Boracay or Palawan – which Philippine island to choose for a paradise vacation?

5 Philippine islands in one trip

We continue to tell you about beautiful islands around the world. From white-sand beaches and turquoise waterfalls to swimming with sharks and a sanctuary with cute longhorn monkeys, there are five ways to vacation in the Philippines.

Luzon Island. Manila.

For the unsophisticated tourist who is first time in Asia, the Philippine capital Manila will probably cause unpleasant emotions in the first minutes. The filth, the incredibly acrid “aromas”, people sleeping on the sidewalks, the crazy concentration of CO2 in the air, children beggars washing right on the roadway. There’s no point in staying long in stuffy Manila. All of the city’s attractions can be visited in a day.

Intramuros Fortress. Here you can feel the atmosphere of a real medieval Spanish city, visit the Casa Manila Museum and the oldest building in Manila – San Augustin Cathedral. You can get from any part of the city by cab or jeepney (local shuttle buses).

“Living” North Cemetery (1721 Cavite, Santa Cruz, Manila, 1014 Metro Manila) . An incredible juxtaposition of the living and the dead in Manila’s famed North Cemetery. For every million dead there are 10 thousand alive and totally happy people. The fact is that in the Philippines, people are not buried in the ground, but in crypts, which are used as a home by the living. The tombstone becomes a table or a bed, and the relatives of the deceased charge a fee for renting the crypt. To get here a tourist must get a special permit from the local authorities and pay € 2 for one day to visit the cemetery.

SM Mall of Asia (Main Mall, SM Central Business Park Bay City, 123 MM, Pasay, 1300 Metro Manila) is one of the largest hypermarkets in the world. If you are a fanatic about shopping, this is the place for you! This is also the place to pick up some souvenirs at the end of your trip.

Language. Everyone speaks English.

Money Exchange. The most profitable will be the rate at the airport in Manila.

Local communications. You can buy a local SIM-card with unlimited Internet access directly at the airport for € 16.

Winter gear. The luggage room at Domodedovo Airport will charge €3.50 per day per person. So you can carry them with you and store them at the local hotel for three weeks for only € 3.

Cabs. Traffic in Manila is terrible, so calculate the time with plenty of reserve. Cab drivers don’t always know their way around even in their own neighborhood.

Street thieves. In Manila, do not carry a phone in your hand or bag on your shoulder.

Palawan Island. El Nido

The Puerto Princesa airport is greeted by unfriendly posters that read, “Danger! Dengue!” – That’s how you’re warned about Dengue fever. The infection is carried by mosquitoes, so mosquito repellent (sold everywhere for €2) should always be with you. Puerto Princesa is a transit point, there is nothing to see here. You can get to El Nido for € 12 and 5 hours by minibus along a steep serpentine road. There is no need to look for transport, it will find you right outside the airport.

Tours. Everyone comes to El Nido to take tours. There are only four of them (called A, B, C, D). They all involve a group of tourists taking a boat ride on islands with white floury sand and blue water, snorkeling, kayaking, and dining under the open sky. The cost of the tours ranges around €20.

Nacpan Beach (El Nido, Palawan) . You can get here in 30 minutes by renting a scooter or by tricycle. Come here for the scenic view and standard beach activities. On the way to the beach, you can check out Nagkalit-kalit waterfall.

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Las Cabanas Beach (Taytay – El Nido National Hwy, El Nido, Palawan) . You can get there by tricycle in 10 minutes and € 2. On the beach a lot of cafes. You can ride a zipline for € 5.

Laundry. Given the peculiarities of the climate (high humidity, things do not dry), local laundries – a salvation for the tourist. Things are taken by kilogram. The cost of washing of 1 kg of things – € 0,5. Turnaround time is 1 day.

Shoes for the sea. If you plan to go on tours, special rubber slippers are a must. You can buy them on the spot for € 8.

The island of Cebu. Moalboal, Oslob.

Cebu is Manila’s twin brother. Dirt, traffic, high-rises and big shopping malls. From the airport you move to the bus station, from where you will make your way through the jungle and waterfalls to the famous whale sharks. The transfer from Cebu Airport to the South Bus Station is by cab for 40 minutes and €8-10.

Kawasan Falls (Badian, 6031 Cebu) . At the bus station you take the bus to Moalboal. The ticket costs € 1 and travel time is 4 hours. From Moalbola you can catch a bus to Oslob for the same price (€ 1). It takes two hours to get to the waterfalls. Kawasan Falls is a three-stage cascade of clear turquoise water from mountain springs, located in the jungle of the island of Cebu. There you can also take part in an extreme descent through the rapids (canyoning) for € 16 or just stand under the pressure on a bamboo raft for € 5.

Great Whale Shark (Natalio Bacalso Avenue, Oslob, 6023 Cebu) . The bus from the waterfalls to Oslob (where the great whale sharks live) costs 1 €, travel time 2 hours. If you ask the conductor, it will stop at the most convenient hotel.

There are several ways to see whale sharks:

1. View from a boat. (€ 10). The cheapest and most boring option. You just watch the feeding from the boat.

2. Swim with sharks. (€ 16). You jump from the boat into the water. From there you can do whatever you want – swim, dive, take pictures, look into the huge mouth, lie on the bottom or hang out on the boat, looking at the beautiful sharks swimming by. Freediving with whale sharks is also included in this option.

3. Diving. (€ 25). You dive to the bottom and look at the silhouettes swimming overhead. The sharks are near the surface almost all the time, so divers look wistfully from the bottom, unable to maneuver between the huge fish.

The whale shark swim lasts 30 minutes. A mask and vest are included, and flippers and underwater video footage are extra.

Bus. There are no bus stops as such. Therefore, to stop the bus, you need to raise your hand. It is better to ask the conductor to show you right away where you have to get off.

Bohol Island

From Oslob you can sail to the island of Bohol. Travel time is 5 hours, cost € 15, transportation – motorboat with a canopy. People come to Bohol to do scuba diving and wander in nature reserves. And even if diving is not in your plans, the journey among the endless rice fields and rooster farms will not leave anyone indifferent. Visiting the reserve with the longhorn monkeys and the chocolate hills is considered a must for all tourists who get here. And once you’ve explored these places, head back to Cebu to fly to Boracay Island from there. You can get to Tagbilaran port by jeepney (local shuttle buses) in 30 minutes and €2. The journey to Cebu on the comfortable ferry Ocean Jet for € 11 will take two and a half hours.

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Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary (Loay Interior Road, Loboc, Bohol) . Tarsiers, aka tarsiers, are primates, but look like small lemurs. They live only in Southeast Asia (Philippines, Indonesia) and are listed in the Red Book. From Alona Beach to the reserve with tersiers about 30 km. You can get there by scooter. Rent a scooter for a day will cost € 6, gasoline at € 2. For the opportunity to look at cute animals you will have to pay another € 3. The reserve is open from 9 am until 16 pm.

Chocolate Hills (Loay Interior Road, Loboc, Bohol) . The hills are called chocolate hills because of their brown coloring in the spring and also because of their unusual shape, which resembles giant-sized truffles. From the reserve with tersiers to the hills is about 40 km. Entrance to the observation deck € 3.

Scooter rental. When renting a scooter you will be asked to leave your passport or driver’s license as a deposit. Don’t leave the documents themselves: better to make photocopies in advance and give them back.

A waterproof cover. Since the rains in the tropics are unpredictable, it makes sense to buy a waterproof case for your phone and documents.

Boats. It’s important to know that the bigger the boat you’re sailing in, the farther from shore it stops. Prepare to walk a couple of dozen meters to the shore waist-deep in water.

Boracay Island

Boracay is the most touristy island in the Philippines. Come here mostly for beach holidays. The island is very small (7 km by 1 km), so travel by transport is very short and inexpensive. The center of the island is filled with hotels, and the perimeter are free beaches. However, over the next six months, the island will not be available to tourists.

White Beach (Balabag, Malay, Province of Aklan 5608) . The calling card of the island. Regularly gets into the top ten beaches in the world. Along the coast many cafes and hotels. The beach itself is crowded, with white sand and smooth entrance to the water.

Puka Beach (Puka Shell Beach, Maley, Aklan) . In contrast to the White Beach is quite deserted. Along the beach you will find a couple of cafes and almost no tourists. There are no hotels nearby either. The waves on this beach are always high. You can get here from White Beach with a tricycle for €2.

The beach Bulabog Beach (Bulabog Beach Malei, Aklan) . A specialized beach, home to kite surfers and windsurfers. Along the beach there are many schools with Russian speaking guides, who will teach you the basics of parachuting for a couple of days and € 60. You can reach the White Beach on foot in a couple of minutes.

Talipapa Fish Market (D*talipapa Maley, Aklan) . Shrimp, crabs, lobsters, scallops, fish, sea urchins – not a complete list of tasty things that are sold here. There are many small cafes around the market where the seafood you buy will be cooked to your liking. For example lobster will cost you €16 and cooking it will cost you €2. It is worth noting that the prices here will be much lower than in the cafes and restaurants on White Beach.

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Palawan or Boracay? Which Philippine island to choose for your vacation?

For a long time, my husband and I wanted to vacation in the Philippines, but other than the island of Boracay, I do not know other places. Reading the reviews on the Internet, I came across interesting comments about the island of Palawan. What are the similarities and differences between these islands? Where should I go if I have never been to the Philippines before?


Philippines can please tourists with a warm tropical climate and good infrastructure. But you should pay attention to the rainy season, which in the islands usually lasts from May to October, and at this time in the country is better not to go. Tropical downpours are possible even in the dry season, but they do not last long, and they are quickly replaced by the sun. The best time to vacation in the Philippines is from December to March. In both Boracay and Palawan, the tourist season lasts until April and mid-May.

In terms of tourist popularity, Boracay is far superior to Palawan. This island is considered the most popular tourist destination in the country and can delight you with beautiful beaches, some of which are included in the list of the best beaches in the world. Tourists are found here at any time of the year, regardless of whether the season is dry or rainy. It is on this island concentrated the best restaurants, diving centers and surfing schools (in some places the waves are quite high). The beaches have everything you need for a comfortable holiday, from toilets, changing rooms, sun loungers and ending with all kinds of bars and entertainment.

Palawan offers a slightly different experience. Most tourists come here for those who want to relax in peace and quiet, without the crowds. Also the island can boast a unique and unique nature, where there are wild, deserted beaches and impenetrable tropical forests. Diving enthusiasts will love the island, because there are places that can’t be found in any other part of the country. Experienced divers come here for a few days, as in a short time to explore all the beauties of the local underwater world, including the many sunken ships will not work. The resort is famous for the fact that the largest pearl in the world was found here and many come here to try their luck.

Going to Boracay, you should be prepared for the fact that you can have serious problems finding budget accommodation, especially during high season. On the first and second line, mostly expensive hotels, and on the rest you can find some easier options and cheaper respectively.

On Palawan, the choice of budget accommodation is much more, including in close proximity to the beach. Within 12-15 dollars a day you can find a small room with a bathroom, air conditioning, a few beds and good furniture (on Boracay for that money a maximum that can remove the room with a ceiling fan in a mansion). For 20-25 dollars you can find accommodation with breakfast. If you go on vacation with friends, you can afford to rent a small villa with all the amenities.

Boracay is famous for its wide variety of food, not only Filipino, but also other cuisines of the world. On the island there is a sufficient number of not only expensive restaurants, but also budget canteens, where for lunch will have to pay only a few dollars. Also here are practiced such institutions where visitors pay a fixed amount and can eat unlimited amounts of food. A large selection of products and in local stores, and prices depend on their location with respect to tourist zones.

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In terms of prices Palawan is not particularly different from Boracay, the prices in stores, cafes and restaurants are about the same, but the island will be a real find for lovers of fish and seafood. Their variety is amazing: shrimp, lobster, crabs, different types of fish. These dishes are distinguished by the fact that they are prepared only from fresh, not frozen products.

In sum, we can say that each island is interesting and unique in its own way. To determine your choice you have to start from your preferences: if you are interested in partying and a lot of people, then you should definitely go to Boracay, and if you give preference to a quieter holiday, then the advantage here on the side of Palawan.


I advise you to opt for Palawan, which is one of the top 15 best islands in the world. Against Boracay I have nothing, but considering that it is a very popular and hyped place at the height of the tourist season on the island of places where there is no room to fall, and the prices reach critical marks. And what is the point of paying a lot of money to feel far from the most comfortable conditions.

The situation is different on Palawan. It is the third largest Philippine island and is gradually becoming more and more popular among tourists, but while the flow of tourists as tourists on Boracay here is not. Undeniable plus of the island is its safety. All tourists who go to the Philippines know that this is not the safest country, but Palawan is considered the safest island in the region. Also, the island does not conceal a large number of natural hazards, there are no volcanoes, earthquakes are extremely rare, and typhoons almost always bypass this place.

At the moment Palawan is a territory with pristine, unspoiled nature, and this in turn can not but cause interest in tourism. If you like a luxurious, deserted beaches, which are called the beaches of the Bounty, calm and clear sea, you can not think too much and make your choice in favor of Palawan.

The people of Palawan are more friendly to tourists. Locals do not practice Islam, and Catholicism, which is another plus for European tourists. Sometimes the locals can be intrusive (especially children), but you quickly get used to it. Your entire stay among the locals will be accompanied by smiles and children’s laughter. On Boracay, the local population is more pragmatic and smiles there are not so sincere, but rather feigned. You can get to the desired area of the island for a small money bicycle rickshaws (on other islands, they have not caught on). You can go to nearby islands by canoe, ferry, kayak, boat or speedboat.

It is easy to find a suitable accommodation even in the peak tourist season, which falls in the winter months. The choice of accommodation will depend on your financial solvency. The cheapest accommodation offer modest townhouses, and the most expensive five-star hotels, which operate on an all-inclusive system and have their own beaches. Overnight accommodations with minimal amenities can be found for less than $10 a night, and the more decent options for accommodations with air conditioning, private bathrooms and other amenities start at $30.

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For about $40 a week, you can rent a motorcycle and get around the island on your own, saving time and money on cabs and other forms of transportation.

The food in Palawan is largely exotic and does not always meet European standards. If you want to eat the usual food, you must go to restaurants that offer European cuisine, but usually a single trip to such a restaurant will cost about $ 40-50 dollars for two. In traditional island cafes, which are not characterized by a great variety of dishes and exquisite service, you can eat for less than two or three dollars. This amount will include rice, a small piece of fish (sometimes squid may be offered), fried bananas, eggplant in batter.

No matter how much advice you are given, the final choice is up to you. Sometimes tourists who come to the Philippines, beautiful scenery, beautiful sea and luxurious beaches are of little interest, they want around the clock entertainment. In this case, Palawan is not worth considering, for such a rest, you can safely go to Boracay.


The Philippines is a wonderful place to visit, the only thing that is uncomfortable and tiring is the flight to these paradise islands. The main resorts are the islands of Boracay, Cebu, Palawan, Bohol, Negros and Mindoro. On any of these islands can have a good rest, but most popular is Boracay. It is considered the most “party” resort in the country with a well-developed tourist infrastructure and an abundance of entertainment for young people.

Boracay is a small tropical island, only 7 km long. But what about the beaches here, they are among the top five beaches in the world. The sea here is turquoise and clear, and the sand on the beach is white, like flour and almost no heat, even in hot weather. Picturesque beach scenery with palm trees reminiscent of the advertising “Bounty” and all the necessary tourist infrastructure, hotels, restaurants, clubs and bars are located right on the shore. The prices on this island are bad, it’s not a budget-friendly place. If you have no problems with the budget and you are young people who like entertainment and fun holidays, then feel free to go to Boracay.

If you are interested in a more budget quiet and secluded vacation, then you need to go to the island of Palawan. It is a mini archipelago consisting of one large and numerous small islands. It is the third largest island of the Philippines and the largest province of the state. Even this island is the safest earthquake and typhoons are a rarity, and the island has no volcanoes, but there is a beautiful pristine nature and spoiled little tourist infrastructure. Visitors to Palawan have deserted beaches, warm sea, clear turquoise water, silence, peace, smiling friendly locals and beautiful nature.

The choice of hotels in Palawan is large, but the most budget-friendly are Puerto Princesa and El Nido. The food here is also all right, but lovers of seafood should stay in Puerto Princesa. There are many more places of interest and sightseeing than Boracay. Holidays in Palawan, be sure to visit the underground river Sabang, the beaches of El Nido Island, wildlife sanctuary Kalahuit, coral reef Tubbataha, Tabone Caves, Crown Island, and much more very interesting things.

It is up to you to choose where to vacation in the Philippines, but I would recommend the more picturesque and tranquil island of Palawan.

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