Get a taste of Latin-Asian fusion as you travel through the Negros chain of islands in the exotic Philippines. This 13-day Colorful, Cultural Experience in Negros takes you to Manila, Kalibo, Iloilo, Bacolod, Guimaras and Bulata. Watch Filipino dancing, don pineapple silk-woven garments and ultimately relax on the area’s intensely beautiful beaches. There’s plenty of culture and relaxation ahead.
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Fly into Manila - the Philippines’ capital and center of education, business and transportation. The lively city has a rich culture just waiting to be explored. Transfer from the airport to your hotel, before heading out into the capital. With eight sprawling districts in the city, there’s plenty to see today.
Peruse through the fascinating walled city of Intramuros. This is the oldest district in Manila. The original citadel during Spanish rule was located inside of the walls. When the Spanish were in power, everything outside the walled area was called “outside the walls.” The walls were constructed in the 16th century to protect the city from foreign invasion, and were declared a National Historic Monument in 1951.
Transfer to the airport and fly to vibrant Kalibo. The area is home to many cultural festivals and practices. Kalibo is noted for their “pina-weaving,” where locals weave pineapple silk into beautiful fabrics. This is the favorite fabric of the city’s sophisticated elite population. Make sure to try some of the city’s delicious eats, such as fresh seafood and pork or beef al fresco.
If you happen to be in Kalibo during the Ati-Atihan festival, which takes place every year in the third week of January, join in on the feasting, dancing, and festivities. The festival is famous for dancing and drinking the whole night through. All the locals wear bright and colorful clothing. The festival celebrates Aklan becoming an independent province.
The final day of the festival is called Aklan Day. This is many visitors’ favorite day and food is the central focal point of the celebrations. The city is full of different food festivals decorating the streets. The festivals provide all you can dream of eating, including local favorites cooked up fresh and hot for your trying. There’s also a long parade in honor of Santo Nino. You will see the country’s strong Catholic presence on this day.
After the festivities have finished, it’s time to travel to the beautiful ancient island of Iloilo. The province is famous for its beautiful old-world architecture that’s commonly found throughout Latin American countries. Spend the afternoon exploring the charming city. The Miagao Church is a World Heritage Site built of stunning yellow limestone. Other highlights include the Molo Church, the Cabatuan Church, the San Jose Church, the Passi City Church and the Old Capitol Building.
The day is spent on an excursion to the island of Guimaras. The island is home to Trappist monks who brew up incredible-tasting, not to mention rare, beer. Stroll beneath cashew nut trees, and savor fresh, tropical fruit as you explore the quaint island. The Guisi Lighthouse is a must-see, as well as the island’s lovely beaches. Return to Iloilo in the evening.
Begin the day by taking a ferry to the gorgeous island of Bacolod. Explore the island’s lush beaches, the Capitol grounds, the lagoon, San Sebastian Cathedral, climb the pope’s tower or pick from several other exciting sights in the lively city. In the afternoon, visit the Paris of Negros - romantic, breathtaking Silay. Return to Bacolod for the evening.
Take an excursion to learn about the fascinating sugar industry. This is the main source of income for this area of the Philippines. Walk along the tall green stalks and see locals hard at work in the beautiful surroundings. Sample some sugary goodies before returning to Bacolod to relax.
Enjoy watching the countryside pass by as you are driven five hours south along the coast of the Negros Occidental, to the charming little town of Bulata. The town is famous for its postcard-perfect beaches. Relax on the sand in front of the beachfront hotel of your choice. Go for a swim in the turquoise waters after heating up in the beating sun.
Visit the small, coral-fringed island of Danjugan. The island’s reefs are ideal for snorkeling. The pink corals are crawling with a wide variety of marine life. The island’s interior is densely-forested. Take a hike through the stunning nature that surrounds: the forest is home to several tropical species. Return to Bulata for the evening.
Return today to the capital, Manila. From here, you will be able to connect with your onward flight.
Raffles Makati Hotel lives up to the renowned Raffles repute. This luxurious hotel is located in central Manila, making it a prime base from which to explore the vibrant city. There are just 32 opulent suites that boast cityscape views. The hotel has plenty of amenities for the discerning guest including a spa, sauna, Jacuzzi, steam room and fitness center. The four dining options combine the best of local culture and cuisine, as well as plenty of international dishes. There is a lounge bar and a pool bar mixing up tasty cocktails alongside wines, beers and light snacks. The Writers Bar, serving afternoon tea, was created in tribute to the famous novelists who have stayed at or written about Raffles. The Raffles Makati is a 30-minute drive from the airport.
Strategically placed on the corners of Ayala and Makati Avenues, The Peninsula Manila is close to premier shopping facilities and within easy access of Manila's numerous attractions. The hotel is a 30-minute drive from Ninoy Aquino International Airport (MNL) and just 20 minutes from Manila's domestic airport. Elegantly furnished in classic style, the hotel's 497 rooms and suites provide modern, technologically advanced conveniences, including complimentary broadband Internet access. The Club has been designed with the needs of business travelers in mind and offers an exclusive Club Lounge, serving complimentary continental breakfast, afternoon tea, and cocktails, as well as a boardroom, business center, and butler service. Continental and Pan-Asian cuisine is served at The Peninsula's many restaurants, including Old Manila and Spices, which are two of the top restaurants in the city. Salon de Ning, the hotel's quirky lounge, features musical entertainment on most evenings.
Just five minutes’ drive from the airport, the Marzon Hotel in Sta. Monica Andagao, Kalibo provides 25 modern rooms with all the facilities required for a pleasant and relaxing stay. The town of Kalibo itself actually doesn’t have any five-star hotels, meaning that this modest three-star hotel comes at the top of most travelers’ lists of accommodation options for the area. The location of the Marzon is on the quiet side, located in a less built up side of town. However, there are still plenty of eating and entertainment options close by, and those feeling less adventurous can dine in the hotel’s very own restaurant and cafe. Guests can also enjoy a large, clean swimming pool and an on-site spa to ease away those aches and pains. For a more lively scene, the town center - along with those gorgeous Kalibo beaches - are just a short walk away.
At this weird and wonderful hotel in Kalibo, it’s Christmas seven days a week, every week. Trees, tinsel, angels and wreaths all add to the odd festive theme throughout. There’s also a large assortment of dolls on display in a couple of downstairs areas, because...well, why not? For the scrooges out there - don’t be too put off. The rooms are less tacky and more tasteful, with comfortable beds, TV and air conditioning, meaning that if the whole Christmas/doll theme is not your thing, you can always find an escape here. Along with decent rooms, the hotel’s location is a big plus. Located right on the beachfront, many of the rooms boast great sea views. Although this self-proclaimed ‘hotel experience’ may not be to the taste of the most discerning of interior designers, it does offer a unique, memorable stay and is particularly great for families.
The Amigo Terrace Hotel is an ideal place to stay right in the center of Iloilo City - one of the Philippines’ most beloved tourist destinations. Although situated on a busy road, the hotel’s rooms are quiet and well-secured, offering a haven from the busy city streets and lively nightlife just a stone’s throw away outside. Large beds, TV, air conditioning, Wi-Fi and private balconies all come as standard in the range of superior and deluxe rooms. Guests looking for fun on-site, rather than having to venture out, won’t be disappointed either, with access to a pool (with its own poolside bar), restaurant, family room and ballroom. Those feeling lucky can take advantage of the on-site Amigo Terrace Arcade - Iloilo’s ‘first ever entertainment center’ – featuring a variety of casino-style slot machines and card games.
L’Fisher Hotel proves year-by-year to be one of the most popular accommodation choices in Bacolod for both tourists and business travelers alike. Large 320-square-foot rooms provide stylish and elegant surroundings, with double beds, fresh white linen, a writing desk and coffee table alongside all the usual modern conveniences that you’d expect to find. Marketed as a ‘convention and leisure hotel’, there is more to L’Fisher than just comfortable rooms. Guests can take advantage of the fantastic banquet and conference rooms, as well as two excellent restaurants and large pool area. The 24-hour Ripples Restaurant serves up modern bistro food with locally-sourced ingredients ensuring optimum quality and freshness. There are also daily buffets and occasional food festivals too. Find L’Fisher Hotel located five minutes away from downtown Bacolod and about 30 minutes’ drive from the town’s domestic airport.
The yellow-painted, colonial-style Planta Centro Bacolod Hotel and Residences is one of the few quality hotels in town. Catering for business guests and tourists, the hotel offers spacious and elegant rooms with a whole host of facilities, including air conditioning, telephone, flat-screen cable TV, Wi-Fi, mini-bar and refrigerator. Downstairs there’s a huge swimming pool, restaurant, café, fitness room and business center. Planta Centro Bacolod Hotel and Residences is located at Araneta, Roxas and Osmeña Street, which is at the heart of Bacolod’s business and financial district. The main shopping, dining and commercial areas of Bacolod are 10 minutes’ drive away and guests can simply grab an inexpensive cab into downtown, or just as easily walk to one of the nearby eating establishments or bars.
Having had a complete renovation in 2010, the Sugarland Hotel in Bacolod has recently come to the forefront of accommodation options in town. The owners have attempted to make this into a ‘modern hacienda retreat’ with its charm and elegance reflecting the former old-world plantation living of the area. Machuca tiles decorating the hallways and Hacienda wooden floors do well to achieve this charming feel throughout, together with all the modern touches that come with a 21st century hotel. Rooms are large and most have their own private balconies for guests to sit outside and enjoy the year-round sunshine. The tranquil and peaceful atmosphere isn’t just saved for the rooms either. The gorgeous pool area downstairs feels like a real hideaway, and there’s also a great restaurant offering a range of local and international flavors.
The stunning Punta Bulata Resort & Spa is where paradise beach living meets comfort and convenience. Guests can choose from a wide selection of rooms, such as Filipino nipa hut cottages or luxurious spa rooms, all of which are located just a matter of steps away from a private, postcard-perfect tropical beach. Rooms are comfortable and elegantly designed – not that you’d want to be spending too much time inside when the warm, turquoise sea is so temptingly close. And for those who aren’t keen on salt water, the hotel pool is great for swimming and has some excellent panoramic ocean views. Elsewhere, guests can find a fine restaurant serving international food and ‘The Ayu Spa’: a twelve room sanctuary for guests to indulge themselves in a range of relaxing massage and spa treatments. One of the most popular activities in the area is of course diving. Thousands flock here every year to enjoy the diverse coral reefs and clear water, with the best spots found just a 20 minutes’ boat ride away from Punta Bulata Resort & Spa.