Philippines - Asian adventure in contrast to the Arctic

To former headhunters, vulcanoes and to remote tropical islands

20 fascinating days
adventurous drive through the highlands of North-Luzon
to mummies and mystical caves
encounter with pristine living cultures
ascent of the vulcano Mt. Apo (2.954 m)
trekking into the jungles of Mindanao
to remote islands in the Calamianes archipelago
and above: a lot of Southern Sea's atmosphere
Due to political circumstances, the Philippines were moved out of the focus of touristic attention during recent years. However, one has to know, that the conflicts concentrate only in very few regions. Most of the country remains untouched. And one easily oversees, that hardly any other Asian country may compete with such an enormous variety of landscapes and colorful ethnic groups as this archipelago may offer. Visitors experience a country, proverbially known as: "where Asia wears a smile"!
1. day:
Flight to Manila

2. day:
Arrival in Manila in the evening
Transfer, overnight in hotel/B

3. day:
Departure to the North in the morning, by bus. Six hours ride to the small city of Baguio, which is already located in the highland of Luzon and thus has a cool climate (1.500 meters above sea level). We stroll through the city in the afternoon, shall visit the wood-carving-village at Asin Road and a small native weavery.
Overnight in hotel (B,L,-)
Philippines Baguio Bontoc
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4. day:
We continue across the "Mountain Trail Road" to the high lying settlement of Sayangan, further climbing on a partially rough road to the highest pass in the Philippines (ca. 2.250 m) to Mount Timbac; While undertaking a short hike, we'll see old coffins and mummies, placed in overhanging open caves several hundred years ago. We'll have a short, cold lunch on the way and shall reach a modest guesthouse of the Bontoc in the evening. Overnight in guesthouse (B,LP,D)
5. day:
We are going to visit the Pagan-Cave in Sagada with roughly hundred coffins, also placed in mystical ambience. After this we shall see a fantastic natural moument, the Sumaguing Cave. Guided by natives we'll enter a maze of underground caverns, with huge halls and abysses. After one hour of climbing and walking inside in the shine of petrol lamps, we'll reach an underground river. That's not yet the end of the cave, but our point of return.
After dinner we'll try to meet the Bontoc 'Council of Elders', the so-called "Ato".
Overnight in Guesthouse (B,LP,D)
6. day:
We undertake a day-tour to the territory of the Kalinga. Like the Bontoc also these tribesmen were feared head-hunters before. Until the mid-Seventies nobody dared to visit these areas, but meanwhile they are pacified, Their way of life was left with little changes otherwise.
We start with a public jeepney on a very bad road into almost impassable valleys, leave the car somewhere and hike to the villages Buscalan or Bugnay, following rice terraces ( 3 hours).
We'll walk and drive back in the late afternoon. Overnight in the Bontoc guesthouse (B,LP,D)
7. day:
Visit of the Bontoc museum in the forenoon, with artifacts exhibiting the Bontoc and Kalinga material culture. Also with impressing old photographs dating back to head-hunting time. After lunch we drive further to Banaue into the territory of the Ifugao. This ethnic group is in particular famous for its rice-terraces, called: "The Eighth Wonder of the World". Lined up one aside of each other, these terraces would span half around the globe. The area of the Ifugao covers 440 square kilometers, their huts remember Swiss mountain huts near Zermatt.
Overnight in the comfortable tourist-hotel with swimming-pool (probably); the capacity of the hotel is limited, if crowded, we'll have to stay in a guest-house. (F,LP,A)
Philippines rice terraces Ifugao
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8. day:
We'll drive approx. 1 hour northward and shall hike 2-3 hours to a viewpoint, offering a magnificent panoramic view across rice-terraces and down to the village of Batad. We shall visit the Ifugao at this remote place and gradually return following their foot-paths.
Overnight in the hotel or guesthouse of Banaue (B,LP,D)
9. day:
By bus to the Eastern Lowlands of Luzon and further via Bayombong to Manila (7-8-hours). Evening is free.
Overnight in hotel (B,LP,-)

10. day:
Transfer to the airport, flight to the island of Mindanao. We land in its capital: Davao. Following are ca. 2 to 3 hours by public bus to Kidapawan. We sit tightly, the bus is crowded. For you, this day will be a good chance to once experience authentic life of the Filipinos. We'll take our lunch on a colorful market in Kidapawan, will taste from the native dishes. Later we'll continue by public jeepney over very rough roads to Lake Agko. "Agko" means "hot lake". We'll stay overnight in wooden huts, our accompanying cook will serve us a delicious dinner. (B,L,D)
11. day:
We hike gradually upward through dense rain-forest, then steep down to the milky 'Marbel-river'. Following this creek we'll jump over stones from one side to the other repeatedly. After two hours we reach a hot spring (1.440 m). We'll have a break first, before we climb up to Lake Venado (2.200 m, 4-5 hours). We'll hike through a picturesque jungle, shall pass through dense reed and cross a romantic swamp. There are some grass-huts at the lake. But for safety-reasons, the porters, who carry our baggage, will also carry the tents. For the rest of the day we'll relax. (B,LP,D)
12. day:
The summit of Mt. Apo is mostly free of fog in the morning. That's why we start the ascent very early at 5 a.m.. The former pristine forest with its exuberant vegetation will change. Trees will become much lower, lichens and mosses hang from the branches. After two hours we reach the edge of the crater. The highest elevation of 2.954 meters is still a little bit further. And even from there a few minutes more and you'll get a magnificent panoramic view down to a crater lake.
For those, who are very well trained, another spectacle is still waiting. Walking down 400 meters in altitude, you may observe active sulfur springs, with pure sulfur-chimneys up to 3 meters high. This is something very unique on earth, really spectacular, to listen to the sound and to watch the sulfur steam for a while. But don't forget, you'll have to climb the summit again lateron - the way down to Venado is on the other side!
Philippines Mindanao volcano Mt. Apo
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We'll expect temperatures between + 7 to + 10 degrees Celsius at the summit. During night in the camp, temperatures might fall to + 10 degrees Celsius. After a pause at summit, we walk back and relax at Lake Venado. You may also take a bath in the cool water after the tour. (B,LP,D)
13 day:
We leave Lake Venado and descend to the hot springs. Again we follow the Marble River and reach Lake Agko. Here, or in the village of Ginatilan we say Good Bye to our porters. The Jeeps are waiting for us, they will take us back to Kidapawan. It could be, that we are being welcomed by the mayor or one of his representatives upon arrival. We'll receive a document in memory of our successful ascent. Overnight in Kidapawan in a local guesthouse (B,LP,D)
14. day:
We are driving back to Davao by public bus.
Flight to Manila. In the evening opportunity for a walk through the illuminated city.
Overnight in hotel (B,L,-)
15. day:
Flight to Busuanga, the northernmost island of the Calamianes archipelago (1 hour) Transfer to the small town of Coron, check in at the resort.
In the afternoon you may enjoy the comfort of the hotel, go swimming and relax.
Overnight in Resort (B,-,D)

16. -17. day:
For the next two days all your dreams about the Southern Seas will come true. We are exploring a fascinating world of small islands, lined up like pearls in an azure-blue sea, with empty white sandy beaches and full of coconut-trees. And other steep islands, rising almost vertical from the sea: with hidden bays, secret coves....
Additional you'll get to see a wonderful underwater world, which we shall explore swimming and snorcheling. Optional you may also explore the coral-reefs scuba-diving, after an introduction by a dive-master.
Philippines island hopping Palawan
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Philippines island hopping Palawan
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Philippine islands rural life Palawan
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We'll be "island-hopping" with a "basnig", a local fishing-boat. In the evening of the first day, we'll go ashore somewhere, our cook will prepare dinner over the open fire and you may watch an unforgettable sunset, something you will be dreaming of for a long time.
Overnight in tents (B,LP,D) In the evening of the second day we'll return to the resort, overnight (B,LP,D)
18. day:
Transfer to the airport, flight to Manila
Opportunity for shopping
Overnight in hotel (B,LP,-)

19. day:
Flight Manila - Frankfurt or L.A.- MNL

20. day:
Arrival at port of origin



Notes:
Average hiking-condition will be sufficient for this tour.
You should be ready to cooperate with your co-participants in a team and be willing to help, whenever your assistance is needed (e.g. while putting up the camps).
What is included:
- flights (Economy-Class) from Frankfurt or Los Angeles to Manila and retur
- domestic flights in the Philippines
- all transfers
- transportation in busses, per fishing boat or by public transportation according to program
- overnights in hotels and guesthouses incl. breakfast as indicated
- tents (2 persons/tent) at Mt. Apo and during the island-tour
- meals as indicated in the program
- kitchen/camping equipment at Mt. Apo and during island-tour
- 1 porter/participant at Mt. Apo
- local guides
- English speaking tour-guide
- airport-taxes in Germany or U.S.

Not included:
- National airport taxes
- optional excursions and hotel stays
- optional meals, e.g. in restaurants
- beverages
- personal expenses, tips,
- insurances
Number of participants:
Minimum 7, max. 12 persons

Travel Dates:
pls inquire


Price:
from Frankfurt:  5.350,- €
from Los Angeles: 6.100.- $US
from other ports of origin upon request



If interested in this journey, kindly