Philippines

North Luzon - Boracay - Manila - Coron - Visayas

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Trip Overview

Highlights & Details

Hotel Nights

Lewis Grand Hotel

A nice hotel for an unspectacular location. Close to the center where you find some bars and restaurants next to several strip clubs. The extensivity red light district of Angeles is due to the operated military bases of US soldiers close by. It’s a good starting point for hikes to the Mt Pinatubo.


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Hotel Banaue

In the mountains of Banaue and Batad the Highlights are the rice terraces and the amazing natural and historical wonders – not the hotels. So this hotel is good located and okay for some nights. Just enjoy the amazing surroundings!


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Watercolors Boracay

A small and friendly dive resort in station 1 where it is a little more quiet than closer to the party area. But still in walking distance you arrive the white beach with all restaurants, bars and clubs and even a shopping mall. The lovely furnished rooms have a beautiful view over the beach and ocean.


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One Greenbelt Hotel

Manila is very controversial discussed. For us the One Greenbelt Hotel was perfectly located close to the Greenbelt Mall with fine restaurants and bars and a good starting point for our city tours to Intramuros.


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Sea Dive Resort

It’s a good location to start your dives in Coron. But eventhough Busuanga hasn’t very nice hotels, we are sure there are some nicer hotels around in town. It was okay, but for sure not a highlight.


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Pura Vida Sea Explorers

Now we’re talking! One of the most beautiful and cultivated beach resort we’ve ever been. Very nice staff and the best diving in the Philippines – in our opinion. We stayed for 6 nights and we already returned twice.


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Pura Vida Cabilao

On the island next to Bohol this small Sea Explorers Resort is the best starting point to several epic dives around Cabilao Island. It has the same charming style as Pura Vida Dauin and a romantic SPA area.


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Ocean Vida Malapascua

White sandy beaches and another Sea Explorers Resort on our tour through the Visayas. See also the transportation section for our recommendation of the Sea Explorers Dive & Travel Packages! Breakfast & dinner with a view over the ocean and the beaches. Perfect situated with a direct access to the boats.


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Travelling

Zurich – Manila

  • via Singapore
  • Singapore Airlines
  • 11.45 – 15.45 (+1)
  • 22h
  • Manila – Angeles City

  • via Minivan
  • 1h 25min
  • Angeles City – Banaue

  • by Minivan
  • 4h 15min
  • Banaue – Boracay

  • by Minivan
  • 06.00 – 10.00 Banaue – Cauayan

  • by Airplane
  • Philippines AirAisa
  • 10.55 – 11.50 Cauayan – Manila
  • 14.35 – 15.40 Manila – Caticlan

  • by Ferry to Boracay


  • Tipp: Book your flight in the Philippines as early as possible in the morning. The small airports aren’t accessible after twilight.

    Boracay – Manila

  • by Ferry to Caticlan

  • by Airplane
  • Philippines AirAisa
  • 09.55 – 11.00 Caticlan – Manila
  • Manila – Coron

  • by Airplane
  • Philippines AirAsia
  • 12.15 – 13.20 Manila – Busuanga
  • Coron – Dauin

  • via Manila
  • Philippines AirAsia
  • 11.00 – 12.05 Busuanga – Manila
  • 15.00 – 16.15 Manila – Dauin
  • Dauin – Cabilao

  • by Boat
  • Transfer Day with two dives
  • Booked with Sea Explorers
  • On the way: Oslob for Whale Shark Diving
  • Cabilao – Malapascua

  • by Boat & Minivan
  • Booked Transfer with Sea Explorers
  • 5h
  • Malapascua – Cebu

  • by Boat & Minivan
  • Booked Transfer with Sea Explorers
  • 3h
  • Cebu – Zurich

  • via Manila & Singapore
  • 09.05 – 10.25 Cebu – Manila
  • 16.50 – 08.00 (+1) Manila – Zurich
  • Travel Day
  • Activities

    Mount Pinatubo

  • 1h Offroad-Drive
  • 3h Hike to the Crater Lake


  • Tipp: Book your trip to the Pinatubo Volcano in Angeles City, there are several tour offices.

    Rice Terraces of Batad

  • Take a tricycle to Batad
  • Hike the terraces in a group or by yourself
  • Tappiya Falls – Swimming for Refreshment
  • Batad View Inn for Lunch


  • Tipp: If you have a day or two more, you can visit the hanging coffins of Sagada. We did’nt have the time till now.

    Boracay

  • Lively Nightlife
  • Bars, Pubs & Nightclubs
  • White sandy beaches
  • Lovely Diving with Watercolors
  • Manila

  • Intramuros
  • Tricycle Tour through Oldtown
  • Cathedral of Manila
  • Fort Santiago
  • Kilometer Zero
  • Rizal Monument & Park
  • Ocean Park
  • Greenbelt Mall for Shopping
  • Coron

  • Diving the 24 wrecks of WWII
  • Maquinit Hot Spring
  • History: US Navy fightes attacked Japanese fleet in 1944 in the surrounding of Coron Bay and around 24 supply ships sunk to the ground. The beginning of a very good dive site today.

    Dauin & Apo Island

  • Muck, Makro and Coral Diving
  • Lovely Beach Resort
  • Very fine Food @Pura Vida
  • Oslob – Whale Sharks

  • Diving with Whale Sharks


  • Note: In Oslob the whale sharks get feeded every day. It’s sort of a tourist attraction which is not that well, but the whale sharks are free in the ocean. They just know it’s easy to get food there. As a diver you are underneath the trouble of tourists and closer to the biggest fish. Earlier they got hunted so probably it’s better like this, but there are different opinions.

    Cabilao Island

  • Fine Makro Diving around Cabilao
  • Pygmy Seahorses & Frog Fishes
  • Pegasus & Cardinal Fishes
  • Bohol Island

  • Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary
  • Tarsier Conservation Area
  • Chocolate Hills
  • Malapascua Island

  • Diving with Tresher Sharks
  • Cato Island – Cave Diving
  • Day-Trip to Kalinggalan Island
  • White sandy beaches
  • Go top

    Philippines

    Climbing Mt Pinatubo

    Angeles is mostly known for being the former home base of the largest US Navy base outside of the US. And as there were many lonely soldiers, the largest red-light district in the Philippines evolved. Meanwhile the soldiers are gone, but the hookers are still there and became the main attraction of this place.

    But there is another reason to go to Angeles, Mount Pinatubo. This mountain is actually a volcano with a beautiful crater lake. Unfortunately, you are not allowed to swim in there anymore since a tourist drowned a few years ago. But there is beautiful nature and on a sunny day you will probably see a group of water buffaloes called Carabao taking a bath in one of the water holes.

    Philippines

    Natural Wonders: Rice Terraces in Batad

    Banaue is the starting point for the incredible ifugad rice terraces of Batad. They stretch over 400 square kilometers and it took the Ifugad 2’000 years to build them. Taking a full day hike through those terraces is a must and besides an impressive scenery you get the chance to take a swim at a beautiful waterfall at the turning point of the hike. You also get the chance to learn a lot about the culture of this native tribe and it is a great chance to see another side of the Philippines away from the islands and beaches.

    Philippines

    Party Nights & Diving at Boracay

    Reaching Boracay from Banaue can be quite challenging, especially when they drop you off at the wrong airport and you have to cross an entire island at night with a minivan. But once you made it, you get to see one of the most beautiful islands in the world including a perfect white sandy beach. Unfortunately, this fact is well known to the Chinese and the Koreans and there are just too many of them on this lovely island. And as a lot of people cause a lot of waste the island has just been closed down for six months to clean it up.

    But when its not closed you can party on Boracay like there is no tomorrow and go for some pretty decent diving. Just make sure you don’t do this the next morning. There is a nice wreck to explore and some colorful nudibranchs, porcelain crabs, cow fishes and lobsters to see.

    Philippines

    Travel in History in Manila

    Manila is probably the best place to learn about the history of the Philippines. The Spanish did not only bring Spanish names and Catholicism but also churches, haciendas and a wall surrounding the old center of Manila, called Intra muros. You also learn about the Japanese who were invading the Philippines during WW2 and the US who freed the Philippines from the Japanese. Not only did the US manage that rescue quite well they also did well afterwards as they were interested in setting up military bases there. Therefore, they are at least partly responsible for the quite well functioning school system of the Philippines, Basketball as their national sport and their outstanding knowledge of the English language. Unfortunately, they also brought shopping malls and fast food, but you can’t do everything right.

    There is also an amusement park named Ocean park which is worth a visit. At this park non-divers get the chance for a close encounter with a stingray and non-Swiss the chance for a close encounter with snow. Besides it offers some bird shows, shows with sea lions and lots of aquariums. And don’t forget to put your hands and feet into the pool with the cleaner fishes as this is an experience you will probably not forget.

    Philippines

    WW II Wracks Diving in Coron

    Besides hot springs Coron does not have much but one thing to offer. To be precise, it is more like 50 things as this was the size of the Japanese fleet hiding close to Coron during WW2. Unfortunately for them, but fortunately for a lot of divers they got bombed by the US military and sank at well reachable depths. The visibility can be quite bad but diving through the well preserved 150m long Goliath is definitely an adventure.

    Philippines

    Amazing Makro Diving in Dauin

    The Visayas are just perfect for macro diving and the coral garden around apo island is probably the best you’ve ever seen. Around Dauin besides all sorts of colorful nudibranchs and flatworms you can spot black/white/yellow/orange and the hairy frogfish. Further on candy crabs, popcorn shrimps, pegasus fish, sea horses, porcelain crab and the poisonous banded sea snake. But don’t worry she is not interested in killing divers. You also get the chance to see male bump head parrot fishes bumping their heads to impress their females and at down you can spot the incredible beautiful mandarin fishes during their mating rituals.

    Besides all the fantastic marine life the staff of Pura Vida makes that place so outstanding. The food they serve is great, Den Den and the other guys are fantastic dive guides and Gaga always makes you laugh.

    Philippines

    Pigmy Seahorses in Cabilao and Whale Sharks in Oslob

    When transferring from Dauin to Cabilao you can not only spot huge swarms of dolphins but also flying fishes. They can do considerable distances above water while trying to escape predators.

    If you have never seen wale sharks before and fear of never seeing one in complete wild life, Oslob is a place you should visit. In earlier days fishermen were hunting those majestic creatures but have meanwhile discovered divers and snorkelers as a better source of income. Therefore, they stopped killing wale sharks and started to feed them once a day. Some may argue that they shouldn’t do that either, as they are changing their natural behavior but at least they are no longer killing them. For a diver it is quite an intense experience to be surrounded by more than ten of those up to 14m long giants and as they are used to be the biggest animal around you also have to be careful to avoid collisions.

    Besides the biggest fish you can also spot one of the smallest marine creature there is, the pigmy seahorse. The Denise and the Bargibanti to be precise. Those two kinds of seahorses are only about 1cm tall, pretty rare and equipped with the capability to adjust their color and structure to the coral they are sitting on. And as there are only about two denises around the whole island of Cabilao you wouldn’t stand a chance to find them without a guide.

    Besides lots and lots of other makro marine life there is also an electric shell down there. As its name already implies, this shell actually kills its food with electricity.

    Philippines

    Tarsier & Chocolate Hills in Bohol

    Besides diving you can also rent a motorbike and explore the neighbor island Bohol. There are two tarsier sanctuaries you should not miss as those animals are so cute you almost going to die. Further on there are the famous chocolate hills, a butterfly park, the man-made forest and some pretty unique beaches to explore.

    Philippines

    Tresher Sharks in Malapascua

    Malapascua is an island at the north end of the Visayas and it is famous for its thresher sharks. To see those animals, you need to get up at 5am, get down to 30 meters and wait up to 45 minutes to meet them at the cleaning station. Those sharks have a unique look and a unique hunting technique. Their top tail fin is super long and they can use it as a whip to knock their prey unconscious in order to eat it.

    Besides diving with those unique sharks, you can also take diving trips to Kalanggaman. This island is close to perfection and even more beautiful than Balicasac but luckily it is a natural reserve and therefore closing it down for cleaning reasons will not be necessary.

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