February 4th - February 18th, 2018
Join us on an unmissable adventure to the Philippines, a country blessed with natural beauty, ancient history and a rich culture.
We embark on a terrific journey from the bustling urban centres of Manila and Laoag to the isle of Palawan, the jewel of the Philippines, where the find fine sands and perfect waves are found alongside breathtaking mangrove forests and underground caves. During the Spring this land is festooned with masses of dazzling plants and unique animals, and the country’s towns come alive. Discover the traditional ways of life and exemplary hospitality of the various peoples of the Philippines, and admire the exceptional architectural styles that fuse colonial Hispanic and Asian influences.
With carefully chosen excursions to lesser-known destinations, we offer an unparalleled perspective of the history, arts and culture of the Philippines. The 100% kosher tour and careful selection of the very best hotels permits you to travel comfortably and confidently, and your personal guide is available at all times to make your trip absolutely enjoyable.
The Philippines welcome you – discover them with Deluxe Kosher Tours.
Sunday, February 4th
We depart on our overnight flight to the capital city Manila. Enjoy kosher meals and in-flight entertainment during your journey, or read some of our suggested books about the Philippines (see above).
Monday, February 5th Manila
Upon arrival in Ninoy Aquino International Airport we are welcomed by our carefully-selected personal Deluxe Kosher Tours tour director. They will bring us to our hotel, the Mandarin Oriental, and offer an introduction to the Philippines and Manila. In the evening we enjoy a meal at the Manila Jewish Centre.
Tuesday, February 6th Manila-Laoag
Makati, American War Cemetery, Intramuros, Rizal Park, San Agustin Church, Cathedral of Manila, Fort Santiago
After breakfast we set off on our tour of Manila. Known as the “Pearl of the Orient”, the city is arguably the most densely populated city in the world with over twelve million inhabitants. Historically the city acted as a centre of trade in the region, first by the Ming Chinese and later via the Spanish. After years of devastation during the 19th century Philippine Revolution and Second World War the city has sprung back on its feet, and is now an exciting and cosmopolitan location filled with ancient cultural relics and modern architectural marvels.
Our tour starts at the city of Makati, the financial heart of the country. Admire the impressive skyline as we make our way to the pristine American War Cemetery. This peaceful monument is in stark contrast to the bustling city surrounding it. After walking through the greens we return to the bus to make our way along the coastal Roxas Boulevard towards the historic core of Manila – the walled city of Intramuros. We take a leisurely walk through the Rizal Park as our tour guide explains the history and culture of this city, before continuing to San Agustin Church. This is one of four churches in the Philippines collectively designated a World Heritage Site, and you will be able to see why they are so cherished. Their unique architectural style shows a fusion of European Baroque, Chinese, and Filipino forms, beautifully decorated on the inside with paintings and carvings. Receive a tour of the museum here, before continuing to the Cathedral of Manila. The current majestic cathedral was is the most recent of a series of sacred buildings to have been built on this site, the previous ones having been destroyed by earthquakes. Admire the beautiful domes and carved entrances, as well as the swooping vaults within. We finish at Fort Santiago, a formidable citadel protected by unbelievably thick walls and frightening prisons. Here we learn about José Rizal, the Philippine national hero, who was imprisoned here before his execution in 1896.
Later we transfer to the airport for our flight to Laoag, the northernmost city of the Philippines and capital of the Ilocos Norte province. Here we check in to the luxury Plaza del Norte Hotel, and relax for the rest of the evening.
Wednesday, February 7th Laoag-Vigan-La Union
St Williams Cathedral, Malacañang of the North, Church of St Augustine, Padre Jose Burgos Museum, St Paul’s Metropolitan Cathedral, Archbishop’s Palace, Mestizo District, Pagburnayan, Santa Maria Church
In the morning we invite you on a tour of Laoag. Nestled between the foothills of the Cordillera Central mountain range to the east, and the South China Sea to the west, this is a popular destination for its pleasant climate and interesting culture. The city is the home of the Ilocano ethnic group, an indigenous community with their own linguistic, musical and artistic traditions. Our expert guide explains the history of Laoag, from its origins as a centre of trade with Japanese and Chinese merchants seeking locally mined gold, to its 16th century occupation by the Spanish. We begin at the gorgeous St Williams Cathedral, its whitewashed walls shining in the morning sun. We can view the nearby “Sinking Bell” Tower, so called because of its massive weight which is causing the entire structure to slowly sink into the sandy ground below.
We then drive south to the Malacañang of the North, the residence of former leaders of the Philippines. We can take our time exploring the beautifully furnished rooms of the house, and admiring the exquisite gardens and views of the adjacent lake. Then we continue south to Paoay, where we visit the astonishing Church of St Augustine, another UNESCO World Heritage Site. Circle around the building to admire its enormous stepped buttresses and the carefully crafted coral bricks used to build the walls.
In the afternoon we transfer to the historic town of Vigan, a World Heritage Site cherished for its well-preserved Hispanic ambience, cobblestone streets, and unique fusion of colonial European and oriental architectural styles. We start at the Padre Jose Burgos National Museum, housed within the home of one of the three martyrs executed in Rizal Park in the 19th century. Here we can admire their extensive collection of Ilocano paintings, jewellery, musical instruments, and ceramics. We continue to St Paul’s Metropolitan Cathedral, also viewing the amusing Dancing Fountains at the adjacent Plaza Salcedo. We invite you to visit the Archbishop’s Palace, where we can view the clothing and objects used by the priests at Vigan, before continuing to the historic Mestizo District. After a leisurely stroll through this atmospheric quarter we go to the Pagburnayan (pottery factory), where we can learn about how the Ilocano produce their unique ceramics. Our final destination is the Santa Maria Church, the third UNESCO-designated baroque churches made particularly attractive by its use of bricks and terrific location, overlooking the city below. We then return to the bus for our transfer to La Union (ca. two hours), passing beautiful scenic landscapes on the way, where we check in to the Thunderbird Resorts Hotel.
Thursday, February 8th La Union-Baguio
Ifugao Woodcarvers' Village, Baguio City Market, Burnham Park, Our Lady of Atonement Cathedral, Botanical Garden
After breakfast we embark for the town of Baguio, nicknamed the “Summer Capital” of the country, where we check in to the Camp John Hay Manor Hotel. This beautiful city offers wonderful artisanal shops selling locally made objects, excellent museums and art galleries, and relaxing gardens. We begin at the Ifugao Woodcarvers' Village, where you can browse through collections of expertly crafted wooden objects made by the residents of the Cordillera Mountain Range. Then make your way through the city centre, visiting the Baguio City Market to shop for gifts before relaxing in Burnham Park. Delight in the rose-tinted walls of Our Lady of Atonement Cathedral, and make your way to the observation deck inside for excellent views of downtown Baguio. Later we go to the Botanical Garden for a tranquil afternoon, before making our way to the hotel for the evening.
Friday, February 9th Baguio-Manila
Scenic driving tour
In the morning we set off from Baguio for our return journey to Manila, driving through some of the most incredible landscapes in Southeast Asia. We will stop at a number of locations that offer unparalleled views of the countryside – perfect for taking unique photographs. Upon arrival we check in to the hotel and prepare for the Shabbat.
Saturday, February 10th Manila
Shabbat services, Seudet Shabbat
After the Shabbat services and lunch with the local community you are free to enjoy the day as you wish. We recommend relaxing in Rizal Park, or visit the National Museum to learn more about the history of the country. If you have children then the Museo Pambata is highly recommended. In the evening we invite you to attend a performance of multiple traditional Filipino folk dances. From the popular "Tinikling", to the exotic "Pangalay" to the skilful "Bangka" and Hispanic "Jota", delight in the incredibly varied forms of expression and colourful costumes used throughout the Philippines. If you feel inspired to join in that is absolutely fine!
Sunday, February 11th Manila-Puerto Princesa
Marina, Honda Bay Cruise
In the morning we set off early for our flights to the tropical town of Puerto Princesa, located on the western island of Palawan. This buzzing urban centre is acclaimed for being one of the cleanest and greenest cities in the Philippines, despite also being one of the country’s most popular holiday destinations. When we arrive we are brought to our deluxe hotel, the Hotel Centro Palawan. We then begin our tour of the city, first making our way to the marina for a boat-tour of the emerald waters of Honda Bay. We stop off at a number of islands, including Starfish Island ( which has the greatest population of Star Fish in all of Palawan), Lu-li Island (at high tide the island disappears and at low tide, it reappears), Pandan Island (which has the finest, whitest sands of all the islands and a lush tropical forest) and Cowrie Island (named after the large sea snails found in the blue waters). Later in the evening we return to the hotel for dinner. We recommend you step outside during the night to witness the glowing fireflies that cluster on the lakeside each evening – they give a wonderfully magical atmosphere to this paradise landscape.
Monday, February 12th Puerto Princesa-Sabang
Puerto Princesa Subterranean River, Sabang Mangrove forest
Today we bring you to visit some of the must-see sites around Sabang on the north coast of Palawan, after checking in to our hotel, the Sheridan Resort & Spa. First we invite you on a thrilling boat ride through the clean turquoise water and grand cave chambers of the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River. Here you can explore the underground caves, viewing astonishing karst formations (including a 300m/980 ft high cave dome) and subterranean waterfalls.
Later on we invite you to Sabang Mangrove forest for another boat ride. Our personal guide will point out the diverse varieties of plants and animals found in this part of the world, including mudskippers, monitor lizards, tree snakes, the rare Palawan peacock-pheasant, and tamilok (woodworm), which are a delicacy enjoyed by the locals. We overnight in Sabang, which boasts enchanting views of the South China Sea.
Tuesday, February 13th Sabang-El Nido
Palawan coast cruise
After breakfast we drive through the rainforests to Taytay Wharf, from which we embark on a thrilling boat ride along the coast to the northern community of El Nido. This breathtaking experience will show Palawan from a unique perspective, as we view the many coves and islands of the northwest coast. Enjoy lunch on board as the cruise continues through Imuruan Bay, with lush tropical rainforests growing right up to the white sands of the seaside. When we arrive at El Nido we check in to our luxury El Nido Resorts Hotel, and relax for the rest of the evening.
Wednesday, February 14th El Nido
El Nido attractions
For the next few days you are free to enjoy El Nido as you wish. There is no end of exciting activities to take part in, including water sports, scubadiving, hiking and plenty more. Feel free to ask your personal guide for any recommendations, such as a boat ride around the Big Lagoon and a visit to the Small Lagoon, island hopping to Entalula Island, Miniloc Island, Simizu Island, Matinloc Island or one of the many others, or visit the nearby Cathedral Caves or Cudugnon Caves.
Thursday, February 15th El Nido
El Nido attractions
You are free to spend the day as you wish in El Nido, taking part in the same activities as yesterday, trying something new or simply spend the day relaxing on the beach. Take part in some hand-on activities, such as coconut hat making, or pack a lunchbox and go exploring through the mangrove forests looking for rare indigenous wildlife.
Friday, February 16th El Nido-Manila
After breakfast we say goodbye to El Nido and make our way back to Manila. Upon arrival we are met at the airport by our local tour guide, and brought back to the Mandarin Oriental hotel to check in. After lunch at the Jewish Centre you have the rest of the day free to explore the many sights and sounds of Manila. We reunite in the evening to prepare for the Shabbat.
Saturday, February 17th Manila
Shabbat services, Seudet Shabbat
After the Shabbat services and lunch with the local community you are free to enjoy the day as you wish. We recommend visiting the Ayala Triangle Gardens or La Mesa Eco Park. The Mind Museum at Taguig is especially great for children, and the Greenbelt Malls and the SM Mall of Asia are perfect for any remaining shopping.
Sunday, February 18th Manila
After breakfast we transfer to the airport for our return flights home.
Cost Per Person:
Based On Double Occupancy (two to a room)
- Round-trip airfare from New York, London or Tel Aviv - call for airfare from other cities
- All transport within the Philippines
- An English-speaking, experienced tour guide/chauffeur
- Full board accommodation in deluxe hotels for entire trip
- 3 Kosher meals daily
- All admissions as per itinerary
- Visa fees as required
- Health and Travel Insurance
- International airport fees
- Budget for extra snacks, gifts, or other expenses of a personal nature
- Any other services not specified
LAND ONLY - $6,995 (no airfares included, domestic or international)
$2,295 (Single Supplement)
ITINERARY AND HOTELS SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT NOTICE
RATES MAY BE ADJUSTED IF THERE’S A FLUCTUATION IN CURRENCY OF MORE THAN 4% FROM SEPTEMBER 1, 2015
RATES MAY BE ADJUSTED IN THE EVENT OF AN INCREASE IN AIRLINE FUEL CHARGES
- Playing with Water: Passion and Solitude on a Philippine Island – James Hamilton-Paterson
- Eye of the Fish – Luis Fracia
- When the Rainbow Goddess Wept – Cecilia Manguerra Brainard
- Dusk – F. Sionil José