Grand tour philippines 14 days. This itinerary is a comprehensive tour of the Philippines taking in most of the key highlights and some more remote regions.
Round: Manila – Mindoro - Puerto Galera – Calapan – Roxas – San Jose – Sablayan – Mamburao – Tagaytay
Day 1: Manila – Mindoro
Our guide will meet you at the airport and take you by air-conditioned minibus to the port of Batangas, and our ‘ferry’ to the island of Mindoro, the focus of our tour. Our ferry is in fact a large outrigger, which will take us directly onto the beach only yards from our hotel, the Mermaid Resort, newly opened and well-appointed. After time to freshen up and relax, we’ll have a welcome dinner to get to know each other.
Day 2: Puerto Galera (50 km)
We pick up our bikes in the morning and spend the day discovering the many varied local trails and attractions. For example, waterfalls with rock pools, Indian (Mangyan) tribes people, and the amazing views from the only golf club on the island, carved into the side of a mountain 700m above sea. Today gives you a chance to familiarize yourself with the local terrain and Philippine driving conditions!
Day 3: Puerto Galera – Calapan (80 km)
This is the start of the circumnavigation of the island - your luggage is in the support jeep and we have a full tank. We check out some interesting trails with river crossings, and encounter spectacular waterfalls on route to Calapan. Calapan is the provincial capital of the region where we stay in a quality hotel with a great pool.
Day 4: Calapan – Roxas (120 km)
An early morning jungle trail to start the day, then we head out of the region on reasonable roads. En route we check out an old coconut lumber logging trail along the rugged coast line. We then head into the mountains and over a very long jungle bridge which spans the huge 'Bongabong' river delta.
Modest but clean accommodation can be expected at Roxas, as we are now deep in the provinces where accommodation is getting scarce!
Day 5: Roxas – San Jose (130 km)
We travel mostly on dirt tracks now, as cemented roads are becoming rare. We stop at some great little beaches, giving us a chance to cool off in the South China Sea. We encounter rocky trails as we head up into the mountain range that splices Mindoro in two. For the more experienced, there is a tough but rewarding trail that cuts deep into 'Mangyan' (native people’s) territory. In San Jose its first class accommodation provided by the White House Safari Lodge, right on the beach.
Day 6: San Jose – Sablayan (120 km)
We divert from dirt roads early after leaving San Jose, and head into the Mount Baco National Park, where we encounter more native settlements. Later – if permission is granted - we visit and travel through a vast penal farm with a river crossing exit to the town of Sablayan. Here we leave the bikes behind and take a boat to a desert island where we will stay the night in native ‘Nipa’ huts. No mains electricity, but solar energy powers the batteries for the only bar on the island! We have to share accommodation here, but the food more than makes up for that, as the island is owned by a French chef!
Day 7: Sablayan – Mamburao (70 km)
Varied terrain takes us to this small coastal town, where just outside is the Tayamaan Palm Beach Club, a series of detached cottages nestling amidst a coconut grove, beside the beach. We will stay here for two nights, enabling us to explore this remote northern part of the island.
Day 8: Mamburao (90 km)
We head to the most northerly town of Mindoro, Paluan, and up into the foothills of Mount Calavite, visiting one of the largest Mangyan settlements on the island. We take lunch in the jungle beside natural pools amongst houses on stilts. There are some great trails here to suit all ability levels, plus the chance to discover some new trails as this area is criss-crossed with Mangyan trails.
Day 9: Mamburao – Tagaytay (120 km)
An early start, as we have to catch the ferry to the island of Luzon. If the ferry isn’t sailing that morning (it can be an unpredictable timetable) we must put the bikes in outrigger boats, and take them to another port - at this point the road ends! We head via road and trail to the pretty mountain town of Tagatay, and the spectacular Lake Taal with its cauldron of over 35 volcanoes. Most of these are active, many are under the lake’s surface. Here we ride down a zig-zag trail 700 m down the side of the main cauldron. After a visit to the volcano monitoring station we take an outrigger boat trip around the main volcano island, with it’s seven volcanoes – offering some superb photo opportunities. First class accommodation here, perched on a cliff face overlooking Lake Taal.
Day 10: Tagaytay – Pagsanyan (130 km)
We head first to the 'Palace in the Sky', on Mount Sungay, built by former President Marcos for the state visit of President Reagan some 20 years ago - the palace is now in ruins, but the views from here are amazing. After descending down and riding through lowland towns, we head up into the Mount Banahao range, passing through small Spanish colonial mountain villages with some very twisty semi-tarmaced sections, reminiscent of Swiss alpine roads! Then down into Pagsanyan town, home of the famous gorge and falls.
Day 11: Pagsanyan – Los Banos (35 km)
Today we take a canoe trip up the gorge to the falls, made famous in the movie 'Apocolypse Now'. Two banqueros will paddle you upstream through the eerie, deep gorge, before returning down at thrilling speed. Then it’s a short ride to the neighbouring hot springs spa town of Los Banos, and our overnight hotel, the Palm Springs Resort, with no less than 4 pool spas, all at different temperatures. Here you have the choice of relaxing in the baths for the afternoon, or visiting the PNP (Philippine National Police) shooting range, where professional instructors will teach you how to shoot 9 mm and .45 calibre automatic pistols, M16 assault rifles, and even Uzi sub-machine guns! Please don’t shoot the guide!
Day 12: Los Banos - Puerto Galera (100 km)
We make an early morning start back to our base in Puerto Galeras via the port of Batangas and the ferry. Then there’s plenty of time to relax in this popular dive resort, visit local attractions by bike or foot, scuba dive, snorkel, or relax on the many beaches – it’s up to you!
Puerto Galera is world famous for its scuba diving, as these tropical waters have one of the most productive marine eco-systems in the world. It has, for example, no less than 800 different species of coral alone! Many consider it has some of the most beautiful reef slopes in the world. So this is your chance to dive with a "Discover Scuba" programme, and see for yourself what has made these waters world famous…
Day 13: Puerto Galera – Manila
With the end in sight we return to Manila by air-conditioned coach and stay at the Tower Hotel, once famous as the Headquarters of the Japanese Army in World War II. The hotel is ideally placed in the Arts and Crafts centre of Manila, which also boasts some of the capital’s best restaurants and bars. This evening we’ll have a farewell dinner in one of Manila’s top restaurants.
Transfer to airport for return trip home