From the pristine beaches of Puerto Princesa to the hidden caves of Sagada, the Philippines has so much to offer. So get out your sturdiest haversack and lace up your boots because adventure awaits!
Did you know that the entire landmass of the Philippines is made up of 7,500 islands? This makes it one of the largest archipelagos in the world (second only to Indonesia and Malaysia combined!). Out of those islands, only 2,000 of them are inhabited — leaving nearly 5,000 unnamed on global maps. As the first country in Southeast Asia to gain independence after World War II, there is so much to see, explore and learn about in the Philippines. So if you’re looking for a place to spend your long weekends or school holidays, the Philippines should be at the top of your list. While we are gearing this guide towards solo-backpacking the Philippines in 10 days, it can definitely be used as an itinerary for couples and families as well. Scroll down for the full deets!
💜 Stay Up To Date:
– Ultimate Guide to VTF Travel From Singapore
– Singapore Vaccinated Travel Framework Updates: What You Need to Know
🇵🇭 Solo-Backpacking The Philippines: Entry Requirements & Pre-Departure Tests
Disclaimer: These requirements are true as of 1 April 2022 according to the Philippine Embassy of Singapore but may be subject to change. Keep tabs on this page for more updates.
|Entry Requirements For Fully-Vaccinated Travellers|
|When Entering The Philippines||✅ Make sure your passport has a validity of at least six months|
✅ You need to have:
👉 A return ticket or an outbound ticket to your next destination at the point of arrival
👉 Proof of vaccination
👉 Negative PCR test (48 hours before departure) or supervised ART (24 hours before departure)
* No testing required for those who have had their booster dose on top of being fully-vaccinated
👉 Travel insurance (minimum coverage of US$35,000)
👉 Filled out the OneHealthPass Health Declaration Form (three days prior to departure)
-> You will need to update it on the day of travel with your flight and seat number
|When Returning to Singapore||✅ Fill up your SG Arrival Card (online)|
🇵🇭 Solo-Backpacking The Philippines: Flight Costs
To note: We’ll be using the dates of 12 to 21 May as a gauge for this trip. Our guide will include landing in Manila and returning to Singapore from Cebu. For airlines that did not have morning flights departing on 12 May, we’ve replaced them with the latest slot available on 11 May, and for airlines that did not have night flights departing on 21 May, we’ve replaced them with the earliest slot available on 22 May instead to help you maximise your time in the Philippines.
|Total Flight Cost Per Person|
|Philippine Airlines||From US$326.40 (~S$445.90)|
|Singapore Airlines||From S$747.70|
🇵🇭 Solo-Backpacking The Philippines: Food Checklist
The Philippines is a haven for all kinds of snacks and delectable delicacies, but it’s especially known for the mouth-watering street fare! Here’s a checklist that you can take with you when out and about at Divisoria Market, Quiapo Filipino Market, or any of the countless night markets of Puerto Princesa.
Must-Try Delicacies in The Philippines:
🍗 Sizzling Pork Sisig: a dish made with various parts of the pig, chicken liver, calamansi, onions, chilli peppers, and topped with a fried egg
🍗 Chicken Adobo: marinated chicken in soya sauce and vinegar
🍗 Cebu’s Boneless Lechon: roasted pork with crispy skin served with sauce
🍗 For The Extra Brave: Balut
Wish to get a taste in Singapore before solo-backing in the Philippines?
👉🏻 Gerry’s Restaurant & Bar: Authentic Filipino Food To Order In Singapore, Somerset
👉🏻 8 Best Filipino Restaurants in Singapore For Authentic Pinoy Food
🇵🇭 Solo-Backpacking The Philippines: Data Plans
Instead of purchasing a travel sim card, why not just use your current telco’s data roaming plans? Here are some convenient ways to stay connected when away solo-backpacking the Philippines.
|Singtel ReadyRoam||S$12 for 1GB||30 Days|
|StarHub DataTravel||S$15 for 2GB||30 Days|
|M1 Data Passport||S$30 for 10 GB||30 Days|
|TPG SIMBA SuperRoam||S$25 for 80 GB||30 Days|
|Circles.Life GoRoam APAC||S$8 for 1GB|
S$16 for 2GB
S$40 for 5GB
🇵🇭 Solo-Backpacking The Philippines: Getting Around
Due to the many islands that make up the Philippines, expect to take quite a few flights during your stay here. Fortunately, island to island flights are quite affordable and will cost you anywhere between ₱499 to ₱999 (from S$13.10 to $26.30). Bangkas, or ferries, are also a relatively cheap alternative for getting to the various islands, with prices ranging from ₱750 to ₱1,150 (from S$19.70 to S$30.20).
To get around the cities, expect to take the iconic jeepneys or minibuses that will cost you about ₱8 (~S$0.20) per ride.
🇵🇭 Solo-Backpacking The Philippines: The Travel Itinerary
🌴 Day One to Two
Mount Pulag is Luzon’s highest peak at 2,928m and sits high above sea level as the third-highest mountain in the Philippines. Just note that you won’t be able to hike up this mountain unguided, so we recommend joining a group for an easy hike up to see first-hand the mountain’s famous sea of clouds.
Pro-tip: Come at dawn to witness the spectacular view of the milky way!
Image credits: Bamboo Bikes
There’s no better way to explore Manila’s Intramuros, Latin for “inside the walls”, than on incredibly aesthetic bamboo bicycles! On this tour, you’ll get to visit popular and must-see sites such as Fort Santiago, Plaza Roma, and the Puerta del Parian gate. Plus, you’ll be fed with a ton of Filipino delicacies (and probably get recommendations to all the good food haunts in the city!)
Price: From S$52.50
Length: 2 hours 30 minutes
🌴 Day Three To Six
Image Credit: Mountainprovince.org
From Manila, take a four-hour ride to Sagada — home of caves and waterfalls in the region. It is also a great way to escape the hustle and bustle of the city for some quiet solitude. There are lots to do and explore there, from hiking trails to scenic descents.
First up is a visit to Crystal Cave, which will have you climbing through waterfalls, abseiling from heights, and squeezing through tight spaces before you enter a chamber of crystal formations.
Pro-tip: If you’re in the mood for more and have some time on your hands, check out Sumaguing Cave and Cave Connection while you’re there!
Cost: From ₱2,500 (~S$65.70)
Image credits: Spot.ph
El Nido is one of the most popular backpacking spots in the Philippines. From party-ready beaches to snorkelling and diving options, the world is your oyster. While you’re here, we recommend climbing the Taraw Peak!
To get here, you will need to take a three-hour taxi ride to Tuguegarao where you will need to catch a flight to El Nido (4 h 25 min).
Travel cost: From S$157
Image credits: Asia Tours
The last of this leg of the trip is a trip to Puerto Princesa, a coastal city on the famous Palawan Island stretch in the western part of the Philippines. Use this spot as a base camp for all your explorations through Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park. Snorkellers and divers will be thrilled to know that Puerto Princesa Bay is home to a ton of marine life including the long-nosed dolphins, turtles and rays.
Travel cost: From ₱650 (~S17.50) for a minivan from El Nido to Puerto Princesa via minivan
🌴 Day Seven to Ten
Image credits: Hotels.com
Of course, the trip to the Philippines would not be complete without a visit to the notorious party stretch! Get your swimsuits and sunnies ready for a day of sprawling on the pristine white-sand beaches. Adrenaline junkies should check out Ariel’s Point, where you’ll be able to snorkel, kayak, and cliff dive!
To get to Boracay, you will need to fly to Cebu before hopping on a ferry to Boracay Islands, which will take just over three and a half hours
Travel cost: From S$35
Known as the cradle of Christianity in the Philippines, Cebu is home to some of the most spectacular and historic churches in the country. Its archdiocese is also considered the largest in the country while the miraculous image of the Sto. Niño, a gift that Ferdinand Magellan gave to the first Filipino Catholics, is the oldest religious icon.
Cebu is also doused in rich history, as the first island of the Philippines to be colonised by the Spanish in the 16th century — so a trip around the city by foot or by bus is a great way to learn more about its heritage, and a perfect way to wind down for your trip back home. Must-visits include Fort San Pedro, Yap Sandiego Ancestral House, Colon Street (the oldest street in the Philippines), and Lapu-Lapu Shrine
However, when in Cebu, you must visit the Kawasan Falls, a spectacle of three grand waterfalls, located inside the mountains of Barangay Matutinao, Badian, 130km southwest of Cebu City. It will take you about three hours to get there by bus. Expect an uphill climb and an interval of about 15 minutes to get to each waterfall. Be sure to pack along your swimsuit or a change of clothes as you will definitely want to dive right in!
To get here, you will need to hop a flight to Mactan, Cebu, from Puerto Princesa.
Travel Cost: From S$26
Have A Blast Solo-backpacking The Philippines With YouTrip!
Now that travel is opening up worldwide, and you’ve got all the know-how on how to navigate your way through the islands, you are ready for your solo adventures to the Philippines! Before you go, don’t forget to pack along your YouTrip card to enjoy Wholesale Exchange Rates with zero bank fees when booking your trip and when travelling around.
If you don’t have a YouTrip card yet, use <BLOG5> during your sign-up to enjoy a free S$5 in your account!
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Stay safe, and happy travels!
*All currency conversion rates are accurate to the nearest 10 cents on 21 April 2022 SGT 9 PM. Bank card prices are calculated based on 3.25% foreign currency transaction fee.