Best Places to Stay in Philippines → 6 Best Islands

I hope you’re ready to embark on one of the coolest adventures of your life! Get ready to scuba dive all day, to see some of the most beautiful coral reefs, and to chill under a palm tree on the beaches until the sun goes down! This is how we do it in the Philippines, a famous country made out of 7 641 islands, and only 2 000 are inhabited!

In this post I will mainly talk about the islands, and if you want to stay on more than one island you should know that generally the best way to get around is by plane. You can use boats for short distances but often they can’t circulate if there’s a storm. So I highly recommend choosing one spot and booking a hotel for a longer time!

Whether you’re backpacking around the Philippines or relaxing in a 5-star beach resort, there will always be something new to discover on the beaches of this country. Who knows, maybe you’ll be lucky enough to find something like the largest pearl in the world! I’m not making this up – a Filipino diver did discover that in the Palawan Sea! Now let’s see which are the best places to stay in the Philippines.

I’ve made a list of the top luxury resorts, mid-range hotels, and hostels that will offer you an incredible time. Do make sure you book super in advance, it’s definitely not a good idea to book your hotel in the Philippines at the last minute or when you get to the island.

As a lot of the country isn’t quite up to the standards of more developed hotels, there’s not that many hotels to choose from if you are looking for something with modern facilities. If you book last minute you’ll risk paying a huge amount of money for something that’s not worth even half of that!

Let’s go, the beaches and reefs are calling us!

If you are in a hurry

If you want to book right now then there’s no reason to wait, quickly browse this list with the best hotels all located on Cebu Island

luxury hotel

Crimson Resort & Spa

Best luxury hotel

airbnb

Bright Villa

An Airbnb with amazing reviews

mid-range hotel

Costabella Tropical Beach

Best value for money

budget hotel

Ocean View

Best affordable accommodation in the center

Here’s a map with all the islands for where to stay in the Philippines that I will be talking about in this post:

Palawan
for luxury
Boracay Island
for nightlife
Siargao Island
for surfing
Bohol Island
for families

1. Cebu Island – where to stay in the Philippines for the first time

Are you ready to live your dream life on the white sands of Cebu island? Welcome to paradise my friend, we’ve been waiting for you! I hope you like an adventure because this island located in the south-central Philippines knows how to show its travelers a good time!

I highly recommend staying on Cebu Island if you’re visiting for the first time, especially if you’re backpacking around the Philippines. You’re probably going to fly into Mactan Cebu Airport, so you won’t even need to pass through Manilla, the capital city, to get to Cebu City (but if you are, check #2 here for where to stay).

Although you can explore Cebu City, the urban side of the island, I highly recommend going to Moalboal, located on the south-western side of Cebu Island. It’s a stunning area, filled with a wide range of shops, restaurants, and cafes, right on the water! Make sure you book your hotel on Cebu Island in advance, although they offer a wide range of places to stay, I’m sure you’ll want to get the best deal and prices!

And guess what? You can swim with sardines here! No, not just 10-20 sad sardines, there are thousands of them ready to have a party with you under the sea! Sometimes some turtles come to the party as well!

Oslob is another popular place in Cebu where travelers go swimming with whale sharks. Some people find it unethical due to the regular feeding and number of people in the water at one time so if you prefer a more natural (although not guaranteed) encounter, go to Donsol on Luzon Island.

Suppose you’re done (for now) with the underwater adventure, I would make sure I visit the islands off the north of Cebu, like Bantayan Island, which have the most beautiful white-sand beaches and blue water, they are more off-the-beaten-path, but so worth it!

Luxury hotel

Hello, paradise! This luxurious beachfront resort offers guests access to a private beach. Soak up under the sun and enjoy a stunning sunset by the infinity swimming pool. If you want, you can spend some relaxing time at the spa or take a yoga class to unwind after all that walking around the island!

Other accommodation options in Cebu Island

Mid-Range

Have a romantic dinner on the private beach of this resort that has a spa and spacious rooms

Budget

A beachfront hotel perfect for budget travelers that has family rooms and offers guests bicycle rental services

Airbnb

Chill in the tropical garden of this villa, that has free wifi, or sunbathe near the swimming pool all-day

Things to do in Cebu Island

  • Visit Moalboal and go diving with the sardines
  • Cool off after the long walks in the Cambais Falls or Kawasan Falls
  • Go hiking on Pico Osmeña mountain and admire the best views
  • Try snorkeling at Dalaguete Beach Park
  • Learn more things about the local culture at the historic Monastery of the Holy Eucharist
  • Eat some delicious seafood at Larsian in Cebu City
  • Sunbathing on the white beaches of Bantayan Island in Philippines

2. Palawan – best place to stay in Philippines for luxury

The province of Palawan is an archipelagic province located on the western side of the Philippines. Its capital city is called Puerto Princesa and as you probably guessed, it’s a port, which makes it perfect for island hopping! To make it even better, Palawan Island is also a top destination for anyone looking for luxury hotels and resorts to stay in the Philippines.

El Nido, located in Palawan Island’s northern part, is one of the most famous places here. It’s filled with beautiful lagoons, white-sand beaches, and limestone cliffs! And if you’re looking for a unique and luxurious stay in El Nido, check the bonus section of this post!

Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is one of the biggest attractions on Palawan Island and it contains one of the most impressive cave systems in the world! This is certainly something not to miss!

When you plan your trip around Palawan, make sure to include a visit to Coron, an island that’s located just a ferry ride away from Puerto Princesa. Many people who come to Palawan take a short trip to Coron to discover some of the most amazing shipwrecks from WWII. If you’re an advanced diver, I actually recommend you spend a few nights there as it is one of the most well-known spots for shipwreck diving in Asia. Check out this post with the best places to stay in Coron.

But for now, here are the best places to stay in Palawan:

Luxury hotel

All I want to do is sip some cocktails by the infinity pool of this awesome resort that offers guests access to a private beach! And let’s not forget about the spa center because you’ll definitely need some relaxing time after all that exploring around the island. The resort has family rooms and a restaurant on site.

Other accommodation options in Palawan

Mid-Range

Swim all day and night in the infinity pool of this hotel that has a restaurant, a bar, and modern rooms

Budget

One of the best budget accommodations, this unique villa that’s located near the beach boasts stunning views

Airbnb

Enjoy your tropical island trip and stay in this beachfront villa that has a backyard, a nice room, and free parking

Things to do in Palawan

  • Explore the white sand beaches and limestone cliffs in El Nido
  • Try ziplining over the sea with Sabang X Zipline
  • Have a drink and enjoy the good life on Las Cabañas Beach
  • Go swimming at the Nagkalit-kalit Waterfalls in the Philippines
  • Take a trip to Coron and try shipwreck diving
  • See one of the best cave systems in the world at Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park

3. Boracay Island – best place for nightlife

Located in the Western Visayas region of the Philippines and 200 miles (315 km) away from Manilla, this island is known for its beaches, a wide range of water sports like surfing, and most importantly, its very exciting nightlife! Boracay Island is a paradise for anyone who wants to experience the Philippines Islands both during the day and after the sun goes down!

You’ll probably fly into Manila and then get on another flight to Caticlan (also known as Boracay Airport). Then, after you get to Caticlan, you only need to get to the Caticlan Jetty Port (just a 6-minute walk away from the airport), and finally, get a boat or ferry to Boracay Island! Voila! You have arrived at last!

Hello, paradise! The soft White Beach will be waiting for you to start your next adventure. The beach is super famous among those who love water sports. But so are Puka Shell Beach and Bulabog Beach, where you can try kitesurfing or windsurfing.

There are many luxury hotels and cheaper places to stay on Boracay Island, but I’m sure you won’t be sleeping as much! This place is known as the party island, with tons of local cool clubs like Epic Boracay and Paraw Beach Club, therefore I’m sure you won’t experience a single dull moment on Boracay Island!

Luxury hotel

Can I just move here? Drink your morning coffee on the balcony of your spacious room that has sea views! Tucked away between the hills, the resort offers guests access to a private beach. Head for a relaxing time at the spa or by the outdoor pool and have some seafood at the restaurant.

Other accommodation options in Boracay Island

Mid-Range

Have coffee with a view of the sea and relax in the spa of this beachfront villa that has a restaurant and bar

Budget

Sleep like a baby after a night out in the air-conditioned rooms of this budget resort that has a restaurant

Airbnb

Such a stylish apartment that offers a spacious balcony, a lounge area with a kitchenette, and a nice room

Things to do in Boracay Island

  • Sunbathe on the White Beach
  • Enjoy the nightlife on Boracay Island at Epic Boracay
  • Try something new and learn kitesurfing or windsurfing
  • Attend a beach party at PubCrawl
  • Learn new things about the farming culture in Asia at the Motag Living Museum
  • Eat some seafood at The Pig Out Bistro, one of the best local restaurants
  • Take a diving course with Freedive Boracay

4. Siargao Island – where to stay in the Philippines for surfing

Located southeast of the capital city, Manila, Siargao Island is the perfect place to stay in the Philippines islands if you’re backpacking around the country or looking for a stunning place for surfing! You can get to Siargao from Manila by plane in just 1 hour, but if you’re looking for a cheaper option, you can take the ferry. Bear in mind that it will take you more than a day because you’ll have to change the ferries a few times.

This tear-drop-shaped island might not be the biggest out of the islands in the Philippines but is for sure a large paradise for surfers. It was nicknamed the “capital of surfing” in the Philippines, but that’s not its only perk. Siargao is a corner of paradise filled with stunning lagoons, mountains, reefs, and incredible wildlife!

Plus, if you’re backpacking around the islands on your own, this is the best place to make some new friends! The General Luna area is perfect for mingling with all the other surfers because who doesn’t need a drink after a long day? But my favorite spot is for sure the Tayangban Cave Pool, one of the most scenic places on the whole island.

Luxury hotel

Stargaze in the hammock at night in the jungle-like garden and catch the best sunset views near the infinity pool of this luxury hotel that offers a private beach area! You will find your own rain shower in the bathroom of your spacious room that has stunning decor. The resort hotel has a restaurant and a bar on site.

Other accommodation options in Siargao

Mid-Range

Reconnect with nature in this unique Siargao place that offers a private beach area and which has a restaurant

Budget

Chill all day in the hammock of this budget Philippines hotel that has family rooms, a bar, and a private beach area

Airbnb

Live your jungle dream in this cool beach house that’s surrounded by palm trees and has a cozy room

Things to do in Siargao

  • Swim all day long in the Magpupungko Rock Pools and Flats
  • Catch some amazing waves at Cloud 9 Surfing Area
  • Visit the Tayangban Cave Pool, one of the most scenic spots on the island
  • Eat a delicious local meal at Mama’s Grill in Siargao
  • Take a cool pic at the Coconut Trees View Deck
  • Have some family fun at the Siargao Wakepark
  • Learn kitesurfing with the local Seabreeze Kite Club in Siargao
  • Go for drinks at night at Kitya’s Place near General Luna

5. Manila – for a big-city feel (or a transfer)

Welcome to the capital city of the Philippines, a densely populated bayside city located on Luzon Island. Travelers usually fly into this town since it’s the gateway for the other islands in the Philippines. Although you probably won’t spend your entire trip in Manila, if you have the time I recommend stopping by here for 2 or 3 days to explore the Filipino culture.

You’ll find nice places to stay in Manila, and since you have a few days here, you can use this time to plan your trip and decide which beaches, mountains, and islands you want to visit in the remainder of the country. Manilla is famous for its mix of skyscrapers and Spanish colonial buildings, which are definitely worth seeing. Plus, you won’t experience that big-city feel in any of the Philippines islands, maybe in Davao City, but that one has more of a local “small-town atmosphere”.

As any other big city in Asia, Manila is filled with tons of attractions that will give you an insight into the Filipino culture and history, like Fort Santiago, Baluarte de San Diego, and its garden. And if you’re looking for more hotels and hostels to stay in Manila, you can check this post!

Luxury hotel

I love the futuristic design of this luxurious hotel! The ceiling to floor windows offer the guests incredible views of the sea! Enjoy swimming in the pool all day long and head back to your room, which has air conditioning and a stunning view, when you’re too tired. But make sure you get a drink from that awesome bar, you’re on a holiday!

Other accommodation options in Manila

Mid-Range

Enjoy your stay in the Philippines in this lovely hotel that has an outdoor pool, a restaurant, and a bar

Budget

Feel like you’re in a jungle in the awesome garden of this budget hotel that has family rooms and free wifi

Airbnb

This loft has such a cool design, guests will have access to a pool and free parking spaces

Best hotels near the Manila Airport 

Since many people often only spend a night in Manila as a layover before heading to one of the other incredible islands, here is a list of the best hotels near the Manila Airport

  • Luxury ($231 and up)
    Relax after that long flight at the  Sheraton Manila Hotel that’s located less than 1 mile (0.8 km) away from the airport. Swim in the outdoor pool all day long, chill on the loungers there and get into the Philippines mood. The rooms are super spacious and the hotel offers a free airport shuttle.
  • Mid-range ($150- $230)
    Get lots of cocktails from the pool bar at Hilton Manila but not before you eat something from the on-site restaurant that offers international dishes. The hotel is located less than a mile (1 km) away from the airport and it offers an airport shuttle. Some rooms even have a pool view and they are super spacious. 
  • Budget ($40 – $150)
    Feel at home at Skylab213B Bed & Breakfast that offers a common lounge area and a shared kitchen. The inn is located 3 miles (4 km) away from the airport and it also offers car hire. The rooms are cozy and they can fit people who are traveling with the family.
  • Airbnb ($75 and up)
    This Cozy Condo  is perfect for your short stay in Manila! Guests will have access to an outdoor swimming pool and to a backyard. The apartment is located just a 5 minute walk away from the airport.  
5 reasons why you should not skip Manila on your next visit to the Philippines 14

Things to do in Manila

6. Bohol Island – best place to stay in the Philippines for families

This island is definitely my kind of place! Bohol Island is located in the Central Visayas region, a paradise where the jungle and mountains meet the beach. Located an hour and a half away from Manilla by plane, you will arrive at the Bohol-Panglao International Airport.

This green piece of heaven is known for its Chocolate Hills and lush landscapes. Although it could’ve been a tempting idea to have a hill made of chocolate, I’m afraid this is not the case for the ones that you’ll find in Bohol. The Chocolate Hills earned this nickname because the countless large mounds of limestone get that cocoa-brown color during the dry season.

I highly recommend booking your stay in Bohol if you’re traveling with the family. The Philippines hotels on this island are perfect for the kids, and they have good prices. Plus, you will find a wide range of local attractions to visit and some nice beaches.

You should plan your trip here beforehand as the island is quite big and there are many things to see and do! Make sure not to miss the Bilar Man-Made Forest, which is a wonderful spot for a family stroll, but I’m also sure the kids will love the Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary, where they can spot those cute little tarsiers that they’ve might’ve seen in the cartoons or movies!

Luxury hotel

Unwind with a yoga class while the kids are in the children’s playground at this luxury Bohol beach resort! Sunbathe by the pool all day and head to the restaurant for a delicious meal at night. The resort hotel has spacious family rooms and free wi-fi.

Other accommodation options in Bohol Island

Mid-Range

Enjoy your stay in the Philippines in this hotel that has family rooms, a pool and that offers spa activities

Budget

A budget accommodation perfect for people who are backpacking that has a restaurant and a pool

Airbnb

Live your island life in this cool villa that has room for families, a balcony and a backyard

Things to do in Bohol Island

👑 Luxury price:$150
🏨 Mid Range:$70
🛏️ Budget:$30
🏠 Airbnb: $50
💰Accommodation prices:Low
📍Best Area:Cebu Island
🛎️ Best luxury hotel:Crimson Resort & Spa
👛 Best budget hotel:Ocean View

BONUS: The 4 best overwater hotels to stay in the Philippines

Are you getting ready to plan your trip to the Philippines and you’re looking for a super unique place to stay? Well, I’m here to help you find the most stunning overwater Philippines hotels that will make your holiday in this country unforgettable!

1. Pearl Farm Beach Resort 
This stunning place to stay on Samal Island is a tropical, overwater paradise that is tucked away between palm trees and gardens. The beach resort was also built and decorated with local materials making it all the more special! Drink your morning coffee on the little balcony of your room and enjoy the sea views before heading to the bar for a little afternoon delight!

2. El Nido Resorts Apulit Island
Located in the northeastern part of Palawan Island, within Taytay Bay, this unique place to stay in the Philippines is perfect for your romantic break! The cottages have nice Filipino decor and have a mini-bar and telephone! Enjoy some privacy and the stunning views of the bay as the sun sets over the island. End the day with a delicious dinner at the outdoor clubhouse and a drink at the bar.

3. Huma Island Resort
Located on a remote private island between Palawan and Mindoro islands, this stunning resort is the perfect place to stay for anyone who doesn’t care about prices when it comes to their holiday! Chill in the outdoor jacuzzi and soak up under the Filipino sun all day long. The decor of the villas is so amazing it will be a hard time trying to decide if you should spend more time inside or outside.

4. Lagen Island Resort 
Enjoy the best sea views from the comfort of your room that has a small balcony! Located in El Nido in Palawan, this stunning resort hotel offers guests activities like hiking, snorkeling, and cave tours. Take a whole day to relax at the spa center or swim in the pool. The resort has even a library, in case you want to catch up on your reading!

5. El Nido Resorts Miniloc Island
Catching a sunrise or sunset here is so amazing! Have a drink at the bar and enjoy the views after a full day of snorkeling and swimming in the Philippines waters. The rooms are super spacious, they have unique decor and a small balcony from where you can drink your morning coffee or enjoy some alone time!

Frequently asked questions

🏝️ What is the most beautiful resort in the Philippines?

Crimson Resort & Spa is one of the best places to stay in the Philippines, as it offers amazing services, a stunning view from your room, and a lush garden. 

💚 What is the best part of the Philippines?

Cebu Island and El Nido on Palawan Island are 2 stunning parts of the Philippines that you can’t miss. Plus they have amazing hotels like the Crimson Resort & Spa and Astoria Palawan.

💯 What is the best place to stay in Boracay?

Shangri – La Boracay is one of the best places to stay in Boracay, the views from your room are amazing, they offer a wide range of services and have a private beach area.  

🌊 What are some cool places to stay in the Philippines?

Crimson Resort & Spa and Astoria Palawan are two of the best places to stay in the Philippines. Both offer top services, spacious rooms and a wide range of activities. 

:diving_mask: Where should I stay in the Philippines for diving?

Cebu Island is one of the best places to stay in the Philippines for diving, there you can swim with the sardines and turtles, and stay at a super nice resort hotel like Crimson Resort & Spa.

Conclusion

Can I just teleport myself to this country? I hope this post helped you decide which are the best places to stay in Philippines. I’ve covered the top hotels and hostels for anyone who is looking for luxury or who is backpacking around the islands and mountains.

I know I gave you a wide range of options but here are my top favorite resort hotels both located on Cebu Island

Nothing to do now, then pack your bags and make sure you don’t forget to book any hotel or hostel in advance! The Philippines Islands are at the top of many lists of the best holiday destinations in the world and people always hurry to find a nice place to stay!

That’s it from me! For now, of course! I’ll be back soon with more stunning destinations from around the world but until then, enjoy this unique holiday, go scuba diving with the sardines, admire the beautiful coral reefs and chill all day on a white beach! I want to hear all about it so don’t forget to leave me a comment below!

Safe Travels,

Victoria

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