We are delighted to announce that we have added the wonderful Philippines to our selection of extraordinary destinations!
Discover the beauty of the Philippines, Southeast Asia’s lesser visited gem as part of our brand-new tour! Journey from the stunning rice terraces in the northern highlands, down to colonial Vigan and the sand dunes of Laoag, before heading south to end your stay on the beautiful beaches of Bohol. Let’s tell you a little bit more about this tour…
Fly from the UK to the cosmopolitan city of Manila, arriving in the evening. Upon arrival, you’ll be transferred to your hotel, where you can get some rest or explore the city at leisure. Manila is one of the most densely populated cities in the world, with a population of 1.6million spanning across its 16.56sqm.
After a rest, you’ll arise the next day and get right into the heart of Manila with a tour of the Intramuros city. Intramuros is also known as the walled city and houses many cathedrals and stone carvings. Coming to life during the time of the Spanish colonial period, its origin and history is still apparent with beautiful landmarks such as Fort Santiago, San Agustin Church Museum and Manila Cathedral. Horse drawn carriages (known locally as Kalesa) are common in this area and add to the historic feel of the area.
Once the tour is done, you’ll escape the city and head to the north, in search of the rolling hills of Pampanga.
Today is all about an unforgettable experience, however this is where the level 3 physical rating comes in, as you will have the opportunity to hike up to the magnificent crater lake of Mount Pinatubo and visit a local indigenous village. This hike takes around 3 hours in total, and once you reach the crater you can relax and enjoy the green-blue crystal clear waters. The lake in the crater is approximately 2.7km wide and is said to be one of the most beautiful things to see in the Philippines.
For those that might find this hike a little to strenuous, there are other options whereby you can enjoy the nature trails at the nearby Green Canyon resort – which provide an easier walk and beautiful scenery.
Today head further north to the highlands (known locally as Cordilleras) the gateway to the rice terraces of Luzon. On route, you’ll make a pit stop in the town of Bacolor to visit its most iconic sight the San Guillermo Church. Whilst in Bacolor, there are plenty of other things to see, such as the San Fernando Train Station, Santa Monica Parish Church and Betis Church and again you’ll get a real sense of Spanish colonial architecture.
After a good night’s rest, you’ll rise and then jump on board a Jeepney, which is the most popular form of transport in the Philippines. Known for their brightly decorated exterior, they have become a symbol of Philippine culture and art. Your Jeepney will take you into the highlands, where you will disembark and enjoy a walk through the rolling rice terraces, which provide some of the most spectacular scenery you’ll ever see.
The walk ends when you arrive at a hot spring, where you can bathe and relax in its warm waters and the nearby rockpool, before walking back to your Jeepney to return for the evening.
Today is most certainly an extraordinary experience. You’ll take a day trip to Sagada which is a town in the Cordillera Mountains. Here you can wander through the caverns and along towering cliff edges to see the fascinating hanging coffins and burial caves of Sagada.
The reason for the coffins being nailed to the side of the cliff edge is due to the belief from the tribes that the higher the dead were placed – the greater chance they had of the spirits reaching a higher nature in the afterlife.
Considered the Philippines summer capital, Baguio City known as the ‘City of Pines’ is a mountain town of resorts and universities. The weather here is much cooler, which is why locals head there in the summer months. The centre of the city has a beautiful park with gardens and a lake, and if you get the chance to visit the nearby Baguio Cathedral – we highly recommend it. Whilst here you will get to experience a local market, visit the presidential mansion and take part in a weaving workshop.
Head further north and step back in time as you visit the historic town of Vigan. This city is well known for its preservation of the spanish colonial architecture, rustic mansions and cobbled streets and is the only UNESCO World Heritage city in Southeat Asia! Wander through the city on the cobbled streets and visit local colonial houses and museums, before visiting a local potter, for a pottery demonstration.
Head north one last time to experience the city of Laoag. This is the biggest city in Northern Philippines and houses the industrial hub, political buildings and the Ilocos Regions busiest commercial airport.
Whilst this city is very metropolitan, it also has a more famous sight, which draw tourists in every year – the La Paz sand dunes. The sand dunes are protected and stretch along the coast behind the city, forming a coastal sand desert, which is a fascinating sight.
After visiting the sand dunes, it’s time to head to the airport to fly back to Manila.
After a restful night in Manila, it’s up and aboard a morning flight to the beautiful island of Bohol. Here you’ll find white sandy beaches, coral reefs and unusual geological formations. You’ll start your journey here by exploring Panglo Island – which looks just like paradise on earth. You’ll explore the Hinagdanan Cave which is a naturally lighted series of caverns with large stalactites and stalagmites over a deep lagoon. The cave is actually lit by sunlight, which flows in through the holes in the ceiling.
From here you’ll visit a local Bohol Bee Farm, which is an agricultural haven, situated high up in the cliffs on Bohol island. Here you will be shown around and even get to sample some homemade organic ice-cream.
Today you’ll head to the geological marvel known as the Chocolate Hills. Unfortunately, not made of chocolate, these small mounds form a visual sensation across a 50sqkm area of land. There are believed to be as many as 1,776 hills are all covered in green grass, which turns brown in the dry season, hence giving them their name of the Chocolate Hills.
Enjoy lunch on a river cruise as you soak up yet more sights of the Bohol Province and Loboc River before spending the afternoon at one of the cutest places on earth – the Tarsier Sanctuary. Tarsiers are the smallest primates in the world, and are often referred to as Tarsier monkeys, however they are actually a form of primate inbetween a monkey and a lemur.
Tarsiers grow to about 9-16cm (3-5.6inches long) at their biggest, excluding their tails – which can grow to twice their body length! Tarsiers are carnivorous animals and their diet consists mostly of insects, however – they have been known to eat small birds, bats, lizards and snakes and despite their small stature; hunt their pray by fast agile movements and jumping from branch to branch. The sanctuary you’ll visit has information on the tarsiers, including research and conservation of these beautiful big-eyed creatures.
You’ll start the day by taking the ferry to Cebu island, which is one of the longest and narrowest islands in the Philippines. Stretching 196km from top to toe, its only 32km at its widest point. The beaches and coves here are stunning, with white sandy beaches and turquoise waters but it’s the rainforest that often gets overlooked. Home to a large number of waterfalls, the most famous of which being the Kawasan Falls, where you can bathe and swim in the waters, as well as watch brave tourists jump from the great heights of the falls.
You’ll be taken on a tour of the city of Cebu, which finishes with great views overlooking the city and bay. One thing you must do whilst visiting here is try the local delicacy Lechon (which we know as roast Suckling Pig).
Fly home from Cebu to the UK.
This tour is fully inclusive of meals, tour transportation and accommodation, as well as the cost including international flights and taxes.
With a physical rating level of 3, this 14 day Go Beyond category tour is suitable for those who are comfortable with being a little bit more active on their tour. Whilst we don’t mean mountain climbing or jungle trekking, it is important to note that the terrain some of the excursions take place on are of natural stance and therefore appropriate footwear and caution will need to be taken.
This tour can be viewed and booked online, or by calling us on 0330 173 1497.
Book an appointment
Did you know that you can now book an appointment with one of our experts at our London Head Office? Appointments are available between 10am and 4pm Monday-Friday
We look forward to welcoming you to the Philippines very soon.