Palawan vs. Boracay vs. Cebu – Where to Go in the Philippines

Author Carina Klein
Carina
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TL;DR

Palawan vs Boracay vs Cebu – Which place in the Philippines should you visit?

We have backpacked the Philippines for 30 days. During this time, we have visited three of the most popular regions in the Philippines:

  • Palawan
  • Cebu
  • Boracay

Our comprehensive guide gives you a quick overview to help you decide where to visit in the Philippines: Palawan or Boracay or Cebu.

Cebu vs Boracay vs Palawan – Overview

Is Palawan Worth Visiting?

Is Cebu Worth Visiting?

Is Boracay Worth Visiting?

Yes! Yes! Yes!

What is Palawan Known for?

What is Cebu Known for?

What is Boracay Known for?

Palawan is known for
  • Beaches
  • Limestone cliffs
  • Wreck diving.
Cebu is known for
  • Waterfalls
  • Scuba diving
  • Whale sharks (do your research and skip Oslob)
Boracay is known for
  • One of the best beaches in the world
  • Amazing sunsets

How to Get to Palawan

How to Get to Cebu

How to Get to Boracay

There are airports with regular domestic flights in
  • Puerto Princesa
  • El Nido
  • Coron
Cebu Airport is the second largest airport in the Philippines with regular domestic and international flights. As Boracay is a major holiday destination in the Philippines, Boracay (also called Caticlan) Airport nowadays has loads of domestic connections.

Palawan Top Destinations

Cebu Top Destinations

Boracay Top Destinations

The top destinations in Palawan are Many tourists skip Cebu City. The top destination is Moalboal including Pangsama Beach. The islands of Malapascua, Bohol and Siquijor are just a ferry ride away. Boracay is a small island. The majority of the tourist infrastructure is located around White Beach.

Palawan Top Things to Do

Cebu Top Things to Do

Boracay Top Things to Do

  • Canyoneering at Badian.
  • Chasing waterfalls.
  • Diving with thresher sharks.
  • Sardine run in Moalboal.
  • Hike Osmena Peak.
You can go island hopping or do some water sports but the main thing to do here is to spend time at the beautiful beach.

Palawan Beaches

Cebu Beaches

Boracay Beaches

There are plenty nice beaches around El Nido like The beaches you visit when you go island hopping in Palawan are out of this world. We also loved Port Barton Beach. While there are beaches on Cebu like White Beach near Moalboal, we wouldn’t recommend Cebu as a beach destination. White Beach is frequently voted the best beach in the world.

Palawan Scuba Diving

Cebu Scuba Diving

Boracay Scuba Diving

Coron is famous for its wreck dives. Malapascua is world famous for thresher shark diving.
Moalboal is a diving hub. It’s famous for its sardine run.
Boracay is not known for Scuba diving.

Cost of Palawan

Cost of Cebu

Cost of Boracay

We spent an average of 50$ per person and night. We went island hopping a lot. We spent an average of 25$ per person and night. We spent an average of 30$ per person and night.

Where to Stay in Palawan

Where to Stay in Cebu

Where to Stay in Boracay

We stayed at SG Tourist Inn in El Nido Town.
We stayed at Sunburn Suites and Rooftop Bar in Coron.
We stayed at The Backyard Inn in Moalboal. We stayed at the very Instagrammable Happiness Hostel Boracay.

How Long to Stay in Palawan?

How Long to Stay in Cebu

How Long to Stay in Boracay

Two weeks is not too much for Palawan, especially if you visit Port Barton, El Nido, and Coron and you want to go island hopping between El Nido and Coron. One week is enough to check out Moalboal and go Scuba diving in Malaascua or Moalboal. If you want to check out the neighbouring islands of Bohol and/or Siquijor we would suggest at least two weeks. This strongly depends on your capacity to relax on the beach. We met people who said three days were enough but we didn’t mind spending a week.

Is Palawan Touristy?

Is Cebu Touristy?

Is Boracay touristy?

Yes, areas like El Nido and Coron are touristy but you can also get off the beaten path. Cebu is a large island. While areas like Pangsama Beach are very touristy, other areas are not at all. Yes, Boracay is full of Filipino as well as international tourists.

Should I Go to Palawan?

Should I Go to Cebu?

Should I go to Boracay?

Yes, if you like
  • Island hopping.
  • Beaches.
  • Lagoons.
  • Wreck diving.
  • Tourist infrastructure.
Yes, if you like
  • Action (canyoneering).
  • Waterfalls.
  • Scuba diving.
  • Exploring on a scooter.
Yes, if you like
  • A beach holiday.

Palawan Resources:

Cebu Resources:

  1. El Nido vs. Coron Philippines – Which Part of Palawan is the Best?
  2. El Nido to Coron Boat Tour – Our Honest Review
  3. Port Barton Philippines Travel Guide (2024)
  1. How to Get from Cebu to Moalboal
  2. Moalboal Itinerary & Travel Guide
Picture of Palawan
Picture of Cebu
Picture of Boracay

Cebu vs Boracay vs Palawan – Our Opinion

Our short answer to whether should you visit Palawan or Boracay or Cebu is:

  • Visit Palawan for the picturesque beaches and lagoons you see on Instagram.
  • Boracay for White Beach.
  • Cebu if you want to have more action and explore off the beaten path while still having tourist infrastructure.

Skip

  • Palawan if you’re budget is too tight to go island hopping.
  • Boracay if you don’t want to be in a touristy place.
  • Cebu if you’re looking for Instagram beaches.

If we could only choose one place for our Philippines holiday, we would choose Palawan.

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