Philippines

February 7, 2015 - February 27, 2015

Based on the expeditionary nature of our trips, there may be ongoing enhancements to this itinerary.

Below please find the day-by-day itinerary for this expedition. Unless otherwise noted, daily excursion options are included in the cost of the trip. We do our best to adhere to the scheduled itinerary, but in the spirit of our expeditionary style of travel we may deviate slightly to take full advantage of encounters with the destination and its people, culture, and wildlife.

Feb 7 - Feb 8 Depart USA

Board your independent flight to Malaysia.

February 9 Sandakan, Malaysia

Arrive in Sandakan in the late afternoon and check in to the Four Points Sheraton. Gather at the hotel this evening for a welcome reception and dinner.

February 10 Sandakan / Embark Caledonian Sky

This morning we drive to an area of lowland rain forest, home of the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center. Here, observe young orangutans, many of them orphans, who are rehabilitated and taught to live in the wild. Embark the Caledonian Sky this afternoon.

February 11 Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Philippines

Arrive in Puerto Princesa this afternoon and embark on a tour of the city and its environs. Learn about the local culture at the Palawan Heritage Museum and watch a weaving demonstration at Binuatan Creations. Visit the Butterfly and Botanical gardens, and end your tour at the lively market.

February 12 El Nido

The 45 islands and surrounding waters of El Nido present an array of natural wonders—numerous lagoons, hidden caves, dramatic limestone cliffs, inviting white-sand beaches, and healthy reefs teeming with fish. Today explore the area by Zodiac, snorkel, dive, relax on the beach, or take a stroll with naturalists to search for resident birds and wildlife.

February 13 St. Paul's National Park

One of the recently selected New 7 Wonders of Nature, St. Paul’s Underground River is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Take a cruise through huge caverns and past stunning rock formations while you learn about the rich biodiversity of this unique “mountain-to-sea” ecosystem.

February 14 Coron Island

Choose from a variety of tour options to explore the natural and cultural wonders of Coron, including an active hike up Coron’s vertical cliffs, which is rewarded with breathtaking views of Kayangan Lake; or visit the Banuang Daan who will showcase their rich traditions with a performance and display of handicrafts. Spend the afternoon snorkeling, diving, or relaxing on sandy Banol Beach.

February 15 Sibuyan Island

This morning you are welcomed ashore with a traditional Pag-alad performance. Then board Jeepneys—the colorful symbols of Philippine culture—for a scenic drive to the Cantingas River’s hydro plant, a major source of the island’s clean energy. Watch the process of harvesting and milling rice, using the traditional bayo method. Continue to Dagubdob Falls, a series of cascades surrounded by dense tropical forest. After a lunch of local delicacies, walk with naturalists to search for flora and fauna, or take a swim in the refreshing freshwater pool.

February 16 Donsol / Legazpi

Donsol Bay is one of the best places in the world to see and swim with whale sharks. Board local boats this morning to search for and swim with these gentle creatures. Alternatively, enjoy a city tour of Legazpi.  After lunch onboard, travel overland to the ruins of the 18th-century Cagsawa Church, backdropped by the stunning Mayon Volcano. Or, choose an active hike along the slopes of Mayon to search for birds and wildlife.

February 17 Ticao Island

Spend the morning snorkeling and diving at tiny San Miguel Island. In the afternoon, take a scenic Zodiac cruise along the coast of Ticao to the base of Catandayagan Falls—a supremely photogenic waterfall that cascades over sheer limestone cliffs directly into the sea—then step ashore in a tiny fishing village to visit with locals.

February 18 Capul Island

The people of Capul possess a rich cultural heritage including a language unique to this small island. After a short walk to the 17th-century fortress, enjoy a performance of dance and songs set to folk music. A stroll past the 18th-century church takes you to a coconut farm. The main industry of the locals, learn how coconut is processed. Sample traditional dishes and fresh local produce. Afterward head to the nearby sandy beach to swim, snorkel, or simply relax.

February 19 Pamilacan Island

Be on deck early this morning to keep watch for the dolphins often seen cruising these waters. Take a stroll through a small fishing village, making stops at the school and the 200-year-old Spanish Fortress. Spend the afternoon snorkeling or diving.

February 20 Bohol / Balicasag

Rise early this morning for a scenic drive through the countryside, past emerald rice paddies and forested hillsides. Arrive at the Chocolate Hills, a unique landscape of almost perfectly conical hills, and ascend to the viewing platform for commanding views. Spend the afternoon snorkeling or diving at Balicasag, a Marine Protected Area.

February 21 Cagayan de Oro

Today venture into the highlands of Bukidnon and take a hike through lush rain forest to a lovely waterfall. Several ethnic groups inhabit these hills and you will meet people from the Higaonon and Talaandig tribes who will share their culture and perform traditional dances. Birders visit the Mapawa Nature Reserve to search for Philippine serpent eagles, Philippine hanging parrots, and yellow-wattled bulbuls. After lunch, visit the Del Monte Pineapple Plantation. Or, spend the day on an exhilarating white water rafting excursion.

February 22 Camiguin Island

Today, venture into the foothills of Mt. Hibok-Hibok, an active volcano, then make a stop at the 245-foot-high Katibawasan Falls and take a dip in the refreshing pool. After visiting a village and local market, enjoy a feast of traditional dishes, fresh seafood, and lechon, a whole roasted pig.

February 23 Sogod Bay / Limasawa Island

Board local boats for your second opportunity to swim with whale sharks. This afternoon, visit beautiful Limasawa Island.

February 24 Bucas Grande Island / Lajanosa Island

An amazing experience awaits as Zodiacs take you through a maze of rocky islets in Sohoton National Marine Park to arrive at a lagoon filled with thousands of stingless jellyfish. Take a swim or simply observe the softly pulsating orange and white jellyfish as they glide through the turquoise waters. In the afternoon, snorkel or dive off Lajanosa Island.

February 25 At Sea

Attend lectures recapping your experiences.

February 26 Davao City / Disembark / Manila

Disembark this morning and enjoy a morning tour of the Davao Pearl Farm or a city tour, including the ethnographic museum and cult-ural village. After lunch at a local restaurant, transfer to the airport for our early afternoon flight to Manila. Upon arrival check in to the Marriott Hotel Manila for dinner and overnight.

February 27 Manila / USA

Depart on your early morning flight, arriving in the USA on the same day.