Philippines: Islands, Volcanoes, and Culture with Remote Lands

From wreck diving warships to lounging on the beaches of Palawan, the many islands of the Philippines make for the perfect post-Covid adventure.

The beaches, natural beauty, and culture of the Philippines make it one of the most exciting adventure destinations in Southeast Asia. From wreck diving warships to lounging on the beaches of Palawan, the many islands of the Philippines make for the perfect post-Covid adventure. 

CARAMOAN PENINSULA EXPLORER: FROM MANILA AND LUZON TO DONSOL AND SIARGAO

This 15-day journey through the Philippines will see travelers from the mighty Mount Mayon to the quiet beaches and mangroves of Siragao, an adventure that combines ATV rides through volcanic terrain with ultra-luxe beach resorts like Nay Palad Hideaway.

Mount Mayon is a busy volcano indeed, in fact, it’s the most active volcano in the Philippines; the stratovolcano rises from the earth in a perfect cone, making it a favorite for both photographers and adventure travelers taking ATVs around the Cagsawa Ruins. One of the highlights of this trips is using a chopper to get around. Before hopping from island to island to explore the famed Caramoan Peninsula’s underwater wildlife, take a private helicopter from Lipa to the extravagant Tugawe Resort. The real resort treat, though, is Nay Palad Hideaway: beaches, mangroves, and surfing in Mindanao’s Siargao. 

CULTURE AND DIVING IN THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS

The ultimate diving adventure through the Philippines, for 17 days explorers will take to the rice terraces of Banaue and Sagada for hiking and journey under the waves for sealife, wreck dives, and underwater wonders. 

In Sagada and Banaue, travelers will be met by some of the most spectacular rice terrace vistas in all of Asia. Along treks filled with the bucolic scenes of the rural Philippines countryside, travelers will also meet with members of the Ifugao tribe. An aerial highlight is the chopper over Pinatubo, in which travelers take a private helicopter transfer to Manila and catch a view of the mighty Mount Pinatubo along the way, an active stratovolcano in the Zambales Mountains.

For the divers, travelers board a luxury diving vessel to tour the most famous dive sites in Southeast Asia. Along with half a dozen world famous underwater wildlife sites, divers will explore a true Japanese warship — the Akitsushima — and the Nanshin Maru tanker. Non divers have separate activities with snorkeling and isolated beaches. This journey ends on the relaxing beaches of Palawan, one of the most impressive beach destinations in Southeast Asia, particularly those in the north. While staying at the luxe El Nido Lagen Island and El Nido Pangulasian, travelers will lounge, snorkel, and eat their way through tropical paradise.

ISLAND-HOPPING IN THE CENTRAL PHILIPPINES

From the culture and cuisine of Manila to the Chocolate Hills of Bohol, this Central Philippines journey will take travelers on an north-to-south island hopping tour through some of the best sites in the country. 

The Chocolate Hills of Bohol are one of the most famous sites in the Philippines, so named for the peculiar shape given to these karst mountains that once lay on the bottom of the ocean. One legend has it these grassy hills are the aftermath of a battle between ancient giants hurling boulders. Then, it’s off to the little known island of Siquijor; when the Spaniards first visited Siquijor, they called it “isla del fuego” due to the populations of fireflies lighting up the night. During the day travelers can explore the beaches and the Cambugahay Falls.In Dauin, sea turtles hatch throughout the year — though their birthing period is highest in summer. Even if travelers don’t spot them hatching, they can drop in the water at Apo Island to look for adults.

TREKKING THE TERRACES AND BEYOND

Postcard perfect rice terraces, white-water rafting, and the hanging coffins of Sagada, this week-long adventure on the largest of the islands in the Philippines is not to be missed.

Travelers will journey to Echo Valley to see coffins hanging from the side of a cliff, a practice in Sagada that dates back millenia and some of the current coffins are more than a century old. The Ifugao people of the Banaue region are rumored to have once been headhunters, but today the colorfully dressed ‘people of the hill’ are a regular feature of the treks from village to village, the living heritage of Banaue. The jungles and rice terraces of Banaue and the surrounding region are world famous but are best seen while hiking through the bucolic countryside, filled with scenes of rural life in the Philippines.

ADVENTURE AND RELAXATION IN BATANES AND EL NIDO

This 13-day journey through the Philippines will see travelers going to island extremes, from the isolated Batanes in the north to the famous Palawan beaches of the southwest, an adventure that combines volcanoes and white-sand beaches. 

Just south of the capital of Manila sits a 15-mile-long volcano caldera forming Taal Lake, and inside that is Taal Volcano. Travelers will take a boat to the island and climb to the rim. In Pagsanjan in Laguna, travelers learn from expert boatmen to navigate the turbulent waters in a wooden canoe all the way to Cavinti Falls — and the cave hidden behind the falls. Like any truly great trip through the Philippines, this journey leads straight to Palawan, for final days of rest and relaxation.