We are keeping up with our annual tradition of running our extremely successful and popular San Pedro Cutud Lenten Rites and Extreme Philippines Tour.
The tour starts in Manila before we head off to San Fernando on Good Friday to watch people literally nail themselves to crosses, followed by a night out in the City of Sin, Angeles.
Following this we get in touch with our cultural side by taking a trip to the summer capital of Baguio and the Hanging Coffins of Sagada. We’ll then get a bit YPT with a trip to the home of Ferdinand and Emelda Marcos and Batac, before a night on the town in Currimao.
On the way back to Manila we’ll stop at the private beach resort of La Union, where we’ll have a private BBQ. We’ll finish in Manila with a tour of the lesser developed rural areas, a visit to the Manila Hotel and finally ringside seats at midget boxing. The Philippines is not exactly renowned for its culinary prowess, but there is a great street food scene.
Why Extreme Philippines? Quite simply because we get way off the beaten track, and not on the usual tourist trail of the country, of us the country is about more than just beaches. Warts and all the Extreme Philippines Tour will show you all extremes of this country.
Guests arrive at their own leisure and check into the Garden Lotus Hotel in the Ermita part of Metro Manila (optional airport pickup for extra charge)
Alas the Hobbit House of Manila is now closed, but we meet the group at 6pm in the lobby for dinner at the Swagman Hotel
Drinks in Ermita
Overnight at Lotus Garden Hotel
Friday 15th April – Angeles – Good Friday!
At 5.30 am we join our private air-conditioned vehicle for the rest of our journey, a 2-hour drive to the San Fernando Area of Pampanga, stopping for breakfast on the way.
On arrival we head straight out for the Cutud Lenten Rites Festival, one of the biggest and most spectacular festivals in the Philippines. The action starts with a live action “show”, where Jesus is captured and taken to the crucifixion site. This goes on until around 3pm, with us arranging press passes so that our group can capture prime photos.
Our AC bus will be well positioned for a cool place to grab water and a picnic lunch!
Following the end of proceedings, we head to Angeles City to check into the Scorebirds Hotel, one of the most deluxe hotels in the city boasting the biggest swimming pool – amongst other luxuries.
Angeles City is a former US military base but is equally infamous as a city of sin and the culinary capital of the country; we head out for dinner, followed by the legendary Angeles Walking Street Bar Crawl
Overnight at Scorebirds.
Saturday 16th April – Baguio
After the early start of the previous day, we take this morning a bit more leisurely: breakfast by the pool before setting off on the next part of the adventure
We now set off for the four-hour drive to Baguio, known as the summer capital of the Philippines due to its much cooler climate (you may even need a jacket at night). On the way we stop for a Filipino-style lunch.
We drop our bags at the hotel and head for a walking tour of the city, stopping for some liquid refreshments before we start to get weird.
The Philippines is not only famous for its religious devotees but also how very superstitious they are, so we go local by heading out on a genuine ghost-hunting tour.
We aim for sunset in the clouds at a wonderful cafe we know that offers stunning views
For dinner we have a traditional Filipino favorite – “boodle fight” – followed by drinks near our hotel
Overnight at Wyndham Hotel
Sunday 17th April – Sagada
We get up early for the 5-6 hour drive to Sagada – one of the most famous places in the Philippines – stopping on the way for scenic photos
Lunch stop on the way to Sagada
On arrival, we check into our rural homestay for a freshen-up before heading into Sagada
After being met by our local guide we head out for a day of hiking around this historic city, with the main focus being on witnessing and picturing the Hanging Coffins, which are unique to this part of the Philippines. Our local guide will give a full explanation and answer any questions we might have
Dinner in Sagada at the famous Yoghurt House (it serves more than just yoghurt)
We finish the night drinking locally-made wine up in our beautiful mountain homestay
Monday 18th April – Currimao
Choose between breakfast or a lie-in at the guesthouse before we head off for the next part of our trip: the 5-6 drive to the beach paradise of Currimao. This is one of the most scenic journeys we take, with us making lots of picture stops to see the rice terraces and mountain scenery
We stop off in Vigan for some of its famous street food, as well as look at its colonial era churches and streets
Early evening arrival at Playa Resort, where we will have a chance to relax after the long drive and kick back by the pool
We head for dinner at one of our favorite BBQ restaurants in the Philippines!
We spend the evening drinking rum by the sea!
Overnight in Currimao
Tuesday 19th April – La Union
We take the morning to relax on our beach before heading off for the day.
We now do a city tour of Batac. Batac is one of those weird cities that, as the birthplace of a dictator, still hold said dictator in very high regard, hence the “home of great leaders”. We visit the frankly crazy Marcos Museum about Ferdinand and Emelda, as well as checking out a few other choice places such as the Marcos University and Malacanang of the North, the former home of the Marcos family. Unfortunately, his embalmed body is no longer here, but it is fascinating nonetheless.
Street food lunch in Batac, with there being a wonderful street famous for its local sausages and empanadas
For those so inclined, we offer ATV driving on the Sand Dunes of Loag (extra charge)
We then take the next part of our journey: the 4-hour journey to the surfing beach town of Urbiztondo in La Union
Our beachside huts are located on a very private beach, so make the most of it with our hosts putting on a BBQ for us!
Overnight in La Union
Wednesday 20th April – Manila
We start early for the final part of our journey – the 4-5 hours back to Manila
On arrival, we check back into the Garden Lotus Hotel where we have lunch before heading back out
Manila might well be the centre of wealth, business and government in the Philippines, but it is very much a tale of two cities, with the slums that culminate in the rubbish collectors of Smokey Mountain living in abject poverty. We take a very sobering slum tour of Manila with our local guides, who will give a very in-depth explanation about their lives
Following the visit to the slums we take a short drive that almost takes us to another universe by visiting the Manila Hotel – the oldest and most deluxe hotel in the city – that also happens to serve great coffee and cocktails
We head for a last-night dinner in Burgos Street followed by a trip to Ringside bar to watch midget boxing, capping off a truly extreme day in the Philippines!
Overnight at Garden Lotus Hotel
Thursday 21st April – Manila
End of tour, with YPT able to offer further transport services, or for those heading onto the next part of the trip, transfer to the airport.
We are currently looking at adding an extension to this tour. Watch this space!