Escapism in the Philippines
Camp on your own private island in the Northern Palawan, paddleboard on the 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 Bohol, 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.
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
- All activities mentioned on the itinerary
- 11 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 4 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
- 2 domestic flights
Flashpackers must provide evidence that they have purchased travel insurance for the duration of their adventure. 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 travelers 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 traveling 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 colorful 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 snorkeling 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 Laidback beach living
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 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 a beautiful beach resort, which is just steps away from the sea. Enjoy the pool surrounded by lush greenery, the relaxing spa and the on-site restaurant and bar (make sure you try the ‘catch of the day’), and then pop down to the water’s edge to catch the sunset. Pure magic.
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? 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 take it easy, 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 colors of sunset over cocktails and fresh seafood with a Filipino twist.
Day 07 Onwards to Bohol
This morning you’ll be up early to catch a 90-minute direct flight to Bohol, a breathtaking island for beach-lovers, adrenaline junkies and nature enthusiasts. Think pristine white sands and offshore coral, jungle-fringed rivers perfect for paddleboarding, and a unique landscape of conical mountains begging to be explored. After lunch at a local restaurant, you’ll transfer to your resort in a remote forested location right on the 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 stand-up paddleboard (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 your 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 Gentle cycling & serenity
Panglao Island was made for leisurely bike rides. With flat, well-paved coastal roads, a gentle morning cycling tour is a must before you leave. You’ll stumble upon local schools, picturesque churches and ancestral houses, with paths leading off to hidden caves and quiet beaches lined with fishing boats. Back at the resort, this afternoon will be another stretch of leisure time in the sun (you earned it with all that pedalling). Then, as the sun begins to dip below the horizon, you’ll regroup with your fellow Flashpackers for a special farewell dinner, 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
Here's a taste of the hotels we sometimes use on this adventure. The hotels you'll stay in for your departure will be shared with you one month before you go.
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 touch of a private boat and chef.
Loboc River Resort
Nestled beside a placid river in breathtaking natural surroundings, these gorgeous indigenous-inspired huts are built on stilts and connected by wooden bridges. During high tide summer floods, the whole resort feel like it’s floating. Enjoy typical Boholano cuisine and sundowners at the open-air riverside restaurant.
Seda Lio Resort, El Nido
Steps away from the beach and surrounded by lush greenery, the sunset views here are pure magic. You’ll have access to a beautiful pool in the heart of a tropical garden (complete with its own bar, of course), a relaxing spa, and a restaurant famous for its delicious catch of the day. It’s no wonder this resort is an El Nido favourite…
- Which airport do I need to fly in and out of? Plus airport code
Fly into Manila International Airport (MNL).
The trip ends on Day 12 on Bohol Island. From here, a ferry transfer is included to Mactan-Cebu International Airport (CEB) on Cebu Island, which has many international connections.
Alternatively, you can choose to finish the trip on Bohol Island and make your own way to Bohol-Pangloa International Airport (TAG), which has regular flights to Manila. Please note there is no reduction in price if you decide not to take the ferry transfer.
- What time should my flight 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?
If you take the ferry transfer to Cebu on your last morning, we advise only booking flights that depart from Cebu airport after 3pm, to account for travel and check-in time.
If you decide to fly from Bohol airport, the journey from your hotel is 10 minutes by taxi.
Check-out time from the hotel is 12pm. 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.
- If I book extra nights at the end of my trip, which location will this be?
If you’d like to stay for some extra nights after your trip has finished, our Customer Experience team can book this for you at the hotel on Bohol Island.
- Are airport transfers included?
If you arrive on Day 1 of your adventure, or you book pre-tour accommodation with us, your airport arrival transfer will be included. If you book alternative pre-tour accommodation or are arriving by another mode of transport you must arrange your own arrival transfer.
Arrival transfers are private to Flash Pack and will be in groups depending on flight times. Sometimes this means waiting in the airport for a short while until other flights have arrived.
A departure is included from your final hotel to Mactan-Cebu International Airport (CEB) for your international fight home.
If you choose to fly from Bohol airport to Manila, we can offer support with arranging a local taxi.
- Are tips included?
Please note that tips are not included in the cost of this adventure. Suggested amounts per person are:
- Pack Leader: 3-5 USD per day
- Drivers: 3 USD per day
- Local tips: your Pack Leader will be able to advise on how much to tip local guides, restaurants, etc. Some Pack Leaders will collect a tipping kitty (approximately 3 USD per day) at the welcome meeting to take care of local tips.
However, all tips are at your discretion depending on what you feel comfortable with.
- How much should I budget per day for extras?
2,000 Philippine peso, the equivalent of 30 GBP.
- 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.
- Do I need a visa?
You do not need a visa if you’re visiting the Philippines as a tourist from the EU, UK, USA, Australia or Canada. Please check with your local consulate if the country you are travelling from requires a visa.
We recommend that you have six months validity remaining on your passport as a minimum requirement and can show a return ticket.
- What are the mandatory entry requirements for the Philippines?
You will need:
- Passport with at least six months validity from arrival date in the Philippines
- International outbound ticket
- All travellers must fill in the eArrival Card
Requirements can change frequently so please check online for updates ahead of your travels.
Joining the Flash Pack comes with a few special guarantees
Our mission is 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.
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