A LAND OF WIDE-EYED WON­DER

Es­cape the wildlife-seek­ing hordes and make the fas­ci­nat­ing Philip­pines your num­ber one des­ti­na­tion for 2019

BBC Wildlife Magazine - - Advertisement Feature -

IF YOU’RE SE­RI­OUS

about get­ting up close and per­sonal with some in­cred­i­ble wildlife, it’s time to leave the tourist trail be­hind and em­bark on an ad­ven­ture to one of the most in­trigu­ing and friendly coun­tries on the globe – the Philip­pines.

Nes­tled in the Pa­cific, not far from Thai­land, Malaysia and In­done­sia, the Philip­pines is a col­lec­tion of more than 7,000 beau­ti­ful and un­spoilt is­lands, each of­fer­ing a com­pletely dif­fer­ent ex­pe­ri­ence. Go is­land-hop­ping and dis­cover stun­ning beaches, dra­matic lime­stone cliffs where ea­gles soar, emer­ald jun­gles hide the wideeyed tar­sier and topaz-blue seas where whale sharks roam. Come be­tween Oc­to­ber and May and you’ll see it at its very best.

TAI­LOR-MADE TRIPS To get the most from your Filipino wildlife ad­ven­ture, talk to the travel spe­cial­ists at The Turquoise Holiday Com­pany. They have ex­ten­sive knowl­edge of these is­lands (and how best to hop from one to the other) and its team of ex­perts will put to­gether a be­spoke itin­er­ary that per­fectly meets your needs, bud­get and style. Here’s an ex­am­ple: PHILIP­PINES IS­LAND HOP­PING & WILDLIFE WON­DERS Turquoise rec­om­mends com­bin­ing three won­der­fully wild and un­touched is­lands, to dis­cover in­cred­i­ble marine life, unique wildlife and awe-in­spir­ing scenery in this two-week es­cape. DAY 1 – MANILA Af­ter an overnight flight from Lon­don, you will be met and trans­ferred to The Penin­sula Ho­tel in Manila for a onenight stay in a deluxe room. It’s per­fectly lo­cated to get out and ex­plore the lively area of Makati and sam­ple some of its lo­cal cafes and restau­rants. DAY 2 TO 5 – AT­MOS­PHERE RE­SORT AND SPA, NEGROS Af­ter break­fast, you’ll re­turn to the air­port for your on­ward flight to Du­maguete and trans­fer to the is­land of Negros where you’ll stay four nights in a deluxe suite at this charm­ing bou­tique ho­tel. It’s a per­fect hide­away on the south coast of Negros, an is­land blessed with un­spoilt jun­gle and beau­ti­ful scenery. Ex­plore the sub­lime reefs around the re­sort or neigh­bour­ing Apo Is­land, or head to Lake Balin­sasayao for a swim sur­rounded by dense rain­for­est. Spend a day dol­phin-watch­ing off the coast of Bais City, stop­ping at Tal­abong Man­grove Park, a 400-hectare pro­tected for­est that serves as a nat­u­ral habi­tat for wild birds and crus­taceans. Or head for Cam­puyo White Sand­bar – when the sea is calm, the deep wa­ters be­come a play­ground for bot­tlenose, melon-head and spot­ted dol­phins. Fur­ther afield there is a chance to cruise across to Os­lob, a well-known area for swim­ming with whale sharks.

DAY 5 TO 11 – AMORITA RE­SORT, BOHOL

Af­ter a trans­fer by ferry, you’ll ar­rive at the nat­u­rally beau­ti­ful and his­tor­i­cally rich is­land province of Bohol. You’ll be stay­ing on Panglao, an is­land con­nected to Bohol by a bridge, and home to the en­chant­ing Amorita Re­sort where you’ll stay six nights in a deluxe room. Perched on a cliff edge at the end of de­light­ful Alona Beach, this is a won­der­ful place to re­lax and un­wind. Div­ing and snorkelling are top of the list of ac­tiv­i­ties, ei­ther off the coast or at Bal­i­casag Is­land with its crys­tal-clear wa­ters. It’s also a must to ex­plore the Philip­pine Tar­sier Foun­da­tion, a refuge for the small­est pri­mate in the world. Ob­serve these rare, noc­tur­nal crea­tures in their nat­u­ral habi­tat and be amazed by their agility as they move about, leap­ing from one tree to an­other, swiv­el­ling their heads nearly 360 de­grees.

DAY 12 TO 15 – EL NIDO

Take a ferry to Cebu, where you’ll trans­fer to the air­port and fly to El Nido, stay­ing four nights in a beach view villa at the pic­turesque Cauayan Is­land Re­sort – a serene hide­away co­cooned among the strik­ing lime­stone scenery of Bacuit Bay. Spend your days ex­plor­ing this mag­nif­i­cent scenery by out­rig­ger boat, stop­ping off at re­mote beaches, snorkelling on un­touched reefs and kayak­ing on la­goons, sur­rounded by gi­ant lime­stone karsts. This area is reg­u­larly voted as one of the most beau­ti­ful in the world and you’ll dis­cover why – it is sim­ply stun­ning! The re­sort will cre­ate a menu of ex­pe­ri­ences tai­lored to your in­ter­ests and there is al­ways re­lax­ation on the menu in the re­sort spa!

DAY 16 – HOME

Fly back to Manila for your flight home.

GO WITH TURQUOISE:

15 nights from £3,525 per per­son, in­clud­ing in­ter­na­tional flights with Sin­ga­pore Air­lines, do­mes­tic flights, ferry cross­ings, ac­com­mo­da­tion as in­di­cated and break­fast. All tour­ing is op­tional at ad­di­tional cost.

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