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Itinerary Advice & Questions

Vancouver Island...
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Itinerary Advice & Questions
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Hi Guys,

Just starting to think about planning. We have our tickets booked and that is about it. Trip style is budget/backpacking. I have a few questions re: itinerary..

This is our rough draft:

November 13th- Land 1130 Manilla

November 14th- Manilla/Overnight Bus to Banaue

November 15th -Batad

November 16th- Batad

November 17th - Sagada

November 18th - Sagada

November 19th - Sagada

November 20th- Overnight to Manilla

November 21 - Fly to Coron/Coron

November 22 - Coron

November 23 - Coron

November 24 - Boat to El Nido

November 25 - El Nido

November 26 - El Nido

November 27 - El Nido

November 28th - Early shuttle to PP, late flight to Cebu, Overnight Cebu (late arrival)

November 29- Malapascua

November 30th - Malapascua

December 1 - Malapascua

December 2/3/4 - ????

December 5th - Fly To Manila

December 6th - Fly Home

1.We arrive in Manila at 1130, and will take the 2200 bus the next day to Banaue. I want to stay somewhere that’s not too far from the Ohayami Bus station, but also a decent area of Manilla to tour around. Ohayami is in Sampaloc, which I don’t think is really a recommended place to stay, but is it easy enough to get to? Likely we will have to go twice - once to get tickets, a second time to board.

2. For the Sagada/Batad portion we will have nearly four full days in Sagada as the night bus leaves late. Is four days a good amount of time? Should we plan a night in Banaue on arrival or departure, or take the night to another part of the trip all together?

2. I gather that the boat from Coron to El Nido isn't exactly recommended. I'm not really sure what yet to do about this. I'm not willing to add another flight back to Manilla to PP. I guess I'll decide closer to the dates - maybe a safer boat company will pop up. This isn't really a question but if anyone has thoughts... Back up plan is to fly in and out of PP.

4. For the Cebu portion of our trip I am a little stumped. There are SO many places to go. I don't think I'm into Bohol. My boyfriend dives, I snorkel and beach bum. We both like to natural scenery, walks/hikes. We like to eat and drink and wander. Any thoughts on what else would be convient knowing we want to go to Malapascua? Bantayan looks maybe a bit boring and doesn't have a lot more to offer than Malapascua, but maybe I'm missing something. What about Camotes? Or we could spend some time on Cebu? I'm really not sure.

Any thoughts anyone has or foreseeable problems with our itinerary would be great. Is it a reasonable amount of places to visit, I hope we haven't over done it.

Thanks!

Melbourne, Australia
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for Philippines, Kuala Lumpur
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1. Re: Itinerary Advice & Questions
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You could fill the gap with either Camotes, Siquijor or Alona Beach Bohol. Bohol in general has a lot to offer including what you are looking for <<<I snorkel and beach bum. We both like to natural scenery, walks/hikes>>.

Tommo

Vancouver Island...
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My concern with Bohol is it seems a bit gimicky and touristy- Tarsiers, Chocolate Hills, Alona Beach - I think I would be just fine to miss it. But if there's more to it, and less busy places, I'd be open to going there!

Melbourne, Australia
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These itineraries are always a tradeoff between experiencing many places and not having infinite days in which to do so, but I pose the question 'is the itinerary just a little bit "busy"?'

The Coron stay could easily be lengthened by a day. Try to stay offshore if you can although the alternative of hiring a bangka (boat) with crew from the public pier is a good one.

Like tommomelbourne, I enjoyed Camotes (I visited in January 2015.) The island is unspoilt and there is no mass tourism. It lacks the serene waters offshore from Bantayan and Malapascua Islands but is 'different' from Malapascua, and the two hour ferry trip each way is fun (in good weather of course.) The ferry is cheap and I found it reliable, although it was late on the return. You can do an excellent day tour covering two of teh three Camotes Islands (the third island is allegedly rarely visited with locals suggesting to me it had nothing of interest. I added some new attractions after my trip but TA has declined to list newly developed, but small, Paraiso Cave so bear that in mind. Santiago Bay is beautiful.

Anda on Bohol is a less frequented destination but it may be a bit far for you from the Tagbiliran City airport.

Edited: 6 years ago
Melbourne, Australia
Destination Expert
for Philippines
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12 437 posts
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I should have said above re Camotes 'apart from Santiago Bay, it lacks....' Apologies.

Vancouver Island...
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Thanks for your reply! I really don't want to feel overwhelmed or like I spent 1/3 of my trip on transit. Is there something you'd cut out? Having recently travelled to Guatemala, everything took so much longer than estimated.. ie 7 hour bus trip became 11 very quickly when it was late and made excessive pit stops. I am getting the feeling like that kind of thing wouldn't be uncommon in the philippines either.

Oslo, Norway
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I think you have way too much on your agenda, any hiccup along the way will mess things up big time, including flights etc. etc. And, November is rainy season as well still.

Vancouver Island...
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It would be helpful if you could suggest where you think the problem is or what you would remove.

Oslo, Norway
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IF that is for me, I am not saying there is a problem, I am speaking from experience. Stop and smell the roses. Why put so much into your trip. Why not hang out and meet people, see things, relax. The more one puts into a trip, the less they really ever see. ALSO, as noted, November is rainy. What is our plan B if boats dont cross, planes dont fly or roads are not advised for travelling. Add in some bumper time, anywhere you want.for adjustments. Flights are non refundable is the rule of thumb. As an aside, Sagada can be nice in November.

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Vancouver Island...
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Thanks John. I haven't booked domestic flights. I did see that el nido to Cebu portion as iffy I'll have to plan for a night in PP! We might just skip Coron.

And Oslo, you're advice is a bit pompous and incredibly unhelpful for a trip advisor forum. If you have nothing to add here, you don't need to post to stop and advise me to smell the roses and hang out with people. Given that it's 3.5 weeks, 5ish places isn't as overboard as you're making it out to be.

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