Backpacking in the Philippines : Where to Go?
Backpacking in the Philippines is an unforgettable experience whether you’re an experienced backpacker or just starting out on your first adventure. This island country is full of amazing sights to see, foods to taste, and experiences that will last you a lifetime.
Because there are so many places to go, planning your route ahead of time is imperative so you get the most out of your experience. Not sure where to go backpacking in the Philippines? Here are some places to consider.
Most backpackers that come to the Philippines start in Manila. It’s easy to fly into and it’s a great place to spend some time before you explore other destinations. The city is full of wonderful ways to get acquainted with the lifestyle here, but for backpackers, Ermita as well as Makati Avenue are prime places to hang your hat. They have plenty of hostels and guesthouses.
You can take a 10-hour bus ride to the north to get to Banaue. Why go here? You’ll get a chance to hike along the rice paddies that date back to 2,000 years old! You’ll find cheap lodgings at the guesthouses here as well as in nearby Batad too.
Or keep on going to Sagada. This place is accessible by Jeepney from Banaue. Three hours later, you’ll find yourself in a place filled with caves and waterfalls to explore. It’s an incredible place to spend a couple days poking around and reveling in the majestic landscapes. Guesthouses here tend to be cheap, making it easy to unwind here for a little longer. There’s plenty to do, plus the locals are lovely and so is the food.
In this area, you can find a less wild version of Manila with Queen City. It features loads of diversity, plus if you want to soak up the island lifestyle and do some diving, it’s only a few hours to Malapascua Island and Bantayan Island. It’s an easy route, even for beginners. And if you want to get in free diving, head a little bit further south to Oslob where you can hang with whale sharks. Another bonus: flights from Manila to Cebu are cheap so you can fly into Manila, enjoy the sights, and then fly to Cebu to continue with your journey if you wish!
It’s one of the most touristy places in all the Philippines. How could it not be with powdery white-sanded beaches surrounded by clear blue waters? It’s stunning, but it’s also incredibly fun. The nightlife is wild, wild, wild, but isn’t that why you’ve come here? If you’re trying to keep your travels more chill, you might not want to linger here long but it’s a place you won’t want to miss.
6- Puerto Princesa
Here, you can see the longest underground river in the entire world. You’ll also find more of those white sand beaches and little islands to hop around. Many backpackers start off here for their adventures, so should consider it too. It gives you easy access to explore Palawan Island and you can easily get to El Nido.
7- El Nido
It’s often called complete paradise, and the bestselling book, The Beach, by Alex Garland was based upon this very location. This is a backpacker’s paradise with cheap beachfront guesthouses, spectacular sunsets, deserted islands and beaches, amazing diving, and a totally relaxed reggae vibe for nightlife. From Puerto Princesa, the best way to access it is a 6-hour bus ride, which will be bumpy but well worth it. It’s off the beaten path, but if you’re serious about exploring the Philippines, it is one of the most unspoiled places you can go.
And finally, for one of the most relaxed and laid-back places you’ll ever wind up in life, Siargao is a place that will likely make you cry when it’s time to head back home. The islands, beaches and lagoons are like something from another world. It’s a huge place for surfing too, so if you want to ride the waves, here’s where to do it. But it’s so much more than that. The locals are beyond friendly, plus there’s plenty of accommodations that range from cheap dorm-style rooms to posh 5-star beachfront hotels. Out on the boulevard, you’ll find cheap eats and beer, along with a seemingly continuous karaoke party. It’s definitely paradise found!
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg! The Philippines is very backpacker-friendly so plan out your trip and get trekking!