This is the ultimate tour of the Philippines. Get a feel for the country’s history in the province of Luzon. Start in Manila with a visit to Intramuros then head to the heritage town of Taal and trek up a volcano of the same name. Go north into the Cordillera to marvel at ancient rice terraces and hanging coffins. Meet traditional weavers and learn about the old ways of life. Then fly to the white sand beaches of the Visayas. Sip cocktails in Boracay, get a glimpse of tiny tarsiers in Bohol, visit a healer in mystical Siquijor, and take it easy on the beaches along the way. Round out your tour in Palawan visiting the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River and island hopping amongst the limestone cliffs of El Nido.
All of our itineraries are suggestions as we customize every trip we create. Email our Philippines expert at email@example.com or even better, give her a ring at (UK) 020 7112 0019 to begin planning your tailor made holiday.
In 2018, the island of Boracay closed to visitors for environmental rehabilitation. While now open, rehabilitation and renovation efforts are ongoing. Please contact us to tailor this itinerary to your preferences and to discuss whether and when to next visit Boracay.
This afternoon your overnight flight arrives in Manila, an energetic city with a historic heart. Your private driver will greet you at Ninoy Aquino Manila International Airport and transport you to your comfortable accommodation. We’ve not planned anything for this afternoon to allow you to recover from your flight, so relax or head out for a wander!
Today you will tour the walled city of Intramuros on bamboo bicycles. Your guide will explain the history of the walled city as you cycle leisurely along on a hand-made bicycle. See the UNESCO-designated Saint Augustin Church, Fort Santiago, and other historic buildings. Exploring by bicycle allows you to see more of this historical area and absorb the sights and sounds of what was once the heart of Manila. The tour including time to reach Intramuros and return to your hotel takes approximately 4 hours. You may wish to have lunch in the old city, and the remainder of the day is at your leisure.
Today your private guide will take you to Mount Taal, an active volcano in the middle of a lake. After a short trek to the summit, visit the ancestral heritage houses of the town of Taal, founded in 1572. Return to Manila for the night.
Rise early to beat the Manila traffic and head north to Banaue. As you venture into the Cordillera Mountains you’ll stop at historic monuments and view points along the way. Your guide in Banaue will take you out in a private jeepney to the stunning rice terraces of Batad. Visit the farming community of Banga-an to see the traditional Ifugao homes before beginning the walk to the rice terraces. These 2,000-year-old terraces are fed by an irrigation system just as old. If you’re up for more, your guide can lead you to a waterfall before you return to your jeepney and the ride back to Banaue.
Your private driver and guide will take you through more mountains to Sagada. On the way you’ll have stunning views of the rice terraces and a stop at the Bontoc Museum. Sagada and other Igorot towns resisted the 16th century Spanish conquest of the Philippines. Traditional culture survived the centuries including the unique burial practices of hanging coffins. Your guide will take you to see some of these and the Lumiang Burial Cave where more than 100 coffins are stacked in the entrance.
Hike up to the village of Bugnay where homes are built into rice terraces and traditional tattoo artists still practice their craft. Visit the weaving community of Lubuangan and meet some of the women who carry on the Kalinga weaving traditions. Overnight in the town of Tabuk.
Travel to the island of Boracay via air and water. Enjoy the white sand beaches, fine restaurants, and a few days to take it easy.
Travel via water and air to the island of Bohol and settle in to your accommodation in Panglao. You’ll have time here to dive, snorkel, relax on the beach, and get in a private tour to see the tarsiers, chocolate hills, and a cruise along the Loboc River.
Travel by ferry to the small island of Siquijor known for magic, sorcery, and healing. One day, you’ll get a full tour of the island including visits to a traditional healer, Cambugay Falls, and the century-old Balete Tree with its natural fish spa. Enjoy time on this quiet island or consider a snorkeling trip to neighboring Apo Island one day.
You’ll be leaving the Visayas soon so board a 5-hour ferry ride to Cebu. Your driver will collect you at the pier in Cebu for a ride to your quirky, comfortable hotel for the night.
Fly to Puerto Princesa where you’ll be driven to your beachside resort in Sabang. Enjoy a half-day tour of the UNESCO-designated Subterranean River, walk the beach, and settle in to the slow, disconnected pace of life on Palawan.
It’s a six-hour drive to El Nido through the lush jungle of Palawan but once you arrive, you’ll have four nights to wind down your trip. We’ve arranged for one full day of island-hopping and a half-day of exploration to a waterfall and remote beach. The rest of the time is yours to dive, snorkel, and relax. By the time you leave, you may begin plotting your next trip to this beautiful country!
This morning you’ll head for the El Nido airport to catch your flight to Manila. From there, connect to your flight homeward. Safe travels!
This itinerary costs from £4350 per person B&B and is based on two people sharing during the high season (Nov-May) excluding the Christmas and New Year, Chinese New Year, Easter, and other holiday periods. The price includes all private transfers and domestic travel but not international flights.
International flights tend to cost between £400 and £700 per person return – do ask us for advice. Alternatively we can book the flights for you but a booking fee may apply.