who are we?

We're a social enterprise that works with marginalized communities in the Philippines to create fun, authentic, and meaningful travel experiences through sustainable social tourism!

why travel differenly?

Travelling can create meaningful connections with people and places if we let it. We believe that travelling can inspire people to change for the better.

learn more about our mission >>

Venture off the beaten track as you discover the real life of the Aetas in Yangil Village. Go on a trek that gives you a glimpse of their everyday life, help reforest their land, and celebrate cultural diversity through food, music, and stories. learn more >>

20 slots
1Day
2D/1N
3D/2N

Highlights
• Trekking
• Indigenous Culture
• Planting

Schedule
Dec 16
Dec 23
Dec 30

Step into this laid back surf town and learn about the Altas of Diteki by trekking among lush forests, and into secret waterfalls. Visit a local cacao farm, find out how important the cacao business is in the Philippines, and make your own fresh dark chocolate. learn more >>

15 slots
1Day
3D/2N

Highlights
• Waterfalls Trek
• Local Culture
• Chocolate-making

Schedule
Dec 30
Jan 13

Learn about social enterprise, contribute to positive social and environmental change, and discover places of immense natural beauty. Warning: this trip might be life-changing! learn more >>

20 slots
10 days

Highlights
• Local Culture Immersion
• Social Entrepreneurship
• Tree-planting with Indigenous Tribe

Schedule
Nov 25-Dec 4
Feb 3 - 12

what is social tourism?

It is authentic. Listen to the stories of the local community, learn about their culture, and develop a deeper appreciation of life from their perspective.

It creates meaning. Through discovering the life stories of others, we hope you can make better sense of your own.

It leaves no one behind. By helping communities to develop sustainably, travel can accelerate the mission of Gawad Kalinga to end poverty in the Philippines by 2024.

Discover a different take on farming and business. Get inspired by people from all over the world who are using business as a tool to create positive change and move the Philippines forward.

Somewhere within the mountain ranges that surround Zambales is a welcoming community of Aetas that are still reeling from the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo. Visit the Yangil Village and learn more about the Aetas’ story and their dreams of living a more sustainable life.

San Luis, Aurora

It isn’t just the “birthplace of surfing in the Philippines”. Discover more of Baler as you trek through rivers into the domain of the Altas, enjoy refreshing waterfalls, and learn how to make tablea in a local cacao farm. To be updated.

Discover hope right in the Philippine capital! Learn about its history through Intramuros and its future through thriving social enterprises like Bambike and growing communities like Gawad Kalinga.

You are never a stranger for longer than twenty-four hours in the Philippines. After a few days, everyone in the community knows you by name, and then, if you make the mistake of staying long enough, you’ll probably end up at somebody’s christening as a ninong (godfather). Before you know it, you have a whole new family on the other side of the world.
 
 
Maribojoc, Bohol

Soak in the beauty of Bohol through its fine sand beaches, pristine bodies of water, and warm-hearted people. Travel to escape, but also to belong. Find what “home” means in the Philippines through our partner communities. To be updated.

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customise your events

Corporations & Organisations

Bring your company to one of our destinations! We’ll gladly design your team-building or company outing in a way that’s fun and fulfilling for everyone!

Educational Tours

Learn something new while travelling! We have plenty to offer you on our educational tours!

Celebrate any special occasion with us! We’ll design your trip according to what you want and show you a good time!

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In a sudden moment of disclosure, I feel compelled to bring the conversation back to my life-changing adventure in the Philippines. “You really must come out to visit – I hope that all of you can be connected to these amazing communities...”
 
MAD’s co-founder,Tom Graham, in his book, 'The Genius of the Poor'.

invite your travel buddies!

prepare your madventure

Philippine Culture

The Philippines was shaped by Spanish colonial times and occupations by the U.S. and Japan. Traces of these foreign cultures can therefore be found in many local traditions.

Due to Spanish colonial rule, the most practiced religion in the ocuntry is Roman Catholic, with more than 85% of Filipinos baptized in this faith. This explains the common practice of praying before starting a meal or any kind of event.

Another important aspect of Filipino culture is family and family life. It forms the foundation of many Filipino practices and is held in high regard by Filipinos young and old alike. Respect for elders and authorities are also key for inter-personal relations. Children might greet you with the traditional “mano po” (hand, please) which involves the children holding an elder’s hand to their foreheads to signify the reception of a blessing. It is also common courtesy to use the word “po” when talking to someone older or of authority.

As with many cultures, Filipinos bond over food. People greet each other with the phrase “kain tayo” which means “let’s eat.” Food and drinks are almost immediately offered to guests in a Filipino home. Refusing food may be considered impolite by some hosts and should be done so carefully. If you really don’t want to eat anything let your host know that you are really thankful for the offer but way too full to have any food.

Filipino breakfasts, lunches, and dinners are typically served with a cup of rice. For afternoon snacks, or “merienda,” Filipinos eat sweet snacks such as sticky rice and turon (banana spring rolls). Being a vegetarian is not commonplace but is possible. Table knives are not typically used  - just spoons and forks are used for dining.

Language & Important Vocabulary

There are more than a hundred local languages and subsequent dialects registered in the Philippines. However, most Filipinos you will encounter on your travel with us will have at least a basic fluency in the national language, Filipino (Tagalog). An ability to speak and understand English is also common in the Philippines but should not be completely expected in more remote areas. Below are a few key Filipino phrases you can use when interacting with Filipinos during your travel:

Salamat - Thank you

Walang anuman - You’re Welcome

Magandang Umaga/Hapon/Gabi - Good morning/afternoon/evening

Masarap - Delicious

Magkano? - How much?

Paano pumunta sa (name of place)? - How do I go to (place)?

Mainit -  Hot

Malamig - Cold

Maganda - Beautiful

Ingat - Take Care

Paalam - Goodbye

Kamusta? - How are you? (may be used to greet someone hello)

Climate in the Philippines

While the climate in the Philippines is generally hot because it’s a tropical country, there are two main seasons in the Philippines: Dry and Wet.

Wet season is typically from June to October while Dry season is from November to May.

Packing – what to bring?
  • Passport and printed ticket out of the Philippines
  • Cash (in Philippine Peso)
  • SG to Philippines adaptor
  • Light weight clothing (including pants, shorts, skirts, T-shirts, etc.)
  • Shoes and clothes you’re don’t mind getting dirty
  • Something to cover your shoulders when necessary (i.e. a shawl)
  • Cap/Hat
  • Bathers and swimming shorts
  • Sunblock & Mosquito Repellent
  • Water Tumbler
  • Towel & Toiletries
  • Padlock (not essential but useful)
  • Sandals and/or comfortable walking shoes
  • Laundry - If your tour is situated in a big city like Manila, Dumaguete, or Bohol, there are normally several laundry stations in which you can do your laundry. Hotels, hostels, and even communities you stay at also offer laundry services
Money & Banks

The currency in the Philippines is Philippine Peso. That converts to around 50 US Dollars. There are several money changers in cities and towns but ATMs are scarce in the provinces. Guests are advised to withdraw enough money for their small-town trips while they are still in the big cities. We also strongly encourage guests to take any and all precautionary steps to keep their money safe as MAD Travel is not liable for any losses experienced in the trips.

Electronics

Socket / Plug types in the Philippines are types A, B, and C with a standard voltage of 220V and a standard frequency of 60hz

Philippine Visa & Passport
Transportation & Getting Around in the Philippines
  • For inter-island travel in the Philippines, domestic airlines and ferry lines are available. Drop us a line if you want to arrange your travel with us!
  • For inter-city travel in Luzon, the bus is your best bet! If you want to travel more comfortably, we can also book a van to take you to where you need to go.
  • For going around a city or town, there are several ways to travel: Uber, Grab, taxi, train, bus, jeepney, or tricycle. You can also try to walk to nearby destinations if you want the extra exercise! Just make sure to be extra careful and cautious of your belongings when commuting. A small towel to wipe off sweat might also be of help!

health & safety in the Philippines

Safety in the country

Rest assured that MAD Travel tours are limited to safe and secure destinations.

Still, as in any country, safety precautions have to be exercised when in the Philippines. This includes keeping your valuables closeby and in secure places, not travelling with flashy items, being discreet with gadget use, never giving personal information (like hotel rooms, amount of cash brought, etc.) to strangers, and the like.

Dengue, Malaria & Zika

Before coming into the country, it is advised that you pack a mosquito repellant that works best for you. Also try to be more cautious during early morning and early evening as these are the times when mosquitoes are known to be most active. Avoid places with murky, still water and do your best to cover up. When sleeping in open areas, ensure that your bed has a mosquito net and don’t forget to use it!

Regularly updated information about Dengue, Malaria, and Zika are available on the web. We advise that you take a bit of time to read about the ways you can further prevent these diseases.

The national and local health departments in the country are also regularly updated about any outbreaks or causes of concern regarding these diseases. Should we find any reports leading up to your trip, we will take the necessary steps to inform you immediately.

Be responsible – take care of yourself

While we design our adventures to keep you free from danger, you, the traveller, also play a big part in ensuring your own health and safety.

Make sure you always stay hydrated on your adventures with us. We recommend bringing a reusable tumbler. There are several places in each town to get clean, potable water.

Protect your skin from the sun by packing the essentials: sunscreen, a cap or hat, and some sunglasses. You might also want to wear protective gear on our treks.

When visiting islands, forests, or mountains, take precaution when touching items that look out of the ordinary. Your best bet in uncertainty is always to ask your guide first.

Vaccinations

Any traveller is typically recommended by their respective governments to get routine vaccines before they visit any destination. These vaccines include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis, varicella (chickenpox), polio, and your yearly flu shot.

When visiting the Philippines,  your doctor may also recommend getting vaccinations for Hepatitis A and Typhoid. While we ensure that our guests eat clean and safe food, we will not be able to control what you eat outside of our tours.

For other vaccine and health concerns, please consult with your doctor.

Dietary Requirements

We try to make your experience as authentic as possible so we let the communities you will be visiting cook most of your meals. Should you have any dietary requirements or food allergies, please tell us prior to your trip, so that we can prepare accordingly.

Alcohol & Liquor Consumption

You may want to try some local beer or rum. This is okay to do outside tour hours, but remember to drink moderately. Everyone in the team likes to have a good time but we also know how one bad hangover can ruin your trip. We wouldn’t want one night of heavy drinking outside the tour to mess with the authentic and fulfilling experience we have prepared for you.

Do note that consuming alcohol in Gawad Kalinga communities is prohibited because of the nature of the community members’ backgrounds and the values GK tries to instill in the people who live there. As such, we expect our guests visiting these areas to uphold the rules set by the communities.

For special events and occasions on tour, moderate drinking is permitted. You may consult your MAD Travel tour coordinator about this before your trip or event.

let the world change you and you can change the world.
Che Guevara
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