For those of you that have been following our travels closely, you will have noticed that after we left Wisconsin we headed back to SE Asia and arrived into a different country then we had originally planned. Our original plan was to fly straight to Manila and spend some time traveling in the Philippines before heading over to the mainland but that all changed, as a lot of our plans have since we left in February and we headed to Vietnam instead.
The reason for this is we were offered an opportunity to participate in a trial run of Tribal Adventures 9 day Palawan Photosafari in the Philippines. This trip has been put forth to National Geographic Traveller for the top adventures of a lifetime in 2015 and we’re honored to be part of the test run that will launch this tour to success.
We will be spending November 14-25 relishing in the adventure travel world as we explore Northern Palawan.
Here’s a look at the official itinerary for the 9 day Palawan Photosafari adventure trip.
Morning flight/ship arrival and pick up and transfer to Palawan SandCastles Beach Resort on northeast Busuanga coast. We follow our popular Calauit wildlife safari 2D/1N trip.
Check in to pavilion or beach house with mini-plunge pool. Afternoon sea kayak and snorkel trip. Fun activity with chance for scenic & marine photography. Return for cocktails and a photojournalism briefing. L,D
Up early for trip to Calauit Wildlife Safari Park by 4×4. Calauit is as much a political story as a conservation one, the park being the brainchild of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos and one of his cronies. You will return by 4×4 via Sinibayan, with its rainforest and waterfalls. After a swim and barbecue lunch, we return via Cheey National High School, which is partly being rebuilt post-Typhoon Haiyan with funds raised by Tribal Adventures. Marine, wildlife & tropical flora photography & social/political reporting abound. Afternoon hike up Tribal Hill to view the vista from above Palawan SandCastles. B,L,D
Today we do our HIKE + BIKE = BUILD A SCHOOL trail across to the west coast of Busuanga and back! Back in the evening at Palawan SandCastles, taking a kawa-fed hot plunge pool dip and shower before dinner and sleep! B,L,D
Early check out from Palawan SandCastles. Breakfast in Coron at Tribal Café ahead of boarding outrigger banca with sea kayaks and snorkels, as we check the loading of tents and other equipment for a sea safari CIRCLE OF CORON ISLAND BY SEA KAYAK AND BANCA with Jojo whose family hails from Cabugao, the traditional home of the native Tagbanua. We visit Twin Lagoon,Kayangan Lake—a brackish lake within Coron Island, Siete Pecados marine park for snorkeling and marine photography. Weather permitting, we venture to the east of Coron Island, the traditional power base of the Tagbanua, who since the 90s have had full control of Coron Island.
Assuming we make the journey to the east coast, we visit Cabugao, paying respects to village elders. Kayaking out, we search for an elusive hot spring and see Tagbanua fishing, growing seaweed and collecting birds’ nests from precarious bamboo ladders/scaffolding. We enter a secret lagoon, so sacred the Tagbanua speak a separate dialect there. As we don’t know it, we stay silent and gasp at the sight of a species of rare slipper orchid on the walls of the lagoon. Paddling on we kayak undercut cliffs, visit a cave if waves are slight. We camp at a lovely lagoon for the night. Scenic & portrait photography. Report on Tagbanua justice. Tribal Adventures has the rare access to elders who can tell us of their enforcement of their traditional laws through whipping of people who are made to stand on ants nests bound to bamboo.
Harsh? Well, you won’t see a tree out of place after the elected village head was caught cutting trees and submitted himself to punishment. The really interesting point is that EVERYONE can opt out of punishment yet they rarely do. We discover why. (Should excessively heavy sea conditions prevent us visiting east Coron, we will concentrate on the southwestern coast and the picturesque lagoons near the southern tip of Calis Point. We will nevertheless endeavour to have access to an elder or elders of the Tagbanua. Sea conditions are usually favourable—and Tribal Adventures uses a registered inter-island motorised outrigger banca built for heavy seas. So in all probability, even in the gusty December-February period, when the easterly amihan wind blows strongly, we should be able to get to experience the incomparable east side of Coron Island). B,L,D.
After breakfast and breaking camp very early, we round Calis Point, the most southerly point of Coron Island, and enter some gorgeous lagoons. We hike to a vantage point to look down upon a favourite camp site. Motor in the boat up the west coast to Coron town, where we transfer equipment and kayaks to another expedition boat: we also market anew for our trip to El Nido and board some mountain bikes which we will use on our return trip crossing Culion. Depart 2pm for El Nido, sleeping where we anchor en route. B,L,D
5 am departure for El Nido via Linapacan assuming sea conditions appropriate. We paddle in and around to El Nido and camp overnight on the boat. Scenic & sports photography. B,L,D
By day break we’re off maximizing the great light for pictures as we cruise to Linapacan and on to Coral Bay, and the western islands of the Calamianes group in a promotion of Tribal Adventures’ Western Calamian 2D/1N trip AND the 7-DAY CIRCLE BUSUANGA TRIP. We effort to camp on Black Island. B,L,D
Dawn picture taking, take breakfast. Break camp. We take the boat to Culion for quick pix after which we motor to Coron town via Sangat Island. The boat will return to Coron late afternoon. Farewell feast at Maquinit Hot Springs. Overnight at Dalara mountain & sea view inn. B,L,D
Early morning town shots and Mt Tapyas. Depart by plane or ship. B,L
Tribal Adventures Northern Palawan Photosafari
So there you have it, 9 jam packed days of healthy adventure and photography. Needless to say, we’re very excited for this opportunity and chance to get into the adventures in Palawan, Philippines. Be sure to follow along on our adventure across all of our social media platforms where we will be covering all the excitement. Be sure to keep an eye on the @tribaladventures and #divergenttravel tags.
Disclaimer: We are partnering with Tribal Adventures to bring you this adventure. However, all opinions are 100% mine. All photos created and owned by Divergent Travelers.