While preparing our trip to the Philippines, one of our biggest questions was: what are the best islands in the Philippines? Why should we choose one and not the other? And everything we read was so positive that it really took a world for us to know where to go. So in this article, I am going to tell you about 7 islands to visit in the Philippines, the 7 islands that we were on with their good things and their bad things. My personal opinion, go.

I hope that what I tell you here will clarify a little more your ideas when preparing your trip to the Philippines for free and deciding the islands to visit in the Philippines.

7 islands to visit in the Philippines

1. Siargao

The island that gave me the most sack at the beginning and that ended up becoming my favorite. So he had to put it in first. It is an island where it is easy to feel at ease, like at home.

Siargao is a fairly surfer island. In the 80s a group of surfers discovered ‘Cloud 9’, a huge wave. A few years later, the first international surfing championship was held right there, and that placed Siargao in the spotlight of surfers from all over the world.

With the release of the Philippine film Siargao, this island has now also become attractive to local tourists, and it’s no wonder. And that has meant that in a few years it has developed a lot and is receiving many tourists, more and more. Siargao is in fashion. But removing the area between General Luna and Cloud9, which is where the most is being built, and the most typical places, the rest is pure paradise.

  • The best: the area of ​​the southern half can be traveled by motorcycle, the tours are not excessively expensive, you can eat well, varied and cheap. There are zero tourist beaches that are a luxury.
  • The worst: accommodation. So many tourists arrive that there are hardly any accommodation places for everyone. Reserve your accommodation in advance.
  • What to see in Siargao: the Magpupunko natural pool, the Sugba Lagoon and the island of Kawhagan, an island hoping through the islands of Naked, Daku and Guyam, the sunset in Cloud 9 and surfing.
  • Where to sleep in Siargao:  you will want to find accommodation between General Luna and Cloud 9 to be well located and have all services nearby. We stayed in a guest house where the owners are charming. Unfortunately, it is managed by a woman who is fatally advising them and they ask for a fortune when the rooms are not that bad. If you finally decide to go, write me an email and I will provide you with your details so that you can try to negotiate the price of the room. You can take a look at Booking to other accommodation options in Siargao . Above all, don’t forget to book in advance.
Magpupunko Natural Pool in Siargao
Magpupunko Natural Pool in Siargao
Sugba Lagoon among mangroves
Sugba Lagoon, a turquoise lagoon among mangroves

2. Camiguín

With Camiguín we had a little love/hate at first. We went to see one of the least touristy islands in the Philippines at its peak of tourism: Easter. At Easter, practically all Filipinos go on vacation in the country. And that week it seemed that the whole Philippines was in Camiguín. But the island with the most volcanoes per square meter in the world finally conquered us and in the end, we wanted to stay for more days.

Having so many volcanoes makes many clouds stagnate in the mountains and it rains a lot. It is a very green island, full of waterfalls and natural pools. And outside the high season, a haven of peace.

Nonetheless, they say Camiguín is increasingly becoming a target for tourism, especially since the Philippine government decided to close Boracay Island.

  • The best: stunning landscapes, the green of its mountains, waterfalls and idyllic islands 10 minutes away by boat. Ah! And Esperanza, the owner of our accommodation.
  • The worst: the natural lagoons or pools are not natural, the water as such comes from the land or comes from the river but they have built pools so that people can bathe more comfortably.
  • What to see in Camiguín: Santo Niño natural pools (which are cold), Tuasan Falls, Soda Water Pool, Katibawasan Falls, Mantigue Island, sunken cemetery and the Ardent today springs (which are warm).
  • Where to sleep in Camiguín: we stayed at Esperanza’s house. It does not have a website or is on Booking, but you can contact it through Facebook .
Incredible waterfall of Camiguín
One of the incredible waterfalls of Camiguín
Mantigue Island Philippines
Mantigue Island from the air.

Bohol

We spent very few days on the island of Bohol. It is a huge island where you can surely do many more things than we did. But we wanted to extend the days in Camiguín and in the end we lost days on this island.

We made a base in the Panglao area, which is the most tourist-developed. But the move went quite well for us because we found accommodation that included a motorcycle. And so we were able to visit the most touristic places in Bohol.

  • The best: a lot of gastronomic variety (more than in other places), it is easy to move around the island, the Panglao area has everything.
  • The worst: a lot of irresponsible animal tourism.
  • What to do in Bohol : go to the Chocolate Hills, go see the Tarsiers (the smallest primate in the world), bathe in Pangas Falls, drive on the beautiful roads of Bohol and dive in Balicasag.
  • Where to stay in Bohol, specifically in Alona Beach: We stay in this accommodation.  For € 13 we had a pool and motorcycle included.
Chocolate Hills Philippines
The Chocolate Hills on the island of Bohol

Bantayan

Bantayan was the first island we visited in the Philippines and it directly stole our hearts. A small, quiet island, with fair tourism, made us good weather. Wow, all the conditions were in place for us to enjoy very much. Bantayan has a special corner in our hearts, even though the Internet went that way.

If you are looking for a quiet place, without too many things to do or see, just to have a drink or throw yourself on the beach, go to Bantayan. If I had to plan my itinerary now, I would surely include Bantayan among the islands to visit in the Philippines.

  • The best: its fine sandy beaches.
  • The worst: Internet?
  • What to do in Bantayan: go to Paradise Beach to spend the day, enjoy the beach in Santa Fé (although there are a bit dirty sections) and have breakfast in front of the sea at the Amihan Resort.
  • Where to sleep in Bantayan: we stay in this Airbnb . Remember that if it is your first time using Airbnb and you register through this link you will get € 25 for your first reservation.
The paradise beaches of Bantayán, Philippines.
The paradise beaches of Bantayán, in the Philippines.

Malapascua

For us, Malapascua was the opposite of Bantayan. We started off on the wrong foot when booking terrible accommodation and overall we were not very lucky when it came to accommodation. Everything was quite expensive and cheap was very simple, to put it finely.

The southern part of the island seemed like an anthill full of narrow alleys where getting lost is the easiest. A place where there are more roosters than people and you hear them singing from two or three in the morning. They say you get used to it, but I don’t know. Chaos, too many tourist accommodations. And the beach area, invaded by bars. The northern part of the island, on the other hand, is quite heavenly. The last few days we started to take a liking to it and when I dived at sunrise to see the fox shark I just wanted to stay and dive again.

It is an island that also has a lot of atmospheres. With so many diving schools, the instructors get together in the evenings to have a drink at the beach bars and meeting people is quite easy. If you travel alone or just want to go, Malapascua is a good place.

Would I return? Yes, knowing what the island is like and having decent accommodation, yes, I would return without hesitation.

  • The best: the northern beaches and the fox shark.
  • The worst: the roosters and the chaos of the southern zone.
  • What to do in Malapascua : take a motorcycle and go to the northern beaches, climb the lighthouse and dive to see the fox shark.
  • Where to sleep in Malapascua: if you are looking for a cheap and simple place, we will stay in this one . The best thing about this place is that it has a restaurant that is not bad and at a good price.
The island of Malapascua
The island of Malapascua Philippines
Philippine Beaches
One of the idyllic beaches in the north of Malapascua

6. Palawan

Lights and shadows. That is how I feel about Palawan. It is by far the most touristy island in the Philippines and, you know, that is a double-edged sword. In Palawan we made a base in two sites, I tell you a little about each one:

Port Barton

That place you don’t expect too much and end up wanting to stay a week. And you can’t because before you arrived you didn’t know that in Port Barton the subject of electricity is extremely limited and, with it, the Internet. In Port Barton, there are hardly any businesses that accept credit cards, nor a sad ATM to withdraw money. And basically that’s why we were forced to leave because we would have stayed more days without a problem.

It is the typical small town, still very rural, unpaved streets, a fairly decent beach and good tours to see neighbouring islands. Although there are many businesses focused on tourism, it retains that essence, that I do not know how Filipino.

  • The best:the atmosphere of Port Barton, the feeling that everything is even slower in Port Barton than in other places in the Philippines and Gacayan, the restaurant with the most gastronomic options of all Port Barton.
  • The worst: not being able to withdraw money and stay a few more days.
  • What to do in Port Barton: the tour that we did or any other. Also go to the beach of Port Barton or discover neighboring beaches with hardly any people, take a San Miguel Pilsen watching the sunset.
  • Where to stay in Port Barton: We stayed at the LCD Home . It has two very simple rooms with a porch where you can go to enjoy yourself. And there is a small kitchen and common room to make you something simple to eat. The owner of the house is a charming young girl who will be willing to help you in any way she can.
German Island Port Barton Philippines
German Island, one of the amazing islands we visited on the Port Barton islands tour

The nest

The great disappointment of the trip. Sorry but it was. We arrived in El Nido in April and it was packed with people. It was impossible to do a tour and not have to queue to enter a lagoon or run into 10 boats parked on the same beach we were going to. The landscapes of El Nido are fantastic but, in my opinion, the tours in El Nido are overrated. There is no control whatsoever over the number of people who can go to certain places or snorkel at certain points and they will end up taking over the ecosystem.

Another problem is that the prices skyrocket. Being such a tourist area, the tours are very expensive, the food is more expensive and, honestly, there is not so much variety.

I would only go back to El Nido to catch a kayak and skirt the coast my way or do one of the less requested tours.

  • The best: the landscapes from the boat.
  • The worst: too many people, high prices.
  • What to do in El Nido : It is known for its tours, but you can also take a kayak and explore the area yourself.
  • Where to sleep in El Nido: in this case we stayed in some bungalows. They were pretty well priced for El Nido and just as crowded as it was. The accommodation is called Cliffside Cottages and has both slightly more expensive bungalows and air-conditioned rooms.
El Nido Philippines
Hidden beach between rock formations, one of the most classic landscapes of El Nido.

7. Coron

Corón was not bad, but we did not enjoy it 100% either. There is nothing special about the city in which you are based. It is a street with tourist businesses scattered on both sides. The interesting thing is the tours. We did one of the group tours and ran into a company quite irresponsible in many ways. And for touring alone, it was quite expensive.

The problem is that when you do the tours that everyone does, you go to the places where everyone is and everything is always full of people. If we wanted to do it alone, we had to find two other people to share expenses because otherwise, it would be very expensive.

So yes, the tour we did was fine. It helped us get an idea of ​​how beautiful Corón is (although with landscapes similar to El Nido). But the truth is that we could not enjoy it to the fullest because we were on a budget. If you go on vacation and you can afford it, negotiate with a boatman in the port and ask him to take you to places without so many people but just as beautiful. Corón is full of paradises.

  • The best: the landscapes and the island of Malcapuya.
  • The worst: the prices, the crowded tours and that many tour operators and guides have no idea how their actions affect the environment.
  • What to do in Corón: spend the money on tours. And, if you know how to dive, there are many sunken ships in which to do good dives.
  • Where to sleep in Corón: we stayed at Corón Guapos Guesthouse , which has simple rooms with a fan.
Corón On the island of Malcapuya
On the island of Malcapuya we find a little corner for ourselves. 
It was the best of all Corón.

These are all the islands we visit. We also made several stops on the island of Cebu but we never got to know it. And we spent a few days in Manila working and we took a somewhat private excursion to Socorro de Surigao.

If you have any doubt about any of these islands to visit in the Philippines, leave a comment or write me an email. I know that choosing between more than 7,000 islands can be difficult but you will surely end up organizing an itinerary of 10.

More on the Philippines

  • Preparations for a free trip to the Philippines
  • Budget for traveling to the Philippines
  • Itinerary for a free 20-day trip to the Philippines
  • Don’t forget about your travel insurance for the Philippines. Remember through this link you will receive a 5% discount.
  • Try to travel responsibly, that if you leave a mark, it is positive. Here are some recommendations for traveling generating less waste and for traveling without plastic in Southeast Asia.
  • Find cheap flights to the Philippines.
  • If you register on Airbnb through this link , you will receive € 25 discount