Discovery of the Philippines

21 Days, from AU $6,844

Palawan

Banaue

Bearcat

Willy's Rock, Boracay

Tarsier

El Nido

Come to the Philippines and discover some of the highlights of this truly remarkable country, trek through the immense rice terraces of Banaue, get up close to the world’s smallest monkey in the forests of Bohol. Swim at postcard perfect beaches in Boracay and Palawan and marvel at the sight of whales and dolphins from a boat in the Tañon Strait.

Our Discovery itineraries explore a destination in depth, with carefully selected experiences, and ample free time for relaxation. Like all GetAboutAsia trips, Discovery itineraries can be customised to create your perfect holiday. Discuss itinerary options and extensions with our Asia Travel Experts.

Suggested Itinerary

Day 1: Manila

You will meet your guide on arrival, transfer and check-in to your hotel. During the drive your guide will provide an introduction to Manila, answer any questions you have, and make arrangements for the following day. Enjoy free time for the remainder of the first day.

Located on the eastern shore of Manila Bay on the island of Luzon, Manila is the capital city and the gateway to the 7,107 islands of the Philippines. The city is the centre of government and the political, economic and industrial heart of the country. You will find Manila to be an interesting mix of the old and the new, where you will find old colonial Spanish churches in the shadows of gleaming high-rise structures. Manila is an ever-expanding metropolis that is constantly drawing people in from across the country looking for work, and swallowing up the surrounding villages and rice fields in the name of new development.

Day 2: Manila

This morning set out on a tour of Manila. Visit Rizal Park, where the Philippines’ national hero Dr José Rizal was executed in 1896, sparking the revolution against the Kingdom of Spain. Continue on to Fort Santiago, the seat of the Spanish government in the 17th century, the Manila Cathedral, Casa Manila, San Agustin Church and its museum.

The tour will also include a visit to the bizarre Chinese Cemetery, the ”lechon” factory and the business district of Makati City.

Enjoy the rest of the afternoon free at leisure.

Day 3: Baguio

This morning depart Manila on a two hour drive for the town of Bacolor in the province of Pampanga. Bacolor was among hundreds of towns and villages which were devastated by the eruption of Mt Pinatubo in June 1993. Take a tour of the town, visiting the Basilica which is now half buried in lahar. Mt Pinatubo's wrath continues to wreak havoc on the lives of the villagers every year as the monsoon rains carry more lahar from the bowels of the mountain, further burying the town under more muddy layers. Townsfolk have tried to adapt to living so close to this volcano by building houses on stilts.

From Bacolor it is a four hour drive through the countryside, ascending up through zigzagging roads, to Baguio, the summer capital of the Philippines due to its cool climate, and the gateway to the Cordillera Mountains. On arrival check in to your hotel then set out on an afternoon sightseeing tour of Baguio City. Visit Burnham Park, Mines View Park, Camp John Hay, Baguio Cathedral, Tam-Awan Village with its reconstructed Ifugao and Kalinga huts, Woodcarver’s Village and Saint Louis Filigree Shop.

Day 4: Sagada

This morning after breakfast, depart for Sagada via the La Trinidad Valley. This scenic drive along the Halsema mountain highway, will give you breathtaking views of the tiny villages in the valleys below as well as the vegetable terraces farmed by Benguet tribes.

On arrival into Sagada check into your hotel then set out to explore this quaint little town. With its towering pine trees, famous hanging coffins, subterranean caves used as burial grounds by the natives, eminent limestone cliffs and scenic falls, Sagada is an incredibly unique and picturesque place to visit. You will have the opportunity to hike along some easy going trails which lead to some mountain summits with outstanding panoramic views.

Day 5: Banaue

This morning depart Sagada, driving along winding mountain roads to the town of Bontoc. Bontoc is the historical capital of the Cordillera mountain province and home of the Bontoc Tribe, an indigenous people who actively engaged in tribal warfare up until the 1930s.

Visit the Bontoc Museum, founded by the Belgian nuns who have been active in this area for decades. The museum displays local artefacts and old photos and has a number of traditional houses that you can look around.

In the afternoon continue on to Banaue where you will see the breathtaking site of whole ranges of mountains, terraced from top to bottom for the cultivation of rice. The centuries old terraces have been sculptured and carved out of the steep mountain sides by the Ifugao people with nothing but their bare hands and crude stone implements.

Check in to your hotel and enjoy the evening at leisure.

Day 6: Banaue

Take a ride in a Jeepney to the junction where you will start your trek along the Batad Trail. From the head of the trail, hike over a steep ridge into the bowl shaped valley on the other side which has the most stunning rice terraces in the region.

In the afternoon, proceed to the village of Banga-An where you will meet the Ifugao village folk. You will have the chance to visit the wet market and witness a typical Ifugao market day.

At the end of the hike return to your hotel in Banaue.

Day 7: Banaue to Manila

This morning depart Banaue for Manila via the Philippine Friendship Highway, passing through the Central Plains of Luzon, the biggest rice farming province in the Philippines. Arrive back in Manila and check in to your hotel.

Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure.

Day 8: Dumaguete

This morning transfer to the domestic airport for a flight to Dumaguete, one of the top destinations in the country especially for divers and nature lovers. Dumaguete City is the centre of the province of Negros Oriental and is a quaint and charming place, rich in history and culture as well as in natural resources. You will meet your guide upon arrival at the airport then take a tour of Dumaguete City.

Visit the famous Siliman University, the oldest American University in the country which houses a breeding centre for the Philippines’ endangered spotted deer, the Prince Alfred Sambar. Stop at the Hikaban Cooperative and Claytown Pottery factory where you can observe how locals weave piña cloth and craft earthenwares. Other sights include the well landscaped Freedom Park, the new Aqua Sports Centre, the bustling public market, and the cathedral belltower.

A quick trip south of Dumaguete City to Bacong takes you to the Negros Oriental Arts and Heritage Centre which houses a stonecraft factory and showroom as well as the century old Bacong Church. Lastly, stop and ride a calesa (rickshaw) along a stretch of Rizal Boulevard, lined with white lamp posts and stately trees, and visit the souvenir shops along the downtown strip of the city.

A delectable meal awaits at Lab-as Seafoods, a popular restaurant by the sea, which offers fresh crabs, oysters, and other delicious local specialties.

Day 9: Dumaguete

This morning drive an hour north of Dumaguete City to Bais City, where, from Port Capiñahan, you will take an outrigger motorboat along the Tañon Strait, the narrow channel between Negros and Cebu Islands. This area is said to have one of the highest concentrations of Cetaceans in the world. Out of twenty four species of Cetaceans found in Philippine waters, eleven species are found in the Tañon Strait. Among these are several varieties of dolphins: spotted, spinner, striped, and bottlenose and the pygmy Sperm Whale.

Take a dip in the shallow waters of the Campuyo White Sandbar, or just laze on its fine, white sand. On the return journey you will cruise by Talabong Mangrove Island, a 400 hectare, protected mangrove forest which serves as natural habitat for many seabirds and other marine wildlife.

A visit will also be made to the Central Azucarera de Bais. Established in 1918, this sugar mill propelled the province’s sugar industry to flourish and become a major source of income. You will see early machines, implements and locomotives used in the production process all on display.

Day 10: Bohol

Transfer to the seaport for a two hour ferry boat ride to Bohol. The country's tenth largest island, Bohol is situated at the heart of the Visayan Islands and is adorned with natural beauty - rolling hills, crystal clear springs, verdant rivers and stunning white sand beaches. Along its coastline are numerous excellent dive spots such as Panglao, Pamilacan, Cabilao and Lapinin. Bohol is also famous for it’s “Chocolate Hills” and is home to the world's smallest monkey, the Tarsier.

Upon arrival in Tagbilaran, you will be met your guide and transfer to your resort. Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure.

Day 11: Bohol

Take a leisurely drive through the scenic countryside, past nipa palms, coconut plantations and rice fields to the Chocolate Hills. Head up to the highest point to view the 1,268 haycock hills which range in height from 40-120 metres. During the summer the dome shaped, grass covered hills dry up and turn brown, giving the appearance of rows of chocolate drops.

Drive down to the Loboc River and board a raft on which you will enjoy a typical Boholano country lunch while cruising down the Loboc River. You will also visit the Tarsier sanctuary to see these incredible, beautiful creatures, the oldest living mammal on the planet. The Tarsier is smaller than a child’s fist and has large, round eyes which make up a third of its face and a tail that is longer than its body, it is unlike any other mammal in the world.

You will also have the opportunity to visit Baclayon Church and the quaint city of Tagbilaran before returning to your hotel.

Day 12: Bohol

Enjoy a day at leisure in Bohol.

Day 13: Cebu

Transfer to the seaport for your ferry across to Cebu. Historic Cebu is where the Portuguese Captain Ferdinand Magellan planted the Cross of Christianity in 1521, it lies strategically placed at the centre of the Visayan Islands and has been a popular entry point to the Philippines among merchants throughout the centuries.

Upon arrival in Cebu, meet your guide and take a tour of the “Queen City of the South”. Visit its historical landmarks such as the Lapu Monument, Magellan's Cross and the Santo Nino Church. Drive through the colourful Carbon Market, scenic Beverly Hills and visit the Chinese Taoist Temple.

Check in to your hotel and enjoy the evening at leisure.

Day 14: Cebu

Enjoy a day at leisure in Cebu.

Day 15: Palawan

Transfer to the airport for the short flight across to Puerto Princesa in the province of Palawan, the Philippine island was rated by National Geographic Traveller magazine as the best island destination in the Southeast Asia region in 2007, and the 13th best island in the world. Known for its incredibly beautiful natural seascapes and landscapes, Palawan is one of the most bio-diverse islands in the Philippines.

Upon arrival you will meet your guide who will answer any questions you have and make plans for your stay. Transfer to your hotel and enjoy free time the remainder of the day.

Day 16: Palawan

Take the drive to Sabang and proceed to the wharf where you take a boat to the mouth of the Underground River. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this natural wonder features an 8.2km long, navigable underground river, reputed to be the world’s longest, that winds through a spectacular cave before emptying out in to the South China Sea. Cruise along this natural wonder, passing through cathedral sized chambers and wide hallways, taking in the many fascinating geological formations that are hidden beneath St. Paul Mountain.

At the mouth of the cave, ancient trees grow right along the water’s edge, framing an incredible clear lagoon. Monkeys, monitor lizards and squirrels find their niche on the beach near the cave. Visitors can also enjoy bird watching, trekking, paddling a boat through the mangroves and exploring deeper into the forest.

Day 17: Palawan

This morning head to the port and board a boat, setting sail to spot spinner dolphins. You can see up to 200 Dolphins frolicking in the water, leaping high in the air and riding the bow wave of your boat.

In the afternoon take a city tour of Puerto Princesa. The city has been acclaimed several times as the cleanest and greenest city in the Philippines. Visit the Palawan Museum located at Mendoza Park where you can get an impression of the history, art and culture of the people of this island group. Visit the Plaza Cuartel, the beautiful Immaculate Conception Cathedral and the Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Centre. Here they have a farm that breeds two endangered species of crocodile that are found in the country including the endemic Philippine Crocodile. There is also a small zoo where you can see the colourful nicobar pigeon, the raucous talking mynah, the elusive bearcat and several other animals that are found in Palawan.

You will also see the Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm, a prison without walls where inmates tend vast farms instead of idly spending time behind bars.

Day 18: Boracay

Transfer to the airport for your flight to Boracay. This world famous island, roughly shaped like a dumbbell, is seven kilometres long and one kilometre wide at the narrowest point. The island has more than 30 beaches and coves, among them the famous White Beach, four kilometres of pure white sand beach that is often rated amongst the world's best beaches. The water is shallow here, and its sand brighter and finer than most beaches in the archipelago.

Upon arrival at the airport you will be met by your guide and transferred to your resort, the rest of the day is at leisure.

Day 19: Boracay

Enjoy a day at leisure in Boracay.

Day 20: Boracay

Enjoy a day at leisure in Boracay.

Day 21: Manila

Transfer to the airport for your flight back to Manila. Upon arrival you will transfer to the international airport for your onwards flight.

Personalise Your Trip

Phone now to discuss options to personalise your itinerary.

Travel Styles

All Get About Asia trips have been designed to make sure you have an unforgettable travel experience. We have developed several trip styles to cater for our diverse range of travellers. Read what your ideal Get About Asia experience might look like here.

Standard:from AU $6,844
Superior:from AU $7,568
Deluxe:from AU $8,312

All GetAboutAsia prices are based on twin share and depend on availability and season. All our itineraries can be customised including international flights and extra nights. For questions or further information, Enquire Now!

Important Information

Accommodation:

Hotels each night of the itinerary (excluding your departure day). All GetAboutAsia accommodation is handpicked by us. Upgrades are available for this itinerary.

Inclusions:
  • All entrance fees
  • All transportation
  • Domestic flights
  • All accommodation with daily breakfast
  • Professional tour guides for all airport pickups, day tours and activities.
  • Lunch and dinner as indicated on trip notes. We do not include lunch or dinner where it is practical for you to make your own choices, as we find that GetAboutAsia customers prefer the freedom of eating what they want, which is one the of joys of travelling.
Notes:

This trip package includes 2 internal flights (Manila - Dumaguete, Cebu - Palawan, Palawan - Boracay and Boracay - Manila) which retail at about 200AUD per flight.

Price Dependent:

Availability of accommodation and season.

Trip Information

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