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8 days

Visayas Island Holiday 8 Days

HIGHLIGHTS

  • UNESCO Church of Miag-ao
  • Vast sugar plantations and mansions
  • Apo Island snorkeling

Tour Plan

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Day 1: Manila - Iloilo

Depart from Manila on a morning flight to Iloilo. Upon arrival proceed with the scenic trip to the southern countryside of Iloilo passing through the flower gardens of La Villa de Arevalo and the town of Oton. Stop at the town of Tigbauan to see the only church in the country with a Latin-American Churiguesque style. It has one of the most beautiful modern style interior made up of colorful stone murals. Beside the church is a monument to the first Jesuit school for boys in the Philippines established in 1592. Continue on to Guimbal town with its beautiful plaza and an imposing yellow- sandstone church. Proceed to Miag-ao town to see the famous Miag-ao Church built in 1706 with a unique façade of botanical motif reminiscent of Aztec art. This church was declared as a national landmark in 1973 and included in UNESCO’s World Heritage List. The tour ends with a drive around University of the Philippines Visayas campus. Transfer to hotel for overnight. (L, D)

Transfer to the pier for the ferry ride to Bacolod for the Negros Heritage Tour. Visit the sugar city of Silay, home to a graceful people steep in the refinement of a genteel past. The tour includes a drive through 34 heritage houses of Silay and stop at two lifestyle museums – the Balay Negrense, the ancestral home of the Gastons, descendants of French settlers on Negros soil; and the Bernardino- Jalandoni Heritage House. Later, stop by the city’s oldest bakery, El Ideal, to sample some of the delicacies this part of the country is famous for. Visit the Negros Museum, a colonial style building constructed from a template of Daniel Burnham, where a unique exhibit entitled ‘Sugar and Other Negros Tales’ weaves a tale of life before, during and after the arrival of the Spaniards. Drop by Balay ni Tana Dikang, in Talisay, another ancestral home of one of the most prominent women in Negros at the turn of the century, and The Ruins, a beautiful park centered around the ruins of an ancestral mansion in the middle of sugarcane fields. Transfer to hotel for overnight. (B, L, D)

Start the Negros Sugar Plantation Tour. Visit the sugar-producing town of La Carlota, located 45 minutes south of Bacolod City. First stop will be the Infante ancestral home. Built in 1929 by the family’s patriarch Don Teodulfo, it has withstood the ravages of war and now stands as a fitting reminder of Negros’ former elegant and sophisticated lifestyle. Proceed to Hacienda Canman-ug and its muscovado mill, one of the country’s oldest sugar mill, and the Central Azucarera de la Carlota. Be oriented as to how sugar was made in pre-industrialized past. Then spend time at Guintubdan Visitors Reception Center and Gardens before returning to hotel. (B, L, D)

Begin a 178 kilometer-long drive south of Bacolod, passing through sugar cane fields, inland villages of Bago and Kabankalan, and the coastal town of Cauayan, until you reach Sipalay. Arrive Sipalay early afternoon, check-in at resort. The rest of the day at leisure. Overnight. (B, L, D)

Board an out-rigger boat for an island- hopping trip around Campomanes Bay, the second deepest bay in the country that is girdled with lush mountains. Its underwater marine life is replete with various species of corals and fish, including some World War II wreckages. Ample time will be spent snorkeling in one of the islands before returning to the resort for overnight. (B, L, D)

Depart for Dumaguete, passing  through the town of Hinoba-an, a small town situated on a long stretch of  white sand and the lumber towns of Bayawan, Siaton and Zamboanguita. In  Dumaguete  visit the Silliman University Campus, the largest Protestant  university  in  the  country  that is founded by the American Presbyterian missionaries who came to Dumaguete a century ago. The campus houses an exhibit of locally excavated artifacts, an ethnographic collection from various minority tribes in the country, and a marine laboratory where an aquaculture including a breeding program for the Philippine crocodile can be visited. Drive through the busy streets of the city, passing by the public market, the Provincial Capitol Building, and Rizal Boulevard. Stop briefly at the bell tower of the Cathedral of St. Catherine of Alexandria, the city’s most popular architectural landmark which was erected 1776. Carry on to Negros Oriental Arts and Heritage, a handicraft store and factory that specializes in items made out of red and blue corals, and petrified stones. Close by is a small abaca-weaving center run by a local cooperative, and Bacong Church, a centuries-old coral church. Transfer to hotel for overnight. (B, L, D)

Board an outrigger boat for Apo Island, a marine sanctuary which offers divers some huge coral mounds, walls and big fish, all with excellent visibility. Enjoy snorkelling in its wide reef flats and coral mounds teeming with an extensive variety of fish. Lunch will be served at Apo Island, then more snorkeling before returning to the mainland. Overnight. (B, L, D)

Transfer to the airport for the flight to Manila.

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