There was an authenticity to the type of experience set up for us that made every city we visited special and gave us countless moments we will never forget.
Jessika and David, Los Angeles

Culture and Diving in the Philippine Islands

Dive, snorkel, kayak, relax and explore on this 17-day itinerary that takes you through the Philippine’s most astonishing dive sites, historical features, natural beauties and cultural locations. Manila, Tagaytay, Banaue, Bacolor, Baguio, Sagada and several small world-renowned islands in the Palawan chain are all on the agenda. The exotic, tropical waters are a diver and snorkeler’s paradise. Spend nights cruising along the water and days discovering the vibrant marine life for the entire second half of your holiday.

Highlights   Pricing
  • Gaze at the crater of Mt. Pinatubo as you sit comfortably in your own private helicopter
  • Explore the Taal Volcano, which is actually a volcano within a volcano
  • Dive the lively Apo Reef, considered one of the best diving reefs in the world
  • Dive or snorkel Dibotonai in search of the near-extinct, legendary seacow
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Day by Day Itinerary

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Day 1

Fly into the pulsing capital city of Manila. You are met by your friendly guide at the airport, where you will be taken to your luxurious hotel. Freshen up before you are taken to an authentic local restaurant for your first Filipino-style meal in the country.

Day 2

After a leisurely breakfast at your hotel, it’s time for an extensive tour of the exciting city. Learn about the country's tumultuous past as you stop by Rizal Park and see the location where the country’s national hero was executed. Drive through the cultural center by the bay. Another fantastic site to visit is the Spanish-style Manila Cathedral. After a busy day touring, unwind at your hotel this evening.

Day 3
Manila - Bacolor - Baguio

This morning, drive to Bacolor, one of the hundreds of towns nearly leveled by the 1993 Mt. Pinatubo eruption. After exploring the area, continue to Bale Datun, the home and restaurant of the talented artist, Claude Tayag. Enjoy the artist’s pieces as well as his wife’s delicious Kapampangan-style dishes. Continue to the summer capital of the Philippines, Baguio, where you will check into the Manor at Camp John Hay.

Day 4

Today you’ll drive to your next destination, the charming little town of Sagada. The scenic town has breathtaking limestone cliffs, hanging coffins and even subterranean caves used as burial grounds by the natives. Hike through simple trails to give spelunking a try at the Sumaguing Cave. Spend the night at a guesthouse in town.

Day 5
Sagada - Banaue

Depart Sagada for the mountain town of Banaue. Stop along the way in Bontoc Museum, a unique collection of artifacts and old photographs. The museum is ran by two Belgian sisters who have been in the area for years. As you reach Banaue, you will see a chain of stunning mountains terraced in vibrant green rice cultivations. Check in to your hotel and rest up as tomorrow will be an active day.

Day 6

Trekking in this portion of Luzon Island is the perfect way to explore the rice terraces and exotic culture of the Ifugao people occupying the rich land. Trek to the village of Banga-an to spend a while chatting with the locals. In the afternoon, you have the option to trek to a typical Ifugao market or return to your hotel to rest your legs.

Day 7
Banaue - Manila

This is luxurious travel at its finest as you are picked up by your own private helicopter and transferred to Manila. On the way, catch an unrivaled view of the crater of Mt. Pinatubo. Upon reaching Manila, relax at your hotel and prepare for the seabound section of your adventure.

Day 8
Manila - Tagaytay - Batangas

Pass quaint fishing villages and colorful fruit plantations as you pause at St. Joseph’s Church to gaze at the beautiful Taal Volcano, literally a volcano within a volcano as well as a lake within a lake. After a delicious lunch at a local restaurant, drive to the Batangas Pier and board the Discovery Fleet. After a short briefing with the cruise director, the ship sets sail and you’re free to explore your accommodation for the rest of your holiday.

Day 9
Apo Reef

Regarded as one of the world’s best diving locations, dive into the Philippine’s vibrant underwater world. Enjoy two day dives and, for those qualified, one night dive. For your first dive, you will be required to show off your basic dive skills: mask clearing, regulator recovery and buoyancy control. If you aren’t a diver, then spend the day on the stunning island of Apo Mayor, relaxing and snorkeling in the shallow turquoise waters.

Day 10
Kayangan Lake - Siete Pecados

Divers enjoy two morning dives in Siete Pecados (Seven Islands) and Twin Peaks, before exploring the marine life on an afternoon dive at Barracuda Lake. Twin Peaks is named after the two limestone formations you will see jutting out of the water - this dive is for those that are at least certified with their Advanced Open Water. Those not diving will visit the globally-acclaimed Kayangan Lake. Snorkel along the edges to view the incredible pinnacles underwater. After lunch, snorkel Siete Pecados before the heading to the Maquinit Hot Springs for dinner and a therapeutic soak.

Day 11
Sangat Island - Culion

Three wrecks are just waiting to be explored today as divers enjoy a full day underwater. Those qualified also have the option of taking a night dive at Dynamite Point. Non-divers head to Sangat Island for snorkeling and fun in the sun. Spend the afternoon exploring the church and museum on neighboring Culion. This island was once home to one of the largest leper colonies in the Philippines.

Day 12
Calumbuyan & the North Cay Islands

Dive into a true Japanese warship - the Akitsushima, one of the few places in the world where divers can see Sea-whips in the shape of a harp. The afternoon dive takes you the the beautiful reefs of Calumbuyan. Non-divers are welcome to enjoy the sites as snorkelers. This evening is the perfect night for a Filipino luau, complete with a roast pig and barefoot dancing in the sand.

Day 13

From Dibotonai, cross to Black Island where divers will explore the civilian tanker, Nanshin Maru. In the afternoon, you’ll return to Dibotonai where you will dive and search for the near-extinct, legendary seacow. Non-divers are able to snorkel the crystal-clear waters with incredible visibility, play games on the beach and visit the nearby fishing village. If the weather is nice enough, the crew, locals and boat guests can engage in a basketball or volleyball game.

Day 14
Tara Island

Dive the rarely-visited corals of the stunning Tara Island. Your final dive will be at the appropriately-named Club Paradise reef in the afternoon. Those not diving can kayak, snorkel and relax on the isolated beaches. You are picked up by a speed boat and taken to an exclusive resort for an indulgent meal that evening. Check in to the resort for the remainder of your holiday.

Day 15
Near Tara Island

Enjoy the day relaxing at your luxurious resort. After several days snorkeling, diving and exploring, unwind with some beach time. Sleep in until your heart’s content, and take long, lavish meals at the resort.

Day 16
Near Tara Island

Wake up and enjoy a second full-day of the high-life in your fabulous resort. Feel free to explore your surroundings a bit if you’ve had enough resting. There’s fantastic snorkeling nearby if you haven’t had your fill of underwater adventure. Relax on your final evening on the island.

Day 17
Island Resort - Manila

It’s time to say farewell as you are transferred to the airport in Manila. Rise early this morning for one last dip before having breakfast at your resort and packing up. Fly from Manila to return home.


Suggested Accommodations

Raffles Makati, The Peninsula Manila

Raffles Makati

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.


The Peninsula Manila

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 nine kilometres drive from Ninoy Aquino International Airport (MNL) and just six kilometres from Manila's domestic airport. Elegantly furnished in classic style, the hotel's 469 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.

The Manor at Camp John Hay

The Manor at Camp John Hay

Guests will enjoy this unique alternative forest destination, in a pine tree-covered prime location of Baguio City, Philippines, known for its refreshing, cool climate. The manor itself is four stories high, housing 177 well-appointed rooms, many of which enjoy panoramas of the majestic Cordillera mountain range. The structure was built using local stone on the exterior of the building, as well as panelled walls, wooden shuttered doors, and wooden furniture inside the rooms, evoking memories of traditional Baguio architecture and style. Highly-trained staff provide warm, friendly service, while top-notch facilities are provided for guests’ optimal comfort, from a luxurious spa ideal for a full day of pampering, to the Piano Bar, where the mood is set by live entertainment. An on-site delicatessen serves up fresh-baked goods, while Le Chef at The Manor provides guests with all-day dining. The atmosphere at The Manor is cozy, particularly accented by the large fireplace in the hotel’s lounge. 

Meet An Asia Expert
From Travelogues
Our co-founder Jay Tindall has been visiting the Philippines for over 20 years. His favourite places? The rice terraces of Banaue, Sagada, and the beaches of Palawan.
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