Hoping for Island Hopping in the Philippines

Home » Various » info » Hoping for Island Hopping in the Philippines

Hoping is dreaming, and dreams come true

If you ever had a dream or something to add to your bucket lists of life accomplishments, this should be one of them. With more than 7,000 islands, the Philippines is definitely a country where one would expect to find island hopping opportunities.

Below is a list of the best places in the country where to enjoy island hopping in this country, while this top section covers the region where I started my own island hopping tours business, in the part of the country most recognize as the best for this purpose.

Hoping for island hopping in calm beaches

For two years I lived in the Palawan area, the island of Palawan itself voted the best island in the world two years in a row. I lived on a small island halfway between the popular tourist destinations of El Nido and Coron. The crystal clear sea here is said to be the clearest in the world, where they have many pearl farms, pearls only able to grow in very clear water.

As fertile ground is considered the breadbasket of a country or region, Palawan is considered the marine basket of Asia, it’s waters teaming and thriving with life, inevitably fed by a wealth of coral reefs. Making the area excellent for snorkeling.

Snorkeling just off the island where I lived for a while.
Such sites abound in the area.

For adrenaline junkies seeking an adventure, there are cliffs to jump from into the blue water below, ziplines from one island to another, jungle trails and caves to explore, and watersports like wakeboarding and kitesurfing. There are also turtles and manta rays to swim with in certain parts.

Popular zipline in El Nido. Zipline back or walk back across a gorgeous sandbar to an awesome restaurant on a beach. Fantastic sunsets here.

I was so impressed with the area I organise private custom boat tours between El Nido and Coron, while my wife organises single day tours in El Nido and Coron. This area is so beautiful it also makes a perfect location to propose a marriage.

Hoping for good island hopping weather

Of course, if you want to explore all the white sand paradise beaches in this haven of 52 beautiful islands, good weather goes a long way. Generally from June through to some of December is the rainy season, while the rest of the year is quite dry and predominantly sunny, perfect weather.


During the rainy season, it is also mostly sunny, and when it rains it often rains late at night, when people are asleep. Or if it rains during the day, it often rains very hard for a short period, such as a couple of hours, after which it clears up.

However, during this season sometimes storms pass through the country. Far out east in the open ocean, the waters gradually increases in warmth as the sun passes through it, forming a big pressure zone above it, sucking into it the humid warmth of the water expanse below, until it starts moving westward and turns into a pulse which can batter the east coast until it continues onto the Asian mainland where it wreaks further havoc.

Every day was just another beautiful sunset from the island I lived on.

This pulse usually passes through any particular area in a matter of two to three days, in which case we pause our tours, cuddle up with the warm and friendly locals in this rural area, and continue on thereafter.

Once a storm passes through the country, it can be a month or more before another pulse builds up. Between pulses the skies are generally clear and sunny and everything is back to happy normal.

Hoping to island hop in other parts of the country?

Palawan (above) is the recognised best in the country, but do not fret, if you have ants in your pants for more adventure, there are plenty of other opportunities.



A short flight from Coron, if you have time to continue touring the country, Boracay is another ideal location for island hopping. Boracay itself has a lot to offer, but if you have the bug for more island hopping, there are plenty of opportunities here.

Crystal Cove

hoping-island-hopping-crystal-cove-boracay Formerly known as Tiguatian Island, the Crystal Cove Resort is one of the key destinations included in any Boracay island-hopping itinerary. Its main attractions include 2 coves and a cave adorned with spectacular rock formations. It is also good for trekking, snorkeling, swimming and cave exploration.

On top of the cove you will see a beautiful view of the ocean below, after which you can take some stairs down a hole to the cave below, where you will find a natural pool to take a dip.

Magic Island

hoping-island-hopping-magic-island-boracay Popular for its cliff diving, rich marine life with stunning coral reefs and colourful fishes can be found below, making it also a popular diving spot.

Crocodile Island


This alligator shaped islet is located only 3km from Boracay’s famous White Beach and is also a good snorkeling and diving site, hosting an impressive variety of marine life, such as moray eels, corals, and sea snakes.

Coral Garden

hoping-island-hopping-Coral-Garden-boracay This is a popular House Reef dive site showcasing vibrant corals and diverse marine life, located on the west coast of Boracay only 600m from White Beach. It is shallow in depth, making it ideal for snorkeling and beginner divers, and especially for photographers because of the bright sunlight and colorful reefs.

Islas de Gigantes, Iloilo

Now that you’ve exhausted all that Boracay has to offer, you can take a bus across the northern coast of Panay island to Islas de Gigantes. Actually, Panay island itself has much to offer, so if you have the time, you can loop around it on its southern end before making it back up to Islas de Gigantes.


This is divided into 2 main big islands: Gigantes Norte and Gigantes Sur, and other amazing islets; from the Cabugao Gamay, Pulupandan, Bantigue Sandbar, and the Antonia Beach.

Not only is seafood in great abundance and very affordable in this corner of the country, but there are plenty of other activities, such as snorkeling, spelunking and climbing up the old lighthouses to see a beautiful panoramic of the open sea below.

And while you’re in the hood, the smaller island just south of Panay and its main city of Iloilo is Guimaras, which itself has a fair amount to offer and lots of little island trips to take.

Siargao Island


By far the country’s go to spot for surfing, but also dubbed as the country’s most beautiful island, Siargao is located on the other side of the country, on its east coast, where the winds are the strongest. Because of the surfing, it is generally regarded as the country’s hippie hangout, but it also has much to offer, making it one of the top tourist spots in Mindanao.

For island hopping, the top destinations are the nearby and fantastically beautiful Guyam Island, Naked Island and Daku Island.

John Mark “Marama” Tokong in the barrel leading to his victory in the 26th Siargao International Surfing Cup. Photo courtesy of World Surf League/Tom Bennet

Hundred Islands, Pangasinan

But if you’re still hoping for more island hopping, you can make your way to the other end of the country, about five hours from Manila, bountiful with its 123 islets to explore, making it a true tropical escapade.


Its most popular attraction is the Hundred Islands National Park, with only three of the 123 islands developed for tourism, the rest saved for those who love to get off the beaten path and explore raw nature. The most popular islands are Quezon Island, Governor’s Island, Marcos Island and Children’s Island (very child friendly with its shallow waters), so climb the peak of Governor’s Island for a stunning, panoramic view of the entire park. Other popular stops are Cuenco Island, Pilgrimage Island and Lopez Island, which has a natural pool.


If you like getting off the beaten path, Caramoan is worth visiting, with exotic islands surrounding it, such as Cagbalinad Island, hidden lagoons and lakes in Matukad Island, Lahos Island and Tayak Lake.


I’d say the above are the cream of the crop, but with a country of more than 7,000 islands, there will inevitably be more. This link is a good source for some secondary locations, some of which are excellent to visit but just individual islands not offering much in the form of island hopping tours to surrounding islands.

How about Island Hooping in the Philippines?

Another common misspelling in people’s search for our services is “island hooping”, but did you know that the Philippines is quite big on basketball? Volleyball is also a popular sport, but basketball is good because all you need is a single hoop, which you can make yourself from a thick wire, and attached that to any old coconut tree. As long as the ground beneath it is hard enough to bounce a basketball. Because of the big and condensed population in this country, lack of flat space with hard ground, and a lovely people who do not have the most grandiose of budgets, basketball and hooping is an ideal sport.


A funny factoid perhaps is that each team competing officially in the country may have a maximum of one foreigner on their team, because Asians are generally shorter than westerners. So while you’re traveling around this beautiful country, hopping from one island to another, it will not be difficult at all to participate with some hooping with the locals. They will be tickled pink with your offer, but be forewarned, they certainly can be sneaky and fast with the ball!

For the ultimate experience, try our private custom boat tours between El Nido and Coron, or private single day tours in El Nido and Coron. For joining group tours we can refer you to our partner.

island hopping in the philippines

Experience the thrill of island hopping in the Philippines

Home » Various » info » Hoping for Island Hopping in the Philippines

We are a family operation managing private custom boat tours in the beautiful Palawan area, and are happy to help travelers with their plans through the country, having traveled a lot of it ourselves and planning to visit it all.

Leave a Comment