Northern Philippines and Palawan Adventure
The colourful culture, pristine beaches, and colonial history of the Philippines aren’t easy to capture in just one trip but this 16-day tour is a pretty decent effort. Envelop yourself in colonial history within Manila’s former walled centre and the charming town of Vigan, embark on a subterranean boat ride through an underground cave system, and visit a self-governing penal colony. The Philippines’ beaches are some of the world’s best, so we’ve left plenty of time for snorkelling or simply just lounging on the beaches of El Nido. This way, your knowledge of the country will only deepen alongside your tan.
Bayombong museum visit. Ancient rice terraces visit (Banaue). Museum of Mountain Culture (Sagada). UNESCO World Heritage Site Paoay Church visit. Intramuros visit. Puerto Princesa city tour, including Iwahig Penal Colony visit. Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park visit. Island-hopping snorkelling tour (El Nido). Internal flights. All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.
See the Spanish colonial town of Vigan, Gaze over rice terraces in Hapao, Snorkel above El Nido’s coral system, Lounge on a secluded beach in Port Barton, Boat through an underwater cave
The information in this trip details document has been compiled with care and is provided in good faith. However it is subject to change, and does not form part of the contract between the client and the operator. The itinerary featured is correct at time of printing. It may differ slightly to the one in the brochure. Occasionally our itineraries change as we make improvements that stem from past travellers, comments and our own research. Sometimes it can be a small change like adding an extra meal along the itinerary. Sometimes the change may result in us altering the tour for the coming year. Ultimately, our goal is to provide you with the most rewarding experience. Please note that our brochure is usually released in November each year. If you have booked from the previous brochure you may find there have been some changes to the itinerary.
VERY IMPORTANT: Please ensure that you print a final copy of your Trip Details to review a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans.
While it is our intention to adhere to the route described below, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The Trip Details document is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered. Aboard expedition trips visits to research stations depend on final permission.
Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.
Group Leader Description
All G Adventures group trips are accompanied by one of our Chief Experience Officers (CEO). The aim of the CEO is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. They will provide information on the places you are traveling through, offer suggestions for things to see and do, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting – we think it’s the best of both worlds.
Group Size Notes
Max 15, avg 12
15 breakfasts, 1 lunch
Eating is a big part of travelling. Travelling with G Adventures you experience the vast array of wonderful food that is available out in the world. Generally meals are not included in the trip price when there is a choice of eating options, to give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat. It also gives you more budgeting flexibility, though generally food is cheap. Our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other’s company. There is no obligation to do this though. Your CEO will be able to suggest favourite restaurants during your trip. Included breakfasts will usually be asian style consisting of noodles or congee (rice porridge) or bread and eggs. Vegetarians will be able to find a range of different foods, although in some areas the choice maybe limited. While trekking in remote regions food is included, plentiful and made of fresh local ingredients. For all trips please refer to the meals included and budget information for included meals and meal budgets.
Private vehicle, Jeepney, plane, boat, walking.
All local flights are included in the cost of your tour unless otherwise noted. It is important that we have your passport information at the time of booking in order to process these tickets. Internal flight tickets are issued locally and will be given to you prior to the flight departure.
We believe solo travellers should not have to pay more to travel so our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and do not involve a single supplement. Single travellers joining group trips are paired in twin or multi-share accommodation with someone of the same sex for the duration of the trip. Some of our Independent trips are designed differently and solo travellers on these itineraries must pay the single trip price.
Hotels (15 nights)
My Own Room
Please note that if you have booked the “My Own Room” option for this tour, you will receive your own single room for all night stops
Some of the areas visited in Palawan have limited hours of electricity. It is common to only have electricity from 6pm to 12am. There is limited access to hot water especially during the hours without electricity.
For details of your joining hotel please refer to your tour voucher, G Account, the G Adventures App or contact your travel agent.
We don’t expect any problems, and nor should you, but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, please refer to the emergency contact details provided in this dossier and contact us as soon as possible. If you have a pre-booked transfer, and you have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the Starting Point hotel, following the Joining Instructions. Please apply to your travel agent on your return for a refund of the transfer cost if this occurs.
What to Take
What you need to bring depends on the trip you have chosen and the countries or regions you are planning to visit. We suggest that you pack as lightly as possible as your are expected to carry your own luggage. As a rule we try not to have to walk more than 15-20 mintues with your bags which is why we recommend keeping the weight of your bags between 10-15kg/22-30lb. Suitcases are not recommended for G Adventures trips! Most travellers carry a backpack or rolling bag of small to medium size (no XXL ones please!) as they need to fit with you in buses or on trains. You will also need a day pack/bag to carry water, cameras and other electronics like ipods and mobile phones. If your trip involves overnights in homestays, villages or camping then you usually have the opportunity to rent sleeping bags if need be instead of bringing them with you.
There may be a luggage weight restriction for the internal flight(s) on this tour. Each passenger is allowed a maximum baggage weight of 20kg (44 lb). Additional charges for excess weight may apply. These charges are the responsibility of the passenger.
Laundry facilities are offered by some of our hotels for a charge. There will be times when you may want to or have to do your own laundry so we suggest you bring non-polluting/biodegradable soap.
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
During this tour the local currency you will use is the Filipino Peso. As currency exchange rates in Southeast Asia do fluctuate, we ask that you refer to the following website for the most up to date daily exchange rates: www.xe.com for each of the above mentioned currencies. The best way to carry your money is in debit cards, withdrawing cash in local currencies from ATM machines.
ATMs are not available in Sabang or El Nido but machines in Manila are available and will generally accept cards on the Visa and Mastercard networks. It is a great idea to travel with both a Visa and Mastercard if at all possible in case of loss or problems with one card, you will have a back up. Please note, your bank will charge a fee for overseas withdrawals. USD Cash is recommended for times when ATMs are not accessible. You should bring some cash with you for emergency situations (please refer to our trip dossier) but carrying only cash is a high safety risk. ATM card/s and some cash is the ideal mix. Your CEO will be able to advise on ATM locations and currency exchanges along the way.
Travellers’ cheques can be tricky, timely and expensive to exchange. While we do not recommend that you bring them as your primary source of funds, it is great to have one or two cheques in case of emergency. Thomas Cook or American Express travellers’ cheques in US currency are the easiest to exchange. Cash advances can also be made with some banks but are time consuming and tend to have high fees attached. Credit cards can be used at some upmarket restaurants, and at some larger stores if shopping for big items. If you are bringing US Dollars, please make sure that the notes are new and in good condition. Notes older than 2003, or with any tears or blemishes may not be accepted. Be fussy with your bank when buying cash!
Please also make sure you have access to at least an additional USD $200 (or equivalent) as an ‘emergency’ fund, to be used when circumstances outside our control (ex. a natural disaster) require a change to our planned route. This is a rare occurrence!
International Departure tax is 750 Pesos, to be paid in local currency.
It is customary in Asia to tip service providers such as waiters, at approximately 10%, depending on the service. Tipping is expected – though not compulsory – and shows an expression of satisfaction with the people who have assisted you on your tour. Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels. There are several times during the trip where there is opportunity to tip the local guides or drivers we use. You may do this individually, or your CEO will offer to collect the money and tip as a group. Recommendations for tipping drivers and local guides would range from $1.5-$3.5 USD per person per day depending on the quality and length of the service; ask your CEO for specific recommendations based on the circumstances and culture. Also at the end of each trip if you felt your G Adventures CEO did an outstanding job, tipping is appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline $20-25 USD per person, per week can be used.
Please see the itinerary for information on optional activities and estimated pricing.
Please note inoculations may be required for the country visited. It is your responsibility to consult with your travel doctor for up-to-date medical travel information well before departure.
We recommend that you carry a first aid kit and hand sanitizers / antibacterial wipes as well as any personal medical requirements. Please be aware that sometimes we are in remote areas and away from medical facilities, and for legal reasons our CEO’s are prohibited from administering any type of drug including headache tablets, antibiotics, etc. In Asia pharmacies tend to stock the same western drugs as you get at home but they are usually produced locally so please bring the full drug name with you when trying to purchase a prescription drug. When selecting your trip please carefully read the brochure and itinerary and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please refer to the Physical and Culture Shock ratings for trip specific information. G Adventures reserves the right to exclude any traveller from all or part of a trip without refund if in the reasonable opinion of our CEO they are unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group.
Safety and Security
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government’s advice for their latest travel information before departure. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers’ cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewelery at home – you won’t need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling on a group trip, please note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it deemed necessary, due to safety concerns. Your Chief Experience Officer (CEO) will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy and explore at your leisure. While your CEO will assist you with options available in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Although the cities visited on tour are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night. It is our recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time excursions.
Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities (in countries with varying degrees of operating standards), have a balanced approach to safety. It is our policy not to allow our CEOs to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s).
Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk. Read more about travel safety for ways to further enhance your personal safety while traveling.
Trip Specific Safety
We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers’ cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home – you won’t need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.
Our small group adventures bring together people of all ages. It is very important you are aware that an average level of fitness and mobility is required to undertake our easiest programs. Travellers must be able to walk without the aid of another person, climb 3-4 flights of stairs, step on and off small boats, and carry their own luggage at a minimum. Travellers with a pre-existing medical condition are required to complete a short medical questionnaire, which must be signed by their physician. This is to ensure that travellers have the necessary fitness and mobility to comfortably complete their chosen trip. While our leaders work hard to ensure that all our travellers are catered for equally, it is not their responsibility to help individuals who cannot complete the day’s activities unaided. Please refer to the physical ratings in this Trip Details document for more information.
Please note that all passengers traveling to Antarctica are required to fill out this questionnaire.
The medical questionnaire can be found online at www.gadventures.com/medical-form.
A Couple of Rules
Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on any trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for our travellers. Our philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter, and in particular the local people who make the world the special place it is. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
Travel insurance is compulsory in order to participate on any of our trips. When travelling on a group trip, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance has been sighted by your leader, who will take note of your insurance details. When selecting a travel insurance policy we require that at a minimum you are covered for medical expenses including emergency evacuation and repatriation. A minimum coverage of USD200,000 is required. G Adventures can provide you with the appropriate coverage. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. Some tours include adventure activities that require extra coverage (e.g. crampon use); please review your itinerary and make sure that you are covered for all included activities. If you have credit card insurance we require proof of purchase of the trip (a receipt of credit card statement) with a credit card in your name. Contact your bank for details of their participating insurer, the level of coverage and emergency contact telephone number.
Planeterra-The G Adventures Foundation
The Planeterra Foundation planeterra.org is a Canadian non-profit organization that helps empower local people to develop their communities, conserve their cultures, and create humane and supportive systems for their endeavours. Planeterra provides capacity building and catalyst grants to get community social enterprises off the ground. These businesses address local challenges by providing benefits for indigenous people, empowering marginalized women, and granting disadvantaged youth access to education, employment, and brighter futures. Planeterra also works to ensure these businesses have a thriving customer base by integrating programs into G Adventures’ itineraries globally.
G Adventures is Planeterra’s largest corporate donor, covering all operating costs so 100% of your donation will bring opportunity to people in need.
G Adventures’ Dollar-a-Day Program provides travellers with the opportunity to give back to the people and places visited on our tours by donating one dollar for every day you are on trip. 100% of these donations go directly to support community development projects worldwide that are implemented by Planeterra.
In Asia the dress standard is more conservative than it is back home. When packing try to pick loose, lightweight, long clothing that will keep you cool in the usually hot and humid climate of Asian summers. In predominately Buddhist, Hindu and Muslim countries we ask that you dress respectfully and avoid very short shorts/skirts and singlets/tanktops when visiting temples or mosques or other holy sites.
After your travels, we want to hear from you! Your feedback information is so important to us that we’ll give you 5% off the price of your next G Adventures trip if your feedback is completed on-line within 30 days of finishing your trip. Your tour evaluation will be e-mailed to you 24 hours after the conclusion of your trip. If you do not receive the tour evaluation link in the days after your tour has finished, please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send it on to you.
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You must be 18 to travel unaccompanied on a G Adventures tour. For minors travelling with a guardian over 21 years old, the minimum age is 12.
Check-in times and baggage allowances/restrictions vary by airline and can change at any time. For the most up-to-date information for your flight, please contact your airline. We recommend checking in online in advance to avoid potential delays at the airport.
PRODUCT_LINE: APCC, ID: 25006
Day 1 Manila
There are no planned activities until an evening welcome meeting.
Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting
Day 2 Manila/Banaue (1B)
Travel through the stunning mountainous landscape to Banaue. Stop en route for lunch and photo ops. Visit the Provincial Museum in Bayombong to learn more about Luzon. After the long drive, stretch your legs on a short hike to the rice terrace viewpoint and the nearby village of Tam-an.
Provincial Museum Visit
Tam-an Village Visit
Private Vehicle (7.00 hour(s))
Day 3 Banaue/Sagada (1B)
Hop into a local Jeepney and visit the rice terraces of Hapao. In the afternoon, continue on to Sagada with a visit to the Museum of Mountain Culture in Bontoc.
Rice Terraces Tour
Museum of Mountain Culture Visit
Private Vehicle (3.00 hour(s))
Day 4 Sagada (1B)
Explore the outdoor paradise of Sagada. Opt to hike or visit caves, the hanging coffins, or waterfalls set into the lush green landscape.
Day 5 Sagada/Vigan (1B)
Travel via Cerventes to Vigan, a beautifully preserved Spanish colonial town. In the evening, opt to visit the World Heritage-listed Santa Maria Church or to view the dancing fountain.
Private Vehicle (5.00 hour(s))
Day 6 Vigan (1B)
Spend a free day exploring this lovely city. Opt to visit the pottery shop and local handloom weavers or take a horse drawn carriage tour.
Day 7 Vigan/Manila (1B)
Continue north to Laoag, visiting the World Heritage-listed Paoay Church and a scenic lake on the way. In Laoag, opt to visit the sinking bell tower, or the local market. Continue to the airport for a flight back to Manila.
Paoay Church Visit
Private Vehicle (3.00 hour(s))
Plane (1.00 hour(s))
Day 8 Manila (1B)
Visit Intramuros and learn about the Spanish history of the country. Explore this bustling city with free time.
Day 9 Manila/El Nido (1B)
Fly to stunning El Nido, known for its large limestone karsts emerging from the turquoise ocean.
Plane (1.00 hour(s))
Day 10 El Nido (1B, 1L)
Enjoy an included snorkelling tour and beach barbecue.
Day 11 El Nido (1B)
Spend the day relaxing on the beach or opt to visit Bacuit Bay, Simezu Island, or Intalula Island.
Day 12 El Nido/Port Barton (1B)
Due to the remote and idyllic location of the beach, conveniences are limited. The resort is powered by generators and electricity is only available between 6pm and 12am. There are no ATMs or shops.
Private Vehicle (3.00 hour(s))
Boat (0.25 hour(s))
Day 13 Port Barton (1B)
Spend another laid-back day in paradise. Opt to snorkel, hike through the rainforest to a waterfall, or relax on the beach.
Day 14 Port Barton/Puerto Princesa (1B)
After a quick boat ride, drive to the capital Puerto Princesa. On the way, explore the underwater cave of the Subterranean River National Park on an included tour.
Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park Visit
Boat (0.25 hour(s))
Private Vehicle (4.00-5.00 hours)
Private Vehicle (1.00 hour(s))
Day 15 Puerto Princesa (1B)
Tour the town visiting Bakers Hill and the Iwahig Penal Colony.
Puerto Princesa City Tour
Day 16 Puerto Princesa (1B)
Depart at any time.