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PHI Overview

Philippines

HIGHLIGHTS

• Experience the traditional way of life in Banaue 
• Hike in the stunning Hapao terraces 
• Visit the burial site and hanging coffins of Echo Valley 
• Explore UNESCO World Heritage town of Vigan 
• View Mayon Volcano and its near-perfect cone 
• Swim or snorkel with whale sharks in Dongol, dugong (manatee) and giant sea turtles at Apo Island Marine Sanctuary 
• Savor traditional flavors during your Filipino cooking experience 
• Visit the Chocolate Islands, known as the 8th Wonder of the World 
• Explore white-sand beaches, turquoise waters, coral reefs, and splendid limestone rock formations of El Nido 
• Enjoy a 2-day majestic castaway camping experience

FACT FILE

• 28 land days 
• Maximum 16 travelers 
• Start and finish in Manila 
• All meals included 
• Includes 6 internal flights
• Activity Level: 3

FROM: $9,995 USD
 

DATES, PRICES & AVAILABILITY

     

ACCOMMODATIONS

Private bathrooms throughout except during the tented camping experience days 22 & 23 in solo tents with a mattress. Basic accommodation in Sagada days 6 & 7.

COMFORT NOTES

• Walks on days 4 & 5 can be challenging, steep with inclines (but optional)

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The Philippines is an archipelago of over 7,000 islands, in southeastern Asia between the South China Sea and the Pacific Ocean. Its extensive coastline are dotted with white sand beaches and turquoise blue waters that are teeming with marine life, corals and lush foliage. 

In Manila, we stay at the famous Manila Hotel, longtime home of General MacArthur and shorter stays by Nelson Mandela, Marlon Brando, King Charles, the Beatles, Sammy Davis Jr. just to mention a few. We journey to the north to seldom visited Banaue, to get a glimpse into a more traditional way of life, where you find the original inhabitants of the Philippines. We travel from the stunning highlands with its steep terraces to the lowlands, including the UNESCO World Heritage town of Vigan. Learn to make the unique Filipino dishes "Laing" and "Bicol Express" the traditional way. 

Witness, swim and snorkel with the world’s largest congregation of whale sharks at Donsol, see the giant sea turtles and dugong (manatee) in the Apo Island Marina Sanctuary. Island hop around El Nido which is famous for its white-sand beaches, turquoise waters, coral reefs, and splendid limestone rock formations.

For 2 nights we'll enjoy the 'castaway camping experience' on a pristine island where we sleep under the stars in our individual mesh tents. Our trip concludes in the paradise of Busuanga, with its white-sand beaches, coral reefs, dense rainforests, mangrove swamps and the crystal-clear lakes. 

ElderTreks 28-day tour of the Philippines offers perhaps the most in-depth experience of this incredibly beautiful, exotic and diverse country. 

PHI Detailed Itinerary
Detailed Itinerary

Click the PDF icon to download the

Philippines detailed itinerary

DAY 1: ARRIVE IN MANILA, PHILIPPINES

Upon arrival in Manila, you will be transferred to the hotel. We will have an orientation meeting followed by a welcome dinner. 
Overnight in Manila.

 

DAY 2: MANILA CITY TOUR AND FOOD CRAWL

This morning we embark on our city tour of Manila. We will drive to Quiapo Church and visit Quiapo Muslim Town by foot. Along our journey, we'll enjoy tasting some local foods from the Maranao cuisine. We will walk through the downtown district of Binondo, passing through to the historic Escolta Street. In Chinatown, we'll sample some of the authentic Chinese cuisine.

Afterwards, we'll have a Jeepney ride (small mini bus) from Binondo Church to Fort Santiago, and enjoy a walking tour of the old walled city of Intramuros. At Laloma “Lechon Alley” we'll see the area famous for roasted pig, lined with large roasting pits. Time permitting we will visit either the Chinese Cemetery or the American WWII Memorial Cemetery in Fort Bonifacio. 
Overnight in Manila.

 

DAY 3: MANILA TO TRADITIONAL BANAUE

After an early breakfast, we depart for a long drive (10-12 hours) to Banaue. Despite the lengthy journey, many visitors consider the trip well worth it. Banaue is a unique and breathtaking destination that offers a glimpse into a more traditional way of life in the Philippines. Enroute, we will stop at Bacolor Church, which is known for its captivating beauty and historical significance. After the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in 1991, Bacolor Church (and the surrounding area) was covered in lahar (combination of volcanic ash and mud). If you look closely at the church walls, you’ll see the tips of the original windows peeking out from the ground.

Upon arrival, we check into our hotel where we will have dinner and a cultural show featuring the Indigenous Ifugaos.  
Overnight in Banaue.

 

DAY 4: BANAUE RICE TERRACES: HAPAO

This morning we will embark on the Hapao trek which takes about 1.5- 2 hours and covers a distance of approximately 6 km/4 miles. (There are some stairs and handrails along the whole trail.) The trail passes through lush forests, small villages, and several rice terraces. Along the way, hikers will have the opportunity to interact with the locals and learn about their way of life. We'll have the opportunity to take a dip in both hot and cold springs in a popular wellness activity known as hydrotherapy. We'll have lunch at an Inn which is situated on its own mountaintop and overlooks terraces in 3 directions. 

The Hapao terraces are not as well-known as the terraces in Batad and Banga-an. Instead of the steep amphitheater-style design of other terraces, the Hapao terraces are more sweeping, with a mild inclination that makes it a relatively easier trek, but no less impressive. This would be the “warmup” before Batad, the next day. 

Overnight in Banaue.

 

DAY 5: STUNNING TERRACES OF BATAD; BANGAAN

After an early breakfast, we hop on a local Jeepney to visit the town market. From there, it’s about an hour drive to the starting point of the Batad trek. The Batad trail is more challenging (compared to Hapao), with steep inclines and steps, rocky pathways, and barrow footpaths. It takes more effort, which ultimately make the views that much more spectacular. The Batad Rice Terraces are a must-see experience for anyone visiting the Philippines, and possibly one of its most famous landmarks. The landscape is truly unforgettable, and the trek itself is an adventure that you will remember for years to come. (Everyone will walk 1.5 km to the viewing deck. For those not wishing to continue on the more difficult trek, it is possible to wait for the group at the local restaurant.) 

We'll have lunch at a local restaurant, overlooking the terraces and trek back to the Jeepney and on to the next village. At Bangaan Village the trek takes us through well-maintained trails that loop through the terraced rice fields where we will encounter local people from the village and see some of their traditional houses.
Overnight in Banaue.

DAY 6: TO SAGADA; BAYO VILLAGE

After breakfast, we'll take a 3 hour drive to Sagada, stopping along the way at the Banaue Viewpoints, Bayo Village, and Bontoc Museum. The Bontoc Museum was founded by Belgian nuns, whose goal was to document and preserve the rich cultural heritage of the Ifugao. 
Upon arrival in Sagada, we have free time in the afternoon to explore the town and decompress after the previous days’ hiking and long rides. 
Overnight in Sagada.

 

DAY 7: WALKING TOUR OF SAGADA

Today we enjoy a walking tour of Sagada, but first to Echo Valley to see the hanging coffins. The trail is not difficult, however it’s a lot of steep inclines as Sagada is up in the mountains, and the access to the burial sites are on lower levels. Steep steps lead down to an enormous, lichen-furred cave where more than 100 coffins are stacked at the entrance; the oldest coffin is believed to be about 500 years old. 
Overnight in Sagada.

 

DAY 8: TO HISTORIC TOWN OF VIGAN (UNESCO)

After an early breakfast, we will have a scenic drive from the highlands of Sagada to the flatlands of Ilocos (approx. 7 hours) with lunch at a local restaurant enroute. The afternoon is free to explore Calle Crisologo and its varied artisanal and souvenir shops. We'll meet back at the hotel for dinner at a local restaurant. There is a lights & sounds spectacle in the evenings at the main plaza, called the Dancing Fountain, which is within walking distance to our centrally located classical style hotel. 
Overnight in Vigan.

 

DAY 9: EXPLORE VIGAN AND PAOAY; FLY TO MANILA

After breakfast, we'll visit the UNESCO World Heritage town of Vigan. The old quarter of the city has remained generally untouched and offers a unique glimpse into the mixture of Spanish, Mexican, and Chinese architecture brought together in a distinctly Filipino way. Aside from the historic Calle Crisologo, the heritage tour also includes Vigan Cathedral, an artisanal pottery demonstration and the Crisologo Ancestral House/Museum. Afterwards we'll drive to Paoay to visit the UNESCO Heritage St. Agustine Church of Paoay (locally known as “Paoay Church” ), famous for its distinctive architectural design – enormous buttresses that flank each side as protection against earthquakes. We'll have a quick visit to Laoag City before heading to the airport for the evening return flight to Manila.
Overnight in Manila.

 

DAY 10: FLY TO LEGAZPI; MAYON VOLCANO; FILIPINO CULINARY EXPERIENCE

We will take a flight from Manila to Legazpi. Upon arrival we will have a tour of Legazpi City and enjoy the famous “Bikolinarya Culinary Experience” where you learn to make the unique Filipino dishes "Laing" and "Bicol Express" the traditional way. 

The Bicol region is most famous for two things – Mayon Volcano and its near-perfect cone, and its cuisine. Most notably its unrestrained use of spices combined with coconut milk that have become its trademark. Legazpi is also the entry point to get to Donsol, the local community that offers sustainable and responsible excursions to see the whalesharks.

Overnight in Legazpi.

 

DAY 11: DONSOL; SNORKEL WITH WHALESHARKS

Donsol is one of the few places in the world that can offer almost assured whale shark sightings from November to June. The name Donsol has become synonymous to whale sharks as the world’s largest congregation of whale sharks are found here. The whale sharks of Donsol stay in this natural environment longer than any other place in the world. With simple snorkelling equipment, you will have the opportunity to swim alongside these gentle giants.
Overnight in Legazpi.

 

DAY 12: FLY TO DUMAGUETE VIA CEBU

Today we fly to Cebu and connect to our onward flight to Dumaguete. The afternoon is free to decompress from a long day of travel. For those wishing (and time permitting), we may be able to arrange for some spa treatments to unwind after a busy few days of traveling.
Overnight in Dumaguete.

 

DAY 13: APO ISLAND MARINE SANCTUARY

Apo Island, located off the coast of Dumaguete, is small 74-hectare volcanic island and the oldest community-run marine sanctuaries in the Philippines. The island boasts of immense coral reefs and diverse marine life, but is most famous as a protected area for giant sea turtles. Sea turtles swim and graze leisurely all around the island’s waters, unbothered by visitors. The marine sanctuary runs along 0.5 km of the islands southeast coast and has become a popular dive and snorkelling site due to the wonderful biodiversity found amongst its turquoise blue coastal waters.
Overnight in Dumaguete.

 

DAY 14: FERRY TO SIQUIJOR; CAMBUGAHAY FALLS

We take an early morning ferry to Siquijor where we will check in to our next hotel. We'll enjoy an afternoon excursion to the stunning Cambugahay Falls, famous for its 3-tier waterfall with some of the most beautiful turquoise water you will ever see, hidden away in the dense green jungle. We will have time for for swimming, hiking and relaxing. 
Overnight in Siquijor.

 

DAY 15: SIQUIJOR ISLAND TOUR; BOLO-BOLO HEALING RITUAL

Today we embark on the Siqujor coastal scenic tour, which includes the 400-year old Banyan tree (considered by many locals to be a mystical focal point on the island), St. Isidore Church and Convent, with lunch at the Cambugahay Waterfalls. We will also be able to visit to a local bolo-bolo healer, to see one of the local healing rituals of Siquijor. The healing ritual involves using a clear glass of water, black stone and pipe. Using the pipe, the healer blows into the glass of water, moving it across the affected area of the patient’s body. The water in the glass slowly becomes murky, filled with brown and cottony organic matter believed to be the bad elements removed from the patient’s body. The process is repeated a few times until the water remains clear, an indication that the impurities causing the disease were gone.
Overnight in Siquijor.

 

DAY 16: TO BOHOL VIA CHOCOLATE HILLS; TARSIER SANCTUARY; LOBOC RIVER CRUISE

We have an early morning ferry to Bohol. Upon arrival, we'll start with a tour of the Bohol countryside. Enroute, we see the Chocolate Hills, which are a slight mystery to locals and visitors alike and sometimes called the Eighth Wonder of the World. We'll visit Tarsier Sanctuary, which has the smallest primates that are mostly found in Southeast Asia — tarsiers. We'll enjoy a lunch cruise on the Loboc River before visiting the cool and shady manmade forest, with its white and red mahogany trees. It is part of a reforestation project started over 50 years ago. Our last stop is Baclayon Church, the oldest Christian settlement in Bohol. 
Overnight in Bohol.

 

DAY 17: PAMILACAN MARINE SANCTUARY

Our day starts early in the morning, as we make our way to Pamilacan Island. If we’re lucky, our trip to the island will be accompanied by dolphins at play. Pamilacan Island is a community of former whale and dolphin hunters, who now operate as guides and guardians of the local marine life. Pamilacan is home to a diverse marine ecosystem, and is an excellent spot for diving and snorkelling. Balicasag Island is most famous for its coral gardens and its marine turtle sanctuary. The combination of these two islands showcases the rich marine biodiversity in Bohol’s waters.
Overnight in Bohol.

 

DAY 18: FERRY TO CEBU; FLY TO PUERTO PRINCESA; KITU-KITO FIREFLY WATCHING

We take an early morning ferry from Bohol to Cebu. Upon arrival in Cebu, we transfer to the airport for our flight to Puerto Princesa. We have some time to freshen up at the hotel before departing for Kitu-KiTo for firefly watching and dinner. We will learn about the mangrove area that house the fireflies before setting out by boat to see them sparkle at night  
Overnight in Puerto Princesa.

 

DAY 19: UNDERGROUND RIVER NATIONAL PARK

We have an early departure and a 2 hour drive to the Underground River National Park in Sabang.
We will take a small outrigger boat across the bay to the entrance of the river. The park features a spectacular limestone landscape with an underground river. One of the river's distinguishing features is that it emerges directly into the sea, and its lower portion is subject to tidal influences. The river is the longest navegable subterranean river in the world and is also a significant habitat for biodiversity conservation. We will learn the history and highlights of the river on our small paddleboat through a section of the cave. 

We will have free time after lunch at our resort to enjoy the beach, get a massage, or partake of another short boat tour of the nearby mangrove forest. 
Overnight in Sabang.

 

DAY 20: SABANG TO EL NIDO

After breakfast, we drive from Sabang to Puerto Princesa (approximately 5-6 hours). We will enjoy lunch en route at a local restaurant. We arrive in El Nido this afternoon and have some time to explore the town. El Nido is famous for its white-sand beaches, turquoise waters, coral reefs, and splendid limestone rock formations.
Overnight in El Nido.

DAY 21: ISLAND HOPPING IN PARADISE

We spend the day island-hopping in paradise on our El Nido cruise to deep-blue lagoons and white-sand beaches. We visit the Big Lagoon, Entalula Island, Snake Island, Secret Lagoon, Seven Commandos Beach, and Shimizu Island. 
Overnight in El Nido.

DAY 22: LINAPACAN CASTAWAY EXPERIENCE - SLEEPING UNDER THE STARS

Today we will set out for our castaway camping experience on the pristine island in the Linapacan area. We will have individual mesh tents for sleeping under the stars. Enjoy a fully staffed crew on the island including a chef, masseuse, and licensed boat crew for island hopping. 

We will sleep in individual mesh-type tents right on the beachfront. Each tent has a mattress, pillow, bed cover, and blanket. 
Overnight on an island in the Linapacan area.

DAY 23: LINAPACAN CASTAWAY EXPERIENCE; UNTOUCHED ISLANDS; BBQ

We continue our castaway island experience with more boat visits to untouched islands, as well as swimming and snorkelling. We will enjoy a BBQ feast at our campsite tonight. 
Overnight on an island in the Linapacan area.

DAY 24: ENCHANTING ISLANDS BY OUTRIGGER; TO EL NIDO

We depart the Linapacan area on an outrigger boat for a 2 hour journey. Along the way, we stop at enchanting islands, where we have time for swimming, snorkelling and a delightful picnic lunch. This scenic and leisurely journey adds an extra layer of adventure to our travel day. We arrive back in El Nido in the late afternoon. 
Overnight in El Nido.

DAY 25: FLY TO THE ISLAND OF BUSUANGA

After breakfast we have a morning flight to the large island of Busuanga. The area is an adventurer's paradise, with opportunities for kayaking, wreck diving, and island-hopping. The area is filled with white-sand beaches, coral reefs, dense rainforests, mangrove swamps and the crystal-clear lakes. 
Overnight in Coron, Busanga.

DAY 26: DUGONG (MANATEE) WATCHING

Dugong watching is a full-day excursion to several feeding grounds along the Busuanga coastline and two turtle islands for skin and scuba divers. If a dugong is spotted (they surface every 4 to 5 minutes), we watch the animal first from the boat (like whale watching) then approach the dugong by snorkelling. Since this excursion is operated in a natural and sustainable way, to limit the intrusion into the habitats of the dugong, there is no way to absolutely guarantee a sighting, however with a sizeable manatee population (there are currently 30 living in the bay) the chances are quite good. 
Overnight in Coron, Busanga.

DAY 27: FLY TO MANILA

We have a flight from Coron to Manila. Upon arrival we check in to our hotel and have some free time to visit some local sights including churches and museums, or for last-minute souvenir shopping. Tonight we will have our farewell dinner.
Overnight in Manila.

DAY 28: DEPARTURE

We bid a fond farewell to the Philippines as we transfer to the airport for our flights home.

 

PHI FAQs
FAQ's

HOW BIG ARE THE GROUPS? 

Each group is limited to 16 participants. Small groups are an important ingredient in adventure travel. They allow for more interaction and more personalized service throughout the itinerary.

WHAT IS INCLUDED IN THE TOUR PRICE?

All accommodations throughout; all meals, starting with dinner on day 1 and finishing with breakfast on departure day (i.e. the last day of the ElderTreks tour); bottled drinking water throughout the trip; all internal transportation; airport transfers on day 1 and departure day (i.e. the last day of the ElderTreks tour); all day trips and entrance fees as outlined in the itinerary; tips for hotels (porterage), bus driver, restaurants, national guides, and spot guides; services of a trip leader. 

WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED IN THE TOUR PRICE?

International flights, tips to ElderTreks tour leader, alcoholic drinks, visa’s and travel insurance, photo and/or video fees and public bathroom fees. Departure tax from the Philippines is not included in the tour cost.

ARE THESE “EDUCATIONAL” TOURS?

Yes, in the broadest sense of the word, “educational”. We visit museums, national parks and reserves and discussions on many aspects of history, culture and nature. But this is only a portion of the educational experience.  We believe that it is equally educational to meet local people on a non-commercial basis, visit their homes and even try to learn a few words in the native language. Sometimes the most “educational” moments are spent walking through a streets of a small town.

HOW DO WE TRAVEL DURING THE TOUR?

All land transportation is included in the land price of the trip. We travel by small aircraft (6 flights), motorized boats, ferries, van or microbus, Jeepney (small mini bus) and by foot.

WHAT ARE OUR ACCOMMODATIONS LIKE?

We stay in hotels, guesthouses and heritage inns with private bathrooms.  We have 2 nights of camping in solo tents with a mattress and bedding provided.  Bathrooms are a short walk away, as are private shower stalls. Accommodation at Sagada (2 nights) is family owned and simple with practical comforts. (Singles may need to share depending on how large the group is and how many singles are booked.)

WHAT ABOUT THE WEATHER?

While there is regional variations in temperatures in the Philippines, expect temperatures of between 79°F and 93°F (26°C and 34°C) in March.

WHEN IS PAYMENT DUE?

A non-refundable deposit of $500 USD (plus insurance if you require it) is due at time of booking and will reserve your place on the tour. Payment of the full land cost is due 120 days before departure. Cancellation charges are applicable and are outlined in the “Terms and Conditions” section of our brochure.

IS MEDICAL INSURANCE REQUIRED?

Insurance coverage is not included in the cost of your trip. Please note that medical insurance is not required for this adventure but is recommended. ElderTreks offers comprehensive travel insurance with Manulife for Canadian guests, and John Hancock for American guests.  Please CLICK HERE to view and purchase your insurance policy today. If you are purchasing insurance elsewhere, please ensure you provide the details to ElderTreks as soon as possible. 

 

WHAT SHOULD I TAKE ON THE TOUR?

There is a detailed “What to Take” list in our Trip Kit, which we will send to you after you have booked the trip.

WHAT MEALS ARE INCLUDED?

All meals during the itinerary are included starting with dinner on day 1, and finishing with breakfast on day 28. We eat a variety of local foods delivered in a wide range of settings. In many cases, we simply order a number of dishes and share, allowing you to sample new foods and decide what you enjoy best.

CAN YOU ARRANGE MY FLIGHTS?

We would be happy to take care of your air arrangements. ElderTreks offers personalized flight itineraries — not group flights. Stop over en route, come in a few days early, or extend your stay. Call us for a customized itinerary.

WHAT IF I WOULD LIKE MORE INFORMATION?

If you have any further questions about the adventure, please call our office for more details. A Trip Specialist will be happy to answer your questions. A Trip Kit containing further details on the destination will be sent to you once you have booked the trip.

PHI Dates & Prices
Dates & Prices

All pricing is currently listed in USD

*Single Supplement is the additional amount applied to the cost of the trip to those who are travelling solo and do not wish to share.

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Click here to view our    online Catalogue
 

Please Note:

ElderTreks will not be printing a 2023/2024 catalogue. We will only have an online version.

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