El Nido to Manila

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How to get from El Nido to Manila

Heading back to Manila after a stay in paradise? Sadly, 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 from El Nido to Manila.

The distance from El Nido to Manila is 623 km (387 miles). In this post, we compare the three best options to travel from El Nido to Manila: by direct flight (1hr 25m), by indirect flight (7 hours), and by ferry (14.5 hours). Ticket prices range from 1,720 PHP ($30) – 4,000 PHP ($69).

3 ways to get from El Nido to Manila

Transport modeDurationCostsAvailability
Direct Flight1hr 25m4,000 PHP ($69)Check flights
Flight via Puerto Princesa7 hours1,720 PHP ($30)Check Flights
Ferry*14.5 hours excl. transfers3,600 PHP ($62)Check ferry tickets
*COVID-19 UPDATE: The last time we checked (June 2022), the ferry option now takes 17.5 hours + 2 overnight stays in Coron due to a new pandemic schedule.

The direct flight from El Nido to Manila via Air Swift is the fastest option, but also the most expensive. Only small planes operate on this route, with fares starting from 4,000 PHP ($69) if you book ahead. The journey takes 1 hour and 15 minutes.

The indirect flight via Puerto Princesa is actually more popular as it’s a lot cheaper. After the 5.5 hour van ride from El Nido to Puerto Princesa, you can take one of the many flights leaving each day. Total travel time is about 7 hours, and costs start from 1,720 PHP ($30), including the van transfer.

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. With the new ferry schedules, you need to stay 2 nights in Coron, and the total travel time is now 17.5 hours in total.

TIP: If you decide to travel by plane, please consider including a carbon compensation fee to reduce your impact on the environment.

Itinerary from El Nido to Manila

El Nido to Manila by Direct Flight

Duration: 1hr 25m
Cost: 4,000 PHP ($69)
Duration: 1hr 25m
Cost: 4,000 PHP ($69)

This flight is the fastest option from El Nido to Manila but also the most expensive.

The only operator for these direct flights is Airswift and the flight leaves 4 times a day.

The earliest flight schedule from El Nido to Manila is 07:35 in the morning with the last flight of the day at 17:35. The flight to Manila takes 1 hour 25 minutes.

One-way tickets from El Nido to Manila range from 4,000 PHP ($69) to 7,000 PHP ($120), depending on the day and time of the flight. Note that flight fares can get a bit cheaper if you are booking months in advance.

Check Flights on Air Swift

El Nido Airport

Flights depart from El Nido Airport, which is only 5 km away from the town centre. A quick way to get there is with a tricycle for 300 PHP ($5) for 2 passengers with luggage.

Alternatively, you can also ask your hotel for a private van to the airport.

Manila Airport

The direct flight from El Nido to Manila lands on the main airport in Manila: Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Pasay City.

Note that the Manila Airport has 4 separate terminals that are quite far from one another. This is important to consider when booking a connecting flight. AirSwift flights land at Terminal 4.

El Nido to Manila via Puerto Princesa by Indirect Flight

Duration: 7 hours
Cost: 1,720 PHP ($30)
Duration: 7 hours
Cost: 1,720 PHP ($30)

The most popular option to travel from El Nido to Manila is with a combination of the van to Puerto Princesa and a flight to Manila.

Flights from Puerto Princesa to Manila operate many times a day and fares from Puerto Princesa are much lower than when flying directly from El Nido.

First, you’ll need to take a 5.5-hour van ride from El Nido to Puerto Princesa. Vans can drop you off straight at the airport from where you can take the 1.5-hour flight to Manila.

Step 1: El Nido to Puerto Princesa by Van

Duration: 5.5 hours
Cost: 720 PHP ($12.50)
Duration: 5.5 hours
Cost: 720 PHP ($12.50)

From El Nido Transport Terminal, there are multiple vans bound for Puerto Princesa. The van ride can take around 5.5 hours.

Make sure to take the van that goes straight to Puerto Princesa Airport so that you wouldn’t need any additional rides.

There are two van operators in El Nido with Puerto Princesa Airport as the last stop.

Minivan schedules from El Nido to Puerto Princesa

Van OperatorScheduleCosts
Fortwally05:00-11:00
07:30-13:00
10:30-16:00
13:30-19:00
17:30-23:00
720 PHP ($12.50)
Check Van Tickets
Eulen Joy Express05:00-11:00
07:30-13:00
10:30-16:00
13:30-19:00
17:30-23:00
840 PHP ($14.50)
Check Van Tickets

We highly suggest booking online in advance via BookAway if you have already booked your flight from Puerto Princesa to Manila.

This way, you can plan your trip from El Nido to Puerto Princesa Airport accordingly without missing your flight.

Note that there are reviews about the lack of legroom and the van not leaving on time. Unfortunately, these are common occurrences when taking a van in the Philippines.

Read more details in our article about going from El Nido to Puerto Princesa.

Step 2: Puerto Princesa to Manila by Flight

Duration: 1.5 hours
Cost: 1,000 PHP ($17)
Duration: 1.5 hours
Cost: 1,000 PHP ($17)

There are three airlines that operate between Puerto Princesa and Manila.

AirAsia and Cebu Pacific are low-cost carriers operating this route. Philippine Airlines usually offers more expensive flights among the three. The flight takes about 1.5 hours.

Book your flight ticket in advance

If you’re booking for the next month, you can find flights normally sell around 1,000 PHP ($17). Note that flight fares can go up as high as 4,000 PHP ($69) if you are booking shortly from the scheduled flight.

Also, during peak seasons, ticket fares can get pretty expensive and sell out.

Aside from booking tickets during seat sales, booking your flight months in advance is the best way to avail cheap tickets for your trip. Flight tickets from Puerto Princesa to Manila can get as low as 660 PHP ($11.50) during promotions.

To find the cheapest available flights, we recommend checking Skyscanner.

Check Flights on Skyscanner

Manila Airport

Flights from Puerto Princesa to Manila also land at Manila Airport in Pasay City. NAIA Terminal 2 is exclusive for Philippine Airlines flights.

Meanwhile, Cebu Pacific and AirAsia flights both land at Terminal 4. These two terminals are around 10 minutes away from each other.

Pro-Tip: Cebu Pacific and AirAsia offer many promotions annually. Keep an eye out for these promotions to 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 ($62)
Duration: 14.5 hours excl transfer time
Cost: 3,600 PHP ($62)

When travelling from El Nido to Manila by ferry, you need to take two ferries. The first one is from El Nido to Coron. From there, you catch another ferry to Manila.

Pre-pandemic, the ferry option for the El Nido to Manila route would require only 1 day of travel for the 2 ferries. You can take any fast ferry from El Nido to Coron on a Sunday to ride the Coron to Manila ferry that leaves at 18:00 on the same day.

However, because of the new schedules and availability of the ferries during the pandemic, you need to take the El Nido to Coron ferry on a Wednesday, stay 2 nights in Coron, and then take the Coron to Manila ferry on Friday morning.

Note that there is also a direct ferry operated by Atienza Interisland that goes from El Nido to Manila. However, we don’t recommend this option for several reasons explained in the last part of this article.

New option: El Nido to Manila via Coron with a 2-night stay

Duration: 17.5 hours excl 2-night stay
Cost: 3,990 PHP ($69)
Duration: 17.5 hours excl 2-night stay
Cost: 3,990 PHP ($69)

The last time we checked (June 2022), only Montenegro Lines has resumed ferry operations for the El Nido to Coron route. Montenegro Lines departs El Nido Ferry Terminal at 06:00 every Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Ticket price has also increased to 2,640 PHP ($46) per person for the 3.5-hour ferry ride.

2Go Travel also announced its new schedule between Manila and Coron. The Coron to Manila ferry leaves Coron Port every Friday at 03:00 and arrives at Manila North Harbour Pier 4 at 17:00 of the same day.

The trip takes 14 hours in total, with fares starting from 1,350 PHP ($23.50).

2-night stay in Coron

Since the 2Go ferry departs the port every Friday at 03:00, you need to take the Wednesday trip of Montenegro Lines. This means that you would have to spend 2 nights in Coron town.

You can actually explore Coron while waiting for the ferry to Manila. You can start exploring the island when you arrive at around 9:30 on Wednesday. The whole Thursday could also be spent on touring Coron and its nearby islands.

However, on Friday, make sure to arrive at least an hour early in Coron Port for your ferry trip to Manila. Note that your ticket can be forfeited and given to a chance passenger if you don’t arrive on time.

Booking tickets for El Nido to Manila via Coron

If you want to push through with this ferry option from El Nido to Manila via Coron, you can book your El Nido to Coron tickets in the Montenegro Lines office in El Nido town. You can also send an email to [email protected] or [email protected].

As for the second ferry, you can easily book your Coron to Manila tickets at the 2GO Travel website or with 12Go.Asia.

Check Ferry Tickets with 12Go.Asia

Pre-pandemic ferry schedule from El Nido to Manila

Duration: 14.5 hours excl. transfer time
Cost: 3,600 PHP ($62)
Duration: 14.5 hours excl. transfer time
Cost: 3,600 PHP ($62)

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 used to operate only on Sundays.

Step 1: El Nido to Coron by Ferry

Duration: 3.5 hours
Cost: 1,750 PHP ($30.50)
Duration: 3.5 hours
Cost: 1,750 PHP ($30.50)

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 prices start from 1,750 PHP ($30.50). More information is available on how to go from El Nido to Coron.

Check Ferry Tickets with BookAway

Step 2: Coron to Manila by Ferry

Duration: 11 hours
Cost: 1,850 PHP ($32)
Duration: 11 hours
Cost: 1,850 PHP ($32)

2Go Travel operates one trip from Coron to Manila weekly. This ferry departs Coron Pier at 18:00 every Sunday, with a travel time of 11 hours. You can choose from various ferry classes. A tourist class bed costs 1,850 PHP ($32) when you book directly through their website. You can also get your ticket through 12go.Asia for a few dollars more.

Want more details? Read how to go from Coron to Manila.

Check Ferry Tickets with 12go.Asia

Passenger-Cargo ship from El Nido to Manila (not recommended)

Duration: 24-25 hours
Cost: 1,700 PHP ($29.50)
Duration: 24-25 hours
Cost: 1,700 PHP ($29.50)

Atienza Interisland Ferries Inc. is originally a cargo & freight company that now offers ferry trips between Manila and Palawan. Unlike the new ferry schedule from 2Go Travel that requires another ferry ride from El Nido to Coron, Atienza offers direct trips from El Nido to Manila.

M/V Star San Carlos is a passenger-cargo ship that operates this route weekly. It is the only ship that allows both passengers and cargoes, as the other ship for this route allows only cargoes.

The direct ferry trip from El Nido to Manila takes 24-25 hours. An economy class ticket costs 1,700 PHP ($29.50), while an air-con tourist class ticket costs 1,850 PHP ($32).

The passenger-cargo ship departs El Nido Ferry Terminal every Sunday at 10:00. For this route, M/V Star San Carlos arrives at Baseco Port Area in Manila at around 10:00-11:00 the day after.

Note that online booking is not available. The only way to buy tickets is by visiting the Atienza Interisland Ferries office inside the El Nido Ferry Terminal.

Why we don’t recommend this option

Since they do not have a working website, all information is available only on their Facebook page. However, only Manila to Palawan routes and schedules are posted on their page.

There is no information about the Palawan to Manila routes. This means that you can get information about the El Nido to Manila route only by calling their numbers or visiting their office inside the port in El Nido.

Atienza Interisland Ferries Inc. also hasn’t been responsive to customers’ comments on their Facebook page. They rarely answer customers’ queries on their posts, but you can try your luck by calling the phone numbers posted on their page.

Rounding it up

The last time we checked (June 2022), Atienza is the only company offering direct ferry trips from El Nido to Manila. However, we don’t recommend this option for travellers. For now, it’s best to travel by direct or indirect flight to Manila.

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