Why I love the Philippines

With 7000 tropical islands on my doorstep, all ripe for exploration, I find it easy to like the Philippines. Love, on the other hand, is borne of subtler things. Love is borne of long rooftop jeepney rides through the mountains of North Luzon; of a frosty San Miguel at sundown on a sublime slab of Visayan sand; of a fresh-fish lunch, followed by a siesta on an interminable bangka journey through Palawan's islands; of... Read More

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$47.99 Cultural & Theme Tours

Manila Old and New: Sightseeing Tour Including Intramuros and Fort Santiago

After pickup from your Manila hotel at your selected departure time, embark on a fully guided sightseeing tour beginning in the heart of the country’s financial center -- Makati. Travel aboard an air-conditioned vehicle and drive along Ayala Boulevard, stopping briefly at Nielson Tower, home to the Filipinas Heritage Library. Then, drive past Forbes Park, an exclusive residential enclave dubbed ‘Millionaire's Row,’ on your way to visit the American Cemetery and Memorial to pay tribute to the fallen soldiers of World War II.Continue to Old Manila via the scenic Roxas Boulevard, passing through Luneta (also called Rizal Park). Arrive in Intramuros, a fortified area that's the city's oldest district, where you'll stroll along cobblestone paths past city walls, church ruins and other relics of the Spanish Conquistadors era. Enter UNESCO World Heritage-listed San Agustin Church, one of the country’s oldest churches, and end at Fort Santiago, a Spanish fortress where Dr Jose Rizal, the country’s national hero, spent his last days in incarceration and wrote his famous ‘My Last Farewell’ poem.After your tour, you’ll be dropped off at your hotel.

$118 Cultural & Theme Tours

Manila Super Saver: Manila Sightseeing plus Tagaytay Tour with Taal Volcano

Morning: Tagaytay TourAfter pickup from your Manila hotel, your guide will take you on 1-hour drive to the picturesque city of Tagaytay, located on a ridge 2,250 feet (686 meters) above sea level.When you arrive, visit Palace in the Sky, the ‘rest house’ of former President Ferdinand Marcos. Admire gorgeous panoramic views of Taal Lake, which surrounds Taal Volcano, one of the Philippine’s most active volcanoes. Stop for lunch at one of the local restaurants, where you'll sample traditional Filipino dishes and some popular regional specialties while soaking in great views. Afterward, head back to Manila for your afternoon tour. Afternoon: Manila Sightseeing TourWhen you arrive in Manila, drive to the American War Memorial and Cemetery, occupying 52 acres (21 hectares) on a prominent plateau that contains the world’s largest number of graves of fallen World War II soldiers. Next, experience the hustle and bustle of City of Makati, the Philippines’ financial center, and travel along scenic Roxas Boulevard. Pass through Rizal Park on the way to Intramuros, a historic fortified area and Manila’s oldest district. Journey down cobblestone streets to UNESCO World Heritage-listed San Agustin Church, which you’ll enter to discover its interesting Baroque carvings and décor. Your final stop is Fort Santiago, a citadel built by the Spanish conquistador Miguel Lopez de Legazpi. Learn from your guide how this is one of the most important historical sites in Manila. In fact, the national hero of the Philippines, Jose Rizal, was imprisoned here during the Spanish Colonial PeriodAfter your tour, you’ll be dropped off at your hotel.

$127.94 Cultural & Theme Tours

WWII and Corregidor Island: Historical Sightseeing Tour from Manila

Departing from your Manila hotel in the morning, your guide will take you by air-conditioned coach to the ferry dock, where you’ll board the 1-hour ferry to Corregidor Island, which guards the entrance to Manila Bay.Upon arrival, board a sightseeing coach for a tour of the island. Nicknamed ‘the Rock,’ this island provided the first line of defense for Filipino and American soldiers from the invading Japanese forces during WWII.You’ll first visit the Malinta Tunnel, which was built by US engineers as a bomb-proof storage and hideout bunker and was later converted to a hospital. Explore the tunnel ruins and relive history during the Malinta Tunnel light and sound show, locally known as the Malinta Experience, which chronicles the events that shaped American operations during the war. Life-sized dioramas, complete with voice overs, lights and sound effects, will show you what life was like in the tunnel during the war. You’ll also see some footage of important events that led to two epic battles involving the invasion and later retaking of Corregidor by Filipino and American forces from the Japanese.Next, visit the Mile-Long Barracks, a now roofless, skeletal three-story concrete building that served as the quarters of around 2,000 US officials including General Douglas MacArthur. Take a quick detour to the Spanish Lighthouse, located at the highest point of the island. Walk up the steps and enjoy a spectacular view of Corregidor, Manila Bay, the South China Sea and the neighboring provinces of Bataan and Cavite. You’ll also visit Battery Way and Battery Hearn, where you’ll see batteries displaying the various guns from the time, and the Pacific War Memorial, one of only two memorials built by the US government to mark the war.At midday, your guide will take you to a local restaurant where you can enjoy some delicious Filipino cuisine. After your tour, take the ferry back to Manila and end with hotel drop-off.

$97.94 Cultural & Theme Tours

Tagaytay Ridge Tour from Manila: Palace in the Sky, Taal Volcano and Las Pinas Bamboo Organ

After pickup from your Manila or Makati hotel, relax on the picturesque drive to the city of Tagaytay, located on a ridge 2,200 feet (671 meters) above sea level.On the drive up, visit San Jose Church to see the famous Bamboo Organ of Las Pinas, one of the Philippines' national cultural treasures. Built in the 19th century by Spanish priest Father Diego Cera, the organ is made up of more than 800 bamboo pipes!When you arrive at Tagaytay Ridge, savor the incredible sweeping vista of Taal Lake and Taal Volcano from atop the Palace in the Sky, one of the rest houses of former Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos.You’ll then visit a local jeepney factory to see how these bus-type cars are made. You may have seen this strange-looking vehicles driving around the area, as they're a popular mode of public transport in the Philippines. Your guide will explain how jeepneys were originally made from US military Jeeps left over from World War II, and are known for their flamboyant decoration and crowded seating. At midday, stop by a local restaurant to enjoy a lunch of traditional Filipino specialties. Time permitting, on your way back to Manila, you’ll also stop at a pineapple or coffee plantation to sample local produce, or visit one of the local wood-carving shops dotting the roadside.

$137.94 Day Trips & Excursions

Pagsanjan Falls Adventure from Manila

After pickup from your Manila hotel in the morning, embark on a full-day trip to the town of Pagsanjan in the province of Laguna, located 2.5 hours south of Manila. On the way, pass a local village and taste local specialties like coconut wine, balut and coconut cream pie. Arrive at majestic Pagsanjan Falls, where you’ll be served a refreshing coconut drink before taking a scenic boat ride on a banca (native dug-out canoe). Enjoy this exciting ride as the boat is skillfully maneuvered upstream by two expert boatmen. Journey through the narrow and verdant Pagsanjan gorge lined with rocks, canyons, waterfalls, lush tropical vegetation and abundant wildlife. Dock at a natural pool below the falls and take an optional raft ride to a hidden cave, where you can swim and explore.After spending some time at the falls, return downstream by ‘shooting the rapids’ – your boatmen will steer past huge boulders in churning waters at top speeds for a fun, exhilarating ride! When you get to the visitor's center, enjoy an elaborate display of Philippine culture as you dig in to a buffet of traditional Filipino dishes. During your meal, enjoy live music played by a local band. Afterward, you’ll be taken back to your hotel.

$57.94 Cultural & Theme Tours

Cultural Dance Show with Dinner in Manila

After pickup from your Manila hotel, head to a local venue for an evening of Philippine culture and heritage displayed through dance and musical entertainment.Enjoy typical Filipino hospitality as you dine on a feast of local dishes in a traditional barrio fiesta (community celebration) atmosphere. Some dishes may included sinigang, a savory stew flavored with tamarind; adobo, meat or fish dish seasoned with soy sauce and garlic; and sisig, tangy and spicy diced meat with sautéed onions. After a scrumptious meal, watch a performance of folk dances including the popular singkil, the dizzying tinikling and the mesmerizing pandanggo sa ilaw, performed by graceful women and dashing gentlemen in authentic, native costumes. Some of these symbolic ceremonial dances are typical of the northern mountain tribes, offering romantic Spanish-influenced reels. The expressive tribal dances of the Muslim south are just as mesmerizing. Toward the end of the evening, you’ll have an opportunity to show off some moves you just witnessed. Everyone is invited to participate! Afterward, you will be dropped off back at your hotel.