the locals if whale sharks will be around during your time of visit.

It is possible to find whale sharks in Bohol (Pamilacan Island) but it is not guaranteed. Another option is for you to check out the whale shark situation in Puerto Princessa. See here:

http://www.scubadiving.com/travel/caribbean-atlantic/5-top-destinations-diving-whale-sharks

http://reefdive.blogspot.com/2011/04/snorkeling-with-whale-sharks-and-pilot.html

The ferry schedule from Dumaguete to Tagbilaran (Bohol) can be found here
http://www.bohol.ph/article107.html

http://schedule.ph/boat/from/Dumaguete/to/Tagbilaran

You will need to check schedules with the ferry operators to make sure.

Regarding the ferry from El Nido to Coron, people don't realize that the seas around Palawan can have strong currents and it can be rough sailing even with good weather. I would be very reluctant to take that banca for an 8 hour trip especially since you are crossing open sea.

#2 goonistik has been a member since 7/1/2010. Location: Philippines. Posts: 563
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Posted by goonistik on 11/9/2013 at 01:08

I can't recommend Oslob because of the hand-feeding of the whale sharks that disrupts their migratory patterns. I don't know if the situation has changed.

Because the whale sharks pass though certain areas during their migrations, you need to check with the locals if whale sharks will be around during your time of visit.

It is possible to find whale sharks in Bohol (Pamilacan Island) but it is not guaranteed. Another option is for you to check out the whale shark situation in Puerto Princessa. See here:

http://www.scubadiving.com/travel/caribbean-atlantic/5-top-destinations-diving-whale-sharks

http://reefdive.blogspot.com/2011/04/snorkeling-with-whale-sharks-and-pilot.html

The ferry schedule from Dumaguete to Tagbilaran (Bohol) can be found here
http://www.bohol.ph/article107.html

http://schedule.ph/boat/from/Dumaguete/to/Tagbilaran

You will need to check schedules with the ferry operators to make sure.

Regarding the ferry from El Nido to Coron, people don't realize that the seas around Palawan can have strong currents and it can be rough sailing even with good weather. I would be very reluctant to take that banca for an 8 hour trip especially since you are crossing open sea.

#3 goonistik has been a member since 7/1/2010. Location: Philippines. Posts: 563
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Posted by goonistik on 12/9/2013 at 17:38

The boats referred to some websites are bancas - small and unstable.

The outrigger canoe is an ingenious design, Much larger versions enabled the migration across the Pacific. I still wouldn't want to ride one for 8 hours in open water, especially a small one.

#4 goonistik has been a member since 7/1/2010. Location: Philippines. Posts: 563
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