Philippines

Vivid green rice terraces, crystalline seas hiding coral wonderlands and mountains tempered with charming villages. The Philippines provides an answer for those in search of a slice of authentic Asia.

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Tour TypeTrip NameNo. DaysBookingsPrice per person
Independent TourNorthern Philippines 10From $4,155.00
Independent TourParadise Lost15From $6,335.00

Northern Philippines

Discover the best that the North has to offer on this nine-nights journey. Discover the old and new of Manila on a jeepney tour, take in the mountain ranges and stunning rice terraces at Banaue, visit the UNESCO listed heritage town of Vigan, one of the few Hispanic towns in the country, and view the majestic volcanic Mount Pinatubo.

Itinerary  
Day 1: Arrive Manila

Upon arrival in Manila, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. The reminder of the day is at your leisure.

Day 2: Manila

A unique way to get around Manila is by jeepney, colourfully and flamboyantly decorated vehicles originally made from jeeps left by American troops after the war. Your jeepney city tour will incorporate the new and old sides of Manila. From the financial capital Makati, through "Millionaire's Row," past the Mall of Asia shopping centre travel via scenic Roxas Boulevard to old Manila. Pass by the historic Rizal Park on the way to the Walled City of Intramuros and see the UNESCO World Heritage listed San Agustin Church and Spanish fortress Fort Santiago. In the afternoon visit Manila’s biggest slum, Smokey Mountain, to talk to locals and learn about how they live, eat and earn.

Day 3: Manila - Banaue

This morning depart Manila for Banaue where you will see the breathtaking ranges of mountains, terraced from top to bottom for the cultivation of rice. The centuries old Ifugao rice terraces have been sculptured and carved out of the steep mountain sides by the Ifugao people with nothing but their bare hands and crude stone implements. Arrive in the late afternoon, check in to your hotel and enjoy the evening at leisure.

Day 4: Banaue

Take a ride in a jeepney to the junction where you will start your trek along the Batad Trail. From the head of the trail, hike over a steep ridge into the bowl shaped valley on the other side which has the most stunning rice terraces in the region. In the afternoon, proceed to the village of Banga-An where you will meet the Ifugao village folk. You will have the chance to visit the wet market and witness a typical Ifugao market day. Return to your hotel in Banaue after your hike.

Day 5: Banaue - Sagada

This morning depart Banaue, driving along winding mountain roads to the town of Bontoc. Bontoc is the historical capital of the Cordillera mountain province and home of the Bontoc Tribe, an indigenous people who actively engaged in tribal warfare up until the 1930s. Visit the Bontoc Museum, founded by the Belgian nuns who have been active in this area for decades. On arrival into Sagada check into your hotel before setting out to explore this quaint little town. With its towering pine trees, famous hanging coffins, subterranean caves used as burial grounds by the natives, eminent limestone cliffs and scenic falls, Sagada is an incredibly unique and picturesque place to visit. You will have the opportunity to hike along some easy going trails which lead to some mountain summits with outstanding panoramic views.

Day 6: Sagada

Today enjoy an action packed three hour trek to visit the Hanging Coffins in Echo Valley. Visit the town cemetery and then stop to view the hanging coffins. Dangling high up on the limestone cliffs, the coffins are both mystifying and eerie in their presence. Continue on by crossing a river, pass by a coffee plantation and a small waterfall. The trek then ends at the Sagada weaving factory. There is also the option of an afternoon sightseeing activity riding local transport to see the Klitepan and Kapay-aw rice terraces, the Sugong Hanging Coffins view deck and the entrance of the Lumiang Burial caves to see the stacks of coffins.

Day 7: Sagada - Vigan

Depart Sagada this morning for the UNESCO heritage listed town of Vigan. You will arrive into Vigan in the early afternoon and check in to your hotel. Vigan is unique as it is one of only a few Hispanic towns in the Philippines that retains its colonial buildings and cobble stone streets, giving it a very Spanish feel. The style of architecture here is a fusion of traditional Filipino building designs with colonial Spanish architecture. This afternoon take a tour of Vigan in a horse drawn kalesa. Visit the main street, Calle Crisologo and wander around taking in the sights of this beautiful and unique old town.

Day 8: Vigan - Baguio

This morning depart for the city of Baguio. Known as the summer capital of the Philippines due to its cool climate, the town is a gateway to the Cordillera Mountains. On arrival check in to your hotel then set out on an afternoon sightseeing tour of Baguio City. Like other hill stations, Baguio is a university town that boasts one of the Philippines’ largest student populations (a quarter of a million!), and is also a crossroads between hill tribe culture and lowland settlers.

Day 9: Baguio - Mount Pinatubo

This morning travel to the base of Mount Pinatubo to view this majestic volcanic mountain. For centuries, the residents of Angeles took the nearby volcanoes of Mount Pinatubo and Mount Arayat for granted. That changed suddenly on 15 June 1991, when Pinatubo, the larger of the two volcanoes, literally blew itself apart, sending a column of ash and rock 40km into the air. The mountain lost 300m in height, and fine dust and fist-sized fragments of rock rained down on nearby Angeles and the Clark Airport. Angeles is known as the entertainment capital of the Philippines.

Day 10: Depart Manila

Today you will transfer to the airport for your flight back to Manila where your journey ends.

Inclusions 
Meals: 9 breakfasts, 2 lunches
Transport:Airport transfers & Modern air-conditioned vehicle
Flights:Flight Ticket: Mount Pinatubo / Manila
Accommodation: 9 nights
Guide:Local English Speaking Guide
Entrance Fees & Touring:Entrance fees & activities as per itinerary

Paradise Lost

A haven for sunbathers, the Southern Philippines are a thrill to discover—both above ground and under. Blessed with the stunning beaches of Boracay, El Nido and Bohol, the intriguing Sabang caves, historical Cebu and the Bohol Chocolate Hills – the southern provinces is perfect for travellers eager to try their hand at a variety of experiences in an underexplored part of Southeast Asia.

Itinerary  
Day 1: Manila

You will meet your guide on arrival, transfer and check-in to your hotel. Manila is the capital city and the gateway to the 7,107 islands of the Philippines. You will find Manila to be an interesting mix of the old and the new, where you will find old colonial Spanish churches in the shadows of gleaming high-rise structures. Manila is an ever-expanding metropolis that is constantly drawing people in from across the country looking for work, and swallowing up the surrounding villages and rice fields in the name of new development. No activities are planned today.

Day 2: Manila - Dumaguete

This morning transfer to the domestic airport for a flight to Dumaguete, one of the top destinations in the country, especially for divers and nature lovers. Dumaguete City is a quaint and charming place, rich in history and culture as well as in natural resources. Visit the Siliman University, the Hikaban Cooperative and Claytown Pottery factory. Later, visit Bacong home to the Negros Oriental Arts and Heritage Centre which houses a stonecraft factory and showroom as well as the century old Bacong Church. Lastly, stop and ride a calesa rickshaw along a stretch of Rizal Boulevard, lined with white lamp posts and stately trees, and visit the souvenir shops along the downtown strip of the city. A delectable meal awaits at a popular restaurant by the sea, which offers fresh crabs, oysters, and other delicious local specialties.

Day 3: Dumaguete

This morning drive one hour north of Dumaguete City to Bais City, where, from Port Capiñahan, you will take an outrigger motorboat along the Tañon Strait. This area is said to have one of the highest concentrations of Cetaceans whales in the world. Among these are several varieties of dolphins: spotted, spinner, striped, and bottlenose and the pygmy Sperm Whale. Take a dip in the shallow waters of the Campuyo White Sandbar, or just laze on its fine, white sand. On the return journey you will cruise by Talabong Mangrove Island, a 400 hectare, protected mangrove forest which serves as natural habitat for many seabirds and other marine wildlife.

Day 4: Damaguete - Bohol

Transfer to the seaport for a two hour ferry boat ride to Bohol. The country's tenth largest island, Bohol is situated at the heart of the Visayan Islands and is adorned with natural beauty - rolling hills, crystal clear springs, verdant rivers and stunning white sand beaches. Along its coastline are numerous excellent dive spots such as Panglao and Pamilacan. Bohol is also famous for its “Chocolate Hills” and is home to the world's smallest monkey, the Tarsier. Upon arrival in Tagbilaran, you will be met your guide and transferred to your resort. Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure.

Day 5: Bohol

Take a leisurely drive through the scenic countryside, past nipa palms, coconut plantations and rice fields to the Chocolate Hills. Head up to the highest point to view the 1268 haycock hills which range in height from 40-120 metres. During the summer the dome shaped, grass covered hills dry up and turn brown, giving the appearance of rows of chocolate drops. Drive down to the Loboc River and board a raft on which you will enjoy a typical Boholano country lunch while cruising down the Loboc River. You will also visit the Tarsier sanctuary to see these incredible, beautiful creatures, the oldest living mammal on the planet. You will also have the opportunity to visit Baclayon Church and the quaint city of Tagbilaran before returning to your hotel.

Day 6: Bohol - Cebu

Leaving early, transfer to your fast ferry to Cebu. Historic Cebu is where the Portuguese Captain Ferdinand Magellan planted the Cross of Christianity in 1521, it lies strategically placed at the centre of the Visayan Islands and has been a popular entry point to the Philippines among merchants throughout the centuries. Upon arrival in Cebu, meet your guide and take a tour of the “Queen City of the South”. Visit its historical landmarks such as the Lapu Monument, Magellan's Cross and the Santo Nino Church. Drive through the colourful Carbon Market, scenic Beverly Hills and visit the Chinese Taoist Temple.

Day 7: Cebu - Puerto Princesa

Transfer to the airport for the short flight across to Puerto Princesa in the province of Palawan. Known for its incredibly beautiful natural seascapes and landscapes, Palawan is one of the most bio-diverse islands in the Philippines. Puerto Princesa is a clean and modern city with many sightseeing attractions and some great seafood restaurants and bars. Upon arrival, tour the city visiting Plaza Cuartel, the Immaculate Concepcion Cathedral and the old town.

Day 8: Puerto Princesa - El Nido

Drive from Puerto Princesa to El Nido. El Nido is considered to be a showcase of Palawan’s geology and diverse wildlife. Its majestic limestone cliffs stand guard over crystal clear waters, which are home to hundreds of species of tropical fish and coral, and three species of endangered sea turtles. El Nido’s forests are home to over 100 species of birds, a large number of which are endemic to Palawan.

Day 9: El Nido

Today is a day at leisure to relax on the beautiful beaches of El Nido or take part in activities such as island hopping, cave exploration, diving and snorkelling. El Nido’s name comes from the edible nests of Swiftlets that are found in the crevices of its limestone cliffs. These nests, “nido” in Spanish, are the main ingredient for the local delicacy, nido soup.

Day 10: El Nido - Sabang

Drive to Sabang and proceed to the wharf where you take a boat to the mouth of the Underground River. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this natural wonder features an 8.2km long, navigable underground river, reputed to be the world’s longest, that winds through a spectacular cave before emptying out in to the South China Sea. Cruise along this natural wonder, passing through cathedral sized chambers and wide hallways, taking in the many fascinating geological formations that are hidden beneath St. Paul Mountain. At the mouth of the cave, ancient trees grow right along the water’s edge, framing an incredible clear lagoon. Monkeys, monitor lizards and squirrels find their niche on the beach near the cave. Visitors can also enjoy bird watching, trekking, paddling a boat through the mangroves and exploring deeper into the forest.

Day 11: Sabang

This morning head to the port and board a boat, setting sail to spot spinner dolphins. You can see up to 200 dolphins frolicking in the water, leaping high in the air and riding the bow wave of your boat. In the afternoon take another city tour of Puerto Princesa. Visit the Palawan Museum located at Mendoza Park where you can get an impression of the history, art and culture of the people of this island group. Later visit the Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Centre. Here they have a farm that breeds two endangered species of crocodile that are found in the country including the endemic Philippine Crocodile. There is also a small zoo where you can see the colourful nicobar pigeon, the raucous talking mynah, the elusive bearcat and several other animals that are found in Palawan. You will also see the Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm, a prison without walls where inmates tend vast farms instead of idly spending time behind bars.

Day 12: Sabang - Boracay

Return to Puerto Princesa airport, fly Caticlan and take a boat to Boracay. This world famous island, roughly shaped like a dumbbell, is seven kilometres long and one kilometre wide at the narrowest point. The island has more than 30 beaches and coves, among them the famous White Beach, four kilometres of pure white sand beach that is often rated amongst the world's best beaches. The water is shallow here, and its sand brighter and finer than most beaches in the archipelago. Upon arrival at the airport you will be met by your guide and transferred to your resort. The rest of the day is at leisure.

Day 13: Boracay

Enjoy a day at leisure in Boracay. Options include heading north to peaceful Diniwid Beach for a break in the action, or east to Bulabog Beach, home to the local watersports crowd, with its welcoming community vibe.

Day 14: Boracay

Enjoy a day at leisure in Boracay. All things considered, Boracay is a place where you can find whatever you want if you know where to look. Otherwise grab that weng weng cocktail, sink into your waterfront beanbag chair and just marvel at the spectacle of it all.

Day 15: Boracay - Manila

Transfer to Boracay airport for your flight back to Manila Airport. Upon arrival you will transfer to the international airport for your onwards flight.

Inclusions 
Meals: 14 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 1 dinner
Transport:Airport transfers & Modern air-conditioned vehicle
Flights:Flight Ticket: Manila / Dumaguete - Cebu / Puerto Princesa / Caticlan - Boracay / Manila
Ferry:Ferry Ticket: Dumaguete / Bohol / Cebu - Caticlan / Boracay
Accommodation: 14 nights
Guide:Local English Speaking Guide
Entrance Fees & Touring:Entrance fees & activities as per itinerary