GUILLAUME NERY FREEDIVING WORKSHOP

The Department of Tourism – Philippines is excited to host the freediving workshops of world champion Guillaume Néry this July and August, 2017.
There would also be a meet and greet for fans in Mactan, Cebu on July 20, 2017.

Guillaume Nery Main Poster A4 size

Best souvenir in Kalinga: A tattoo from the Philippines’ oldest artist, Apo Whang-od Culture

With technology rapidly changing, traditional culture is gradually being forgotten. While the city life can bring all your aspirations in life, it can certainly break the wild soul within you. Sometimes all you need to divert your busy schedule from falling apart is through experiencing a laid-back adventure travel where you can’t be disturbed. A meaningful trip to the Northern Philippines may be just the place for you!

The Philippines is known for its colorful and unique culture and this can be greatly seen in the provinces of Kalinga, Ifugao, and Mountain Province in Northern Philippines.  Sagada, a perfect destination where one can witness the beauty of both tangible and intangible things. You can experience the incomparable nature and unparalleled culture you have yet to discover. Home to 31 ethnic groups, Sagada has a lot of different adventure tours to offer. It is not only blessed with gorgeous sights and attractions but also with different stories of the people whose lives are greatly influenced by what their ancestors have passed down upon them. Sagada is more than just capturing the picturesque nature itself but also what they had to go through to get them to where they are now.

Usual activities such as trekking, visiting the hanging caves, hiking, or gastronomic hopping can be all fun and exciting but if you’re feeling that you need an upgrade from the usuals, you could simply try something new. Take a side trip to Tinglayan, Kalinga, and bring out the thrill seeker in you! Get a tattoo from Apo Whang-od, the oldest and the last living traditional artist who is still practicing the craft of Batuk, a traditional tattoo crafted in the Philippines. She recently rose to fame years when her artistry was featured in Discovery Channel’s Tattoo Hunter. Getting a tattoo inked by her means something more than just a permanent mark on your skin, it is a gorgeous form of art that imprints culture from years back.

The process of getting a tattoo is surely an adventure of its own. The process of getting there, and getting the tattoo itself, can take some time, but it definitely will not disappoint you. Along the way, you can witness the beauty of nature, and appreciate the simplicity of life and it can be too astonishing that you might even not notice the time. This adventure tour might even solve your constant struggle of finding serenity in the midst of all the adventures.

With numerous designs to choose from, each having their own special meaning, you can opt to choose one yourself or have it the traditional way and let Apo Whang-od choose for you. With a thorn, a bamboo stick, and wet charcoal, she will carefully bring your chosen tattoo to life. With this simple act, she preserves and keeps the tradition of Butbut tribe of Buscalan alive. She truly leaves a legacy to each and every person she meets.

The tattoo marked by the legendary Apo Whang-od serves as a permanent reminder of the traditional life roots that modern technology can never erase. A tattoo is can be the best and most meaningful souvenir for your next best tropical vacation, for it is not just something you can simply buy from a souvenir shop, but a first-hand experience you can never forget. It is more than just a symbol—It contains your very own story and life-long connection to the Kalinga culture.

Not sure how to plan your trip? Contact our travel partners now to help you out. Experience the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of engraving Kalinga’s enthralling culture right through your skin.

Manila and its Southern Outskirts

Summer is almost here, and you just can’t wait to bathe under the scorching sun. Coron, Cebu, and Boracay are some of the famous destinations in the Philippines where you can enjoy the tropical weather. Comprised of more than 7,641 islands, it might be hard to move from one place to another unless you have the time and the resources. Good thing there are world-class destinations a few hours from Manila. Go down South Luzon and experience accessible world-class destinations without spending too much of your time!

Laguna

Located Southeast of Metro Manila, Laguna is engulfed in rich culture, nature and plenty of attractions you could discover yourself. The promising destination is home to Pagsanjan Falls, Mount Makiling, Paete – the wood carvers’ town, and Los Baños Hot Springs. If you’re fond of a serene atmosphere where you could contemplate about life, Lake Pandin in San Pablo offers a calm adventure and you may even dine in the middle of the lake with your special someone. Make sure not to miss Villa Escudero, a resort plantation, reputed as a showcase for the Philippines’ rich cultural heritage, offering a charming glimpse of history, cuisine, dress, customs and nature.  The villa has become famous for its restaurant at the foot of a man-made waterfall which is truly a unique dining experience.

Tagaytay

Tagaytay is the most popular choice among locals looking for a cooler climate. Its chilly atmosphere, refreshing sights and outstanding restaurants offer an easy escape from a buzzling city life. People who are in dire need of a quiet time alone deserves this haven called Tagaytay. One can drop by Palace in the Sky, situated on top of Mt. Sungay where you could overlook and enjoy the interesting landscapes. Another noteworthy spot is Tierra de Maria which is an ideal place for spiritual contemplation and healing. It is famous for its 50-foot tall statue of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and a replica of the Virgin of Manaoag. Several vantage points are available for you to visit and be amazed with the overlooking views that can be seen in Tagaytay.

Batangas

Having one of the longest coastlines in Southern Luzon, Batangas offers a variety of beaches perfect for your travel adventure. Batangas is known to have it all –historical structures, a volcano within a lake, pristine beaches, diverse marine life, and everyone’s favorite, irresistible delicacies. Tourist activities in Batangas include overnight stays in resorts in Nasugbu, Calatagan, Mabini, and San Juan, hike to Taal Volcano island, pilgrimage to the numerous churches in the Archdiocese of Lipa, and visits to well-preserved ancestral houses in the Heritage Town of Taal. If you are an underwater adventure enthusiast, a trip to Anilao is a must. It is a world class diving destination belonging to the waters of the Verde Island Passage labeled as the “center of the center of marine shore fish biodiversity”.

Enjoy the beauty of the Philippines with these provinces and secure yourself with the best tropical vacation without the expense of your time! Contact our travel experts and embark on another meaningful journey.

Viva Visayas- 4 must-see destinations in Central Philippines

There’s more to the Philippines than the picture-perfect seascapes of Boracay and Palawan. In fact, more and more travel writers are becoming gateways to the world as they beautifully narrate their adventures in this amazing archipelago. The great thing about this country is that with over 7,000 islands, you will surely find the kind of escape you are looking for. So how about experiencing four amazing islands in the Visayas, in just 8 days? Some may say it’s crazy, but we say it’s possible! To help you fully appreciate the beauty of this country, let’s go on a wild ride through Cebu, Panglao, Bohol, and Siquijor.

First stop- Cebu

It only makes sense to start this tropical escapade in the Queen City of the South. This part of Visayas is like a bite-sized version of the country’s capital Manila with its electricity but with an additional serving of mother nature’s best creations. So, if you the vacation of your dreams is a perfect combination of the pulsating city life and the quaint charm in the arms of amazing oceans, then Cebu is the place to be.

We’ve done a few articles highlighting the many destinations you should experience in Cebu. For places that are rich in history, you definitely should pay a visit to Magellan’s Cross which Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan erected to commemorate the conversion of King Humabon of Cebu and his Queen, son and daughters, together with some of 800 of their subjects to Christianity. Another historical site worth visiting is the Minor Basilica of Santo Niño, the home of the original and oldest religious relic in the Philippines in honor of the Holy Child Jesus.

Of course, you can’t leave Cebu and move on to the next destination without treating yourself to an actual magnificent tropical getaway. The seascapes here are incredible with marine life that would definitely make you want to stay underwater. Our recommendation- Tingko Beach, Mactan Island, and Malapascua.

Second stop- Panglao

The beautiful Central Philippines is located in the north Bohol Sea and is home not just to breathtaking white-sand beaches but also to gorgeous terrains like mountains, hills, and limestone formations. Out of all the many islands that make Panglao (like Gak-ang, Pontod, and Balicasag), the most popular is Alona Beach, recognized for its white sand and pristine waters. This island is also perfect for travelers looking to take their adventure travel to the next level through water activities such as scuba diving, dolphin watching, snorkeling, and island hopping. In fact, around 250 new species of crustaceans, as well as 2500 new mollusks species, were found around the island, this discovery actually revealed that Panglao has more marine biodiversity compared to the Mediterranean Sea and Japan.

Third stop- Bohol mainland

Now, we go to the mainland of, an island province filled with natural wonders. Yes, Panglao does the fair share of bringing in tourists to this destination but Bohol mainland is known for its lush forests and white-sand beaches, and more importantly for the majestic Chocolate Hills.

The Chocolate Hills makes for some breathtaking landscape views you would ever see in your lifetime and what makes it even more amazing is the many stories and legends that surround it; one of which is of two giants in a battle throwing boulders at each other. But this place is just the tip of the iceberg that is Bohol because you still have those cute bug-eyed tarsiers, the delectable local delicacies, the historical attractions, and the white-sand beaches to see and experience.

If you want your #SummerGoals achieved, Bohol is definitely a place to visit because you will go back home with a suitcase filled with unforgettable adventures.

Last stop- Siquijor

Known for being a place of mystery and magic, Siquijor is a must-visit destination for those who are after a truly unique tropical adventure travel. If you’re up for it, you could time your vacation to witness their festivals which focus on rituals of healing. On these local occasions, incantations are being sung while the elders brew potions made out of herbs, insects, tree barks, and roots. In fact, if you’re lucky, a few locals would gladly share legends of witchcraft on the island.

But stories of wizardry are not just what makes Siquijor a must-experience destination; it has plenty of natural wonders that would make any traveler come back time and again. With a 102-kilometer coastline of white-sand beaches, it comes as no surprise that Siquijor is home to some of the best diving spots in the Philippines. It also has caves, waterfalls, a natural park, and a butterfly sanctuary.

Ready to take on these four amazing islands? Check out the eight-day tour of Central Philippines our travel partner has for you and start booking your flight for another summer to remember!

Philippines: Where to scuba dive

The Philippines is known not just for the hospitality of the Filipino people but also its islands that make up some of the world’s best tropical destinations for dream holidays. Being an archipelago allowed this country to continuously capture the attention of tourists on a global scale with its breathtaking beaches, scuba dive spots and other natural wonders.

Of course, when it comes to booking a flight and spending a few well-deserved holidays to get your dose of vitamin sea, you’d probably want to create some new memories through adventures you either haven’t done before or want to do again. One of these sought out water thrills that consistently entices the market is scuba diving. Through this, you won’t just enjoy the clear blue waters of the sea, but you actually get to experience it while being introduced into this wonderful country’s underwater riches. To help you out, we’ve listed the top three must-visit dive destinations for your next tropical vacation:

1. Tubbataha Reef, Puerto Princesa

Scuba diving in the Tubbataha Reef in Puerto Princesa, Palawan is something you would surely not want to miss. Here, you can experience the ocean in multi-colors of marine biodiversity especially since Tubbataha Reef is part of what is called the Coral Triangle.

The Coral Triangle is globally-recognized as the center of marine life making up 75% of the world’s coral species and 40% of the world’s reef fish. Scientists who have been studying and visiting Tubbataha since the 1980s have found that this UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to over 359 species of corals, over 600 species of fishes, 14 species of sharks, 12 species of dolphins and whales. If you’re all about coral gardens, then you won’t be disappointed as the reefs boast of an amazing 100-meter perpendicular wall, two coral islands, and a few extensive lagoons. You can also expect to see over a hundred bird species, including migratory birds.

The best time to visit Tubbataha for a dive is during mid-March to mid-June and is reachable only by boat leaving from Puerto Princesa’s harbor at sunset for a 10 to 12-hour journey arriving at this marine sanctuary by sunrise.

2. Monad Shoal, Cebu

Considered as the number one dive site in Malapascua, Cebu, Monad Shoal is the only place in the whole world where divers can witness Thresher Sharks in their natural habitat. But there is more to this underwater island than that. Since Monad Shoal is part of the Coral Triangle as well, this wall is a marine protected area making it possible for visitors to still see its soft coral species as well as other pelagics fishes like Manta Rays. Critter lovers will also have a good time diving in Monad Shoal is home to various species of Nudibranchs, Mantis Shrimps, and Pygmy Seahorses, among others.

If you’re into underwater macro photography as well, it’s best to visit this during summer so you won’t have to worry about sudden rains ruining your plan to scuba dive. Visibility ranges from 10m to 15m, with a maximum depth of 24m. Currents can be strong but if you are an experienced diver, you’ll surely enjoy the waters.

One final word of advice, make sure not to sleep too late the night before so you can witness the magnificent Thresher sharks at early in the morning, which usually requires a 5 a.m. departure from Malapascua.

3. Panglao Island, Bohol

In Bohol, besides the world-famous Chocolate Hills, adventurers can also enjoy scuba diving at Panglao Island with an area that stretches to over 94 kilometers. Inside this island lies one of Bohol’s treasured beaches called Alona, popular for its white sand, clear blue waters, and rocky cliffs. Since Alona Beach is situated in close proximity to a house reef, water thrill seekers can expect colorful corals and fishes with or without diving gear. This makes Panglao Island famous for a number of underwater activities such as snorkeling, freediving, and scuba diving.

Alona Beach dive site boasts of colorful species of western clown-anemone fishes, angel fishes, Moorish idols, pufferfishes, and baby barracudas. Night dives are also possible here and is the perfect time to scuba dive if you want to see boxer shrimps, cleaner shrimps, moray eels, and decorator crabs.

Summer in the Philippines usually begins the moment the month of March steps in so if you want to experience this tropical destination has to offer in terms of adrenaline-pumping water activities, then we suggest you book now! If you’re a first time or amateur diver, no worries, Filipinos are known for being warm, welcoming, and accommodating so they’d gladly guide you as you discover the diver in you! Plan your trip with us now!

What to do in Bohol

Home of the cute Tarsiers, Bohol is serene but adventurous version of the entire archipelago. The endless possibilities found in Bohol will not only calm your screaming tired soul but also awaken the sleeping adrenaline junkie within. Listed below are four things you must not miss when in Bohol.

1. Exploring Loboc River

Surrounded by captivating rainforests, Loboc River is a jaw-dropping turquoise-colored river that Bohol takes pride in. While most people opt for a cruise along the impressive river, adventurous people can take an extra mile by stand-up paddle boarding along the river. It is a lot easier to paddle board in Loboc due to tranquil waters which involves less friction and smooth-sailing. Stand Up Paddling offers a quiet time and re-connecting with nature. You paddle at your own pace, meditatively as you cruise down this river paradise in Loboc. You’ll get to see the ruined 17th-century coral stone San Pedro Apostol Parish Church which was destroyed by consecutive natural disasters. Watching the colors of the sky change as the night time approaches is an added bonus to end your relaxing day at Loboc River.

2. Island Hopping in Panglao, Bohol

What would a vacation mean without getting a luxurious time at a beach? But in Bohol, you should not stay at just one beach. Known to have a lot of beaches with light blue waters and defined sandbars, it would be hard to discover them all. There are plenty of activities you can do depending on the island you are about to encounter. Passing by fish pens can be arranged so you could feed the tiny schools of fish., you can also check snorkeling off your list in an island called Gak-ang or scuba dive in the neighboring island of Balicasag. Immeasurably protected and preserved by the government, you will only find unspoiled beaches with clear waters free from litter and any kind of trash. Since they are strict with implementing rules, you must enjoy the lovely sceneries while abiding the rules. Leave nothing but memories, good friend!

3. Getting cozy with tarsiers

Traveling around Bohol without visiting the tarsiers in their sanctuaries would be incomplete. These cute googly-eyed mammals are most active at night and lives on a diet of insects. One of the smallest primates in the world, Tarsiers even have a special adaptation in the neck which allows its head to be rotated 180 degrees. While visiting these shy lemur-like animals, always move in with caution. As they are extremely introverted, flashes of cameras and loud sounds can startle them in an instant. Make sure to ask your guide for any questions to fill up those tarsier trivia you’ve been dreaming of learning.

4. Sight-seeing the Chocolate Hills

Last but not the least, the essence of Bohol, Chocolate Hills. Spread in a wide area of 50 square kilometers, the majestic hills are covered with grass, which, at the end of the dry season, turns chocolate brown making it one of Bohol’s main attraction. One travel tip would be to ask locals or your tour guide on famous folklore about the chocolate hills that you could brag and pass on to your friends. Make sure you have eaten before watching over the symmetrical chocolate-colored hills as it would just make you crave more for Hershey’s kisses.

Convinced of the ultimate Bohol getaway? Contact our travel partners and we’ll arrange everything according to your taste. See you soon!

Top three summer destinations in Palawan

Summer is right around the corner so it’s only natural that you and your friends are starting to plan ahead for this year’s #SummerGoals. No worries, Philippines doesn’t come short of tropical holiday destinations that would make your summer a time to remember. If you consider yourself a traveler, then the wonderful 7,641 islands of this country are probably part of your travel bucket list.

Known as the country’s last frontier, Palawan has managed to preserve its fascinatingly natural habitat through the years. Palawan, the largest province in the country is an irregular coastline that stretches for almost 1,200 miles. The place is peppered with over 1,780 islands and islets as well as fine, white sand beaches and rocky coves. It is also home to some of the Philippines’ most amazing stretch of virgin forests that cover numerous mountain ranges, so sea and landscapes are something you can marvel at.

This world-recognized tropical holiday destination is famous for the quaint charm and paradise of white sand beaches namely, Puerto Princesa, El Nido, and Coron. To help you decide on where to go on your Palawan trip, here’s what you can expect from the three:

PUERTO PRINCESA
In the heart of Palawan lies the capital city of Puerto Princesa, a tropical paradise with lush rainforests and white sand beaches simply hours away from the city proper. Puerto Princesa is known not just for its beach resorts and exceptional seafood cuisine but also for being recognized as the cleanest and greenest city in the country. Tourists continuously get enticed to visit Puerto Princesa to indulge in vitamin sea, sand, and sky since the island is city crystal blue waters, white sand beaches, and green luscious forests. Puerto Princesa is also home to one of the New7Wonders of Nature – the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park. So if you’re not just a traveler but adventure and thrill-seeker as well, exploring the waters and caves of Puerto Princesa is the right itinerary for you.

EL NIDO
A slice of paradise is another possibility in El Nido. Here, island hopping is not to be missed. El Nido is a managed resource protected area so you can expect nothing less than spectacular white-sand beaches, limestone cliffs, and rock formations. You can also see great coral gardens if you have the time to go underwater. El Nido is also popular among travelers since it is the gateway to the Bacuit archipelago, another seascape you shouldn’t skip visiting if you’re into lagoons, coves, white-sand beaches, and diverse marine life. The Bacuit archipelago is one of the best scuba diving destinations in the world. On any given dive, you are likely to see dugongs, manta rays, sea turtles, and a very large number of fish species, some of which are endemic to the Philippines.

CORON

If you are one of those people in search of some well-deserved break from the hustle and bustle of city life, the place to unwind is Coron. This part of Palawan is popular among divers because aside from its fine white-sand beaches, its waters are also home to a dozen sunken World War II Japanese warships, corals reefs, and marine life. You could also give Calauit Safari Park a visit to experience a nice walk in the wilderness. Calauit Safari Park is a 9,100 acres game reserve and wildlife sanctuary located in Calauit Island alive with indigenous species and African wildlife including giraffes, zebras, and gazelles. Sea turtles, sea cows, and a variety of marine life nestle on its shores.

What are you waiting for? Book your travel now and visit one of the top tropical destinations in the world! If you want a different experience, you could also try booking a cruise with us and we’ll take you right to Puerto Princesa Port.

Packing for a trip to Boracay

The year 2016 is about to come to an end (finally) and with its inevitable closing comes another year for you to explore and travel the beautiful Philippines. With spring break just a few months away, now is the perfect time to book your flights and take advantage of various year-end airfare sales. But with 7,107 islands waiting for you in this tropical destination, which one deems worthy of your spring break? We have one word for you- Boracay.

There’s probably a very slim chance that you have not heard of Boracay because this small island and its breathtaking beaches have taken the world by storm by receiving numerous awards from various travel publications and awarding bodies. The island is renowned worldwide for being home to some of the best white-sand beaches and if there is a place that could make you forget the daily city chaos and school pressure, it’s definitely with some sand, sea, and sun. To help make your visit to this tropical destination fun not fiasco, here are a few essential that you should pack for a trip to Boracay:

1. Sunblock

Let’s start with the obvious. Frolicking under the sun is well and good until you wake up feeling like a slightly cooked chicken leg. If you want to enjoy your time at one of the top beach destinations in Asia, it’d be wise to slather on some good ol’ sunblock, unless you want to spend your time with red skin that stings with every move.

2. Personal Toiletries

Hotels in Boracay usually provide free basic toiletries like soap, shampoo, toothbrush and toothpaste but if you have sensitive skin and scalp, it’s best to bring your own. Transient homes and Air BnB accommodation are also not likely to provide those so if you are not willing to allocate time and money trying to look for a store that sell those, the most convenient way is to pack it up before getting on that flight.

3. Plastic and Eco Bags

An experienced and self-proclaimed beach lover knows that packing extra plastics and ecobags comes in very handy on trips to tropical destinations. Whether it’s for a quick, makeshift hamper for dirty or wet clothes or storage for souvenirs you’ve purchased on your trip, you can never have too many plastic and eco bags

4. Spare Phone

If you do not have a camera to capture the mesmerizing land and seascape Boracay has to offer, then the next best thing you have to document your adventure is your smartphone. But your smartphones can only do so much especially if you will also use it to connect to the internet, make calls, and send SMS. Our advice? Bring a spare phone assigned only for those three activities and use your smartphone solely for taking photos. If you do not have a spare phone, then invest in a reliable…

5. Power bank

Thank your lucky stars for technology because power banks are now here to save you from strolling around with a smartphone that has an empty battery. Just make sure both your smartphone and power bank are fully charged before you head out to your tropical vacation.

There are probably a number of other essentials you should pack on your trip to Boracay (like clothes and flip flops) but these 5, on our opinion, are a few that most people tend to forget so make sure to include it in your checklist. Check out our promo deals here and you might just find an airfare sale for your Boracay trip!

Cebu’s Hidden Gems

Cebu, Queen City of the South, is consistently becoming one of Philippines’ most visited destinations. The place may not be the first name that comes to mind when you think about dream vacations and tropical holidays but if you just, for a moment, try to stop yourself from going through inviting photos of the more popular beach destinations like Boracay or Palawan, you will see that this city is where the buzzing electric of the metropolis meets the quaint charm of a tropical island.

The city is known for being home to some of the country’s most historical places. From Magellan’s Cross to the Minor Basilica of the Holy Child (the oldest Roman Catholic church in the Philippines), there is more to Cebu than just history (which we still suggest you see, of course).

Cebu, being one of the most developed provinces in the Philippines, has the second busiest airport in the country so you can be sure that booking a holiday travel here will be breeze. To guide you on the not-so-obvious, hidden secrets that Cebu holds, read on:

1. Ka-Tinggo Falls

Ka-Tinggo Falls may not be that dramatic in terms of height but this 100-meter waterfall is a sight to behold and a journey to experience. It’s a great place to explore for adventurers looking for an adrenaline-pumping ride because to get to Ka-Tinggo Falls, you have to trek, crawl, climb, and swim. Because of its friendly height, it is a perfect destination for jumps and dives. Besides the actual falls, you could also enjoy another attraction leading to it- a hanging bridge built over clear waters.

2. Binaliw Spring

Located in the north-eastern part of Cebu, the shallow spring locally known as Binaliw is rumored to have extraordinary healing powers. Near the source of the spring, a grotto with a statue of the Our Lady of Lourdes is erected. Tourists and visitors are more than welcome to take a dip in the spring while basking in the magnificent flora that surrounds it.

3. Virgin Beach

Now we get to the part we know you’ve been waiting for- the beach. Who says Boracay and Palawan are the only tropical destinations that offer sun-kissed white sand beaches? Another of Cebu’s well-kept secrets is Virgin Beach, a quiet, secluded, idyllic beach resort located in Daanbantayan Northern Cebu. The resort has everything you need for a peaceful tropical vacation away from the city chaos- the beach, the pool, the cottages.

No more waiting around! Book a flight now and get roundtrip fares starting $608! Plan your trip here.