Philippines has 7,641 islands, it’s not impossible to stumble on a stunning island when you explore the country! Last August 2019, I had the craziest, longest and most memorable backpacking trip in the history of all backpacking trips I’ve ever had. It was an endless series of long ferry trips, bus journeys, long walks, DIY trips and a plane ride while carrying 1 backpack, 1 beach rattan bag and a fin bag with my freediving fins and snorkeling mask inside. So if you are up for these kinds of adventures, here’s a travel guide about backpacking 6 Provinces in 11 days!
Before starting to talk about anything else, I want to thank the people behind this successful trip! To my co-bloggers who’s been my virtual guides whenever I hop on to one province to the other, thank you so much! You guys are my savior and I couldn’t have done this without your help. Because I literally didn’t plan a detailed itinerary for this trip, lol. Of course, thanks to the big man up there who brought me home safe, you dabest big man!
Here’s to one of the most epic backpacking trip I had to date in the Philippines! Sharing with you a 10-day backpacking trip to 6 Provinces in the Philippines.
The Story Behind this Trip
How did I come up with this route? To start of, I thought about this route as a result of my previous and constant obsession about the map of the Philippines. Well nowadays, I always find myself looking at the map. Actually been asking myself too why I never liked Philippine geography in high school. If I can only stare at my 14 year-old self I would probably hate me forever, lol.
So while looking at the map, I checked on the places I haven’t been to and started to plan a trip to the neighboring provinces. Romblon has been long my travel frustration. I really wanted to come here so I thought this could be my first route. And then followed by Antique since I’ve already been to Boracay in Aklan. Next province after Antique is Iloilo, Guimaras, Negros Occidental and finally Negros Oriental as my last and 6th stop.
Steps on How to Plan Backpacking Trips in the Philippines
- Take a look at the Philippines map and decide which places you want to go.
- Pick a starting point and an end point.
- Search for ideal days to stay in each Province and add it.
- Book tickets in the future. Whether you’re going there via ferry or plane, plan and book ahead of time. Make sure to allot at least 3 months so that you’ll have plenty of time to save money and plan your itinerary. As for me, I booked my plane ticket exactly 1 year ahead.
- Plan your DIY itinerary to lessen travel expenses. Apply for Vacation Leave months before your travel, if necessary.
- Pack light and off you go!
Backpacking 6 Provinces for 11 Days
Let me share with you the route I took for this backpacking trip! I’ll be sharing a few tips and essential travel guide should you wish to follow this itinerary.
1. Romblon Province
For starters, Romblon is a province that is less known by tourists and Filipinos. Little do they know that Romblon has lots of underrated beaches and stunning islands to begin an epic trip with. Cresta de Gallo “the Galapagos of Asia”, Mount Guiting-Guiting, Aglicay Beach, Looc Fish Sanctuary and Carabao Island are some of the prominent list of sites in Romblon Provinve.
Below are helpful travel guides in Romblon:
- FERRY SCHEDULES TO ROMBLON FROM BATANGAS PORT
- ROMBLON DIY TRAVEL GUIDE (BUDGET & ITINERARY)
- CRESTA DE GALLO TRAVEL GUIDE
- CARABAO ISLAND TRAVEL GUIDE
2. Antique Province
The next province to conquer is definitely part of the Panay Island and it’s home to the first kawa hot-bath in the Philippines. Aside from this, Antique Province also boasts off Malalison Island, waterfalls and other exhilarating water activities. Antique is very accessible from the other provinces included in Panay Island like Iloilo, Aklan and Capiz. Moreover, you can go to Antique via land travel and via plane through its airport Evelio Javier Airport (EUQ).
Read kawa bath experience in Antique here: Kayak Inn Travel Guide in Antique.
3. Iloilo Province
Known for its Spanish colonial churches and houses, Iloilo will surely add up to another epic experience when it comes to culture and traditions in the Philippines. Don’t forget to try the lapaz batchoy in th public market and tsokolate batirol that can be found in a 150-year old ancestral house in Camina Balay nga Bato.
The Dinagyang Festival of Iloilo Province is also one of the most celebrated festival in the Philippines along with the Atiatihan festival of Aklan and Masskara festival of Bacolod. Dinagyang Festival is celebrated every 4th Sunday of January,
Read the travel guide in Iloilo Province here: Guide to Iloilo-Guimaras-Bacolod 2020.
4. Guimaras Province
Home to the sweetest mangoes in the Philippines! Guimaras Province is an island province located in between Iloilo and the city of Bacolod. With this being said, you can expect that there are lots of beautiful islands and beaches in Guimaras. A day of island hopping and beach bumming in its islands will surely be worth it. Moreover, you may want to try special and unique delicacies made out of mangoes in The Pitstop. The Manggahan Festival also takes place during the month of May.
Read the travel guide in Guimaras Province here: Guide to Iloilo-Guimaras-Bacolod 2020.
5. Negros Occidental
Negros Occidental has pretty much a lot of things to offer. The City of Smiles or Bacolod alone has so much to offer. Not to mention that Bacolod’s Masskara festival is dubbed as the country’s most colorful festival and it is held every 4th Sunday of October. Some of the prominent list of sites here are the Lakawon beach resort, The Ruins, freediving in Danjugan Island and overlooking view of stunning islets in Sipalay.
Do not forget to try their best food of inasal chicken located in Manokan Country just beside SM Bacolod.
Read the travel guide in Bacolod here: Guide to Iloilo-Guimaras-Bacolod 2020.
6. Negros Oriental
Freediving, swimming with sea turtles, dolphin watching, beach bumming, conquering waterfalls, sandbars and floating cottages. These are the list of fun things to do when in Negros Oriental. Dumaguete or the City of Gentle People, is a gateway to so many adventures with its neighboring cities and provinces like Siquijor and Cebu.
Apo Island in Dumaguete is where you can check out an island with so many resident turtles. Freediving, snorkeling, swimming and scuba diving are the activities you can do here.
Just an hour away from Dumaguete is the Manjuyod sandbar, dubbed as the Maldives of the Philippines. It has an incredibly beautiful sandbar and floating cottages. Along with this trip is an epic boat ride with the resident dolphins living in the marine protected areas. Dumaguete also has a number of famous waterfalls like Pulangbato waterfalls and Casaroro falls.
Read here: Travel Guide to Manjuyod Island and Dolphin Watching
Pre-Travel Guide Reminders and Tips from Joan’s Footprints
- Make sure to contact your tour guides and make online reservation on hostels if necessary.
- ATM machines are not available in most islands and municipalities in Romblon. Better bring enough cash for this trip.
- There are no phone signals in most places in Romblon, Antique, Guimaras and Sipalay.
- Do not over pack. This trip requires a lot of walking and land travels. Pack only the essentials and enough clothes. You have a choice to wash your clothes in your hostels so you can use them for the next days.
- Learn the basic greetings and always bring a humble attitude.
Important Contacts: Backpacking 6 Provinces in 11 Days
- Sibuyan Island: Kuya Pacik (0926 456 0588)
- Romblon Island: Kuya Ronnel (0935 890 2387)
- Tablas Island & Carabao Island: Kuya Roger (0995 938 8828)
- For Kawa Hot Bath and Accommodation: Kayak Inn
- For tours: Las Islas Travel & Tours
- For tours: AVA Travel & Tours (please say hi to Sir Vinsoy for me)
- For an IG-worthy accommodation: Nature’s Eye Resort
Negros Occidental Province:
- Sipalay tours: Kuya Dojie (0910 582 2879)
Negros Oriental Province:
- For Apo Island: Harold’s Dive Center
- For Manjuyod Sandbar: Kuya Teofanes (0997 136 7882)
Itinerary + Expenses for Backpacking 6 Provinces in 11 Days
Disclaimer: this backpacking trip/itinerary is not the usual trip that people normally do. Like I said earlier that this trip involves a lot of patience, a lot of walking, most of the nights will be spent in a bus trip or ferry trip and it also requires full energy to cover this whole travel. So for what it’s worth, don’t get sick or catch a cold along the way! Lol. Here is an itinerary for backpacking 6 provinces in 11 days.
Day 0: Batangas Port to Romblon by Ferry
6PM Assembly in Batangas Port, early dinner
7PM Buy ticket to Sibuyan Island (Magdiwang Port) with Starlite Ferries
9PM Board the ferry to Sibuyan Island
Day 1: Sibuyan Island, Romblon
6AM Arrive in Magdiwang Port
7AM Ride a van going to San Fernando for P250.00 (USD5)/1.5 hours
8:30AM Check in at Jenmar Lodge for P150.00/person fan room
9AM Breakfast, pack things for swimming
9:30AM Tricycle to Cantingas River
10AM ETA Cantingas River P10.00 entrance fee
11:30 Proceed to port going to Cresta de Gallo
12-5PM Cresta de Gallo for day trip is P2,500.00 (USD48) for 2-4 people and P3,500.00 (USD67) for 5-8 people
Helpful travel guide: Cresta de Gallo + Cantingas River Travel Guide
Day 2: Romblon, Romblon
5AM Van from Jenmar Lodge to Magdiwang Port – PHP250.00
6:30AM Breakfast at the port
8AM Ferry to Romblon, Romblon with Starhorse Ferry PHP190.00
10AM Check in at Muravion Hostel PHP600.00 for 2 pax
11-5PM Romblon island hopping boat rental fee PHP1,500.00 good for 3-4 pax
Helpful travel guide: Romblon DIY Travel Guide
Day 3: Tablas Island, Romblon
6AM Ride a passenger boat to San Agustin port PHP100.00
8AM Jeepney fare to Alcantara PHP150.00/head or rent a tricycle PHP600.00 for the whole tricycle which is good for 4-5 pax
10AM Looc Fish Sanctuary entrance fee PHP150.00/head
12PM Tricycle to Aglicay beach PHP100.00 for 2 pax / charter a tricycle for PHP100.00
1PM Aglicay beach entrance fee PHP50.00
Dormitory room at Aglicay Beach Resort PHP150.00 – PHP200.00 per person
Day 4: Carabao Island, Romblon
5:30AM Habal-habal or tricycle to the port going to Carabao Island PHP100.00 per head
7AM Passenger boat to Carabao Island PHP100.00
9:30AM Check in at Kameo Lodge PHP600.00 for 2 pax
12NN Habal-habal rental for cliff-diving sites PHP600.00 half day visit (still depends on your negotiating skills, entrance fee per cliff-diving site is not yet included)
– Entrance fee for each cliff-diving site is PHP100.00/head
– Dinner at Bamboo Restaurant PHP300.00 per head (this is worth it and walking distance from Kameo Lodge! Try their sinigang)
Helpful travel guide: Carabao Island DIY Travel Guide
Day 5: Antique Province
6AM Ride passenger boat to Caticlan for P100.00/ 1 hour
7:30AM Ride a tricycle to Ceres Bus Terminal going to Antique
8AM Ride a bus to Iloilo, drop off at Tibiao Antique P100-P200.00/2 hours
10:30AM Ride a habal-habal to Kayak Inn P50.00/person and pay the environmental fee of P10.00
11AM ETA Kayak Inn, activities like kawa hot bath, river tubing, etc.
5PM Ride habal-habal back to Tibiao highway and ride a bus to Iloilo P300-P400.00/3-4 hours
9PM Check in at Ong Bun in Iloilo P600.00/2 person
Helpful travel guide: Kayak Inn in Tibiao Antique Travel Guide
Day 6: Iloilo Province
Morning: Iloilo City tour
- Breakfast at La Paz Market and taste authentic lapax batchoy
- Molo Church
- Camina Balay nga Bato
- Jaro Cathedral
- Museo Iloilo
Useful Tip: These places are just 1 jeepney ride from each other and usually takes 5-10 minutes only. You can walk towards Museo Iloilo if you are coming from Ong Bun Pension House.
- Garin Farm
- Miagao Church
How to go to Garin Farm from Iloilo City? Ride a jeepney/van from Molo Terminal bound to San Joaquin. Tell the driver you are going to Garin Farm. The estimated travel time is 1 hour and fare is PHP 60.00.
Helpful travel guide: Iloilo-Guimaras-Bacolod DIY Travel Guide
Day 7: Guimaras Province
6AM Ride a ferry from Iloilo Wharf to Jordan Wharf in Guimaras P15
6:30AM Proceed to Nature’s Eye Resort
9AM Check in at the resort, free time, explore the resort
Helpful travel guide: Nature’s Eye Resort in Guimaras Travel Guide
Day 8: Guimaras Province
7AM Free 2 hours island hopping with Nature’s Eye Resort if you checked in
10AM Back to Jordan Wharf, ride a habal-habal P200.00/person for 1 hour
11:30AM Lunch at The Pitstop
1PM Ride a boat from Jordan Wharf back to Iloilo
1:30PM Ride a boat from Iloilo Port to Bacolod with Fastcat ferry P180.00/2 hours
5PM Check in with Reddoorz in Bacolod P500.00/2 person
Day 9: Bacolod, Negros Occidental
7AM Breakfast at Manokan Country
9AM The Ruins P100.00 entrance fee
11AM San Sebastian Cathedral
11:30AM Bacolod Provincial Capitol
12NN Buy pasalubong in Merzci Pasalubong
2PM Ride a bus to Sipalay P180.00/5-6 hours
7PM Check in at Langub Pension House P300.00/person
Helpful travel guide: Iloilo-Guimaras-Bacolod Travel Guide
Day 10: Sipalay, Negros Occidental
7AM Sipay day tour P600.00/tricycle
3PM Ride a bus to Dumaguete P150-180.00/4-5 hours
8PM Check in at U Feel Fun near Rizal Blvd. P400.00/pax for backpacker’s room
Helpful travel guide: Perth Paradise Resort Travel Guide
Day 11: Dumaguete, Negros Oriental
6AM Proceed to Harold’s Inn for Apo Island whole day trip
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