Summary : A brand new destination for every day of the itinerary with incredible landscapes and zodiac tours around stunning coastline. Beautiful islands with unique cultures and language await your discovery. Enjoy superlative snorkeling and diving at Apo Reef. Search for whale sharks, Asian palm-swifts, Colasisi and the Philippine Serpent Eagle on this trip of a lifetime!
Activities : Birding, Culture, Diving, Hiking, Snorkeling, Triple/Quad Cabins
Free Round-trip Airfare
Suite Upgrade AND $1,000 Onboard Credit
$11,800 to $22,700
Embark the Silver Discoverer for this exciting expedition across the Philippines and into the Philippine Sea. This afternoon, you will attend a safety briefing before leaving Manila.
Later, important members of the crew will be introduced, as well as your Expedition Team. Familiarize yourself with your new home away from home, meet some of your fellow travelers and in the evening enjoy the first of many memorable meals in The Restaurant.
At dinnertime Silver Discoverer will head for the Mindoro Strait.
A reef and three islands make up the Apo Reef Natural Park which is also a tentative UNESCO World Heritage Site. Apo Island is the largest island and harbors mangroves and beach vegetation on its 22 hectares. Apo Reef, the important and main geographical features of the park, lies to the east of Apo Island. Binangaan is a small rocky Iimestone island with relatively little vegetation and Cayos del Bajo a coralline rock formation with no vegetation.
Snorkelers will enjoy the crystal blue waters and be looking for some of the 400 varieties of soft and hard corals registered, cushion stars, damsel fishes, butterfly fishes, angel fishes, parrot fishes, cardinal fishes, trigger fishes, and wrasses.
For those who want to relax on a beach, a visit to Apo Island, which features a shallow lagoon surrounded by a verdant mangrove forest, will be of interest. Close to 50 species of birds have been recorded for the park and there are records of the rare Nicobar Pigeon for Apo Island.
Your stay in San Fernando will present a unique opportunity to become immersed in the traditional ways of Sibuyan Island.
At the time of your arrival ashore, the local community will be pulling in fishing nets and an Udyak (a celebration for the catch) will take place. Be welcomed by the Sibuyan Mangyan Tagabukid indigenous community and will partake in a cleansing ritual with scented smoke. At the market the mayor will officially welcome us, before we will take Jeepneys to reach Taclobo Village to see and partake in a Paguma, or rice planting and harvesting. While you learn and plant, traditional folk singers will entertain. After this hands-on and feet-in-mud activity continue in our Jeepneys to the Cantingas River and a ceremony to honor the unseen spirits. Afterwards the indigenous community members of Taclobo Village will show how they catch freshwater shrimps and will have a cooking demonstration involving the shrimp. You can swim in the Cantingas River, considered the cleanest body of water in the Philippines.
After lunch aboard, head back ashore for a Pag-alad Festival, an annual commemoration of the transfer of the town of Azagra to San Fernando. See the 17th century Casa del Cuartel, declared an Important Cultural Property, watch street dancing and taste some local cuisine.
To close the day, each guest is given an ironwood or tiga (an extremely hard and endemic hardwood) seedling for planting.
During the morning visit the island of Donsol whose bay is home to schools of whale sharks and reputedly has the world’s largest concentration of these massive fish. During the month of May whale sharks can usually be seen by divers and non-divers, swimmers and non-swimmers. For the chance to swim with the whale sharks official local boats will be used.
During lunch aboard, Silver Discoverer will sail south to reach Ticao Island. Again we will use our Zodiacs for some island hopping, admiring limestone formations and the Catandayagan waterfalls, swimming and snorkeling in crystal clear water, or simply relaxing on white sand beaches.
Visit Capul today and participate in a local fiesta. Once ashore, be taken by motorcycle (today’s mode of transportation) to a coconut farm and be divided into task groups to prepare puso (rice cooked in young coconut leaves), chicken tinola, stuffed squid, grilled blue marlin and coconut-based desserts. If you are not culinary inclined, you can be part of the banquet table decoration team.
While you wait for the food to be cooked, a coconut harvesting, husking, grating, drying, packing and transporting demonstration will take place. Then the food prepared will be displayed at the banquet tables and can be eaten in the traditional Filipino farm style.
Guests will then be divided into groups to see three heritage sites on the island including a Spanish-built lighthouse overlooking the San Bernardino Strait, the 17th century fortress church of St. Ignatius de Loyola and the Banadero, a spring used by the Galleon Trade before heading out to Acapulco.
During the afternoon, Silver Discoverer will head from the Philippine Sea to the Visayan Sea. Your course will eventually go back into the Philippine Sea and the island of Bohol. On board lecturers will present, but you can also relax on the outer decks and watch the landscape and islands go by.
An early morning departure from Tagbilaran means a chance at the best light for photos of the Chocolate Hills found in Central Bohol. There are more than 1,200 of these conical karst hills and in the dry season the grass that covers the hills turns brown, and hence their name. At a viewing station you can choose to climb more than 200 steps for a panorama that is well worth the effort.
To see some of the other unusual features of Bohol, partake in a cruise on the Loay River. On local boats watch the lush green landscape go by while being serenaded by local musicians and enjoying light snacks of local delicacies.
A visit to a Tarsier Sanctuary will give a chance to see one of the smallest primates, the endemic Philippine tarsier, and proceeding to Baclayon, see some of the oldest heritage houses and the oldest stone church on the island. While there, you might want to taste broa, a local delicacy - supposedly the BEST lady fingers in the world!
Following lunch aboard and during the afternoon relax on Balicasag Island. This tiny island is located southwest of Tagbilaran and surrounded by a beautiful sandy beach. Fringed by a narrow reef shelf the island is well liked by snorkelers on the lookout for colorful schools of reef fish, turtles, wrasses, groupers, and barracuda.
Coming ashore at Macabalan Port, enjoy a welcome and cultural reception before transferring to the Bulua pottery and the Vjandep Bakeshop to view pastel baking and hopefully trythis famous Camiguin delicacy.
Transferring to Chali Beach see a cooking demonstration of the typical Mindanao and Visayas “Sinuglaw.” This refers to grilling food that has been soaked in vinegar. Lunch ashore will include corn cake and local desserts.
In the afternoon there will be more food tasting and a visit to the Museo de Oro at the Xavier University. This museum highlights findings of a nearby excavation, folkloric artifacts and old photographs. The San Agustin Cathedral will be the last stop before returning to the port and Silver Discoverer.
If the food options, aboard and ashore, are overwhelming, you may choose instead to try white water rafting in lower Mambuyan. As it is the only white water rafting destination in the country, Cagayan de Oro is known as the “White Water Rafting Capital of the Philippines.”
Silver Discoverer will anchor off Camiguin’s east side and go ashore in Benoni. After a welcome ceremony, venture into the foothills of Mt. Hibok-Hibok, an active volcano. Stop at the ruins of the Moro Watchtower and see the processing and preparation of local delicacies. Continuing on the morning tour and reach a fishing village and witness how the locals catch the fish and process dried squid. Visit the town plaza of Sagay before returning to the port and lunch aboard Silver Discoverer.
The afternoon is planned to be spent at the Mantigue Island Sanctuary. The island covers a total of 4 hectares and is located 3 kilometers from Camiguin’s shore. This island offers glowing white powdery sand beaches and a small shade-giving forest. A huge diversity of macro creatures, clown fish and turtles is a must-see for snorkelers.
Limasawa offers not only a welcome by local performers, the community and officials, but will lead you back in time to Magellan’s attempt to circumnavigate the world. This is where the first Christian Mass was held in the Philippines and you will walk to the National Shrine of the First Mass. Later a replica of a Pintado longhouse will be visited, where you can see young men and women in Pintados costumes and enjoy a performance of a dance-drama relating to the famous ruler Rajah Kulambo. The word “pintados” (painted) goes back to Magellan’s companion Pigafetta and refers to the local custom of tattooing – here you can also get a henna tattoo.
At mid-morning an Anibong Festival will be prepared. This was done to present the young women before they were taken as brides. Local entertainers will liven up the atmosphere while guests will be split into groups and dressed in traditional costumes to partake in the festival and will learn to prepare blue crabs, lobster Thermidor local style, breadfruit, grilled white marlin, assorted deep-fried fowls, squid stew and assorted seaweed.
Sohoton Bay has many special sites, but the Sohoton Cove National Park just slightly to the east on Bucas Grande’s southwestern side is enchanting. The half-submerged entrance is the only way in and out and can only be used at low tide. It is almost impossible to find if you come at the wrong time of the day. Sohoton Cove National Park is filled with gorgeous, muffin-shaped, forest-covered islets. Most of them are untouched by human hands and the natural arrangement acts like a gigantic, natural maze. The blue lagoon is also home to several caves and caverns and a fantastic variety of flora and fauna.
Magkukuob cavern is another cave in one of the seven islets inside Sohoton Cove. Its walls have natural colors from yellow to aqua to turquoise which makes it surreal. Climbing an enthralling passage whose adjoining walls offers a stunning display of mineral-encrusted stalactites and stalagmites you will reach a 5-meter jump off point to the clear, blue sea right below your feet. Another attraction in Sohoton Cove is the jellyfish sanctuary at Tojoman Lagoon where one can swim with thousands of non-stinging spotted jellyfishes only found between March and June.
This last day in Sohoton Bay and Sohoton Cove will be a remarkable end to your exploration of the “Emerald Islands” of the Philippines and forges a connection to Palau’s famous Rock Islands.
While Silver Discoverer sails in a south-easterly direction experience the exhilaration of being at sea and out of sight of land. It is awe inspiring to look out in all directions and find the simple beauty of undulating ocean waves, wispy clouds and foaming sea spray. Members of the expedition team are ever-vigilant during sea days watching for seabirds, marine mammals, schools of feeding fish, and any other unexpected wildlife interactions to share with guests on the outer decks at a moment’s notice.
Take advantage of the fresh air and boundless vistas out on deck, or perhaps join the Executive Chef for a culinary demonstration, or the bar team for a wine tasting. If you would like to have a Spa treatment or do some work-out in the Gym, these two days might be just perfect.
In the afternoon of your last day at sea, do not forget to attend the Videographer’s presentation of our voyage documentary.
Silver Discoverer will come alongside in Malakal Harbour before breakfast. Malakal Island is connected to Koror via two bridges. If you prefer a self-exploration of Koror, you can head into town and visit the National Museum of Palau or the private Etpison Museum with its outstanding exhibition on “traditional money.” To have a look at Palau’s underwater creatures you could visit the Aquarium.
If you are a snorkeler or like special geological features, take the inclusive excursion and head out to see the famous “Rock Islands” — a must, if you have not been to Palau before. This UNESCO World Heritage Site has 445 uninhabited limestone islands of volcanic origin. The beauty of these islands is heightened by a complex reef system featuring over 385 coral species. The area sustains a diversity of plants, birds and marine life including dugong and at least thirteen shark species. The world’s highest concentration of marine lakes (isolated bodies of seawater separated from the ocean by land barriers) is also found here.
Another option would be to go on an excursion to see some of the cultural and archaeological points of interest on Babeldaob, Palau’s largest island. These include man-made terraces and the famous bai (men’s meeting houses). Whatever you choose to do in Palau, it will be busy and fascinating day.
Following breakfast, disembark Silver Discoverer.
This itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.
The program is complimentary; however, space is limited and thus booking early is recommended. Dives are dependent upon the conditions. Divers must have a current Advanced Open Water Dive License or equivalent from an accredited Certification Agency which will need to be provided before embarking the vessel. Certification must be active and logbooks must show evidence that each guest has been diving within 12 months prior to the voyage. Medical Dive Travel Insurance for evacuation, medical treatment and repatriation is required. Guests must bring their own BCD vests and regulators. Weight belts, tanks, masks and fins will be provided free of charge onboard Silver Discoverer. Subject to change without notice.
Suite accommodations; onboard meals and entertainment; butler service; gratuities aboard ship (except spa); complimentary beverages aboard ship (including select wines, champagnes, spirits, soda, water and coffee); 1 hour of internet access per guest/per day for passengers booked in Explorer and View Suites; unlimited internet access for passengers booked in Vista, Veranda, and Medallion Suites. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare; transfers and luggage handling; optional shore excursions; government fees and taxes; passport and visa expenses; some champagne, premium wine and spirit selections, caviar, cigarettes and cigars; laundry or valet services; items of a personal nature such as boutique purchases, medical care, and spa services; fuel surcharge may apply.
Photo Credit: © Creative Services at Silversea Expeditions, © Bruno Cazarini (reef)