Philippines small group holiday

“Take 11 days to hike your way around central Luzon on this small group tour. Along the way you’ll camp by a volcano crater and meet the villagers who farm the mirrored rice paddies. ”


Manila | Banaue rice terraces | Batad village | mountain-view Hiwang | Bontoc house museum | Sagada | hike to the Hanging Coffins | Echo Valley | Cordillera Central | Baguio City | trek up Mount Pinatubo

Description of Philippines small group holiday

You’ll go from motorbike-mad Manila to cathedral-quiet rice paddies on this small group holiday to the Philippines. Hiking is the order of the day here, with walks ranging from easy strolls to challenging two-day treks.

The highlight, though, must be the three-day hike through the rice paddies and millennia-old terraces that step up towards the mountaintops north of Manila. There’s also a climb up Mount Pinatubo that winds up on the crater lake up top. After setting up camp on the rim, you’ll get to wake up to a sunrise that lights up the Zambales Mountains. Echo Valley, on the other hand, is the realm of the Hanging Coffins (exactly what it says on the tin). It’s an insight into the Igorot people – a broad term for around ten ethnic groups. These rice paddy farmers live in the Ifugao homesteads you’ll see dotted around the mountainsides.

The star of this small group holiday to the Philippines? Your guide. They’ll show you the quiet corners of Manila and pair up the group with some of the best hiking country on Luzon.

Travel Team

If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. The Travel Team.

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23 Nov 2020
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Holiday type

Small group adventure

What is a small group adventure?
It's a great way to travel! Whether you are travelling on your own, with a partner or with friends, a small group trip is a fantastic way to see the world. You'll travel on a fixed itinerary that has been designed to help you discover the best of region. From the known highlights, the hidden gems that you won't find in the guidebooks.

Itineraries run on set departure dates, accompanied every step of the way by an English speaking local group leader. You chose the itinerary and the date that suits you best and you book on.

Why travel on a small group adventure?
Small groups allow us to explore where larger tour groups can't. Our maximum group size of 16 travellers allows us to use local transport to get from A to B, to visit rural villages, spend time with the locals and even stay at a local home overnight, and it allows us to give our travellers genuine, real life experiences of the countries we are visiting; what you'll be doing and how you'll travel depends entirely on your chosen itinerary.

Is an adventure right for me?
The word adventure means something different to everyone, and our range of trips reflects that. Whether you want to explore local markets, visit out of the way temples and meet local people or go on an early morning safari drive searching for the 'big five', we'll have a trip for you. If you are looking for a physical challenge such trekking the Kokoda Track or summiting Kilimanjaro, we can help with that too.

So what can I expect on this trip?
This is one of our Basix trips, designed specifically for budget travellers who still want the security of group travel without lots of added inclusions. These trips don't have many included activities and meals are rarely included in the price, giving you the opportunity to search out local restaurants and sample regional specialities to your heart's content. The amount of free time in these itineraries means that the Basix trips often appeal to younger travellers looking to explore independently and tailor the trip to your own interests. You often won't spend too many days in any one place and you'll pack lots of different locations into your holiday.

As you might expect, accommodation on a Basix trip will be fairly basic! We'll stay in 1-2 star accommodation, often including homestays and there may be nights where the group stays somewhere multi-share / in a dormitory-style. Most accommodation however will be twin share; with solo travellers automatically roomed with a fellow group member of the same sex, this means that there are no single supplements on Basix trips.

On camping trips you will be expected to help out around the camp; putting up and taking down your own tent, helping with meals and other camp duties. We often find the nights where we are without a few creature comforts are those that are most amazing; wild bush camping in Serengeti anyone?! We'll use local transport where ever possible which is a great way of seeing the country and meeting locals as we travel.

Can I book my flights with you?
Yes! We are a fully ATOL bonded tour operator meaning that we can book flights from the UK as part of your holiday package. Just ask us for a quote including flights when you make your enquiry.

Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your holiday will help support conservation and local people.

When you hit the road with us, you leave lighter footprints, invest in local communities, show respect and curiosity for different cultures and traditions, and experience genuine connections with the people you meet along the way.

To help reduce the use of plastic water bottles, everyone on this trip is given a refillable flask. Potable water is available in many local restaurants and accommodation at no charge. We have worked with many of our suppliers to provide potable water throughout this trip and our leaders will always point out to our travellers where this is available. By offering this service our travellers save money on buying bottled water and contribute to the overall reduction in plastic waste.

Protecting and preserving the environment is really important to us. On this trip you will hike to Mount Pinatubo and spend the night camping right next to the crater’s lake. This is a stunning location and we want to keep it that way for all our future travellers, so our tour leaders carry a bag to pick up rubbish found along the trail. The waste may be from other tourists or from the indigenous people living in the area but we want to be part of the solution by helping to keep this area waste free. It’s a great way to set an example that we can all help to protect our environment and we often find many of our travellers join in by carrying their own bag as well.

We only work with suppliers who share our values especially with regard to animal welfare, and avidly oppose any exploitative or illegal practices. As a company we work towards promoting the five freedoms that should be available to all animals, wild or domestic: freedom from hunger and thirst, freedom from discomfort, freedom from pain, injury and disease, freedom to express normal behaviour, freedom from fear and distress. We conduct appropriate research to ensure we do not promote, visit or participate in any activities that are failing to uphold these five freedoms. Travelling to the Philippines you can encounter wild animals being used as tourist attractions.

The Impacts of this Trip

We want to “spread the love” when it comes to shopping in local markets. Instead of having the entire group buy their fruit, snacks or souvenirs from one stall holder the leader encourages our travellers to split up and buy from multiple stall holders. This allows many local business owners to benefit directly from our travellers.

We encourage our passengers to support local industries by showing them around and explaining the work behind the products sold. Rather than buying souvenirs and keepsakes from hotels, the group would be asked to buy from the places where we take them so that money goes directly to the community. We point out the benefits—price, quality and interaction with their creators, which enriches the shopping experience.

We employ leaders from the Philippines which gives our travellers the best local knowledge and allows them to experience the country through the eyes of an expert. All of our Philippine trips are run by a local operator based in Manila who employs many admin and operations staff, directly benefiting the Philippines’ economy. All staff are paid a fair wage and are provided with ongoing training and career development.


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