Discover the best of the Philippines on this all-encompassing tour as you paddle, snorkel, rappel, hike, and fly your way across the country. Begin in Manila, working your way north to the Banaue Rice Terraces before flying south to the islands of Bohol, Cebu, and Mactan. Travel west and end your trip in Puerto Princesa and the ever-popular El Nido.

Highlights

  • Swim in the crater of the still-active Taal Volcano
  • Explore the famous Banaue Rice Terraces carved into the mountains of Ifugao
  • Visit the Tarsier Sanctuary on Bohol and try and spot the tiny creatures
  • Enjoy a day of climbing, rappelling, and cliff jumping to Kawasan Falls

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Manila Manila
Day 2 Canoe to Pagsanjan Falls, Hike to Taal Volcano Manila
Day 3 Explore Banaue Rice Terraces Banaue
Day 4 Visit Batad Rice Terraces Banaue
Day 5 Day trip to Sagada Banaue
Day 6 Return to Manila, Fly to Bohol Bohol
Day 7 Bohol island hopping: snorkel with sea turtles Bohol
Day 8 Bohol Countryside Tour Bohol
Day 9 Ferry to Cebu - Free day  Mactan
Day 10 Kawasan Falls Canyoneering Mactan
Day 11 Fly to Puerto Princesa, Firefly River Tour Puerto Princesa
Day 12 Explore Puerto Princesa Underground River National Park El Nido
Day 13 El Nido island hopping El Nido
Days 14-15 Free Day in El Nido, Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Manila

Manila, the Philippines
Aerial view of the Philippines capital, Manila

Welcome to Manila. Upon arrival check in to your accommodation to settle in and relax after your long international flight.

If you're up for a little exploration, there are a number of shopping malls close to your hotel as well as a variety of bars and nightclubs that are a short driving distance away.

Day 2: Canoe to Pagsanjan Falls - Hike Taal Volcano

Luzon, Taal Volcano, the Philippines
Inside the crater of Taal Volcano

Today you will have the opportunity to visit Pagsanjan Falls and Taal Volcano, both just outside of Manila. 

Meet your driver after an early breakfast and head two-hours south to Laguna province. Switch to a canoe and paddle your way down a narrow ravine, lined by dense jungle to your first destination, Pagsanjan Falls. Along the way, you may even get the chance to spot monkeys jumping between the trees. Upon reaching Pagsanjan, enjoy its beauty and reward yourself with a swim in its cool waters.

Next, you'll head west to Taal Volcano. The hike is a moderate climb to the summit (about 30-40 minutes), though you have the option of renting a horse if trekking isn't your thing. The volcano is located in the middle of a lake bearing the same name and inside its crater, there is another small lake, where the view from the summit is spectacular. Enjoy a swim in the crater's lake  (perfectly safe!) to cool off from your efforts, before driving to Tagaytay for lunch.

You'll return to Manila in the early evening.

Day 3: Explore Banaue Rice Terraces

Banaue Rice Terraces
Banaue Rice Terraces

Meet your guide after breakfast and drive north to the Banaue Rice Terraces (8-10 hours). Along the way, break up the trip with stops at noteworthy sites to learn about local traditions and culture. You will also stop for lunch to enjoy some of the regional delicacies. 

Over 2000  years old and still in use today, the Banaue Rice Terraces are UNESCO protected and are an impressive example of ancient man's ingenuity and connection with nature.

Day 4: Visit Batad Rice Terraces

Ifugao woman and child
Ifugao woman and child

Today you will visit the ampitheater-like Batad Rice Terraces, Tappiya waterfalls, and the village of Bangaan.

The whole region provides a great opportunity to see how the indigenous tribes, the Ifugao, of the Philippines live. As well as see how they preserve their traditions in today's world.

Return to Banaue.

Day 5: Day trip to Sagada

Hanging cemetery of Sagada, the Philippines
The hanging coffins

Leaving Banaue behind,  continue north to Sagada (3-4 hours).

The journey through the mountains is nothing short of spectacular and there will be plenty of opportunities to stop for photographs, including a stop at the Bontoc Museum

Discover Sagada's history and learn about its ancient culture long before the Philippines' colonial influences were present. You'll get to explore the Lumiang Burial Cave and Sumaguing Cave and visit the coffins hanging on the side of a cliff in Echo Valley.

Day 6: Return to Manila - Fly to Bohol

Chocolate Hills, Bohol the Philippines
Bohol's mysterious Chocolate Hills

This morning you will visit one last viewpoint for an encompassing view of the Banaue terraces before carrying on overland back to Manila. 

You'll arrive in the early evening in time to catch your flight to the beautiful island of Bohol. Settle into your accommodation and plan for an early night in preparation for tomorrow.

Day 7: Bohol island hopping: snorkel with sea turtles

Green turtle, Balicasag Island, the Philippines
Green turtle  swimming off of Balicasag Island

Today starts with an early pick-up for a full day of adventure and relaxation.

You'll begin the day on the water for a chance to spot dolphins play in the ocean before you head to Balicasag Island—a marine sanctuary offering excellent snorkeling conditions. Alternate your time between lounging on the beach and snorkeling, keeping in mind Balicasag is well-known for its sea turtle population and there is a good chance you'll spot one if you're in the water enough!

From there you'll continue to Virgin Island (also known as Pungtud Island) for lunch amid remote and peaceful surroundings. Return to Bohol's mainland in the early afternoon.

*If you're interested in diving instead, there is the opportunity to switch Balicasag Island with Pamilican Island for a few hours of diving.

Day 8: Bohol Countryside Tour

A tiny tarsier
Caption

Meet your driver bright and early at your hotel for a full day of unique Bohol attractions. 

The tour begins with a stop to explore the Chocolate Hills. The hills are a unique geological formation consisting of 1,770 hills spread over 20 square miles. In the summer, the grass that covers the hills turns brown lending to their name. There is an option to join an ATV tour to explore them up close.

From there, you'll make a  quick stop at an impressive man-made mahogany forest before reaching the Tarsier Sanctuary nearby.  The shy tarsiers are the world's smallest primate and this sanctuary is one of the few places in the world where they thrive in their natural habitat.

Continue east to the Loboc Ecotourism Adventure Park and choose from an array of outdoor activities, including rock climbing and zip lining. Enjoy lunch with a view from the vantage of a floating restaurant on the Loboc river, before returning to your hotel in the late afternoon.

Day 9: Ferry to Cebu - Free day in Cebu

Taoist Temple, Mactan, the Philippines
Cebu Taoist Temple

Catch the morning ferry from Bohol to Cebu and transfer to your hotel on Mactan Island.

The day is yours to do as you like. Relax at the beach or poolside of your hotel. Or if you're up for joining a city tour, you may wish to visit some of Cebu City's attractions, including the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, the Mactan Shrine, Taoist temple, and Fort San Pedro.

Day 10: Kawasan Falls canyoneering

Kawasan Falls, Cebu, the Philippines
Kawasan Falls

Today is an exciting day of canyoneering to Kawasan Falls. Leave your hotel and transfer to the drop off point, two and a half hours south.

You will then meet your tour guide —a local who designed all the trails leading to the falls—to begin your trek. A moderate to difficult hike, the trail involves climbing, crawling, rappelling, and cliff jumping your way down the river's stream until you reach the beautiful Kawasan Falls at the end of the trail. Celebrate the day's efforts with a barbecue lunch before making your way back to your hotel.

Trekking time: 4 hours

Day 11: Fly to Puerto Princesa - Firefly River Tour

fishing boats, Puerto Princesa, the Philippines
Puerto Princesa seascape

You will fly directly from Cebu to Puerto Princesa on the island of Palawan. Settle into your accommodation before venturing out for your Firefly River Tour.

Paddle along the Iwahig River alongside mangroves for a unique experience of firefly watching. This is an easy paddle, taking between two to three hours to complete and includes a buffet dinner prior to the tour itself.

Enjoy the night in Puerto Princesa, dining out and if you're up for some nightlight check out one of the many nightclubs and bars. 

Day 12: Explore Puerto Princesa Underground River National Park

Puerto Princesa Underground River, the Philippines
View inside the underground river

Meet your driver for an early start, before switching to a boat ride to the island where the Puerto Princesa Underground River National Park is located. 

The Puerto Princesa Underground River is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is considered to be one of the natural wonders of the world. You will join your guide and travel by boat through the cave, learning as you make your way through.

The tour is followed by a buffet lunch.  And if the interest is there, you have the option of carrying on to Sabang beach to zipline your way across the beach area and enjoy a great panoramic view of the ocean.

From there, you will transfer to El Nido (4-5 hour drive or a short flight).

Day 13: El Nido island hopping

Bacuit Bay, El Nido, the Philippines
View of El Nido's Bacuit Bay

Palawan's stunning island offers an endless amount of lagoons, hidden beaches, and small remote islands available for your exploration. 

Today's island hopping tour takes you to all the most popular spots in El Nido, including Shimizu Island, Seven Commandos Beach, Helicopter Island, Star Beach, and Matinloc Shrine.

You will have the option to join either a group tour (using a pump boat) or a private tour with a speedboat. Though the latter is more expensive, it offers a richer experience as you'll be able to reach all locations ahead of the crowds. It also allows you to have full control over your tour's itinerary. 

Enjoy the day traveling between the islands, stopping to swim and snorkel whenever the mood strikes.

Days 14-15: Free Day in El Nido - Depart

El Nido, the Philippines
Fishing boats in El Nido

Your last couple of days are yours to enjoy El Nido as you choose.

Rent a motorbike and explore El Nido's interior or catch a ride to Nacpan and Calitang Twin Beach. If you prefer something more organized, there is an option to book a day tour of the countryside where experienced guides will take you to secluded beaches and waterfalls. It is also possible to book another island hopping tour instead; one that will take you to new locations which are a little off the beaten path.