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Culture Tours
13 days

Heritage, homestay and cultural immersio13 days

HIGHLIGHTS

  • UNESCO sites of Manila, Banaue, and Vigan
  • Stay with the locals and get an insider’s look into their culture
  • Visit a local school and interact with the students

Tour Plan

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Day 1: Manila

Arrival in Manila and transfer to a private home. (D)

Manila’s city tour starts with a visit to Rizal Park, named in honor of the country’s national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal. After a brief picture stop, proceed to the Walled City of Intramuros to visit the remnants of Spain’s conquistadores. Stop at Fort Santiago, an old Spanish fortress located at the mouth of Pasig River, where great moments in Philippine history occurred. Travel through the cobbled streets to San Agustin Church, the country’s oldest stone church, and view its wide collection of ecclesiastical icons, vestments and other religious articles. Cross the street to Casa Manila, a reproduction of a 19th century house equipped with oriental and European décor, as well as Philippine antique furniture. Then board a horse drawn carriage called ‘calesa’ and trot off to Chinatown in Binondo, crossing the Pasig River, and onto an alley that leads you to Binondo Church another historical landmark built by the Spaniards in 1596. Alight at the church’s entrance for a brief stop, and walk towards Ongpin, a street visible by its Chinese-style arches at its entrance. Enjoy a Chinese cuisine lunch (family style) in one of the restaurants in Chinatown, or at ‘Ambos Mundos”, said to be the oldest restaurant in the country, having been established in 1888 by a family of Spanish immigrants. Transfer to a private home. (B, L, D)

Depart for Pinatubo Development Center early in the morning for orientation and registration prior to your trek to Mt. Pinatubo. Afterwards, board a 4 x 4 vehicle for an hour and a half journey to the base area where you will begin your one hour trek to the volcano crater. Spend some time at the crater before trekking back to the base area. Proceed to Bognot Homestay for your overnight. (B, L, D)

Departure for Banaue, passing fertile plains of Central Luzon before climbing the Cordillera mountain up to 1300m to reach Banaue for overnight. Stay at an inn or typical Ifugao hut. (B, L, D)

Board a local jeepney for a ride to Banga- an native village, accessible after a short hike from the main road. After spending some time in the village, continue to a vantage point to view and admire the 2,000 year old rice terraces. Proceed to the town’s public market to  mingle  with  the  local  people and view the vast array of native handicraft. Time permitting, visit another village before returning to Banaue. (B, L, D)

 

Drive north along the winding mountain trail and hinterland town of Bontoc, where the museum founded by the Belgian sisters is visited. Weather conditions permitting, visit the Ifugao burial caves in Sagada and inter mingle with the natives. Overnight at a private home. (B, L, D)

spectacular views of the Cordilleras, past deep gorges, and canyons, until  the  town of Cervantes, which links Ilocos Sur with Mountain Province. Breeze through the highway towards Bessang Pass, once the site of one of the bloodiest battles of World War

II. Continue further onto the flat, low- lying areas, the highland scenery transforms into idyllic agricultural towns ringed by many tobacco-curing barns, rice and corn fields. Reach town of Vigan, where from afar, the ancient Bantay bell tower is visible. Overnight at a private home. (B, L, D)

Stroll along the cobbled street of Mena Crisologo where old colonial houses  line the road, and horse-drawn carriages called ‘calesa’  would  occasionally  go  ambling by. Close by is St. Paul’s Cathedral built in 1574. A short calesa ride brings you to a jar factory which Vigan is also noted for. Called ‘pagburnayan,’ this centuries-old industry produces the dark brown burnay jars. Here a carabao is used to trample the clay, which is fashioned on a primitive wheel and fired in a long, low kiln heated by wood. Rest of the day will be spent free at leisure. (B, L, D)

Return trip to Manila, passing by the coastal towns dotting the landscape of the provinces

of La Union and Pangasinan, and the urban areas of Pampanga, until the national highway that leads to the metropolis of Metro Manila. Arrive in Manila in the evening, proceed to your private home for overnight.

Depart for Batangas Pier where you will board an outrigger boat that will bring you on to Puerto Galera, an outstandingly beautiful harbor with numerous fine beaches and sheltered coves. Proceed to a private home. The rest of the day will be spent at leisure. Overnight.

This is dedicated  to  cultural  immersion with the local Mangyan tribe. Ten percent of  the total population of  the people who live in Mindoro are Mangyans. Before Spain conquered the Philippines, the Mangyans were already practicing the ‘barter trade’ with the Chinese, who traveled to the shores of Mindoro in their ancient boats. The Mangyans traded their local products consisting of cotton, root crops, medicinal plants and bees- wax for beads, gongs, plates and jars. They have curly to kinky hair and dark skin, but could easily be distinguished from the Aetas, who are the most predominant indigenous tribe of the Philippines. Today, most of the Mangyans wear civilized outfit. They are expert in nito-weaving and other handicrafts that are derived from nito like trays, plates, jars and cups of different sizes. (B, L, D)

Option 1:

Start in the morning on a half day excursion to

the Mangyan Settlement. You can also bring old clothes to give to the Indigenous People of Mindoro, they are more than happy to receive them.

Option 2:

Take a 45 minute boatride to visit the Mangyan Village and Mangyan Project Shop Optional Outreach Program

Send a Mangyan to School – Sponsor a deserving member of the minority and send him/her to School.

Day at leisure at the beach for swimming and snorkeling. Interact with the locals and join a pub crawl on the famous White Beach. (B)

Depart for Manila by boat to Batangas and onwards by land to Manila

 

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