10 days in the Philippines: Boracay, Cebu and Bohol itinerary

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Are you planning to travel to the Philippines but unsure where to go and what you can visit in the Philippines in 10 days? In this itinerary for 10 days in the Philippines, I will share the best way to visit 3 amazing islands – Boracay, Cebu and Bohol! 

We went to the Philippines in April and May and absolutely loved it! however, these are also the hottest months in the Philippines. As someone who is not really used to the heat, I must admit that I actually suffered quite a bit there and couldn’t really function during the hottest hours of the day.

Here is a short overview of our itinerary in the Philippines day by day:

Days 1-3: Boracay

Day 4: Flight to Cebu, transfer to Moalboal

Day 5: Oslob

Days 6-9: Ferry to Panglao, Bohol

Day 10: Cebu 

Before we start with the detailed itinerary, I wanted to share with you the overview of the most important links that were used in this post. I started providing a summary of the links by request of many of my readers, who find it easier to have all the links in one place. 

Useful links for this itinerary for 10 days in the Philippines

Hotels: Hotel Coast Boracay; Harman Suites Moalboal, Pobla Oslob, South Palms Resort Panglao or Henann Alona Beach

Ferries: Bohol to Cebu, Oslob to Panglao – all ferries can be booked online here

Flights: Check here

Tours: Bohol countryside day tour – book online here; Sunset cruise in Boracay, Snorkelling & island hopping tour in Boracay, Canyoneering tour in Moalboal

Without further ado, let’s get started with the itinerary for the Philippines in 10 days, visiting Boracay, Cebu and Bohol island!

10 days in the Philippines: Boracay, Cebu and Bohol itinerary

Day 0: Arriving in Manila at night

I don’t count the departure day of the trip as we didn’t really do much on this day besides arriving in Manila very late at night and sleeping for a few hours before taking an early morning flight to Boracay. We were flying to the Philippines from Hong Kong, so we took the latest flight from Hong Kong to Manila and arrived in Manila after midnight. Luckily, our hotel at the City of Dreams was a short 15-minute drive away from the hotel, but I recommend staying even closer to the airport, as traffic can be pretty insane, even at 5 a.m., as it has turned out.

Some good hotels in Manila (near the airport) to consider: Discovery Primea, Iyf Malate Manila

Days 1 – 3: Boracay 

Getting to Boracay from Manila

As I mentioned before, we decided to take the early morning flight from Manila to Caticlan (P. Gogofredo Ramos) airport, which is the closest airport to Boracay. There are plenty of direct flights from Manila to Caticlan, and flying time is just under an hour. You can find prices and availability of these flights here >

Caticlan airport to Boracay

Caticlan airport is located on a different island – a very close one, so it requires a very short ferry ride. While there is a public ferry, which is reachable in less than 10 minutes from Caticlan airport by taxi, lots of hotels actually provide free transfers! They will pick you up from the airport, deliver you to their ferry (each resort has its own ferry), pick you up on the other side – in Boracay, and deliver you to the hotel. In total, 2 bus rides and 1 ferry ride took less than 40 minutes, and we arrived at our resort very fast!

Where to stay in Boracay

There are 5 main areas for staying in Boracay: Stations 1,2,3, Balabag and Punta Bunga. Balabag is a kite surfing area – it’s cheaper than the rest of the island, but it’s not really suitable for swimming, and you will have to walk to Stations 1 and 2 to swim there, which would take around 20-30 minutes.

Punta Bunga is located pretty far away from all the main restaurants and hotels of Boracay; hence, it’s much quieter, and you can find some guesthouses and more expensive resorts in this area.

Stations 1, 2 and 3 are located on the main beach of the island, The White Beach and are pretty similar. Station 3 is a bit further away, so it’s quieter. Station 1 is the loudest, and station 2 is the mix between stations 1 and 3. 

Hotels to pick in Boracay

We stayed at the Hotel Coast located in Station 2, and it was a great experience. The staff at the hotel made us feel welcome, they were incredibly attentive, and food was also amazing there. Since 2020, it’s not allowed for the hotels to have their sun beds on the beach, but you are, of course, allowed to sit on a towel. Not only the staff helped us with the towels every time, they also helped to guard our belongings and brought us fresh water all the time! The hotel was beautiful and the rooms were nice, so I can wholeheartedly recommend Hotel Coast!

If Hotel Coast is not available, Mandala Spa & Resort Villas is also a great option.

If you’re looking for a proper luxury resort, consider staying at Shangri-La

If you would prefer a more budget-friendly option, these hotels are a great choice: Levantin Boracay

Things to do in Boracay in 3 days:

Even though Boracay is a tiny island, and you can walk all of it in a few hours, there are plenty of things to do. We spent 3 full days in Boracay, and the time flew by! Here are the things we recommend doing in Boracay:

Try Mango frozen yoghurt from HaloMango (the most delicious thing we’ve tried in Boracay!)

Watch the sunset on the White Beach (we did it every day)

Go on a private sunset sailing ride – you can either book it on arrival or pre-book online here >>

Go on a snorkelling & island hopping tour – book here

Walk to Bulabog

Walk the White Beach from Station 1 all the way to Station 3

Swim a lot and enjoy the sunshine

Day 4: Flying to Cebu, exploring Moalboal

Flying from Caticlan to Cebu 

Our hotel in Boracay, Coast, also included a free return transfer, so we woke up early, packed our things and were delivered to Caticlan airport in less than 45 minutes again. Caticlan has a few direct flights to Cebu per day, and ours departed around 11 a.m. 

The flight time from Caticlan to Cebu is a bit longer compared to Manila, but our flight somehow departed 20 minutes earlier, so we were in Cebu ahead of time. 

Getting from Cebu to Moalboal 

There are two different ways of getting to Moalboal from Cebu airport: by bus, minibus, or private taxi. Since the road is pretty windy and one of us gets motion sick easily, we decided to go for a private taxi. In total, we paid around $65 for a one-way taxi ride, which was expensive compared to a public bus but took significantly less time. And yes, I did get dizzy even in a taxi (something to keep in mind if you also get motion-sick easily). 

We arranged the taxi through our hotel in Moalboal, Harman Suites. When we booked it, they sent us a message offering to arrange a taxi for us, and we decided to book via them. 

Where to stay in Moalboal

As I mentioned before, we stayed at Harman Suites Moalboal, which was absolutely fabulous. The price was great, the location was amazing, just 3 minutes walking from the beach with the sardines and right in the heart of Moalboal. They also provided free snorkelling equipment, and the quality of the equipment was so much better than we had expected and experienced in other hotels during our 10-day trip in the Philippines. 

You can check the prices and availability of Harman Suites here >>

Snorkelling in Moalboal: Do you see sardines while snorkelling?

Most people come to Moalboal to either snorkel with sardines or dive with them. Lots of people come on a day trip from Cebu, which is pretty tiring, as you need to wake up around 4 a.m. We never tried diving before (and the doctors prohibited Jose to dive anyway), so snorkelling was our only option. I wasn’t quite sure whether we would see any sardines or anything at all while snorkelling. However, it turned out you can see sardines perfectly well just 10-15 meters away from the entrance to the sea. It’s easier to see them when it’s sunny. 

Moreover, Moalboal had amazing coral reefs and so many colourful fishes – we spent a few hours on the afternoon of our first day in Moalboal and the next morning just snorkelling and looking for different fishes. It was genuinely one of the best snorkelling locations we’ve ever been to, and that was totally unexpected!

You can also see starfish, sea snakes, turtles and other amazing creatures!

Other things to do in Moalboal

Lots of people come to Moalboal for a few days. Unfortunately, we could only stay for one night due to a tight itinerary. I wish we had stayed for longer, though, as there are plenty of amazing things to do nearby! Most of the people coming to Moalboal go canyoneering, as the waterfalls on Cebu island are some of the most impressive ones in the Philippines. You can pre-book a canyoneering tour starting from Moalboal online here >>

Moalboal is also a lovely town – it has a very laid-back and relaxed vibe. There are plenty of backpackers and people from all backgrounds and the atmosphere is very friendly. Moalboal is very small – however, there are plenty of different bars and restaurants. There are also a few massage parlours and the best one was undoubtedly Moalboal Spa and Massage (not a very creative name, I know), but the massage was the best one we got in the Philippines!

Day 5: Oslob

On day 5 of our 10-day trip in the Philippines, we woke up early and went snorkelling in Moalboal. Then we had an amazing breakfast at Shaka – hands down the best breakfast spot in Moalboal. By 1 p.m., we checked out from our hotel and asked for a taxi at the reception. Private taxis from Moalboal to Oslob cost us around $35-40 for a car and took almost two hours. The taxi arrived around 2 p.m. – by that time, we had also sorted out ferry tickets for the next day’s ferry to Panglao. I recommend booking tickets for the ferry in advance here as the ferry tends to sell out, and the confirmation also takes a bit of time.

Oslob is a tiny town and a very rural one. There isn’t much to do and there are only two small restaurants. We spent the afternoon walking around, however, I recommend staying a bit longer in Moalboal and heading to Oslob for the evening. 

In Oslob, we stayed at the hotel Pobla – you can call them earlier, and they can help arrange a taxi and a guide for swimming with the sharks the next day. 

Days 6-9: Swimming with the whale sharks in Oslob, Ferry to Panglao, exploring Bohol

Swimming with the whale sharks in Oslob 

Our guide picked us up around 7 a.m., and we arrived at Oslob whale shark centre 30 minutes later (it takes around 25 minutes to drive there from Oslob town centre). At the entrance, our guide helped us get the tickets and find our spot in the queue. At 8 a.m., the queue was already around 90 minutes long. There are places to sit and hide from the sun, so don’t worry, you won’t need to stand for a couple of hours to wait for your turn.

Since everybody gets around 30 minutes with the sharks and in each boat, there is only place for about 10-12 people, it takes quite a bit of time to deliver and bring the tourists back. I recommend taking the snorkelling gear with you, as what you’re provided with is not in great condition and will probably do more harm than use. 

You are not allowed to approach whale sharks (although sometimes they approach you) and you need to stay next to the boat. However, as the waves are usually pretty strong, it’s very easy to get dizzy! 

Overall, it was an amazing experience to see whale sharks so close! I just hoped it would be a bit more ethical (the whale sharks are there because they are fed every day at the exact same spot). 

Taking a ferry from Oslob to Panglao

We were back in the hotel by 10:30 a.m., and our ferry was departing at 12 p.m. Luckily, the ferry was just a 5-minute drive from the hotel, so we had time to finish packing and went to the ferry around 11:20 a.m.

We were actually almost the last ones to arrive! There is no ferry terminal, just a small tent where they check your ticket, collect your baggage fee and deliver you to the ferry in a small boat. As I mentioned before, it’s very easy to book tickets for all ferries and buses on 12Go Asia – here you can find the prices and availability of the ferry from Oslob to Panglao (Momo Beach).

Our ferry was actually a bit delayed and took over 2 hours to arrive to Momo Beach. Because of that, lots of people had issues with pick up – all the taxi drivers left, including ours. There were, however, a few minibuses that arrived to pick up tourists, and we joined another group to go to our hotel in Alona Beach. 

Where to stay in Panglao 

In Panglao, we stayed at the hotel called Alona’s Coral Garden – the hotel was lovely, however, the location wasn’t that great – it was a bit far away from the main part of the town. Hence, I would recommend staying somewhere else.

We actually split our stay in Panglao into two parts – the first two days, we stayed near Alona Beach, while the next few days, we stayed at a proper resort – South Palms Resort Panglao.

Looking back at the trip now, we would have just preferred to stay in one hotel. Bathala Resort or Henann Alona Beach would have been a better option! 

Things to do in Bohol & Panglao

We spent most of our time in Panglao relaxing and exploring the Alona beach area. We went for a swim multiple times – every time, we would see at least 10 different blue starfish. There are, however, plenty of urchins in Alona Beach – I recommend always checking where you are stepping and also wear swimming shoes like these ones.

Another must-do activity in Panglao is actually going on a day trip to Bohol island. Panglao and Bohol are two separate islands connected by a bridge. It takes around 30 minutes to get to Bohol from Alona Beach. Bohol is a really stunning island – there are plenty of things to see, but most of them can be covered on a day trip. You can book a private tour (like we did) here.

Alternatively, you can book this small-group tour with a slightly different itinerary.

The main attractions everyone visits are the Chocolate Hills, the Tarsier “Sanctuary,” and the Loboc River Cruise. The only one we didn’t enjoy was the Tarsier “Sanctuary” because it felt worse than a zoo. Tarsiers are nocturnal creatures, so they sleep during the day. However, I saw employees of the “Sactuary” touching tarsiers with a stick so they wake up and tourists can take a photo with their eyes wide open for a small tip. 

Chocolate Hills are absolutely amazing, and the Loboc river cruise was lovely, too. You need to wait in the queue to get on a cruise – we waited for 1.5 hours as it was a very busy weekend during public holidays; however, most people can get in there much faster. The cruise takes place in a very photogenic boat and includes a buffet lunch, live music and a live dance show. 

Day 10: Getting back to Cebu 

On our last day in the Philippines, we took a ferry from Bohol to Cebu. We actually got business class tickets (they were just $3 more per person) for the ferry. Again, we booked all the tickets online here.

It took less than 1.5 hours to get to Cebu from Bohol. The ferries are not always super punctual, so I don’t recommend booking your return flight too close to the ferry arrival time. Leave at least 5-8 hours until the flight. While there isn’t much to see and do in Cebu City, it’s always better to wait than pay for another flight!

Summary of our itinerary for 10 days in the Philippines

I hope you found this article about our 10-day itinerary for the Philippines useful and got some inspiration for your trip. Even though we were on a tight schedule, everything went as planned, and we managed to see everything we wanted to see! We saw three stunning sunsets in Boracay, swam with whale sharks in Oslob and with sardines in Moalboal and visited the famous chocolate hills in Bohol. 

10 days in the Philippines doesn’t sound like a lot, however, both our jobs don’t allow us to take more than 14 days off work at once, and we were also visiting Hong Kong this time, hence, we built this 10-day itinerary for the Philippines. If you only have 10 days to spend in this amazing country, perhaps you can find some useful tips in this article!

Here are some other articles you might find useful:

Our 4-day itinerary for Bhutan

5 days in Laos: Vientiane and Luang Prabang

1 week in Vietnam

Vietnam and Laos itinerar for 2 weeks

1-week itinerary for Japan

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