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7 Best Places in the Philippines for Solo Travelers

by Annicca Albano
July 30, 2019

There comes a moment in the life of the well-traveled when they start to realize that exploring the world alone isn’t so bad—especially in islands and cities which are so full of life that splendid views, newfangled cuisine, and their own thoughts are enough to keep them company.

For some, it’s actually the best and maybe even the only option! When you're traveling solo, you can go at your own pace and be more open to trying new experiences and meeting wonderful people who make being alone less lonely. And if you find that it isn’t for you, you'll still have a special memory to look back on.

Whether you're wondering where to go alone first or thinking of wandering familiar places with just yourself this time, these stories and snapshots from solo travelers will inspire you to take the leap!

1. Batanes

IMAGE: Xzarriane Lim

“I often travel around the Philippines for work and leisure. And if someone asks me now what's my favorite place, I will definitely answer Batanes. It has the most breathtaking views I've ever seen so far. And it's not just the stunning scenery that makes this place so special—it's the peace-loving people you'll meet when you visit this province. In fact, it's considered to be the safest place to visit in the country, boasting of a zero crime rate (the unmanned Honesty Cafe is living proof!). That's why if you're planning to do your solo backpacking trip or even as a group, I would highly recommend this place! Whether you're broken-hearted or not, you may come here to find peace and serenity from all the noise and negativity inside your mind. Traveling here may put a dent in your wallet, but it will leave you breathless the moment you see it for the first time and even on your next visit.” —Xzarriane Lim

If you’re coming from Manila, book a flight to Basco via SkyJet Airlines or Cebu Pacific Air. You can also fly Philippine Airlines from Clark.

2. Siargao

IMAGE: Vinzon Toribio

“Siargao is my favorite island in the Philippines. There are so many things to do and for some reason, the people here feel nicer. Some people think it’s just for surfers, but that’s not exactly true. There’s more to this island than just surfing! Even if you’re traveling alone or with a group, I can guarantee you’re going to enjoy yourself in this island.

I love staying in hostels like Avocado Hostel and Harana—just give yourself two hours and you’ll almost immediately find a friend from a different corner of the Philippines or the world. My best road trips are here in Siargao—riding a scooter to discover everything the place has to offer. Here you can swim in clear, natural pools; visit the pure, pristine Naked island; climb coconut trees and play basketball in Guyam Island; head to the beaches like Pacifico Beach; dive or paddleboard on the waters of Sugba Lagoon; and join the night parties where everyone is. Don’t miss your chance to go surfing! The island has the best waves for pros and beginners. And while you’re there, take lots of photos. Siargao is very beautiful and you can always find a good spot for a shoot.” —Vinzon Toribio

Several local air carriers fly daily to Siargao from Manila, Clark, and Cebu. From Sayak Airport in Del Carmen, head to General Luna by van where Cloud 9, Quicksilver, and other surfing camps and tourist spots are located.

Discover the best sights and attractions on the island with our Siargao Travel Guide.

3. Burias Group of Islands

IMAGE: Mara Mercado

“Burias lets you live out your island girl dreams, as it definitely did with mine! If you simply want to laze around and just swim, Sombrero Island will be more than enough. If you want a change of scenery and see what the rest of the area has to offer, go island hopping. One thing’s for sure though, if you’re looking to go off the grid without reception to enjoy crystal clear waters as far as your eyes can see, this is the place to be.

For adrenaline junkies, Templo Island is not one to miss! Those brave enough can cliff jump 20ft into the cerulean blue waters, while those afraid of heights need not worry as this island also boasts the title ‘Little Batanes of Bicol’, wherein parts of the island makes you feel like you’ve been transported to the Vayang Rolling Hills of Basco. Another go-to destination is the Tinalisayan Sandbar—its soft white sand can only be seen during low tides, so it's best to ask your boat crew what the best time is to visit this spot! Go easy on your wallet and opt for a joiner tour to meet new people, have an accredited tour guide, and worry less about boat rentals and food that are typically folded into the tour fees. Don’t forget to bring your action camera, waterproof bags, and make sure you also have protective footwear (some islands here are made of limestone, so going barefoot would really hurt!).” —Mara Mercado

• The most economical way to get to Burias is by taking an 8- to 9-hour air-conditioned bus ride from Cubao and Naga Bus Terminal in Camarines Sur, and another hour on a van en route to Pasacao. From the port near the van terminal, ride a passenger boat bound for San Pascual where Burias is.
• Alternatively, you can cut travel time by booking a flight from Manila to Naga Airport.

4. Panay

IMAGE: Jofer Asilum

“Tucked in Western Visayas region, Panay is a sanctuary of culture and history—colonial and modern alike—and a haven of well-preserved natural wonders. It is perfect for travelers like myself who want to taste a bit of everything when touring the Philippines. Iloilo reflects the country’s architecture and urban planning wonders; Antique welcomes people to its paradise of lush forests, jaw-dropping mountains, and enticing rivers; Aklan gives you the best white sand beach in the world; while Capiz is a culinary fantasyland for seafood lovers. If you’re an enthusiast for laid-back and extreme types of fun, Panay won’t disappoint.

Going around these provinces is actually easy with the number of roads and seaport networks available. Commuting then is a piece of cake! Plus, the locals are so warm. It’s easy to ask for help if you’re confused with directions. If you’ve been staying in Metro Manila for a while, one can easily observe the homey and welcoming feel here.” —Jofer Asilum

From Manila, you can fly to the main airports in Iloilo and Caticlan and make those your jumping-off points. Caticlan, Kalibo, Roxas, Iloilo, and Dumangas have ports where you can reach a host of islands via boat.

Get ideas on what to see, eat, and do in Panay with the help of our Boracay Travel Guide and Iloilo Travel Guide.

5. Port Barton

IMAGE: Kent Cantos

“A small town located in San Vicente, Palawan; Port Barton offers picture-perfect scenery and authentic island living. The beach felt underrated—giving an ambiance of peace and serenity, which are exactly what I needed as a solo traveler escaping the busyness of the city life. Although the place offers different activities such as island hopping tours and treks to beautiful waterfalls, I preferred to just chill during my entire stay and befriend locals and tourists.” —Kent Cantos

• You can fly directly to San Vicente from Manila or Clark. As of the moment, only SkyJet Airlines and Philippine Airlines are offering direct flights.
• Another affordable and more common option is to fly to Puerto Princesa and take a 3- to 4-hour van ride to San Vicente’s poblacion.

6. Bantayan Island

IMAGE: Cara Tang

“My budget-friendly trip to Bantayan Island was a very long but equally worthwhile journey away from the craziness of city life to take a step back and commune with the sun, sand, and sea. Completely unspoiled with no major establishments or commercialization whatsoever, it is the perfect getaway to reconnect with nature and with oneself. The ultra-clear, pristine beauty of the waters along the shoreline of Sante Fe is still unforgettable for me up to this day. People think of Bantayan as a place for lovers but for solo travelers it could be just as much of a rejuvenating awe-inspiring me-time experience. You cannot miss Paradise Beach when you’re in the area! Visit this hidden gem at around 9-10AM (or earlier) to have the entire white powdery stretch of the sea all to yourself.” —Cara Tang

From Mactan Airport, ride a bus or cab to the North Bus Terminal and board a bus bound for Hagnaya Port. A ferry will take you to Santa Fe Port and drop you off near the Tourism Office where you will have to pay the Ecological Fee before heading to your resort via tricycle or pre-arranged shuttle service.

Adding Bantayan in your Cebu itinerary? See what else you can do in the Queen City of the South in this exclusive Travel Guide.

7. El Nido

IMAGE: Johanna L. Añes – de la Cruz

“El Nido, Palawan is one of those destinations perfect for all kinds of travelers, and those opting to travel solo will find a plethora of activities that are fun, memorable, and meaningful.

El Nido is home to about 45 islands with Palawan’s signature imposing limestone cliffs looming over an endless expanse of turquoise waters. With the sheer number of islands that are not overrun by tourists, you will never run out of beaches you could claim as your own. Choose your own strip of powdery white sand and spend a day (or days!) just contemplating the majesty of nature. Being in one of the most beautiful places in the world alone could help you better relish nature’s splendor!

This once-sleepy town has also become an emerging foodie destination. Among the most beloved restaurants are Tambok’s for sumptuous Filipino food, Trattoria Altrove for the best pizza in El Nido, Shaka for healthy eats, and Misto at Seda Lio for delectable buffets.” —Johanna L. Añes – de la Cruz

• Although costly, the fastest way to get to El Nido is via AirSwift, which flies direct from Manila to El Nido daily.
• Alternatively, you book a cheaper flight from Manila to Puerto Princesa. From here, take a 6-hour bus or van ride (via Cherry bus, tour agencies, or pre-arranged transfers with your hotel) from the capital city to the El Nido town proper.
• If you are coming from Coron, you can hop aboard a high-speed ferry via Montenegro Lines from the port to El Nido Ferry Terminal. The ride takes about 3.5 to 4 hours, depending on the weather and the boat.

Take a peek at the must-dos and must-visits in this side of Palawan with our suggested 3-Day El Nido Itinerary!

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About Annicca
Always the designated trip planner but never the navigator, Annicca loves crafting travel itineraries with a mix of city, island, and cultural exploration. At age 21, she authored an ethnography on spoken word poetry in the Philippines, the first of its kind in the country. Follow her Instagram @anniccalbn to know her whereabouts.

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