This expedition takes us to five islands, each isolated from the others by miles of ocean and distinct in its features. Palaui has foothills, mangroves and a marine sanctuary. Camiguin has mountains at its center and humpback whales off its coast. Dalupiri is a huge block of rock rising up from the sea with sheer walls. Fuga is as flat as a pancake and has grasslands as far the eye can see. Calayan is home to the most amazing cove in the Philippines.
This tour is not for everyone. Beds and plumbing are not part of the package. We sleep in tents, bathe in rivers and do our business in catholes. Given the unpredictability of the weather and ocean conditions, the itinerary is not fixed and getting stranded on an island for a day is a very real possibility. The boat rides are long, rough and oftentimes scary. If all this excites rather than discourages you, then sign up for this adventure that is as exceptional as you are.
Activities and trip highlights:
- See the Philippines' most spectacular coastlines
- Explore sea caves, coves, cliffs, coral reefs and other amazing island features
- Spot humpback whales
- Camp on pristine beaches.
Day 1: Northward, to the end of the road
Our group assembles at the Tuguegarao airport and from there take a 2 hour drive to the northernmost point of Luzon where the road ends at a pier in Sta. Ana. We board an outrigger boat that will be our expedition vessel for the next seven days and float down a narrow waterway that snakes through a thick mangrove. We emerge at a beach with fine white sand and set up camp for the night.
Day 2: Palaui
Today, we explore Palaui. On the way there from our first campsite, we stop at a marine reserve to snorkel. After marveling at the vibrant coral reef, we proceed to the shore of Palaui. We hike through mangroves, forests, tidal flats, foothills and meadows to emerge at a cove with a long stretch of white sand. At one end of the cove is an old lighthouse atop a cliff. After enjoying magnificent views at this lighthouse, we spend the night camped down on the beach.
Day 3: Camiguin
We take a three to four hour boat ride to Camiguin where humpback whales can be found off its rocky shores. The whales come to give birth, and while spotting them is not guaranteed, an afternoon spent on the water looking for them gives us a fighting chance. We then visit a satellite island to skin-dive its rich coral reef before camping on one of Camiguin's beaches.
Day 4: Calayan
Another 4 hours on the boat brings us to the largest of the Babuyan Islands. There we trek to a stunning cove of turquoise water, shiny white pebbles, wave-beaten rock formations and a windswept bluff with limestone walls.
Day 5: Calayan
Today, we take a break from long boat rides and stay on Calayan to explore its other amazing features. We visit a sea cave where we find swiftlets, fresh springs, and a pool that we can dive into and swim out of to emerge into the open ocean.
Day 6: Dalupiri and Fuga
Dalupiri is a relatively short one hour boat ride from Calayan. We ply its dramatic coastline of sheer rock and skin-dive its coral reefs before coming ashore at a quaint fishing village. At the village is a trail to the island's summit where we find fossilized marine life and amazing views.
In the afternoon, we sail to Fuga, less than two hours away. There we hike through grasslands broken up by underbrush. The landscape is a charming change from the previous islands of cliffs and mountains. Those who wish may hike at night to spot deer or join the locals to hunt for coconut crabs.
Day 7: Claveria
A three to four hour boat ride brings us back to the Luzon mainland at the charming coastal town of Claveria. Here we find two things that seem very novel after the past 6 days: 1) a beach of black sand and 2) inns with beds and bathrooms. In Claveria we can stroll along the 4-kilometer long beach, explore some rock formations and take a short hike up a hill for a scenic view of the area.
Day 8: Homeward bound
We take a morning bus to Tuguegarao to catch our noontime flight back to Manila. Our epic adventure is over, but the stories we bring home will last a lifetime.
Note: The unpredictability of the weather and ocean conditions demands flexibility with this trip itinerary. Some destinations and activities may be canceled in the name of safety. We have contingency plans for bad weather, and though we do not guarantee following this itinerary exactly, we do guarantee a satisfying adventure.
Reminders and Recommendations:
- Yellow fever vaccination is required for entry to the Philippines if you are coming from a yellow-fever infected country; if you are not, this vaccination is unnecessary. The following vaccinations are recommended:
* Hepatitis A and B
* Japanese Encephalitis
* Measles, Mumps and Rubella.
You will need a large bag (preferably a backpack) that can hold all of your things for the duration of the trip. You will also need a good pair of hiking shoes or boots, a mask and snorkel and another smaller pack (backpack or shoulder pack). Details on gear requirements and packing recommendations will be sent to you by your trip leader.
This trip is very rugged. We will spend 5 consecutive nights in tents. There will be no bathrooms. The closest thing you will come to a bath is a quick rinse in a river and a hole dug in the ground will serve as your toilet. If you are not ready for these conditions, we suggest taking one of our other less rough adventures.
The boat rides on this trip are not for the faint of heart. We will be riding big waves on relatively small boats. Our boat crew is composed of lifelong seamen with unquestionable experience and we don’t take unnecessary risks out at sea, but those with a fear of the ocean are advised to take a different tour.
This adventure involves some hiking and a lot of time in the water. You need not be in great physical shape, but you should be able to hike for 2 hours on moderate terrain. We can teach you the basics of skin diving (also known as snorkeling) but you should be comfortable in the water for you to enjoy this trip fully.
- All land and water transportation for the duration of the trip
- All meals from dinner of Day 2 to breakfast of Day 7
- All fees associated with the specified activities
- Camping equipment (tent, sleeping pad and blanket)
- Guiding service.
Also see tour packages in:
Asia Philippines Romantic Venture Island Vacation Ecotourism