Escapism in the Philippines
Camp on your own private island in the Northern Palawan, paddle board Loboc River and explore the Chocolate Hills by quad bike
Escapism in the Philippines
About your trip
The Philippines boasts over 7,000 islands, each as idyllic as the last. Where does one even begin?
Right here, with Flash Pack.
From Manila to El Nido, Cebu to Carmen; prepare to have every beach bum craving you’ve ever had satisfied. We’re talking beach camping beneath the stars on your own private island. You read that right – your own private island, in the Philippines. There’ll be days spent on private boats island hopping from one coral-rich lagoon to yet another sugar-white sand beach (honestly, they’re everywhere), as well as just the right amount of adrenaline as you quad bike through the Chocolate Hills and SUP your way along the emerald waters of the Loboc River. You’ll even have your own glamping site (complete with swim-up bar) in popular El Nido, since we’ve bought the entire place out for you.
Endless fresh Filipino food, dramatic scenery, the right kind of people to enjoy it with – there may be over 7,000 islands, but there’s only one way to do the Philippines.
- Accommodation in twin rooms
- Max 14 travellers per group
- Experienced Pack Leader with you throughout the trip
- Tips for the guide & driver
- All activities mentioned on the itinerary
- 11 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 5 dinners
- Stay in hand-picked 3-4 star hotels
- We offset the carbon emissions per person on this trip
- Arrival & departure transfers included
- All local transport including minibus, ferries & private boat
- Two domestic flights
Flashpackers are required to produce proof of COVID-19 vaccination 30 days before departure. Remember, flights aren't included and prices are based on sharing a twin room. If you'd like to upgrade to a single room, you can add this during the booking process or by contacting our Customer Experience team.
Day 01 Manila Nights
Welcome to the bright lights of Manila, a glittering gateway to the Philippines’ archipelago. Having been taken by private transfer to your hotel, you’ll meet your fellow travellers and dedicated guide. Settled, briefed and ready to see more of the city you glimpsed on your way in, you’ll head out into the vibrant streets of Makati City. With its gleaming high-rises and colonial Spanish architecture, you’ll find a mix of old and new influences at play. Your first night’s agenda will be getting to know your soon-to-be-friends over authentic Filipino food like fresh ceviche and the country’s take on Tom Yum soup. There’ll also be time for delicious cocktails at one of the city’s best rooftop bars. Let the fun officially begin.
Day 02 A private island
You’ve had a taste of Manila’s energy, now it’s time for what you really came for: pure beach bliss. Even the flight out to El Nido will set the wilderness scene, since you’ll be travelling on a small propeller plane to reach this region of turquoise ocean and virgin rainforest. You won’t be in El Nido for too long this time, there’s a private island with your name on, so enjoy lunch at the colourful Art Cafe before boarding your private boat to Ginto Island. You’ll get serious castaway vibes as your boat approaches this white-sand beauty, and the excitement will really set in when you see your transparent mesh tent being set up right on the sand. The rest of the afternoon is yours, just be ready for sunset cocktails, bonfires and dinner served waterside by your private chef.
Day 03 BEACH HOPPING
Last night you fell asleep to the sound of gently lapping waves, stars twinkling down from a deep black sky. This morning, you’ll have the chance to catch the sunrise on the other side of the island. Tea and coffee will already be waiting for you, so settle in and look on as the sun eases up over the horizon and begins to bathe the sea and your island in light. Afterwards, having enjoyed breakfast back at camp, it’ll then be time to board your private boat once more. Fully stocked with snorkelling gear, sea kayaks and a BBQ lunch to enjoy on your island of choice, you’ll spend a leisurely day at sea, diving into the water whenever you choose or soaking up the sun with a beer in hand. Back at camp, you’ll be greeted by professional massage therapists who’ve arrived to add another layer of relaxation to your stay. If Flash Pack rewrote The Beach…
Day 04 Glamping in El Nido
After breakfast, savour a slow morning sailing back to El Nido, stopping by a few islands along the way. We’d be willing to hedge our bets that Tacling Island (where you stop for lunch) will be your favourite. Try to resist the temptation to google image this one, seeing it for the first time in real life is a special moment. You’ve embraced the shipwreck lifestyle – now you can return to the charming island town of El Nido. You’ll be staying at Napcan glamping site, which you’ll have completely to yourselves thanks to a Flash Pack takeover. Enjoy the swim-up bar, the beautiful beach and the numerous restaurants and bars within walking distance of your charming accommodation.
Day 05 White sands & ancient massage
For those who’d like to do some more island exploring, another early start awaits, but for good reason. You’ll be island hopping once more, but at the most serene time of day, hours before other tourists hit the waters. The stillness of the morning will be a welcome tonic as you coast smoothly between El Nido’s famed big and small lagoons. Rather relax back at ‘glamp’? No problem. Later on, you’ll be treated to a private Hilot massage lesson. The ancient Filipino art of healing, you’ll learn how to manipulate and massage any stresses away. Feeling refreshed and undeniably zen, afterwards you’ll have the opportunity to head out with your group for dinner and drinks.
Day 06 RELAXATION & SUNSET VIEWS
A welcome day of ‘nothing’ in paradise lies before you. It’s been pretty full on so far, so relish in your private camp, beach-hop and explore El Nido’s vibrant shops. If you’re feeling particularly active, there are endless diving opportunities, or you can hike to the top of Taraw Peak for incredible views of Bacuit Bay. As the sun sets on your perfect day of leisure, you’ll be whisked off to The View restaurant for a group dinner. Boasting views that overlook the dramatic landscapes of El Nido, you’ll be in a prime position to witness the changing colours of sunset over cocktails and fresh seafood with a Filipino twist.
Day 07 Onwards to Bohol
This morning you’ll catch a 90-minute flight to Cebu, where you’ll have a quick lunch. As always, veggie-friendly options will be available, but the meat eaters amongst you will be treated to a famed pork dish called Zubuchon, once described by Anthony Bordain as ‘the best pig ever’ (high praise indeed). This will all be followed by a ferry ride to Bohol and a transfer onwards to the rustic beauty of Fox & Firefly’s bamboo cottages where you’ll be staying for the next few days. After a long day travelling, you’ll appreciate your quiet, remote and forested location right on the emerald Loboc River. After a traditional dinner, relax on your terrace or take a shower in your outdoor bathroom, listening only to the wildlife in the trees around you.
Day 08 SUP yoga & authentic food
Today’s adventure will take place on the Loboc River, an emerald waterway snaking through the wilderness of Bohol Island. Far from the tourists, you’ll enjoy the serenity of SUP yoga. Alongside the tricky yoga poses, there’ll also be swimming, racing and competitive fun, and of course, a chance to simply just paddle amongst such lush scenery. As you pull back to the riverbank, you’ll notice that lunch has been set up for you on the bank within view of the water. After lunch, you’ll have the chance to visit a working farm, where you’ll get to taste fresh coconut wine, learn how to plant rice in view of water buffalo and how to open your own coconut (essential in the Philippines). Tonight you’ll dine at the hotel, making the most of your traditional wilderness retreat in the trees.
Day 09 Sunrise quadbiking
This morning you’ll head inland to Carmen, where you’ll encounter the thousand Chocolate Hills stretching out to the horizon. An early start means you’ll be there for a spectacular sunrise from our panoramic viewpoint. With the sun risen, you’ll hop on to a quad bike for a little dose of adrenaline. At this hour you’ll feel like the only people around as you fly across these dramatic landscapes. Then, having freshened up after an active morning, it’ll be time to travel onwards to Panglao. You’ll find your hotel for the next three nights perched on the edge of a limestone cliff on the south of the island, with the Bohol Sea shimmering beneath you. With a free afternoon ahead, sink into the hotel’s infinity pools (you’ll be spoilt for choice) or take advantage of the island’s many bars on Alona Beach.
Day 10 Chill & ceviche
You’ll have until late afternoon to relax at Amorita Resort, or on the beach that lies just a few steps from the hotel. At around 4pm, you’ll be led by your private chef down to the beach to choose the fresh catch of the day. This isn’t for a regular meal, however. Fish chosen and back at the resort, your chef will teach you each how to prepare deliciously fresh ceviche in three different ways (which you’ll of course get to feast on at the end). The fun doesn’t stop there, either. Tonight’s after-dinner aperitif will come via a private cocktail masterclass, led by a trained mixologist. You’ll certainly be working for your fare this evening, but it’ll be so worth it.
Day 11 Cycling & serenity
Panglao Island was made for leisurely bike rides. Well paved, laid back and with long stretches of coastal roads leading to picturesque churches mean a morning cycling tour is a must before you leave. You’ll stumble upon quiet beaches lined with fishing boats, hidden caves and beautiful little boutiques perfect for some last-minute shopping. Back at the resort, this afternoon will be another stretch of leisure time in the sun (you earned it with all that pedalling) before your farewell dinner this evening. As the sun begins to dip below the horizon, you’ll make your way to the acclaimed Mist restaurant for gourmet dishes enjoyed to the backdrop of the endless sea, illuminated by your last sunset in the glorious Philippines.
Day 12 Farewell, Philippines
And just like that, it’s all over. After breakfast at the hotel and some sad goodbyes with new friends, it’s over to you to make your own way to your next destination. If Southeast Asia continues to call, why not extend your adventure with our Alternative Thailand experience…
Our Favourite Hotels
Browse a selection of our favourite hotels, for a flavour of where you may stay on this trip.
Ginto Island Camp
Bed down on the untouched Ginto Island in unique mesh tents (ideal for stargazing) on the secluded beach Linapacan, miles away from civilisation. A true off-grid experience that lets you experience wild living with the added luxe touch of a private boat and chef.
Amorita Resort, Panglao
A sophisticated resort full of thoughtful touches, such as complimentary ice pops and cooling sprays by the pool, early morning hot chocolates at the restaurant and cookies in the chic bedrooms. There’s so much to love about Amorita, but perhaps it’s the huge infinity pool with views of Alona Beach, and Amorita’s private beach, that keeps us coming back.
The Henry Hotel, Manila
The madness of Manila falls away the minute you step foot inside the manicured grounds of The Henry Hotel. The striking white house, with its brass fittings, shutters, dark wood and low lighting, feels like a Hollywood film set.
Fox and Firefly Cottages
Set within the forested area of Loboc and bordering the picturesque river, the bamboo cottages here have each been built following traditional Filipino design. It’s a real escape from reality, and the endless opportunities for swimming and yoga mean you’ll feel zen in no time. The outdoor showers are a treat too. Listen to the sounds of wildlife as you shower for that (luxurious) wilderness experience.
Nacpan Beach Glamping
Welcome to your very own glamping site, complete with pool (did we mention the swim-up bar?) and spacious pods set amongst an abundance of greenery, all just a short walk to the beach. The rooms inside the pods are light, with authentic yet modern furnishings (think sisal rugs, neutral tones and a large queen-size bed, just for you).
- Which airport do I need to fly in and out of? Plus airport code
Fly into Manila International Airport (MNL) and out of Mactan-Cebu International Airport (CEB).
- What time should my flight arrive? (to arrive in time for the welcome meeting)
Before 3 pm ideally. The welcome meeting and dinner will be from 5 pm onwards starting at the hotel, which is located approximately 15 minutes away from the airport.
- What time should my flight depart on the last day?
You will need to take a ferry to Cebu on your last morning, therefore we advise only booking flights that depart from 3pm onwards to account for travel and check-in time on your last day. If you would like to extend your stay by a day or two, please get in touch with our team who can help arrange this for you.
- Are airport transfers included?
We offer arrival and departure transfers which are private to Flash Pack. On arrival, you may need to wait at the airport for a short while until other flights have arrived. We include the departure transfer on this adventure as you have to take a ferry and transfer to get to Cebu on your last day from Panglao Island.
- How much should I budget per day for extras?
2,000 Philippine peso, the equivalent of 30 GBP / 40 USD per day.
- What fitness levels do I need for this trip?
We recommend having a read-through of the itinerary above, and getting in touch if you have specific questions on fitness. Overall, the trip is very relaxed so no real level of fitness is needed. However, there is a good amount of walking and biking (at your own pace).
- Will the itinerary change?
Please be aware that the itinerary, activities and hotels are subject to change. These changes can happen with little notice due to availability, poor weather, seasonal changes, or other circumstances beyond our control – but we’ll always do our best to ensure it has little impact on your experience. From time to time, we may also make changes to your itinerary to try out new ideas and keep things fresh and exciting.
- What are the mandatory entry requirements for the Philippines?
You will need proof of your vaccination status, and proof of a negative PCR test taken no more than 48 hours prior to departing for the Philippines.
Currently, it is also mandatory to obtain travel insurance prior to arrival for COVID-19 treatment costs with a minimum coverage of USD 35,000 for the duration of your stay in the Philippines.
Requirements can change frequently so please check online for updates ahead of your travels.
What Flashpackers say
"Flash Pack was my first foray into group travel and what a way to kick it off. The group dynamics and like-minded nature of all individuals on the tour made this an amazing experience. By the end, life-long friendships were made!"
"Every detail of the trip was thought out and our guide Rupert was absolutely incredible at looking after our every need."
"One of the best holidays of my life! The accommodation throughout the whole trip was lovely, the split between planned activities and free time was perfect but most importantly our local trip leader was just amazing. "
"If you're hesitating on booking - just do it. Commit. This was such a fun experience. Everyone was so like-minded, and the itinerary was flawless."
"Flash Pack far exceeded my expectations. The adventures, our guide, our group were all fantastic! Can’t wait to use them again."
Joining the Flash Pack comes with a few special guarantees
Our mission to create 1 million friendships so we obsess over the group dynamic. Everyone is aged 30-49, 98% travel solo & 80% stay friends. Want to know more about your group? GET IN TOUCH
We operate using a 3rd party trust bank account meaning we guarantee refunds in 14 days if your trip has to be cancelled BOOK WITH CONFIDENCE
Our trips are made up of ‘can’t-do-by-yourself’ experiences – think staying on your own private island in the Arctic and glamping in Land Rovers on the Serengeti SEE TRIPS
We only work with trusted local guides who know their destinations better than anyone. We include guide and driver tips to make sure that our team are well looked after
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