Palawan Travel Tips

IMPORTANT TRAVEL TIPS AND INFORMATION FOR ALL TAO TRAVELERS
 
    •    Palawan- getting here and away
    •    Connection between El Nido and Coron
    •    Coron- getting here and away
    •    El Nido- getting here and away
    •    Expedition Departure...Meeting place and Check-in
    •    Expedition Arrival in Destination Town
    •    Pick up from resorts and missing the Briefing
    •    Packing list
    •    Baggage Restriction, Safety and Storage
    •    Electricity and Charging Batteries
    •    Emergency Contact Numbers
    •    Planning your itinerary
    •    Spending time in EL NIDO and CORON 
    •    Which Direction is best for Expedition?
    •    Cash and Payments
    •    Visas

    •    Accommodation Recommendations
    •    Health and Safety
    •    Safety and Security in the Region
    •    Cultural etiquette, locals and the villages
    •    Malaria mosquitos and sandflies
    •    Weather
        How Long is the travel on the boat and time spent in the island.
    •    Rebooking Policy
    •    Cancellation and Refund Policy
    •    Traveling with Children
    •    Snorkeling & Swimming Advice
    •    Diving Options
    •    Toilet and Shower
    •    Travel Agency booking
    •    Sleeping Arrangements
    •    Food and Diet Requirements
    •    Alcohol and Drinking on onboard

Palawan - Getting Here and Away
 ( updated January  2014)

First, you will need to book your international flights to Manila, Philippines. International flights to Cebu are also available.


From Manila you will have to travel at least the day prior to the expedition to Palawan, El Nido or Busuanga [Coron]. You can fly to Puerto Princesa from Cebu but not to Busuanga [Coron]. 

For local flight assistance, you may contact dctravelandtours@live.com


*Always make sure that you schedule your flight in/out of Manila at least a day before/after your expedition.


Connection between El Nido and Coron


There are several Bangka ferry company that services Coron- EL Nido vice versa- 4 - 5 times a week.

Bangka ferry can take up to 7-10 hour journey. Booking can be done only when you are in Coron or El Nido. The journey is slow and tough and not recommended if you can find an alternative.


Coron - Getting Here and Away


MANILA - BUSUNGA [CORON] – daily flight from CEBU PACIFIC and PAL EXPRESS

CEBU - BUSUANGA [CORON] – daily flight from CEBU PACIFIC

MANILA to CORON – Once a week FERRY (12-14 hours) - 2GO.COM

If you are joining us from Coron, look for a flight to Busuanga Airport (Coron). There are regular flights (3 to 4 times a day) with Cebu Pacific or PAL Express. From Busuanga airport it's a 40 minute transfer ride to Coron town. There are shuttle vans operating outside the terminal and cost P150.00 PHP per person. Our Office in Coron is in Don Pedro St. Centre of town. It’s easy to find us - just ask the drivers for directions. 

There are many accommodation options in town if you are just staying for one night. If you are staying longer, there are resorts in the islands which will arrange transportation to and from the town. 

If you will be finishing your expedition in Coron then you will need to book a flight from Busuanga the following day. The expeditions arrive in Coron at around 5PM to 6PM. This is too late to catch a flight out, however not too late to transfer to an island resort. Just inform the resort that you will arrive in Coron with Tao by 5pm at the Tao office. If you are travelling on a Private Expedition then you can arrange to be dropped off at resorts en-route. This can be arranged when you check-in or register before your expedition start.



El Nido - Getting Here and Away



There are two options: 

  1. The direct flight (ITI)
  2. The cheaper but not direct (Puerto Princesa to El Nido)
  • DIRECT FLIGHTS TO AND FROM EL NIDO - A 40 seater plane that is difficult to book during holidays. They are available with charter planes from the private airport owned by El Nido Resort. ITI is the company that service the charter. 6,500 to 7,500 pesos per person. 

EL Nido to Manila flights - Contact El Nido Boutique and Art Cafe elnidoboutiqueandartcafe.com

Manila to EL Nido flights - Contact Island Transvoyager , Inc. (ITI) www.itiair.com

  • FLY TO PUERTO PRINCESA - Puerto Princesa is approximately 250km south of El Nido and requires a 5 to 6 hour van ride or 7 hour public bus ride. CHERRY BUS AND RORO BUS is the name of the company that is most reliable with hourly service from 8am up to 10pm. Vans and buses leave from the bus station in San Jose. Flights to Puerto Princesa:

MANILA, CEBU, ILOILO or DAVAO - PUERTO PRINCESA – daily flights from CEBU PACIFIC and PAL EXPRESS

MANILA - PUERTO PRINCESA – daily flights from TIGER AIRWAYS and AIR ASIA

Expedition Departure... Meeting Place, Check-in & Group Briefing

All Expeditions depart/start at 8:30H from:
TAO EL NIDO OFFICE:   Serena St. centre of town.
TAO CORON OFFICE:    Don Pedro St. Centre of town.
Both of our offices are easy to find and both of the town is not that big that you cannot find us.

You will need to 'check-in' at our office in town of your departure the day before you depart. You may check-in earlier if you want if you will stay in town longer. We will ask you to fill-up a registration form with your details. 

The night before the expedition you will be required to attend a briefing to meet your Expedition Leader for a quick chat. You will be given the time of the briefing when you check-in and register. On the morning of the Expedition everybody meets at about 8:30am. 

You will need to inform us if you will not be able to check-in the night before and plan to turn up in the morning of the expedition. If you are staying out of town at a resort, you do not have to meet us the day before, but you need to be at the office by 7AM on your departure day. If you miss the briefing the night before your departure, you can check-in the morning of departure at 7AM.

Anyone who misses the departure of the expedition can catch up with a private boat transfer. Boat hire costs from 2,000 PHP - 4,500 PHP depends on how far you need to travel. This can be arranged by our staff in our office.

For Private Expeditions, we will depart when you and your group are ready.

Expedition Arrival in Destination Town

All expeditions arrive/end at 17:00H - 18:00H

We arrive at the destination port at about 5:00 PM. There will be time for you to transfer to your accommodation before it gets dark if you are staying on the mainland. 

Anyone who needs to leave the expedition earlier can hire their own boat to from 2,000 -4,500pesos depends on how far you need to travel. This can be arranged by our staff in our office so please mention it when you check in before the trip begins.

If you are staying in an island resort please inform them that you will be travelling with Tao and that you will be arriving in town between 17h and 18h. They will be able to advise you on their transfer policies.

Pick up in resorts and missing the Briefing

When you arrive in Coron, please drop by our office first to register and buy your necessary packing list and alcohol so we can pick you up in ALFARO/SANGAT without any worry that you are not ready or lost during the expedition. You will also miss the important group briefing so make sure you remind the expedition leader if there is any important information you need to know. 

We find that people who are not in the group briefing have more questions and don’t have the complete understanding of the trip. We have the patience to inform you about what you missed out, but the problem is the time to do it all over again as your expedition leader will be busy- so go with the flow and please asks fellow travellers about important info.

Also ask ALFARO/SANGAT to phone us the night before pick up/expedition.


Packing List 



We strongly recommend you follow these suggestions to prepare for your trip. Below is a list of essentials you will need to pack in a DRYBAG [approx.  25 – 35 Liters]. If you are unsure of exactly what a DRYBAG is then Google it. It is not the same as a rain cover on your backpack.

You have access to this bag during the day and take it down to the base-camps at night. The rest of your stuff will be packed out of the way in the hold of the boat and can be accessed every now and again to replenish your day pack. 

To make things simple we recommend that you pack these two bags the night before you depart to ensure a swift departure. In your waterproof day pack you will need:

  • Sun hat or cap, sunscreen, and sun glasses.
  • Sarong (for boys and girls...All around use - day towel, sun protection, beach loungers)
  • A refillable water bottle (it’s important to keep hydrated)
  • A small towel, shower gel, tooth brush. [WE DO NOT PROVIDE TOWELS]
  • Flashlight or Head torch (to find your way around in the dark)
  • Change of clothes, shorts and t shirts/vests for the day.
  • Swimwear during the days because you will be in and out of the water.
  • A rash guard for sun protection and guard against jellyfish stings [optional- but very advisable]
  • In the evening you can shower and put on some very light weight trousers and a long sleeve top or shirt to minimize insect bites.
  • Insect Repellent.
  • Sandals or reef shoes.
  • Camera, a good book, ipod.
  • A lightweight, very thin Rain Jacket - just in case you get a rainy day!

•    You will not need jumpers and warm clothing.

Baggage Restrictions, Safety and Storage

There are no baggage restrictions on the boats. We recommend that you store your valuables such as passports and wallets deep inside your large bag which will be stored inside the luggage room or out of the way inside the hull. 

The baggage will be kept dry at all times, however if you are traveling with a laptop we suggest to store it in a waterproof dry bag to avoid accidents.

           
Electricity and Charging Batteries 


There is no electricity on the Islands. However we have generators in some of the base-camps so you will be able to charge batteries on some of the nights. We recommend that you fully charge your batteries the night before you board the boat. Remember to pack a Flashlight or Head-torch. 

Emergency Contact Number


We will not entertain inquiries or follow up about your booking by phone. These numbers are for emergency only. Do not use this number for general inquiries or to follow up an application. The people on the other end of the line do not have access to this information. To apply for the expedition, please email us at info@taophilippines.com

EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS: +63 908 874 9075 OR +63 998 411 3576

Please also consider the time difference as midnight or very early morning calls are definitely unacceptable.

All regular enquiries can be sent and answered by e-mail. E-mails can take up to 5 days to answer so please be patient. Electricity and internet is not always available from the islands.

Planning Your Itinerary

The minimum number of days you can join a Tao Expedition is 5 days and 4 nights. This is the ideal amount of time to fully appreciate the island experience that we are offering. Palawan is a remote region to access. 10 days is the number we suggest you to stay in the Palawan including the Tao trip. 

Try not to take on too much destination as traveling in the Philippine islands takes time. You don’t want to spend half your trip on a bus or waiting in an airport as most destinations will take a day journey. If you would like to visit several provinces, try to plan to spend a week in each place. This is enough time to take it all in, and at the same time get as much as possible out of your trip.

Spending time in EL NIDO and CORON 

The areas around El Nido and Coron offer plenty of island hopping, diving and exploring activities. Some of these destinations include Coron Island, Big Lagoon, Small Lagoon, Secret Beach etc. Many guests ask whether we will visit these places on the expedition. We specialize in avoiding the tourist crowds, and take you to remote island destinations.

On Open Expeditions, we tend to stay away from these destinations altogether. So if you have few days available on either side of the Tao trip, we recommend that you see these places in smaller island hopping boats available for hire in town. 

Our bigger expedition boats can be too large to take to these often crowded areas and we prefer to head straight out into the remote islands where no other tourists go. In a small group/boat (for example), we can take you into the Big lagoon just after sunrise and you will have the place to yourselves before the day-trippers start hording in from 9am onwards.

On a Private Expedition you can help plan your route so you can visit the tourist highlights of both towns if you like.

Which Direction is best for Expedition?

Coron to EL Nido or EL Nido to Coron?  

It does not matter, both are special. From EL Nido going north the underwater gets better and better. From Coron going south, the islands and beaches gets more stunning every destination. Just depends on your travel plans, if you want to relax after the trip then end in EL Nido. If you want to go diving after the trip, then end in Coron.  


Cash and Payments


Tao unfortunately does not accept credit card payments (Visa and MasterCard charges 7-9% in Palawan) in our office and access to cash is limited in Palawan. The banking infrastructure is still developing as it is one of the most remote part of the Philippines. 

We require a 50% deposit to confirm your reservation. This is payable by PayPal or Bank Transfer. Please be advised that there is a 4.4% charge for PayPal payments. You do not need to be registered with PayPal to pay your deposit. Instructions on how to pay can be found in your booking e-mail. 

Your remaining 50% balance is due 1 week before your scheduled trip. You can use the link provided in the confirmation email that we have sent you when you paid for your deposit . Please be advised that there are only cash machines in Puerto Princesa and Coron, but not in El Nido. 

You will need to withdraw sufficient cash to travel through Palawan. You need to pay your balance before you come to Palawan through PayPal or bank transfer, this will also help you avoid bringing lots of cash when you travel. 

For card security reasons PayPal can sometimes block payments if you are travelling. International bank transfers can take up to 5 days to appear in our account. Some businesses offer cash advances at a charge or 8% - 10%. You can change foreign currencies in El Nido and Coron (USD, GBP, EUR) but the exchange rate in Palawan is significantly lower than that of international currency sites.


Visa Requirements



There are 151 countries that may enter the Philippines without a visa and stay for a maximum of thirty (30) days, provided they are holders of a passport valid at least six (6) months beyond the period of stay in the Philippines, and present a return or outward bound ticket to their country of origin or to a next country of destination.  For the 151 countries, visit https://www.dfa.gov.ph/index.php/site-administrator/visa-information 

Please contact the Philippine Embassy in your country if you plan to stay more than 30 days in the country. An extension is available in Immigration Offices in Manila, Cebu, Puerto Princesa. 60 to 90 days extension cost 3,000 PHP – 4,000 PHP (up to 6,500 pesos if you do it with agencies). Don’t turn up with flip flops, shorts or vest. Make sure you dress up appropriately to see immigration officers.


Accommodation Recommendations

At the bottom of this page are recent recommendations from guests. We recommend that you research in online forums such as 'tripadvisor.com'  and 'virtualtourist.com'  for accommodation recommendations. Here you will find other travelers personal reviews and recommendations for places to stay to suit every budget and time scale whether you are looking for a convenient place to stay for a night or a chilled out place on the beach to relax for a week after your expedition with us. 

Health and Safety


We are an adventure company traveling in a very remote area of the Philippines so we do as much as we can to avoid accidents. Most of our crew are trained to response on emergency situation and look out for dangers but no matter how much we take care, it is still up to our travelers incentives to look after themselves and avoid mishaps. 

When you first board the boat you will be given a Safety Orientation by your expedition leader. This will include Water Safety as you will be spending a lot of time getting in and out of the water. Please notify the crew if you are not a strong swimmer and they will keep an extra eye on you.
You will be shown the location of life preserving equipment onboard [such as lifevests, buoyancy aids, life rafts and medical kit] that we must carry as part of the stringent Marina Requirements. 
There are small critters in the tropical water that can sting you. A rashguard top whilst swimming can protect you from some of these. The worst are things living on the reef so never stand, touch or pick up anything from the reef and you should be fine. Reef shoes are also a good idea. 
Dehydration is a common cause of accidents and feeling unwell. You will be required to bring your own refillable water bottle and drink lots of water. There are large containers of purified drinking water onboard for you to keep you bottle topped up. 
Avoid drinking too much alcohol. Of course you will want to enjoy a few beers and sample some of the local rum around the fir at night, however don't make yourself a liability. Nobody want to have to look after the drunk guy. Tropical hangovers are a nightmare and you don't want to miss out on the day activities if you are trying to recover from the night before!
Your skin will burn easily in the tropics especially if you are coming from winter in Europe. Pac plenty of sunscreen [SPF 30 or higher] and apply liberally during the day. A sun hat and sunglasses are essential. If you are a keen snorkeler we recommend that you bring a Lycra wetshirt or rashguard. You will get burnt on your back if you do not wear a top when snorkeling. Our crew keep an eye out for guests being exposed to too much sun and may recommend you cover up if they think you are at risk. 

All travelers must have their own Travel Insurance.


Safety and Security in the Region

We  often get questions regarding safety in the islands, kidnapping, trouble from militants, pirates and other concern that you might have researched before flying into a foreign third world country.

Some areas of the Philippines have a red mark for many Government Travel Foreign Offices advice because of the separatist problem of the extreme south. But Palawan, Luzon, Visayas and the rest of the northern islands are far away from the southern Mindanao region. Unfortunately the Philippines government, unlike other Asian tourist destinations, have no say or control over these red warnings.

The story of the islands with 'pirates' is as old as the Ming dynasty merchant sailing this part of the world.

We work in partnership with the communities all along our route. They know what we do, who is travelling on board and they provide us with more security more than the Coastguard or Navy who are always present in the area (securing the Shell/Chevron gas/oil platform rigs).

We may ask ' how safe is your hometown/city?' which often puts into perspective the perceived risks of exploring less familiar parts of the world.

Cultural etiquette, locals and the villages


Throughout the trip you will be meeting locals who work with us, communities that keeps our base camps, villages where we buy supplies like fish/seafood, veg, rums, ice etc. One thing we don’t do is to tour you around the villages just for the sake of it. We highly respect the communities in our route and plan the season well so we don’t exhaust the villages with our visit. 

Our many crew are from these villages and we are welcome there and we make sure we have a reason to visit checking the Tao schools and projects or just passing by to get supply but never just to show our travelers around. As an individual you are welcome to go around village and talk and meet locals but don’t expect your guide to gather the group for a tour walk as this is not a genuine Tao experience. We do not visit indigenous tribal villages.

A lot of people have a romantic idea of getting into the villages and expect something much more but they oversee the fact that the crew on board and all the people in our base camps are the islanders, as we keep on saying 'we are
not a tour'. Filipinos like their photos taken but our guideline is to make sure you start a conversation first then ask for photos, show them the pictures too!

Malaria, Mosquitos and Sandflies

Up to date and accurate information about all aspects of malaria, including risks and prevention, is readily available to you from travel health clinics, travel healthiness and via the web. Because it is a complex and rapidly changing issue, we do not want to recommend whether or not to take malaria medication.  


Northern Palawan is generally a low risk area. Occasionally it comes in small outbreaks and consequentially the local health office will have warning, we will be advised and pass on the warning to our travelers. It is not that very common for an outbreak during our season November to end of May.
Be more cautious on Dengue fever which is more common and can be contracted anywhere in southeast Asia, especially in town and cities. There are no medicine to prevent catching Dengue so be always cautious.


Dengue and Malaria normally appears mid monsoon season which is July-September.

It is advised to minimize the risk of Malaria and Dengue through bit avoidance. Bring lots of mosquito repellant and long sleeve clothing, it also advisable that when with children, in town it is better to get Aircon rooms because mosquito are most active early in the morning/ late afternoon.
Town and larger population have more disease carrying mosquitos than those of small islands and villages.

Our sleeping in the islands are set up near the beach where we get a breeze thus reduce mosquitos, we always have nets setup for sleeping.
Traveling in South Palawan needs extra precaution any time of the year.

Sandflies is very common in the beaches- villages and Tao base camps in the islands. Some people react badly on sandfly bites, long sleeves during sunset is advised for those special folks who attract mosquitos and sandflies. 

The best ointment or repellant for mosquitos and sandflies in our expedition is Kwan Loong oil, a singaporean mentholated oil. It is tried and tested by Tao for years. You have to re-apply every 30min but it is effective and much more safe than any DEET products. If you can get it before coming to Palawan from asian pharmacies or you can get it in our office in EL Nido and Coron. 

Weather

Our expeditions put you close to nature, this includes the tropical weather.

There are 2 seasons in the Philippines. The Dry season is the high season and runs from October to May. The Monsoon season is the low season and runs from June to September.

High season is mostly dry but with strong NE winds. Monsoon season is generally calmer water for sailing but can also be strong winds.

During the wet season it does not mean it rains all through out the months, sometimes long undisrupted sunshine for weeks and sometimes lots of rain. But for most it will be sunny in the morning and heavy rain in the afternoon.

Palawan is a long stretch of land dotted with hundreds of islands with its own microclimates. If its raining heavily in EL Nido town then it doesn't mean its the same 1 hour away in another island. Mainland mostly holds the heavy clouds and the far islands easily clears out.

Just to be sure we suggest packing a light rain jacket. This will
protect you from wind-chill and keep you warm if there is any rain
during your expedition.

Typhoon is not the same as monsoon and can come any time of the year- Wet or Dry Season. We postpone schedule or totally cancel the trip only if there are typhoon or strong wind forecast. During 2010-2011 season we did not have to cancel or postpone any trips- delayed departures are very rare. 


Our procedure incase of bad weather (continuous rain forecast or rough sea) is to find a more sheltered route mostly in the bay of Coron or El nido, then we monitor the conditions in the open passages to. 
We never have a set itinerary for any of our trips. The weather can changed overnight or within the day and we select our destinations in the islands to best suit this. We discovered many villages and coves by looking for shelter and to most travelers this is the essence of exploration.

PAGASA is the center of meteorology, operational hydrology, climatology, astronomy and other allied sciences in the Philippines; They monitor and forecasting of tropical weather systems. Visit their website for up to date weather information.

Will I get seasick? How Long is the travel on the boat and time spent in the island?

A boat trip with no set itinerary and route we try to break journey with island/beach stop as much as we can, depending on weather and sea condition the boat journey can be 1-2 hour to the next stop. We spend as much time exploring islands and the reef until the group is set to go. The only time we need to consider is the arrival at the base camp before dusk 5-6PM.  In a rough sea condition there are some crossing that can take up to 4 hours. there are so many bays and islands where we shelter or explore depending on wind and water condition. We do not like traveling rough seas as much as you do so we time it and see where we can enjoy most of our time on the water.

Rebooking Policy

Booking are transferable to another date free of charge if we are notified at least 10 days before departure, subject to availability. If we received the notification less than 10 days, a rebooking fee of P1,000.00 PHP per person will apply for both Private and Open Expedition.

Cancellation and Refund Policy

We only cancel a trip if there is a severe weather warning such as a typhoon and the Coast Guard does not give us clearance to leave.
 If our trip can not go ahead on the date due to weather condition we will reschedule in the next day/s- we do not refund when we reschedule a trip. We refund fully if we cancel the full trip. 
If you wish to cancel a trip entirely then you will lose your 50% deposit if notice given is less than 30 days before your trip is scheduled to leave.
 This also applies to cancellation or reducing number of person booked for open group and private trips. Refunds will be mostly done with Paypal as we cannot access our internet banking in the island with slow internet- transfer charges will be deducted. 
Traveling with Children
 

Children have an amazing sense of adventure and discovery. We love having them on board, especially when we introduce them to the young villagers who are fascinated by foreign children. However children on a Tao expedition require constant supervision from both the parents and the crew. 
Unfortunately our Open Expedition are not suitable for children under 14 years old. Children can join Private expeditions.
We provide extra crew on trips with children and do not offer discount.

Snorkeling & Swimming

Swimming and snorkeling area big part of Tao Expeditions. 
To make the most of your Tao experience it is recommended that you feel comfortable in water. If you are not a strong swimmer then tell us and we will make sure the guide takes extra care of you and we have swimming buoyancy aids onboard.  
There will lots of opportunities to explore the pristine reefs we have discovered throughout the islands. Snorkels and masks are provided on all of our boats. You can bring your own equipment if you wish. If you are a keen snorkeler and plan to spend lots of time in the water, it is a good idea to bring a long-sleeved rash-guard to protect you from the strong tropical sun and annoying jellyfish stings.



Diving Options
If you want to do some diving then we recommend that you spend some time in the Coron area before or after your trip with us. Coron is known as one of the world's best locations for wreck diving, and has many pristine reefs and the spectacular thermal Lakes on Coron Island. There are several dive shops in Coron town. 
We do not do diving onboard Tao. We used to do diving in the early days of our exploration but we found that it took over from the free flowing nature of our trips. If we did diving onboard then it becomes the dominant activity and creates a divide between divers and non-divers.

Toilet and Shower


The boats have basic toilets and we keep it clean- we use bucket flush. Our base camps have toilets but no plumbing in the islands so we only use bucket flush. It is always kept clean and we have toilet papers which we advice not to flush but put it in the trash.The toilet bowls are always clean but no toilet seats- this is more hygienic if using bucket flush.

There are fresh water shower in our base camps  either by the well or filled up water drums. You will be advised if you are camping in a remote island or beach with no toilet or fresh water  source- but this only happens when a group is up for it. 
Travel Agency booking  

We cannot book any travelers who do not have an email correspondence with us. We need to know what kind of travel experience  they want and if our trips suit them. We don't want a problem in the middle of the remote islands so even before the trips we have a briefing and may ask questions. Unfortunately we cannot book travel agents who have not experienced our trips. 


If you are arranging your Philippine visit with an agent then email us first to know that you understand our trips and bookings will be done by agents with and let them know that we do not do special request like airport pickups and accommodation bookings. 


We definitely do not do commission basis bookings.


Sleeping Arrangements


Our sleeping arrangements is mostly camping in open native beach huts . Each night we find a safe anchorage for the boat and spend the night on an island. We have 15 different base-camps throughout the islands, all are in different types of locations. Some are on their own private island, or within a traditional village or a secluded beach. At the base-camp you can shower with fresh water, grill some fish for supper and enjoy a few rums around a fire.   


Our sleeping: Shared under one roof in different rooms or base camps with individual huts. Couples are separated in a room or their own huts but there are some base camps that you will have to share the huts.
There will be no sleeping on board as the crew also needs a space and a rest away from demands of our guests. Everyone gets a mattress, pillow, mosquito net and fresh bedding set. We recommend that you bring ear plugs if you are a light sleeper. Couples usually sleep together. If you have any special sleeping requirements or a tendency to snore, please tell us at the start of the trip and we will plan sleeping arrangements accordingly.  
             


Food Onboard

Our menu is based on traditional filipino cooking using Fresh seafood, vegetables, fruit and rice. The seafood in Palawan is first class and we serve lots of it onboard Tao. We buy our fish direct from the fisherman as we travel through the islands. You can also fish from the boat to catch your own supper!  We do not generally serve meat because we use ice boxes and we do not have refrigeration for storage on the boats. Sometimes we will buy livestock in the islands such as chickens or pigs. We stock up on fresh fruits and vegetables before we leave port. Vegetarians will enjoy the numerous healthy dishes cooked up onboard. For any other diet requirements please inform us when you check in.

           
    

     
Alcohol

Alcohol is not included in the price of the Open Expeditions or Safaris so if you wish to bring something to drink, we have ice boxes to keep it cold. Alcohol, [spirits and beer] and mixers are included in the price of the Bespoke Expeditions. The only products available locally are various rhums and San Miguel beer, and mixers of coke, sprite or pineapple juice or tonic water. If you prefer something specific then its a good idea to pick up a bottle when you pass through duty free on your flight here.

Party/ Drinking onboard  

We are not a booze cruise and we re also not detox/rehab/yoga/meditation retreat boat!  


On an open group expedition- most of the people that book with us are well traveled, well mannered and well informed.. It is a holiday break so they are allowed to party and socialize.. if you want to join- you can, if not then there is so much space to chill, explore or enjoy nature. We have several base camps where you can join a karaoke in the village and some camps that we have to respect our neighbors or the natural surrounding. As a free flowing trip, we want people to enjoy themselves but we are not shy to let you know about getting a little too excited with the drinks. There s always seems to be a good sociable atmosphere when travelers get together on a boat roaming paradise islands and we encourage people just to do what they want out of their trip as long as they respect other people who want to do other things too. We want our groups to be socially aware respecting each other, the crew and the local. 

Accommodation Recommendations- 
MANILA



ORBIT HOUSE MANILA 

a TAO halfway HOUSE

The house is build in the 50s- with characters of Manila's old adoration for then- New American architecture. 

We took on the project, repairs and renovation of the house, landscaping the surrounding garden and putting in a dipping pool. Scraping off the piles of 4 decades of random decors, leaving the old woodworks, retro tile flooring and emphasizing the original features of the house. Digging through family homes basements and attics and a constant visit to the antique flea markets to give this old dusty house back to its stylish mid century modern look. We brought in tropical trinkets, 60s mod furnitures, hint of spanish colonial, bright fabrics and distinctly filipino woodcrafts.

The house is a restoration project from Tao’s architect and co founder Jack F.

Manila seems to be a disappointment for those who have seen the rest of the Philippines, but if you are pointed to the right direction then you will find Manila as vibrant as any other Asian capital. 

1 or 2 day of a holiday still needs to be a time well spent as either a nice introduction or a goodbye treat. 

You can either wander around and see what you can find in this mega metropolis or just laze in the house drinking GnT by the pool.

It might seems like the opposite of what we do in Palawan but we understand the real sense of luxury-either in open nature or in the city.

single -2,700Pesos        couple- from 3,700Pesos to 5,000Pesos               group from 6,000Pesos

Please email orbitmanila@gmail.com for booking inquiries.

Coron [Busuanga]

A refuge on a hilltop, with a pool overlooking the bay, good atmosphere and a killer sunset.

al faro hill 
1hour away from the buzz of town(van or boat), with diving and island hopping in the nearby islands.




 Sangat Island Dive Resort (09192050198)- Located on its own island of the same name, Sangat is  45min from town. Its one of the few places you can stay in the Coron area with its own white beach. Its the perfect place to spend a few days before the expedition or after to rest and recouperate. They also have a dive shop on-site so you can enjoy the world class diving around the Coron area.

   
A Lux Boutique Resort on a private island of Mangenguey with fine dining cuisine, a grand Villa and beach huts accommodation.




Other CORON Accommodations: 
(Phone number and details are constantly changing so please read through reviews and get the details on the internet)



Mid/High Range:
Majika Island Resort( 30 min boat ride)
Sophias garden Resort( town)
Asian Grand View Hotel(town)
Zunen Hotel (town)

Mid/Low Range:


Mt Tapyas( town)
Island View Inn(town)


 El Nido

MAKULAY LODGE 
El Nido Town

Please email: makulayelnido@yahoo.com.ph for availability of the villas.

QI RESORT
San Fernando EL Nido


1 hour drive away from El Nido town in the north tip of the mainland. Away from all the buzz and a refuge to those who are looking to be cut off from it all. After or before enjoying El Nido bay, seclude yourself away up north. Kitesurfing and spa available in this nice small resort.
Other El Nido Accommodations: 
(Phone number and details are constantly changing so please read through reviews and get the details on the internet)

Mid/High Range
Overlooking resort Corong Corong EL NIdo
Cadlao Resort Caalan
Qi Resort San Fernando(1 hour away from town North coast)

Mid/Low Range:
Marina Garden (town)
Entalula Cottages(town)
Golden Monkey( Caalan)



LAKBAY NORTE: Trip to Batad, Sagada and Ifugao
Explore the most treasured and scenic areas in the northern mountains of the
Philippines (Batad, Sagada and Ifugao) in just 3 days and 2 nights trip.
Experience the rich culture of  "Igorot" natives has to offer and be
hooked with their well protected nature (caves, rice terraces and
waterfalls).

Click below link to see available trip schedules 

For inquiries and trip reservation, please contact Mac Baldos at dctravelandtours@live.com or +639179754525 

Mac Baldos 
Solutions Analyst
DC Travel and Tours


Local Information 

    
For general information about El Nido visit the

El Nido Art Cafe and Boutique

They can book flights and onwards travel from El Nido and organize group day trips into the Bacuit bay. The Boutique sells everything you need, from sun cream to traditional wooden carvings. Local musicians play acoustic sets nightly.