Few outdoor activities can be more fascinating than island hopping if planned properly. In this article, I will cover some tips that will guide you through the maze of the Philippine island hopping and how you and your partner can have a comfortable time doing it. So let's take a trip to the Philippines and check out the possibility of island hopping there. You will enjoy fun diving experiences, delicious meals and pristine coral reefs carpeted with colorful fish and even more.
Philippine island hopping is unparalleled because the Philippines, as an island, is composed of 7,100 islands located in Southeast Asia. What makes Philippine island hopping even more enticing in this island paradise is that it won't cost you an arm and a leg.
If you are a nature lover, you will enjoy every minute of your visit and activities: fine white sandy beaches, excellent and delicious meals and breathtaking scenery. You can also enjoy all kinds of water sports: diving, parasailing, surfing, snorkeling and more.
What would you do with 7,100 islands in a country? Exploring some of them can be an obvious answer if time is on your side. At least that's probably what you could do during your upcoming trip to the Philippines.
Since you have decided to go to the Philippines with island hopping, take a piece of paper and make a plan. Make it real, feasible and flexible. When traveling in foreign territories, make sure you include Plan B in your overall plan because sometimes the ferries run too late, the aircraft may delay, and a number of other unknown factors caused by Mother Nature.
Time is an important factor to consider in your plan. Let's say you want to go to Cebu, a Philippine island hopping province. Upon your arrival from the United States, it is assumed that you are staying at a hotel in Manila, the capital. It takes approx. 45 minutes to get from Manila to Cebu by plane. All things considered, when you arrive in Cebu City, Cebu, you may want to rest a little and begin your island-hopping journey the next day. In all likelihood, you need a day or even more to move from one island to the next.
On your trip, use domestic flights, small boat, known as bancas for a short trip, roro boats and ferries for longer if needed. On land, you may need to take public transport, such as buses, taxis and vehicle hire, or rent a private car with driver at very reasonable cost. There will be plenty of food and drink to meet your needs almost everywhere. These should not be a major concern for you. Make sure you only bring your own drinking water or drink water from sealed water bottles.
You can plan to island-hop the following destinations while in Cebu City: Bohol, Mactan Island, Negros Oriental, Leyte, Siquijor and even more. For the sake of argument, among these five islands, I'll show you how to only island-hop Bohol and Leyte. You can easily do the others based on the first two by applying the same procedure and principles.
Let's move on. Be sure to check out the Philippine Holidays calendar as these can cushion your trip. You have to travel very easily. Wear comfortable clothing and waterproof shoes. You should have a lightweight backpack and a waterproof camera if you have them. Don't rely on ATMs or banks; Therefore, you should carry cash or Philippine currency.
On average, you will need approximately 1100 Philippine currency or pesos or $ 26 per day. Day on island hopping or more and it should cover transportation, food and sundries.
From Manila, the capital
You need to buy a two-way plane ticket in Manila at Ninoy International Airport. From Manila, take a domestic flight to Cebu International Airport, located in Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu. You can choose from hotels in Lapu-Lapu City. The flight from Manila to Cebu Mactan International Airport in Lapu-Lapu City takes approx. 45 minutes.
Once in Cebu, the first thing you need to do is gather all the information about ferry schedules: fare, date / time of departure and return to your destinations. You must also make a reservation at the hotel in advance if you plan to spend the night in one place. Ask the front desk receptionist about the information you are looking for.
You have to decide if you want to spend a night in each destination. This is the best way to synchronize your island hopping itinerary. Basically, you may need to spend at least 4 or 5 nights in Cebu if you want to visit 3 or 4 nearby islands, provided you do not stay overnight in any of them.
The first island you might want to visit is Bohol. So from Cebu City you take a ferry. At the hotel reception you can ask the clerk how to travel to Bohol by ferry. With this information, the taxi driver will take you to the right pier for your ferry destination, which is Bohol. Get a two-way ticket. Make sure you check the time and date of your return trip.
You can decide to explore Bohol by bus or by private car or with a guide. It's up to you. Once you're done with Bohol, you can now decide to move on to Leyte on the same day, probably in the early evening. Check the ferry map from Bohol to Leyte to make sure your island hopping continues as planned.
From Bohol, buy a two-way ticket from Supper Shuttle Ubay (Bohol) to Bato (Leyte). Check your ferry tickets to make sure you are on time when you return. From Bato, Leyte, you can rent a travel guide or a private car with a driver to take you to some notable tourist areas; this is also an option. Nevertheless, a travel guide should be the way to go. Because you arrive sometime in the early evening in Leyte, you will have to spend the night there. You will find plenty of hotel stays and restaurants to choose from.
You have almost all day to explore Leyte. Ask the front desk receptionist for information on tours: city tours, boat trips and the like. If you decide to go for water sports, you can rent a small boat or board a passenger boat (a banca) for a ride. If you're in the mood for a dive, board a dive boat. In this case, you could rent a snorkel and a mask and other appliances right on the beach. Before you do, find out if these equipment comes with a dive trip as a package.
If you like diving, you can also love the scenery of pristine coral reef carpeted with colorful fish. Maybe after your pleasant and exciting dive, you should be ready to hop on a ferry on your way back to Cebu. Review your ferry schedule. If you have a little more time before traveling to Manila, you may be able to do some more island hopping in Siquijor, Mactan Island and Negros Oriental. Happy island hopping in the Philippines!