Philippines Tours & Tailormade HolidaysGroup Tours Regions Tailormade Options Route Map
Welcome to the Philippines: a vast archipelago where seething volcanoes are soothed by white coasts; where over 7000 islands are enriched with cultures as complex as their bulging tropical biodiversity. A land where the locals are happy to see you, and where you can shake hands with the same tribes who have been tending ancient rice terraces for over 2000 years.
The only Catholic country in Asia, the Philippines is said to have spent '300 years in a convent and 40 years in Hollywood'. With a multitude of sightseeing and activity options throughout every region, the natural wonders of the country have lured not only tourists, but the world's most powerful armies and empires, each of which have left their colonial influence upon this extraordinary landscape.
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Lorraine Sisko & Robert Marino (Tailormade Philippines)
“Our trip was an amazing mix of the familiar and the exotic. We saw and did so much and came home feeling that we experienced the best of the Phillipines! Everyone we met was so warm and friendly, the tropical island waters were irresistible, and the 1000 year old rice patties of Banauae were breathtaking!”
Best of the Islands
Chocolate Hills, tarsiers, volcanoes & beaches
Off the beaten track :
25 Nov 2017
16 Dec 2017
16 Jun 2018
24 Nov 2018
Festival of the Hill Tribes
Experience the Imbayah Festival in North Luzon
Off the beaten track :
23 Apr 2018
Hidden Treasures of Luzon
Discover hill tribes, smoking volcanoes & idyllic islands
Off the beaten track :
11 Nov 2017
02 Jun 2018
10 Nov 2018
Three volcanoes tour - Mount Pinatubo, Taal & Mayon
Off the beaten track :
Contact us for details
LuzonThe largest island of the Philippines and one of the largest islands in the world, Luzon is lined with soaring mountains, alive with bubbling volcanoes and thick with tropical rainforest. While the north is regarded as the most ethnic and religiously diverse part of the Philippines, the south is known for its striking scenery, an ironic by-product of many turbulent natural disasters. Enjoy a glass of tapuy with the welcoming hill tribes of the emerald Cordillera rice terraces in Banaue, or be stunned into silence with panoramic views of the legendary Mount Mayon in the Bicol region.
LaoagKnown as the 'Sunshine City' or 'City of Lights', Laoag declares its position within Filipino cultural heritage as poignantly as the strikes heard from within the Sinking Belltower. Visit one of the many beaches, the Paoay sand dunes, or absorb the fusion of an old Spanish-Japanese town with all the advantages of modern edifices.
ViganThe rustic Spanish colonial town of Vigan has charmed all that have strolled along the cobbled streets admiring the stone bahay and wooden mansions. Originally a centre of trade for gold and beeswax amongst Chinese merchants, the town has since been under American and Japanese rule. Due to its unique environment and colonial backdrop, the town has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Take one of the many kalesa (horse drawn carriages) around the Old Town, or catch some sun at one of Vigan's idyllic beaches.
BanaueOften described as the 'eighth wonder of the world', the rice terraces of Banaue are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an adored national treasure. The exquisite Cordilleras were crafted by the Ifugao 'head-hunters' some 2000 years ago and have since won the acclaim of agricultural and heritage awards worldwide for their world-class landscaping. Glimpse the quirky stone bulol (rice guards) on a tour of the sculpted mountains, meet the local hill tribes who tend to the terraces, and journey to the stunning viewpoints they have to offer – the higher you go, the more beautiful it gets.
SagadaWatching thick fog roll in from mountain peaks while surrounded by hanging wooden coffins carved with fearsome lizards can be an eerie image to fathom, but not while surrounded with the hospitality of a sleepy town whose lifeblood comes from the few tourists who drop in. Add enchanting caves and waterfalls to the list and you have an experience that will be difficult to forget.
ManilaAtypical of a Southeast Asian capital, Manila is a chaotic, colourful and culturally diverse urban jungle. The rich and the poor live crudely side by side; shopping malls are neighboured by shantytowns, restaurants fronted with hawkers. However, as capitals tend to prove, scratch beneath the hardened surface and you will discover a wealth of history in places you would likely bypass. Explore the Intramuros (walled city), walk across the 16th century drawbridges and discover stately homes, churches, schools and monasteries. Make sure you experience Filipino cuisine at its finest - concoctions of Spanish, Arabic and Chinese foods – then relax and enjoy the sun sinking into the horizon of the South China Sea.
TagaytayAn enormous prehistoric volcanic crater contains the spectacular sights of Lake Taal and the tempestuous Mount Taal volcano within. Considered one of the world's deadliest, the volcano has claimed the lives of hundreds of local people past and present. If it's an adrenaline injection you're after, take a tour over the mirror-like Lake Taal, and climb your way up to view the pulsating yellow sulphur pool that pushes clouds over the edges of the volcano.
South Luzon (Bicol Region)Located in the southernmost tip of Luzon, Bicol is a region famed for its craggy volcanic landscape. Home to the 'world's most perfect' cone-shaped Mount Mayon volcano, Bicol is a hot spot for lovers of scenery, diving and spicy food. Strong survivors to the sometimes extreme weather conditions, coconut trees are in abundance, and are therefore the base, along with chilli, of delicious Bicolano cuisine. Be sure to sample guinataang labong or sili ice cream, while dining in the looming shadow of Mount Mayon. From Bicol you can also dive within the Philippine Sea, where you can swim with the world's largest fish, the almighty whale shark.
LegazpiAs well as offering black sand beaches, ancient buildings and astounding religious architecture, Legazpi is home to the mighty Mount Mayon volcano, considered the 'world's most perfect' volcano owing to its symmetrical precision and cone-shaped appearance. Part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, the volcano is the most active in the Philippines, whose juicy, violent lava attracts wide-eyed visitors to its National Park, where you can witness unforgettable panoramic views of Legazpi. Get an ATV to the lava wall to get a closer look at Mount Mayon.
DonsolNow known as the 'whale shark capital of the world', the town of Donsol was originally a small fishing village whose locals feared the whale shark, thinking it vicious and deadly. However, a group of scuba divers with a video camera cleared its notorious reputation in 1998, proving the fish to be docile and safe to swim with. Now considered one of the best places in the world to swim with whale sharks, the sleepy village has grown as a tourist destination, not only boosting the incomes of the local people, but maintaining the livelihood of the once poached whale shark.
BulusanBulusan, translating to 'where water flows', is a sight to behold with its numerous waterfalls, springs and lakes; not to mention the active volcano Mount Bulusan, stewing away at the foot of the crater-based Bulusan Lake. Hire a boat or kayak within the secluded crater lake, and discover the dotted bamboo and nipa huts, hidden grottos, endemic bird species, and many other natural gems.
Tailormade OptionsFor a private and personal experience we can arrange a bespoke tailormade trip to cater specifically to your needs. Please review our group tours for tailormade ideas and complete our online tailormade enquiry form to let us know what you are looking to do and we will be happy to accommodate you.
BeachesWith over 7000 islands, there is no shortage of idyllic beaches and turquoise waters in the Philippines. Here are just a few of our favourites.
Boracay: Located in The Visayas, Boracay is perhaps the most ‘developed’ tourist island in the Philippines. It may be renowned for its beach bars and party scene, but you can still find your own tranquil spot on this island. With fabulous resorts and its world famous White Beach, Boracay is the ideal hedonistic escape.
Palawan: The archipelago of Palawan ticks all the boxes with its white powder beaches, subterranean rivers, diverse marine life and luxury beach cottages. An undoubted highlight is the otherworldly setting of Bacuit Bay which rivals Halong Bay in natural beauty, but is far less visited. Explore its hidden coves, lagoons, white sand beaches and underwater coral gardens.
Dedon Island: Sat on the northeastern tip of Mindanao, Dedon Island is just around the corner from the legendary surfing wave, Cloud 9. If surfing is not your style, there is ample opportunity to unwind on the pristine beaches, swim in the azure sea or explore the thick mangroves that surround the luxurious villas which integrate seamlessly with their environment.
FoodBicol in southeast Luzon is known for serving up the best cuisine in the country. Sample regional delicacies like Bicol express which are chillies stuffed with ground meat cooked in coconut milk and fill your plate with pinangat, pieces of fish wrapped up in taro leaves. Eat food from banana leaf plates and taste Bicol’s renowned sili (chilli) ice cream in the shadow of the formidable Mount Mayon. With the liberal use of coconut milk and chillies, Bicol certainly adds flavour and spice to Filipino food.
With a host of fine dining options also available in Manila’s Makati District, & fresh fruit, vegetables and seafood in abundance, we are sure you will agree that the Philippines can be just as exciting as its Asian neighbours when it comes to food.
Around ManilaThe main entry point to the Philippines, Manila can seem a typical chaotic capital. However, scratch beneath the surface and you’ll find plenty of noteworthy historical sights.
Intramuros (half-day tour): built in 1571 and enclosing government buildings, churches and schools, the ruins of this once imposing fortress serve as a reminder of Spanish domination in the Philippines. You can walk along the 4.5km-long ramparts and most of the walls and gates are still accessible.
Corregidor Island (full day tour): a 1-hour ferry ride from Manila Bay, Corregidor Island saw two fierce battles between the US and Japan during WWII. Your guide will take you to Malinta Tunnel, Battery Way, the Pacific War Memorial and the Spanish Lighthouse, and recount WWII life in the tunnels.
Volcanoes: Mount Taal and Mount Pinatubo are close by.
Click to enlarge route map
David Rose (Best of the Islands)
“Thanks for a great trip overall. I have only just uploaded the pics and still sorting (about 4000!). Suffice to say that Bryan ranks as one of the best accompanying tour guides we have met.”