Day 1 - Manila
Welcome to Manila, Philippines. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm today. You can arrive at any time during the day as there are no activities planned until this important meeting, so please check with the hotel reception or the reception noticeboards for where and when it will take place. If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader. If you have free time to explore before the meeting, Manila is an intriguing, bustling and overwhelmingly chaotic city. With contradictions and surprises around every corner, Manila is packed full of things to see, do, taste and experience. Perhaps head out with the group in the evening to sample foods like lechon (whole roasted pig) and longganisa (Philippine sausage).
Notes: If you can't arrange a flight that will have you arrive at the hotel by early evening, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).
Day 2 - Puerto Princesa
Start the morning with a fun ride in a local jeepney through the streets of Manila, which are the most popular local form of transport in the Philippines. Start today's adventure with a visit to San Aguistin Church, the oldest stone built church located in the historical walled Intramuros in Manila. Continue onto Casa Manila, which is a colonial lifestyle museum that provides a glimpse into what it was like to live in Manila in the 19th century. From here travel to Fort Santiago; a Spanish Military Fortress that was built and reinforced for over 200 years. In the afternoon take the short flight from Manila to Puerto Princesa, which takes around an hour and twenty minutes. On arrival, you'll instantly see the slower pace of this island compared to busy Manila. 'Puerto', as the locals call it, is the capital of Palawan and has been internationally recognised as Philippines cleanest and greenest of all cities in the Philippines. Palawan has some amazing seafood restaurants, so perhaps head out in the evening and give one a try.
Day 3 - San Rafael Beach
Head out this morning in a private mini van and drive to Sabang, which should take about an hour and fifty minutes. Sabang is most famous for it's Subterranean River that's 8 kilometres in length and passes through a magnificent limestone cave that opens onto the ocean. Jump into a boat with a local guide and explore this great cave complex, and remember to bring a camera. After lunch you may want to do the optional Mangrove Boat trip which gets you into the heart of the thick mangrove forests. You will travel in small traditional boats down the river with plenty of opportunity of wildlife spotting. After a 40 minute drive you arrive at your private beach for the next 2 nights. San Rafael beach has basic beach cottages with private ensuite facilities.
Day 4 - San Rafael Beach
This morning you meet up with your local guide who'll be walking with the group to meet the Batak Tribe - one of about 70 indigenous peoples of the Philippines. The trek will take around two to three hours in total and we leave early in the morning to avoid the afternoon heat. The trek is generally quite flat with only small rises along the way, but the path is quite rocky so shoes with a good grip is recommended. There's quite a few river crossings today, so sandals with a back strap and decent grip would be ideal if you don't want to get your shoes wet. If you're lucky enough to be there in the right season, you may be able to eat the fruit directly from the cashew trees. After finishing the hike, drive back to the beach chalets in San Rafael beach. There's plenty of free time for swimming in the waters or reading a good book.
Day 5 - El Nido
Say farewell to San Rafael Beach today and travel to El Nido in a private mini van (approximately five hours). With a backdrop of marble cliffs to it's white sandy beaches and crystal clear water, El Nido town is the base for many island adventures. There are over 50 beaches to discover that are all accessible by the boats docked. It's quite easy to pick an isolated beach, book a local boat, pack some food and drinks, and head out on your own adventure. The afternoon is free for you to wander around town, have a drink at one of the many beach side restaurants, do a spot of shopping or count how many different coloured tricycles you can spot on the streets.
Day 6 - El Nido
This morning head off on a full day snorkelling trip, island hopping off El Nido. Witness jagged limestone islands, rocky coves, virgin rainforest and white sandy beaches. The snorkelling is just as spectacular, with beautiful coral and many different species of fish. After an included lunch, venture out on various trips to lagoons throughout the day. Your evening is then free to do as you wish.
Day 7 - El Nido
You'll have plenty of free time today in El Nido for beach loving activities. If you feel like some more adventure then hire a kayak from El Nido town or jump on a boat out to one of the lagoons. You'll kayak on turquoise, crystal clear water, lagoons with dramatic cliffs or past pristine, untouched beaches - where you'll see a plethora of tropical fish. If you want to see a picture perfect beach take an optional trip to Nacpan beach. White sand and lined with palm trees this is another beach in paradise and worth the drive out of town. Your leader can help you organise transport to this beach if you are interested. Jump on a bike and get pedaling around El Nido town. Bike hire can be organised locally for a small fee.
Day 8 - Puerto Princesa
Say goodbye to your island paradise and jump on a tricycle to the local bus station, before travelling back to Puerto Princesa on a public air-conditioned bus (approximately six hours). Tonight, you'll finish the trip with a special treat. Travel for around 45 minutes out of Puerto Princesa to the Iwahig River, where you'll see fireflies glowing among the mangroves by the river. It's a truly magical experience and it's the perfect way to end a trip. Head out tonight for your final dinner together as a group, at a local restaurant called Kainato. This is a restaurant that supports the community and employs some people who have disabilities, so please be patient with the staff.
Day 9 - Puerto Princesa
Your Philippines Island Getaway ends after breakfast this morning. There are no activities planned for the final day and you're able to depart the accommodation at any time.
Accommodation, Food (as stated), Transport, Selected Activities
Flights, Travel Insurance, Visa, Vaccinations or Personal Spending Money