Philippines Adventure

16 days
from
£3,199
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Trip code: 
ALB
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group Adventure Holidays, Tailormade Adventures
Activity:
Culture & Discovery Holidays
Min age:
16
Group size:
5–16

Explore North Luzon and Palawan islands of Philippines

The Philippines is a land of over 7000 islands that is defined by its emerald rice terraces, smouldering volcanoes, unique Spanish-Filipino colonial architecture and white sand beaches. We start our adventure in the teeming capital of Manila before making our way to the mountains and lush countryside of North Luzon, home to hundreds of ethnic groups. After admiring the volcanic crater lake of Mt. Pinatubo and the tiered agricultural land of Banaue, we journey to the island of Palawan where we explore the underground network of rivers and caves in the Puerto Princessa N.P. We spend the end of our adventure in El Nido, amongst the enchanting lagoons with tranquil turquoise water and secluded beaches.

Highlights

  • Explore the thrilling city of Manila
  • Walk to the summit of the active volcano Mount Pinatubo
  • Visit the amphitheatre style rice terraces of Batad
  • Marvel at the firefly spectacle of the Iwahig River
  • Cruise through the underground river of Puerto Princesa
  • Explore the thousand islands and white sand beaches of El Nido, Palawan

Key information

  • Travel by private minibus, plane and boat
  • Two internal flights
  • Group normally 5 to 16 plus leader. Min age 16 yrs
  • 11 nights comfortable and standard hotels, 2 nights basic hotels.

What's included

  • 13 breakfasts and 4 lunches
  • All accommodation
  • London flights (if booking incl. flights)
  • Airport transfers
  • Tour leader throughout

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
Call us on
0208 772 3936
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

  • Day 1

  • Day 2

    Arrive Manila.

    Start Manila, a sprawling city with a unique mixture of the modern and historic. Keep an eye out for the ‘jeepney’s as these colourful and flamboyantly decorated vehicles originally made from jeeps left by the American troops after the war, are a great way to get around and experience the city as the locals do. If you aren’t too tired after the flight then it is possible to visit the Ayala Museum which features pre-colonial gold exhibits and a diorama of Philippine History.

    City Garden Grand Hotel or similar

  • Day 3

    Manila city tour.

    Today we embark on a tour of one of the world’s great metropolises, Manila. We’ll visit the World Heritage listed San Agustin Church before climbing aboard a calesa (a horse drawn carriage) to the Manila Cathedral. After pausing at Fort Santiago we’ll continue to the famous Chinese Cemetery to learn about the various temples, memorials and halls that were designed for Chinese citizens during Spanish rule. We will then head to Quiapo, the oldest district of Manila often referred to as the underbelly of the city and is the place for bargain hunting. In the afternoon we return to Makati, the modern, cosmopolitan district of Manila known for being the financial centre of the Philippines with numerous galleries, shopping malls and restaurants. Visiting both the old and the new today highlights the diversity this eclectic city has to offer.

    City Garden Grand Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 4

    Mt Pinatubo; walk to the summit, view crater lake. Transfer to Baguio.

    An early start this morning as we journey north for approximately 3 hours to reach the stop-off point for our visit to Mount Pinatubo. This active volcano, located in the Cabusilan Mountains, last erupted in 1991 after 600 years of deep slumber. It was previously obscured from sight and covered in dense forest which supported a population of several thousand indigenous people, the Aetas, who fled to the mountains during the Spanish conquest of the Philippines.

    We will board a 4x4 jeep and enjoy a thrilling drive across Crow Valley, a moon-like terrain with vast ash fields and rocky rivers. We will walk the last section of the trail as we head up towards the summit. The walk is approximately 2 hours each way, perhaps longer if there has been heavy rainfall, and has no steep inclines. Once at the crater summit we are rewarded with views of the crater lake and its deep turquoise colour (Mount Pinatubo is in a militarized zone and can be closed at short notice). After lunch we will transfer for another approx. 4 hours through the beautiful vistas and tiny villages of the Cordillera mountain range to Baguio City.
    Burnham Suites or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 5

    Baguio City Tour

    Today we explore the ‘City of Pines’ by foot and visit sites such as the centrally located Burnham Park, the rose-hued Baguio Cathedral and the newly opened Museo Kordilyera; an ethnographic museum that is part of the University Of The Philippines Baguio. We will also have the option to visit the Bumanghat's Wood Carving Shop and the BenCab Museum which features a national artist’s art collection. The rest of the day will be free to relax and enjoy the relatively cool mountain air.

    Burnham Suites or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Drive to Banaue; witness spectacular views of the rice terraces.

    Today we journey to Banaue, a region famed for its 2000 year-old rice terraces. Built by the Ifugao tribes and stretching as far as the eye can see, the emerald green terraces were carved out by generations of traditional farmers and remain one of Asia’s most spectacular sights, often being referred to as the ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’. Our guesthouse this evening is perched on the edge of the small village of Banaue and the restaurant delivers spectacular views across the valley. The transfer today will take approximately 7 hours however there will be regular stops to allow us to absorb this striking mountainous terrain.
    Banaue Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 7

    Day walk through terraces and traditional villages; swim option at Tappiyah Falls.

    We begin this morning with a stop at the viewpoints of the Banaue rice terraces before transferring to the small village of Batad. Forming an amphitheatre, the rice terraces here are the most spectacular as the concentric circles that line the mountain-side frame the village in the middle of the valley. After a walk through the terraces we will visit the vast Tappiyah waterfall, an ideal spot for a refreshing swim for those keen. The path to the waterfall is fairly steep with lots of steps so it may not be for everyone.

    Banaue Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 8

    Transfer to Pampanga; stay in the foothills of Mt. Arayat.

    Making our way through Central Luzon towards Manila, we journey for approximately 8 hours towards Magalang, a small town located in the Pampanga province. For those who would rather relax this afternoon the hotel swimming pool provides a great space to unwind.
    Abe's Farm or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 9

    Fly to Puerto Princesa, Palawan. Sunset river cruise to see the firefly spectacle.

    This morning, depending on flight schedules, we may have the option to start early and explore the modern town of Angeles and visit the City Museum which tells of the story of the town’s involvement in the Philippine Revolution and World War Two. We will then go to the airport to check in for our flight to the island of Palawan, the second leg of our Philippine adventure. Drastically different from the highlands of the north, Palawan is famed for its white sand beaches and spectacular National Parks. We will have a city tour of Puerto Princesa and then early evening drive to the Iwahig River, a clear wide river flanked by dense jungle on either side. We will meet our boat guide before boarding three-person paddleboats for a cruise through the mangroves; learning about the jungle mangroves and how to sky navigate is all the more magical as we watch the spectacle of thousands of fireflies that cluster on their favoured fragrant mangrove trees.
    One Manalo or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 10

    Visit the UNESCO site of the 8.2km underground river and cave system.

    Today we transfer to the famous World Heritage Site of Puerto Princesa underground river. This natural wonder features an 8.2km navigable river that winds through a spectacular cave before emptying into the South China Sea. ‘Cathedral’ chambers, cavernous caves and geological formations are viewed as we make our way through the river by boat. At the mouth of the cave ancient trees frame the clear lagoon and large monitor lizards are often seen along with macaque monkeys. It is a true biodiversity hotspot and a great place for tropical bird watching too. After lunch there will be the option to enjoy a mangrove paddle boat tour lead by the community to explore a deeper part of the forest.
    67th Heaven Resort or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 11

    To El Nido, the gateway to the Bacuit Archipelago famous for its blue lagoons and towering limestone karst cliffs.

    Right in the north western tip of Palawan is El Nido, one of the most picturesque and iconic places in the Philippines. Made up of hundreds of limestone islands said to have formed millions of years ago, El Nido is a marine reserve with only a few islands inhabited. Our journey to El Nido town, the gateway to the Bacuit archipelago will take approximately 4-5 hours and upon arrival there will be time to explore the small town.
    El Nido Cove or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 12

    Boat trip to explore the secluded coves; swim in the aquamarine waters of the West Philippine Sea.

    We take a boat tour today of the lagoons and beaches of El Nido. The Big and Small Lagoon’s tranquil turquoise-green waters, surrounded by orchid-lined limestone walls, showcase a kaleidoscope of marine life. We will also visit the ‘Secret Lagoon’; surrounded by limestone karst cliffs this secluded lagoon is only witnessed by entering through a tiny crack in the cliff that was once a vast cave. The final destination is Seven Commandos Beach named after the seven remaining Japanese commandos who remained on the island after World War II. The island has a long white sandy beach lined with palm trees. There will be ample opportunity to snorkel throughout the day and explore the amazing underwater ecosystem consisting of over 100 types of coral.
    El Nido Cove or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 13

    Free time to relax in this tropical paradise.

    Today is a full free day to further explore this dramatic coastline. Options available include hiring a bicycle to discover more of the coastline, a kayaking tour of the archipelago, a hike to a waterfall and Nacpan Beach or simply chose to relax in a hammock admiring the view from our beachside hotel.
    El Nido Cove or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 14

    Transfer to airport; fly to Manila.

    We spend the morning driving back to the south of Palawan to Puerto Princesa airport for our return flight to Manila. The journey will take approximately 6 hours and passes through lush greenery and agricultural land. Upon arrival we will transfer to our centrally located hotel in Manila. There will be a final optional group dinner at a local restaurant.
    City Garden Grand Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 15

    Depart Manila.

    End Manila.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 16

Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

Philippines

No visa required for British passport holders. Citizens of most countries are allowed to enter the Philippines without a visa for a stay of up to 21 days, provided they hold a valid return ticket.

Vaccinations

Philippines

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Diphtheria, Yellow Fever.

Malaria prophylaxis is essential on this trip, and we suggest that you seek advice from your GP or travel health clinic about which malaria tablets to take.

Zika fever is a mosquito-borne viral disease and a known risk in places visited on this trip. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Bilharzia is known to occur in some of the lakes or rivers visited on this itinerary, we therefore advise all to take advice from your guide or leader locally before venturing for a swim.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts and 4 lunches included.

Filipino food is an exotic, tasteful fusion of Chinese, Spanish and American with Malay culinary influences. There is a wide variety of fresh seafood available throughout. The national dish is adobo, which is either chicken or pork, or both, simmered in soy and vinegar with garlic and black pepper. Another delicacy is Lechon de leche; roasted suckling pig. Almost every dish is served with portions of plain steamed rice (kanin). Coconut, soy, vinegar and fish sauce are widely used to add flavour.

Western food will be available in some areas but cannot be guaranteed. Vegetarian food is available in the Philippines, however the concept of vegetarianism can be misunderstood so if you are a vegetarian please be clear and state that you don't eat meat, chicken or fish.The best beer to try is Red Hortse although a fresh coconut juice is a refreshing alternative. Locally made rum is called Tanduay rum and it is worth trying Tapuy, which has a distinctive smoky flavour.

Is this trip for you?

The Philippines is a huge country and whilst this tour focuses on the islands of North Luzon and Palawan there is still a considerable amount of ground to cover in just over 2 weeks. The itinerary is scheduled in such a way as to not feel too rushed and there are various activities scheduled every day. Most drives are reasonably short but there are, however, longer drives of between 5 and 8 hours. On the longer driving days the journeys will be broken up with regular stops and meal breaks and the leader will of course be discussing the landscape and highlights we pass through.

The walks through villages and rice paddies are not very strenuous and accessible to everyone with a moderate level of fitness. We recommend that you should be comfortable walking for a couple of hours at a time with some undulations but there are no steep inclines. When travelling in some areas of the country, service may not be as fast or reliable as you are used to in other countries and Filipino attitude towards certain things such as animal welfare and food may differ from your own. That said, if you come ready for an experience the country's rewards will not fail to deliver.

Call us on
0208 772 3936
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Hotels

We use a mixture of hotels of varying standard. Most are ‘standard’ or ‘comfortable’ (3/4 star type hotels) but we do have few nights in ‘basic’ guesthouses, in Banaue and Barangay. Our accommodation at Mt. Arayat, may have different room types and we will generally try to allocate the better rooms to the members of the group who booked earlier. Tourism is still relatively new to the Philippines and as such you should be prepared for the service and the quality of the hotels to be less than in neighbouring south‐east Asian countries such as Vietnam and Thailand. Wi‐Fi is available at most of the accommodation but this can sometimes be limited just to the communal areas.

Single accommodation (available on request)

Call us on
0208 772 3936
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

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Dates & Prices

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An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

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