Heading back to Manila after a stay in paradise? All good things must come to an end. As you say goodbye to the gorgeous El Nido resorts, bid farewell to the relaxing havens of Miniloc and Lagen islands, and leave Palawan behind, this article will help you plan your route just as easily as TripAdvisor would (if not more easily)!
You have three options when travelling the 620km distance from El Nido to Manila: a direct flight, which takes a little over an hour; a flight via Puerto Princesa, which takes 7 hours (including transfers); and a ferry via Coron, which takes at least 15 hours. Rates range from 1,900 PHP ($37.50) to 4,300 PHP ($85).
Direct Flight, Flight via Puerto Princesa or Ferry?
The direct flight from El Nido to Manila is the fastest option, but also the most expensive. Only small planes operate on this route, with fares starting at 4,300 PHP ($85). The journey takes just a little over an hour.
With the indirect flight, you first have to take a 5.5-hour van ride to Puerto Princesa. From there, several flights depart for Manila daily. Total travel time is about 7 hours and costs 1,900 PHP ($37.50).
The ferry is a scenic yet time-consuming option. You will need to take 2 ferries, one to Coron and then another one to Manila. It’s something we recommend if you’re planning to make a stop in Coron anyway, and only if you have a lot of extra time. Note though that the ferry from Coron to Manila runs only once weekly.
AirSwift operates direct flights from El Nido to Manila. You can expect to pay 4,300 PHP ($85) for a one-way ticket. If you have a bigger budget, you can certainly opt for this. Travel time takes 1hr and 20mins.
If you prefer a cheaper flight from El Nido to Manila, then you need to head first to Puerto Princesa by van. From there, you can catch a flight headed to Manila.
Step 1: El Nido to Puerto Princesa by Van
Duration: 5.5 hours Cost: 600 PHP ($12)
From El Nido, there are multiple vans operating routes to Puerto Princesa. Make sure you take one that goes straight to the airport. The journey takes at least 5.5 hours and fares start at 600 PHP ($12).
Vans are available at the Transport Terminal in El Nido. But if you want to secure seats for a specific day and time, it’s best to book online via BookAway beforehand. Read more details in our article about going from El Nido to Puerto Princesa.
Klook is another option. This transfer costs 540 PHP ($10.50). Reviews for this route consistently get 4 out of 5 stars, citing friendly staff. Some reviews mention the lack of legroom and the van not leaving on time, but these are common occurrences when taking a van in the Philippines.
AirAsia and Cebu Pacific are low-cost carriers operating this route, with airfares starting at 1,300 PHP ($26). You can also fly with Philippine Airlines (PAL), but their fares can be as expensive as direct flights from El Nido to Manila. Also, bear in mind that ticket prices can soar during peak seasons. It’s best to book your tickets way in advance.
The flight takes about 1.5 hours. To check the cheapest available flights, click on the button below.
Tip: Cebu Pacific and AirAsia offer many promotions annually. Keep an eye out for these promotions so you can book a cheaper flight for this route!
El Nido to Manila via Coron by Ferry
Duration: 14.5 hours excl transfer time Cost: 3,600 PHP ($71)
There is no direct ferry from El Nido to Manila, so you’ll need to take two ferries. The first one goes to Coron. From there, you catch another ferry to Manila. Bear in mind that the ferry from Coron to Manila only operates on Sundays.
Step 1: El Nido to Coron by Ferry
Duration: 3.5 hours Cost: 1,750 PHP ($35)
There are different boats you can take from El Nido to Coron daily. Though the fast ferry is the most expensive option, it will save you some time. You can book a ferry on the day of your trip, but you can also book one online through BookAway to secure seats early.
The ferry departs from El Nido Ferry Terminal and arrives at Coron Port. Travel time is 3.5 to 4 hours and a ticket costs 1,750 PHP ($35). More information is available on how to go from El Nido to Coron.
2Go Travel operates one trip from Coron to Manila weekly. This ferry departs Coron Pier at 18:00 on Sundays, with a travel time of 11 hours. You can choose from various ferry classes. A tourist class bed costs 1,850 PHP ($36.50) when you book directly through their website. You can also get your ticket through 12go.Asia for a few dollars more.