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Exploring Philippines

The Grand Tour

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 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.

Your Itinerary


Day 1 - Touchdown in Manila

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!

Day 2 - Explore historic Intramuros

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.

Day 3 - Trek up Mount Taal

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.


Days 4-5 - Rice terraces of Banaue

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.


Days 6-7 - Coffins and caves of Sagada

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.

Day 8 - Tabuk trekking and cultural heritage

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.

Days 9-11 - Soak up the sun in Boracay

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.


Days 12-14 - South to Bohol

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.

Days 15-17 - Mystical Siquijor

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.

Day 18 - Travel to Cebu

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 hotel for the night.


Days 19-20 - Palawan, the Last Frontier of the Philippines

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.


Days 21-24 - El Nido

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!

Day 25 - Bid farewell to the Philippines

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 £5200 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 can be found from £600 per person return – do ask us for advice. Alternatively we can book the flights for you but a booking fee may apply.

What's included?

  • Prices start from £5200 per person
  • Accommodation on B&B basis
  • Private transfers in an air-conditioned vehicle or by boat
  • Local taxes
  • Entrance fees
  • All excursions and activities mentioned in the itinerary
  • Internal flights and ferries
  • All trips are ATOL protected or ABTA bonded to ensure you are fully covered
Make a booking
The bustling capital city is home to historic Intramuros and Rizal Park. Let us arrange a bicycle tour of the walled city so you can explore the narrow streets and learn about the nation's colonial past. More
Ancient rice terraces in Batad, coffins mounted on a cliff in Sagada, the Cordillera is home to some of the most unique and fascinating bits of the Philippines. More
Some of the best preserved Spanish colonial architecture in the world can be found in Vigan. Wander the cobbled streets, sample the Spanish-influenced cuisine, and relax in one of the city's historic boutique hotels. More
Sink your toes into the white sands of Boracay. Grab a cocktail, take it easy, and watch the clear blue water lap against the shore. When night falls, join the parties of District Two or slip away to romantic Diniwid beach. More
Chocolate hills, tiny tarsiers, Boholano art, beautiful beaches, and some lovely snorkeling and diving make Bohol one of our favorite parts of the Philippines. The gorgeous boutique resorts don't hurt, either! More
Negros Oriental
The island of Negros is home to world-class diving off the coast of Dauin and on neighboring Apo Island. Waterfalls and adventure are just a day trip away from the university town of Dumaguete. On neighboring Siquijor settle in to the tranquility of an island known for sorcery and healing powers. More
Negros Occidental
On the west coast of Negros you'll find Bacolod, the city of smiles. Sugar plantations in the area host historic mansions and in October, the streets come alive with the annual MassKara festival. More
Puerto Princesa
The gateway to Palawan, Puerto Princesa sits near one of the longest subterranean rivers in the world. Let us arrange a stay for you at a beachside hotel with mountain views just a short boat ride away. More
El Nido
When people refer to Palawan as the most beautiful island in the world, images of El Nido come to mind. Limestone cliffs jut from aquamarine water, lush jungle fills the interior, and the coasts are lined with dazzling beaches. Some of the finest resorts in the country dot the islands around this northern bit of Palawan. More
For divers, the WWII shipwrecks of Coron are one of the highlights of the Philippines. Natural hot springs, clear blue lakes, isolated beaches, and a rather surprising game reserve and wildlife sanctuary make Coron a fun destination for divers and landlubbers alike. More
Puerto Galera
Fast drift dives and schools of big fish await experienced divers in Puerto Galera while shallow macro dives make for excellent underwater photography, relaxing night dives, and the perfect place to learn or improve your dive skills. More
Tubbataha Reefs
The greatest variety of marine life in the Philippines is within Tubbataha Reefs National Marine Park; only accessible for diving mid-March to mid-June

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