Philippines small group adventure tour

“This all-go tour combines the cities, rice paddies and mountains of Luzon with the beaches and mangroves of Palawan. There are worse ways to spend three weeks in the Philippines. ”


Manila | Banaue | Cambulo | Batad | Hiwang | Cordillera Mountains | Bontoc Museum | Sagada | Echo Valley Hanging Coffins | Klitepan and Kapay-aw rice terraces | Baguio City | Mount Pinatubo trek | Puerto Princesa | Sabang subterranean river | San Rafael beach | snorkelling off El Nido | Iwahig River fireflies

Description of Philippines small group adventure tour

You’ll veer from the classic Philippines vistas of rice paddies, mountains and chaotic Manila to peace-struck island life on this small group holiday to the Philippines.

First up is the island of Luzon, where you’ll go from no-holds-barred Manila to the calm of the Cordillera Mountains just north-east. Highlights include walking among the rice paddies and camping by the caldera lake of Mount Pinatubo. Palawan island reveals another side of the Philippines altogether. Puerto Princesa throws together palm beaches and enough caves and karsts to put Thailand to shame. Your stop-off in El Nido, meanwhile, will be your intro to snorkelling in paradisal lagoons.

Really, this small group holiday to the Philippines is a walking trip in disguise, so expect a trek up Mount Pinatubo and a hike through Echo Valley, where cliffside coffins show an old way of burying the dead as close to the next world as possible.

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23 Nov 2020
excluding flights
4 spaces left
Click here to enquire about or book the 23 Nov 2020 departure
28 Dec 2020
excluding flights
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Holiday type
Small group holidays
Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, travelling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week holiday, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travellers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.
What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Make the most of your holiday time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travellers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your holiday.

Solo travellers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those travelling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travellers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travellers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travellers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
Meet a group leader
As well as taking care of all the day-to-day practicalities, your group leader is the one who will turn your trip into an adventure. Leaders are extraordinary characters – the kind of person who has spent 14 Christmas days on the slopes of Mount Everest, runs marathons wearing tiger suits to raise funds for their conservation and thinks nothing of leading an overland trip in Sudan or Afghanistan. Fearless and inspiring, group leaders are as important as the destination itself.

Meet a local guide
No matter how experienced your group leader, they can never make up for the knowledge gained from a lifetime in the destination. That’s why many of our trips work with local guides around the world – who invite you into their homeland with pleasure. As well as doing crazy things like climbing Kilimanjaro 100 times, they also donate their time to local projects supported by travellers – such as rebuilding Sri Lankan villages following the 2004 tsunami.

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. You will also spend a full day island hopping and snorkelling off stunning El Nido. No plastics are allowed to be brought on any of the boat tours in this area in order to protect the environment and to reduce the use of plastics. We welcome this government initiative and ensure our boat suppliers are adhering to these regulations.

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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