Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Motag Living Museum - Keeping Traditional Filipino Crafts & Skills Alive

Pounding pinipig rice at the Motag Living Museum
Motag Living Museum is an enterprise on Panay Island, within easy reach of Boracay. The museum is helping to keep traditional skills alive, and at the same time benefiting the local community, giving them an increased sense of identity, and pride.

Visitors can see, and participate in the traditional methods of planting, and harvesting rice, as well as threshing and drying the produce. The museum grows several types of rice, including some rare varieties.

At the Motag Living Museum you will get to see a number of carabao - the Philippines national animal. This is a domestic water buffalo, and although gentle and docile, it is very powerful. Hence their wide use in cultivating rice fields, pulling timber, or pulling carts. At the end of a hard day, these creatures like nothing more than to wallow in water, or thick mud.

Children will enjoy participating in traditional games, exploring the tree house, playing on swings and finding out how to make toys themselves, using nothing more than simple objects such as coconut leaves!

The Motag Living Museum combines fun with education and an interactive experience that the whole family can enjoy, whilst at the same time helping the local community.

A Great Day Out from Boracay 

Guests of Philippine Trails can enjoy a day out from Boracay, sailing first by authentic Paraw Sail Boat, arriving at the shoreline to be met by caribao and cart, for the ride to the Motag Living Museum. A traditional lunch follows, with maybe a cool swim at nearby Banlock Nabaoy, before the Paraw Sail Boat is again caught for the return to Boracay.

Read more on our Motag Living Museum webpage >>>

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Calauit Island - a Little Piece of Africa, in the Philippines!

Calauit Island, Philippines is a little piece of Africa to be found in the South China Sea!

The island lies in north Palawan, and is part of the Calamian group of islands. In 1977, the Philippines responded to an appeal to save endangered African animals, and the Calauit Island Game Preserve and Wildlife Sanctuary was created.

The Sanctuary is a natural area where the animals are allowed to live with minimal disturbance, in order that they are protected for future generations. 

The park covers an area of 3,700 hectares, and is home to both endemic animals and African wildlife. Eight species of animals were initially introduced to Calauit Island from Kenya - namely gazelles, elands, giraffes, bushbacks, topis zebras, impalas, and waterbucks. The animals live alongside other species that are endemic to the Philippines, and the numbers are thriving as they have adapted to their new habitat. 

Calauit island is also a magnet for birdwatchers, with over 70 species of birds, including some that are quite rare.

Philippine Trails guests, visiting the Calamian islands, can incorporate a visit to the Game Preserve as part of their itinerary.

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Read more about Caluit Island, Philippines on our website HERE >>

Monday, 23 March 2015

Philippines Holidays for the Single Traveller...

A small group exploring the Underground River, Palawan
At Philippine Trails, we arrange a lot of holiday itineraries for solo travellers.

With a widely English-speaking populace, the Philippines is a friendly country, and visitors will find the local inhabitants warm and very welcoming. 

As with all guests, we meet and greet on arrival at the airport, and transport to the hotel. Itineraries are often bespoke, or adjusted to fit in with arrival and departure dates and times.

Around the islands there are always people waiting to meet clients at various destinations. We have a great back-up team of staff and associates, both in Manila, and throughout the Philippines, to ensure holidays go smoothly.

Keeping Costs Down...

Of course, flights and ferry tickets are priced individually, so there is no disadvantage for the single traveller in that regard. For other land transfers, to the Rice Terraces north of Manila, or travelling between Puerto Princesa to El Nido on Palawan, for example, we can incorporate shared air-conditioned buses or mini-vans.

We'll include accommodation that is good value for single travellers as much as possible, if they're on a tight budget.

For local excursions, we select small groups, whether it be trekking, diving, or boating around the islands for example. Some trips, such as on the St Paul's Underground River, in Palawan, are only run with a small group in each boat.

We are happy to recommend a Philippines tour that is suitable to solo travellers, who may be on a budget, but who still wish to enjoy a full experience. Get in touch and tell us what kind of trip you're looking for!

See our Single Travellers Page HERE >>

Saturday, 21 March 2015

El Nido Luxury Resorts, Philippines...

The El Nido group of Luxury Resorts are all situated around Palawan - three, Lagen, Miniloc, and Pangulasian, near to El Nido town itself, and a fourth, Apulit Island, closer to Taytay on the opposite coast.

Guests of all four resorts have the advantage of being able to fly into, and out of, the small El Nido airport, as they have preference, and advance booking, with the airline ITI, is part of the service.

Here's a little about the four resorts

Lagen Island Resort, El Nido, Palawan

Lagen Island Resort is built around a cove, and has fifty rooms of various accommodation types including the popular water cottages which are built on stilts. There are also Beachfront Cottages, giving great views across the water, plus Forest Rooms and Forest Suites built on the edge of the surrounding tropical forest.

Timber and furnishings for the various accommodation types are all much created from material reclaimed from old Filipino houses.

Philippine Trails can look after all your arrangements for a holiday to Lagen Island*

Miniloc Resort, El Nido, Palawan

Accommodation at Miniloc Island Resort consists of fifty rooms, again in a variety of styles, including Water Cottages, and Waterside Cottages, plus other Seaview and Deluxe Seaview Rooms, many of which are built on stilts.

Garden Cottages, and Cliff Cottages nestled in the hillside, and  surrounded by tropical plants, as well as Beachside Rooms complete the styles of accommodation on offer at the resort. Miniloc's cottages and rooms are built with native Filipino materials, and have thatched roofs.

Philippine Trails can look after all your arrangements for a holiday to Miniloc Island*

Pangulasian Island, El Nido, Palawan

Pangulasian Island has a special appeal to the traveler seeking exclusivity and bespoke pampering. Here, pampered guests can take a private sunset cruise, enjoy a romantic dinner by the beach, or simply relax at the spa where a choice of luxurious treatments are on offer.

Pangulasian Island has forty-two deluxe villas, all built in a Filipino architectural style. Eight Canopy Villas sit on stilts above the forest, and thirty Beach, or Pool Villas, are situated by the water.

Philippine Trails can look after all your arrangements for a holiday to Pangulasian Island*

Apulit Island, Taytay, Palawan

Apulit Island Resort has fifty Water Cottages and Deluxe water Cottages, again, constructed in a traditional Filipino style, but with an up-to-date design. The cottages are built on stilts and give wonderful views of Taytay Bay, and its surrounding islands, and limestone cliffs.
Each room is further enhanced with bespoke custom-made furniture.

Philippine Trails can look after all your arrangements for a holiday to Apulit Island*

*Book with Philippine Trails...

Guests wishing to enjoy a holiday or vacation at one of the El Nido Luxury Resorts can book with us at Philippine Trails, knowing that every aspect of their stay in the Philippines will be taken care of, including airport meet-and-greet, luxury accommodation in Manila, if required, plus internal flights and transfers. Contact us if you wish to find out more, or to book!

Read more about the Luxury Resorts we Offer to guests HERE >>

Friday, 20 March 2015

The Famous Philippines Rice Terraces...

Batad Rice Terraces
One of the most popular destinations for tourists in the Philippines is the Rice Terraces, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site, north of Manila, in the Cordillera Mountains.

These 2,000 year-old terraces were carved into the mountains of Ifugao by the ancestors of the region's indigenous people - an amazing feat considering how little equipment they would have had, with most of the work done by hand.  Indeed, many Filipinos refer to the terraces as being the "Eighth Wonder of the World". 

The Banaue Rice Terraces are the most well known in the region, but there are four other terraces worth exploring. These are the Batad Rice Terraces, the Mayoyao Rice Terraces of Mayoyao, the Hapao Rice Terraces, and the Kiangan Rice Terraces.

Other Rice Terraces...

Batad. Unlike Banaue, the rice terraces of Batad have stone walls which were created from rocks taken from the river bed - quite a feat in itself. These terraces form an impressive amphitheatre and are well worth seeing. To reach the village of Batad you have to hike down from "the Saddle". Keen trekkers can take a 2 hour hike to see the spectacle that is the Tappiya Falls

Native Ifugao
Bangaan. Bangaan is an alternative to Batad and easier to get to as it is just a fairly short walk from the main road. Like Batad, Bangaan has an amphitheatre shaped slope, though to a lesser degree.

The Mayoyao Rice Terraces are around 3 hours journey by road from Banaue. Its terraces, like those of Batad, have stone walls. 

Hapao is another half-day excursion from Banaue with yet more terraces. Near Hapao there is a hot spring which is a 45 minute hike from the road. This is a spot where many choose to swim.

Bontoc and Sagada...

Bontoc is a relatively busy town and one place well worth visiting is its museum of Ifugao culture. As well as seeing old black-and-white photos, there are items on display including Kalinga headhunter axes, together with baskets that were once used for carrying severed heads! Numerous other fascinating items are also on display, such as decorated nose flutes, traditional headdresses, and woven loincloths, etc.

Sagada is a town worth visiting. It is famous for the impressive Lumiang and Sumaguing limestone caves, although it is probably better known today for its local tradition of "burying" the dead in hanging coffins! Coffins can also be found in the Lumiang caves.

Getting There...
Getting to the Rice Terraces is a long journey of around 9-10 hours by road from Manila. You can travel during daylight hours by car, or opt for public transport, which runs during the night. Air-conditioned buses leave Manila during the course of the evening, and arrive in Banaue early the next morning. These buses can be cool and it is therefore recommended that you take a sweater to keep warm.

Philippine Trails can take you to the Rice Terraces. See more on our page HERE >>

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Are You Thinking of Retiring to the Philippines?

The Philippines is fast becoming a popular destination for many retirees. It has a low cost of living, and Manila is a great base for exploring the rest of the country, or for venturing further afield to the surrounding countries of South East Asia - all within a couple of hours by plane.

The world-renowned Filipino hospitality, diversity of the country's culture, and reasonable standard of living are all reasons that existing retirees have given for choosing the Philippines as their new home.

A largely English-speaking population and tropical climate are further plus points that retirees should consider.

If you're considering retiring to the Philippines, Philippine Trails can help! Maybe try a tour first, or we'll accommodate you in a modern condominium (apartment), in one of the fast developing areas of Manila, where all amenities are to hand, so you can "try before you decide". We can show you properties that are being planned, are under construction, or have been newly built. 

See more about retiring to the Philippines on our specialist page >>

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Planning a Conference in the Philippines...

Conference facilities at Two Seasons Resort
Are you planning a Conference, or Special Event?

Would you like to maybe combine it with a tour or holiday?

Then why not consider the Philippines as the venue!

We will help arrange every aspect of your event planning, with suitable locations on offer all around the country, from the capital of Manila, to other primary destinations such as Cebu and Boracay, and even some "away-from-it-all" tropical island resorts.

Combine the business side of your gathering, with a round of golf, or extend your stay in the country with a luxury coach tour around some of the tourist highlights of north Luzon.

The Philippines is largely English-speaking, and will make an ideal choice for your conference or special event, and Philippine Trails will look after you and your party, every step of the way!

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Enjoy a Motorcycling Tour of North Luzon, in the Philippines...

Take a motorcycle tour along some of the best roads in Luzon, travelling through the Cordillera mountains and enjoying spectacular scenery.

Whether you're alone, or travelling with friends, we'll arrange your tour, together with an experienced guide, who'll accompany you on your amazing journey. 

Accommodation along the way is included, and there are a number of different bikes from which to select.

Tours can be adjusted to suit your dates, but the popular pre-planned itineraries are as follows:

North Luzon - 13 Days - More >>

North Luzon - 9 Days - More >>

Mountains of Luzon - 6 Days - More >>

Se a summary of all the tours on offer, plus useful advice, on our dedicated Motorcycling Page HERE >>

Monday, 16 March 2015

Enjoy a Golfing Holiday in the Philippines!

Fairways & Bluewater Golf Course, Boracay, Philippines
There are a number of excellent Golf Courses within easy reach of Manila.

We have arranged packages for numerous Golfers wishing to enjoy the sport, based in accommodation in the capital, so that the activities of the day can be combined with enjoyable nightlife.

Our arrangements include accommodation, chauffeured transport between the hotels and golf courses, tee-off reservations, non-member endorsements, as well as caddies and golf carts.

Outside of Manila, there are some fine golf courses on the island of Cebu, and on Boracay, there is the attractive Fairways and Bluewater Golf Course, where golfers can combine their love of the sport, with the fun of a lively island, boasting fabulous beaches, that many consider to be the jewel in the Philippines' crown!

See more on our our website's Golf page >>

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Help with Planning a Tour of the Philippines...

The pretty town of Vigan, Ilocos, Philippines
It's a comment we often hear...

"There is so much to see and do in the Philippines, we don't know where to start!"

To help make the process of deciding what to include in an itinerary, we've created a page on our website that will help anyone looking to plan a holiday touring the Philippines.

We list the most popular regions, and also the highlights and special characteristics for each area.

We also briefly give additional information on how to get there. Certain regions, such as the Central Visayas, have islands that interlink easily. Many other tourist areas are linked via Manila, the Philippines capital. In that respect, think of Manila as being the hub of a wheel.

If, after reading the information, you are still flummoxed, simply let us know your interests, the time you have available, number in your party, and budget if you have one, and we'll send you our suggestion, built on our knowledge and experience!

Take a look at  our new page HERE >>

Thursday, 12 March 2015

5 of the Best Philippines Resorts to Get Away From it All!

Cashew Grove Resort, Calamian Islands, Philippines
Cashew Grove Resort, Calamian Islands, Philippines
For many people, it's a dream to be able to escape to a tropical island and "get away from it all". To escape the rat-race and unwind in an environment that is conducive to relaxation and recharging the batteries!

Well, amongst the Philippines 7,107 tropical islands there are a few gems where you can do just that. In fact we've created a page on our website that highlights 5 such resorts. Not all are easy to get to, but if you've got the desire and inclination, Philippine Trails will take care of all the necessary arrangements, including transportation, and accommodation.

Take a look at our 5 recommendations HERE >>

Friday, 6 March 2015

Back A Dream in Honour of International Women’s Day...

We've been supporting Kiva for years, so are happy to share this article.

On March 8, millions of people worldwide will celebrate the 104th International Women’s Day. While many gains have been made, the dream of women’s equality is still far from reality. The truth. In the year 2015 inequality is still all around us. Opportunity is not equal. Education is not equal. Wealth is not equal.

But dreams… all dreams are created equal. And that’s where we can start.

In honour of International Women’s Day - and the days that follow - Kiva has launched Kiva.org/Dreams to spotlight the power of women to create sustainable change when everyday people lend their support. 

By visiting Kiva.org/Dreams you can back a dream by choosing a woman that Kiva should lend $25 to. There is no cost to you. By choosing her, you help her to follow her dream of starting or growing her business, sending her children to school, and gaining financial independence.

Without access to resources to attend school or grow a business, their dreams are far too often out of reach. This affects us all.  Women’s empowerment means economic growth for their families, communities and the world. A case in point: if women farmers had equal access to farming assets and finance, they could increase their crop yields up to 30% and 150 million people who go hungry every day would be able to eat.

Kiva.org is the world’s first and largest crowdfunding platform for social good with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. Since 2005, more than 1.6 million people turned their dreams into reality because 1.3 million people backed their dream on Kiva. Together, more than $675 million in loans have been crowdfunded, with a 98% repayment rate.
By contributing to the success of an entrepreneurial woman who has overcome obstacles most of us cannot even truly imagine, we discover so much more about our own resiliency, possibility, and potential. Each of us has a part to play and together we can make dreams a reality for thousands of women around the world.
So, in honor of International Women’s Day and the power of women to create lasting change, back a dream at Kiva.org/Dreams

Monday, 2 March 2015

Boracay, Philippines - "One of the 5 best islands in the world for partying"!

Boracay Island in the Philippines has been named by Conde Nasté travellers as one of the 5 best islands in the world for partying!

They say, "Despite its sand—as fine and as white as powder—and its blue waters, Boracay remains a vastly overlooked island destination in Asia."

Read the full article: http://www.foxnews.com/travel/2015/02/27/best-island-beaches-for-partying/

You can book one of our Philippines tours, to include a stay on Boracay, or treat yourself to a stand-alone holiday on the island. If you simply want to book your own hotel or resort, we can help you with that too >>