3 Weeks Itinerary in the Philippines: Best Places to Go, Must-Do Tours & Activities

3 Weeks Itinerary in the Philippines: Best Places to Go, Must-Do Tours & Activities

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El Nido and BoholThe Philippines attracts all kinds of travelers, thanks to its pristine beaches, beautiful mountains, stunning sunsets, welcoming culture, and unique food. With many must-visit destinations, including Boracay, Palawan, Cebu, and Bohol, it might be difficult to pick places to explore when you tour the Philippines

If you’re a first-time visitor to the country and want to explore some of the best places in the Philippines, we recommend planning a 21-day or 3-week Philippine itinerary. This will get you enough time to explore the top attractions, and try unique experiences and activities, while also having some free and easy days where you can relax. 

3 Weeks Itinerary in the Philippines: Best Places to Go, Must-Do Tours & ActivitiesThe country is an archipelago of different islands, so getting around can also be challenging. For a hassle-free experience, booking a 3-week vacation package in the Philippines is recommended, so you won’t need to worry about booking your flights, airport transfers, accommodations, and tours.

With this 3-week Philippine travel itinerary, you’ll be able to explore thePhilippine capital of Manila and nearby cities, visit Ilocos Norte, known for a UNESCO World Heritage Site church, tour the heritage city of Vigan, enjoy the cool breeze at Baguio, see the Chocolate Hills in Bohol, try the exciting canyoneering activity in Cebu, explore an underground river in Puerto Princesa, and travel to El Nido, Palawan, which is home to some of the best beaches in the Philippines.

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Day 1: Arrival in Manila

Plane flying over ManilaYou will start your Philippines 3-week itinerary when you arrive in Metro Manila, the capital region of the Philippines. It is home to several historical Manila tourist spots, including the walled city of Intramuros, built during the Spanish colonial era.

If you are arriving from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport or Manila Airport, book any of the Manila Airport transfers or Manila car rentals so you can easily make your way to your hotel. Since you will also explore other destinations in the Philippines, it would be convenient to stay at one of the hotels near Manila Airport. After you have checked in to your hotel, get some rest and prepare for a tour tomorrow.

Day 2: Manila Tour

Manila Cathedral in IntramurosToday, you will visit the National Museum Complex in Manila and then go on one of the Intramuros walking tours. The walled city of Intramuros was built over 400 years ago during the Spanish colonial period as a political and military center. Today, its storied walls and structures are must-visit tourist attractions for first-time visitors in the city. 

The National Museum Complex is home to the National Museum of Fine Arts, the National Museum of Anthropology, and the National Museum of Natural History. The museums house several collections of artwork and artifacts that will help you better understand the history and culture of the Philippines. Note that the museum complex is closed on Mondays. 

You also have time to explore some of the attractions of Intramuros, including the San Agustin Museum, where you can view religious artwork. The museum is connected to San Agustin Church, one of the must-visit Philippine churches and the oldest stone church in the country. Near the church and the museum is Casa Manila. The façade is a replica of an actual house that used to be in Manila in the 1850s, and inside, you will find furniture commonly found in the houses of the elite during the same period.

If you still have time, you can also visit Museo de Intramuros, which was opened in 2019. It has six areas, each focusing on a specific theme and featuring paintings, sculptures, and other artifacts.

Day 3: Free Day or Explore Tagaytay or Laguna Nearby Manila

Taal Volcano in BatangasThis is your last full day in Manila. You can use this time to explore a nearby destination from Manila like Tagaytay or Laguna. The former is known for its cool and breezy weather and the Taal Ridge that gives visitors breathtaking views, while the latter is known for Laguna hot spring resorts.

For a hassle-free trip, it’s best to book one of the Tagaytay tours that can take you to some of the top Tagaytay tourist spots, including the Palace in the Sky, where you can enjoy stunning views of Taal Lake. While you’re here, you can also visit Tagaytay restaurants and Tagaytay coffee shops that offer local cuisine and drinks.

If you want to enjoy a refreshing waterfall near Manila, your best bet is Pagsanjan Falls, which you can visit via a day tour. The waterfalls is around 300 feet high and is one of the top Laguna tourist spots. Here, you can try bamboo rafting and canoe riding.

You also have the option to just stay in the city and explore more of Manila’s top tourist attractions. One of the popular activities in the city is a Binondo food trip. Binondo is the oldest Chinatown in the world, and going on one of the Binondo food tours will allow you to sample some of the best Filipino-Chinese food.


Day 4: Travel to Laoag, Ilocos Norte

Facade of Paoay Church in Ilocos NorteAfter checking out of your hotel in Manila, head back to the Manila Airport to catch a flight to Laoag City, the capital of Ilocos Norte. The province is known for its historical and cultural attractions, as well as its sand dunes and rock formations. The flight will last around 1 hour and 15 minutes. Once you land at the Laoag International Airport, you can claim your luggage and make your way to your accommodations.

Check in to your room and rest. If you still have energy, you can explore the nearby Laoag tourist sports.

Day 5: Laoag Tour

Bangui Windmills in Ilocos NorteYou can spend today exploring the top places to visit in Ilocos Norte. You can visit Saint Williams Cathedral, also known as Laoag Cathedral. The cathedral was built in 1612 by Augustinian friars. It is known for its unique two-story façade and Italian Renaissance aesthetic. You can also visit the Sinking Bell Tower, just around 80 meters from the cathedral. As its name suggests, the structure is slowly sinking to the ground.

Also nearby is Aurora Park, which was formerly known as Plaza de Alfonso XII, after the King of Spain. The park is home to an obelisk dedicated to the same king, as well as a statue of Maiden Pamulinawen, the subject of a known traditional Ilocano folk song.

You can also visit Malacañang of the North, which sits near Paoay Lake. The building used to be the holiday residence of Ferdinand Marcos, one of the former presidents of the country. If you are still up for it, you can make Paoay Church your last stop for the day. Officially known as Saint Augustine Church, it is one of the four Baroque churches in the Philippines that are part of UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

Day 6: Vigan Ilocos Sur Tour

Kalesa strolling along Calle Crisologo in ViganToday, you will check out of your hotel in Laoag and then head to another UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Philippines, Vigan. The city allows you to see what most of the Philippine towns looked like during the Spanish period, as it has preserved its houses and buildings from that era. Vigan is easy to explore, but you can make your experience even more convenient by booking Vigan tours.

There are many places to visit in Vigan, and one good option to start is Saint Paul’s Cathedral. Also known as Vigan Cathedral, the church has been around since the 1800s and is a stunning example of Baroque architecture in the country. Even older is the Bantay Bell Tower, which has been standing since the 1590s and is just over a kilometer away from the cathedral.

Before you explore the Padre José Burgos National Museum, the Ilocos Museum Regional Complex, and the Crisologo Museum, you can enjoy some art and crafts at Pagburnayan Pottery Making House, where you can make pottery items yourself. 

If there’s one place among all the Vigan tourist spots that you absolutely must visit, it’s Calle Crisologo, Vigan’s famed cobblestone street lined with picturesque Spanish-era houses. You can stroll here or ride a horse-drawn carriage then dine at some of the best Vigan restaurants in the area.

Day 7: Travel to Baguio

Aerial view of Baguio CityMake your way to Baguio from Vigan. Baguio is known for its cool weather and lush outdoors surrounded by pine trees. If you leave early in the morning, you should arrive in Baguio around or after lunchtime. Head to your Baguio accommodations in the city so you can check-in. If you are tired from the trip, you can rest for the day. 

If you want to maximize your time, you can explore some of the top Baguio tourist spots. The city is full of outdoor attractions, including the Baguio Botanical Garden and Wright Park, both of which are home to picturesque flowers, plants, and trees.

You can also visit The Mansion, the official summer residence of the President of the Philippines. Two popular places to visit in Baguio are Mines View Park and Camp John Hay. Mines View Park is home to shops and vendors that sell snacks, souvenirs, and other local products. You can also find an observation deck in the park, which gives visitors a scenic view of the mountains and the abandoned gold and copper mines.

Camp John Hay is a former American military base that is now a recreational area and location of the popular The Manor Hotel in Baguio. Some Camp John Hay activities you can try are forest bathing and mini golf.

Before you shop for local delicacies at Good Shepherd, you can also go on a quick visit to the Philippine Military Academy so you can check out the tanks and other military weapons on display.

Day 8: Baguio City Tour

Swan boats in Burnham Park, BaguioYour last full day in Baguio is perfect for a tour of the city’s cultural sites. In the Tam-awan Village, you will find traditional Ifugao houses and local art exhibits. You can also visit the Easter Weaving Room, where you can see weavers at work and learn more about the local weaving industry. You can also buy woven products there.

In Museo Kordilyera, you can learn more about the local heritage. This ethnographic museum inside the University of the Philippines Baguio is home to collections that illustrate the culture of the indigenous groups in the Cordillera, including ceramics, metalcraft, and textiles.

You can also spend time in Burnham Park, a 32-hectare area home to gardens, a picnic grove, and a man-made lake. Burnham Park activities you can try include a swan boat ride in the lake and roller skating at the rink.

If you still have time, you can also visit the BenCab Museum, which sits just outside the city. It is home to art by National Artist Ben Cabrera and other local artists. 

Day 9: Travel to Bohol

The Chocolate Hills on Bohol IslandYou will leave Baguio today and make your way back to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila. From there, you will get on one of the flights to Bohol in Visayas. The Chocolate Hills in Bohol is one of the top Philippine tourist spots, but there are plenty of other places to visit in Bohol, including beaches, islands, rivers, and a tarsier sanctuary.

After landing at the Bohol-Panglao International Airport, you can make your way to your accommodations in Bohol via Panglao airport transfers. You can use the rest of your day to rest up after a long trip, but if you’re not tired, you can explore the nearby Bohol tourist spots or dine at the best Bohol restaurants.

Day 10: Bohol Countryside Tour

A boat sails along Loboc RiverYou can see the province’s countryside through a tour. The most popular Bohol tours usually include stops at the Philippine Tarsier and Wildlife Sanctuary, the Bilar Man-Made Forest, the Loboc River, and The Chocolate Hills.

At the sanctuary, you will see the second smallest primate in the world, the Philippine Tarsier, in its natural habitat. These adorable creatures are nocturnal, so make sure not to disturb them during your visit. The Bilar Man-Made forest is made up of red and white mahogany trees planted over 50 years ago as part of a reforestation project. During countryside tours, lunch is usually served aboard one of the many Loboc River cruises, which also includes a cultural performance by the locals.

The most anticipated stop, of course, is the Chocolate Hills, which are spread across 50 square kilometers, passing through three towns. You’ll head to a viewing deck so you can see these cone-shaped hills that turn chocolate brown during the dry season. 

Some tours also stop at historical and religious sites, like the Santa Monica Parish Church, also known as Alburquerque Church.

Day 11: Free Day or Explore Other Bohol Land Attractions

Abatan River in BoholAfter a day of touring Bohol, you can spend one day relaxing. If you’re staying at one of the Bohol beachfront resorts, you can enjoy the beach without having to go far from your room. You can also explore the nearby areas on your own.

If you feel more comfortable with a guided tour, there are plenty of inland tours that you can try in Bohol. You can book a Bohol Bee Farm tour, where you can enjoy a lunch with a view and buy locally made products like honey, snacks, home decor, and souvenirs. If you want to go on a night tour, you can go on an Abatan River firefly tour. On this tour, you will go on a slow cruise down the Abatan River and stop at trees lit up by thousands of fireflies.

Day 12: Bohol Pamilacan Island Tour

Pamilacan IslandIt’s your last full day in Bohol, and you can make the most of it by going on a tour of Pamilacan Island. You’ll board a boat, and on your way to the island, you might encounter dolphins on the open sea! 

After arriving at the island, you can relax and enjoy the white sand beaches or explore the underwater wonders via snorkeling. Pamilacan Island's waters are home to various corals, tropical fish, and sea turtles.

Day 13: Travel to Cebu + Cebu Day Tour + Travel to Moalboal

Magellan's CrossCebu is considered one of the best islands in the Philippines, and you can get there via a ferry from Bohol. The province is full of natural wonders, including islands, waterfalls, and mountains. There are also plenty of white sand beaches in Cebu.

After arriving in Cebu City, you’ll go on a tour of the city’s top attractions. You’ll visit Basilica Minore Del Santo Niño, the oldest Roman Catholic church in the Philippines, as well as Magellan’s cross, which represents the beginning of Catholicism in the country. You will also visit other historical sites in the city, including the Yap-Sandiego ancestral house and the Pedro Calungsod Church.

Once you are done with your tour, make your way to Moalboal, a municipality located in the southwestern area of the province. You will stay here on your first night in Cebu.

Day 14: Cebu Kawasan Falls & Moalboal Tour

Aerial shot of Kawasan Falls, CebuOne of the best places to visit in the Philippines is Kawasan Falls, and you will visit it on day 14 of your 3 weeks in the Philippines. Kawasan Falls is located in Badian, a municipality located south of Moalboal. Kawasan Falls canyoneering is a popular activity that will allow you to explore the different levels of the falls before going for a refreshing swim at its lowest tier.

You will then head back to Moalboal and board a boat headed to Pescador Island, one of the top Cebu tourist spots. You can snorkel in the waters surrounding the island, and you’ll even get the chance to go swimming with turtles in Cebu when you visit Turtle Point. You will also experience the famous Moalboal sardines watching. You’ll see sardines swimming in unison, forming a massive glimmering underwater wall that is breathtaking to see.

Day 15: Travel to Mactan, Cebu

Aerial view of Mactan IslandAfter your time in Moalboal, you’ll make your way to the island of Mactan. After checking in to your accommodations, you can rest in your room or check out the nearby Cebu restaurants so you can try the local cuisine.

If you want to explore more of South Cebu, you also have the option of going on an Oslob whale shark-watching tour before heading to Mactan. Apart from getting the chance to see whale sharks, you will also be able to visit Sumilon Sandbar, a stunning sandbar known for its changing shapes, and Tumalog Falls, which has picturesque cascades.

Day 16: Free Day or Explore Cebu & Mactan Attractions

Sirao Flower Farm, CebuYou can spend your last full day in Cebu however you want. If you have a room in one of the Cebu beachfront hotels, you can just relax and take in the sea view from your room or the beach. There’s also time to explore other places to visit in Cebu, including the Sirao Flower Farm, The Temple of Leah, and Tops Lookout. You can check out these attractions via a Cebu Highlands Vista tour.

You have your flight to Puerto Princesa the next day, so make sure to allot enough time to prepare and rest for it.

Day 17: Travel to Puerto Princesa, Palawan

Aerial view of Nagtabon beach in Puerto PrincesaFrom Cebu, you’ll make your way to Puerto Princesa in Palawan via a flight. The city is known for the Puerto Princesa Underground River, an 8.2-kilometer river home to rock formations, pristine water, and a variety of animals. 

After you land at the Puerto Princesa International Airport, you will make your way to your hotel in Puerto Princesa. After checking in, you can explore the Puerto Princesa tourist spots near your accommodations and try the cuisine at the local restaurants.

Day 18: Puerto Princesa Underground River Tour + Travel to El Nido

Puerto Princesa Underground RiverYou will spend your morning on one of the Puerto Princesa Underground River tours. The river is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the best ecotourism sites in the Philippines. On this tour, you will board a small boat to explore the river. You will see beautiful rock formations and limestone cliffs as you spend your time here. You don’t have to worry about getting lost, as your guide will be there to assist you at all times.

After your tour, you will make your way to El Nido. The drive will take around five to six hours, and you can get some rest when you arrive at your accommodations in El Nido.

Day 19: El Nido Island Hopping Tour

Aerial view of Shimizu islandEl Nido is one of the best destinations in Palawan, Philippines, and the world, thanks to its powdery white sand beaches, pristine turquoise waters, picturesque limestone cliffs, and vibrant marine life. It is one of the top reasons why you should visit the Philippines.

On day 19, you will have the time to explore some of the top El Nido tourist spots when you go on one of the El Nido island-hopping tours. For first-timers in El Nido, the recommended tour is the El Nido island-hopping tour A, which will bring you to the Big Lagoon. This lagoon is known for its clear waters and stunning karst cliffs. On this tour, you will also be able to visit Shimizu Island, Secret Lagoon, and Seven Commandos Beach. You can snorkel, kayak, or just relax and take in the gorgeous views in these destinations.

Day 20: Free Day or Explore Other El Nido Attractions

Drone shot of Nacpan BeachIt’s your last full day on this Philippine itinerary, and you can decide what to do in El Nido. If you are staying at one of the top El Nido, Palawan resorts, feel free to stay in and take advantage of all of the property’s facilities and amenities. 

If you still want to explore El Nido and see its natural wonders, you can book a tour that can take you to some of the best beaches in El Nido. El Nido island-hopping tour B will take you to Snake Island, Cudognon Cave, Cathedral Cave, and Popolcan Island, while El Nido island-hopping tour C will bring you to Hidden Beach, Matinloc Island, Secret Beach, and Helicopter Island. You can also book El Nido island-hopping tour D, which will bring you to Small Lagoon, Paradise Beach, Cadlao Lagoon, and Pasandingan Beach.


Day 21: Departure to Manila

Plane lands in airport during sunsetYour Philippine vacation has come to a close, and from Lio Airport in El Nido, you will board a flight bound for Manila. After you have landed at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, you can travel to your next destination.

Make the most out of your Philippine vacation!

Couple in PalawanThis article is a guide on how you can travel to the Philippines in 21 days and visit some of its top destinations. If you have more time, you can add more days to this Philippine itinerary so you can visit more beautiful destinations in the country.

For a hassle-free experience, book Philippine travel packages that include accommodations, transportation, and tours, that will allow you to just fully enjoy your vacation. You can even choose from the many all-inclusive Philippine vacation packages depending on your travel preferences. You can book vacation packages for couples, Philippines long itinerary tour packages, and all-inclusive family vacation packages.

3 Weeks Itinerary in the Philippines: Best Places to Go, Must-Do Tours & Activities

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